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The older I get, the less appealing things and stuff are to me. Do you find that to be true as well? This can make gift giving occasions particularly difficult on my husband. So I had to get creative when it came time to let him know what I wanted for my birthday which was yesterday. I don't need one more thing to dust or one more gadget to find a place for, but I had all these quilt tops that needed to be quilted. So for my birthday gift, I got to spend three hours learning how to use a long arm quilting machine so I will be able to do my own quilting instead of paying someone else to do it for me.
I've been wanting to play with one of these machines ever since I first heard about them a few years ago. I know I'll never own one myself, but as long as I have one available to rent time on whenever I need to, that is really all I need. So here is some of what I did during my three hours of training...
On the practice fabric already set up on the machine, I was able to get right to work doing some simple meandering, then I went back over it to create a ribbon meander. That was fun.
Then I moved on to some loop meanders which I like a lot more and seemed to do better at as well. I liked the swooping and swirling movements better than just the wavy movements of the simple meander.
Then I tried my hand at some heart shapes which caused me to get the giggles for some reason. I didn't do too well at these as you can see and I'm sure the fact that I was laughing at how awful they were turning out didn't help much. But it was fun anyway!
Next it was time to try working within a marked space with this border design which reminded me of the Palmer handwriting method we used to learn in school. I didn't do too badly on the marked lines...
...and surprisingly enough, I did even better with no markings to guide me. I guess freehand is more my thing.
Then I went back to the loop meander and practiced making bigger loops and trying to keep my negative space even.
After once more pass at large-loop loop meandering across the practice fabric, I felt that I was ready to stitch on a real quilt top.
Do you recognize this piece? It's one of my I Spy quilt tops that I put together this summer. I brought them along so my teacher could help me decide how I might want to quilt them during another session at another time. But we moved along so quickly that she felt I was ready to go for it. So I got a lesson on loading a quilt and was able to get right to work on it.
Loop and swish and loop and swish...
...three passes from left to right...
...looping and swishing...
...and there's the back with all those lovely large loop meander lines! It took about a half hour to do this little quilt once it was loaded on the machine, and it was such a blast!
So that was my birthday gift! Isn't that so cool? Happy birthday to me! I was so excited to get home and show my husband how much fun I had. He didn't get it, but he was glad that I enjoyed myself. Then he asked me if I wanted one of these machines! Oh my, he doesn't know what he's asking! Like I said, I don't want another thing that I have to find a place for, and something like this would definitely need its own space! I'm perfectly content being able to schedule a few hours on someone else's machine when I have a quilt to stitch. In fact, I've already scheduled my next session to quilt the other three I Spy tops! What a birthday gift!
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