I’m spoiled by the long arm

Occasionally quilting really frustrates me, and now is one of those times.

When I first started quilting I finished everything myself on my home sewing machine. But then I discovered Quilting By You in Bettendorf, Iowa, where you can rent time on a long arm machine and I’ve been spoiled ever since.

On a long arm you can see the entire width of your quilt as you’re working, as opposed to a small 5-inch space between your hands. That makes it a lot easier to plan where you’re going and think about the free motion design on the entire quilt instead of taking it one block at a time.

But going to Quilting By You requires advance planning, and yesterday I really wanted to quilt a lap quilt I’ve been working on, so I prepped the quilt for my home sewing machine. That was a bad idea.

Blue and white quilt

I spent an hour swirling around and around and the design just wasn’t coming out right. I couldn’t get the size variation I wanted, my vision was obstructed so I have some wonky curves and I only got through five of 78 blocks. In the same time on a long arm, I could be a third to a half of the way done with the whole quilt.

So I quit. I’m going to pull out all the work I did so far, which let’s face it, isn’t that much, and make an appointment to rent some time on the long arm. I think I may be forever ruined when it comes to finishing a quilt on a home sewing machine.

How about you all? Do you quilt on your home sewing machine or on a long arm? Or do you just not bother with it at all and send your quilts away to be finished by a professional?

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Comment (4)

  1. I have never sent out a quilt to be quilted by someone else. I feel like it isn’t really my quilt unless I do the quilting. I have used my domestic sewing machine, but I am considering purchasing a mid arm (such as an HQ16) so I will be more diligent to finish all the ufo’s I have stacked up. Still in the thinking stage 🙂

    1. I feel the same way. But I have one quilt that I hope to finish this year that I’m just not confident I can quilt well enough to do it justice. So I think I may send that one off to a long armer.


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