Long Arm Quilting Machines

When I started quilting, it was on my Great Aunt Margarite’s 1957 Singer.  It must have weighed about 40 pounds.  Straight stitch and zig zag and a lot of attachments.  I then purchased my first Featherweight (weighs about 2.5 pounds). What a joy to take to classes with the Featherweight. 

To finish my quilts, I just did Stitch in the Ditch.  Occasionally, I added some hand quilting but I really wanted  more.  At a Road to California show, I met a long arm quilter from Astoria (I was a white glove lady-wear white gloves and pull the quilt up so people can see the back).  I took the plunge and asked Linda to do my next quilt.  I would bring it up to her in Oregon when I did my annual trip to Seaside, Oregon.

Linda did a fabulous job.  She is still in Astoria quilting and teaching.  You can see her work at Homestead Quilts on 10th in Astoria.

Back to the picture – yes, I tend to wander sometimes.  I found a local quilter in Orange County. Diane Beachamp, who like Linda did a great job on custom quilting.  Diane opened up her own quilt/fabric store.  She put her Gammill long arm machine in the store and advertised classes on the machine.  If you wanted to rent it, you had to take a class.  I was in the first class and was immediately hooked and frustrated.

It takes time to get use to threads breaking, running out a bobbin thread, finding the right pattern for your quilt, the right thread color, etc.

But once you get the feel for it, it such a treat to watch your quilt just pop.  You the backing on the right roller, add the batting and then the top.  Baste it so that it doesn’t move, add the clips on the side, check for any pins, and hit “Start”.  There is a lot more to it but if you want to learn, find a store that rents the machine and take a class.  I have been very fortunate that Quilter’s Garden has 2 machines and a terrific staff that is there to assist you.

Now when I want to quilt my quilt tops, I can schedule time on the machine, peruse the store for more fabric, meet new people (there is always someone asking about the machine) and just relax.  There are many long arm machines but I really like the Gammill.  You can order one with a computer or without.  Without the computer, it is easier to do freehand quilting.  If you decide to buy a long arm, go to a large quilt show like Houston, Paducah, Chicago, Road to California, Long Beach show and try out all the machines.  The ease of working the machine and the cost vary.

Thanks for reading.  The quilt on the machine is called “Dressed to the Nines” by Lynn Mann.  The top quilt is Road to Oklahoma (I think.  It was made in 2002)