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Switching a Quilt from a Home Machine to a Longarm

Welcome back to another Frame Quilting Friday! I have a challenging quilt to take on this week. I started quilting this red baby quilt on my home machine and now I want to transfer it to my longarm. See how I troubleshoot loading this partially quilted quilt onto my longarm frame in this quilting tutorial:

Quick links to the tools and supplies shown in this quilting video:

Isacord Thread

longarm frame Grace co

Grace Qnique 15R

 Frame Quilting with Leah Day

Frame Quilting Friday

How to Piece Perfect Quilts

Moving a Quilt from Home Machine to Longarm

I started quilting this red baby quilt a few months ago just to experiment with a few ruler quilting designs. Then other projects took priority and I folded it up and stashed it in a corner of the Crafty Cottage.

Frame quilting

After cleaning out the cottage this past month I found this quilt (along with several others) and decided it was time to get them done!

Quilting Goal: I’d like to finish the quilting design I established, and quilt it more quickly on the longarm.

One struggle initially with this move is the difference in basting between a home machine and longarm. I have lots of pins and Pinmoors stuck in the quilt surface, which make the quilt extra bulky on the frame.

Longarm frame quilting

Another big challenge was the backing fabric which wasn’t prepared for quilting on the longarm. When basting on a table, I rarely worry about the edges of my backing fabric being perfectly straight or square. I also don't worry too much about the quilt resting straight and square within the backing fabric.

This can cause issues when you move a quilt from a home machine to a longarm frame. You really need the backing fabric to be cut or ripped straight and square so the quilt can be rolled up straight on the rails.

As you can see in the video, this quilt ended up going on the frame slightly skewed, so one corner was slightly puddled while the other corner was not.

This wasn't a deal breaker for this quilt. I ended up lowering my stitch length to four stitches per inch and basting the layers of the quilt together to stabilize and secure them. I may end up with a few pleats in this quilt, but overall I think this move was a big success.

It is absolutely possible to switch a quilt from a home machine to a longarm or to move a quilt from a longarm to a home machine.

Grace qnique longarm

I think it's easier to move a quilt that you start on the longarm to a home machine because your starting with backing fabric that's nice and straight and square to the quilt. So long as you start with straight / square backing, you can always switch back to the longarm if you need to.

Next week I plan to continue the quilting design I started on my home machine using rulers to add beautiful texture to this black and red quilt.

The quilt pattern for this baby quilt can be found in the book How to Piece Perfect Quilts. This is a terrific primer on quilt piecing and includes several baby quilt patterns to get you started.

Click here to find more Frame Quilting Friday videos.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


Hi Helen – I always have my ruler plate on my machine and unfortunately that plate gets hung up against the side clamps and stops the machine from moving. Yes, on this particular quilt it might have been helpful, but for the most part I don’t feel like it’s necessary.

Leah Day,

Hi Leah, I’m just wondering why you don’t use the bungee clips on the side of your quilt on your longarm to hold the fabric a bit firmer and then you maybe wouldn’t have to use your other hand to smooth it out all the time?


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