Tuesday, February 18, 2014

First Long Arm Quilting - its so fun

Giant Plus - before washing

I will introduce you properly to this Giant Plus quilt tomorrow or later this week, after I wash her and take some properly lit photos. However, to show you the quilting, these lighting conditions are better as they show the shadows. The quilt is about 64" square and the fabrics are the Nordika line by Jeni Baker.

Today I am sharing my first long arm quilting on my new machine on a quilt. Working on quilting cottons, as opposed to finer IKEA fabric, sure makes it easier to get the tension right.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

I quilted different designs in each plus, so the quilt is a quilting sampler. I found that the designs that I have used on my regular machine were easy to do on the long arm. My brain has already got them and the ease of moving the machine instead of the fabric and the better visibility of where you are going next made those motifs even easier for me to do.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

Motifs like that allegedly giant flower in the black flower plus were much harder and mostly look like scribbles.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

A regular rounded stipple is the easiest. I am sure I could have done the whole quilt that way in no time at all.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

Loopy loops were also fast and easy.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

I do less well with circles and swirls. The circles were hard to keep even and also I did not know how to arrange them on the space very well. Also, the machine likes to go from side to side and front to back the best. In fact it will make a straight horizontal line by pushing it gently with on finger. It happily goes around and diagonally, but takes more control by the operator. I need loads of practice.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

Relatively straight lines, using the edge of the hopping foot as a guide are also fairly easy but you are limited to about 1/4" apart. I need to investigate if there are other hopping feet with a wider guide mark. Of course you can also get long arm rulers, but totally straight lines are not usually what I am going for.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

As you can see, matchstick quilting is not hard to do either. I am eager to try it on a wider space to see if the need for me to move with the machine makes it harder.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

Again, with the lines 1/4' apart. In all these photos you also see the wavy lines I did on the background. They were so easy. The machine likes to stay in a horizontal line. So I was careful to just wobble it gently and it kept mostly in line so there was no tipping over at the edges. I will be using the wobbly lines often I think.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

The squared off stipple like design is one of my favourites (I used it on my Mod Pop quilt). The long arm makes it easier to actually get squared off corners.

Giant Plus - detail before washing

So there you have it, the first quilt on my new APQS Millennium long arm quilting machine. I am going to wash it after work to see how that impacts the quilting and then take some much nicer photos. I have a lot to learn, but I am happy about the fact that I can turn out a reasonable and surely cuddly product right from the start - not professional grade or anything but as good as I could do with my regular machine. In a few months we can all look back and, hopefully, see significant improvement.

I'm far behind on answering comments (and I don't answer giveaway comments, but there is still a big backlog leaving those out) but I will try to catch up tonight. Also, if you have not yet entered the Green Fairy Quilts giveaway, please go here and join in.

Best,

Leanne