first efforts at fmq
[ Longarm Quilting ]

My first longarm project – blog challenge day 5

For “First Project” prompt in the 31 Day Blog Challenge, I want to share my first longarm project. I bought a longarm quilting machine just two short years after I made my first quilt. So many ideas were swirling in my brain while I sewed the quilt blocks that I knew I wanted control of the entire process. I tried free motion quilting on a domestic machine but realized after finishing one twin-size quilt that I would be more comfortable with a longarm. 

longarm sewing room tour

Where do we put it?

A longarm quilting machine is a big investment. Thanks to a supportive husband, I was able to purchase a Gammill Classic Plus. The machine table is literally 10 feet long, so we installed the machine in the loft. I had some training through the shop that sold the machine to me, but experience is the best teacher.

My first longarm project

Remember when the Stack-n-whack technique was brand new and extremely popular? The first quilt top I finished after my longarm was delivered was the Treasure Box pattern which used the same kaleidoscope technique. 

first longarm project

With the busy print drawing your eye to all the interesting patterns, I kept the quilting simple inside the blocks. The window frame borders got simple wavy lines. I stitched a free-hand floral motif using a figure eight pattern in the alternating squares.first efforts at fmq

One mistake I made as a rookie quilter was forgetting to stitch in the ditch around each block. As a result, my design looks kind of messy and uneven. Stitching in the ditch can be tedious because you have to stitch slowly and carefully right along the edge of the patchwork. It is an important step that really helps define your patchwork and enhances the overall look of the finished design.

Quilting for Customers

Longarm quilting is now a core part of my quilting business. I offer customers the choice of pantographs (all-over, edge to edge designs) or custom free hand stitching. Watch this video to see my favorite floral motifs.

floral fmq
If you want to try free motion quilting on a domestic or a longarm machine, this video shows my Top 5 beginner designs.  Try these designs on paper so you build muscle memory. After sketching, it will be easier to stitch when you try free motion quilting on fabric.

beginner friendly FMQ designs

Have you tried free motion quilting? DO you quilt on a domestic or longarm machine?

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Longarm Quilter, Pattern Designer, Teacher


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