Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Maybe it's just me, but I am seeing a bit of a dividing line in the quilting world of late.  There is the school of machine quilters who uses a longarm, aka LA, and there is the one who uses a domestic sewing machine, aka DSM.  I get a feeling that there is a thought in some places that one is inferior to the other.  I liken it to the school of thought from years ago where machine quilting was believed to be inferior to hand quilting, kind of a "you cheated" belief.

Well, I have FMQ quilted for 10 years on my Bernina 180. Prior to that, for 7 years I quilted on my beloved Elna, still alive and stitching her heart out today, but kicking up her wheels (ha ha, bad pun) in sunny southern Florida.  About 8 months ago I purchased a used Avanté.  I have taught myself using books and mainly Leah Day.  Leah quilts on a DSM.  Her wonderful, wonderful designs, videos, as well as her first FMQ book and DVD were all my resources. Now I've purchased two Craftsy classes, one of Leah's and one of Angela Walters' (LA quilter) and I have to say I love them both.

I do not see the difference, really, in the finished product between quilting on a DSM or a LA; the key is PRACTICE. Watch a video on YouTube or one that came with a book, read the book carefully, study the design, draw it on paper; the muscle memory is really the same for the shapes. The tool is different whether it is a pencil, a machine or moving the quilt sandwich.  I still feel, probably because I'm still quite a novice on the LA, that I have more control when I'm quilting on my Bernina.  The Avanté skates along at times; at others I think there is a bump in the track (and I've looked and run my fingers along it SO many times, all to no avail...maybe the floor is slightly uneven which makes it jump or grab in usually two spots along its path, ugh.)

So why did I switch from DSM to LA?  My main reason was that I thought it would be easier to maneuver large quilts, as my Bernina doesn't have that large of an area from needle to arm of the machine, aka the throat plate, I believe it's called.  My other reason was speed; I thought I could finish more quilts faster.  So far this has not proven to be the case - I've completed 5 and have #6 on right now.  That is within the past 8 months.  Well, that isn't counting 2 quiltets, 36X42" muslin practice pieces.  And I also thought I could start a quilting business.  This has not come to pass, nor am I actively pursuing it right now, although I haven't totally ruled it out.

I want the freedom to be able to do both, and I was so happy to find I could easily stitch out some of Leah's designs on those placemats using my Bernina.  It's all good.  :-)  Now off to sew for a little bit before bedtime...I visited a terrific quilt shop (with a great online store, very dangerous) in Detroit, well, actually in Berkley, Michigan today,  called Guildcrafters.  Confession: I bought a kit to make an adorable summer quilt.  Ya, I know summer's over, but the colours--!!  And it's a snap to sew together, nothing but squares with they key being fabric placement.  Basically, mindless.  And it's going to Florida with me next month to stitch up there, where it's summer pretty much year round!  They do the neatest kits ideas.  The display quilt is on the wall, and under it, sealed in cellophane usually WITH the pattern enclosed, is the quilt.  Most of the quilts are very simple in construction, with the fabric all or mainly chosen from one line.  Many are their own patterns too.  I could have bought 3 for sure, maybe more!  This is when I am so happy to have my little yoga job as there is absolutely NO GUILT in spending the money to sew up a quilt.  Well, the negative nancy I have hovering over my left shoulder did sneer that I could easily sew something up like this using my PLENTIFUL stash, but I slapped her and stuffed her back down in her jack-in-the-box style box, and picked that puppy right up and did not let go until it was paid for!  Off to sew!

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