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.
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.
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.
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