A lot of beginning quilters are attracted more to the patterns and the designs they can make with quilts than to the idea of sitting down and piecing fabric together or sewing. Basically, it’s the thought of the end result that lures them into the hobby. It is only later that they realize how much work actually goes into the creation of a quilt, and when they do realize this, they begin to change their minds.
If realizing the amount of work that goes into making a quilt has put you off quilting, or if you just don’t have time to sew, but have a lot of ideas for patterns, then it’s time you checked out longarm quilting. It’s the perfect quilting style for those who have very creative minds and can think of great patterns and color schemes, but don’t have much time to sew or don’t have the patience for sewing!
Longarm quilting involves the use of a longarm sewing machine, which is basically a sewing machine that is attached to a table that is ten to fourteen feet in length and has rollers that help feed fabric to the machine. The machine can be used to sew together a quilt top quickly, or for quilt batting and quilt backing. Being a machine, it takes much less time than sewing by hand or than sewing with a regular sewing machine.
The first version of a longarm quilting machine was introduced in 1877, just six years after the first quilting machine made its debut. This first prototype needed a hand crank in order for the machine to work down the length of the quilt. Today, however, the machines run on electricity, and can be hand guided or computer guided, depending on how intricate the pattern.
There are two types of quilting that can be done with this machine. The first type is a quilt with a pantograph design, or a quilt that has a repetitive pattern. It is very easy for the machine to do the entire quilt quickly because each block has the same design. The second type is a quilt with a custom design, or a quilt in which each block has a unique design. This naturally takes longer because attention must be given to each block, but the end result has a lot of character.
Being so large, and mostly due to its cost, it often isn’t practical for a single quilter to own such a machine. Quilting stores may invest in a machine so as to offer longarm quilting as a service. Beginning quilters and even veteran quilters can take their fabric to the store, map out the pattern on the machine table and begin quilting. With this machine, beginning quilting has never been easier!