What is a LongArm quilting machine?
Imagine a sewing machine on steroids – a throat depth of 20”+ instead of less than 10”. Now mount it on a carriage that lets you roll it in any direction with minimal effort. Suspend your quilt sandwich between rollers, letting you get at a swath 18”+ deep and the full width of the quilt. This is basically what a LongArm machine is.
What can a LongArm do for me?
A traditional, or short-arm sewing machine can piece any size quilt top, but it is difficult to quilt anything bigger than a lap-sized quilt on it. A LongArm is designed to make quilting large quilts easier. Moon Star Studio’s LongArm can accommodate any size quilt from miniatures up thru California king size.
Also, quilting on a short-arm is like moving the paper while holding your pencil still. On a LongArm, the sewing machine moves while the quilt stays still.
How long does it take to quilt a top using the LongArm?
Most LongArm service providers say they can quilt a king size quilt in an afternoon.
Doesn’t it take a lot of training and practice to use a LongArm?
While mastery of the LongArm does indeed take a lot of training and practice, modern LongArms incorporate many features to make it possible to get solid results in far less time than was possible with older machines. The simplest form of LongArm quilting, freehand or stipple quilting, can be learned in less than an hour. Three more hours sees the student thru to completion of a first, lap sized quilt.
What is automatic stitch length regulation?
On older LongArms the machine stitched at a constant speed. This meant that the operator had to learn to keep the machine moving at a constant speed, or else the stitch lengths would vary and the quilting would look uneven.
Modern top-of-the-line LongArms like Moon Star Studio’s APQS Millenium have a feature called automatic stitch length regulation. When the machine is moved, sensors on the carriage tell the machine’s brain how far and how fast it is moving, and the brain directs the machine to stitch at varying rates to ensure that the stitch length is kept constant without the operator doing anything. You can stop moving the machine, go from moving slowly to quickly, and the stitch length is automatically kept constant. This drastically reduces the time needed to learn to do simple patterns with the LongArm.
It is this feature that allows us to offer our “Doodle Your Quilt” afternoons. Very little time need be spent before a novice can freehand and get solid results.
If I lease the LongArm, do I take it home to work with?
No, you lease a block of time to use it at Moon Star Studio.
How many students are signed up per class?
LongArm quilting is very hands-on. Since Moon Star Studio only has one LongArm, all classes are one-on-one.
What if I’m in the middle of a quilt when my session ends?
Moon Star Studio uses a system of zippered leaders to attach your quilt to the machine. Unloading and reloading a quilt takes about 5 minutes. If you’re in the middle, we simply unzip your quilt and put it aside until you can come back and finish it.