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Freehanded and loving it....

I always wanted to be an artist and freehanding my Milli makes me feel like I am an artist....

I am sure computers have there place and can be just as satisfying, but despite I love technology and use computers for lots of other things, IQ just isn't for me....


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Quilting from the Heart

APQS Millenium, Circle Lord equipped, hand guided and lov'n it!!!

http://rosecityquilter.wordpress.com/

http://qfth.ca

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Robin: I felt exactly like you for awhile after I bought Milli, bought a few things, took a few classes, read ALL the books, It didn't really feel comfortable until I took classes from Dawn.

She said she had an older model at home, quilted a lot on it and proceeded to show us exactly how, with only the minimum of "stuff" you could do great work. One of the things she said, stayed with me, everyone starts off not having ever done it, all have to practice. I personally think a few people have just a little more upstairs than I when it comes to planning the quilt;) but that means I just need to keep at it.

Regarding computer, I don't have it, but don't see it as a problem, I have minimum stuff, but that's just me. I am saving up for Bliss, I think my body may appreciate it in the long run, and I'd just love to have really round feathers:P Quilting should be about what is right for you. I sometimes get in a funk and remind myself, I do really great medium meandering......AND I finish my quillts.

Quilting shouldn't be a contest, who has the most gadgets, who gets the most done, who makes the most money, or even who wins the most awards, I think I like it best when a quilter has a great big smile on her face, when she has completed a quilt she is soooo pleased with.

I'm lucky , I really appreciate a lot of styles and types of quilting, and I've met so many neat quilters by being open to computer, LA, machine and even hand work....I like to smile while I quilt, Pat

PS Thank you Dawn for those classes, you gave me the best advise . I still "hear" your voice...!

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Lift your chin up, Bunky. I've had IQ for a couple of years now and still freehand about half the 250 quilts I do each year. Tools - DeLoa's Little One, Boomerangs for cch, and before IQ - a circle maker. I sold everything else. If my IQ bit the dust, I'd still be happy freehanding, though my back would yell at me.


www.webshots.com/user/victoriasews

www.Fiberobsessive.blogspot.com

Innova and Intelliquilter

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There is great advice here, Robin. I hope all you need is a pep-talk! I am another freehander who purchased Bliss because of body/joint problems. I think it extended my quilting years at least 10. I am thrilled to do freehand, have a few aids like a circle maker and a handful of rulers. A CG set-up isn't ruled out but it would break my heart if I couldn't do some freehand every quilt. I bought my longarm to QUILT, not to WATCH!:P


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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All really good advice. I say you need to figure out the tools you use and enjoy them. For me I have a coputerized embroidery machine and I can't say it is my favorite thing to do. I want to do more than change the thread, although there are times when it fits the bill. I am like Vicki and my niche seems to be custom work. It doesn't pay as good and it is time consuming but it is also rewarding and to have your customer see her quilt come alive is just so rewarding. I may some day upgrade to Bliss but not for some time. I have M&M wheels and love them. I love my quiltazoid and use it to do mostly traditional quilting. It is just how my brain works. Enjoy what you do and just keep trying to expand your skills.

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Pat,

I hope you aren't feeling "haunted" by my voice! :) :)

Robin, the gals are right, I've had an Ultimate I, non-stitch regulated machine since 1994 and have quilted over 3500 quilts on that workhorse. Back in the "old days" we had no teachers, no rulers, no circle makers, etc. We just tried lots of different things, and went with whatever worked.

Here are a few of my "memorable moments" that will make you laugh and relax a bit about where you are with your longarm today:

1. I had no clue how do any type of diagonal line when I bought my machine. I pity poor Sharon Meadowcroft, who had me quilt a lovely appliqued iris quilt soon after I bought the machine. I "cross hatched" her blocks with ziggle lines since I couldn't figure out how to do straight diagonals. Later I figured out how to use a thick section of yardstick next to my foot to steady it...but the foot was a "shallow foot" back then, not high profile. I took several nice chunks of wood out of that stick until Marcia Stevens told me about clear plexiglas she used. Duh, Dawn! No wonder Sharon finally bought her own machine! :)

2. My hips show the evidence of how I did many circles in the early days...the 1-gallon ice cream bucket lids had a great rigid edge I could follow! Other than that, my only "tool" for years was one simple hunk of plexiglas that I drew lines on the bottom with a black magic marker. I kept the marks from rubbing off by covering the marks with clear Contact paper.

3. A New York designer had me do several Hawaiian quilts. To keep my echo lines about the same distance apart at 1/2 inch, I took about 5 yards of 1/4-inch masking tape, and then wrapped it around and around and around my hopping foot until my hopping foot was actually 1-inch across from edge to edge! That left me with a 1/2 inch from the needle to the edge of the foot. And ever a saver, when I was finally done with her projects, I took an Xacto knife and carefully sliced through my tape with one cut so I could tape it back on again if I had to:).

4. Since I don't have a stitch regulator, I think I actually have an advantage over quilters who purchase a machine today and have the "luxury" of regulation. Learning to quilt only with stitch regulation (which is where most new quilters settle in out of fear of the "other way") actually makes it more difficult to develop fluidity and the muscle memory required to do things like consistent backtracking, smooth curves, and even stitching in the ditch.

When a person turns off the regulator, you begin to work your eyes and your muscles in tandem as you develop a rhythm, and more importantly, "muscle memory". You begin to "dance" with your machine when you don't feel the inertia you feel with a stitch regulator.

Think of it this way. I think it's like ice skating. When you first put on your skates, you clomp around, picking up your skates and "stepping" around on the ice because you're too afraid to fall. You worry about stopping and getting started again, so you anticipate it with too much thought. But when you start to get the hang of it, you no longer lift your feet; you glide around on the ice because you know by "feel" what you need to do. You stop worrying about starts and stops because you begin to understand how to coast in and out of them without a second thought.

If I had my way with the world, I've said many times that I'd love to "require" new owners to turn off the SR for a month while they learn how to bond with their machine and they develop the right 'muscle memory' to control it without really thinking about it. :) Then they could turn the SR back on. :)

But honestly, Robin, I think the best thing that ever happened in my quilting development was the moment that I stopped worrying about meeting someone else's standards and expectations regarding "perfection" and decided to be happy with who I am as a quilter. Every person who came to me to do their quilts clearly understood that my stitches wouldn't be perfect, and a bit of my "humanity" would be in each quilt. If they were unhappy with that, I politely told them I wasn't the right quilter for them. I accepted that my "hands" would add to the folklore of "hand made" for those quilts.

As I sit here tonight waxing nostalgic about the "old days" of machine quilting, I'm watching "American Pickers" on the History Channel. The Iowa boys Mike and Frank just paid a gentleman $100 for a hand-whittled toy gun carved from wood made in the 1940's or so. The gentleman had paid $4 at a sale for the toy. Mike and Frank expect to charge $200 for it when they re-sell it. It makes me wonder what "quilt pickers" will find valuable in 100 years! :)

Of course, in the quilt "competition" world, the expectations change dramatically as we look for ways to critique each other and determine what is superior. Naturally that means we have to look at measurable things that we can compare to each other, such as consistent curves, perfect straight lines, exact stitches, etc. But going into the competition we know what to expect, what will be expected of us if we enter and want to fare well.

Computer systems are the wave of the future in quilting, and certainly make many redundant tasks more fun and less work. However, I am very confident that they won't become THE future of quilting. They are simply another "tool" available to today's quilters. A different type of "artistry" is being developed by quilters who use computerized systems. While the drive technology for the machines changes a bit over time, the real advances will continue to come in the software complexity and the knowledge and skill of those who use it in depth.

Computer quilting will produce many quilts over the next decades that are "utility and love" quilts, as will hand-guided quilting. And both genres will produce stunning, show-stopping artwork, too. It's all a matter of finding out what you love to do, and finding your "true self" and true happiness as a quilter, with whatever tools help you get there.

Wow, never let me get on the Forum when I'm taking a trip down memory lane...it's a long road! :)

Happy quilting!


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APQS Customer Service & Education Director

1-800-426-7233

dawn@apqs.com

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I too have a hand guided system. It isn't very likely I'll ever get it computerized. What I do is an art, even the mistakes add to the overall feel of the work I do. I'm happy with that. So, you have me for company. Quilting is my fun, my escape from the rest of the world. And my customers know what to expect from me.


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Wow, Dawn! Those stories were pretty funny. I'm amazed you stuck with it! I really enjoyed reading your words of wisdom. And yes, I really just needed a pep talk. I am always pretty amazed at how good most of the quilts look when they're done and I'm standing there, having hated it just minutes before, really happy with how it came out.

You're right about the SR. So far, I only turn it off when I'm doing quick meanders.

Guess I never said what machine I have, it's a Liberty, bought in 2005.

I have Edgerider wheels. Got those ages ago. I think I probably jumped too quickly into customers and didn't spend enough time just learning. I took out a home equity loan, too to get it and if I had been making double payments instead of buying other stuff I would have paid it off in 2 years.

My shoulder does hurt but I do Jazzercise and other strength training and take plenty of breaks, so it's tolerable. I think a computer would be nice for pantos, but I still would rather spend the money on something else. (My car is 10 years old, for example!)

Linda, I would love to take a class from you sometime. Dawn, will you be in Paducah? I'm coming out.


Robin Kinley

1861 Burnt Maple Way

Vista, California 92081

760-415-0453

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I am not computerized and it's not in my future. I probably will get Bliss in the near future, but need to get more quilts done.

There are soooo many gadgets, and I did mostly free hand for the first year. Now I am doing more pantos and loving it, along with my Circle Lord. Maybe some of those CL products you really liked will be on sale here soon. Or is there another LA'er close that you could share the tools and cost with? Are there other LA'ers close that you can meet with and share tips, ideas, how-tos? That has been so beneficial to me.

I also look for sheets at the second hand stores, even fabric there you can get for pennies on the dollar to practice on, and put the word out for fabric not being used - I have also practiced on quilts from my church that are given away.

I do try to work on a new technique, shape, or something on each quilt.

Hoping all the comments help, you have probably said outloud what alot of us have thought. I know all the comments have helped me. Thanks for putting it out there.

Joanne Flamand

Artistic Quilt Design

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Dawn...i loved taking a walk with you down memory lane. It is encouraging to me to hear your journey. Thank you!


Kristina at website http://withakquilting.blogspot.com/ and personal blog http://froggybottomquilting.blogspot.com/

 

Hoppily quilting along with FROGGER - my Green Millennium, and TOAD - my Liberty. Quiltazoid equipped too!

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This is such a great, supportive group of folks. I am so proud to be part of it! :)

Robin, hang in there girl. :)

Dawn I loved reading your stories down memory lane.

American Pickers is my fave show on tv. Love those two Iowa boyz and what they scrounge up on their adventures!!

Pat, I bought the ProQDesigner software. Just started playing with it.


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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I have no plans for a computerized system or Bliss. If I quilted as a business, I might think otherwise, but I mostly quilt for me and I enjoy the challenge of doing it myself. I, too, am a sucker for rulers and other toys, but also have my favorites that I used most of the time. I have the Quiltazoid and do use it a lot, but not on every quilt.


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APQS Millenium and Quiltazoid

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This has been a great thread! I am enjoying reading all of the posts and really feel like there are a larger group of us out there than we realize! Thanks Dawn, you are right, we do quilt because we enjoy it and should not get caught up in meeting someone else's standards. I think when we are quilting because we love the process of quilting, it shows in the end product and I am proud to be a quilter!

I also love to watch American Pickers too!


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http://www.flickr.com/photos/sewmanyquiltssewlittletime/

Proud Millie Owner!

Sew Many Quilts - Sew Little Time

Custom Long Arm Quilting

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Thanks so much for everyone's comments! I have a non-stitch regulated machine, ultimate I. It just got back from the factory (i did add m and m wheels) and I am so excited, because I am going to try my first "custom" quilted project (my own ufo). I have been scouting the forums for ideas -- and there are many! Hopefully, I will post pictures for the first time in a couple of months....

All of you guys and gals are awesome!

Judy

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I could not agree more with Dawns 4th comment. I learned to quilt on a non SR machine and still like to quilt without it.

(4. Since I don't have a stitch regulator, I think I actually have an advantage over quilters who purchase a machine today and have the "luxury" of regulation. Learning to quilt only with stitch regulation (which is where most new quilters settle in out of fear of the "other way") actually makes it more difficult to develop fluidity and the muscle memory required to do things like consistent backtracking, smooth curves, and even stitching in the ditch.

When a person turns off the regulator, you begin to work your eyes and your muscles in tandem as you develop a rhythm, and more importantly, "muscle memory". You begin to "dance" with your machine when you don't feel the inertia you feel with a stitch regulator.

Think of it this way. I think it's like ice skating. When you first put on your skates, you clomp around, picking up your skates and "stepping" around on the ice because you're too afraid to fall. You worry about stopping and getting started again, so you anticipate it with too much thought. But when you start to get the hang of it, you no longer lift your feet; you glide around on the ice because you know by "feel" what you need to do. You stop worrying about starts and stops because you begin to understand how to coast in and out of them without a second thought.

If I had my way with the world, I've said many times that I'd love to "require" new owners to turn off the SR for a month while they learn how to bond with their machine and they develop the right 'muscle memory' to control it without really thinking about it. Then they could turn the SR back on).


Myrna Ficken A Quilter's Choice - APQS West, 5787 S. Gallup, Littleton, CO 80120;  Store 435-414-2026 Mobile 435-229-2703  myrnaf@q.com  www.aquilterschoice.com community. Look me up on Facebook   A Quilter's Choice - APQS West

 

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I am not yet computerized, but plan to go into it. I love the machine, the 2008 Lenni, SR, and have fun with free hand, but haven't been able to even hand draw the circle of fathers at the end of a long one, and get them to work.

I am just busy enough to not have but very little time to do any piecing. I could sit beside Penny the Lenni and do piecing at the same time, able to often peek at what the machine is doing.

I really miss the piecing. I will be getting the Side Kick, forgive me Jennifer and Dave if I have the name wrong.

With my body structure decreasing in upper body strength, I need something to do a lot of the quilting.

For now, I love it, can't do a lot of it at one time, and really don't have time for the piecing.

A computerized unit would help with both.

Also I will be able to purchase new designs we Need, from a lot of business on the web.

It will be a win, wion situation.

RitaR

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I enjoyed reading all the responses. I don’t quilt many quilts a year and I could definitely make better use of my accumulated gadgets if I scheduled some proficiency time. Currently I look at things and think – why did I buy it? I don’t use it. I also like the idea of a staycation and working on ppp.

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Robin:

If you are still using the Edgerider wheels you may want to consider saving for the M&M wheels. While there is a BIG difference between the ease of movement on a machine with Edgeriders to one with Bliss, you can achieve a great deal of this difference just by switching to M&M wheels.

I went to M&M's first...Huge improvement. Then bit the bullet and went to Bliss...a bit more improvement. The biggest improvement was from Edgeriders to M&M's and a LOT less money. The M&M wheels improved my backtracking immensely! Using the rulers I had was so much easier with M&M's, in fact any of the toys I had worked better/easier. I also got a lot braver with my free motion quilting.

I love Dawn's post...I can hear her talking as I read it. I tell all my students, especially any who have purchased a machine of their own, to spend time with the stitch regulator off. I agree with Dawn that it helps build our skill level.

This has been a great topic to follow the posts. Thanks for starting it!

I do have more than one machine and am computerized. I have to say that every "custom" quilt that I have used a computerized machine on ALSO included some free motion. The only quilts I have done totally computerized have been edge to edge designs.


Lucy Drinkall

o2b Quilting, LLC
APQS sales/rental and custom quilting

1025 Industrial Drive, Suite A
Spring Valley, MN 55975
www.o2bquilting.com
lucy@acegroup.cc

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i am going to add that if you already have edgerider wheels...the need to switch to mm wheels is NOT a big improvement; if your edgerider wheels are adjusted properly. just saying.


Kristina at website http://withakquilting.blogspot.com/ and personal blog http://froggybottomquilting.blogspot.com/

 

Hoppily quilting along with FROGGER - my Green Millennium, and TOAD - my Liberty. Quiltazoid equipped too!

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Guest Linda S

Robin - you could use a nice vacation, couldn't you? If you start saving your pennies now, you could catch the train in Riverside and come to MQX West in Portland, in October. Looks like the ticket is $135. The train comes right into downtown Portland and you can take the Max from there to the hotels around the Convention Center. I'm sure you could find someone to room with -- actually, Ellen and I are sharing a room at La Quinta, right across from the Convention Center, and you could probably bunk with us. Take some basic classes in using tools, tips, freehand methods, etc. You wouldn't need my class because it's for beginners. Think about it. Buying the machine is a big investment. It's really worth it to take some classes. Dawn was there last year and, I'm assuming she'll come this year. I learned a lot from her when I first started out (and I still learn by reading her articles in the magazines). Plus, going to a big show is so inspiring, not to mention getting to meet so many people that you've met on line over the years. Till then, keep on practicing! As Dawn says, don't be concerned with what other people do. Do your own thing. And, yes, do shut off that stitch regulator and play every now and then. Nichole Webb forced us to quilt without an SR in her classes and I found it very liberating. It really does help you learn the smoother movements.

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Rita, it's called SideSaddle and that's what I have. I love it. The price was so reasonable. Jennifer and Dave are WONDERFUL. It's so simple and user friendly. The only downside is I can't seem to make it work with Bliss yet so I don't have the Bliss.


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Serendipity: The discovery of something wonderful quite by accident while looking for something quite different.

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I have a computer and love it for the pantos and individual blocks. I can have it going while I am piecing a quilt or making the latest bag/tote. The borders are nice but time consuming to set up. I have a room full of rulers and gadgets etc. I think if you invested in some DVD's you'd make good use of your equipment. Even tho I am computerized, I do a lot of free hand work. Sometimes it just takes less time than getting an intricate border to fit with the comp. I need to sell some stuff but haven't taken the time to get pix and pricing. I have the rays and wanted to use them the other day but couldn't find the small circle. That's another facet of my life-forever looking for something. It's the worst when I take the time to clean up and get organized. That's when everything disappears!!!


Marie Brewer

Pine Needle Quilting

Hermosa, SD

Mille Owner

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