Now, I don't have a long-arm machine, and I don't work on a professional machine; no, my sewing machine is a portable, home machine. I barely knew where the 'feed dogs' were before this, and didn't know they could be dropped! Not a great start, but we all go through stumbles and starts, right? I decided I could figure it out.
I had many green and yellow and orange fat quarters that I wasn't using (most were the odd left-over from packets I had bought & used all the fabrics but these) so I had nothing to lose if I made a quilt with them. I picked a quick-and-easy block and a wall-hanging size and began cutting and assembly.
In a couple days I had all my blocks completed and was ready to lay out the quilt. I spend days and days on this stage--'cause it was so much fun!--until I got it right (come back to see an upcoming post on this stage), pressed the top, and was ready to quilt.
It must have been the perfect time away from it, because when I started up again the quilting went so smoothly that I only spend 15 minutes practicing before I took out the actual quilt, marked my quilt lines and began my first attempt.
I'd love to tell you that it all went smoothly, but it didn't. I didn't know about the bobbin thread danger, so I had several bobbin-thread nests. I learned quickly:
1. Make two stitches & stop
2. Pull the bobbin-thread end up to the top of the quilt
3. Now start quilting.
Following that solution made it so much easier that its become a Law-of-Quilting for me. The minute it takes to start this way saves me hours of cutting out nests and resewing!
I also had difficulty sewing the long curves I designed (probably should have started with straight lines), but I kept trying and eventually got it right.
It's not my best quilt, but I hang it in the autumn because I love the play of colors and the large, swirling quilting. And it reminds me of my first attempt at machine quilting, and how far I've progressed since then.