long arm quilting

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OMGosh – I’m so excited to finish this quilt! I started it like a bazillion years ago (15 or so, for real!). Here it is on the new HQ Avante.




It took several weeks to complete, because

I only worked on it every couple of days.






I picked turtle backing, as my daughter loves turtles.  The edge fabric is from my stash.

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Here it is completed.  Folded up on the couch.









A close up of the Feathered hearts, and the corners on the binding.  I am super proud of the corners!









So that’s it. My first finished quilt on the quilting machine!!!

Other Craft Projects:

10423946_10152537850754854_4948828833420926690_n 10653866_10152607051344854_77533943319069727_nGosh I don’t even know where to start.

Other Craft Projects:

On the pinwheel quilt.  I’m using the handi quilter II frame, and my Pfaff GrandQuilter Hobby 1200.  I’m not sure why this is coming out so bad.  The lines are wobbly; I keep hitting the seams in the rails and the machine will jerk from side to side. I didn’t have this problem the last time I set it up, on a different table (wood vs plastic) and I’m wondering if the plastic table is just not able to sustain the weight of the Pfaff, causing it to bend and the rails to become off.  It’s driving me nuts.  And of course ALL I can think about is the new Long Arm Quilting Machine that is just waiting for me (once I figure out which one I’m going to buy).  It’s hard to think about quilting as a BUSINESS when I’m doing such a ridiculously poor job on my own quilts.


So I spent some time on other quilts and crafts.  Nearly done with the binding on the pinwheel baby quilt.  Got 4 blocks of the “snakes trail” done for the Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog tails quilt.  Talk about a time consuming block.  I like the way it looks though.  The perfectionist in me is really struggling with getting the placement exactly right for the curves.  We’ll see how it turns out.


I also went to Mary Jo’s and Sew Much Fun and picked up a pattern for a jelly roll quilt.  My friend Robin gave me the jelly roll after she came back from Paducah! I love it, but hadn’t ever used a jelly roll before, so I thought a pattern might be a good idea this time.  I really like it, can’t wait to show it to you guys.

Also in the works, two more pairs of pants.  Just need to lengthen the leg on the patterns first.

Made a couple of coffee cozies, and that wrist rest.  And finally working on an afghan for a baby gift.

So that’s all keeping me busy when I get so frustrated with the quilting I can’t stand it.  I’m so far into the process I hate to rip out all the stitches so far.  And I hate to continue the way it is.  It’s infuriating.  I might have to switch tables to keep this from driving me crazy

Ok, back to the studio!

Other Craft Projects:

So I began quilting my daughter’s pinwheel quilt, using the Pfaff GrandQuilter Hobby 1200, and the Handiquilter II fram.

Here’s a picture of it set up:

1981867_10152300198344854_4890780438178564550_nThis set up works OK. There’s not a lot of throat space, so you end up rolling the  quilt every couple of minutes to finish the blocks.  Also, there are little rails that you tape to the table, they have seams in them, which you hit and that causes bumps in your quilting lines. Talk about frustrating.  Oh here’s the whole quilt top before:

1897763_10152299413279854_3388219386853177767_nI chose a couple of heart quilting patterns, which look beautiful when I can do them well, which is more rare than I would like.  But here’s a couple close up shots of my quilting:


10172836_10152300243609854_6111191558902601459_nI went back and put in tighter meandering (stipple) quilting, to try to make the hearts pop a bit more.  Anyway, all of this quilting brought me back to about 10 years ago when I bought the Pfaff…I had been considering a long arm quilting machine, but couldn’t justify the expense or the room it would take up.  Good thing I didn’t buy it, I’ve moved a dozen times in the intervening years…what a pain that would have been to haul around.

But now I’m settled in the new place, I plan on being here for 8 years at least.  And I have the dedicated sewing palace…and I can afford it.  And I just so happen to have a friend who let me come over and test drive hers. OMG it was fantastic.

Like the HandiQuilter II frame, a great deal of effort goes into preparing the quilt to be quilted.  You don’t just throw it up on the frame and go to town.

You spend a good deal of time ironing the top and back, then pinning them to the leaders, making sure the leaders are on straight, etc, etc.  There is a lot of precision that goes into it simply because if you are crooked, your quilt will roll up uneven, you will get wrinkles, and then puckers, or you’ll end up with a top that goes off the backing.  So yeah, it’s better than spending an evening on the floor with safety pins, but it’s still a lot of effort.

Wow, though. The difference in control and execution, soooooo huge.  I immediately fell in love with long arm quilting machines all over again.

Then I began the research for the one I would buy.

I’m cheap (have I mentioned that before?), so I immediately started out at the low end of the spectrum. But before I knew it I was eying $15K machines and thinking “that’s a good deal!”  GAH!  I went round and round and I keep coming back to A-1 quilting machines.  I have yet to try them out, hoping to do that in June after the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo, which I’ll be attending.  Gonna take a class on pant-making.  😀  Looking forward to that.

Well, just as I had resigned myself to waiting a month, trying all the machines, and THEN picking the one I wanted, a used A-1 came to my attention…for a really decent price. Omgosh, I might not be able to hold off until the show!  Everything keeps pointing back to the A-1, but I know I should test drive all the machines before I buy one.  Unfortunately the machine is 10 hours away, so I won’t be able to test drive that one before machine a decision about it.  Once I leave the house with the Uhaul, I’m kinda all in, ya know?

Anyway – during the process of this, it dawned on me that should I get good enough, yes, like many others before me, I could start finishing tops for others.  This would be interesting, since I’m pretty nervous to take on work for other people.  But more to the point, starting a small business doing this in the evenings would help me pay off the machine faster!  So…Quilting the Carolinas was born!  I have my business plan, and the social media phase is pretty well under foot.  Have the website, have the facebook page, have the twitter account, have the email account.  I’m pretty good to go. Oh, got the EIN and registered the name with the gov’t.  Just have to finish the paperwork with the state (Tuesday).  I’m pretty excited.

I will give myself 6 months of practicing on the machine before I start taking on clients work, and if I’m not doing top of the line quality work, I won’t take anyone’s money.  I’m struggling with my perfectionism with the quilt on the HandiQuilter II right now, so I can’t imagine how out of control I’ll be if I’m working for other people.

Anyway, that’s my huge news.  I’ve started a business doing something I love, part time, on the side.  Still have my day job, which I adore and won’t be quitting any time soon.  Wish me luck! I’ll need it!


Other Craft Projects:

But I’ve fallen in love with a house that is in complete disrepair. It’s two blocks from the main intersection of this cute little sleepy town about 30 mins from where I live. Population 5,000. The house is dirt cheap because it’s falling in on itself. But I’m madly in love with it. We’ve considered buying it and blogging our progress of fixing it up (which sounds fun if not exhausting). But the financing we thought would be available to help with repairs (203k), apparently doesn’t apply to this house. I’m not sure why…except that it might be too far gone. I realize this isn’t a restoration or renovation blog, and this is woefully off topic. However, it falls in line with my wondering about the rest of my life and what to do with it. Could we fix up this place and I could run a little sewing machine repair business out of the front? A small quilt shop? It’s big enough that I could buy a long arm quilter and set up my business of long-arm quilting. It also falls into the category of major projects I take on and then probably never finish!
There is so much wrong with the house, I don’t even know where to begin. There is a leak in the ceiling (though not the roof) which has brought down the plaster on two floors. There are creatures living in the attic. There are lots of rotten boards on the exterior. The basement is a disaster. Parts of the house that were added on later are tilted seriously. The stairs will have to be completely rebuilt. The kitchen would need completely overhauling. I just can’t even think of everything. Anyway – here are the pictures, look for yourself.

Other Craft Projects: