|King Sized Practice Quilt, Off the Frame and Onto a Bed!|I am SO HAPPY to report that my first attempt at longarm quilting is finished and off my frame. You may recall that I bought a package of 120" x 120" king sized batting, pieced three lengths of brightly colored fabrics together for the top, and then used plain extra wide muslin for the backing. In the above photo, you're looking at the back of my practice quilt. It doesn't look half bad from a distance, especially for a first try, does it? Even the pantograph looks better from the back, where the thread matches instead of contrasting, and viewed from a distance. That's encouraging!
I did attempt to quilt a second row of that pantograph, and although there was a bit of improvement, I really didn't enjoy it. I like seeing the stitches and the texture form on the surface of the quilt while I'm working on it from the front of the machine. Really, if I wanted to stitch lots of intricate allover quilting designs and have them all come out perfectly without having to practice and fret and work from the back of the machine, a computer robotics system like Intelliquilter would be the way to go. But I don't envision a whole lot of edge to edge designs going on any of my own quilts, and meanwhile, I've got lots more practice and play that I can do with free motion and with rulers.
|Smooth Freehand Quilting from Front of Machine|Once I felt that I had punished myself sufficiently with the pantograph, I went back to working freehand from the front of the machine and experimented with some larger scale shapes similar to what was in the Pernicious Pantograph, as you can see above.
|My Jerky Stitching Lines, Trying to Follow Pantograph from Back of Machine|See what I mean? I almost feel like I'd be better off marking the pantograph design right on top of my quilt with a stencil and then quilting over the lines from the front of the machine.
|Backing Shot of Freehand Practice|
Anyway, especially looking at my quilting from the back side, where it's white bobbin thread against an off-white fabric, I'm feeling pretty good about this. It's no masterpiece, but it's not the ugliest quilting I've ever seen, either. It's not nearly as bad as my initial attempts to free motion quilt on a domestic sewing machine! There are at least half a dozen different fill patterns there that look good enough to go on a real quilt, and I think that once I DO quilt them on a real quilt, with piecing lines and applique organizing the space and giving me reference points, it should come out even better.
So, YIPPEE SKIPPY!! Onwards and upwards!
I am learning to quilt on a longarm, too, and am trying not to be too hard on myself. I've done two "ugly" quilts and last week quilted a quilt that I will actually give to someone. :) Practice makes perfect... or at least presentable. One thing I try to do is draw, draw, draw my designs. I bought a white board and a big box of dry erase markers. I think it does help. Great job on finishing your practice quilt! It really does look nice.
For your first panto, it really wasn't so bad, but the free motion from the front looked AWESOME!!!
So excited for you! I can't wait to see your first quilt made by you from start to finish. What is your favorite quilting pattern so far?
It looks wonderful!!! Hugs,
Once the quilt is washed, those bobbles won't show so much. They don't look bad from here--lol! I agree, pantos are very time consuming and sometimes getting them lined up for each pass can be frustrating! Good luck with your quilting adventure!
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