Helping New Longarm Quilters

The purchase and ownership of a longarm can be quite the experience. You learn what works and what doesn’t. The crash coarse you get from the company is a few hours worth of info that you may or may not retain. I know when I purchased mine, I was totally focused at the front of the machine with free motion quilting, and could careless about what goes on at the back of the machine. Those details were either told to me and discarded, forgotten, or never spoken of. I know not. It is pretty exciting to do those first stitches. Everything else (experience included) comes with time.

There are wonderful videos out there which helped me. Here are two by others. I am sharing because some of this you may not know.

These two videos were a game changer for me! This seems relatively logical, but sometimes we go through life and do things the hard way. Thank goodness for those that think smarter not harder, eh?

So, I am now more proficient in pantos. I shied away from pantos because the thought of trying to align things up perfectly bum-fuzzled me to the point of not wanting to try. And when I did, I scooted the panto all over the back area trying to get it to line up, not knowing that I was fouling up making things way harder.

On the longarm this weekend was my Crazy quilt, using Lori Holt papers, urbanelementz free panto. My machine has been rejecting the last part of the roll of 100% toasty cotton batting that came from Joann’s. So to beat the batting at its own game, I have started doubling the batting to just get rid of it and use it up. Surprisingly, it has created a new nice deep texture and weighted the quilt, like an old quilt.

I had someone ask on my last post if I could share how I manage to keep the quilt from scootching. All my previous quilts scootched to the right. But I have since started ironing. You would think I would iron the quilt before I load it, but I am in a garage, I do not have an ironing board, and the floor is dirty. So ironing for me was basically loading it fresh out of the bag and making the most of the few wrinkles I had. This was the issue all along, that with the fact I float my tops. I think floating the top causes the seam allowances to flip, which would then cause everything to scootch and not be true. Here is me ironing my quilt top. Forgive me and I mis-poke while I was ironing and called it quilting. The quilt did advance correctly, but because I moved the needle and the head of the machine, I got confused.

Here is the actually quilting using the Heatwave free panto from urbanelementz.

And it was a blooper reel kind of day. This took me three tries. First one I rambled and then ran out of thread during quilting. Second the tension messed up and had to rip out. 3rd times a charm.

Here is a link to the free pattern called heatwave by urbanelementz.

And quilter’s, I am shocked at the number of quilt police that are running amuck on social media. I posted about my success with the ironing stage while ON the longarm. I was told I should not do that, the fabric could bleed. I was told by others they make a spray of part fabric softener and water and helps the quilt and quilting of it. I had other comment about customers “b!@tching about spraying said softener on the top”. YIKES. I was successful with something and shared and all the quilt weirdos commented putting their two cents worth in, not knowing the whole. I quilt my own quilts so if they bleed they bleed. But I would think if I ironed while I was making the top with steam it would not bleed then, why would it bleed after the fact. Has anyone actually had this happen? The idea of putting fabric softener on someone else’s quilt would be a no no for me, who would do that? There are so many perfumes in that stuff, but I am not in their shoes, so I am not gonna judge. I will embrace all of the quilting community, each comment was looking out for my best interest I suppose.

If I failed to explain things clearly or you need a translator for because I sound waaaaay too southern, just ask, I did not plan out what I was going to say, I just said what came to mind at the time. I have a sense of humor and laughed when I watched the first video as I sound like such a hick. That’s what I get for living in Texas for 32 years, eh?

I hope this helps longarm quilters after me, we call can use a little bit of help from time to time.

I did finish this, it took me about 3 1/2 hours to quilt this. Pleased with the results.

I chose this panto, because there is so much yellow, orange, and red it it. Reminds me of the color of a flame. Delighted to be almost caught up at the quilting machine. I have one two more left, and have no backing selected. So for another nice quilty day.

Happy first day of spring!

And thanks for reading my blog!


10 thoughts on “Helping New Longarm Quilters

  1. I’ve never heard of side leaders! I’m learning so much from you!

    Thank you for taking the time to film the steaming process you figured out. My quilts are migrating up, and just on the right side, not side to side like yours, but I’m still going to try this technique with my steam machine (I use a dry iron and it’s not cordless, but the steam machine is portable. Fingers crossed it’ll work, too.)

    The upwards migration on the right side has been happening since the I got the frame in 2012, and I’ve tried EVERYTHING to figure it out. If steaming helps, it’ll totally make my decade. 😀

    And I’m sorry the quilt police came at you. Your ‘it would have bled when I steam ironed the piecing’ logic should have set them back, but trolls will troll. Thanks for putting your experience out there anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s awesome that you had some success. I am terribly disappointed in my “longarm”. I was naive and am now on the hunt for an actual long arm with a normal 12 foot table. I just finished quilting a quilt that took me 3 months to finish. 3 1/2 hours sounds fantastic to me! I think I got myself setup to follow you as I have so much to learn. I just want to quilt the 20 tops I have finished!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations on the12ft table! Don’t get discouraged. Your first top compared to 10 quilts down the road will be full of joy an excitement of the successes and failures along the way. I aim to give a another post for tips that helped me. Thank you for the comment and the follow!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That is one beautiful quilt!! I have been quilting for others for 16 years and am still learning new things! Back when I first started I was fortunate to be part of a group of a Longarm quilt chat forum and chat room where we all taught each other.
    My oldest daughter married a Texan and they live there (10 yrs)…her accent is changing over time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am not a long armer, but I thought that this was a very helpful post! I have a Grace frame that I can use with a domestic, but I rarely use it. Perhaps I should utilize it more! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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