Longing for a Long Arm

This past weekend my friend Debra invited me to her house to learn how to use her long arm quilting machine. I was both excited and nervous, knowing how expensive these machines are and whether I was up for the challenge. It's no secret that my favorite part of quilt making is free motion quilting. I wish that I could just click my heels and have a top finished just so that I can quilt it.

My trepidation only lasted for the first 30 stitches or so and then I was off and running.  I always thought it would be a huge transition to switch from a DSM to a long arm but it was the most natural thing for me.

Of course, I'm sure that the quality of the machine I was using probably has a lot to do with it. My husband taught me early on that if you want to do a craft well, whether it be photography or quilting, the quality of the equipment can make a world of difference. Debra's long arm was a 12-foot APQS Lucey with a stitch regulator. What can I say, I'm hooked! It's like something just clicked and before I knew it, 4 hours had passed and I had quilted not 1 but 2 quilt tops!

The first quilt was a beautiful one that was made by the St. Mary's Peace by Piece Quilters from Manchester, Connecticut.

They are a generous group of quilters that sent us a total of 4 quilt tops and binding. I hope that I did their beautiful quilt justice. Here are a few close-up photos of the meandering swirls and heart loops that I made.

The second quilt was my very own "Love Wins" quilt.

For this one, I decided to do a couple of different motifs. For the majority of the body, I did a paisley design and hearts around the outer border. For the inner border, I decided to try my hand at feathers.

I love how the quilting really pops on the darker hearts.

A close-up of the quilting from the back.

Right now the center HST block is unquilted. I plan to do that on my domestic machine so that I can practicing using my new quilting rulers.

After this wonderful experience, I'm seriously contemplating saving my pennies for a long arm machine! But first, time to trim them down and put on some bindings.

PS - Piecing together my Pulse quilt was my goal for this month. I definitely surpassed that goal!


  1. Both quilts turned out stunning; you are a natural on a long arm! :)

  2. Definitely a natural. You should come over and try mine sometime.

  3. I own and sell APQS machines and I would say you have no learning curve at all. I thought those were pantos....your quilting looks perfect. I hope you don't hve to wait too long for that machine!

  4. yo have taken to the long arm like a duck to water certainly a natural loving what you have done and hope the pennies soon grow into dollars for the fund. Pulse quilts look so good too.

  5. Awesome quilting Diana. I guess you will be saving the pennies.

  6. They look great! I've been dreaming of a long arm, too. Maybe when my kid goes off to college in 16 years! :)

  7. Beautiful! I tried a longarm for the first time and loved it too! We have a place nearby where we can rent time on a longarm so I can get my fill without trying to find the room and budget to purchase one :)

  8. We are going to be empty nesters this fall. I filled that void with a new-to-me an APQS machine! My learning curve appears to be MUCH greater than yours would be. I can't seem to get mine to do nice curves. Either way, I'm having a BLAST with my longarm quilting machine... go for it!!

  9. As you have such skill at FMQ on your domestic machine, I am not surprised at how you seem to be a natural at the long arm too. Great work for a good cause.

  10. Wow, loved reading this. I think I would be a nervous wreck, but would love the opportunity to finish a few quilts on a longarm. Your quilts look great, yes you have surpassed your goal and I look fwd to seeing your ruler work finish the Love Wins quilt!


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