Initial Thoughts from a Newbie Longarm Quilter

by Nicole

Remember when I asked the question, “Is Life Better with a Longarm?”

Well, after quilting a queen-sized quilt in 4 hours, my answer to that question is, “Yes!”

When I last worked on a queen-sized quilt, it took me 2 weeks of work on my domestic machine.  If I had tried using my domestic machine for this quilt, I don’t think I would have been done before Christmas!

The quilt I worked on was the one I started with some blocks from We Bee Modern Too.

Here are a few peeks at the quilt. I’ll share more about the quilt once I get the binding done.

I had to track down the fabric I wanted for the binding. Apparently, it is a popular fabric because all of my places I usually go for fabric were sold out of it.

A woman at my LQS told me about FabSearch. Have you heard of it? You can search a ton of shops at once for a specific fabric and compare prices. I was able to track down the fabric. It just arrived so I can finally finish this Christmas quilt before Christmas!

You may be a bit curious about my first time quilting on a longarm. I’ve got one word: Awesome!

The longarm machine stitches much faster than my domestic sewing machine, which meant I needed to seriously concentrate on what I was doing. I didn’t dare let my mind drift off for a moment. I might need to focus so intensely since I’m still learning how to use the machine. It reminds me of when I first learned how to drive a car. I needed to focus so much that I didn’t even turn on the radio while I was driving. But, now I can chew gum, listen to music, and keep tabs on the kiddos while I drive!

I’m hoping with more practice, I’ll get just as relaxed with my quilting.

For this quilt, I quilted single and double loops. I think this might be my favorite quilting design for the moment. I’ll play around with other designs at some point, but for now, this is going to be my go-to design.

I hope to have the finished quilt to share with you soon.

Happy sewing!

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MB in MI December 16, 2012 - 4:25 pm

Lovely!! Your quilting looks so delicate…nice work, Nicole! 🙂

regan December 16, 2012 - 4:34 pm

I love the strings of little loops you quilted! Totally fun! I'm so glad you are loving your new machine!

Megan December 16, 2012 - 4:36 pm

Lookin' good! Those teeny tiny stars are adorable. So exciting that you'll have it just in time for Christmas!

Lisa Lisa December 16, 2012 - 4:38 pm

Nicole – I'm so jealous….and so happy for you! 4 hours to quilt it?? What! OK, I think a long arm is going to move to the top of my list of things I want. Your quilt is absolutely beautiful!!!

Anna F. December 16, 2012 - 4:59 pm

Love the quilting. Thanks for your newbie longarm thoughts. Curious, how long did it take to get the quilt set up to quilt? Thanks. December 17, 2012 - 6:33 am

Thanks, Anna! It's hard to say how long it took – a while! I ended up having to load the quilt twice. When I loaded it the first time, it wasn't until after I started basting it that I realized it was loaded on crooked. I then took out the basting, straightened the quilt and reloaded it. I'm learning! Next time, it won't take so long!

Books_Bound December 16, 2012 - 6:01 pm

Beautiful! I wondered when we were going to see your Joy quilt pop up. 🙂

And FabSearch sounds really cool! Thanks for passing that tip along!

Katy Cameron December 16, 2012 - 6:27 pm

Looking great, the concentration was worth it! Great idea with that FabSearch thing too, off to check it out…

Gertie Pye December 16, 2012 - 9:58 pm

Glad you are enjoying your new machine and putting it to good use! I know from test driving a long arm that it is SO much easier than trying to lump a gigantic quilt around the limited harp space of a domestic machine. It is just so much more intuitive too – it is more like doodling! Look forward to seeing your first long arm quilt all finished!

Julie December 16, 2012 - 10:40 pm

Four hours and looking that beautiful is amazing! Congrats on your new machine and I'm sure you'll get the hang of it in no time!

Carla December 16, 2012 - 10:49 pm

Beautiful quilting ; )

Peggy December 16, 2012 - 11:15 pm

Same question as Anna F above – how long did it take you set everything up and get the quilt basted and ready to go? You are definitely leaning me in the direction of getting my own longarm!

pandchintz December 17, 2012 - 12:26 am

Well done you! Quilt looks great – cant wait for the big reveal!

Heidi Staples December 17, 2012 - 2:16 am

This looking amazing, Nicole! I'm so happy for you!

Leanne December 17, 2012 - 2:30 am

I so want a long arm, I am so glad you are having fun with it. It inspires me to look more seriously at it as a real option.

Amanda December 17, 2012 - 2:48 am

It looks great! Congrats again!

Joy December 17, 2012 - 4:48 am

You did awesome Nicole! I am so impressed by your talents and no fear of jumping in and doing new things.

Heidi Grohs December 17, 2012 - 7:14 am

I am just SO happy for you Nicole! It is amazing how fearful you are at first, but then it becomes a routine! EEEK! So happy for you!!!

Annabella December 17, 2012 - 5:16 pm

Oh the WBMT quilt is looking beautiful – can't wait for the big reveal…so glad you are getting on with the long arm!

Valerie December 17, 2012 - 7:34 pm

I've been wondering how you are liking your new system! The quilting looks great. And thanks for the fabsearch link-new to me and seems handy!

Denise Russell December 19, 2012 - 10:12 am

Looks beautiful! Now I know who can quilt my projects! 🙂 I quilt everything on my Bernina…

Debbie December 19, 2012 - 1:59 pm

wow. I'm so pleased for you! It looks gorgeous!

Erin @ Sew at Home Mummy December 19, 2012 - 10:10 pm

Absolutely beautiful. You did an amazing job! And in 4 hours?! Holy cow. I can't imagine!
Let us know when you're takin' orders 😉
(p.s. – not sure if you'd be interested – but we're looking for swappers for a solids-only swap on my blog 🙂 )

Gabrielle Robles December 27, 2012 - 10:49 pm

I love your first Christmas quilt.

In addition to FabSearch try out Quiltshops dot com. I've been using this for a few months and it works really well. (disclaimer: just a happy customer)

Long arming is humbling and yet so efficient. I have to say loved your story on Gammie.

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