In reading the book, The One Thing, I was challenged to ask myself, “What is the one thing I can do with respect to sewing, such that by doing it, everything else becomes easier or unnecessary?” I decided the answer was, learn to freemotion quilt.
Once I can freemotion quilt, I can finished (1) my Advent calendar (2) my little runners and wallhangings and (3) do my own babyquilts and charity quilts without having to pay a lot of money to get them quilted. And once I get good enough to tackle a larger quilt, I can quilt more creatively, finishing all my own pieces. This will move many of my currently incomplete projects to the Finished pile.
As it happens, a short while ago, I entered a race with my daughter, the Mouse — it was 5K run, but both of us had been off running for a while due to injuries, so we were walking the route. Quite by chance, I ran into a quilting friend, Jolene, who was also walking the route with her grandson. Here we are, the four of us, halfway through the park. Jolene and I chatted about (naturally) quilting, and she told me she had just begun a couple of online quilting classes to learn freemotion quilting. She was quite pleased with what she had learned thus far, and highly recommended the classes. So of course, I emailed her afterwards to ask her for the links to the classes, which are offered on Craftsy — I was able to get the two classes she recommended for 40% off. One was “Freemotion Quilting a Sampler, with Leah Day” (who is THE freemotion quilting person to follow on the Internet), and the other was “Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine” with Ann Petersen.
For me, a huge hurdle to overcome in starting freemotion quilting has been, how to set up my machine properly. I have a Pfaff 7570 — which my machine maintenance person claims is the best sewing machine ever made. It may be. My issue with the Pfaff is, I never had any lessons on how to use it, and the documentation is terrible. I have scoured the Internet, looking for tips and tricks for using my machine, because not all machines work the same way. I had hoped for a tutorial on quilting on a Pfaff 7570, but it’s an older machine, and the Pfaff company was bought by Husqvarna a few years ago. Anyway, I’ve had a lot of struggle trying to get the whole thing set up, but today it seems like I finally got the pieces figured out. I was lucky enough to pick up a freemotion foot for the Pfaff at a local sewing machine store, and after fussing with the tensions and stitch lengths (it still feels that I’ve set the tension by guess and by golly), I think I finally have it working right. It seems to be doing what it’s supposed to do, without a lot of thread nesting on the bottom, or other problems I’ve encountered previously.
I’ve gotten through the preliminary classes for setting things up, and over the next few days I plan to start working on some sandwich samples. I know it will be a long learning curve, but I’m excited about learning to do well enough to start finishing some of my casual projects. I even got my husband to give it a try!