5 ways to Improve Your Longarm Quilting

If you're lucky enough to use a longarm machine, you've probably fallen in love. So here are our top 5 tips to improve your longarm skills!

So you love longarm quilting, but you really want to go from making great quilts to amazing quilts! Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we will go over 5 ways to enhance your longarm quilting. This will range from basic accessories, needles, feet, stitching techniques and more! Fabric, quilt, and quilting by Ana Paula Brasil http://www.canadapaulabrasil.ca/

Want to see how these tips can improve your longarm quilting skills? Watch our YouTube video here!


#1 Basic Accessories – Rulers

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There is a vast amount of different longarm rulers which can be utilized in areas of your quilt to add texture and design. Some rulers can help you through basic shapes and spacing and others with unique curvatures to create bigger designs.

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Keep in mind that you’ll need to have a ruler base to stabilize the ruler on. To use it, simply take the ruler and apply pressure against the foot, while applying pressure with your handle against the ruler.

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You’ll also need to simultaneously apply downward pressure on the ruler to prevent shifting as you sew. Whether you have a straight edge ruler or a design ruler, there will always be marked or notch indications to show where you’ll need to stop and move the ruler to continue.

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So don’t be afraid to try different rulers out, as they can make your quilting easier, faster, and tidier.

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We’ve tracked down this blog that talks about the best longarm quilting rulers out there! https://quiltersconnection.ca/reviews/best-machine-quilting-rulers/

#2 Needles

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Needles are one of the most important parts in a longarm as they go through different stressors than an ordinary domestic machine needle will. Before you even begin longarming, you’ll need to choose the right needle for the type of project you are working on.

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On the needle packaging, there will be letters to indicate the needle point style and needle size number in fraction form. The larger the needle number, the bigger the needle is, the same goes for small numbers.

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There are two needle point styles: R or FG. R styles have a sharp point, and FG styles have a ball point. Most longarm needles will be labelled “MR” which stands for multi-directional.

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It is good to note that no matter what type of quilting project you do, you should always change the needle every project. As your needle will get duller over a period of time, which can cause shredding, time and headache.

#3 Feet

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Longarm feet can make a huge difference with technique, application, and time. The sure, hopping, echo, couching, square and glide foots are common feet used for different quilting purposes and techniques.

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The sure foot is one of the default feet you can use for rulers, as its tall profile makes it easier to stabilize against the ruler side.

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The hopping foot is your default free-motion quilting foot, as it allows for greater movement and visibility range.

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The echo foot has a clear acrylic ring attachment that extends the seeing area. There are various sizes which provide fixed intervals to allow equal spacing, which are commonly quilted around motifs or ruler designs.

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The glide foot is a bowl-shaped clear acrylic foot that helps you easily glide across different dimensional layers. This foot is a must-have if you quilt with small layers of appliqué across the front, as the foot won’t catch onto the edges of fabric.

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With all these available feet available for longarms in mind, you can now choose the best foot for your ease of stitching and optimal results.

#4 Pantographs

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What is a pantograph? A pantograph is a printed design on a 12’ piece of paper that you follow and stitch certain designs across a quilt.

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Pantographs are great option to use when longarming, as it allows you to spend less time thinking about the overall design and does not abrupt the process flow. Depending on the longarm, you will either follow the design with a laser light or a stylus on the machine’s rear handles.

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With such a huge selection of available pantograph designs out there, we strongly advise you to try beginner designs to get you more comfortable with your machine, as it can be tricky for longarm beginners to get used to the process.

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If you have an idea in mind for your own pantograph, but the ones you can find online just aren’t quite right why not try making your own! We’ve found this great tutorial on how to make your very own custom pantographs! https://doyoueq.com/blog/2019/12/eq8-lessons-with-lori-create-a-pantograph/

#5 Thread

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Thread is another important factor that can drastically improve your longarm quilting overall, save you time and prevent future headaches. Here’s our favourite 3 threadlines to get you started!

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Master Quilter™ is a 40wt 3-ply cottonized polyester thread. This lintless thread is perfect for longarm quilting as it was crafted specifically for high speed machine quilting and multi-directional sewing. A cottonized polyester is 100% polyester material, however it’s been treated to remove the stretch and shine from the thread.

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The result is a thread that sews in the machine like a cotton will, has more of a matte finish like a cotton does, and carries the strength of a polyester. Master Quilter™ is your go-to thread to use for beginners as it is so easy to use.

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You can find Master Quilter™ in a shop near you, or in our online shop at https://shopwonderfil.com/product-category/masterquilter/

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Another favourite is Ultima™, a 40wt 2-ply cotton wrapped polyester which has the strength and utility as polyester, but the finish of cotton. Unlike other wrapped threads in the market, WonderFil’s Ultima™ carries the least lint which will make your machine happier.

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For those who love how polyester thread sews on the machine, but desire the look of cotton, this is your thread choice.

You can find Ultima™ in a shop near you, or in our online shop at https://shopwonderfil.com/product-category/ultima/

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Our final recommendation is Konfetti™, a 50wt 3-ply 100% Long Staple Egyptian cotton. This thread has undergone a special process called double gassing, a process in which the thread passes between a flame to remove 80% of the lint.

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This process is repeated a second time, removing another 80% of the remaining lint. The result is an ultra-low-lint thread with a gorgeously clean finish. For those who love sewing with 100% cotton, this is a beautiful choice with a professional quality look.

You can find Konfetti™ in a shop near you, or in our online shop at https://shopwonderfil.com/product-category/konfetti/

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We hope this blog helped encourage you to experiment with different factors and accessories to help enhance your longarming experience.  If you’re going to be using the threads we mentioned in this blog for your next project, be sure to tag us on social media using the hashtag #wonderfil so that we can share your wonderful creations! You can find the threads mentioned in this blog and more by visiting www.shopwonderfil.com. You can also sign up for our free newsletter to receive more educational sewing tips, tutorials, and free patterns. Register by clicking here! We’ll see you again next time!


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