A few weeks ago I received a message from the president of the TMQG, asking if I'd be interested in a quilting frame. I'm sure you can guess what my answer was (!?!), and then I found out I was being offered it for free. WHAT? A lovely local quilter sadly passed away recently, and she wanted all her quilting things to go to people who would use them. So I was offered the quilting frame, and our guild now has a pile of equipment on hand for running kids workshops and so forth. I'm constantly amazed and grateful at how generous and wonderful quilty people are :o)
We picked up the frame a few weeks ago, and then last weekend we set it up in my garage aka studio. This thing is HUGE - 3m long, and about 1m wide. It meant a quick rearrangement of the garage, but it is now installed along one wall - and there is no longer any doubt that the garage is my sole domain ;o)
I decided to jump straight in and quilt the biggest top I've ever put together - my Birds and Bees colourblock quilt. I've been putting quilting this one off for a couple of years, due to the sheer size of it, and had been thinking about sending it to someone to long arm it. It's nice to be quilting it myself without needing a year's worth of massage, though!
Once I got the quilt loaded, and my machine on the frame, I realised I'd be fairly limited with what I can do. I only have about 3-4" I can quilt at a time, so it won't be great for large designs, but for straight lines and smaller designs (pebbles and such) it will be fabulous. I've spent the last two days quilting on it, and I'm slowly getting used to it. Up until now, I've never had thread breakage or tension issues on my machine, but I'm finding that's something I'm contending with while using the frame. I spent more time swearing and unpicking stitches with dodgy tension than actually quilting yesterday, but things went more smoothly today and I am about 3/4 of the way through. Considering the size of this quilt, only spending 6 hours or so quilting that much is insane - normally I'd have easily spent ten times that long. Eventually I will look at getting something with a larger throat space, but for now I'm very content.
I've decided to do dense straight lines on this quilt, strongly influenced by Leanne's style of quilting. I had wanted to quilt each colour block individually with different designs and blending thread, but I think this will be really effective - plus the texture is amazing. I'll have to get used to not seeing how it's looking until I take it off the frame though, the suspense is killing me at the moment! I'm hoping to get the rest done over the next few evenings, I can't wait to see it!