Long Arm Practice

A few weeks ago, I was visiting with friends in the office I retired from. One of the women follows my blog and Facebook page. She told me she had a quilt top she had made in the mid-1990’s. It was intended for her daughter (now in her early 30’s). Robin thought it would be fun to finish it up and asked if I would quilt it for her. I am the first to say I am not highly skilled with quilting. This quilt top was for a twin size bed which is bigger than I am able to quilt at home. After making sure she knew my skill level, I agreed to finish it up for her.

She brought me the quilt top the following week. As she said, it is definitely 90’s colors (mauve, pink and green) but she was hoping I would have a fabric in the shop that might work for the backing. I sent her several photos to choose from. She made a great choice with the Dash print from Carrie Bloomston’s Dreamer line. I love this print. It is very similar to Moda’s Grunge fabrics with the addition of a small scale print on it. The background is pink with smudges of lavender. The modern back is perfect for slightly updating the 1990’s quilt top.

I took it to the long arm shop where I am able to rent time. To me, this is such a great opportunity. I don’t have space for a long arm and don’t relish the idea of maintaining one either. Being able to rent one is the perfect compromise for me.

The gal that works there helped me load it on the frame. For the first time though, I didn’t really need a whole lot of help. (She was probably glad to see this!). The quilt top has been sitting for many years and was a bit distorted. Before I took it to the shop, I did clip threads from the back, iron it well and starched it. Even with all of the prep, it was a trick to get it to lay flat.

Because of this, I figured I should quilt it loosely and let it be a bit puffy. I think it would have been difficult to quilt it tightly without having lots of puckers.

It took little time to quilt. I used large loops and an occasional loose flower and just quilted edge to edge. I am pleased with how it looks. In previous projects on the long arm, I found it a challenge to quilt circles, they would look oblong and sometimes almost rectangular. These look like circles! I am making progress.

Never having quilted for someone else before, it feels a bit strange to just stop at this point and return it to her. When I trimmed the edges there was quite a bit of the backing fabric left over. I asked if she would like to use it as binding and she agreed. So, I cut the binding strips and sewed them together. The rest is up to Robin. She will bind it and wash it.

It was fun to use the long arm again. I think it has been since about October since I quilted there, so quite a few months. I do have a quilt top nearly finished though which means I will be back there next week. This was a win-win for Robin and I both; her long time UFO is nearly finished and I got more practice time on the machine. She did purchase the supplies and pay for my fees to use the long arm. Even though it still needs the binding, I am calling this a finish (at least for my portion of the project.). Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF and a few others. Check the top of the page under Link Ups for lots of fun places to link to.

28 thoughts on “Long Arm Practice

  1. Sue

    I think it looks great! Funny you should mention using the trimmed backing for the binding. I had that thought yesterday. So what a great idea.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I had not starched a top before but I thought it might help with this one. It certainly didn’t hurt. Hope you are feeling better by now Anja.

      Reply
  2. Beth Stanfield

    Good for you Bernie, and what a win for Robin too. Practice yields skill and confidence, and it’s fun when we go at our own pace. Glad you did it!
    Beth

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      For sure – Hoping to return soon because it seems like I regress is there is too much time between practice sessions. Know what I mean? So it will be nice to work on one next week too.

      Reply
  3. Janice

    That is awesome, Bernie! What a perfect situation for both of you. You circles are looking great! I love this story and tell Robin that she made a lovely quilt too. I really like it AND the quilting. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Ann

    My compliments to your effort. It is delightful to see this finished. A worthy project. Your skill and planning paid off like a professional.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks Ann. The practice is starting to pay off anyways! I feel like I do a bit better with each project. I am excited to go back and do another quilt top. Luckily there is no shortage of those. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Wendy

    It’s fun to see you working on the long arm, Bernie! And yes, you have circles on that quilt and they look fabulous! Definitely a finish, for both of you!

    Reply
  6. Louise

    What a super way to practice! I’m sure your friend is happy to have this pretty piece quilted, and you got to see marked improvement in your long arm skills. Your loops really do look nice and round, and I understand that is a big milestone on the long arm 🙂 Congrats!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Louise. It was fun and I love that I can quilt a project without making my neck and shoulders ache. It is a challenge to do a large-ish quilt on my regular machine.

      Reply
  7. Linda

    This may be a 90s quilt but I love it! (I love purple – lol!) Your quilting is awesome – what a great opportunity for both of you.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I thought it was a very sweet quilt top. Her daughter (that she made the quilt for) and my son are friends, another of her daughters was Julia’s nanny one summer- they are just a really nice family. It was fun to work on this for her.❤️

      Reply
  8. Kaholly

    Wow, Bernie! You did a super job quilting your friend’s quilt! I’ve only played on a long arm once and didn’t find it easy. I’m 5’7” and it was set up for a lady who only stands 5’ tall, if that, so I wasn’t exactly comfortable, either, and my play session didn’t last very long.

    Reply
  9. Deb from Frugal Little Bungalow

    Great job and since I have been following your long arm adventure over the last year or so I am so happy and pleased to see your progress 🙂 I just like to hand quilt myself but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like to watch stories like yours which are inspiring 🙂 Go Bernie 🙂

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Deb. It is definitely a tough skill to learn. I tried again this week, but on a different machine. The results were just awful so I am unpicking the stitches. Luckily I didn’t get too far before I realized it wasn’t going to work out well. But I want to keep chugging along – practice, practice, practice 🙂

      Reply

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