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How big a quilt can a long arm quilting machine handle?

What is the maximum width and length my quilt can be to be quilted on a longarm quilting machine?


Reply

The size of the frame the machine rides on determines the size of the quilt.

For instance a 14 foot frame will handle a quilt something smaller than 168 inches (14ft x 12in). The long arm quilter will somehow need to clamp the quilt from the sides and that will take up some space. That said, if you have a bed quilt that is 100" wide by 80" long or 80" wide by 100" long that the quilt would attach the quilt onto the rollers whichever way it fit the best.

The long armer you choose would be able to answer your question specifically with regards to her/his machine.

But I am not a long arm quilter, so I am unable to answer this question exactly.

Readers, if you own a long arm, please do share your experiences quilting large quilts on it with the 'comments' link below. Thank you!

Piecefully,

Julie Baird
Editor

Comments for How big a quilt can a long arm quilting machine handle?

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OH! Don't forget to factor in the backing!
by: Ebony Love

Also...

Keep in mind that the maximum measurements should take into account the size of your BACKING, not just your quilt top!

Most quilters request that your quilt have 4-6" on all sides in order for the quilt to be quilted. So a 120" quilt top should have a 128"-132" wide backing... which is pretty much as wide as you can get on a 12' frame.

I have a small frame...
by: Ferret

...10' long...and the biggest quilt I've done was 132"x108" when it started out. It had 2 layers of wool wadding and I think I could probably have done 50% - 70% more length. So with the double wadding I would top out at about 108"x200".

How big a quilt does the quilter want to make?

How big of a quilt?
by: Ebony Love

This is really variable, because it depends not only on the size of the frame, but the size of the machine that's ON the frame.

Also, a frame will lose somewhere between 8" - 12" on each side, to accommodate the machine and side attachments. So a frame that's 12' wide (144") will have about 126" of usable quilting space.

In terms of the machine that's on the frame, the harp area helps to determine how long the quilt can be. For example, if you have a machine on the frame that only has a 9" harp, and a quilt that's rolling up inside of it, the quilting space gets smaller & smaller as the quilt rolls up. By the end of a queen quilt, the quilter only has about 2-4" of quilting space. A lot of times, quilters with these smaller harp machines will turn the quilt halfway through in order to finish it.

I also consider the weight of the quilt, because at some point, I don't want my bars being bent by a really heavy quilt, and those quilts are REALLY heavy once the batting gets involved.

I have a 12' frame with a 24" harp machine. The largest quilt I ever did was 120" x 150". I don't think I would go much larger, if at all. There's a practical limit also to trying to square up a backing that large, and they are really unruly at that size too. :)

From the Editor: Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us, Ebony!

To our readers, I happily suggest you check out Ebony's website http://www.lovebugstudios.com/. Ebony is a quilt designer, long arm quilter and author...not to mention award-winning, too. Definitely worth your time to check her site out!

~Julie


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