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Many quilters don't know what to do on a quilt and how to do it. In today's quilt world there is so much more artistry seen on quilts rather than yarn ties or a basic meander all over the quilt.

Quilters now have the ability to use computerized patterns on their quilts.  Many do "free-motion" quilting using their hands to either guide the fabric on their domestic machine or guiding their long-arm.  I like to mix things up to give a quilt a wonderful overall look, not all computerized or IMO, it might look like something someone could pick up at a local department store!  

Below the orange squiggle I'll share a little of what I have learned, where I learned it, and from whom I got the inspiration. It's going to be a link intensive diary.  

Starting out long-arm quilting I didn't think I'd ever be able to quilt a feather, let alone a straight line! My feathers looked like hot dogs and straight lines - ummm - squiggles. I found out that there are tools that can help the quilter and lots and lots of information and classes available.  

I did a quilting diary on tools in the past and will repeat some of that info here: http://www.dailykos.com/...
Using the right tools and knowing how to use them can save a lot of time and frustration!  
Long-arm tools are not like regular cutting templates. They are usually 1/4" to almost 1/2" thick, which helps to stop the hopping foot from jumping and smashing into the ruler. Don't ask me how I know!!  

I'm taking some online classes on Craftsy and purchased them when on sale!  
Craftsy Web Site

A side note: if you want to learn how to paper piece, TAKE CAROL DOAK'S CLASS! I took her class live at Road 2 CA two years ago and fell in love with her method and found out I can paper piece!  Carol's online Craftsy class - take it!

Here's a quilt I made from taking her class at Road:

Leah Day did 365 days of quilting and from that idea is now teaching:  
Free Motion Fillers Vol 1
Free Motion Fillers #2

Here's her website with the 365 designs. She quilts on a domestic machine but the ideas can be used for hand quilting and long-arming too. I needed a lot of different backgrounds for a quilt and went to her site to get ideas.
365 Days of Quilting

Here's a square of a small quilt that I did a dog bone meander! Not computerized.
Closeup #2 of Noreen's baby quilt

A new website with other classes - even quilting basics! http://www.creativebug.com/...

I'm a member of QNNTV and have watched "Quilt It", the longarm series.  It' also another great place to get lots of help in so many different quilting areas.  
QNN TV

Here's a list of folks I learned from either live at a quilt show, online or purchased their DVD's or books. Lots of links.  
The Pajama Quilter - great dvd's! She's the one who got me started using a white board and practicing over and over and over again.
Kimmy Brunner
Myrna Ficken - I loved her "Just Do It" DVD. It helped free me up to try new things
Darlene Epp
Sherry Rogers Harrison
Pam Clarke</strong> - Quilting Inside the Lines - great ideas!  
Claudia Pfeil - (P)fun (P)feiling (P)feathers
Claudia has also put out an E-book using the Alphabet to inspire quilting ideas. I've got it and it looks wonderful!!! A to Z(et)

You Tube has lots of videos on Long-arm Quilting.  

One of the best videos on machine tension for long-arms was put out by Jamie Wallen. Tension is the most frustrating aspect of long-arm quilting. Different threads, battings, and fabrics cause tension issues. On every quilt I do, every bobbin change, I do a little test on the side of the quilt sandwich, making sure tension is correct.    

Stencils work great. The way I used to do it - place the stencil on the quilt and lightly powder it using a small foam paint brush and Miracle Chalk. It can only be used on medium to dark fabrics though. (I don't iron to remove the chalk and only use enough to brush it off the quilt!)
Miracle Chalk
How to Use Miracle Chalk
Stencil Company

Tools - oh my. I bought more rulers to use with my machine than I've ever needed.  
Here's a quilt that I used a curved ruler to do all the stitching.  
Jill's Applique Quilt

The curved ruler I used on this quilt I purchased at Deloa Jones website.
Deloa's Boomerang rulers

I also purchased her Appliquide. This ruler is outstanding to either move the needle to outline a fabric design or go around applique. She has a video showing how it works.  
Deloa's Appliguide
Appliquide

Here's a peacock panel quilt that I outlined the center panel using the Appliquide.
Closeup

Here's an applique quilt that I was able to go as close to the applique as possible using the Appliguide. I was also able to use the Appliguide to help me stitch about 1/4" inside the big applique flowers. Janice's applique fun quilt!

Another adorable customer applique quilt.  
Train closeup

More websites for rulers and templates.  
Quilters Rule - a place to go crazy!
Gadget Girlz

This is the website of the woman I consider my mentor, Carla Barrett.
Here's her blog: Carla's Blog
Her Quilting Gallery: Carla's Quilts

I took her Quilt Whisper class "live" and twice online. She has a wonderful way of explaining the why and what to do on a quilt. The basic questions: Who is it for? Where will it be used? Extensive quilting or loose quilting? Masculine or feminine?  Then look at the quilt and view it as sections. I always take a pix of the quilt to see the overall movement. She recommends using curvature and linear quilting in quilts. Not all one or the other. The quilt needs some places for the eye to rest. Who'd a thunk it! Not me.  

Here's a border using computer for the curvature quilting and free-motion for the "bead board" in the outer border.
Border 2

This is a customer quilt that won First Place in it's division. The cream space needed to be quilted in such a way to pull it all together. Also repeating a motif in different areas of a quilt pulls all the quilting together. You can see linear and curving quilting in this quilt.  
Carol's closeup

A customer quilt that won 1st Place at the San Francisco Quilt show this year. All free-motion. Feather-licious!
Judy's Closeup

Another quilt I did using computer and free-motion.  Plus, curvature and linear quilting:
Pres Quilt Corner closeup

Here's one breaking up all the blank space. I did feathers (curvature) following the movement of the piecing (Mexican Star Quilt) and did cross hatching (linear) also in the area.
Layna's Mexican Star closeup

I get a couple regular magazines for quilt patterns.  
Fons & Porters Love to Quilt
Easy Quilts
American Patchwork Quilting.

I also subscribe to a couple quilting magazines that share what's up and coming and gives ideas on how to quilt quilts. Since I'm an IMQA member, I get On Track:
On Track Magazine
Machine Quilting Unlimited

I get the American Quilters Society magazine.
American Quilter Magazine

I have a 26" ABM Innova with Auto Pilot, their computer system. I also have Lightning Stitch, their stitch regulator. Just like tools, the machine one uses does make a difference. I purchased this machine after owning a different brand. This machine has a lighter touch, which allows the quilter more ease of movement. That is what lets me make better feathers, a dog bone meander and so much more!  

Here's a quilt that I used the computer for the motifs and free-motion in the pieced areas. Computer quilting isn't any faster than free-motion - it actually takes longer because the areas have to be set up for the stitching.
DWR Close up

Long-arm quilting is an expensive venture. I started doing customer quilts at the end of 2010. This was after over a year of practice, practice, practice. I took my own quilted quilts to our local quilt shop and they started recommending me to quilters as a "specialty" quilter. I'm one of the few in the area that will do "stitch in the ditch", feathers and more creative quilting.  When I do custom quilting, I make $8.00 to $10.00 an hour. You read that right. The money is in doing pantograph or edge-to-edge quilting. The quilter can make $25.00 an hour or more.  

I work every day, seven days a week quilting when I can. Usually a minimum of six hours a day, if doing a custom quilt. I have a quilting room with my computer, domestic sewing machine, television and long-arm machine. It keeps me out of my families hair and vice versa. It has made for a very happy household.  

Ask questions in the comments and I'll try and answer them, if I haven't covered what you wanted to know above.  THANKS FOR READNG!

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