Machine quilting....how many of you like to do it?
It has always been a struggle for me. I never had trouble doing stitch in the ditch, but was never happy with quilting designs on my domestic machine.
For awhile I invested in a mid arm machine. I did this for a couple reasons:
1) It was expensive to send quilts out to long arm quilters
2) I thought I could quilt my own large quilts
3) I thought it would be faster to quilt on the mid arm than my domestic machine
The mid arm I purchased was a low end/low priced one. The shop I purchased it from offered free classes on all their machines....but they never did offer any support for the mid arms they sold. That was my first mistake. If you EVER purchase a mid arm or long arm machine- be SURE they offer classes and support!
I found out several things while having a mid arm machine:
1) I could send out MANY quilts to my long arm friends for what I paid for the mid arm.
2) I found out I didn't really make many bed sized quilts
3) I found out it really wasn't faster because of problems with thread, tension, thread, tension, and did I say thread problems?
Then there was the issue of needing to purchase acrylic rulers and pantos, leaders and all kinds of
paraphernalia that you don't think of when you purchase a machine. I also found out that you need to spend concentrated time quilting on the machine to begin to master it. With all my design work and piecing, the times I needed to do the quilting was sometimes far apart.
I eventually sold the mid arm and was glad to have it gone. While the whole experience with a mid arm was rather frustrating, I did learn A LOT. Now when I do send things to a long arm quilter, I am much more aware of what they do and what they are looking for. It also helps me to think more about the quilting design process. I also learned to really appreciate the acrylic templates for quilting- but more on that later.
I also invested in a stitch regulator for my domestic sewing machine. I thought THIS IS IT! I tried it for a long time. I can't say I struggled with it, but it never flowed for me. I still got jerky stitches no mater what I did. I finally gave that up also and have been DETERMINED to master machine quilting on my domestic machine. I went back to how I first began, with using the darning foot, dropping the feed dogs or not dropping the feed dogs, adjusting stitch length, etc. Finally things started to flow for me. Maybe it is the years of experience since I last tried, I don't know what finally clicked. All I know is now I feel more in control and my stitches are ones I can feel good about.
But...I have really missed the acrylic rulers that you can use with long arm and mid arm machines. I even contacted my sewing machine company to see if they had a foot that you could use acrylic templates with- no luck there. What I HAVE found is the Westalee Ruler Foot for domestic machines. I am over the hill happy with this foot! I have loads of things to share with you about this foot and all the templates you can use with it. Since this post is already getting long, I will tell you more exciting news in future posts- so stay tuned!