Saturday, August 27, 2016

Work in Progress: Quilting the Wedding Gift (aka the Irish Single Chain) on the Long Arm

Putting the backing first and then the quilt top on the rollers.  It's a good idea to watch YouTube videos by Handi Quilter beforehand the next time I rent the long arm machine.  And Evelyn who assisted me said I should do it soon when I told her that I have another quilt top already sewn and waiting for sandwiching.
Bobbin winder of the long arm
Adding thread to the 2 bobbins (but we had to do it again because I used 3) and next time I'll remember to wind more because I do like more dense stitching.
I used to woodwork with a boyfriend in my distant past, and using this machine reminded me of that love of power tools.  I had a bit of a misadventure because my backing was too short!  I told Evelyn let's just take it off and I'll bring it home to add more backing to the bottom.  She said no, we'll take it off but just unpin one side, trim an edge off the left side and sew it back on to the bottom.  She was lovely!  She helped drag the quilt to the other workroom, set me up on a sewing machine and helped me pin.  Pretty much in a jiffy I was back on the long arm.
I called my stitching loopty loops and Evelyn called them cursive capital Ls.  I noticed in the beginning my clumsy starts and stumbles with my free motion quilting, but in the end it's all good and hopefully the bride will think the imperfect loops make the quilt look more handmade and lovingly crafted.
The quilt after being trimmed, and you can see my pile of excess backing and batting.  I'll use the rest of the backing for binding and the batting for practice squares for free motion quilting practice at home as well as stuffing charity pet beds.  Waste not, want not.  

I spent a late afternoon and early Friday evening at the quilt studio, where I rented the long arm machine to quilt a wedding gift for my husband's nephew and niece.  It's rather feminine, so really it's more for Jen than Jim.  Even though I took a class on how to use the machine a couple months ago, I was grateful to have Evelyn, a studio employee, instruct and assist. She was full of helpful advice and humor and aplomb when we had to remove the quilt because I had made the backing not long enough and needed to cut and sew more pink fabric to finish quilting.  It took me three and a half hours which cost $52.50 plus $3.00 for the three bobbin spools of thread, which is a bargain compared to paying for a computerized machine to finish the sandwiching.  However, it's priceless to have made by my own hands the whole quilt from start to finish and to add long arm quilting to my sewing skill set.

Up next?  Using the embroidered text feature on my sewing machine.  A quilt label with name and date of quilt, materials and care instructions:  Single Irish Chain.  100% linen and cotton.  August 2016.  Wash on gentle, delicate cycle with mild detergent and tumble dry warm.  And wedding sentiments:  Congratulations Jim & Jen, September 10, 2016.  Love, Aunt Anna and Uncle Patrick.  

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