Friday, September 25, 2009
Quilting in the 21st century
I took a spin on a Handiquilter today. This is a sewing machine on steroids. To give you an idea how big it is, it’s suggested that the operator have at least 12 feet of clearance. It's a monster. I’m lucky a friend who lives nearby has one and enjoys teaching people how to use it.
Quilting has come a long way, baby. When I first started (21 years ago), I hand-quilted or tied my pieces. I tacked a few with embroidery floss and did something called turkey tracks across one quilt. This all took time. It wasn’t unusual for it to take me months to finish a quilt top.
At the same time, rotary cutters made piecing faster and easier. It was very easy to make tops but not as simple to get them finished.
Then I learned to machine quilt on my regular machine. I wasn’t very good at it, I would get better, right? I took classes from plenty of wonderful machine quilting teachers. I bought different sewing machines as new technology came available. Still my machine quilting left a lot to be desired. True confession: I never really got very good.
So I fell behind on my quilting. I continue to make quilt tops, but they never made it to the finish line.
Today I quilted this top in about 2 hours, give or take. There is a learning curve to using this machine, but a lot of freedom as well. I’m looking forward to finish my quilt tops.
This quilt is going to the Philanthropy group at my local quilt guild, to be given to a child in need of some comfort. To be able to do that, fast and quickly, is something to celebrate.