At Arm’s Length

When it comes to sewing machines, there are lots of choices for quilting together the top, batting, and backing.  If you aren’t quilting by hand with a frame (and kudos to you, if you are!) then there is a good chance that you may be using either a domestic, stretch, or long arm machine. All of which offer a given amount of work space based on arm length. 

Machine quilting is durable and for me, much faster than hand quilting. That means my projects take the wear and tear of regular use and actually get finished. With the exception of one queen sized UFO (an UnFinished Object on which I intend to finish the hand applique and then hand quilt) all of my projects benefit from a motorized sewing machine.

My typical rule of thumb is that small quilts are done on my domestic machine with either a walking foot or with free-motion quilting. This fun and manageable size allows me plenty of room to experiment with different stitches or quilt motifs. Sometimes, I use fusible batting so there aren’t any pins to work around and if I add a Teflon sheet to the desktop, I can maneuver the fabric with ease.

I work in a very small space so there isn’t really room to add tables for supporting the weight of larger quilts.  Despite that, there are many times that I muscle through yards and yards of fabric and get it done. I’ve had really nice results, but I know that there are many fine domestic machine quilters out there who could teach me a thing or two! 

Want to take a guess at my favorite machine quilting option?

It’s the long arm!

Who doesn’t love to skip crawling around on the floor or stretching over tables for pinning or basting? With a long-arm I get an opportunity to practice some smooth moves and rhythm while building my free-motion quilting skills.  I am lucky enough to have a great studio near my home that allows me to enjoy the long-arm experience, and I always savor the time I get to be in that space.

What’s your favorite machine quilting technique or tool?

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