I don’t have a long-arm quilting machine.

Yet.

I want one. Very. Very. Much.

I have a whole post planned about my long-arm experiences lately, but this post is mostly about my work-in-progress this week. I’ll save my long-arm pining for another day, but I will mention that I don’t think this is going to be a short-lived obsession.

I took this quilt top to Sew Crafty up in Durham for my first attempt at long arm quilting something besides a sample square. Toni, the owner, is a delight to rent long arm time from, and I HIGHLY recommend her (even though it may mean more competition for me getting the time that I’d like!) Toni’s easy-going, very reasonable about rates and scheduling, and does some amazing work with middle and high school-age girls in her sewing camps.

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I debated doing something with lots of right angles to echo the patchwork, but at the last minute, I chose an all over chrysanthemum pattern that has a little bit of echoing on many of the petals.

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A long time ago, pre-Penny Sampler class with Stitched in Color, I saw this video on you tube by Rachel at Stitched in Color. I originally used the video to get a feel for whether I’d like an online class from her (which I do). For this quilt, I took what I remembered from that video and combined it with what I’ve learned and read and practiced from Angela Walters‘ class at Sew Down, and here’s the result.

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The back is actually a old, well-loved, modal sheet.  I adore these sheets, but my husband complains that they’re too “slippery.”  I decided to take one and put it on the back of some of my favorite fabrics and turn it into my own couch snuggle quilt.

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The wear on the sheet shows up more in pictures than when you’re looking at the actual quilt.  I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out – I was SO surprised there weren’t any puckers and pleats when using something so stretchy on the back!  It might not be exactly square, but there’s no obvious waviness from having the sheet stretched too much in places. Maybe I just lucked out?

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I realize that one day I’ll look back and be completely dissatisfied with my quilting.  I almost hope for that because I always aim to improve.  

Today though, I am bursting with pride.  I did a large throw quilt (72″x80″ or so)  in almost exactly 3.5 hours. (It took an hour, assisted by my instructor, to load a quilt for the first time, and I stood there for 3.5 hours after – with, of course, above-average number of bathroom breaks since I’m pregnant.) By the end, I was moving super-fast, not because I was that good but because I had a deadline to get back to my family, and I really wanted to finish the quilt in one session.

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Now it just need to be bound and washed!

A huge thanks to Ann Tilley who gave me my Sew Crafty long arm lesson. Ann studied fiber arts and fashion at Savannah College of Art and Design, and she brought a ton of general sewing machine and fabric knowledge to her long arm introduction. Toni from Sew Crafty couldn’t have picked a better ambassador for her machine – Ann’s great!

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I’ll be linking up with the other WIP’s this week at Freshly Pieced.

18 Comments

  1. Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl

    I am so with you on the long arm obsession… but how wonderful that you can rent time reasonably nearby! Awesome! I am also totally stoked to get an opportunity to take a class with Angela Walters in the future. Your quilting looks great and I love the re-purposed sheet – it makes the quilt seem well loved and even more snuggly already!

  2. Kim S.

    Daisy, you did an amazing job! I would be SO psyched if I could operate a long arm half this well! Way to go! Looking forward to seeing more of your progress as you continue to practice and grow your talent!

  3. Ann Tilley

    YAY! I admit I was a little nervous about you using that stretchy backing at your first-attempt but the magic of the long-arm makes it do-able! It looks so lusciously comfy. I’m so happy your experience was a good one. It’s not easy to find a long-arm machine to rent in the area, that’s reasonably priced. SO glad Toni can offer this!! Can’t wait to see more of what you do!

  4. Susan @theboredzombie.com

    Awesome! 3.5 hours eh? That’s pretty darn amazing. I refuse to try one for fear I’ll be clearing out the beds to make room! 🙂 Your quilt is great and I love that you used the sheet on the back. 🙂

  5. Tamie

    Love your quilt and your quilting. You are lucky to have someplace to rent time on the long arm.

  6. Paige

    One of the shops here let’s you rent time on their longarm machine. I have done it a few times but just an allover stipple. I should try again and branch out into something new!

    1. Daisy

      Hi Wendy! It’s freehand. I haven’t used or even seen anyone use a pantograph yet, but I’m eager to check them out. Thanks for asking!

  7. Toni Mason

    You are amazing, Daisy!  I can’t believe what an awesome job you did in such a short period of time!  It makes me SO HAPPY to make my longarm available to people like you who really appreciate it and have such a good time with it.  I look forward to seeing what wonderful work you do tomorrow when you come back to work on your second quilting job!  Thanks, also, for the “shout out” in your blog post – I’m anxious for more people to discover that they can have access to a longarm, also!

  8. Lin Marsh

    Your quilting is gorgeous. I have a sit-down long arm, and love it.

    I am a Michigander, and loved the comment in the side bar about your husband’s Ohio jokes. I could tell a few myself.

  9. hydeeann

    i’m going to pretend i don’t know anything about wanting a longarm and say that your quilting is gorgeous! and i did look at it pretty closely – i’m not just saying that. i love how you combined some of your favorite fabrics with a sheet you love (but the mr didn’t) to make your own couch snuggle quilt. that’s just perfect!

  10. Sarah @ Berry Barn Designs

    Daisy, I hope you look back at this quilt and fondly remember how amazingly talented you were right out of the gate! And I love the modal sheet idea – I’ll have to keep an eye out for a flat sheet on sale to use for this purpose because they’d be so soft for snuggling. Happy saving up for a longarm – I can’t wait to see what you get and what you make with it! ; )

  11. Paula

    I think that is the most inviting quilt I have ever seen, the backing and the quilting are fabulous. Beautiful patchwork as well. Wonderful job – enjoy !

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