Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tin Lizzie Debut

Well, I did it! I quilted my first quilt on a long-arm. Whoo-hoo!

It's Sew Rite, the local Janome dealer in town offered a class in how to use the Tin Lizzie. After that, I can rent time on it to do my own quilts. This is the perfect option for me because 1) I don't have room for the set-up at my house and
2) unless I made it a business, I would not do enough quilts to justify the expense
3) I can quilt a lot of quilts this way and still not spend as much as I would on my own set-up
4) Kathy was there to offer help if I got stuck.

What did I learn? First impressions :
1)It does go faster. I did a whole lap-size quilt in 3-1/2 hours (I know even that sounds like a long time, but I'm still learning.) It would have been 2 months of weekends on my little domestic sewing machine at home, and the marking would have been a bear!
2) If thread tension is a problem, check to make sure the presser foot is down.
3) Any way you look at it, this is physical labor. I was tired afterwards ... I think I was clenching my teeth the whole time. I'll need to learn to loosen up and relax ... and wear good shoes!

4) The pantograph I chose was Whirlygig by Willow Leaf Studios. It has a lot of starts and stops. It took a while to get the hang of moving from point to point with a fluid curve in between. I think if I had known any better, I might have picked a pattern with continuous curves and loops, without so many starts and stops.
5) It was kind of weird to be stitching all that way, and not really be looking at the fabric, or even the needle. My focus had to be on the pantograph pattern, which is kind of divorced from the quilt (until it's sewn).
6) Move the laser pointer, not the pantograph when starting on a new row.

What batting do you like to use on long-arms? My favorite batting up until now has been Hobb's 80/20. It works great on my little DSM, but here, it looked like there was some pretty consistent bearding on the back. The quilt back was black, so maybe I should have used a black batting.

Threads : King Tut varigated black to gray in the top. Black Bottom Line in the bobbin.

I will definitely be doing more on the long-arm!

This is the quilt I started for my mother-in-law, but she died last summer before I finished it. It will be donated to the local cancer center. I'll post a full picture when the binding is on and it's really complete and ready to give away.


Vicki W said...

Good for you! Great lessons too. As to batting, I like Warn and Natural and QD Blend but lots of machine quilters use Hobbs with no problem. I wonder of maybe she needed to change the needle on the TL?

Mande said...

Very cool, michele