“How hard is it to quilt with a longarm machine?” It’s a question I hear a lot. Also the phrase, “I could never do that.” I would like to take a moment to reassure everyone, longarm quilting does not have to be hard. Yes, custom and show level quilting takes a lot of work and practice. But when you’re first getting started there’s a lot you can do to ease the learning curve. Something our renters love is using our design boards.
Design boards have been called many things – pattern templates, groovy boards, Amy likes to call them boogey boards – but they’re all essentially the same things. Plastic boards with a design carved into them. The quilters has a stylus with a little nib that fits nicely into the board. All the quilter has to do is keep the stylus in the groove as she stitches the design onto her quilt. It’s just like quilting with the training wheels on! The quilts below were all quilted by our renters using design boards. Would you have guessed these ladies are all fairly new to longarm quilting?
We’re calling Angela B.’s UK quilt a tessellation quilt because of the fun way the pieces are interlocking. We see lots of UK and UL quilts come through the shop and it’s always interesting to see how different the piecing patterns, and sometimes even the fabrics, are. This quilt was for a young man, so she didn’t want a quilting design that would be too girly. When I hear this I often recommend the Square Spiral pantograph, but Angela was looking for something a little more circular and reminiscent of a basketball. We set her up with the drop circle design board.
She liked the look of this design board so much she wanted to use it again on her next quilt. This quilt had everyone in the shop drooling over the very fun and super girly fabrics! She had originally planned on giving this quilt to Cuddle Care, the Louisville Nimble Thimbles’ charity quilt workshops, but we had her second guessing the plan with all of our “ohhs” and “ahhs.” Regardless of where this quilt ends up, it will definitely be loved!
Debbie made this Trip Around the World variation in a class taught by one of our good friends, Mary Bauer over at the Smocking Shop. We loved the contrast of the dark grey with the brighter, pastel colors. Debbie said she was the only one in the class brave enough to use the darker grey, everyone else used white or a lighter grey. Our feather meander design board caught Debbie’s eye and doesn’t it look wonderful? The boards allowed Debbie to get a beautiful and sometimes challenging design on her quilt with ease!
Kim was a little nervous about her rental certification class. Once she got into the groove of her hearts and flowers design board, she walked away filled with confidence! And isn’t her bright and colorful layer cake quilt super cute? This quilt and design board is perfect for a little girl.
Sometimes our renters just want something simple, quick, and easy. Our go to board for these quilts is the meander design board. Some of you might call this a stipple, but my idea of a stipple is much more dense than a meander. Emily made this quilt from a Craftsy.com block of the month. There were 20 blocks in the pattern, but she only had time for 16. Look closely at this quilt, can you tell what her background fabric is? It’s sheet music! Emily donated this quilt to an auction benefitting the Louisville Youth Choir, so she wanted to add in a musical theme to her fabric.