Who knew that this is how things would turn out way back in March of 2015, when I began the process of finalizing a quilt design for my mom. Back then, owning a longarm was still just a dream. I had no idea who would be the one to longarm this quilt and NEVER did I suspect, even remotely, that that someone would be, indeed, me!
While I loved the way the quilt looked in EQ7, when I finalized the quilt with my Mom giving me insight as to her color wishes, what turned out to be the “Quilt” once the log cabin blocks were done was not what I envisioned. Back to the drawing board I went, to completely restart the log cabin blocks so that it was the color values my Mom and I chose.
What a sigh of relief I had when I pieced it together and stepped away from the quilt top. Nearly one year after I started, it was what I had hoped it would be and it was ready to be longarmed.
By this time, I had the used longarm in my possession, I had rebuilt it, and I had taken three classes online to learn as much as I could, as quickly as I could. It paid great dividends. I designed on bumwad (tracing paper) what I wanted to do while I was visiting my sister for the weekend and I was pleased…and slightly nervous.
There was no time like the present. I purchased Hobbs Tuscany cotton/wool blend and adored how it draped. I loaded things onto the frame and off I went:
My first real quilt went on the frame a week ago. It has been a very slow go, as this is a full custom quilt done in an heirloom fashion. I designed this quilt in EQ7 and pieced it myself. I took a little time to design the quilting and it is now happening…slowly. Working a full-time career has it’s barriers to the quilting I want to do, but slowly and surely, this quilt is coming along. I’ll post more pictures as the quilting “develops”. For now, I am completely ecstatic over how nice this is turning out. Can you believe this is after just 5-6 months of owning this longarm?
This quilt is Batik both top and bottom and that presented a big challenge to me as my first true quilt. (Feet to the fire, no?). I chased a lot of issues before I realized I was using a ball point tipped needle. I bought some rounded sharp #19’s and that fixed the fraying of the quilt backing on my test piece, but I still had major thread breakage. I finally came upon the thought of lowering my needle bar (which meant it would need to be re-timed) and that did the trick. I’m learning and the stitching is gorgeous on this A-1 Platinum!
The top border is set. I divided up the space and marked it prior to quilting it out free motion with rulers. I’m new to this, so this result is very satisfying. I love the corner feather I did here.
I’m a little farther along here. Taking some of the border ruler work into the quilt to unify the piece, but the ruler work has to wait for that feather to go in, in order to find out where the ruler work ends! All the flowers (and there are many on this, honestly) were stitched in the ditch with a monofilament thread, to hide the stitches but show the wonderful relief it provides.
I kept the feather a simple hump and bump heirloom type, as it is harder to make it out, since it tracks across numerous fabric colors. Perhaps the thread could have been a little lighter, but I did pick a fairly light brown. I’m not sure there was a way to truly win and see the entire feather, or it would have stuck out severely on the dark colors and not so much on the lighter colors. This quilt uses two thread colors in all, so there are MANY thread changes taking place on it as it goes from advance to advance on the frame.
What a lovely way to say, “I must be a longarm quilter now!” This is from a Lisa Calle Longarm class on www.iquilt.com. I highly recommend the class!
I wanted a slightly contrasting thread for the back of this quilt. Glide was used as the upper thread and bobbin line was in the bobbin. There are two layers of Hobbs 80/20, in order to stiffen this quilt up for a wall quilt. (It was what I had on hand.)
View of the back. I don’t know which side I adore more!
Detail of one area, prior to finishing off the large pearled diamonds. When I don’t have a clear idea of an area, I simply do what I have a good picture of and then add the other area later. I’m finding (with this being just the fourth piece on frame for me!) that the “sit and stew” approach works very well for me!
This was all created without the aid of a computer. I am a free-motion longarm quilter, and rulers and freehand work are fully on display here.
Now, the big question is what to name this lovely longarm!