Just before Christmas last year, I put in an order for a Q’Nique 15r and an 8ft Continuum frame. Some people call it a midarm, but it’s easier to call it a longarm – and Grace Company calls it a longarm. I hadn’t planned on buying the machine quite yet, but there was a great deal that I couldn’t pass up. I was told there would be a 2-week wait for the machine to be delivered from out west.
As much as I hate to wait for new toys, the timing was quite good. With the Christmas holidays at hand, I was busy and the wait gave me the chance to learn as much as I could about longarm quilting. I watched multiple YouTube videos, joined a few longarm-related Facebook pages, and read many blog posts. I moved rooms around to accommodate the large frame and I sewed up several quilt tops that I would eventually use as I learned how to use my new machine.
The longarm arrived but…
Sure enough, the machine arrived in 2 weeks, but it would be another week before the technician could bring it and set it up. I could have gone to the store and brought it home, but since the store provided set up and a quick lesson on the machine basics, that seemed like a silly choice. I knew I needed something to learn on. Some people use sheets for learning, but using sheets is debatable among longarmers. Some hate them, others don’t mind. So I decided on a different approach.
Like most long-time quilters, I have a fair sized fabric stash. Some of my pieces go back almost 20 years. If I’ve not used them by now, I am pretty sure I won’t use them at all. So I went through my stash and pulled out all the fabric I knew I wouldn’t use because it was too old or it was too ugly. What was I thinking when I bought that?! I pieced them all together to make an ugly mismatched but useful couple of quilt tops. These were for practice, I could even stitch over in another colour, to practice my stitches and movements. I thought that having seams and intersections made practicing more realistic. Once done, they made for perfect dog blankets for a friend and a local greyhound adoption group. Remember, quilters don’t like to waste anything.