My First Experience…

November 7, 2008 § 4 Comments

It just needs a binding
Finished quilting! Now, it just needs a binding.

… at quilting with an HQ16… or how NOT to quilt a quilt.

There is a learning curve to everything the first time you try. And the same is no less true for quilting a quilt.  My first experience using a mid-arm machine to quilt was interesting… eye-opening even… and definitely good learning experience.  I now know what NOT to do.  And I know that I need to make a few more charity quilts before attacking that pile of unfinished tops.

Measure don’t eyeball it. Measure to center the quilt when you mount or pin the quilt to the leaders as well as in the middle as you are quilting.  My corners are hideously NOT square.  I am going to invest in a good Long Arm Tape Measure.

Oops! I quilted myself into a corner.

Don’t quilt yourself into a corner. Although this is probably not noticeable to most non-quilting eyes, it does give an overall better impression if general meandering is evenly spaced with no funny shaped, wonky stitched, crossing swirls – unless of course the objective is to make ALL of the stitches wonky, funny shaped and crossed.

Pace yourself. This quilt took me 3 hours from start to finish. And nearly an hour of it was attaching it to the machine, preparing the bobbins, adjusting the tension and whatnot.  It can be hard on your back.  And hard on your feet.  Take breaks.  Drink lots of water. (I don’t know, that just sounds like good advice no matter what you are doing)  And don’t hurry. Relax. Breath. Find your rhythm.  Even, smooth stitching results from even smooth movements.

The first few stitches without the stitch regulator
The first few stitches without the stitch regulator. Blech.

Use the stitch regulator until you have a good handle on things. I took a handful of stitches at the beginning in manual mode and it is immensely harder for the novice.  I immediately switched the machine to regulated mode and figured I’d come back to manual mode down the road after quite a few more quilts. I’ve heard that experienced quilters don’t like the stitch regulator and routinely turn it off.  I’d like to be that good one day.

I’ll let you know if I have any more light bulb moments when I try to using a pantograph.  I’m definitely not ready for what they call “custom quilting” which is specific block and border designs rather than allover quilting.

For anyone living near me… I rented the HQ16 at The Quilter’s Garden in Duvall.  They are very nice, friendly and helpful.  The owner’s husband was also working that day and checked in on me twice while I was working on this quilt.

§ 4 Responses to My First Experience…

  • Jan says:

    I’ve never tried this type of quilting before but recently a friend related her experience. She said that before starting, the instructor gave her paper and a pencil and had her practice doodling swirls and loops specifically with the intent of practicing how not to back yourself into a corner. She said the exercise helped immensely.

  • Tine says:

    Thanks for your opinions on this! I would love to be able to rent time on a machine like that….I do my quilting on my regular machine. No stitch regulator and not a lot of room for the rolled up quilt. But it’s okay, it’s fun 🙂

  • Diane says:

    I think it looks great. Have fun and don’t be a perfectionist the first few quilts. I am loving my Gammill. Practice, practice, practice.

  • Kathryn says:

    I never even thought of being able to rent one!!! What a great idea to get to know which one you like (considering there are so many options). You did great. The stitches look so nice and even!

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