What is Freemotion Quilting?
Freemotion Quilting: What I usually do is called “freemotion” longarming, and I also like to do some ruler work. This means I am guiding the machine head by my eye and making each block or row unique unto itself. If you look closely at the picture of Gail’s 1940’s double wedding ring on my home page, you will see that each block is slightly different. Custom quilting takes longer but you get the quilting to emphasize the fabric in ways a simpler method can’t do.- Plus it is fun… If you “click” here, you can check out this video of a project I worked on for Andrea in Connecticut
How is that different from other machine quilting methods?
Pantographs: One way quilters are able to turn out quilts faster is by using a Pantograph- it is a long roll of paper with a printed design. The longarmer can set a laser pointer and just follow (trace along) the print to get a repeated pattern that is pretty much the same all the way across the quilt. Usually they are designed to interlock row to row so it is not like “stripes” across your quilt. It is a perfectly great way to get quilts done quickly and have a reasonably consistent density. I have a few and they are really great for learning a new shape or getting some muscle memory. This is what they look like- I usually do not use a pantograph. I like to do custom quilting where the design is my own creation, or my interpretation of some other work I have seen.
Computer Guided Quilting: Another method is to use a computer controlled quilting machine. These are very expensive, and the personal time spent per quilt is far less than manual. A template is loaded or created in a computer program, and the machine quilts the programmed design on to your quilt. Some of these are very beautiful and intricate. If you want a very precise repeated design on your quilt, this is a great choice. Freemotion can not duplicate the precision of a robot.