Sunday, November 23, 2014

How Sweet It Is

Every time I go to a big quilt show I drool all over the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen machines.  As happy as I am with my two Berninas, I loved the idea being able to sit down with a long arm and work on a bigger quilt with ease.  It has 16 inches of throat space and eight inches of vertical space.  I tried it at shows more than once, but never thought I had room for one in my very crowded studio.  But I had an L-shaped desk unit with my computer on one leg of the L and my desk on the other and my printer in the corner between the two.  Now that I have a lap top and a wireless printer, I no longer needed that part of the desk.

This is nothing like a regular stand-up long arm machine in which you move the machine to make the quilting stitches or you can set it to use a pantogram and it quilts all by itself.  On a regular long arm, which is huge and takes up a whole room, the whole quilt is attached to a frame.  On my new machine it is like free motion quilting with any domestic sewing machine.  You still have to move the quilt around under the machine, it's just that you have more room.  I like to describe free-motion quilting to the uninitiated like this.  Imagine that someone is holding a pencil straight up and down and you are moving your paper under that pencil to get your drawing. You have to coordinate how fast you move the quilt with how hard you push down on the foot pedal.  Move too fast and you get big galloping stitches, too slow and you get tiny, tiny stitches.  You want to strive for consistent stitch length (a quilt judges's favorite comment).

Soooo... I ordered one at Houston and it arrived the other day.  Today I had two strong young men carry the desk and a filing cabinet out of the studio and into my car to go to Good Will and move my new table and machine in place.  It is in front of a window and looks like it was always there.

The sales rep from the Quilt Basket in Pawling, NY is coming over in a couple of weeks to set it all up for me and show me the ins and outs of it all.  The threading and the bobbin are a little different that my Bernina and I sure don't want to screw it up.  I don't have a big quilt to quilt right now so I certainly can wait and in the meantime I can admire it and dream of happy quilting sessions.


Linda M said...

What a nice new addition to your studio.

Sarah said...

Lovely new machine! I admire your restraint, I'm not sure I could be as patient as you! Still you have two weeks to run up a large quilt top to practice on! Lol!

Teresa Duryea Wong said...

Norma, this is so so exciting. Keep us posted on how it goes. It looks perfect there in the room, like it was meant to be.

Hilary Florence said...

Ohhh how exciting and I can't wait to see what you do with it. I have to admit I have dreamed about and coveted a mid-arm quilting machine. How wonderful to have all the space and to be able to eliminate all that drag and twisting quilts over your shoulders and round your neck! Did you also consider the apqs George and if so, what made you go for the 16 instead?
I hope you really enjoy it and have loads of fun.

angie said...

Norma, you will love this! 2 years ago I splurged at a quilt show and bought the Tin Lizzie and absolutely love it. Although I don't do big stuff.
Can't wait to see what you do with it.

Sue Kaufman said...

Hurray!! I love your new creative space Norma.