Sunday, April 26, 2009

Delectable Cakes and other temptations

I took a quilting class yesterday at the Joyful Quilter quilt shop in Scotia, NY. I was looking for some inspiration and a chance to immerse myself in fabric for awhile. One of my good quilting- and general-life buddies joined me.

We each started piecing Delectable Cakes quilts in shades of burgundy, pink, green and black in the five-hour class. My blocks are done; now I just have to decide on an arrangement. They are scrappy, and I am always torn between truly random and organized random placements of the blocks.

But even more challenging for me will be trying to come up with a quilting design that complements the pattern and that I can do a decent job with when I start quilting on it with Faith (my ABM Innova midarm quilter). I am sort of stuck in my pantograph rut. I can do pantos reasonably well without a lot of struggle, so I am always tempted to just take the easy way out.

In fact, I am wrestling with this very same dilemma for an April Easter Basket wall quilt I just finished piecing today. The pattern is one of 12 quilts in "Simply Charming Seasons" by Moose on the Porch Quilts. I started out thinking I would do a lot of cross hatching and custom quilting in the baskets, but then I made myself nervous just thinking about it. And I found a really nice panto in my collection that would look really good on it. So I don't know.

Maybe I will just go work on the Delectable Cake a little more, and try to avoid the temptation to load the April Easter Basket quilt on the frame just now. Maybe if I wait a little while, I will get the nerve up to do something a little more creative. I know the Innova is up to the challenge... The question is, am I?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Getting started

There are many things in this world that I love, and quilting is definitely one of them!

I learned the basics of piecing quilt tops about eight years ago and soon found out that finishing them is the hardest part of quilting. I struggled trying to tie knots; manual dexterity is not my strong suit. I struggled just trying to do stitch-in-the-ditch with my sewing machine, and even with a walking foot, my lines were not all that straight, and the fabric seemed to pucker in the direction that I was quilting. Free motion quilting? I did OK with that, but my shoulders and neck were tired by the time I got finished with even a medium-size quilt. That's when I decided I NEEDED a longarm quilter! And not just any longarm... I wanted one that worked amazingly well, that was reliable and solid, and -- most importantly -- one I could afford.

Last year I discovered the ABM Innova through an online Yahoo chat group, and as soon as I read about it, I knew this was the machine for me. I believed in it so much, my husband and I decided to become dealers! Now almost a year later, we are operating our At Home Quilting studio in Johnstown, NY, where we teach new longarmers how to get started and rent time on our studio Innova 18. We have also criss-crossed the northeast introducing the Innova to quilters at a variety of quilt shows, from small local guild shows to the bustling MQX show in Manchester, NH in April. We are truly sharing the love!