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Long Arm Quilter Training

For all those patchwork and quilters who have struggled to machine sew their large quilts with a domestic sewing machine – we have the answer! The Simply Sixteen is a long-arm quilter; it looks like a “scary beast” but it’s really quite easy to use and it’s fun.  Using it is like drawing with the needle as the needle is moved, not the fabric.  When using a normal sewing machine, the quilt has to be rolled up, balanced on chairs or rested on knees due to its size and bulk.  As the photo shows, the quilt is loaded onto the frame, which is quite simple, and the needle is moved using the handlebars.
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The idea is “I did that”; many machine quilters are put off by the cost of someone else finishing it off or by having to fight with it themselves – no longer!  We offer training sessions and then hire the machine out.  It is possible to quilt a cot quilt in an hour if you just machine free-style.  There is a knack to this and it does help to “doodle” with a pen as it helps to relax and free up the arms and hands.

There are also “groovy boards” which offer different patterns and the machine uses a stylus to follow the pattern in the grooves to give a really professional finish.  It takes time to load the quilt onto the frame and to get the position right with the groovy boards – fondly termed “pfaffing” - but once ready, it’s quick and easy to produce really great results.  We’ve had a range of users already; a lovely lady in her eighties, a male patch-worker and many others.  It’s possible for those who are unsure of free-motion quilting as the machine is so light and easy to move. 

We try to fit sessions into suit our customers so offer sessions during the day and also twilight or weekend times. Please ring the shop for details.



Before renting the Simply Sixteen, you need to complete our training session with a member of staff.  The session lasts for an hour, costs £25.00 and includes using the practice “sandwich”.  By the end of the session, you will be able to load your sandwich onto the frame, use the specialised clamps system and then reposition your quilt.  You will learn to start and stop the machine safely and how to anchor your threads.  You will also be able to use the groovy boards; this system uses a stylus and in-built grooves for you to follow to give the quilt an all over design.  We have six different patterns to choose from, already made up into samples:- from clouds to butterflies and maple leaves.  You will also have the chance to practice different stitches and techniques as well as using the groovy boards.


It’s now possible to rent the Simply Sixteen for £15.00 per hour or part hour.  At the start of your session, we’ll help you to choose your thread, thread the machine up and load the bobbin for you.  Then, we do some test stitching to ensure that the tension is good before you are ready to quilt.  There is a stitch regulator which determines the stitch length, and there are two stitch modes, precision or cruise, which will be set to your needs.

When you rent the machine, a member of staff will be able to help if you have any concerns or queries until you build up more confidence.  Please note that you would be required to redo a short refresher session if more than six months elapses between your lesson and renting the machine.