Happy Friday! Are you ready for a report on my first practice piece? (If you’ve just arrived at the blog, check the last post for info on my new quilting set up.) Stinka took her Quality Control job very seriously, as you can see. More on that at the end of this post.I know a lot of you are curious and others are hoping to live vicariously through my adventures. I want to be sure to share some of my thoughts as I go along. Here are some tips from Practice Piece #1:
- Don’t drink too much coffee before getting started! You don’t need your brain to be racing while you do this. It was far too easy to get carried away, even with the machine set at a fairly high speed. My initial tendency was to sweep over the layers in large quick arcs and spirals. Not good for stitch lengths. I ripped those out and started over. (Not as hard as it sounds when the stitch lengths are a 1/4″ long!)
- Breathe and focus. That’s really the key to enjoying yourself.
- Get a feel for the movements involved in making different shapes. In the end, this is going to come down to a lot of muscle memory. The only way to build that up is to practice and give yourself room to make mistakes.
Everyone is going to approach it differently, based on their level of quilting experience and their artistic instincts. We’re not all the same, thank goodness. That means what happens for me may not happen for you. But for me, this is an entirely new level of quilty fun.
I hate, absolutely hate, wrestling quilts through my Bernina. It’s the least favorite thing for me. I’d rather cut fabric all day. But I also want finished quilts, so up to now, I had to grin and bear it. Having this monster set up means letting go of that niggling thought in the back of my head that says, “Remember…you still have to quilt this when you’re done.” Freedom. That’s priceless.
Of course, there is still work involved. You have to set everything up before the fun begins. But I have to say, despite various negative comments in numerous places online, the set up is easy. You need to keep the correct order for all the rails, being sure to have them facing the right direction. But if that’s so hard it makes you pull your hair out and rant on the Internet, you probably shouldn’t be laying out any cold hard cash for this frame. You should stick to paying someone else to do it.
Not having to baste the quilt is such a huge thing to me. Granted, if I get a queen or king on there, I’ll have to do some partial basting before switching rails for the second half. But the throw and twin sizes are a piece of cake.You hardly have to touch the machine it maneuver it. Finding your rhythm and the proper machine speed is key to getting even stitches. I need to work on that. Overall, I’m quite satisfied with the first practice piece. It’s not perfect, by any means. But it’s still as good as, maybe even better, than my free motion quilting on the Bernina domestic machine.
I’m ready for more practice. Next up, another older collection of fabric and a quilt top that’s been sitting around for years. This time it’s Joel Dewberry’s Heirloom for a beachy feel. I have some bobbins to wind and then I get started.As for Stinka’s review of the first practice piece……she thinks I need more practice.
Have a great Friday and safe, relaxing weekend!