A Longarm Story

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.

After moving to Liberty Missouri in 2018 and frequenting Angela Walter’s Quilting Is My Therapy shop, I set my sites on the HQ Amara and started thinking of ways to get one sooner than later.

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 longarm. 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.

  1. She would probably give me a great deal on it.
  2. With minimal rearranging it would fit perfectly in my office/spare bedroom.
  3. 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.

Panto called Bauhaus Baby

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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Finished or Not Finished Friday

Beauties Pegeant

Bound and Finished

I am excited to share several finishes w/you today!

This first one is a quilt I started for my sister’s office at her new job. A job she celebrated her 3yr anniversary at this past May! Better late than never right?The pattern is Summer Star Mini by Jera at Quilting in the Rain. I quilted it using a pantograph called Malachite by Urban Elementz while I was visiting Katy.

Next up is an Attic Windows quilt I started last October.  I finished the top right away, but it hung stuck in flimsy status until just recently.  

It was quilted by a friend, and up and coming longarm quilter here in the West Valley.

And this quilt was neither pieced nor quilted by me.  However, it is my first original pattern called Straits and Arrows. It was featured in Stash Builder Box in January.  My pattern is available in my Craftsy Pattern Shop.  

It was pieced by my good friend Sue, who gave me the flimsy.  I had it quilted by the same friend who quilted Attic Windows.

And last but not least, is a crazy quilt I acquired a few years ago.  I bought a serger from a coworker whose Aunt had recently passed and they threw in all kinds of extras. This was an extra.

Even though it was crazily pieced w/all kinds of funky polyester fabric, I fell in love w/it! It measures 50″ x 100″.

Katy took it home w/her the last time she left AZ and quilted it for me. Thank you, Katy! I picked it up when I visited her in MI.

I LOVE the backing she chose!  It is officially my car quilt for trips to the park and such.

That’s all folks! Thanks for visiting!

Until next time, Happy Quilting and God Bless.

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A Thread for Life

 

 

Another Flimsy, Another Finish, Etc.

I finished another flimsy. This one is modern.  Some of you might be thinking I’m just a flimsy maker, but I’m not. I do finish quilts. I’m just taking a short break from the actual quilting part to make tops.  I’m working on building up inventory for my Etsy shop.  I’d like to take it off “vacation status” by mid October and have at least 20 items to list. I’m also waiting on modifications on the DIY sewing table in order to quilt more comfortably.  
I made me another bag.  It’s a LARGE quilt carry bag that stretches to over 45″ when full of quilts.   It’s a quilt as you go pattern from the book Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott of  The Quilt Room.  I used fabric from the Laurel Burch Jungle Songs collection.  The pattern called for magnetic snaps but me being “Ms. Thrifty”, decided to go w/the cheaper option of sew-on snaps.   Needless to say, if I make it again, I’ll use the magnetic snaps. I’d also put some batting in the strap and make it longer.   
I added faux buttons to the outside of the bag too.

This is Penelope. A back-up/traveler/loaner I bought for $25 from a coworker whose Aunt (owner) had recently passed away. She runs beautifully.

And this is Oh Suzanna!  I got her for $25 too from the same coworker.  I had no idea how awesome sergers are! I’m happy to add her to my collection.  
Connecting Threads had their Essential Cotton Thread on sale for $1.95/spool. So I bought a few spools.

I pulled the old Black and Decker stand-by out of the closet.  I finally got fed up dealing w/my constantly dripping Rowenta Effective. I cannot for the life of me remember why I put this baby in the closet in the first place. It doesn’t drip and it gives me a little warning beep when it’s getting ready to shut-off.  I hope to use it until I can get the Panasonic Cordless 360 , which has been on my wish list for quite some time.

I won these adorable magnetic needle minders from a giveaway that Lara B. of Buzzin Bumble had a few weeks ago.  They are from an Etsy shop called YumYumButtons.

My new pen! It’s cigar style (fat) and made of Bubinga.

And lastly, I visited Quilt n’ Sew Connection in Prescott Valley and practiced a little woodgrain fmq on an awesome, if very expensive machine.  The Bernina Q20 which is a sit-down longarm. Yes! It is now on my wishlist too!

Until next time, Happy Quilting and God Bless!

A Thread for Life
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 NIV

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