Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Studio Reno & Learning ProStitcher Sortware

Charity Quilt Back 
with ProStitcher Premium

Combining a healthy portion of pride, reasonable self-criticism, and buckets full of gratitude to all the help I've been blessed with, I've made good progress. Is it perfect? Heck, no, but it's quilted, and looks darned good! Sure, I was so nervous setting it all up I forgot to stagger the design, but as Beth from Cooking Up Quilts said, "Tell them it was a design choice." Beth, who has been at the other end of the line patiently listening to me fret and wail, and answered with giggles as well as the right answer. I'm so grateful she's several steps ahead of me in learning. Thanks, Beth!

For those of you who are just popping in just now, I've been renovating my quilting studio, and upgraded my longarm system. I also tacked on the ProStitcher automation, and am immersion learning. Is there a learning curve? For sure!

A little over a week ago the carpet arrived. I nervously watched the cream color filling up the room, and hoped I hadn't chosen too light. 

The next day we were already shifting things back into the room, and setting up the Avante. You can plan the layout all you want, but it comes down to how much space these large machines actually occupy. I kept asking, "Can I move around it comfortably, and how will I be using the space?"

My girls would like me to share that we turned this longarm no less than 4 times before I decided it was right. Yes, we were all in fits and giggles by that point, and I was very, very tired.

"Hello, Fernando!"

The next morning the new Handi Quilter Forte made its arrival! What's his name? Fernando, of course, being tall, bright and handsome with Axel the Avante on the right.

Staying with Handi Quilter was a no-brainer for me. I loved my Avante! HQ's customer service was outstanding, I had a dealer about an hour away, and my after-market products would work between both machines. Optional feet and accessories like a ruler base are significant investments on top of the machine. Not duplicating these items saved me money and aggravation, and I knew Handi Quilter's quality was wonderful.

Tim from Bolts & Quarters, Parkersburg, W. Va., set up everything in working order, and gave me a great tutorial on getting it going. I worked through one small baby quilt while he was there servicing the Avante. I had been studying my online resources for weeks so I had somewhat of a learning base beforehand, but it's so helpful to have someone nearby.


The Next Day On My Own

Not nearly as easy as the first day with training wheels, I muddled through. There was a good deal of shrieking involved in this project, and a friend and I had to cut the hopping foot out of the edge of the quilt after it stitched itself under! I got the first row done, rolled the quilt, and was already out of my element, as you can see.

Quick lesson: The quilt backing MUST be a minimum 8" larger on ALL sides. Whereas I can skimp on a too small backing if I am using my domestic machine or even the Avante, I cannot with a ProStitcher--at least at this point. 

I allowed the pattern to stitch out, and removed the baby quilt. I will finish this on my domestic with wavy lines, alter the border, and bind it. Is it a failure? Of course not. It's how we learn. Finish things up, and move on. The next one will be better.

The 3rd Quilt

Don't hold your breath. This one didn't go smoothly either. Seems to be my modus operandi these days, but the learning curve is steep, my friends. You should know I was tickled pink just getting things up to the point of the video. There's a lot to remember in the beginning.

Once again I hit a snafu with moving the quilt, and the spacing. No freaking out here, though. I added a sweet line of cursive 'love' with the Avante when it was all done. Remember Beth's words. "It was a design choice."

In between my learning sessions, I moved, and organized, and moved some more. 

Then more of the original contents would be put back up, and I'd start the process all over.

Day by day, piece by piece, I moved things where they would work for me, and not just fit. I really want the studio to flow well, and things to have purpose.

Tomorrow we will all get together to sew once again. It's not quite ready, but much closer. I took a break to work on another charity quilt. Testing out this new machine and software takes a lot out of me. Working in short segments is less stressful than marathons, and each one gets a little better. 

Run the video and watch.

Yes, I should have staggered the design, but I didn't, and in spite of that it made me smile to watch it work. This machine has so much potential, and I've scratched the surface at best so far. I really can't wait until the rest of my work is caught up, and I can get to work on it. I'm attending a workshop in another week, and know that will be a big help.

Now that's a gorgeous quilt!
Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Linking up with~


  1. Oh I am tired just looking at the photos. Lots to move and relocate. The quilting looks great already.

  2. I so enjoy reading your posts, Julie. You are so skilled in expressing yourself! Your studio is coming right along! Soon, you’ll be as skilled on your new machine as you are with words!

  3. First, I love your space that you have and I'm excited for you. Second, the moving in as well as learning curve would overwhelm me, and I'm impressed with how calmly you appear to be dealing with it. Third, one of my favorite things about your blog is your sign off -- C'mon Doxie girls, let's go quilt" Love that. It gets me energized to go and quilt. Have fun moving into your space and learning new things! Thanks for sharing the process with us! I miss Beth! Just realized I'm not getting her posts in my inbox, so I'm off to check her blog!

  4. Wow...I don't think I appreciated how large your space is. Have fun playing. I love the double petal flower motif. Happy sewing.

  5. I would be thrilled to have a finish like that! And it's only going to keep getting better. So fun to watch your progress!

  6. You have a large studio, but it seems to be filling up fast! I never thought about the learning curve with a longarm. I am sure you will get the hang of it quickly.

  7. Love your studio! Just got a prostitcher my self. I would love to know what resources you used. Thanks

  8. So much work and disruption! Just from doing our floor refinishing and repaint, I still have things in boxes waiting to be put back. Congratulations on getting all set up and moving on to new learning and opportunities. For your work, this will be great. All of the computerized long arming makes me more self conscious as I do hand guided work, which I love, but is being judged by those familiar with computerized. I think maybe I won't show my quilts anymore. I am not afraid of technology- I just prefer drawing the quilting. So I am slow and not as precise.

  9. What wonderful helpers to move the longarm into different positions until you found the one that would work best! I love the 'it was a design choice' too. Yes to all the design choices we make along way! I hope the learning process is enjoyable for you and have fun at your classes! I can't wait to see the future finishes you quilt on this machine!

  10. I can read that all of these changes, however tiring, are bringing you pleasure, and in sure your beautiful quilts will also bring joy. Enjoy the journey.


Thoughtful comments are Honey to My Heart! Thank you for taking time to leave such words. Feel free to email me directly with any specific questions at
Pink Doxie Mama