My sweet friend Susan made three darling pieces for Christmas and told me I could quilt them however I wanted. I was so excited to try some new things! (I went a little crazy.)
First, this really fun table runner. Susan thought it would be fun to have a giant swirl in the middle of the ornaments, so that is what I did. Then, in the remaining background space, I echo quilted around the ornaments. That echo quilting is harder than I thought! By the end I had gotten the hang of it, but let just say at the beginning there were a few lines that got unpicked. :) I did a loose weave-type pattern in the borders, which was a lot of fun.
Second, this long wall hanging. I outlined each of the panel prints, and did some loop-de-loops in the frames and swirls in the borders. I even tried my hand at micro-stippling, which is much harder than it looks, and also takes a lot of muscle control.
Finally, the one I went crazy on. This wall hanging was so cute, and had so many different places to have fun with! I did a different design in each of the panel backgrounds, and then some fun swag borders around each of the panels. Some figure eights in the borders, and voila! The back looks pretty cool, too. Looking at it now, I wonder if I should have dome something to the actual images in the panels, but at the time I wasn’t sure what to do. What do you think?
We had no idea what to give her for Christmas.
Especially because she was quite adamant in saying she didn’t want anything (which is of course not acceptable).
She doesn’t need anything.
But she’s always cold.
Turns out, that, I know how to fix.
A darling layer cake of American Jane’s Fairy Tale Friends (thanks Moda!) some really snuggly backing, and a few hours later?
She loved it.
“Oh, I’ve just never felt something so soft!”
It just might have been the only gift that got her to smile this year.
But I might be biased.
It now lives on her bed along with the matching pillowcase.
That, my friends, is what quilting is all about.
Sue (she’s on a roll, I tell you) brought me this quilt to quilt, too. It was fun to do an allover loop on it, it went so fast! I’ve got to say, I’m having so much fun with my longarm. I think I’ve done 14 quilts in the 6 weeks since I’ve had it. I have a ton to show you.
I machine quilted this cute version of my Prep School Knockout pattern made by my sweet pattern tester, Lynnette. She made it for me nearly a year ago, and I just haven’t had the chance to get it done. At first, I thought I would try big squared off spirals in each of the squares made by the ric rac intersecting. I gave it a shot on the first row of squares and realized it’s really, really hard. Apparently, it’s much easier to make curvy lines on a longarm, and straight lines on a conventional machine.
The things you learn!
I was persistent, though, and kept at it, hoping I would get better as I went. It was definitely slow going, and I wasn’t super happy with how it looked. I mean, the straight lines weren’t really…straight. You may not know this about me, but that kind of thing drives me crazy.
I forced myself to keep at it, knowing that it takes practice, and that this quilt was staying with me so I wasn’t disappointing anyone. Then, I advanced the quilt, and realized the tension was AWFUL on the back. Aha! An excuse to undo the unevenness! I spent the next 2 days unpicking the nearly 900 square inches of yucky not straight lines. Call me crazy.
I started over doing a double spiral, which I have done a million times on my little Bernina. It was so fun, and easy, and looks awesome! Guess I shouldn’t have forced the straight lines. It worked out great, too, because the spirals could fit in the curves of the ric rac, making it puff out a bit. I love it!
So there you go, the double spiral. Also, the adventures and misadventures of a newbie longarm quilter!
PS The fabric on this quilt is Bliss from the lovely Bonnie and Camille for Moda. Such an awesome line! You probably can’t find much of it around anymore, but their new line Ruby is equally darling, and is in stores now.
Sue has been coming to my weekly craft night for a few months, now. After a time or two, she decided she wanted to pull out a quilt she started in the 80′s and finally, finally finish it! And, boy is that girl fast! Once she put her mind to it, she was unstoppable! (She’s finished another quilt and cut out another since.)
Lucky me, she let me try out my brand new machine on her quilt first! (She’s brave like that.) So I loaded it on up, got a feel for it, and got to work!
She said she just wanted a simple allover quilting design that wouldn’t compete with the busy-ness of the piecing, so I went with the classic stipple. Plus, that seemed like a good starting point to get a feel for the machine.
I think it turned out really fun, and Sue loved it (Yay!) Not bad for a first attempt, eh?
I’ve been a bit distracted from the blog for a bit, and here’s why:
I know, right!?
A few weeks ago I got a bee in my bonnet about machine quilting all the quilts I have piling up around here. I wanted to quilt them myself, but pushing them through the teeny tiny throat space on my regular Bernina was giving me headaches, literally. I don’t know if I’m abnormally short when I sit, or my table is abnormally tall, or I’m just abnormal altogether (wait, I know the answer to that one…) but I always ended up with really tight neck and shoulder muscles, and that ended up giving me headaches. And with the quantity of quilts going on around here…well, you get the idea.
Then, while pondering the magicalness (I know, not a word) of longarm machines, I decided to start researching. My husband knows that’s pretty much the kiss of death for all normalcy around here. When I start researching, there’s no stopping me. Of course, I found the machine I wanted, had all the stats and breakdowns figured out, and even found an incredible deal. By the end of the week, the delivery date was set. The only explanation is I’m crazy.
It was delivered last Monday, and all I can say is that I’m completely and totally smitten. Also, I’m really surprised to find that the learning curve has worked quite quickly in my favor. I’m putting my third quilt on the rails this afternoon.
I hope you don’t mind if I bring you along as I learn to use this lovely machine.