Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Getting Familiar with Lily

Our friends the Mindy & John & their girls Christie & Hope came over for lunch on Sunday. Mindy brought a sign she fused for Lily.
Here Mindy got to test drive Lily, & so did Hope & Christie.
Christie then switched to Bernina to make herself a big book bag. I'm afraid I didn't get a picture of the final product.
I worked yesterday on getting familiar with quilting on Lily. I learned several things. #1 is that all those people who were screaming "Not Fair" about stitch regulators & longarms in the quilt shows, have obviously never actually used a longarm. I found out you can't just start sewing & expect to have perfect prize winning quilts. Even with the stitch regulator, the operator has to keep a fairly even pace, or stitches won't be smooth or perfect. It takes PRACTICE & SKILL to be a really good Longarm quilter, & believe me I don't have enough of either one right now.
Stitching in the ditch is another thing that isn't easy. Even with the special ruler that I got from Megan, it takes practice & skill. Below I marked little silver dots on my hopping foot to help me know where I needed to line up for stitching in the ditch.
I also had to pick out some stitches, & play with thread tensions until I got things right.

This is the 1st quilt I finished. A small baby size quilt from the ALCQ guild Comfort Quilt stash. Below without the flash you can see the stippling better. I tried for thumb size stipples. It was hard for me, because I usually work a lot tighter than that.
Here is Comfort quilt #2, finished.
I did swirls in the borders, & stars in the rail fence blocks. I am pleased with how it finished up, but will need a lot more practice before I can open for business.
When I first started yesterday morning I was wondering if I had made a BIG mistake. I was feeling very much a novice. It was like starting all over, learning a new skill. By last night I could already see that I'd made some progress. Now I just have to practice, practice, practice!


Kay said...

I'm glad you're blogging about your learning process on this. It's pretty clear to me that there is a wide range of expertise in long arm quilting, and it's good to see you make this clearer. As you say, most people haven't used a long arm, and it's good for them to know some of the pitfalls and difficulties.

Michelle Auer said...

In a way, it is like learning to write all over again or with your other hand. You know how to do it, but now you have to do it this new way. I've been there with certain musical instruments over the eyars. I look forward to visiting and playing with your new toy someday! That would be fun!

Gaia Quilter said...

I'm surprized, your such an expert quilter I would have thought this machine would have been comfortable right away, in a few days you'll be flowing smoothly. Mindy's sign is clever. I received my package yesterday and the card is wonderful, thank you. It looks like springtime in my yard, I love the tree and bird, nest and the daffodils, their my favorite spring flower. Are those flowering trees in the horizon? I love how you mixed needle felting with silk ribbon. And the fabric is great!

Vicki W said...

The longarm is a totally different skill isn't it? You are doing great and two quilts done already! Congratulations!

Judi W. said...

I had thought about buying a longarm when I retired - to bring in extra money - but never did get one. I read somewhere that it will take a few dozen quilts to be really comfortable - so the fact that you have the comfort quilts to work on is great. It benefits everyone! As you say, practice, practice, practice. Will enjoy watching your progress!