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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines

We gave everyone a sneak peak of AutoPilot Mach3 at Quilt Market in November. So what's the scoop?!?! 

Currently Mach3 is being thoroughly tested. We have a great team of Beta testers and they are working on it daily. This helps us ensure that when it does go out to everyone, it's got 99% of the quirks worked out. We try our best!


So what is it and why is it called Mach3?!

Glad you asked! Mach3 is all new software, not an update from your current software. We are working out the steps to make sure that goes smoothly too. As usual it will come with a set of specific instructions.  It also is going to change features on your Lightning Stitch screen to make it all more user friendly.


Our AutoPilot owners had lots of requests for features. The more we created, the more we found we were limited by the platform our software was designed on. So we had to reinvent the wheel! Time consuming, but so worth it!!!!  We kept the features everyone loves and added as many as we could from our users "wish list".

Mach3 is set to be released in the beginning of 2016. Virginia Longarm will be doing a big demo at their event Birds of a Feather! The event is stacked with AutoPilot classes and some of the instructors are our Beta Testers. Great way to get a head start on all of the cool new tools!

Since we were able to streamline AutoPilot features so much in Mach3, look for a re-release of InnovaSketch! Our incredible digital sketchpad is being brought back soon, better than ever!





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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines

We are so excited to introduce you to Teresa Silva! We've shared many pictures from Teresa's Facebook Page "Quilting is my Bliss", which is also the name of her business.

You can find her here:
How long have you owned your Innova? I bought my Innova in December of 2013. 
What size do you have?  22” Autopilot with Lightning Stitch with a 12 foot table.
How did you get started quilting?  
I decided to start longarm quilting in January of 2011.  It came about kind of by accident actually.  I told my husband one day I think I want to buy a longarm machine.  He looked at me like I was crazy, but he still let me give it a try.  He’s been so supportive in my quilting journey.  I bought my first longarm in January of 2011 and taught myself how to quilt by watching others online and taking a few online Craftsy Classes from Angela Walters.  I was quilting pantographs for customers within 5 months of buying my longarm.  I then became quite bored with that and decided to try a little custom quilting. My business just grew from there and I’ve had such great opportunities to work on some beautiful quilts.  In December of 2013 I decided my machine was not right for me….so I talked to the Innova Dealer, Jack Boersma.  He told me how wonderful Innovas are and I went and took a test drive. I knew this was the machine for me.  I upgraded to a 22” throat space from an 18” and decided to get the Autopilot.  I have loved every minute of it!  The service has been great.
Do you have a favorite technique or style that you like to quilt/use?  
My favorite type of quilting is hands down Modern quilting!  I do love a good feather too…in a modern way of course but Modern Designs are what I really love to quilt.
How often do you use your longarm? 
I use my longarm every day unless I’m out of town or sick! Longarm quilting is very addictive.
What inspires you the most about quilting? 
I think the thing that inspires me the most is the quilting community.  I love that everyone is so willing to help and teach each other new ways and give inspiration to others.  I like to be inspired by others and I also hope others are inspired by my work.  It’s very fun to share on Instagram, Facebook and Blogs.  I have met some wonderful friends through my quilting.
What are your favorite quilt trends right now?  
My very favorite fabrics would be anything by Tula Pink of course! She’s my number one fabric choice.  I make a quilt out of every line of fabric she has and I will not give those quilts away.  They are collectibles you might say!  My favorite patterns are by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts.  She writes a great pattern and has made some genius rulers that make your quilts go together perfectly.  My favorite quilting style is definitely Angela Walters type modern quilting.  Angela is such an awesome artist and is so sweet and helpful to others.  Such a very valued inspiration to all of us!
Have you used your longarm to make or quilt something other than a quilt?
I mainly use my longarm for quilting for customers, but I have quilted fabrics to make bags on my longarm.  So much faster than a regular domestic sewing machine.  
If you’re interested in Teresa quilting for you please send her an email at:

We look forward to SO many more inspirational pictures from Teresa!!!
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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines

Tracy gets to be our first Innova owner interview here on the blog. How exciting!

Tracy's business is named Snow Dog Quiltworks. She has owned her Innova for 5 months now and quilts daily. She is currently stitching on a 22" with Lightning Stitch on a 10' frame. 

Tracy answered a few questions for us about her quilting style.......


How did you get started quilting?

I have been quilting since 1998. My love of quilting started from my admiration of the beautiful quilts made by my mother in-law. I got started when she sat down with me one morning for a few minutes to show me a few piecing stitches. That was all it took to inspire my passion for quilting. I have been hand quilting for 18 years, added free motion quilting on a domestic machine 5 years ago and bought my first Innova Longarm 5 months ago.  


Do you have a favorite technique or style that you like to quilt/use?  Ex: feathers, modern lines, some of your favorite pantographs, etc?


My favorite technique or style is custom/free hand quilting swirls with variations of leaves and feathers. I love traditional styles and creating new designs. You will always find me with a small notebook to draw/doodle inspiration for new quilting designs. 


How often do you use your longarm?


I use my longarm daily and will soon be offering longarming services.  


What inspires you the most about quilting?


I am inspired by my surroundings, nature and the outdoors are a huge part of my quilting designs. I love to spend my time outside gardening, hiking and mountain biking with my husband, twin teenage boys and our two Siberian Huskies. 


I create quilts for my family and others to enjoy and cherish for generations. I believe that everyone should have at least one quilt to call their own. Quilts appeal to me because they have both utilitarian and artistic aspects. A quilt can bring such joy and warmth to anyone.


What are your favorite quilt trends right now?  Ex: Fabric types, pattern types, quilting styles, etc


I particularly enjoy scrap quilting, many of my quilts contain a wide variety of colors and patterns with a specific intent to create a tapestry of often random blocks that blend together in a unique way. This allows me to be creative during the quilt making process to draw from a large inventory of fabrics rather than fully planning my quilts ahead of time. When choosing quilting designs I go by the fabrics and the overall feel of the quilt.


Have you use your longarm to make or quilt something other than a quilt?


I have quilted smaller items using my longarm, such as valances for windows, table runners/toppers, and coasters/mug rugs.


Tracy's business ,Snow Dog Quiltworks, is also a part of a combined Etsy store with her husband. They have combined their love of working with wood and fabrics to be able to share a variety of our handcrafted pieces. Check them out!


We can't wait to see what Tracy comes up with next!  





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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines

Pretty Darn Perfect!!!!!!

Best of Show Paducah 2015 winner Renae Haddadin (front pieced by Karen Kay Buckley) is shown here raising her winning cup high!  Renae is in front of the quilt back, which shows her perfect work in the best way.  She says the Innova with Lightning Stitch has "upped her game".  Well, I guess it has, she has now won Best of Show at Paducah TWO times!  Check out other photos and see the front of the quilt further down in the blogs.  Learn about winning quilt competitions there too!


Way to GO Renae!!!  Congratulations, you're the BEST!!!


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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines

Pretty Darn Perfect!!!!!!

Best of Show Paducah 2015 winner Renae Haddadin (front pieced by Karen Kay Buckley) is shown here raising her winning cup high!  Renae is in front of the quilt back, which shows her perfect work in the best way.  She says the Innova with Lightning Stitch has "upped her game".  Well, I guess it has, she has now won Best of Show at Paducah TWO times!  Check out other photos and see the front of the quilt further down in the blogs.  Learn about winning quilt competitions there too!

Way to GO Renae!!!  Congratulations, you're the BEST!!!

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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines

Pretty Darn Perfect!!!!!!

Best of Show Paducah 2015 winner Renae Haddadin (front pieced by Karen Kay Buckley) is shown here raising her winning cup high!  Renae is in front of the quilt back, which shows her perfect work in the best way.  She says the Innova with Lightning Stitch has "upped her game".  Well, I guess it has, she has now won Best of Show at Paducah TWO times!  Check out other photos and see the front of the quilt further down in the blogs.  Learn about winning quilt competitions there too!

Way to GO Renae!!!  Congratulations, you're the BEST!!!

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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines

Pretty Darn Perfect!!!!!!

Best of Show Paducah 2015 winner Renae Haddadin (front pieced by Karen Kay Buckley) is shown here raising her winning cup high!  Renae is in front of the quilt back, which shows her perfect work in the best way.  She says the Innova with Lightning Stitch has "upped her game".  Well, I guess it has, she has now won Best of Show at Paducah TWO times!  Check out other photos and see the front of the quilt further down in the blogs.  Learn about winning quilt competitions there too!

Way to GO Renae!!!  Congratulations, you're the BEST!!!

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The Longarm Network is now open in Greenville, South Carolina!

Innova's newest training center opened Monday June 15 with crowds of people.  Come see the new facility and learn all kinds of things from making footstools, thread painting, fabric dyeing, and creative quilting techniques.  Meet the best teachers in the industry including Renae Haddadin, Michelle Eno, Andrea Brokenshire, and Jamie Wallen!  Classes are happening NOW!!!


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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines


We've all seen those fantastic photos where all you can focus on is the AMAZING longarming. You've also seen the pictures of quilts that show off the fabric colors and pattern well, but the longarming is nearly invisible. My two photo taking sources are my Canon EOS Rebel and my Samsung Galaxy mobile phone.


Light is the key factor since you need to cast a shadow to make your stitches "pop". It doesn't matter if you are using a cell phone camera or an expensive digital camera (or a film camera.....  hehe.....).

Natural sunlight is your best friend. It works from many angles and can capture the entire beauty of a quilt and not just one aspect.


Jamie Cooley from Busy Bee Quilt Shop captures wonderful outdoor photos of her quilts for her blog. Her secret? Keep your quilts and your camera with you at all times. If you see a good opportunity somewhere you're prepared! You can definitely see her great longarming work in this photo with natural sunlight.

It's a rainy day and you're in your studio working and you just want to share this photo, but you can't get it right...... then what?!

Hanging, draped, or on the frame, the secret is to stand on the opposite side of the light. I like to turn off all of the lights in my room except one dim one for ambient lighting. Then I turn one bright light on at about a 45 degree angle from my quilt. Then I set up to take my photo at about a 45 degree angle on the opposite side of the quilt.

Here is a recent quilt I did:   (These quilt pictures taken with my Canon Camera.)

(Quilt pieced by Liz Jager, Maryland)


My quilting looks GREAT doesn't it?!?  This photo was taken standing directly in front of the quilt with all of the lights on. The fabric color pops, the piecing pops, the longarming is MIA.........

Let's see how it would look if I use my lighting trick, but stand on the SAME SIDE as the light......


ehhhh....  Not much better.

Now let's shift to the other side.....  light is on the right side of the quilt, I am taking the picture from the left side of the quilt (as it hangs).


Hey!!!! Now we're talking! :) Check out those waves!

For some on-the-fly/on-the-frame picture taking....  I turn on a single light at one end of my frame and snap from the opposite end. Or dim your studio lights and use the light on the side of your sewhead.  (These pictures taken with my Samsung mobile phone.)


You can really see my sewhead light setting off the 'glow' at one end in the picture on the left.

Hope this helps explain it a little!

At quilt shows it can be hit or miss. Most shows are somewhere that is flooded by fluorescent lights. A photographers worst enemy most of the time. Try to use that 45 degree angle to see if you can capture a bit of shadows if possible.

Now grab those cameras and let's see that stellar quilting!!!  :)



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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines


When I saw the email come across my desk that Innova was going to be sponsoring The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims I was super excited! I started my quilting journey a little over ten years ago. The main source for my quilt information at the time was Simply Quilts on HGTV with Alex Anderson! It was a little trip down memory lane and I pulled out some of my Alex Anderson books to reminisce.


Neal and Heidi from Innova got to be on the set for the most current tapings of the show. It worked out great that Renae Haddadin (from Quilts on the Corner), Jamie Wallen (from Quilter's Apothecary), and Andrea Brokenshire (from AMB Fiber Art and Design) were going to be some of the guests too! Definitely some of our favorite Innovians!

Renae and Heidi checking out the quilt for the show on the Innova Longarm.


You can see all of Renae's quilts in the studio for her show!


This is a big set! We were definitely impressed at how well this show is put together.


You can see the wedding dress Renae quilted on the set. For better pictures check our her Fill'er Up! book HERE.


Jamie getting ready for his turn to film!


Jamie showing off some of his signature work.....



Andrea demonstrated her incredible floral art work on the Sit Down Innova.


The Quilt Show set definitely looked like a scenic flower garden with her quilts displayed!



Some leaf work........



Working on the finish with Ricky Tims........



We had an amazing time at The Quilt Show! It was great to see all of the wonderful work that goes on behind the scenes to bring quilters such a resource. Stayed tuned to catch Renaes, Andreas, and Jamie's segments!  We also happen to catch part of Lisa Calle's episode while we were there too. What an amazing quilter!


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Do you ever want to use the same design for many small pieces, but aren't sure of a quick way to do it? Using Push Pins or Boundary may seem like a lot when you have to mark every corner. If you have a quilt full of large blocks those tools are wonderful for design and precision accuracy. What if you had a lot of small setting squares you wanted to quilt individually? 

Here is a quick way to get a pattern into a small square!

Start by making sure your long crosshairs are turned on under Settings.


Next, use a ruler to measure your square and to use chalk to mark the center.  I used a thick chalk here so you can see it and drew the lines from point to point for demonstration.  You can only make small marks for your center on your quilt.


Then you want to import your pattern onto the screen and size it. If my block measures 4" then I like to size it to 3.5-3.75" depending on the pattern. While your pattern is highlighted, click the crosshairs icon on the tool bar.


Position your sew head needle over the center of the block using the chalk lines you made.



On your screen your long cross hairs for your sew head are solid and the cross hairs for your pattern are dashed. 


Use your mouse to grab the pattern and move it over top of the crosshairs for your sew head. The two patterns are aligned when the dashed cross hairs are covered by the solid ones. Do NOT move your sew head off of the center point! Align the pattern to the sew head.


Now leave the pattern where it is and click "Start". The sew head will move to the start point on the pattern and begin sewing.

I find this method to be quick when I have a lot of small squares.  Having a quilt block with a seam in the middle eliminates the step of marking the fabric.  

If you have a pattern that start in the center of the pattern you can simply use the grab tool to center it on the sew head needle and drop it into place.

Once you have your cross hairs turned on and you are moving from block to block, it goes quickly.




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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines


This week I had a great opportunity to interview award winning quilter Renae Haddadin from Quilts on the Corner in Sandy, UT. Renae has been a quilter for many years and has won numerous awards in many quilt shows.


She answered a few questions about what goes into a “show” quilt.


How long does a ‘show’ quilt take you to longarm on average?


It usually takes me about 500-700 hours for the longarm quilting.  That is a rough estimate based on the days and approximate hours.  I don’t really clock in and out to measure the time.



Do you leave the quilt on your longarm the whole time? Or do you take it on and off as you work on it?


I leave it on the machine.  I usually work pretty consistently once I get going on a show quilt.  I work a lot of hours until it is done.  Usually there is a show/date as a goal and I work towards that.


Have you partnered with someone to do the piecing and you do the longarming?


Yes, the last two quilts and the next one have quilt tops that are designed and appliquéd by Karen Kay Buckley.  Then the quilting designs are created by me.


When a quilt is “juried” into a show, what does that mean?  


Some shows have a “jury”. This means that photos of all the quilt entries are looked at.  The quilts that are accepted into the show are usually narrowed down to make sure that all the categories are balanced and there is a variety of quilt styles.  


If your quilt is accepted into a show, do you pay a fee to enter it?


Yes, most shows have a nominal fee.  It is usually less if you are a member of their group.


Do you just get a ribbon and recognition or are there cash prizes?


Both.  Some shows give just ribbons, some offer cash or prize awards in addition to ribbons.


Do you charge a fee for longarming show quilts or do you agree to split any cash winnings?  


Karen Kay Buckley and I co-own the quilts we create.  We split any prize money.  People can make whatever agreements they are comfortable with. Back when I was regularly quilting for customers I charged a fee for my quilting.  Any prize money their quilt won, belonged to them.  Many of my clients gave me a thank you gift or shared the prize if they won.  Again, these details should be discussed prior quilting their quilt to avoid troubles or hurt feelings.



Have you entered one quilt in multiple shows?


Yes, many of my quilts have been entered in multiple shows.


What’s the most number of ribbons one single quilt has won for you so far?


I’m afraid I haven't kept track of that.


Do you go to all of the shows your quilts are in?


No.  I am often at the shows where my quilts are, but sometimes I can’t attend.


How do you ship your quilts to the show? 


I roll and then spiral the quilt and then place it in a box.  I have a YouTube video showing how I do this.  (View HERE)


Do you always bury every thread end when it’s a ‘show’ quilt?


Yes.  (You can view Renae's video to bury short threads HERE.)


Do you use one layer of batting or two on a show quilt?


I have been using 2 layers of batting for about 13 years.


Do you insure your show quilts before you send them out?


I have my quilts on my business policy so they are covered wherever they might be.


You and Karen Kay Buckley have won several awards now for Fiesta Mexico and Majestic Mosaic.



Do you two have any other show quilts in the works?

Yes, I am just starting the quilting on our third collaboration.


 Who gets to keep the quilt after it’s done being in the shows?


The first became property of the AQS museum so we didn’t have to worry about ownership.  Magnificent Mosaic will likely remain with Karen because she loves it.  I really love the next one so maybe it will become mine.  Both of us are more interested in making the quilts than owning them.  We both really love the process.  Once I am finished with a quilt my love moves on to the next one.


Have you or are you partnering with any other well know quilters?


No.  I am trying to keep up with Karen.  She seems to finish the tops faster than I can finish the quilting.



If you could pick one aspect of show quilting vs every day quilting that is very different, what would it be?


The intricacy of the show quilting is very complex.  Just the sheer amount of quilting is much more dense in show quilting.  I am also very exact in my measuring.  




Thank you so much to Renae for the insightful information into the dynamics of a quilt show quilt!  So after hearing Renae’s answers – are you ready to make a show quilt? Do you think you'd like to make a show quilt completely on your own or partner with someone? 

You can get tips and instructions on how to quilt like Renae in her book Fill'er Up!








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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines


*Author’s note: there are many threads and brands available. I am writing about the ones I have had the most experience with. Innova does not endorse or accept advertising money from any of the brands mentioned. It is for reference purposes only. Hopefully this gives other new quilters good starting off information to begin their own experiments with different types of thread.


Thread! Glorious Thread! Thread to a longarmer is like fabric to a quilter. We just can’t get enough!


Before we really get started, it’s important to note that threads are measured by ‘weights’ and it’s designated by the “#” symbol in front of a number. The higher the number, the thinner the thread. A #40 weight thread will be much thicker than a #100 weight thread. Some threads also carry a ‘tex’ number, but for beginner purposes here we will just stick with the weight number.


Needle sizes are the opposite of thread. The lower the number, the smaller (thinner) the needle. A size 14 needle is going to be smaller than a size 18 needle. Can’t keep it simple can they? Wouldn’t it be great if a thread with a weight of 50 went with a needle size 50? A good rule is to change your needles often (every quilt) and make sure you put them in a safe place when you’re done with them! (Like the glass jar pictured.)




Let’s talk about all the different thread types……..


First you have your standard cotton quilting thread. A good example of this is King Tut. King Tut is a #40 weight thread and in my experience can tend to be quite linty. This 100% cotton thread is going to show up strongly on top of your fabrics when quilting. If you are quilting a very dense pattern it can appear bulky due to its thickness. A Size 18 needle is recommended. If you’re still looking for 100% cotton, but in a lighter weight you could use Masterpiece (#50) or Cairo-Quilt (#50) instead. Both of those only require a size 16 needle.




Next you have a polyester thread that looks like a cotton. A good example of this is Omni. Omni is a great edge to edge #40 weight thread. Even though it’s a #40 like King Tut, it is slightly thinner. Omni is great for custom quilting as well, but not for dense designs due to its thickness. It is going to have a noticeable appearance on the fabric. Overall it’s very strong with a low lint. The recommended needle size for Omni is an 18, but I’ve always used a 16 without any issues.





Another poly that mimics a cotton in appearance is So Fine! So Fine comes in three weights – #30, #40, and #50. I prefer the #50 for hand guided quilting. It gives me the cotton-ish, blend into the fabric look, without the weight of a #30 or #40 thread. A size 16 needle works great and with a thread color that matches the fabric it’s a great thread to use when you’re still skill building because it will hide mistakes well.  




There are technically two types of poly threads. Those that try to mimic the look of cotton, like Omni, and those that go full on poly shimmer, like Glide. Glide is a poly that screams POLY! It’s bright and fun and shiny. It can also be used as embroidery thread. Glide is rated as a #40 weight thread also and requires a size 18 needle. Magnifico is another super shiny quilting and embroidery trilobal polyester. I love using these when you want some visible *pop* to your threads or when you’d like to do a whole quilt in metallics, but it’s just not practical. They have enough shimmer to look like a metallic depending on the color you use.




How about some thread you don’t see at all? Monofilament is your answer! I have used a #100 weight monofilament in clear on a T-Shirt quilt with great success. (Thank You Innova!) You could somewhat see the stitches, but there wasn’t really any ‘visible’ thread on top. Monofilament usually comes in two colors. Clear, for light fabrics, and smoke (grey) for use on darker fabrics. Monofilaments come with a fish net looking cover over them. Don’t throw this away! It’s not a part of the packaging, but is actually necessary to use when quilting. Pull the thread through the top opening and thread your machine, leaving the net in place. This thread has some spring to it and will unravel off of the cone faster than you can quilt and get tangled or stuck somewhere it shouldn’t be. The net makes it behave. Monofilaments are so thin, usually #80 or #100 weight, that you can use a size 14 needle. (Do not let your spouse use your monofilament as fishing line! Haha……)





On to metallics…….  They are so pretty! And sparkly! And complicated! Just kidding….  Buy a BIG fat cone when purchasing metallics. Metallics can come with a net cover also. Try not to buy metallic thread wound too tight on a small cone. Slow down a bit and go up one size on your needle. Nothing smaller than a size 18 needle. Loosen your tension a little (top and bottom) and off you go! Ooohhh…. Pretty! Glisten metallics are wrapped around a Rayon base which helps with their strength.


Variegated threads are awesome when you don’t want to commit to one particular color. Typically most types of threads come in a variegated version. So you can get the thread thickness and sheen that you are looking for, by simply finding the variegated equivalent. Here’s the trick to avoiding *pokies* (where the top or bottom thread of a different color “pokes” through on a stitch) with variegated threads……  wind your bobbin from the spool like normal. Now your thread pattern is in reverse on that bobbin. Spin another bobbin off of the first bobbin. Now your thread is back to the original pattern direction. When you pick up your first stitch pull your bobbin thread up until it closely matches the top thread. This will keep your colors lined up on the top and back.



Silks are all the latest rage! Silks are very durable despite their thinner weights. Silks range from #50 to #100 weight. Sounds too good to be true right? It definitely comes with a price as they are some of the most expensive on the market. If you want to do piano keys 1/16th apart as a fill though…. better stick with the best of the best to get that blue ribbon! Very tiny dense custom work looks great with the super thin, blending look, of silks. Usually a 14 needle will work with the lighter weight silks.




Let’s talk bobbin threads……… you always have the option to spin your bobbins off of the cone you are using. This way top thread and bobbin thread match exactly. I like doing this with Omni, So Fine and King Tut threads for ease of use. With metallics and monofilament I use a matching/complimenting Bottom Line brand pre-wound bobbin in a #60 weight. Bottom Line bobbins have cardboard sides and work well with most top threads. Their pre-wound bobbins last a long time compared to ones I wind myself. I usually keep a case of neutrals on hand of pre-wound bobbins. For black and white threads I like to use Magna Bobbins. These have a magnet on one side, so you have to take the tension disk out of your bobbin case to use them. The magnet part affects your thread tension as well, so make sure you check it. These also last much longer. To check your tension a TOWA gauge is always your best friend!


b2ap3_thumbnail_disk.jpg b2ap3_thumbnail_magna.jpg


So there’s your quick crash course on some of the basic longarm threads. Buy a sampler pack to try some different types and then subscribe to a thread club to build up your color selection. Enjoy! And don’t be afraid to try something new!


Remember: keep your thread out of direct sunlight, out of the freezer, and consider using a humidifier a few hours of day in the winter if you live where it’s quite cold and dry.

Don't forget.... for using small spools of specialty thread it is best to use the side spool attachment on your longarm.  

Please comment below with your suggestions, tips, or favorite threads to use! 



Omni, King Tut, So Fine!, Bottom Line, Masterpiece and Magnifico are thread brands from Superior Threads.

Glide, Cairo-Quilt, Glisten, and Magna Bobbins are threads from Fil-Tec.

Original Blog Post from Fabulous Average Girl Quilts.

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Posted by on in Home Quilting Machines

Wow!!!  What an amazing time at Quilt Market & Festival.


For those that don't know Quilt Market is the quilt industry's "Industry Professionals" annual trade show. You must have some type of credentials to get a pass into this show. The purpose of the show is for all of the people that make products (fabric, thread, patterns, machines, etc) in the quilting industry to be able to show their latest items to retailers in the industry. A lot of local quilt shops come to Quilt Market to pre-order the newest fabric they will be selling in their stores in the coming year. For us it's a chance to show off our innovative Innova Longarms and debut our latest accessories.

Quilt Festival comes right on the heels of Quilt Market and is open to the public. We were able to provide longarms to some of the Houston area quilt guilds so their volunteers could complete many charity quilts during the show.

Every year our booth grows. Not in size or quantity of machines, but in the quantity of people! We are such a lucky company to be surrounded by an amazing "family" of people to work with. Jo's Quilting Studio, one of our dealers here in Texas, stocks our booth for us each year and provides some of our staff. The rest of the time we have distributors, dealers, and sales representatives from all over the world that come by and help out in our booth. Neal and Michael also come to help out and chat. (You really never know where those two will show up!) We had Innova owners from all over stop by the booth too! It's amazing to see our owners come back year after year and show off their latest projects and just catch up.

A few famous faces just stop for Jo's hot pepper jelly.....  like Ricky Tims and Jamie Wallen. Apparently word has gotten out........ 


We had such an amazing time! We hope you'll join in on all of the fun next year!



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Having a new automated longarm quilting machine is so exciting! If you're like me you just want to get to the quilting part right away. So there's a chance that in the training class you were standing next to me drinking the free coffee and sneaking an extra snack in while they were going over the set up portion. Then you get home and realize you may have missed a step between getting the quilt on the frame and the actual quilting part.

Navigator is such a great solution for automated longarm quilting. The set up is quick and easy! In case you forgot (like me!) here's a quick print out you can use to get you through it the first few times. 

Setting up your "sew zone" (the blue rectangle) is your first step. You need to tell the computer where your quilt is. Now think of the frame and the sew zone as a printer. Your quilt top is a piece of paper. When you print you don't move the printer over the paper right? The paper slides through the printer. As you advance your quilt row to row, it may help you to envision it this way. As a piece of paper going through a printer (the frame). 

Check out the guide below and see if it helps you the next time you set up a quilt.

Happy Quilting!



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Getting a new Innova is SO exciting! Where you will set up your machine and then designing the space around it is so much fun! 

We have table length options of 8', 10', 12', or 14' to fit your needs and space. On our website you will find two diagrams with measurements for a typical 18" Innova or a 26" Innova. Both diagrams show the machine with several table length options.

Things to consider when measuring your space for your longarm -

The table cannot go flush again the wall on the back side or either end. Make sure there is enough extra room for your sew head to move all the way back on the rails. Some room for you to be able to walk back there is nice too. If you plan on doing paper pantographs from the back, make sure there's more than enough room for you to stand back there comfortably. If you are short on space PantoVision keeps you up and in front of your machine. Since it uses digital patterns it is also more cost effective than paper patterns. This doesn't require as much space behind the machine either.

You want a small amount of space extra on each end if the frame. This allows you to reach the rails and handles comfortably without stretching to reach from the front.

If you purchase Navigator or AutoPilot you are going to need a few extra inches on one end for the wheel box of the belt system. AutoPilot also needs a few extra inches on the opposite end for the computer. Your Innova technician will go over all of this with you during the installation, but it's good to have an idea where things will go and how much space you have beforehand.

Professional Quilter Nancy Wick shares a lot of storage and organizing tips on her blog HERE. She also recently did a complete remodel of her studio. Don't forget to check out links to her book "The Quilt Block Book" as well as her AutoPilot Book!


Jamie Cooley at Busy Bee Quilts shares with us her more modern quilter sewing studio design on her blog and pictured below.


The bright and fun design attracts her daughters to sew also! Nancy and Jamie both have great examples of how to handle storing parts, supplies, thread, and fabric.

Make the most of your lighting by adding the Innova Lightbar to your machine. For more close up lighting the Spectre Light offers bright white LEDs or a black light option much closer to your needle. With both of these options you never have to worry about having enough natural light, windows, or light fixtures in your studio!



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We've met PantoVision, then stepped up to meet Navigator.....  let's introduce you to AutoPilot! AutoPilot is Innova's top of the line automated quilting system. AutoPilot has been completely built in house at Innova and has a dedicated team of programmers. It is an evolving product and upgrades have always been provided to owners at no cost. It is an Innova Owner's creative 'partner' and not a system that constantly required more spending.

AutoPilot was designed to have a solid, precision edge to edge system as the foundation. This foundation is what helped to create PantoVision and Navigator. Then more features and tools have been added to AutoPilot to design and manipulate digital quilt patterns. AutoPilot has an amazing user friendly format. Large intuitive buttons on a touchscreen computer. A mouse and keyboard come with it, but the program can be completely run by using your sew head and your fingertip.

The past two years Innova has had Innova Owners assist with developing and testing features to make sure we are delivering what our owners want and need. These owners have helped teach training classes and create user manuals also.

Renae Haddadin has always helped explain new features with her webinars and videos. Recently we have added several of our other Innova Owners to our video line-up.

Since there is powerful computer program to run our Innova Quilting System, it needed a strong way to attach. Innova was able to use it's tried and tested servo controls that they use on their large commercial machines. This gives Innova with AutoPilot and unmatched X,Y coordinate automated quilting system.

AutoPilot makes a great foundation for any longarm quilting business.

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Did you know that at you can always find a current calendar with show dates?

Just look under the heading About us - Shows to find the calendar. is the link to take you straight there.

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Innova has a new app for your smart phone!!!

Innova Everywhere

Check it out!

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The Innova has a new foot!  It is called the cup foot and is great for use on exposed batting.  The foot is like a little cup or bowl so you aren't likely to catch and tear your batting when preparing for trapunto.  Check it out!


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b2ap3_thumbnail_SpoonFoot.jpgCup Foot