Using a longarm quilting machine for the first time can be daunting if you’ve never used a machine so large and complicated-looking.
It can take some time to get the hang of working with a machine like the Grace Q'nique 21 longarm quilting machine; however, the effort you make in the beginning will be well worth it.
Try these easy tips so you can get familiar with your Grace Q'nique, a Juki quilting machine, or any other quilting model you choose and start making beautiful quilts in almost no time at all!
Get the Feel with Free Motion Quilting
If you’re concerned about making a mess on the quilt you’ve spent so long piecing together, become familiar with your longarm quilting machine by doing some free motion quilting on some scrap fabric first.
Put together some backing, batting, and top fabric, then go to town stitching lines, curves, and swirls so you can learn the feel of your machine and how to control it so you know what to expect when you get to work on your actual project.
Plan Your Quilting Motif Ahead of Time
Whether you will be doing full free motion stitching with your Grace Q'nique quilting machine or using templates to create your stitched design, plan it out ahead of time.
Come up with some kind of an idea of the shapes and swirls you want to use in each segment of the quilt so you are not simply stitching blindly with no real plan to your pattern.
Practice On Paper First
Another thing you can do to be prepared for free motion quilting on your actual project is to practice what you will do on a paper diagram of your quilt.
Then you can get an idea of how your thread pattern will look and decide how to best stitch through the different segments of the quilt to avoid breaking the thread.
Extra 8 Inches of Backing and Batting
One of the easiest mistakes to make that can cause major problems when you’re quilting with a longarm Juki quilting machine, is not leaving an extra 4 inches of batting and backing around each side of your project.
The extra 8 inches will get eaten up as you stitch, leaving less to trim off at the end.
If you forget to leave that extra fabric and batting, your edges may run short and become a problem when it's time to add your border or binding.
Mistakes Will Happen
When you got your first sit-down sewing machine, you likely made a lot of mistakes as you learned how to use it and tried different sewing techniques and attachments; working with a longarm quilting machine is no different.
Accept from the start that you will make mistakes; however, you’ll also get better as time goes on.
Just try to get the most out of each quilting session so your skills can improve and mistakes become fewer and further between.
Relax - Enjoy Longarm Quilting
Stay relaxed both mentally and physically to reduce tension in your body and mind; just go with the flow.
Having confidence in what you’re doing will increase each time you use your longarm until you are a pro turning out amazing quilts!