Longarm Q&A with BERNINA Ambassador, Jessica Dayon, Part Two

Good Morning!  My name is Jessica Dayon. Recently I asked my Instagram followers to send me their questions about my BERNINA Q 24 and longarm quilting.  I’ve compiled the most common questions and I’m going to answer them. Today I’m sharing Q&A Part 2. If you missed Part 1, check it out HERE.

Question 7

Q: Did your longarm come with a collection of standard E2E pantographs?

A: The BERNINA Q-matic system comes with a library of over 675 designs.  They are a mixture of designs- some are formatted for a block (like one square quilting design) and some are formatted as pantographs (where you can add repeats to make a continuous design across the quilt).

If you decide that you want to add to it by purchasing Pantograph files, you can do that as well. I have purchased designs from Urban Elementz and then imported them into the Q-matic software to use while quilting.


Question 8

Q: How much time did you invest to feel comfortable with it?

A: It took me a few months to feel really comfortable with using edge-to-edge. After about a week, I felt like I understood setting up a pantograph and could do it myself easily. However, as you quilt, different mistakes can happen. I felt like I needed a few months of using it until all of the mistakes happened and I could troubleshoot my way out of them myself without outside help.

Now that I’m confident with edge-to-edge, I am going to move onto another skill, like free motion or ruler work, and perfect that.

Question 9

Q: Would you say they are easy to learn to use if you already use a sewing machine? Worthwhile investment?

A: I would say the BERNINA Q Series is designed extremely well.  The positioning and design is laid out with the utmost thought so it makes it easy to learn. It is different than a domestic sewing machine but not so completely different that you can’t make connections between the two.

I absolutely think it is a worthwhile investment. I am just as happy today as I was the day I bought it, with no end in sight! I love using it and I love all of the different things I can do on it!

Question 10

Q: How long does it take to complete a quilt?

A: The time spent quilting a quilt depends on a few variables.

  • The first variable is how big the quilt is. The bigger the quilt, the longer it will take.
  • The second variable is the edge-to-edge design that is being used. Some designs like Modern Twist, shown directly below,
Modern Twist by Patricia E. Ritter from Urban Elementz
Modern Twist by Patricia E. Ritter from Urban Elementz

Designs like this have one line to stitch from one edge to the opposite edge, without any backstitching, stitch out very quickly.  Modern Twist is also a relatively low-density design which also makes it a quick-to-stitch design.

In contrast, some edge-to-edge designs can have backtracking (where you stitch over already stitched lines to get to another point of the design) and can be very dense. For example, Diamond Dots, shown directly below, is a relatively dense design that has a little bit of backtracking. Designs can get way more complex that Diamond Dots too.

Diamond Dots by Jessica Schick on Urban Elementz
Diamond Dots by Jessica Schick on Urban Elementz

A third variable is the size of the edge-to-edge design that you want to use. All edge-to-edge designs have a standard size. However, they can all be resized to be bigger or smaller.  If you size smaller, there is way more design to be quilted out so it take a lot longer.

All this to say, there is such a wide variation in time that it takes to quilt, it is difficult to answer this question. I’ve had baby quilts take as little as an hour and large quilts very very dense, complicated quilting take more than 8 hours. All of the information that I have talked about so far is for edge-to-edge quilting. Custom quilting would take much longer.

Question 11

Q: Does working with longarm yourself now make you rethink how you press your seams?

A: In short, no. I think seams are a very personal decision. Some people feel very strongly that they need to be a certain way and that the finished quilt will only look nice if they are that way. Others only like when the seams are pressed open and think a quilt is only flat if the seams are pressed open.

I am very relaxed when it comes to my seams. I’d guess that 98% of the time, I nest my seams and they all fit beautifully. The remaining 2% of the time, I lose track of the way I’m pressing my seams and I end up with double seams. I am ok with that. I haven’t had any issues quilting my quilts.

Question 12

Q: Does piecing batting cause an issue with longarming?

A: No, it does not. When piecing the batting, just try to get it as flat as possible so there are no lumps in the final quilt. When I piece my batting, I cut two straight edges and then I join them with a zig zag stitch. It makes it really flat and it works well in the quilt. There are multiple ways to do it though and I think you can pick you favorite and have great results.

That wraps it up for my most commonly asked questions about longarm quilting. If you have any other questions, please just let me know!  Thank you for following along!

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