Friday, June 27, 2014

The Longest Arm

Overambition, laziness, busy-ness…(a three pronged hybrid?) Whatever you want to blame it on, the fact remains- my quilt isn’t done yet. BUT- though the project has laid dormat since the move, there was a time when it was still at the top of my to-do list (or at least higher than the rest of my to-dos that weren't nearly as fun). So hop in the way back machine (set to: early April) and let me tell you a quaint little quilting story...

Have you ever used a long arm before?

Wait…have you ever heard of a long arm before?

Admittedly- I hadn’t. (I don’t need to explain- again- how far out of my depth I am with this quilting thing, do I?)
But when I embarked on a queen size quilt project, I realized pretty quickly that sewing even a simple quilting design on my home machine was going to get problematic.

Enter- my friend Jen, and her adorable grandmother.
And her adorable grandmother’s adorable attic turned sewing palace.

 (There was about 8 times this much storage. Fabric for daaaaaaaaayyyyyysssss...)

Jen is part of the quilt-along (was part? Is it over?), but unlike its inept founder (me) she actually knows a thing or two about quilting, so she offered up her skills and equipment if anyone was interested. Um…yes please! I signed up in a heartbeat, and by that I mean, I forced my ambitions on her repeatedly through email, and she finally gave in and agreed to show me her stitched up ways. 

Seriously though- Jen is incredibly talented, and equally kind, so I was thrilled that she was willing to help me make my way-too-big dream come true. And it turns out, she comes from good stock, because her grandma was just as talented (ok…maybe even more. It’s a better-with-age thing) and sweet as can be. She was also incredibly interesting. Gram's a fiesty little lady, who has three kids and a slew of grandkids (only one of whom has caught the quilting bug). She's married to an adorable man who tinkers about with his own projects, and stops by occasionally to give her a a good matured ribbing about her mess of a studio. The three of us listened to Neil Diamond on Pandora, and chit-chatted like girlfriends about working (she still works as a daycare teacher), crafting, raising babies, and a ton of smaller subjects while we (they) set up the machine, pressed various projects, pinned layers, and general made quilting awesomeness. For those few hours she adopted me as her own, and I was all to happy to soak up her wisdom and perspective (no life as much as quilting).

  Look at her. Making magic for me! 

Sneak peek! Lookin' sweet, right?

I’m not 100% sure what was in it for them, letting me invade their space for hours, borrow supplies, ask silly questions, and all around inconvenience them…but I think they’re both just quilt enthusiasts, who love to support others who appreciate the art. And I’ll admit, it’s not the most common hobby amongst the under-60 set, so I think Gram was extra pumped that one of Jen’s at least semi-cool friends shared her passion.

These kind ladies took me under their wing…their long-armed wing…and let me goof around with some crazy expensive machinery, and I loved every second of it. Jen even let me wear her telephone-cord/belt/scissors contraption, so I could trim threads in style. I was a little nervous about running the machine myself- it’s gigantic, and intimidating- but they gave me a quick tutorial and I was on my way. I originally planned to do a diamond pattern, but in the end went with a straight stitch in variating distances, and I love the way it turned out. It took a couple of hours in total- there is some set up time, and some futzing around making sure everything is perfect time. (futzing=a super technical quilting term).

So after a fun afternoon chatting with a couple of crafty ladies, I gained a new skill, and left with a 90% finished quilt, ready to be bound. (and there it sat for another three months…but who’s counting?)

They tried to convince me to go for some freestyle stitching on my 
real quilt vs just this a scrap. Heck no, ladies. I (sometimes) know my limits.

I’ve got about a million projects to do around the new house, but my sewing stuff is officially unpacked, so I’m hoping I finish this beast sooner than later. I’m aiming for before the first snowfall. In the meantime- check out this longarm in action. Riviting, I know.

1 comment :

  1. Cool, but please...don't put a long arm on your Christmas wish list!