This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation

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?


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!


Julie Baird

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

Click here to add your own comments

large quilt means bobbin area too small
by: Nan

I have a 12' frame, and a 109 x 109 quilt with 119 x 119 backing. Once loaded on the quilter it is very hard to pull the machine to the side to change out the bobbin. There just isn't enough room.

Question: Can I load the quilt to the left and not in the center so the right side has more room to move the quilter over there to change the bobbin?

From the Editor: Yes, I believe so. You'll want to take care when loading everything so that the quilt, backing, and batting are square on the frame and not accidentally distorted.


Julie Baird

Quilting King Size 10 foot frame
by: Zina

I am a middle of the road newbie long arm quilter. I continue having many questions. I have a 10 foot frame and a Sweet-16 long-arm.

I need guidance on how to load a 120" quilt on the machine, take it off, and reload it. I have no visual concept.

If I fold the quilt, how do I attach the straps? Do you hand baste the 4 to 6 inch fabric where you're going to fold the quilt to add the straps while quilting?

Is it easier doing custom for this undertaking?

Do you begin working from the center out, and in quadrants?

How would you do tackle a panto-graph?

How do you match your panto if you must reload the quilt?

Please, let me know, I have a good client, and I'd like to practice before I have an answer for her.

There may be things I haven't considered can you explain and be specific? I appreciate your answers to my dilemma.

Thank you

From the Editor: I'm not a long armer, so I'll have to rely on my readers to help answer your questions.

I've been investigating the purchase of an HQ Amara...they've got a ton of good videos about how to load quilts, etc. That might be of some help. Check out their YouTube channel for more information. I know the other manufacturers have YouTube channels, too. Again, great source of information.

I wish I could be of more help!


Julie Baird

Explain the process for a king size quilt, I'm a newbie on a 10 foot with a sweet sixteen. Help!
by: Anonymous

One of my clients wants me to make the quilt top for her pieced King Size Quilt. I will have time to practice, as she's coming from Florida to where I live in Ohio, in July, to bring me the finished pieced quilt.

If my quilting machine is a Sweet Sixteen and has a ten foot table, can I still quilt a King Size with a panto-graph? If I must do it custom that's O.K. too. I think she wants it custom. I will know when I see her.

How do you load an over-sized quilt having a smaller tabletop machine? Do you load and quilt half of it first and then load the other side and quilt the other side?

Please explain the process. Some say it's possible to execute, but I haven't found any information on the computer.

Like I said I'm a newbie on the machine and would appreciate your teaching me a few tricks.

From the Editor:

I'll have to let me readers have a go at this. I'm not a longarmer, but quilt everything on my domestic.

~ Julie

Long Arm Quilting
by: Ann

I have a 10 ft. frame and have done large quilts as much as 100 inches. It takes more work as I have to reload the quilt, but I managed it.

The biggest quilts I mostly do are queen size though.

My website is and facebook quilting for you

Hope this helps, thanks.

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


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 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!


Click here to add your own comments

Return to GQP's Quilting Forum.

This article was printed from

Print Article

Follow Us