Thursday, December 18, 2014

Project 2 Rail Fence Finished

Project 2 Rail Fence is complete!

This was not without a hiccup.  Well, without picking out threads.  Lots of threads.  The entire quilt of quilting threads! LOL
Of course, I didn't feel like laughing at the time.

There is a learning curve with all new things.  And this big fancy Long Arm Machine is absolutely new to me.  There are lots of things to be thinking about, and tension on the under side of the quilt was not one of the things I was thinking about.

Somewhere soon after starting, the thread popped out of one of the tension guides and so the back of the quilt ended up having loops fairly often.  I didn't notice till I had finished and taken it off the machine.  Lo and Behold, the only option was to pick out the threads and start over.

This was after I loaded the quilt myself. It took 35 minutes to load, test tension, load pantograph and plan the starts and stops, and baste the edges.  It took me only 1 hour and 15 minutes to quilt it!  I was so excited. Perfectly within the 2 hour budget I had booked for rental.

So, I came home, and ripped out all the quilting, and returned 2 days later to quilt again.  This is a gift for a niece for Christmas, so it needed to get done!

This time, I loaded in 10 minutes and had it quilted within the same hour. Talk about a learning curve!

I'm happy with the way it finally turned out.

And, yes, I learned my lesson.  Check the back and front often, and the thread guides!
I'm well on my way to getting these quilts finished and moving into Sophomore year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Project 1 quilt FINISHED: Carries Cowboy Corral

I am SO excited.  I can't believe how much I've been able to accomplish now that I have my plan operating.

I was able to finish the quilting in just 2 hours of rental time.  I bought a "Studio Card" that had 10 prepaid hours on it for $150.  It included the $75 certification class and two $25 valet services.  (After the class, if I didn't like using the Long Arm machines, I could have gotten a credit for the remaining $75 toward fabric purchases)
So, I was really happy to find that my first quilt took a mere 2 hours. Hopefully, that means that I can get 4-5 quilts done with this one card :)  I have 10 projects to complete from Quilter's Academy 1 Freshman Year.

I chose to use a pantograph for my first one.  It is a printed design, that I follow with the laser from the back of the machine.

It was a bit more complicated that I anticipated.  It was a double row, so I had to go right to left on first set, and then stop, and start again at right side for second pass across, before I could move my quilt forward.
This is what it looks like on the quilt.  I had predrawn lines to quilt with my home machine before I decided to go this route.  After I wash and dry the quilt, they will disappear :)

And, THIS is the finished project! Carries Cowboy Corral becomes The Bird Nest
Quilted and binded.
That was so much fun, I decided to get started right away on project 2 :)  Stay tuned!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Quilting! Long Arm Style

I have made my decision.  I'm going Long Arm quilting :)

After some self examination, hard decisions and a lot of research I realized I just wasn't going to enjoy quilting on my small machine.  I have procrastinated over a year already and I WANT to continue quilting. I want to quilt it myself. I want to be a part of my creation from beginning to end.However, I do not want to be in my little sewing room wrestling my hard work under that tiny little throat space.

I love the Quilter's Academy Book. And, I have read Harriet's Machine Quilting books. I have several other books I've been reading through.  As much as I respect Harriet's approach, I am not feeling the excitement of quilting her way.

A funny research story:  I was looking in CraigsList for sewing machines and tables. In my search for what are my choices, I found a "brand new in the box" mid arm machine for home quilting. I contacted the seller for some specifics, and because it was over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I was anxious for Monday morning to arrive so I could contact the original distributor.  Tom was very informative, letting me know that even though the manufacturer had gone bankrupt, they had purchased all the parts necessary to maintain the machines. I told him what I had found locally here in Idaho, and he asked me if the machine was in Idaho Falls, ID.  I was a bit surprised, and he said, "the manufacturer moved there after the bankruptcy. It seems quite the coincidence that there would be a brand new in the box machine available in a town where he is.  Since we agreed to purchase ALL the goods in bankruptcy, that would be a 'stolen' machine! And, it would not include the electronic exterior hardware"  hahhahaha   We decided I would ask for the serial number so he could check if it ever went through their hands.  I agreed and after contacting the seller and asking him for the serial number.... Lo and Behold, he didn't respond, and the sewing machine is no longer listed on CL. !!!  Buyers beware!  I have done a lot of buying and selling on CL, and this is a first for me.

So, I went to my LQS to see what they offered. Oh My Gosh, they opened up a whole new store area where they have 4 long arm quilting machines.... FOR RENT. This was new since I had last been into the store.
I spoke with the ladies there, and decided This Is My Solution :)
I immediately signed up for the certification class, a 4 hour class where we are taught to load our quilts on the machine and how it operates. And, because I bought a card with 10 hours, the $75 class was free and I get 2  $25 Valet services free, where they load my quilt onto the machines for free! I'm going to use those services to learn and not use my quilting hours on loading.

I was enrolled in the certification class that same week. There is no time like the present.

Yesterday I had the valet service done, but I went in and helped and watched the process. My hope is that after the 2 valet services, I will have a good system to get the quilt on quickly and correctly.
Today I had 2 hours reserved on the machine to quilt.

This is the first of my 12 quilts to be quilted.  Here it is on the machine and ready to start.

I had it finished in exactly 2 hours! I used a pantograph even though I had the entire quilt marked for specific designs. I'm not sure if I like the pantograph as much as I liked working from the front of the machine free motion, but this was a good trial.  It turned out pretty good!  I'm glad we use our first quilt on our first quilting attempt. I can't wait to see how well the 12th quilt turns out!

I can't tell you how excited I am to be back on my journey, with a plan in place.
I came straight home and squared my corners and trimmed the edges and I'm ready for the binding!
My first quilt is almost done :)