Longarm-a-Palooza

If you are in the Kansas City area next weekend and are interested in taking classes to learn Longarm strategies, learn how to maintain a featherweight sewing machine, or how to start a quilting business, check out the Longarm-a-Palooza at Quilted Memeories. I’ll be teaching the business class. Here’s a link for the classes: Longarm-a-Palooza

 

LongArm Perspectives

I thought I’d share a few pictures of my longarm quilting machine and explain a couple of  differences between a longarm and a domestic machine.  This first shot is of part of the machine.  You can see how it sits on rollers and it has a bigger arm/throat space than a domestic machine.  Mine has 19″ to work with.  Domestic machines sit without moving.  You have to move the fabric around on a domestic machine to do the quilting.  You can also drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine to do free-motion quilting.  When you do that, you get the sensation of what it is like for a longarm quilter to quilt.

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Here is a shot of more of the machine’s frame.  You can see the the machine floats around on a frame that has several roller bars for the fabric to roll along.  Longarm quilting machines… as big as a car and costs as much, too!

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If you look closely at the hopping foot (as opposed to the presser foot), you will see that it does not sit down on the base of the machine.  It hovers across the fabric.  That is why it is so difficult to draw a straight line.  We use a straight edge ruler for this, which takes a LOT longer to do, since you are manipulating the machine with one hand while holding the ruler with the other hand.  It takes a lot of patience to get that line even close to straight, which is why custom work like this costs our customers so much more.

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When we use rulers and templates, we need to add an extended base for the templates to rest upon.  Do you notice how much more it sticks out than the attached base?

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I took a ruler to see how much further the extended base sticks out on each side.  As you can see, it adds an extra 5 1/2 – 6 inches on each side.  Beyond that, I add clamps to the backing fabric to make sure it is taught.  They add another 2 inches to each side.  This is the reason why I like to have an extra 8 inches of backing fabric on each side of the quilt top.  Otherwise,  custom quilting is next to impossible to do.

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This last picture will probably end up in another post as it relates to the lighting – see those LED lights reflected on the Plexiglas?  To be continued…

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Four Books for your Perusing Pleasure

Once again, I have a few books to review for Martingale (8 to be exact), so I will post about a few of them tonight and then follow up later with the others.  First off, since my blog is mostly about machine quilting, I’d like to tell you a bit about “You Can Quilt It!  Stunning Free Motion Quilting Designs Made Easy by Deborah M. Poole.   She quilts for Kim Diehl.  I hate to admit this, but I kind of figure I know a lot about quilting already, so I wasn’t sure what I’d learn from this book… but I was very pleasantly surprised.

Martingale - You Can Quilt It! (Print version + eBook bundle)

Here’s a look at the table of contents so you can get an idea of what to find in this book.

Martingale - You Can Quilt It! (Print version + eBook bundle)

Not only does she tell you what you will need as far as essential tools, but she also tells her secrets for using those tools to achieve perfect looking quilting.   In the “Feathers” section of the book, she gives you many different kinds of feathers to quilt, more than I’ve seen in any other quilting book.  This book is not just for longarm quilters, but also for domestic machine quilters as well.  It will have a prominent place in my library.

Another quilting book that I think is worth your time if you are a quilter is 501 Quilting Motifs from the editors of Quiltmaker Magazine.

Martingale - 501 Quilting Motifs (Print version + eBook bundle)   Martingale - 501 Quilting Motifs (Print version + eBook bundle)

As you can see, the book has a variety of motifs from which to choose, and shows you different ways to adapt and use then and to transfer them onto your quilt top.  I love the different motifs for children’s quilts and some of the fun styles this book shares.

Martingale - 501 Quilting Motifs (Print version + eBook bundle) Martingale - 501 Quilting Motifs (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - 501 Quilting Motifs (Print version + eBook bundle)

To keep with the “stitching” theme of this post, let’s take a look at My Enchanted Garden: Applique Quilts in Cotton and Wool by Gretchen Gibbons.

Martingale - My Enchanted Garden (Print version + eBook bundle)

Don’t you just love the colors on the cover?  Wait ’til you see the inside!  There are lots of different projects in this book, each as colorful as the cover.  The author combines wool and cotton in her applique and shows you how to embellish with embroidery (directions for embroidery stitches are included), beads, etc.  Clear cut directions are given for the applique.  I think you will find lots of eye candy to drool over in this book.

Martingale - My Enchanted Garden (Print version + eBook bundle)

Here are a couple of the close ups of the blocks on the above quilt, with embroidery, beads, and buttons added.

Martingale - My Enchanted Garden (Print version + eBook bundle)    Martingale - My Enchanted Garden (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - My Enchanted Garden (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - My Enchanted Garden (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - My Enchanted Garden (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - My Enchanted Garden (Print version + eBook bundle)

Yummy, yummy!  Even if I never make any of these projects, I will enjoy looking at them forever!

Finally, let’s take a look at 25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks, Volume 2 by Katy Jones.

Martingale - 25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks Volume 2 (Print version + eBook bundle)

This is a great book for beginning or intermediate quilt makers or those who want to expand their horizons a bit.  Katy takes traditional and contemporary quilt blocks and throws a couple of news ones in there and combines them with fun and funky fabrics for a fresh look.

Martingale - 25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks Volume 2 (Print version + eBook bundle)  Martingale - 25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks Volume 2 (Print version + eBook bundle)  Martingale - 25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks Volume 2 (Print version + eBook bundle)  Martingale - 25 Patchwork Quilt Blocks Volume 2 (Print version + eBook bundle)

Techniques and strategies for making each of the blocks are given in easy-to-understand format.

I hope somewhere in these 4 books, you found one you’d like to look into further.  You can order these books from the Martingale website  or from Amazon.com.  Many thanks to Martingale Publishers and  their photographer, Brent Kane, for providing these books for me to review and the many pictures for you to enjoy!