I spent several hours today at my friend Robyn's home, practicing using her HQ16 midarm. She and Suzanne, another friend, have been kind enough to volunteer their HQ16's for me to quilt Autumn Mountains on. Today, I practiced on 1 1/2 yards of cheap muslin. Next week, I'll be quilting on the real thing. Here's the entire piece- sorry for the lousy lighting.
I was surprised at the difference between the quilting at the top where I started, and how it looked at the bottom, where I ended. Here's the top-
And here's part of the bottom--
After one pass, I figured out (with Robyn's help) that I needed to enlarge the size of my motifs. When you're used to moving the paper(fabric) and not the pencil (machine), you don't generally do large sweeping motions! By the end, I was getting better at nesting my motifs in each other, and not having them in a line. It's not perfect, but I feel confident enough to start the real thing. Since I'm appliqueing leaves on after I quilt, I'm comforted by the thought that the viewer won't be able to see any large unbroken areas of quilting!
I also learned that this involves very different muscles, and my shoulders appreciated it. Once I figured out to stand up straight, it got easier. No stressed or strained shoulder muscles like I get when I free motion on the Juki. It took me about four hours to do this, and I felt more relaxed at the end. I have a ways to go to make all my curves consistently curvy, and getting my lines closer to each other. And, quilting all the way to the edge is HARD!! But, no way I could have done this much quilting on the Juki in four hours.
I'm so grateful to have friends who are so generous with their expertise- and, in this case- their awesome midarms. I'm actually beginning to believe that this quilt will get completed!