I am determined to make good use of my long arm, and become decently proficient at using its various functions as soon as possible. Consequently, when I was at my traditional guild’s meeting this month, and there was a request for a volunteer to quilt some tops that are destined to be donated to the children’s ward at the local hospital, I raised my hand, and ended up with three tops to quilt.
The next day, my friend Audrey (of B Quilty Studio) came over to show me how to get started with Pro-Stitcher — the computerized component of my long arm. She showed me how to use edge-to-edge designs, as well as how to select an area on my quilt and fill it with a block-sized design. I thought the charity quilts would be an excellent way to practice that new knowledge, and make sure I could figure out how to do it when she wasn’t standing there, waiting to help me.
The first top I quilted was this flannel one, featuring a lizard print in one of the fabrics. I looked through the pre-programmed designs on my Pro-Stitcher, and decided that dinosaurs would be a good match for a quilted design. I just ran it from edge to edge, and played with scaling it slightly differently for each row.
Here’s a close up on the bottom border area, so you can see the stitching a little better:
The flannel was really fraying, so after I trimmed the quilt up, I zigzagged the edge, to make it a little easier for whoever binds it. I thought it turned out pretty well.
Next up, I used another edge-to-edge design on a top that is basically a single piece of fabric. The quilting design is a sun and clouds.
By that time, I felt pretty confident about using a continuous design on a quilt top. So for the last quilt, I decided to practice quilting patterns in individual block areas. The maker of this quilt top alternated farm animal prints with solid squares, so I decided to quilt a windmill pattern in each solid square.
I think it looks really, really nice. My only comment is, by the end, it got pretty tedious. I set up the machine to quilt an empty square, set it going, stood around and waited for it to finish, then set up to stitch the next empty square. After a couple of rows, I grabbed a basket of clean laundry, and folded clothes while I waited for the block to stitch out. I ran out of laundry, and tried doodling quilting patterns in my sketch book to pass the time between set ups.
So, while I loved the result and might do it again for a quilt that merited it, I learned that this was a very time-intensive way to quilt a top. Particularly since I don’t think the child who gets this quilt will say, “Ooh, look at all the lovely stitching!” I could have done the sunshine and clouds pattern on this quilt too, and it would also have looked nice, but taken a fraction of the time to complete.
That brings the total tops quilted up to 6 so far — though all have been charity quilts. Maybe it’s time to load one of my own, waiting tops into the machine. It would be nice to chip away at items on my UFO list!