What is Longarm Quilting?

Longarm quilting is the process by which a longarm quilting machine is used to stitch together 3 layers which are in every finished quilt: a quilt top, quilt batting and quilt backing. Quilting using a longarm machine can take significantly less time than other quilting methods and when computerized is very exact. These machines allow quilters to have their quilts finished without going through the time-consuming process associated with hand quilting.

The longarm quilting machine comes equipped with an industrial sewing head, a worktable, several fabric rollers, and a metal frame.  At Living Threads we longarm quilt using a Gammill Statler Stitcher quilting machine that was purchased with donations given specifically for the purchase of this machine. Prior to owning our own Gammill Statler Stitcher all memory quilts we created were outsourced for longarm quilting.

The overall dimensions of the Gammill Statler Stitcher frame is 12 feet in length and can accommodate up to a king size quilt.  The depth (throat) of the machine head is 30 inches which allows the longarm quilters to have a large visible area to stitch at one time before rolling the quilt to stitch the next section.

Living Threads offers the following styles of longarm quilting:

Edge-to-edge designs span the length of the quilt and can be repeated in rows to produce an all-over design on the quilt top. This method of longarm machine quilting is popular due to the minimal amount of work required by the longarm quilter, therefore, resulting in a lower cost for the customer.

Custom work is done when the quilter wishes for the quilt blocks to contain individual designs repeated in each block. The background and borders are chosen from stock designs to reflect an individual’s interests, hobbies, names, phrases, etc.

Personalized quilting is done by quilting designs and/or images to reflect an individual’s interests, hobbies, important words/phrases, etc.  This method is the most time-consuming and expensive of the three styles, but is the most preferred by our clients.

There’s something about long-arming that adds the finishing touch to a quilt, a pillow, or a wall-hanging…like a frame around a painting or the trim around a new front door. The quilting adds richness and depth, movement and softness. It invites to come in and get close. I love being a part of the ‘finishing touch’ – one that will not only bring God’s comfort and healing to those who grieve but also to children and families who are suffering in the slums of Kibera, Kenya. Being a part of a group of people who give from their hearts with the creative talent that they’ve been gifted with is a delight! Long-arming not only allows me to do just that, but it also has provided me with a much larger friendship circle. I can come paint with thread with friends whom I laugh, cry, and pray with. I’ve learned another way to be creative and it stretches me to become better and better. What a wonderful way to spend my retirement years!
Katie Warners
Longarm - Volunteer