A longarm quilting machine, or simply a longarm, is a sewing machine with a very large throat area. This machine sits on top of a large frame. The frame can be up to 12 feet (more than 3.5 meters) long. The operator must load the quilt top, the wadding and the backing onto the frame. He/she does this using long bars that run across the frame. Rails on the frame allow the operator to move the sewing head horizontally and vertically, using handlebar controls. Thus, the quilt itself remains stationary. The machine is threaded more or less like a domestic machine. There is a bobbin case on the underside as well. With the help of handlebar controls, the operator is able to quilt the desired design.
If the longarm has a computer as well, then the operator has a choice of choosing a computerized quilting design. This allows the machine head to move around on its own and quilt the design.
Not only does a longarm quilt with perfectly even stitches, it also finishes the job very quickly.
For these reasons, quilters will often send their quilt tops off to a longarm quilter. Red Bridge Quilts offers this service. Below is a photo of the longarm studio at Red Bridge Quilts. Red Bridge Quilts uses a Handi Quilter longarm machine.