Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wish me luck...............

I have my big stack of quilts - hard to believe this isn't even half of the ones I have made. But, I am taking my quilts to the Panquitch Quilt Walk which is going on now and I will be the guest speaker doing a trunk show tomorrow at 12:15 at the Panquitch High School. Not a big deal, right? Whatever!!! - there is supposed to be quite a few people there - I would have a hard time talking in front of 5 people and to tell you the truth, I haven't spent much time preparing what I am going to say and I have no idea what to wear. I am planning on winging it - I hope I don't look like a dork. I am sure I will butcher my words when I first start off and I will be red in the face for the first 10 minutes, but I am hoping after that I can be comfortable enough to continue.

I have a feeling this is going to be a long post, so bare with me. I am so grateful for incredible friends throughout blogland. Since my last post I have had so many encouraging emails and comments by all you incredible people out there. I am so thankful to all of you. I wish I could give you all a big hug for lifting my spirits and making me laugh! You will never know the difference you have made for me and I appreciate every single one of you! So, THANK YOU!

Okay - on with the post!

I thought it would be fun for all you beginner quilters out there to see my beginnings. I would be totally embarrassed to show you these pictures if I never got any better, but these pictures are proof that it takes time, and a whole lot of effort practicing to be good at long arm quilting. Keep in mind - I started to quilt in 2004, but it was a really slow start. My mom bought an A-1 long arm and I taught myself how to use it. My mom didn't go through a dealer when she bought her machine - BIG MISTAKE - and she still tells me today how she wished they would have sent someone to help out at first - anyway, we both had to learn. So, we had no clue how to use a laser, no clue how to do pantographs and really had no clue on how to load a quilt. We (Mom and I) loaded the quilts wrong for the first 4 years without even knowing it.



So, because we taught ourselves - we never touched a pantograph - everything was free motion quilting, everything and to this day - I have never done a pantograph on a quilt. The picture above is my first attempt at a flower. Hard to make out, but a flower with only four petals and an uneven circle would just kill me now. But, there you have it - my first flower.


The other side of the quilt - you can see the flower a little better. But, it still doesn't help the fact that this is obviously a beginner quilter.


This is my Liliana's Heart Quilt pattern - really the pattern that started this whole thing. I was so proud of the quilting on this quilt and now I look at it and want to throw in so much more quilting. Detail Judi! It needs detail!


Check out all that empty space - it just cracks me up now. I would never leave that much space in a quilt and look how uneven everything is. I really hope this encourages you beginners out there!


I was so proud of this quilting job too - but look how I didn't even quilt around the flower - not one speck of quilting - I would totally echo quilt this flower and add so much more. But, I have to say - to this day this quilt (Checkered Flowers) is definitely my personal favorite.


What do you do with all that missing detail? Seriously - if I knew what I would be doing as far as quilting is concerned years later, I would have laughed back then.

Stitch in the ditch anyone? Well, that's all I did on my "Rick the Rack" quilt - also one of my very first designs back in 2005 I think.

This is also a first - Life of a Snowman - there is a lack of "stitch in the ditch" and the tension is uneven. Something I did back then that I refuse to do now is to match the bobbin thread to the back of the quilt, sorry - I just won't do that anymore. I use the same color of thread on top and on bottom - no matter the quilt top or back.


This is a little better - this was my "Turtle Walk" quilt and I liked how I quilted it, but I would still quilt it differently now. So, when I bought my A-1 long arm in October 2008, and I went through my dealer, Jen - I learned how to load a quilt. I learned how to use a pantograph and the laser, but I had Jen take off the laser because I knew that I would never use it. I love custom quilting, I love that I free motion quilt everything, and that each little mistake that I can find proves that the quilting is human. Not that computerized quilting is not as amazing, but I just prefer to add my touch to each quilt that I do. I learned from my sweet friend Em that I should never unpick my stitches - to ere is human - and once you pull your quilt off the frames and see the whole picture, you just don't notice the mistakes.


To this day, the only tools I use for my quilting is my nine inch ruler, and my disappearing purple marker. I make all of my own templates and I free motion quilt them. The trick is, you just have to practice on your machine. You can draw all the designs you want on paper, but you won't get to know your machine unless you use it. It seriously takes time, a lot of time. I still have to take breaks from quilts sometimes because I have committed myself to so much quilting detail that it does get old. That's why a lot of the time it takes me a while to quilt a quilt, I get burned out. But, I never want the quality of my quilting to be affected, so I take a step away until I can face the machine and the quilt again.

For my last picture - Dear Jane - I can't believe how popular this post has been, I keep getting emailed about this quilt. So, years later I can quilt pretty good - I am proud of what I can do, but I really owe all of my talents and blessings to God. He has truly blessed my life.

So, moral of the story and probably the longest post of mine ever, don't give up - keep going and practice like crazy and you will become the quilter you want to be! I hope that helps all of you out there that are struggling with the fact that you bought an extremely expensive machine and you don't even know how to use it!

Hey, maybe I'll use this post as my presentation tomorrow! :)

Take care!

48 comments:

Sherri said...

What a great post...gives me hope for someday being able to quilt a lot of smaller projects on my machine! I know you'll do great tomorrow--you're such a genuine person, and that will come through as you talk about the quilts and quilting that you love!

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

Thank you, Judi...I needed to read this post. I partially quilted a quilt on my sewing machine (so it's all stabilized) and for the rest of the quilting I am going to quilt it on my long arm. I am seriously afraid of the thing and this will be my 2nd attempt at quilting with it. It's loaded up and ready to go.

I'll be posting how it goes...When I actually get the courage to turn it on. =)

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Bravo Judi! It takes a humble spirit to show where you came from. I'm glad that you are willing to be that transparent. It does give us hope that we can and will improve with practice. I don't long arm, but I do love to quilt my own quilts. I hope all goes well tomorrow.

Mary Grace McNamara said...

It's great to read about the beginnings of someone we all admire! Thanks so much for sharing your story. You'll do great tomorrow because you'll be talking about something you love and love to share! Have someone take pictures!

MGM

Regina said...

I am near the top of this chronology - it lets me see what I can aspire to!!! This would be an awesome presentation! Wish I could go!

Teresa Silva said...

You sound a lot better today....thanks for sharing your story. I'm new to long arm quilting and I love to see how much you have grown. Your quilts are definitely show qualilty. Beautiful. You will do great tomorrow.

Quilt n Queen said...

Judi...perfect timing for this posting ... I have had a Gammill in my basement for almost a year.....a very expensive machine not being used and I still send my quilts to my LAQ ...she bought herself the Statler and sold me her hand guided Classic Plus....I just had to have it...I kept telling myself I can do machine quilting.... well...the size of the machine left me afraid to even try... seeing your progress gives me hope. I've had a few lessons with my LAQ and with her help on Tuesday I loaded a quilt and started quilting...it was a pantograph and I am real happy how it turned out. After she left and have a little more confidence in myself I continued to quilt...then I ran out of bobbin thread...30 minutes later I figured out how to wind a bobbin ...then another 30 minutes later I had to use the manual again to figure out how to re thread the machine. I was frustrated but knew if I gave up it would sit on the frame for months ...I continued stitching and finished the quilt an hour later. I am ready to load another baby quilt and try again. Thanks for the encouragement and I will keep going, practice like crazy and I will become the quilter I want to be. If I am half as good as you in 5 years I will be happy...your quilting is amazing and you should be very proud of your work. You will be the envy of all as guest speaker at the trunk show tomorrow....have a wonderful happy day/mini vacation. I will be posting about my first long arm quilting project in the next day or two....Pauline

Wendy said...

I just sold my Gammill so am back to quilting on my domestic, but just looking at your work ... amazing! And to everyone that was the reason of your last post ... you've worked hard to get where you are at, long, dedicated hours and you earned where you are today. Thank you for sharing your story ... inspiring! My favorite is still your Dear Jane ... that's truly gorgeous! Best wishes for tomorrow!!

Jenny said...

Great post Judi!! Good luck with your trunk show!! You'll do great! Everyone loves what you do!
Jenny

Kathy said...

Your quilting is amazing!! Thanks for sharing your beginning thru current quilts. Lets me know there is hope for me.

See Spot Shop said...

I loved seeing your first quilts. You worked hard to get where you are today, and anyone who can't see that is just jealous. Thanks for the encouraging words for us beginners.

BobbiG said...

You made my day! I too have had a machine for a year with the stitch regulator and have not done it yet! I will! You have given me hope! Your quilting is spectacular and I am in awe each time you show it! Thanks for sharing your talents!

Desley said...

I enjoyed reading your post, and seeing where you started. I too only do freehand, and my main tools are a ruler and a piece of chalk. Although I am loving my new curved cross hatching rulers. You do lovely work and I enjoy your blog.

Jennifer said...

Thanks so much for sharing your early quilting - it is inspiring how far you have come!

Sarah Craig said...

Oh, Judi, you give me hope! I love your quilting and would love to be able to do half as well - it's so nice to see that you didn't start out as a long arm genius!! Thanks for sharing - and I'm sure you'll do great tomorrow!! Just tell a joke and remember to breathe!!

What Comes Next? said...

Good luck! I just heard about the Panquitch Quilt Walk at our guild meeting last week - quite the story!

Karen Wilson said...

I feel so encouraged now! Thanks so much for sharing your early quilts.

Yuki said...

Terrific posting! I love seeing early quilts. I have one of my very first on my sofa. It still cracks me up. I wish I could come to your presentation. Just imagine you are talking to your blogging friends sharing what you know. You'll be great!!

ttfn :) Yuki

Quilting Yai Yai said...

You have given me hope! I don't own a long arm, but I have been practicing on my regular machine to free motion quilt. I think I'm ready to try this weekend.
Thanks for all you do.
Deborah

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing your early days! It makes your recent work that much more amazing. I know Em is going and she's so excited. I told her I wish I was joining in the fun, you will do wonderful. Good luck!

Melody said...

Best wishes on the trunk show. I can sympathize with not talking in front of people. A friend asked me to take over teaching a class weekly for her. I told my boss at the time I can't even imagine what got into her head to ask me. I can't talk in front of people and I dont' know enough about the material. It's amazing how much easier it is when it's more people. I taught the class for months and still go back to teach. I learned a lot. Good luck

corina said...

Thank you for sharing! I wish more quilters would do that. When I started quilting I was so embarassed at my work because I figured everybody else did so much better. Years later I find out we all did circles that looked like we were into our cups when we were sewing them! If more of us shared our beginnings I think it would really help the ones just starting out. Great post and good luck on your talk. If you just talk the way you write your posts you'll do wonderful!

Nedra said...

I will miss going to Panquitch this year. You will absolutely love it. Claudia does a fabulous job, and yet it keeps it simple small town feel. Best of luck on your trunk show. I wish I could be there!

Sugar Town Quilt Co. said...

Judi you will be great, all you need is a pinch of green fairy dust and all is well, I am happy to see that you are looking forward and not back, best of luck
thanks for the longarm advice I one day hope to be as amazing as you with thread

Dorothy said...

This was a wonderful post. Very inspiring. Thank you. I needed that. Hope your trunk show turns out as well as your quilting. Smiles!

Paul said...

Great post and thanks for the reminder that we all start somewhere. I rent time on a long arm at an LQS, and next week I'll be quilting the most important quilt I've done so far... I am admittedly very nervous, but I feel I must do the entire quilt, or I can't claim it as mine.

I have never had anyone do the quilting for me, I just don't feel like I can claim it if I don't.

Good Luck at your show...

Paul
www.OutnumberedQuilter.com

Me aka Supermom said...

Judi,
I am a fellow longarmer, and have followed your blog for a while now. It has given me the inspiration to keep trying new things with my quilting. I love how every quilter has a story, and how each story is different, yet so often molded and formed from our past -- our mothers. Be sure to pass your craft on to your daughter (or sons)...someday they will appreciate it.
Margaret

Snoodles said...

What an encouraging post! Thanks for showing us!
Jacque in SC
quiltnsrep(at)yahoo(dot)com

Liz said...

Thank you for this post I was feeling a little flat having just loaded a quilt and quilted two blocks and not being exactly happy with them. I have had my machine since December. This is just the encouragement I needed to go back and persevere.

Auntie Pami said...

Fantastic post! I am a longarmer also. I haven't attempted to do much free motion quilting, but I'm so inspired by your quilts. You will do great at the show, your love and passion will outshine the nervousness! Have a great time (and please post photos for us).

Contented Caroline said...

Something tells me you talk will be great tomorrow - your audience will be mesmerized by your quilts, and they will be hanging on every word you say - they'll probably make notes and rush off to practice all the advice you give them. If I were you I'd just wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, don't plan and just go with the flow and I'm sure they'll pick up on your passion for quilting. As I keep telling you girl, just be yourself and they will love you.

Laura T said...

Good luck on your trunk show talk tomorrow! I know you will do a great job:) It's very inspiring to see your first quilts and to hear your story.
Laura T

liberal sprinkles said...

Such a wonderful post. I loved reading about how you've developed as a quilter, I don't think r really wish to be one but it's very inspiring and great advice for life in general. Keep trying and practise until you get better or get amazing!!

Good luck tomorrow!

Grace

Linda said...

Your post gives us all hope!
Good luck on your trunk show. I'll bet you'll do fine!

Linda said...

Wonderful post and so inspiring! Thank you! Your quilting is just amazing!!

Melissa @ Happy Quilting said...

Good Luck!! I so wish I could come and see you. I can't believe I move to Cedar City on Monday and miss the Panguitch Quilt Walk by 1 day. Frustrating!!! Oh well, there is always next year :)

I loved your showing of all of your beginning quilts. It is so fun to see where you started. (not that I think any of those looked like beginner quilts :)

Pat said...

What a great post and inspiring. I don't have a quilting machine but I appreciate what a quilter has to go through to do such fantastic work. It is great that you showed how your beginnings weren't the greatest but you went on and on until you ended up with some very beautiful quilted quilts.

Heather F. said...

My cousin lives in Panguich!

Penny said...

Hi Judi ~ Your blog today talking and showing the quilts you quilted when you began was very interesting! It certainly shows that with perserverence, one can not only improve but perhaps become proficient in anything they are passionate about doing:)

The quilting that you do on quilts is absolutely exquisite! I am always amazed to see pictures that you share of the work that you have done. And the Dear Jane quilting was spectacular - the hard work & time that you spent surely paid off!!

I am always a little behind but did read your posting on June 7th. It is very hard to ignore mean spirited people but you know, even if you respond, they just never get it! My daughter & I often talk about whether it is just us - does the mean spirited nature of these people bother anyone else? Well, I guess we now know that we are not alone. Yesterday, I was talking with a young lady & she said she was getting tired of being yelled at and being talked to in a less than civil way - she works at the front desk at a large university vet medical center. She said, I often want to just cry! That is very sad to hear ... but as I told her, these people do not want anyone talking to them like that but think that it's alright to talk to you that way. So ... what I am getting at ... however hard it is, you need to keep doing what you do in the way that you do it ... you are remarkable and talented ... and nice!

I am certain that you will do just fine this weekend ... people will never remember a few goof ups but they will remember your quilts & the knowledge that you shared:) Hope all goes well ...

kmcconachie said...

Judi, Thank you for your timely post. I am still fairly new to LA quilting, and I get so easily frustrated when everything isn't "perfect". Your post reminds me that everyone has to start somewhere, and it's reassuring to see where practice, practice, practice can get me! Kelly

Julia said...

Hi Judy! I don't usually post but I loved this post and had to say something! You gave me inspiration! I'm VERY new to quilting and I did a table runner for my sister for Christmas last year. This was my first attempt at quilting. My other quilt tops (2) are not put together and quilted yet. My first attempt looked like I had been smoking crack! Holy tamoley! I've been so afraid to ruin the other quilt tops! I am a perfectionist, and that personality trait has served me pretty well in piecing the quilt but when it comes to freehand motion quilting, I sucked SO bad that I have been afraid to try it ever since!! Yours looked better than mine did, but after seeing how simple it was on your first attempts and how gorgeous your quilting is now, I believe I'll give it another try. Thanks so much!!

Julia

I am Just One Mom said...

Love your candid nature (and your shop). Seeing the progression of your long arm quilting talents is inspiring. Thank you for opening our eyes and your heart.

Pam said...

Dear Judi - thanks so much for showing us how your quilting has progressed. I have had my LA for about a year, and had a similar experience to your Mom, bought a used A-1 and spent a lot of time learning to use it and figuring it all out. I also follow your mantra of practice, practice, and mostly enjoy doing freehand quilting. I can do pantos, but hate to stand behind my machine where I can't see what I'm doing. I also REALLY appreciate your posts about problem solving, that is really one of the challenges for us LA'ers. We mostly have to be our own mechanics of a big industrial machine! Thanks again!

Liz said...

Judi, if you get tired of quilting you could be a LAQ cheerleader! Your note was inspring to me also, as so many other quilters have voiced. Thanks for your post. Your quilting is fabulous!

CharlotteP said...

What a generous post...encouragement indeed for all us beginners! Thank you!

Saska said...

I needed to read this! I have a Nolting that I keep practicing on and it is getting easier. Pantos seem hard for some reason, but quilting freehand seems....free!

Donna S. said...

Thank you for showing us your beginning quilting. Gives me hope.

Linda said...

Thanks Judi for always showing us your work. I only have you as a mentor, so seeing your beautiful work allows me to try to do the simple quilting that I do. I like your statements that you were happy with your work at the time. That's me too. I really appreciate you doing this blog.