Nolting Longarm Quilting Machines – Made in the USA

Nolting Longarm Quilting Machines - Made in the USA

Nolting Longarm Quilting Machines – Made in the USA

Happy Labor Day to the Quilting Community!

My very first blog post was on Labor Day a few years ago.  I wrote about APQS Longarm Machines which are made in the USA.  Recently I got to use another longarm machine which was also made in the USA – a Nolting Longarm.


I made a quilt for my boyfriend’s daughter to take to her dorm at college, so I had a deadline.  I had less than a week to quilt and bind it.  And this was no small quilt.  The beds in the freshman dorm are Twin XL.  I found a great chart online to help me figure out what size I should make the quilt.  It ended up being approximately 82″ by 106″.

Julie Brandon, a friend that I met through our quilt guild, was kind enough to let me use her Nolting Longarm Machine.  I’ve quilted large quilts on my regular domestic sewing maching, but I never would have been able to do this one without her.

When we loaded the backing on the rack, Julie said it was the largest quilt that had been on her machine since she got it.  Normally I would lay a large quilt out on the living room floor to pin it so I could quilt it on my domestic machine, but this one was just too big.  I could have easily spent a couple hours on just pinning it.

Things that make me smile:

  • Finding more and more products Made in the USA!
  • Trying something new – in this case, using a digital design to quilt a quilt on a longarm. Check back next week to see my thoughts on computerized quitling on a longarm.
  • A wonderful visit with my sister and her husband from Texas!

Let’s go spread some sunshine!

– Melanie



American Made Fabric!

“America the Beautiful”

America the Beautiful quilt by Melanie Watson

America the Beautiful
quilt by Melanie Watson

Finally, there’s a line of fabric made entirely in the United States of America – American Made Brand by Clothworks.  This line of fabric is made in the USA from cotton grown in the USA.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

Last year, the makers of the fabric had a challenge – the Farm to Fabric Challenge. The quilt pictured above is my submission to the challenge. Sadly, it didn’t make it into the exhibit. They only accepted 21 quilts. I don’t know how many entries they received, but since it was open to all of the US, I’ll bet they were inundated with entries. If you’d like to check out the 21 quilts in the exhibit, they can be seen at


My quilt is inspired by the song “America the Beautiful”. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but the mountains are made with purple fabric. I stitched a different quilt block motif in each of the squares in between the rows of farm fields. I added the apple trees in plains on the side of the farmer’s field. This is my first original quilt design. All the curves are pieced. The only applique in it is apple trees. It’s my version of “purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain”. I know it’s not perfect, but I still love it. I’ll share some of the techniques I used to piece the curves in a future post.

American Made Brand Fabric

American Made Brand Fabric

I really wanted to showcase as many of the American Made Brand colors as I could,  so I ordered a variety pack of their fabric. I was so eager to get started, that I bought the fabric before they had all their colors ready. I think this is about half their current colors. So far, they only have solids. I’m hoping they expand over time.

The best way that we can keep jobs in America and convince employers to make new manufacturing plants here in the United States is to make a conscious effort to buy American made products. It’s not always easy, but it is worth the time and effort! You can start by asking for the American Made Brand Fabric at your favorite quilt shop. Although nothing beats seeing and holding the fabric itself, you can check out the gorgeous colors at

Today, I’ll just share one thing that makes me smile:

  • Gratitude for the men and women who fought and continue to fight for the rights of hard working people!

Happy Labor Day everyone! Let’s spread some sunshine this week by buying American!


Happy Labor Day!

Buy American

Hello Quilting and Embroidery World!  My name is Melanie and I’ve been quilting for about 15 years.  After reading quilting blogs the last several years I’ve finally taken the plunge to start one.

Why make my first post today, on a national holiday?  What better time to remind people that some of our best quilting tools are made right here in the USA?  We often think of where the car we drive was manufactured.  What does that relate to in the world of quilting?  What is the most expensive item a quilter will buy?  The sewing machine, of course! 

 One of the machines that I currently have my eye on is APQS George machine.  

APQS George Long Arm Quilting Machine

“George” Long Arm Quilting Machine by APQS

APQS has been handcrafting their machines at their factory in Carroll, Iowa for over 30 years. They specialize in long-arm quilting machines.  The George model is a long-arm machine that you actually sit down at to use!  Check out their website at  to see the variety of traditional style long-arm quilting machines as well as the newer style sit down machine they make and find a dealer near you! 

One of APQS’ competitors touts a sit-down long arm as being “assembled in the US”.  Beware of wording that says “assembled”.  That means that most, if not all, of the components were made elsewhere.  The final assembly of the product might be in the US, but that might represent a small portion of the hours actually spent manufacturing the product.

One of the best ways to bring jobs back to the US is to check the labels of everything we shop for.  We usually think of the big things like cars.  Sometimes we remember to check the labels when we buy clothes.  It is becoming more and more difficult to find American made products because the manufacturers can make such a big profit by using cheap labor overseas.  We need to remind the companies that use cheap labor that we want jobs here.  If we were asked whether we wanted jobs here or not, the answer is obvious.  Consider shopping like voting.  Every time you pick something up in a store, check the label.  Where was it made?  If the answer is not here in the US, then look at the item next to it on the shelf.  You’ll be surprised to see that sometimes the American product is just 5 or 10 cents more.  Sometimes it’s even cheaper!  With the school year on our doorstep, start with checking out the “made in” label on the back of the notebooks and school supplies you are purchasing.  As I continue to write this blog I will mention whenever I find quality American made quilting and embroidery products. 

So as you celebrate this holiday with family and friends, take time to remember those who have worked hard toward making this country great.  Thank you to all who have worked hard to give us decent wages and benefits!  And remember to Buy American!