Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My First Longarm Student!


Now that I am finished my client quilting for the year I as able to spend time this weekend trying something new…teaching longarm quilting!   Since I have never done this before it seemed to make sense to start with a private lesson to find out if I would enjoy this or not.    My friend Wendy, who owns Fabriculous Quilt shop in Swan River, Manitoba, just opened an APQS rental business and asked for a private class so she could see the full potential of these machines.  She had only quilted pantographs up to this point so it was time to get her to the front of the machine!   She had quilted on her domestic machine so I knew she would be able to transfer those skills over to the longarm. So we started with the designs she knew and then added a few new designs to the mix, plus some SID ruler work.  She did amazing and it was so fun for me to see her enjoying this process.  We used the Lucey machine for quilting the quilts and on the Millie we loaded solid white fabric for practicing on.  It was so nice to have the two machines going…as I could go play on the Millie while Wendy was concentrating on what she was doing.   I have a 2008 Millie so it was really fun for me to try the newest machines.  There are some new features that had me thinking an upgrade would be nice but I love my machines so it is just a passing thought at the moment.


Here is Wendy’s first quilt off the machine!    The giraffe is made from Minkie so that was a good lesson on SID around a high loft fabric.  She meandered in the gold fabrics and did L’s and E’s in the teal stripe.  She will be kitting this quilt for her shop and proudly displaying the first sample she quilted on the longarm.

You can see all three machines in this next picture.


I was very lucky to have my friend Phyl drive down to Swan River with me as she just bought a Bernina sewing machine from their shop and Wendy’s husband George was helping Phyl with her questions about the embroidery features.   That as fun to see all the designs they were stitching out and George even took my Tamarack Shack Logo and put the file in Phyl’s machine.  Looks like Phyl has a bartering tool for when I quilt her quilts!


So for Wendy’s second project she wanted to be challenged so we put a curved table runner on the machine and got out the curved rulers!    The one thing I learnt as a teacher is it is good to have a sense of humour at this stage   I told Wendy it took me 20 years to make nice feathers so if she does it right away I will not be happy! LOL!  I said they will look like big toes and saggy hot dogs so do not be too critical of how they turn out and no ripping out!  I also told her to keep this runner and look at it again this time next year to see the progress she has made as quilting is not about being perfect, it is about making progress in your skills.  Now saying all that Wendy did great and could see the improvement from the first feather to the last set of feathers!  But of coarse like all quilters she has to point out all her toe shaped feathers for the pictures!  We had a lot of laughs working on this one!


Thanks for the great weekend Wendy and George!   It was more fun that it should have been and I think this experience has given me the confidence to pursue the idea of teaching longarm quilting in the future!



  1. I bet you were a fabulous teacher.

  2. I envy her :) I would also like to learn from such a great master.

  3. Wendy has a lovely and big shop! How'd you like teaching? I've done it with a couple of friends and they're pretty good at pantos now. BUT, only one of them has braved the front of the machine so far!

  4. Wendy looks like she had a lot of fun with a great teacher!

  5. Great job teaching. I see you got Wendy to relax up front and have some fun!

  6. I think I see something that intrigues me. Your side clamps, they seems to be crossing over a bar or something before they reach the quilt fabric. What is that and why do you use it??

    1. Those are wonderful things!! They are metal curtain rods that I covered in fabric ( so the metal does not scratch the painted metal rollers). What they do is lift the side clamps up so your machine does not bump into the clamps as your quilting near the edge. I Know I don't always get enough extra fabric one the sides so that helps keep the flow of my quilting smooth. I hate it when I'm quilting and all of a sudden I'm stuck with the clamp jammed against the top plate of the machine! Hope I explained that well!!

    2. Kathy that is ingenious! I know what I'll be making this weekend for my machine.

  7. I can't thank you enough, Kathy, for your patience and generosity in sharing the skill set you have spent years developing! I can't believe how much I learned in such a short time! I already have ladies lined up to take classes!!! Can't WAIT till we do this all again! I predict you will be spending more time in the future inspiring and encouraging quilters in person as well as here online!!!!

  8. I bet they were thrilled to have you pass on your knowledge, Kathy. Their store looks fabulous!