Ok, so its not for all of us patchworkers and quilters – I get that – but ever since I started quilting I have really enjoyed the piecing but not happy with my quilting efforts.  Tugging large quilts through a small throat didn’t do it for me.  SITD does not inspire me personally.  I put a walking foot onto my Janome 8200 and that didn’t seem to make a difference either and I was still struggling with lumpy backs and tucks, and I know all the tricks having listened carefully to every bit of advice..  FMQ on a domestic machine worked better for me, but only on smaller machines.   I did manage a reasonable effort on this quilt, combining cats on quilts [both Tilly and the embroidery] with FMQ and straight lines [no rulers] but that’s about it.

What I did find was random lines to and from across the quilt really did work, and some brilliant advice from Gail Lawther some time ago pushed me into that idea.   Don’t worry on the quilting, just do your own thing she said.  So for some time I have been doing that and it really works!   Try it.

Ever since my first visit to FOQ I have craved a long arm machine.   Oh my goodness each time the quilting of a quilt happened I wanted one.  I can’t say it’s been an obsession, but I have coveted the idea of having one on and off since I first started sewing. Sending my work off to someone else to finish didn’t appeal to me.  Don’t misunderstand me here as I am not being critical of anyone that does, and my goodness there are some amazing artists out there – have you ever seen the Quilt of Memories that Joe Bennison quilted for the project, and the work of Lynda Jackson or Abigail Sheridan de Graff and many many more quilters out there?  I am more concerned that my average girl sort of work is just not ready to be under the scrutiny of someone else and I am not sure I will ever reach the stage of showcasing it  at a show but you know, I love seeing everyone else’s work.  Who knows though.  I have several tops I am chuffed with thanks to Abbie Searles BOM’s and support that are waiting for the quilt to happen so there’s time yet.

Every quilt show, FOQ and the Grosvenor shows I have visited the Longarm stands, I played with the different ideas, spoken to people who had one already and every time the one message I heard was   ‘you will not regret it’.    A small inheritance took care of the cost thing,  but there was still the question of space before I could begin to think of which one I might have..

For many years there’s been the solution right in front of me .. the space I needed .. so the final obstacle was removed.   Prevarication is my second name mostly, so I still agonised over the final decision.   So much money.   I see people saying its not easy.  I watched youtubes, I read blogs, I drooled over other peoples achievements, I joined FB groups.  I discussed things with everyone about the subject.  I spoke to my husband.   ‘If you want it then why aren’t you getting one’ he said [never expected to hear that being said].

This year whilst visiting the UKQU.co.uk website exhibition at Harrogate, [did you see them ..the quilts are amazing and are travelled with the Grosvenor Shows for the second half of 2019] I once more popped to the Handy Quilter stand.  Mainly to say hello to Lynda from Capricorn Quilts, but as usual stood playing with a SImply Sixteen, kitted out with all the bling.  The channel lock for straight lines, the laser for pantographs, stitch regulator and much more.  Then it happened.    Liz mentioned one of her clients wanted to upgrade to a bigger machine but needed to sell his Simply Sixteen first .. and he lived less than an hour from me!   Oh my.  Well.  What would you have done.

This happened.

Now I have my machine what I need is more time to use it, but it’s brilliant.    I didn’t realise how much of a difference it would make, but it really does.   I didn’t realise quite how much wadding I would get through really quickly but thanks to a roll of Vliseline 80/20 I am stocked up for now, and it’s lovely to work with too [thanks Fiona].  What I do need to do is put together more tops to practice with. It’s a different challenge to learn .. setting tension, loading the quilt to the frame, working backwards with a pantograph, why is the thread shredding?   But I am getting there.   I bought Isacord, and the machine loves it.   I have already met a great group of people with this hobby, and now I am meeting a whole different group of people.   Loving it!

This is my first effort on the frame.   It is so quick and easy.  The idea was to showcase some fabulous Makower Rhapsody fabric samples I have been sent.  This pretty fabric, inspired by Gustav Klimt’s art,  is in the shops now and is marvellous to work with.  Sparkly fabrics draw me to them – maybe I was a magpie once!   I think I managed to get a piece of every pattern in this range into the quilt top and have backed it with a length of Beth Studley’s design, also from Makower UK, that has been in my stash a couple of years.  10 inch circles on 12 inch backs with the remaining fabrics cut into 5 inch widths for the border.  This design has been in my head since I saw someone else putting a similar idea together so there might be a pattern out there to use.  I rarely use a pattern but store ideas up in my head until the right time and fabric arrives to give it a try.    This is one idea I will try again.  I can definitely recommend giving it a go, if you have space, its changing the way I am enjoying both patchwork and quilting .. now all I need to do is PRACTICE!