Long-Arm Beginnings and Advice

Hello to all visiting here today.
There are so many long-arm quilters out there who are
so talented and so artistic that I wasn't sure I had
anything to offer but Rebecca talked me into it.
I've decided to give my own go at linking up
to Cheeky Cognoscenti's Long Arm Learning.

I'm coming up on my third anniversary with my
longarm.  I know--who celebrates this?
I got it on my birthday so it's just there, okay?
And I will never forget how excited I was!
At just three years, though, a lot of my learning
experience is still very fresh in my mind so maybe
that is what I can offer.

One of my favs.

Today I'll just introduce myself and my machine.
We're both pretty no-frills but at times can be a little
complicated and finicky...until you learn our ways.
Then it's pretty smooth sailing.

I stumbled across a King Quilter on a 12-foot Phoenix
frame on Craig's List.  The owner needed to down-size
in a hurry.  She'd just finished up a garage sale
(not the best place for selling a LA!) and this baby had 
not sold; she was ready to move it out no matter what.
Goodness, it was barely used!  And I mean barely!
I often wonder if she was just overwhelmed by it.

Just home and condensed to 6-feet--don't even bother, btw.
This isn't big enough for any serious quilter!

Maybe we've all had a time or two like that?
(What, just one or two?!?)
As much as I'd dreamed about owning one and as excited
as I was to suddenly have one, it still took me a few weeks
to just get on it and start playing around.  Crazy.

No, it's not "top of the line" but the price was sooo right.
I am a firm believer in "God Shopping".  If God puts what you
need right in front of you, then that's the one you're to get!
I looked at it, and my hubs, with loving eyes...
and I took it home.  Fyi, I took hubs back home, too.
 I mean, someone had to set it up!
(Actually, he's a real keeper but that's another story.)
I thought it would be years yet before I allowed myself
such a treat but there I was, a longarm owner.
Happy birthday to me!

We have this great sunroom in our home, perfect for reading,
but as our youngest two were still in high school, it
was the only spot for the longarm.  I love the view but I sure
miss having that space for a Christmas tree, reading and all
kinds of things.  The boys are both off at college now but
I refuse to take over either of their rooms until one is
officially out on his own.  A mom just can't do it.

Ikea is great for sewing room furniture!  Love my desk and hutch!

 My other machine is an Elna 760 and sits in front
of the window in my sewing room.
Can you tell I'm all about looking outside while I sew?

We've been together for about 6 years--I think--and we have
done a lot of machine quilting together.  Now it's just a whole
lotta piecing and binding, with the occasional FMQ on
very small projects.  Before that it was my mom's old Bernina,
which I still have and will never give up.  She's packed away
but she's a solid one so I keep her.

Other bits about me:
Married for 28 years with four grown children.
In order of appearance:
D1 (teacher, now SAHM, married w/2 children) and
 D2 (PT Assistant)--both live within 20 minutes.
S1 (3rd year at Creighton University, Omaha, NE) and
S2 (2nd year at US Military Academy at West Point, NY;
also a pole vaulter on the track team.)

I'm a former farm girl on a few acres so I now "farm"
a large garden, 2 herb gardens and 19 chickens.

The 2 cats take care of themselves.  Sort of.

I'm an avid cook and baker, especially with all the
garden produce and eggs from our chickens.
I also enjoy knitting and reading.
I mention all of these here and there throughout my
blog but I'm mostly all about quilting and would love
to have you follow along.  I also pop over to instagram
where I occasionally post a quilt pic or a chicken video
if you'd like to follow along there as well.

I think the most important advice I could give to someone
who is just starting their longarm adventure is to know that
everyone is on a different road!

You may work full-time or you might have littles running
around, or both!  You might be all-in and spending every
free second with your machine or maybe you just want
to do a little on the weekends.

So if you don't progress right into pro status in a month,
a year or even several years,
it. is. okay!
I am all about competition because it encourages us to try
harder and to grow (so says this mother of athletes) but in this,
the only competing you should do should be with yourself.

We all progress at different paces and 
work around different lives.

I can be very hard on myself in so many things but quilting
has helped me lighten up so much and in multiple ways.
I may be critical of my work now, but it is only so that I can
work harder on this or that next time.

I have to be honest, I don't like the popular phrase,
"Finished is better than perfect."  I'm more of a
"If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well" kind of
person.  I know that only God is perfect, and so perfection
is unattainable for us.  But He does expect us to try.  
  So if you ask me, it's not about popping out a bunch
of finished products.  It's the doing that's important.
Did I try hard?  Did I learn from any mistakes?
Do I keep from settling in a comfortable zone
by challenging myself here and there?
And so on.

Sure, my quilts are far from perfect but
I think my quilting goal is.  
"To constantly grow."
That's it.

Appropriate for a gardener, huh?

Next time I'll dive into pantographs!

Happy quilting!
Linking up to 
Cheeky Cognoscenti's
Long Arm Learning


Needled Mom said…
I have enjoyed your blog and always love seeing how productive you are. BTW, our granddaughter is in her 4th year at Creighton. Wonder if they have run into each other.
piecefulwendy said…
Thanks for sharing - I enjoyed learning a bit more about you. Enjoy that machine and your outdoor views!
Rebecca Grace said…
I'm so glad you joined in, Cheree!!

1. I think your sunroom, flooded with natural light, is an ideal home for your long arm. If you really want to read in there, you can put a bean bag chair under your frame... You can even check your tension while you're down there!

2. If you've had your machine 3 years, then you and I must have become new long arm owners at around the same time! My husband set mine up, too, which makes him a "keeper" as well.

3. I am right there with you -- process is more important to me than churning out a product, and I agree about comparing your work today only to your own previous work, not to the work of someone who has been quilting every day for thirty years!

Your pantographs look amazing, and my early attempts wtih pantographs did not go too well so I know it's not as easy as it looks! I'm looking forward to your post about pantos because I'm planning to attempt another one soon, hoping that now that I have better fine/gross motor control or coordination or whatever it is with how my machine moves, hopefully the next one will come out better!

Thanks for linking up with Long Arm Learning!
Vicki in MN said…
That was fun getting to know you a little better! I love that white cupboard in your sewing room!
Debbie said…
Great post! So glad to see you stepping up and out to share all your learning and beautiful life experience with the world. You have done great!
Joyful Quilter said…
Nice to see so many of your lovely quilts in one post. I'd love a "real" long arm but I'd have to find a deal like you did. I miss looking out my window while sewing, I think I'll have to see if I can rearrange my sewing room (after I clean it).
Home Sewn By Us said…
Hi Cheree! Seriously??!! You think you have nothing to add to a post about quilting?? Umm. I'm glad you came to your senses. I love hearing the background story on LA procurement. And what a lovely setup you have! That view - that lighting - the nice deep throat. Ooh-la-la. It was meant to be. The quilts you have shared are lovely. I also appreciate your quilting style and truly look forward to hearing more about it. Happy Friday! ~smile~ Roseanne
Kate said…
Thank you for the tour of your long arm and sewing space. You don't get good without the practice, so you have to do the time, which it sounds like you are. Looking forward to hearing more adventures in quilting. Maybe one day I'll get up the nerve to try it myself (more limiting, I need the time to try it).