Lupine, Meredith and I had the pleasure of sampling the new Beginning Quilting of the Frame class. Our new teachers, Cherri and Rachel, wanted to do a run-through and we were more than eager to volunteer. I was overjoyed to finally be able to learn the ins and outs of this grand apparatus that has been taunting us since we set it up in October!
Cherri and Rachel patiently demonstrated how to load the frame with ease, where to pin,which ways to save time and how to find your center, both literally and mentally. We learned about the major categories of free-motion design styles and the variations that exist within each style. Basically, free-motion quilting is just doodling with repeated pattern. They presented each style and then we practiced stitching out the variations. At first I was really tense, but then Rachel said, “remember, your quilt is just one wash away from perfection”. So true. I just relaxed and and it started to even look good as I continued. I must admit that a glass of wine wouldn’t hurt to ease the initial anxiety. Wink.
The class was incredibly informative and I left that evening feeling excited and eager to make the leap to a real quilt. My mom bought me a fat quarter pack of Anna Marie Horner’s Loulouthi line for Christmas and I chose to make the Crazy Nine-Patch Lattice Quilt from Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson! in a larger throw size. I had the quilt top pieced ahead of time and ready to go for the next morning.
I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I dreamt of quilting all night and even woke up at 6:30am because I was so excited to get back to MD to start quilting!
I wanted to put on my MD customer hat and see how much work I could get done in 3 hours since the class includes 3 hours of independent frame time. Pinning and centering took me approximately 25 minutes. For the stitch, I chose to use a pattern in the S curve family. It seemed like a pattern that wasn’t too difficult for my first try. I had never finished a quilt with a free-motion pattern before. I have always used a walking foot and did straight line quilting so this was a big leap for me.
My first few minutes of stitching were certainly a little jerky, however, the BERNINA Stitch Regulator helped immensely in keeping the stitch length consistent. Once I took a deep breath and remembered Rachel’s saying, I settled into fluid motions and it began to not only look good, but felt intuitive as well. I knew the pattern and no longer had to think out every move. Another mantra I learned in class is, “this is where I’ve been, this is where I’m going”. It can turn into a funny little song in your head, or in my case out loud.
I finished stitching my quilt in 2 hours and 40 minutes, bringing my grand total completion time to just over 3 hours.
I am beaming with pride from this project! I love the colors, print, quilt pattern (thanks Elizabeth!) and mostly, I LOVE the machine quilting I accomplished! Rarely do I exercise bragging rights, but I am working them this week. In short, I am hooked.
I am planning a super easy, no handwork required binding method and will blog about it next time. Have fun on the quilt frame!