Longarm Practice and Play!

One of my 2021 Goals was to elevate my longarm skills in order to achieve the quality and precision of quilting that I am able to achieve on my Juki domestic machine. 

When I was first learning to free-motion quilt on my domestic machine, I purchased a number of panels to use for practicing my skills. I figured this would reduce any fear of ruining a quilt top that I had worked hard to make with any subpar quilting. In reality, I ended up practicing on my own quilt tops. So I revisited this idea of practicing on panels when I purchased my Gammill longarm machine.

This "Dwellings...Beach House, Town House, Guest House" panel by Benartex panel included a variety of shapes and sizes to hone my longarm FMQing skills. Each day I would fill in one or two squares with a variety of FMQing motifs. Over a week or so, I managed to complete two rows, but then other projects took priority. My longarm has been sitting fairly dormant this year as most of my projects this year have been fairly small and were more easily stitched on my Juki. 

Recently I ordered new micro-fill handles to see if they might help me finetune my detailed stitching. As soon as they arrived in the mail, I couldn't wait to install them and resume my FMQing fun on the longarm. I pulled out the in-progress sampler and resumed my daily practice sessions to stitch the remaining 3 rows, making notes on which motifs came easily and which required more practice. Here are a sneak peeks of my daily practice sessions...

Last week I finished quilting the last square. There were lots and lots of thread tails that needed to be knotted and buried before I could trim and bind the edges.

An organic black and white stripe made for the perfect binding.

"Stitchin' Squares", Finishes 39" x 42"

Here's another close up of some of the quilting motifs all stitched with Omni white thread...

And check out the backside which really pops against the solid fabric...

"Practice puts brains in your muscles." 
--Sam Snead, American Golfer

I'm looking forward to stretching my longarm skills on the next, yet to be determined, project! Perhaps I will tackle a few of the many UFOs I hope to finish by the end of the year?!?


  1. Love this quilt Mel! Great practice space.

    1. Thanks Jenny. It was fun...I wish that panel was still in production as it was really perfect for a variety of filler designs.


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