I’ve taken the plunge and booked myself in to have a taster session on a long arm next Saturday, followed by a quilting session on one of my own quilts. So here’s the thing, I’ve never had any quilts done by anyone but me on my home machine, and while I’ve seen Angela Walters’ amazing work (and bought the book), I’m not really sure what to expect (other than that I won’t achieve that next weekend!)
So have any of you had quilts long armed? Have any of you long armed yourself? (used a long arm that is, I think long arming yourself might be a step too far in the body art movement…)
If you have done either of the above, do you tend towards the free motion, or towards the pantograph side of things? If you’ve tried it yourself, how easy is it to do straight-ish free-motioned lines? (I have an idea in mind you see…)
Last but not least, if you got a chance to ‘give it a go’ what quilt would you do, and how would you quilt it?
Good for you, another string to your bow?
I would definitely give it a go with my (Almost) Irish Chain quilt it is a monster and I have no idea how I am ever going to wrestle it under my sewing machine.
Given the day it is too, it would have to be shamrock motifs for the quilting 🙂
I am totally in the know nothing side of things. I shall look forward to seeing what you learn.
I know nothing too! Will be checking back to see what people say!!
I usually get my quilts long armed because I am scared of FMQ. My challenge of the month is to bite the bullet and FMQ on my home machine!
I have also had a go at a long arm – an APQS Lenni – if you ring a dealer they may be able to find someone in your area who has one for you to have a go on. I paid £75 for a full day's training (including lunch!) and it was great fun. The pantographs are good for a reliable finish but even within the short time I was playing I found myself leaning very heavily towards free motion.
Re: straight lines – these are harder on a long arm but there are lots of tools / rulers you can get (pricey and all the pricier because they are all imports from the US) and I had a play on a very funky circle master thing that meant you could do perfect circles of any size.
It's a completely different ball game to domestic machining but definitely fun! Apart from the obvious price issues, another issue for me is that I would have to sell one of my children and steal their bedroom to make way for a long arm frame….
I've had my long arm for a little over a year and still have sooo much to learn! The one thing the first try out? FMQ is the easiest. I like pantographs, but you are "behind" the machine it is actually trickier. As for Angela's techniques? I have started using them and love it, but the smaller the motif, the more difficult the control. Personally, I am struggling with the appropriateness of her style. I am in the middle of my nephews and did very dense swirl like she does and am bummed because the quilt is really stiff from all of the thread. Pretty? Yes, but even with minky backing, I am a bit bummed. The biggest thing? Relax and enjoy! *sorry for the novel ;)*
I have only ever had one quilt long armed but I love the look of the process and a longarm is on my list for when I win the lottery. Not sure how a pantograph actually works but that's what I chose for my quilt and it gave a very regular finish and was quite quick too I am led to believe.
What Susan and Lucy said. You should ask Nicole at Mama Love Quilts – she had some 'lessons' and then bought her own…I'm sure she would help.
I've had a few quilts long-armed over the years – with pantographs – and although they look nice, I actually prefer FMQ and find that I can do everything I'm capable of on my big Bernina. I also looked at buying a long arm machine a while ago – but they are just too big, so I'm sticking with what I have! Looking forward to seeing how you get on though!
I have a friend did the taster at Stirling. After an hour's tuition she went on to do her quilt, if I remember rightly she opted for a big loopy design.
Interesting comments. Will whatch avidly 🙂
I've had a number of quilts long armed and I usually opt for a panto. I've never tried anything myself on a long arm (Im not even sure you can book time on a machine to do that here !)
Have fun, do whatever you feel looks good, and just go with the flow. Get someone to take lots of pictures so you can share the journey with us too.
I've had some quilts long armed, and love the superior results to normal machine quilting. I've never wanted to long arm myself, but I would appreciate a wider throat in my machine. I'm sure you'll love having a crack at it. Trudi's your gal for advice. Jxo
Ooooh! Jealous (but no advice.) Have fun!
I'm a minimalist when it comes to quilting, but I once watched Ferret doodling with rainbow variegated thread on black whole cloth, marking off a leaf / eclipse and fill it in, then another and another, while sbe was chatting to me – THAT'S what I would try and do given half a Chance!
I have a friend who uses a long arm and she loves it.
I had the best time in my all day workshop with Angela Walters. There were long arm machines for the students in the class so I got to play on one a good chunk of the time – we shared with one person. I loved the long arm and I loved fmq on it. We did not try pantographs at all. I am now measuring rooms and plotting to buy one, hopefully second or third hand. I look forward to seeing how you like it. I found it far easier than using my regular machine.
I'm definitely in the dunces class when it comes to long arming, so you can educate me on this one! :o)
All comments are very interesting as I am a novice or should I say NON USER of a long arm.
I was thinking of getting a lesson somewhere on a Sweet Sixteen
You can still sit down quilting that.
A long armer has to stand the whole time, right?
Have fun and let us know what your conclusions are, will you?
(forgetting about all the fiancial or spatial details)
I'm clueless, sorry!
I have no experience with a long arm…except the arm I use to write the check to pay for someone else to do it.