Sunday, July 25, 2021

Strategies for Selecting Long-Arm Quilting Designs

My Albuquerque Modern Quilt Guild monthly long-arm group is always a wealth of information. Here are some highlights from last month's meeting (and a gratuitous shot of the guild sampler from 2010 that currently occupies my long-arm):

*When doing computerized patterns for clients, it is preferable to choose designs that don't have backtracking.

*If the quilt top has busy fabrics, you aren't likely to see a detailed quilting pattern, so it makes sense to choose something simpler.

*Pause before choosing designs to "let the quilt speak" to you about which to select.

*Take classes when they are offered to improve your skill.

*Combine computerized designs with free-motion.

*Pair linear designs with organic ones.

*If you make a mistake in free-motion, repeat the mistake to make it look intentional.

*Choose from designs that are in your wheelhouse.

*Correct issues with wavy borders before you begin quilting.

*Limit the amount of time-consuming custom quilting jobs (as opposed to edge to edge computerized designs) that you take on for clients to a manageable amount.

*Consider loading the three layers together if you are doing art quilts with many thread color changes.

*Test out designs by drawing them with dry erase on a piece of plexiglass laid over the top. Tape the edges of the plastic to avoid getting marker directly on the quilt.

*Create real quilt samples of computerized designs for clients to have a visual of options available.

*Select a thread that isn't too matchy.

*Consider the purpose of a specific quilt to determine the quilting design.

*Accent what you like most about the quilt top, and camouflage what you don't like.

*Scale the quilting to match the scale of the fabric.

*There's no right or wrong way to quilt a quilt.

*Remember that everyone is in a different place in their quilting


  1. Those are good tips. I guess a lot of people have long arm machines. I think Most people have a mid-arm or domestic sewing machine they do their own quilting on but the tips are good for all. Thanks for the link to Stencil Saturday, I haven't seen those before.

  2. Thanks for sharing these tips, Afton! They are so helpful!