|At the long-arm store in December|
There was a local quilt shop that offered this service the last time I checked, but I couldn't figure out which shop it was. I am assuming they no longer offer the service. While doing my online research, I discovered a shop that had opened recently. They have a store in Tennessee and this is their second location. And they were having an open house the following week.
Even though it was a bit of a drive, I decided I should go check them out. I found the store, took a look around, talked to a couple people and then asked about classes. (You have to take a class before you can rent time on a machine.) They didn't have any class times scheduled so they asked when I was available. Well, wow. So we set it up for this past Friday. There ended up being three of us in the class which was about right.
It's a three hour class and they teach you how to load your quilt parts onto the machine. (The top, back and batting are all loaded separately. They don't come together until you start quilting.) You use the machine to baste the parts together around the edges and then you sew so you can see how the machine feels.
These machines all have stitch regulators which means when you tell it you want 11 stitches per inch, that's what it does whether you move the machine fast or slow. The faster you move it, the faster the needle goes (up to 3,200 stitches per minute). If you move slowly, it will make stitches less often but all your stitches will be the same size. Really nice.
Here I am pulling up the bobbin thread before I start stitching so that it won't get knotted on the back:
|That's a bobbin sitting on the quilt surface. I had a couple|
minutes to take a picture while waiting for them to fix
I had a lot of trouble with the machine--actually two of them. You can see in the picture below that there were actually two machines set up on my table:
Once we had some time working on the machines from the front where we were looking at the quilt top, we moved to the back and worked with pantographs.
By the end of the class, I had this sample of quilting (about the size of a crib quilt):
When I was done two passes of the pantograph design, I had 10 minutes left in class and a few more inches of the quilt so I tried some flame patterns (yuck) and some medium stipling (pretty good). I didn't like the smaller stiple stitch as much,
It was a really good experience! Now I have two free hours of rental time (included with the class fee) and I am trying to finish a quilt top as soon as possible to get back!!