Another UFO Bites the Dust – A Story about Long-Arm Machines

Y’all, I did something… I bought a thing, and I’m not sure exactly what it is. I’ve seen it called a mid-arm machine but I’ve also been told it’s a tiny long-arm. At any rate, it’s Uber-fun to drive. (Yah, it’s called “driving.” I didn’t make that up.)

Meet Quita. (Because anything that costs this much $$ should have a name.) She’s a Q’nique 15 Pro from the Grace Company and she sits on my 5-foot Brother Dream Fabric Frame, also made by the Grace Company.

I bought the frame as a package deal with my Brother Innovis VQ2400 but I really liked sewing on that machine so I took it off the frame, which I’ve been using for fabric storage for a couple of years. Meanwhile, my finished tops are stacking up faster than I can quilt them using only my VQ2400.

Enter Quita. Already, I finished my orphan block quilt started in 2017 and just yesterday, I finished quilting another long-time UFO – my Stripey Hawaiian baby quilt. I’ve gotta come up with a better name for that quilt. Maybe while I’m binding it, I’ll think of something.

This quilt already has quite the story to tell. My cat ravaged it, I fixed that problem, then started quilting it on my Brother machine using some echo quilting. See below. But that wasn’t going well, so I folded it up and threw it in a corner until Quita came along. Now, voila, it’s done except for the binding. 

I know… it’s pretty terrible, but I have a few more small quilts to practice on, so hopefully I’ll get better soon. Until then, I’ll probably still send out my best and biggest quilts to my favorite long-armer, but one day… one day, I too, shall be a great long-armer. Maybe. I hope!

There Was Much Wailing and Tears…

Block 11 of Chaos Theory. It’s not quite finished but unfortunately this is as far as I’m going to get this week. I do love my day job but it interferes with my quilting. 🙂

Aloha y’all. I have a confession to make. I don’t have an accurate quarter-inch seam. I THOUGHT I did, but it was all hubris. I discovered this lamentable fact whilst in the middle of my monster project, Chaos Theory. I’ve been working on it since 2016. I was supposed to finish it by the end of 2016 but for many reasons it didn’t happen. 

What did happen is that I switched sewing machines in the middle of the project. Big mistake. Huge! Turns out my quarter-inch seam was a little big on the first machine and a little small on the second one, a fact I didn’t discover until I had completed two-thirds of my project. Did I mention what a beast that quilt is? Two thousand, three hundred and four tiny squares. It’s taken me nearly two years to get this far.

There were tears when I discovered my mistake. Maybe even some gnashing of teeth. Definitely a few F bombs. I was ready to throw in the towel, because I knew I was going to have to redo a lot of it.

It was absolutely essential that I perfect my quarter-inch seam before sewing another stitch, so that’s just what I did. I read a few excellent tutorials online, which I’ll share with you at the end of this post, but I kept thinking, “My Brother Innovis VQ2400 was freaking expensive. It should practically sew an accurate seam without me.”

To my delight, it does. 

Maybe y’all know all about this quarter-inch quilting foot. I was woefully ignorant until now. If you don’t have one, go get one right now. It will save you a lot of heartache. If you can’t lay your hands on one, though, that’s okay. There are some excellent tutorials that will help you achieve a dead-accurate quarter-inch seam. Just Google “accurate quarter-inch seam” and you’ll find lots of results.

One final note. It doesn’t matter how accurate your seams are if your cutting is off, so your first step to a beautiful quilt is to cut your pieces as perfectly as you can manage. I use the Accuquilt Go cutter whenever possible. I know a lot of you prefer the Sizzix or some other machine and that’s perfectly fine. Do whatever it takes to get perfect cuts every time.

In closing, don’t be like me. Make SURE your seam allowances are perfect before you begin your next project.