My foray into long arm quilting

One of my goals of the year was to quilt one of my own quilts. I'm not that enthusiastic about quilting on my own sewing machine though. The idea of wrangling a big quilt through a tiny machine just doesn't hold much appeal. I really like the idea of long arm quilting. Having the nice large expanse all laid out is pretty cool. Seems much easier. So I whipped up a quilt in a couple days, something really simple but with divided sections so I could try a different design in each section.

I practice on paper and a dry erase board almost everyday and also on our back patio with chalk whenever my little guy wants to play outside.

I was feeling really prepared as I went for my first session. Then I started quilting.

I am definitely not ready to quit my day job.

I was pretty frustrated at the end. The designs I'd spent so much time practicing on paper were just not happening on the long arm machine. I'm not entirely sure why. I'm thinking maybe I was trying to go to fast in order to keep with a good rhythm and not concentrating on the design I was trying to accomplish. Also, I think my thread choice fabric combo wasn't the best. I always like the look of thread that blends in with the quilt but it made it nearly impossible to see what I was doing on the darker patterned fabrics. Seeing the sashing was fine, but the blue sections were ridiculous.
I'm not ready to give up though. This was a really good learning experience and I think I'm going to try a pantograph on my next attempt to see if following a pattern will help me get a good rhythm and a feel for how a design needs to be stitched.

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