Longarm Quilting Extravaganza – Part 1
A very good friend of ours recently retired and purchased a longarm quilting machine. It was something she had talked about for years. Oodles of time went into the research on the different varieties of longarm quilting machines available, and which one she should purchase. Quilt shows were visited and demos were offered to help the decision-making process. In the end, “Millie” from APQS was the winner. Carol, our friend, kept us in the loop and asked our opinion. What did we think about Millie?! Both of us could not have been more excited to hear that it was being shipped and that Millie would be in residence soon. A longarm quilting machine! When could we come and see Millie? When could we give Millie a try? It was almost as exciting as a new birth . . . almost.
Carol sent us a picture when it arrived in mid-June. Here it is, in its new spot and covered with a tarp to keep it clean. I thought that was a brilliant solution, although, honestly, how much is it going to be unused?! She spent a day or two training on Millie, and she also has access to videos to refer to. There’s so much to learn but Carol has been a sewer for decades on her reliable Kenmore, “Mabel”.
A Longarm Quilting Extravaganza?
Once Millie arrived, we knew we had to make plans for a whole quilting day. At the end of October, the four of us (including her better half, Ken) took a day trip to our favorite casino. We had a chance to chat about Millie and all the things Carol has learned. When should we plan for a visit? The Friday after Thanksgiving worked for all of us. Sue and I looked through our unquilted tops, of which we have plenty. They are even in various stages of being completed, from sewn and forgotten to layered and ready to go!
Longarm Dilemma – Are Four Enough?
Prior to Sue’s second cataract surgery, we ensured that a fitting backing was chosen for each quilt top. The first one, “Beothuk”, is the smallest quilt top. At 42″ square, we had no idea what to select as a backing. Oddly enough, we just received a two-yard mistake from MSQC. We ordered a natural Bella solid fabric and received a purple Bella solid fabric. The purple matched the beautiful fabrics in Beothuk just perfectly. It was meant to be, obviously. “Ripples” has a fun and unique choice for its backing. Some time ago (I have NO IDEA when), I saw a fellow quilt blogger share a Merry Christmas panel. I fell in love with it and immediately ordered it. Since there was no plan, and it wasn’t on The List, the glorious panel ended up in our stash. The time to be used is now!
The “2020 Monthly Color Block” was the only one of our choices that had a backing already selected for it. In fact, it was layered and pinned! Too bad I didn’t have the motivation or inclination to quilt it. Lastly, “Pieces from the Past” needed just the right backing. Bright colors throughout the quilt top encouraged us to remain with that theme for the backing. Lava lamp-inspired fabric with geometric shapes seemed to fit the bill well enough.
Longarm Debate – Pantos or Not?!
Anticipating the arrival of Millie, Carol started collecting, buying, bookmarking, etc. pantographs. Heck, I started mentally collecting them as well. Once the extravaganza date was established and the quilt tops were chosen, I began to think about some of the basics. How big does the backing need to be for the longarm? What about thread and batting? Should I purchase a panto pattern that I like?
Carol sent me photos similar to the one above of all the pantos she has stocked up on! We both lean toward “easy” ones because we don’t like our quilting to be too dense. From the 15 – 20 that she has stocked up on, I am certain we will be able to find a suitable one for each top. All three of us decided that gray Glide will look fabulous on most of these . . . well, maybe not the black Monthly Color Block. Just in case we run out of quilts to work on, Sue and I decided to bring ALL unquilted ones with us. That may be a bit of an exaggeration. Not ALL of them as the car isn’t big enough to hold them all, plus a roll of batting, and various treats like Panera bagels.
Stay Tuned For Longarm Quilting Extravaganza – Part 2 later . . . soon!
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