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Thread: To all you long armers

  1. #1
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    To all you long armers

    I want to thank you all for not giving up when you first got your machine and felt you got in over your heads. I just read the "old" thread about how so many of us don't own long arms and I'm one of them. I send all mine out. I bought a long arm table with my regular machine (went together) but ended up selling it after I watched on YouTube how you put it together and then how you attached a quilt. After I saw all the work that went into attaching a quilt, I realize that long armers are very special people. There is so much work involved in quilting my quilts. I don't know anything about the work involved by the long armer. I always think of the LAer just doing feathers or something pretty, not the work of putting the quilt on the machine or any other aspect of it that I don't know about. Would any of you like to share some of the different aspects of long arming someone's quilt? And really, thank you all so much for you who quilt other people's quilts. You are a Godsend.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
    Strong people don't put others down...they build them up."
    "Remember that your instincts are more important than rules"

  2. #2
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    I'm not a long armer but like you I watched and read everything you have to do even before quilting and I was tired just watching it. Hat's off to Long Armer's everywhere!
    Bernie

  3. #3
    Super Member frustratedquilter40's Avatar
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    I took a class to learn how to use one I learned on a Gammil and after done 4 quilts on one at the LQS I think you have to have an artistic eye and skill to do each quilt justice and enjoy it. I now send mine out just did not enjoy it maybe because a I was renting time on it and felt rushed and have somone watch me just not a comfotable felling. My hats off to longarmers !
    ​Christine

  4. #4
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    I'm a long arm wanna-be! Some day........

  5. #5
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    I am a longarm quilter and I thank you for all your kind words. It is nice to hear when we are appreciated. Yes there is a lot of work that goes into the quilting before the machine is even threaded but because of our passion that is a labor of love. I get such a boost when my customers are happy about their quilts. It makes all the other "pains" of quilting just melt away.
    Thank you so much. I truly appreciate your words.
    Crashnquilt


    Wouldn't you like to live with my mind just for a moment? I wish you would, I think I need to get OUT OF IT!

  6. #6
    Super Member hcarpanini's Avatar
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    Thank you! I would love all my customers to see the process we go through before the first stitch!! Is the quilt flat? Is the backing square? What color thread? Same thread top and bottom or two different colors which means major tension adjustment! And then what to quilt? 99% of my customers say "do whatever". I have been blessed that my "whatever" is exactly what they wanted. I know I am appreciated when I have repeat customers. Most times I don't feel I am compensated for the time I put in, but I do it for the love of the hobby. The extra income isn' bad either!

  7. #7
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    As Harriet and CnQ wrote, it is a labor of love. I love LAQ. Other things that take time besides what has already been mentioned... On custom quilting, coming up with a design idea, drafting designs out, auditioning them using clear vinyl or tracing paper. Modify the drawings. Start over because what you thought would work didn't look so nice in audition. Transferring the design to the quilt by making a template, tracing to goldenthreads paper or similar product or marking the quilt. Depending on the degree of marking, that in itself can be an all day job. Measuring not just the whole quilt but different elements in the quilt, like the borders so you know how many repeats of your design element are needed or if that element will even work given the measurements. Coming up with ideas that compliment the quilt and don't overwhelm it. Finding alternative motifs if your customer says something like "do anything you like but I don't like feathers!" But in the end it is always wonderful to make something beautiful even prettier as well as functional.

  8. #8
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    Thank you! I agree 100% with feline fanatic. There IS a lot of work before we even start on the quilts. I'll add one of my peeves --- the backing!! If you don't have the room to lay the backing out totally flat, then please don't piece it!! I know, I'm asking a lot -- but I get a lot of them that aren't sewn straight and the backing is wonky. Also -- just because the corners are squared --- doesn't mean the backing is straight across. Folding a 108" wide backing 4 times and cutting will NOT, most of the time, make it straight across. Nine times out of 10 you'll have a wavy line. We have to pin or attach that wonky backing on the a straight bar. If it's not straight -- we battle it. I have one customer that just doesn't get my hints, so I automatically have to re-cut. I HATE that -- I'm always afraid I'll screw it up!!!

    Make sure all your seams are sewn TIGHT!!!! I quilted a paper pieced quilt last winter -- was to be for a competition. We're not sure what happened, but toward the bottom, after I'd finished 90% of the quilt, the seams started coming apart............it looked like she'd basted the seams. SAD!!!

    Oh -- one other pet peeve --- LOL --- if your quilter requires 8" total extra for the backing, please, please, please don't just add lots more!!! I had one come in with the backing being 3 YARDS longer than I needed.....yes, I had to cut it off....totally unnecessary!!! She'd bought it, wanting the extra fabric, and didn't trim before it came to me.

    Okay -- that all being said -- I'm not a witchy person ------ I just want to get the word out. I appreciate all those who have sent me quilts, I LOVE LAQing, and have had the time of my life since buying my machine. My BP did raise at times, but we're over that. I love the variety of quilts that come in, the color choices, have now discovered I REALLY DO like purple!!!!!!!
    Dee


    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." by George Bernard Shaw

  9. #9
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    It's nice to know that some quilters do actually realize how much work a long arm quilter actually does spend on each quilt--the time spent before we actually even get to start quilting it! But, like the others said, we do it because it is our passion, and the end result of each quilt makes it worth it. I am a free hand long armer and my goal during the next few months is to get some pantographs and practive, practice, practice, to learn to follow the pattern smoothly with the laser light. I have been freehand quilting for a year and a half and have done about 125 quilts so far, and have not done any with pantograghs because I don't take the time to practice using the laser light. So that is my next goal to achieve. When I first started longarming, I wanted to know how to do feathers and I watched several You-Tubes and then practiced and practiced and I became proficient at them. If I can do feathers, I'm sure I can follow a pantograph pattern with a laser light. With that being said, we don't just quilt the customers' quilts on the longarm, we also have to learn techniques to be able to produce professional looking quilting on their quilts so that they are happy.

  10. #10
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    Thank you so much for the kind words and for taking the time to find out about our world. It is indeed a labor of love as stated earlier. To get good results we have to take time and care in getting them loaded correctly in the first place. I love the design process, finding just the right design to complement something in the fabrics used or piecing.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  11. #11
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amandasgramma View Post
    Thank you! I agree 100% with feline fanatic. There IS a lot of work before we even start on the quilts. I'll add one of my peeves --- the backing!! If you don't have the room to lay the backing out totally flat, then please don't piece it!! I know, I'm asking a lot -- but I get a lot of them that aren't sewn straight and the backing is wonky. Also -- just because the corners are squared --- doesn't mean the backing is straight across. Folding a 108" wide backing 4 times and cutting will NOT, most of the time, make it straight across. Nine times out of 10 you'll have a wavy line. We have to pin or attach that wonky backing on the a straight bar. If it's not straight -- we battle it. I have one customer that just doesn't get my hints, so I automatically have to re-cut. I HATE that -- I'm always afraid I'll screw it up!!!

    Make sure all your seams are sewn TIGHT!!!! I quilted a paper pieced quilt last winter -- was to be for a competition. We're not sure what happened, but toward the bottom, after I'd finished 90% of the quilt, the seams started coming apart............it looked like she'd basted the seams. SAD!!!

    Oh -- one other pet peeve --- LOL --- if your quilter requires 8" total extra for the backing, please, please, please don't just add lots more!!! I had one come in with the backing being 3 YARDS longer than I needed.....yes, I had to cut it off....totally unnecessary!!! She'd bought it, wanting the extra fabric, and didn't trim before it came to me.

    Okay -- that all being said -- I'm not a witchy person ------ I just want to get the word out. I appreciate all those who have sent me quilts, I LOVE LAQing, and have had the time of my life since buying my machine. My BP did raise at times, but we're over that. I love the variety of quilts that come in, the color choices, have now discovered I REALLY DO like purple!!!!!!!
    well said.there is so much more to it than most realize.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

  12. #12
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    I too, am a longarmer and really appreciate the good words. Sometimes, when I get a quilt that needs a little extra LA love, I just try to do it and hope the maker will give me another chance as (s)he improves...what I totally LOVE about the whole process is when it's finished and the owner picks it up....you just can't imitate that look on their faces when they see the end results.
    If you feel like you're special...it's 'cause you are!
    Momto5

  13. #13
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    My sister has a long arm, and I know how much work it is even before you can get started. It doesn't look like any fun at all. Just getting a quilt "straight" on the rollers can take an amazing amount of time. And then, there are so many things that can o wrong. My hats off to long armers everywhere!!

    Dina

  14. #14
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I like all the processes but I am not proficient at doing things on my DSM so it is safe to say that a lot of us really depend on you LA quilters to finish our quilts, and we all appreciate the skill that goes into it

  15. #15
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    Well, one aspect I can share is the self doubt I often feel as I put someones prize possession on my rails. I start every quilt with a prayer that goes: Dear Lord, please don't let me screw up this ladies quilt.


    Quote Originally Posted by jcrow View Post
    I want to thank you all for not giving up when you first got your machine and felt you got in over your heads. I just read the "old" thread about how so many of us don't own long arms and I'm one of them. I send all mine out. I bought a long arm table with my regular machine (went together) but ended up selling it after I watched on YouTube how you put it together and then how you attached a quilt. After I saw all the work that went into attaching a quilt, I realize that long armers are very special people. There is so much work involved in quilting my quilts. I don't know anything about the work involved by the long armer. I always think of the LAer just doing feathers or something pretty, not the work of putting the quilt on the machine or any other aspect of it that I don't know about. Would any of you like to share some of the different aspects of long arming someone's quilt? And really, thank you all so much for you who quilt other people's quilts. You are a Godsend.

  16. #16
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    Topstitch -- ME, TOO!
    Dee


    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." by George Bernard Shaw

  17. #17
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    I took my last (giant) quilt to a long-armer for him to baste it for me - it was larger than my 8' square basting table, even before I put the borders on it!

    Well, the quilt was square and neatly pressed and laying flat on the back, so I didn't give him any issues with the top - but I had miscalculated the size of the backing (TWICE!!!!!) and it only 1-2" larger than the top on all sides and by the time he got done basting, one side was about 4" short.

    After a phone consultation, we decided that he would leave that end "open" for me so that I could piece that edge of the backing fabric and sew it on. He did a WONDERFUL job of getting that quilt placed as squarely on the backing as a human being could do. It was expensive, but it was so worth it not to have to try to pin baste - I'd have gotten it on cock-eyed, sure's shootin'!

    Watch out for that "simple" math - it can foul you up! The quilt came out just great, though and the piecing along one edge of the backing looks intentional.

  18. #18
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepolyparrot View Post
    I took my last (giant) quilt to a long-armer for him to baste it for me - it was larger than my 8' square basting table, even before I put the borders on it!

    Well, the quilt was square and neatly pressed and laying flat on the back, so I didn't give him any issues with the top - but I had miscalculated the size of the backing (TWICE!!!!!) and it only 1-2" larger than the top on all sides and by the time he got done basting, one side was about 4" short.

    After a phone consultation, we decided that he would leave that end "open" for me so that I could piece that edge of the backing fabric and sew it on. He did a WONDERFUL job of getting that quilt placed as squarely on the backing as a human being could do. It was expensive, but it was so worth it not to have to try to pin baste - I'd have gotten it on cock-eyed, sure's shootin'!

    Watch out for that "simple" math - it can foul you up! The quilt came out just great, though and the piecing along one edge of the backing looks intentional.
    measuring a relaxed quilt is a different size than once on the frame with tension-the bigger the quilt the bigger the difference.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

  19. #19
    Senior Member dojo36's Avatar
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    would you believe i've had more than one person piece their backing without cutting the bias off. just try rolling that on a bar - impossible. i've had to cut it off if it's wide enough then sew it back together and press the seam open then roll it on Lizzie. yes lots of extra work for the long armer.
    donna
    love people and use things, don't use people and love things

  20. #20
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    Thank you for your kind words. Some people think a longarm machine is a magic wand---you hand the quilt top to the longarmer, and *Presto*!--it comes off the frame an hour later, ready to bind and hang at Paducah! The truth is, an hour later, I haven't taken the first stitch yet. Someone in my club longarmed her huge quilt on a friend's HQ16, bragged that she got it on and off in about 2 hours, then asked me to come and give her a lesson on keeping the quilt square, lol! People are soo funny! Gotta love them!

  21. #21
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolph33 View Post
    measuring a relaxed quilt is a different size than once on the frame with tension-the bigger the quilt the bigger the difference.
    Now, THAT makes a lot of sense! From now on, I will add a lot more fabric to the backing for a giant quilt, instead of aiming for 4" all around!

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