Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Long Arm!

Two weeks ago, I learned how to use a long-arm quilting machine! For as long as I've been making quilts, getting them quilted has been the bottleneck. You finish a top, then have to wait 2 months for it to be quilted. Or, you make a quilt entirely out of scraps, and then have to pay $100-200 to get it quilted. FMQing on a home machine is do-able for small twin-size quilts, but not for full or queen size. 

My friend at Udderly Quilts in Nevada has a long arm, and she finally got it working, with a little jerry rigging. Of course as soon as I found out, I hopped on over to try it out.

I quilted a practice "charity quilt" (above), then set in on the wedding quilt. (The couple's names are at the top of the backing... in the position they sleep on the bed!) Here is the result (on our bed):

Note that I only quilted the white parts. I was using white thread and the back was white. This made the colored stripes not just "pop" (visually) but "poof" (texturally):

I have been debating whether and how to add quilting into the unquilted zig-zags. I feel it would help the fabric be stabilized. But this part-way effect is also kind of cool.

The same day as the upcoming wedding, there is a silent auction event for an organizing group, AMOS, that my religious institution belongs to. A group of us from several churches has been advocating for affordable housing in our town through AMOS. So I wanted to give the organization a different kind of piece of myself. Here it is:

In fact, the owner of Udderly gave me the center part (checkerboard), and I added the flying geese border. I'm pleased with how it turned out. Here's how I negotiated the corners:

I love the delicate strawberry print fabric I used here. It has been in my stash for a while, waiting to find the right application. I hope somebody decides they like the quilt. I know I'm going to enjoy quilting it on my friend's machine!



  1. Stunning!!! You rocked it! I'm really looking forward to using my friend's long arm. =) Are their names embroidered?

    Someone is going to ADORE this quilt! Your flying geese borders are the perfect complement to the center. I'm totally going to do this sometime!

    1. Zenia, thanks so much for your sweet feedback. I have been so so busy! The names are done by using 400-500 point-size font, printing it out (in light gray to save ink!) on paper, using that as a pattern and fusing it on. After I fuse, I zigzag stitch the edges.

  2. Greta this sounds like a great way to get affordable housing going and you are so kind to make and donate this quilt, by the way, these are both gorgeous and so personal!