I've just consulted the thesaurus for an appropriate word to describe the new quilting experience I had on Wednesday. I took a quilt top, backing and batting to Mendelbrights in Cynthiana, where after shop owner Rita gave me a lesson on her long-arm quilting machine, I QUILTED A WHOLE QUILT!!
Yes, I was ecstatic, elated, joyous, jubilant, overjoyed and thrilled. (Thank you, Roget.) Each time I completed a lengthwise pass on the quilt, I could barely contain my urge to happy dance all over her shop! I settled by having little fits of excitement there at the machine. So it's true. Old dogs CAN learn new tricks, and this is one trick I am so stoked to continue! (Pardon me for the excessive use of exclamation marks - this post warrants them, I assure you!)
Both pictures above are taken as I was in the middle of my last pass over the border. All that is rolled on that bar you see there has already been quilted. By the time I had done all of this, I was feeling a lot less tense and much more comfortable with the machine. I still have so much to learn, and I am certain I could really love doing this!
Rita took a picture and a video while I quilted. Having never loaded a video here on the blog, I will attempt.
I finished this 72"x88" quilt in about 3 hours. Later that same evening I cut the binding strips, attached them and stitched them down. All in one day I went from flimsy to finished quilt - now that is motivation enough to go back to her for more quilting practice!
And that is precisely what will be happening! If you recall, I have 3 baby quilts still to be quilted, and I have already made plans to revisit Rita next Thursday to try to do all of them. The best thing for me is to practice this and make myself really comfortable with it. I can't say that a long-arm quilting machine is in my future, but I am certainly happy to know how to do it and understand this part of the quilt making process from a whole new perspective.
Added later: I meant to include this in my opening, but it slipped my mind. I can't believe I forgot it, as it's possibly the best part of the day! As I first stepped into the shop, a bit late for my noon appointment, Rita was sitting at her work table with two other quilters. After we exchanged greetings, Rita explained that they were just about to pray as they ended their visit, and I would be welcome to join in their moment of prayer. Now if ever there were any doubt that I was in the right place at the right time, this was the all the sign I needed to confirm I was right where I belonged! Thus, I began my first ever long-arm quilting session with voices lifted to the Lord and blessings all around. I learned later that the women were friends of Rita's - Terri and Betty Jo - both quilters and Betty Jo is new to our rural area, having been assigned to two small churches nearby as an ordained United Methodist minister. Wonder of wonders. How strange and mysterious things happen, you know? I felt especially certain that I was meant to be quilting with Rita on Wednesday.
To see full pictures of the quilt, check out yesterday's post. I took several shots from various angles so that the quilting would show pretty well.
Next up for me is to get that UFO from June finished - it's the only one I haven't finished in the month it was (loosely) assigned.
I have linked to Let's Bee Social over with the girls at Sew Fresh Quilts. Have a look!
Happy Quilting, Friends!