Early on, when we were just starting to offer our Rookie Season course, we had a student mention that she did not have to pay sales tax on her longarm machine because she had a business with an EIN already established when she bought it.
Cue the record scratch!
I don't remember ALL the details of buying my longarm machine (it had been nine years prior), but I definitely remember paying sales tax on it. I would have had a sales tax permit at the time, too, I just didn't realize I could've used it to get an exemption on paying sales tax in my state. I bought my machine used without a computer, so this would have "only" been a savings of ~$700, but STILL! That money could have been put to good use applied to other start-up costs.
The more I started asking around within the Longarm League community, the more I realized that this is a legitimate thing and available to more of us than I realized! I even called a machine...
I have to be honest and say I wasn't very excited about this design until I stitched it out. The moment I did, I was smitten by the texture! In fact, this sample has remained "staged" around my home well after the pictures were taken and it continually catches my eye!
When I was designing it, I had a draft of the shape saved as Keyed in the computer... because the one repeat looked like a type of a key? I'm never sure how these things take hold, I just knew it needed a new name. Naming is hard! I want a name that is unique so that it won't be confused with other pantographs on the market and it's always nice if there's an element of the design that ties to the name in some kind of way.
I asked Josh for naming suggestions and he thought that the design looked like a little sailboat which made him say "Yacht Rock". And obviously, that had my interest right away.
Yacht Rock is a hard-to-define genre of music, although the Wikipedia...
For this new design, I wanted to explore a geometric and simplified version of a flower. In general, I'm not into flowers or gardening, so I really have no idea if it looks like anything existing in nature. Also, please don't hold that against me! It feels like I'm violating a sacred quilter's code or something. Quilting and gardening seem to go hand in hand.
What I do really like, however, are simple repeatable shapes. I like the way the texture can recede into the background and be present, even when it doesn't have to be the star of the show.
Another thing I try to watch for as a designer is that the quilting is evenly spaced, giving a nice uniform texture to an edge-to-edge design. It's the little things like this that make me happy!
This sample quilt size is approximately 45" x 50". For reference in scaling this design, the pictures here show a row height of 3.5". If you include the gaps between the rows, the total...
Have you ever bought a digital quilting design and Intelliquilter freaked out when you set it up using the pantograph function?
Maybe resulting in a screen that looks like this?
Instead of the design file consisting of a single motif that gets repeated like this:
an extended width design or full-row design looks like this in your Pattern Selector screen.
In this case, the repeats are already built into the design, and you just need to place and repeat the rows.
To repeat and place the rows, you need to use the Block Pattern feature and NOT Pantograph when setting it up. In fact, you'll get the un-quiltable display of red lines (shown in the first photo) as the software will attempt to repeat/tile the 100"+ segment both across and down the quilt parameters you've set.
The video at the top of this post will take you through the way I set up extended width designs using No Fuss Orange Peel by Julie Hirt as an example. While the design is...
Megan Ellinger—a member of the Longarm League—asked if she could interview me for her YouTube channel, and I heartily agreed! Her YouTube channel and business name is Tiny Orchard Quilts.
Most of our members provide longarm quilting services to clients, so I was intrigued about her business model as it's a bit more "non-traditional". Naturally, I asked if I could also flip the tables and interview her for a behind-the-scenes look at her business. She agreed and we had so much fun having two back-to-back and totally different conversations about quilting and the business of quilting!
The interview that we recorded for her channel went live last week, you can watch it here. We covered a lot of ground! Her audience had a lot of great questions about what it's like working with a longarm quilter such as typical costs and turnaround times, and we talked about the League itself, including our Rookie Season course. Megan even did the...
I'm an Iowa girl and corn on the cob is in season, and so I feel like this design was inevitable. It seemed appropriate to release to the Longarm League as a bonus this month (August of 2021).
Sometimes, I look back at my own hand-guided quilting for inspiration when I'm trying to come up with new digital designs. I'm talking about the days before I had my computer and this would have pre-dated my Intelliquilter by a few months.
I designed and made the quilt shown here with my guild-mates from the Central Iowa Modern Quilt Guild. It was for the QuiltCon charity challenge and the picture was taken while it was still in my studio in January of 2017. I added the corn on the cob-themed quilting to the gold background areas and added basting stitches to the white and gray areas so that my friend Riane Menardi Morrison could hand quilt it. Why did I go "all in" on the corn idea? The block that we experimented with in the quilt is called the...
The Longarm League's latest digital pantograph release is called Friends of P. Yes, it's a strange name for a digital pantograph design, but it's also the name of a quirky and catchy song from the mid-nineties by a band called The Rentals. Watch the video here and I'm so sorry if it gets stuck in your head!
I hope it's obvious as to why Friends of P came to mind when I was trying to name this design. My maiden name starts with a P also, so I guess I'm partial to the letter.
There is certainly a "mod" vibe to this design as well, so keep it in mind for your grooviest, mid-century-looking tops! :)
This sample quilt size is approximately 45" x 50". For a reference in scaling the design, the pictures here show a 4.0" row height with a gap between rows of -0.396" which created a pattern height of 4.396".
There are some small areas of backtracking, back-stitching, over-stitching, whatever you want to call it, but...
From a longarm quilter's perspective, there can be a lot of fear and anxiety in what to charge clients, especially if you are just starting a business. I was right there, too, especially at the beginning of my journey.
I just looked back at some of my invoices before I got my longarm. I started taking on miscellaneous sewing projects in 2007, and I charged someone $120 for making a twin quilt on my home sewing machine. This project would have required me to buy the fabric, batting, and thread, baste the layers on my kitchen floor with a lot of safety pins, free motion quilt it through the small throat space, trim, make and apply the binding... the whole shebang. A small saving grace is that it was a whole cloth quilt (no extra piecing required) made with solid fabrics (less expensive than some designer prints) with a simple meander requested as the quilting motif. The project cost me probably around $60 in materials (buying retail at the store...
As part of the Longarm League membership, I recently recorded an interview/pantograph design brainstorming session with Tawny Oland of Simply Fabulous Quilting. Tawny's first pantograph release called Chunky Knit and can be purchased here.
Another League member named Tera Nicolo-Smith stitched out Tawny's Chunky Knit panto on a client's quilt. All the other details can be found here:
View this post on Instagram
Tawny has been working on a new really awesome digital design and while we were discussing stitch path options and trying to "optimize" the design, we noticed that Art and Stitch swapped the start and stop points... without permission! How rude! I'm being dramatic, I'm sure it was something I did to cause the change, but I couldn't figure out how to switch it back.
Enter, Leisha Farnsworth of Quilting It. She's another incredible talent as a quilter...
I've been working on a special project with my guildmate Ben Millett. We both are members of the Central Iowa Modern Quilt Guild that meets in the Des Moines metro area.
You kind of just need to check out Ben's blog to get a sense of the caliber of work he creates and the intention behind his pieces. I always love to see the creativity he brings to modern quilting!
His piecing is just one layer of his finished work. He's someone who will bring the most meaning possible to each and every detail. The quilting design should be no different, right? Except, what is commercially available as far as LGBTQ+ affirming quilting designs? Ben wanted to change that, and he did so in the most personal way possible—by spelling out the most essential words of his message in his own hand.
I was just the digitizer for this project - the art is all Ben's. My part was to use my "special software" to create the files so that quilters everywhere can use them. I...
We'd love to share a little bit about how we support longarm quilters through education and community. Updates typically go out on Wednesdays - we'd love to stay in touch with you!