Organizing Your Longarm Quilting Room

I recently received a question about how to fit a longarm quilting frame into a room.  I’m in between projects on the longarm this week so it was the perfect time to share a little tour of my longarm / embroidery room and how I set it up!

Quick links to my longarm machine and frame and other helpful quilting tutorials:

Understand how a Longarm Works

I recently received a question from a quilter interested in purchasing a longarm. She asked specifically if the frame could be collapsed when it wasn’t being used or pushed against a wall.

As I shared in the video, a longarm frame is a very big piece of equipment. Dad and I spent a lot of time leveling the frame so the machine would not roll to one side or another or front to back when I let go of the machine.

For this reason, a longarm isn’t something that will be easily moved or collapsed. This is a lot more like a traditional hand quilting frame or a grand piano. Once it’s set up in a room, it’s not going anywhere!

Quilting Takes Up Space, No Matter the Type

When fitting my longarm into my sewing room, I basically replaced the existing sewing machine setup. I took out a home machine and large table arrangement and that same space is being filled with the longarm.

This was a good trade off because I’m able to quilt both faster and easier on the longarm frame than on my home machine. I can also quilt standing, which feels better to my body.

What’s interesting is my original home machine setup took up almost the exact same footprint. Quilting our quilts takes up space whether you do it on a home machine and push the quilt under the needle or you move to a longarm frame and move the machine over the quilt.

Organize the Space Around the Frame

Originally I was going to set up my frame nearly flush against the side wall, but I’m glad we positioned it 12 inches from the wall. It’s nice to be able to squeeze around that side of the frame and access the side to adjust the take up rail.

I have my Grace Continuum Frame set up nice and high so the machine is easy to move and I have a great view of the quilt. This also creates a huge amount of space underneath the frame to stash supplies. I use some mesh drawers from IKEA to store quilt tops, batting, and partially quilted quilts.

I also like having a small set of solid drawers nearby for feet, rulers, oil, needles, and bobbins. Just like a home machine, it’s nice to have these accessories nearby.

The rest of my longarm room is shared with my fabric stash and my embroidery machine. I’m working on reorganizing my fabric area. It was definitely on the junky side today because I figured you should see how it is naturally (far, far from perfectly tidy!)

Longarm Quilting and Machine Embroidery at the Same Time?

I was very surprised to find that machine embroidery and longarm quilting are wonderfully compatible. When I’m working on an embroidery project, I can have it stitching out while I’m quilting on the longarm. When the machine beeps, I can stop quilting and check on it. I like the feeling of being able to work on two projects at once!

So that’s how my longarm room is organized. Do you have an unused dining room or guest bedroom? Or do you have a weirdly shaped basement room that could be transformed with a little creativity into the perfect studio for you?

Take your time and consider all your possibilities. I can honestly say I dreamed of having a space like this for years. When we set out to buy our house, we specifically looked for a basement so I would have plenty of space to expand.

Yes, you may have to be a bit creative and certainly be willing to drive a few nails and screws, but it’s worth having a well organized space that’s fun and easy to work in.

One last note – I’m going to be at Houston International Quilt Festival NEXT WEEK on November 8th and 9th. Please come see me at Grace Company’s booth if you’re going to the show!

Let’s go quilt,

Leah Day

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2 Responses

  1. jennifer cumston says:

    Hi Leah, I just watched your organization video and loved it. I have included a picture of my “quilting shed” too. I have a Q’nique 15R on a Gracie King and love the machine. I am hoping to get some accessories for it for Christmas and was contemplating the ruler base. I have never learned to use rulers but someday would like to learn, my question to you is do you think the ruler base is worth the investment? I also noticed that you use pins on your leaders, I do too, but I have friends trying to get me to buy the Red Snapper system…do you know anything about this?

    • LeahDay says:

      Thank you so much for sharing Jennifer! YES, a ruler base is definitely necessary as it provides stability for the ruler under the quilt. Without it the ruler will be rocking all over the place and likely crash against your needle.

      Nope, I’ve never tried the Red Snapper. If you give it a try, let me know what you think!

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