Quilting became my passion in 2011. If you are interested in reading about the start of my quilting journey, you can do so here. Needless to say, I’ve wanted a longarm ever since I knew such a thing existed. But as you know, they are expensive and require A LOT of space. This has not kept me from test driving them, I do so any and every chance I get. At stores, shows, retreats, friend’s homes, etc. And the more I drive, the more I want one.
The two immediate things I could do are 1. stop spending money unnecessarily and 2. apply that extra money towards my car payment.
But then I started thinking where would I put it? I have a good size sewing room in the basement but a longarm would not fit in there, even if I moved the guest bed out…and I’m not giving up my cutting table.
However, I do have an extra garage that is currently being used as storage and my pets’ poop room. It would make an awesome sewing/quilting studio with some remodeling and I believe I could fit everything in it. So now I’d need to pay off my car AND remodel a garage before I can get a longarm!
Fine. I can do this. Stop the unnecessary spending and start applying the money to the principal on my car loan and in about 5 years or so, I should be ready to buy a long arm. And this means no more paying to have my quilts quilted. For the last year I was taking them to Angela’s shop to be quilted but I would have to start doing my own quilting on my domestic machine. Fine. Another sacrifice I’m willing to make to hit my goal sooner….until I decided to make a king size quilt.
The more progress I made on the king size quilt, the more I wondered how in the world was I going to quilt it on a domestic machine! And then I remembered a good friend telling me back in November that she was planning on selling her longarm. At the time, it went in one ear and out the other. I had my mind on Amara and Amara on my mind. And hers was not an Amara. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.
- She would probably give me a great deal on it.
- With minimal rearranging it would fit perfectly in my office/spare bedroom.
- I could become really proficient on the longarm whilst I pay off my car, get my garage remodeled, and save to buy my dream machine.
So I reached out to her. And guess what?! She GAVE it to me! For FREE! I just had to get it from AZ to MO.
And so it was! Meet Esperanza (hope in Spanish), the newest addition to my family!
She arrived on March 10, 2020 in those big boxes in the garage pic. I put her together mostly by myself. My son helped a little. What was once a spare bedroom/office, is now what I call the Finishing Room. It’s where I quilt and bind my quilts.
I put the twin bed in storage and moved the office into my bedroom.
Before Esperanza arrived I started researching Tin Lizzie and more about longarm quilting in general. It is not a very popular brand and there isn’t a whole lot of information about it but I found a couple of helpful videos on the TL and watched several How To vids on Sparrow Quilt Co. They are actually an APQS distributor but they have great How-To videos on YouTube.
I ordered a roll of Warm & White batting from Joann because I had recently used it for the first time on a smaller quilt and I really liked it! I also ordered a couple of pantographs from Urban Elementz.
I started practicing on the longarm on March 20, 2020. Here are a few of pics of pantograph and FMQ practice. Not all done in one day.
I really had plans to become the Panto Queen. I thought it would be a perfect gateway to FMQ. And it may very well be for some people, but not for me and definitely not on this machine. The main reason is because the machine only has one set of handles which means I have to disconnect from the back and move to the front each time I advance the quilt to baste the edges. Let me tell you, this got old very quickly. But I’m not mad about it. It is forcing me to practice FMQ.
The most surprising thing I’ve learned lately, is that batting has a right and a wrong side! It comes w/the right side facing out just like fabric does and the right side has “dimples” and the wrong side has “pimples”. I cannot believe I’ve been quilting for almost 9 years and didn’t know this!
So now you know. I have a longarm! And I am so grateful and ecstatic! Thank you Lord! It’s not Amara but it will serve it’s purpose well. I still plan to upgrade to the Amara someday and I am continuing with my goal to pay my car off sooner BUT I don’t necessarily have to remodel the garage at all. My current set up works really well.
AND!!! I didn’t have to quilt my king size Everything Goes Scrappy Trips on my domestic! Some of you have already seen pics on Instagram, and I’ll be sharing more pics here on the blog, but here are a couple in closing.
Thanks for stopping by! God bless and happy stitchin’!
A Thread for Life
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound Or healthy teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions – 2 Timothy 4:2-3 ESV
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