Monday, June 27, 2011

Long arm quilting

 I don't know if you know but I have been renting the long arm quilting machine at my local sewing shop, Joyce's Sewing Shop, for a little under a year.
Mostly I do all over designs and have done a little bit of custom quilting in borders.

Well on Friday I decided to give a go to custom quilt an entire quilt. And I didn't pick a little one either! No, no I had to pick the 100" x 100" quilt I'd just finished sewing up for a new pattern.

(You can get my current patterns at Fat Quarter Shop or Pattern Spot)

The day did not start well. It was pouring rain and I got wet just getting into the shop at 9:30am.
It took me over an hour just to load the silly thing! But once we were loaded I thought all would be golden. I'd found the perfect Sulky verigated blue thread to match the basicgrey Grunge borders and I started to quilt. Well I got about an inch before the thread snapped. Ok....rethread, add sewers add and start again, 2" this time and snap.
This went on for over an hour as we tried every trick and method we could think of, including switching to some King Tut thread. The threads just kept snapping on us.
Finally Kelley, a long arm extraordinaire herself, said maybe the brand new needle we'd put in was bad. Sure enough switch it out and all the snapping stopped. By this point it was almost noon!!

I was not going to be put off though and kept quilting away, switching threads for the border and the main part of the top. I quilted and quilted. Stopped and chatted as other customers came in and wanted to see what I was doing, how the machine worked etc, Quilted some more.

Shane finally called me because it was getting close to the time to get Little Bit from school, luckily he was on a split shift and was able to get her. They played until he had to go back to work so he dropped her off at the shop where I was still quilting away.

Little Bit was awesome, read her book and looked at all the pretty threads for half an hour until my mom could get her about 5:30.

I'm still quilting. And quilting. At some point I had given up my hope of this being a incredibly grand custom quilt. I settled for focusing the extra work in only the larger empty spaces. Everything else just got little orange peels quilted in.

So finally at 7:30 I had finished and was out the door. I spent 10 HOURS quilting this monster. I stood the entire time. I could barely move. I can still barely move. But I am really happy with how it turned out.

I can't show you the entire quilt just yet but thought I'd give you a sneak peek at the quilting. Which I have to say I really am proud of. I know it's not as amazing as some of the girls out there can do, Like Natalia at Piece n Quilt or Judi at Green Fairy but for me it is the best I think I'll ever be. The side borders aren't as good because of the all the stopping and starting as I rolled the quilt but I even like them.

Somehow this quilt was meant to be. I made it in under a week and probably could have made it in less time if I'd not had all sorts of other things crop up last week.

And this one is MINE. Yes I'm actually going to keep a quilt!


Jacqueline said...


Four dogs and one quilter said...

I think you did a wonderful job. You are being too hard on yourself. Your next one will be better, and the one after that will be better still. You go girl!

Jennifer said...

Great job on the quilt! Those king sized ones do take forever (and mine didn't even have custom quilting!) but so worth it when you can admire it in your room!

Brita said...

Wow! And congratulations!! No sense in starting with a small quilt -- I mean, you obviously got your rhythm going and you were in a zone to get so much done in one day!! You have reason to be very proud of it -- can't wait till you show the whole thing.

Katie M. said...

It's an awesome quilt....but 10 hours on your feet - yep, I'd have been sore too!

Karee said...

BioFreeze your shoulders and know YOU DID it! Your quilting is lovely.

The thought of rotating a quilt at the 10 hr point would have been too much to consider but that is what I do for the side borders after the top, interior, & bottom FMQing is done.

Paul said...

Looks Great! I rent time at my LQS as well... But 10 hours! I'm impressed! The longest I have worked at the long arm was 8 hours, and I know how I felt after that, I can't imagine 10 hours.


Sara said...

You did a wonderful job even with all the commotion around you!

Anonymous said...

It is just beautiful...and you should definitely keep it! After putting that much time and love (and achy feet) into it!! LOL It really is pretty, and I can't wait to see the whole quilt revealed!
Jacque in SC

Chris said...

What a beautiful job - despite the trials and tribulations!

Jeanne Gwin said...

I think you did a wonderful job. And my God Cara, the pressure you put on yourself, are you insane girl. You can't keep doing that, slow down a bit. You need your own machine. I do have a question, what color of thread is in your bobbin or are you using variegated? Did you have a pattern or is all that free hand? And I have another question, do most people take the quilt out and turn sideways to do the long side borders? I think I am going to start doing that because it will be must neater and easier. What say you? I say, good job Bob but don't kill yourself like that

SarahB said...

Absolutely beautiful Cara!!! You did a fabulous job!