I’ve got a fever…

…and the only prescription is more long-arm!  It was recently announced, and discovered by the Indy Modern Quilt Guild (IMQG), that at a local quilt shop, Always in Stitches, was beginning to offer rental time on their long arm quilting machine.  In order to rent time on said machine, they require you to take a class to learn the ins and outs of using it.  This resulted in a resounding “sign me up” from the IMQG members.  After a flurry of Facebook messages, and calls to the shop I was registered for class on October 26.  Two other classes were also set up, four people per class.

The class was lots of fun and very informative.  We all took lots of notes, and our instructor, Christy, was very knowledgable and sweet.  The shop uses a Handi Quilter Avante 18 Long arm machine.  Christy does all the long arm service for the shop, and only sews free hand – no pantograph, rulers, or templates – so that is what the class focused on.

When we arrived at the store there was a practice quilt already loaded on the frame from the previous class.  So we jumped right in with how to sew.  The steps seemed similar to free-motion quilting on my home machine – bring your bobbin thread to the front, take a few stitches in place to lock your threads, and away you go.  Threading the machine however, was not like your home machine.  I will definitely be referencing the manual when I need to do that again.  At the end of the class we learned how to load the quilt layers onto the frame.  This was probably one of the most complicated and crucial parts.  If the quilt is not square and pinned to the frame just right you may end up with all sorts of issues like puckering and waves.  image

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I think I will sign up for my first rental time next month so I can put all my new long arm knowledge/skills to work.  I plan on beginning with a small throw size quilt that I will show you in a later post.  Stay tuned!  I figure that is a good way for me to gauge how long it will actually take me to get a quilt loaded onto the frame and quilted, so I can budget larger projects.  Can’t wait!!

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