When I decided to purchase my longarm, I decided at the last minute to go ahead and get the robotics. They were offering it at a great price, and I thought it might come in handy for some things, but my goal has always been to learn to do entirely handguided custom work, and hopefully do it really well. The first time I saw custom quilting, I was absolutely transfixed and knew I had to find a way to this. It’s been a longtime goal that I kept largely to myself until this last year. While the robotics programs are interesting, they didn’t seem like they were in the same category, and they aren’t, to my mind. But I do have a much better appreciation of them now.
Here’s my first experiment with making a small wreath. My son was fascinated, so I have high hopes that some day I can turn him into a quilter, but he’s still scoffing at me, even as he spends more time in my garage studio, watching.
From what I can tell, all the longarm companies have a customized version of QuiltCad made by Grace. I think the Gammill Statler was the originator, but they’re all based off of the same system. Someone correct me if I’m wrong! I know that some versions of the are pretty loosely customized with a company logo at the start, others are a bit fancier. For example, my Juki QVP-2200 Quilter’s Creative Touch software is the same as the APQS software. This is wonderful because APQS has some great QuiltPath tutorials on YouTube.
That perfect little wreath was shattering. Why? Because it confirmed my worst fears: it was easy to get perfection without practice or artistry! I poked it into a program, which spit it out in a few fascinating minutes. Did I need to spend any time quilting at all?
Well, yes. One way or another, it’s never as simple as creating a quick little wreath. You still have to have an artistic sense of color, what sort of density to put in what kind of block, and some pretty sharp planning skills unless you only do E2E, and even then you better keep a close eye on it. There’s no getting off easy, as I had first thought, but it’s still pretty darned magical to watch. I’d have posted a video, but the file was huge.
I’ve also discovered that photographing the texture of my quilting is better in crappy lighting, but I need to get some bright lighting for my “studio” as we kindly refer to the garage these days. (No, my offspring, you must now take ALL trash directly out to the bins on the side of the house!) Texture may look good in low lighting, but I need to see what I’m doing. Does anyone have good suggestions for bright lights? I want the big overhead Grace Luminess light bar, but it’s pricey.
Does anyone else film their freemotion adventures? I have an urge to do that, just to document my progress/work. I’m the sort who journals a lot and loves to keep track of things as evidence that my existence isn’t completely fruitless. I think mounting a camera or phone directly on the longarm might vibrate too much, but maybe a sport camera meant to minimize that would help. Once again, does anyone have any suggestions? It’s harder than you’d think to hold a phone steady while driving a longarm.