Why I Bought a Long Arm Machine, Step 1 in the Journey.
So, I promised you more information on buying a long arm machine, then promptly got super busy, dang actual work obligations! :) But after hopefully what was just a short delay, here it is:
The journey to getting my long arm machine was over 2 years in the making. Well, let me back up a little, in reality, the journey to getting my long arm machine was about 30 years in the making as that is when I learned to sew, over 30 years ago with my mom and my grandmas. My mom is a super creative type who is able to make something from just about anything. She is the queen of upcycling, even before it was a thing. I once saw her make a planter out of an old tennis shoe, no joke. My one grandma, she was a progressive lady. She worked so hard, a real original feminist, I'm convinced, had she been part of my generation, she would have been a CEO (at very least, a CFO). She sewed a little bit, but I feel like she did it because the time dictated that she had to know how. I don't feel like she *loved* it, from what I remember. She would have rather play "Office" or "Grocery Store" than teach me how to sew. She would get out the blocks and help me engineer a city, though, any day. :) Nevertheless when I started my sewing journey, I was using her old Husqvarna machine. That thing was green and ugly as snot, but it was a work-horse.
My other grandma, I think is where my quilting chops come from. She hand quilted, and she used to make amazingly fussy things like, get this... BRAS! She made my aunts all lingerie one year for Christmas... I would rather shoot myself in the head than work on something that exacting, but she knitted slippers and crocheted blankets for all of us grand-kids. She has a real passion for creativity. Unfortunately, failing eyesight and an unsteady hand has reduced her creative outlets drastically. She will still hang out under the quilt that I made her from time to time, but she also appreciates the amount of work that goes into one, so she is very careful with it.
...ANNNNYYYYWAYYY... I think quilting was a part of my DNA. My mom did a beginner quilting demo in around 2000, and she showed me the process and I took off running. It helped that a bunch of babies were being born at the time, and I needed gifts. I took a break for a couple of years, but then on, I believe, our second Christmas together, I made my husband a Beatles quilt and that began the part of the journey where I was running up to today. I have probably made in the neighborhood of 100-150 quilts since then. That was around 10 years ago.
So for the first 8 years of this crazy ride, I was finishing quilts on my domestic. Some straight line with the walking foot, some stitch in the ditch, some free motion (very little free motion). I was doing it because it was the only way I could finish my own quilts, but I wasn't enjoying it very much. Then 3 years ago, my husband got me a long arm intro course at a long arm rental shop and I was hooked, no more going back to buying bulk orders of 505 quilt basting spray for me... The absolute worst part of the quilting process (for me, the basting) was over for good. So I took that long arming class, and then I started renting time at that shop to finish my personal quilts. Then after about a year and a half of doing that, my long arm shop closed... (Wah-waaaaa sound here)
That forced me to look around, and to think about my next steps. I thought for a few months, and then I went to Spring Quilt Week in Paducah last year, and I took a long arming class. And it was on the Hand Quilter Avante... I was literally in LOVE. I loved the size and the lightness of the machine. I had been lugging around a 24 inch Gammill (also a great machine, which I loved using) and this thing was light as a feather. So, when we got back, I saw that a local shop was offering some quilting classes/lectures/demos for super cheap, so I booked the whole weekend out, and I went and I took those classes and I played. Wouldn't you know it, that shop was a Handi Quilter dealer...
I don't know if it was fate or destiny, but it was certainly meant to be. So, next time, I promise: What BRAND should I buy... And you might be surprised by the answer. Until then:
Piece (and long arm)