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Stationary vs Moving Head Longarm Machines

Stationary vs Moving Head Longarm Machines

There is no doubt that Birdsong Quilting invests heavily in educating, servicing, and selling HandiQuilter Longarm quilters. We offer Longarming services to our clients along with other quilting related services like binding quilts for others. After a day full of quilting in the shop, you’ll likely find each of our employees quilting at home on their own longarm machines well into the evening! 

When we say “longarm quilting”, we are referring to the machines where you load the top, batting and back into a metal frame, and sew the three layers at once. Operation may be manual or run by a computer, which can quilt designs automatically. A key difference among the machines is the feature of a stationary or moving head. Stationary heads are found on the HandiQuilter Capri and the new Amara 20” ST where moving heads are part of the Moxie, the Simply Sixteen, the Amara 20”, the Amara 24” and the Infinity 26”. 

Stationary Longarm Machines


-The operator guides the fabric, moving the fabric under the needle to create the desired design.

-Hands are usually gloved (for added grip) and they lay flat down on the quilt sandwich moving it in all direction

-The quilter sits down to operate (although the Amara 20” ST table height does adjust to standing)

- Computerized quilting is not available.

- Basting the entire quilt sandwich needs to be complete before you start quilting

- The quilt size is not limited


Moving Head Longarm Machines

-The fabric stays stationary and the machine is then moved around to create the desired design.

-Hands are usually gripping a set of handle bars

-Usually mounted on a frame to use while standing. We will note the little foot frame can be adjusted low enough to sit at the machine, but it’s not very ergonomic and uncomfortable on the shoulders.

-The addition of ProStitcher allows for the use of computerized patterns.

-You can baste as you go!

-The quilt size is limited by the size of the frame.


Ruler work can be done with a longarm that has a stationary or moving head! Take the opportunity to experience the differences in these machines at our December Hands-On HandiQuilter event. We are happy to host a national educator so we all can learn and step up our skills. Using a longarm machine is a bit like riding a bike, you know the basics but there are nuances that can impact your experience! 

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