Saturday, February 14, 2009

What Do You Think?

It's Valentine's Day, and hubby is kind enough to be okay with not going out into the sea of coupling masses this evening! Instead, he is playing with his new Blu-Ray burner, and I am watching Renae's Amazing Ways to use Circles and Rays by Renae Haddadin. I don't have the templates as of yet, but I am enjoying the video!

As I mentioned before, I have had issues with my machine since purchasing it, and it has me thinking. Does the machine matter when quilting for show? I will be straight and upfront here, I have never wanted to quilt for other people. I wanted my longarm to quilt my own pieces for show and for art/sale. I will also be honest, and say that I have never been "into" the big time huge expensive sewing machine. Granted, my longarm is a bit pricey, but it is also a 17" which means in longarm terms, "frugal". My domestic machine I use, was $200. I know women who have spent thousands on a domestic machine. (We can get into my fear of competing at a later date! lol)

So my question is, can a person with "average" equipment compete in the quilting world? Put another way, "Is it the equipment, or how you use it?" I have been trying to observe the competition arena, and so far, I have noticed that the winners always quilt on a "big boy", that is a larger professional machine (Gammill, APQS and A1.) Does this mean that the smaller machines, like Hobby Quilter, Fun Quilter, Lenny, George, etc. can not produce big show quality quilts? (Think Houston, California, Paducah.)

I honestly do not know the answer to this question. Mainly, I just fear based on my troubles, that perhaps a smaller machine, isn't "fit" enough for tough competitions. Or is it just that very few people are actually quilting with the smaller models?

Opinions? :)


Bridget473 said...

Interesting question! I'll be curious to hear what others have to say. I would guess that it's all in how you use it. I believe Ricky doesn't use a long arm at all and he's made the big shows!

Anonymous said...

It is all in how you use it. The very top long arm quilters tend to have "big boy" machines because they have traded up to those as they have built success. Those top quilters tend to be those who quilt or used to quilt for a living. That means thousands of hours of practice. Quilters like Ricky (or Sue Nickels or dozens of others) who quilt on domestic home machines also tend to have big boy machines - top of the line Berninas or Janomes or Pfaffs, etc. Same reason, they have traded up as they have improved. Annlp

weaver49 said...

Let me begin by saying don't give up on your long to mid arm quilting machine. I have had mine for over two years and just now feel comfortable with it but by no means have tackled all aspects of quilting on it. Put some muslin on your machine and PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Like Bridget said Ricky quilts on his regular sewing machine.
To enter in IMQA your machine must be quilting on a machine with a rail system. You can read requirements on Each catagory has differant requirements so you would have to check that out.
I love my machine Stephanie and don't be afraid to get in there and try all aspects of your machine.

Norma said...

In my opinion it is the skill and patience of the person running the machine that determines the quality of the finished piece. If I wasn't quilting for others, I would have chosen a smaller unit for doing my own stuff because of space issues. We get used to what we have for a machine and make magic with it.

After trying the fun quilter at a couple of shows, I like it because it is small, light weight, and quiet. If I had stayed at a conventional job I would probably chosen something that was more affordable to me like a frame that would work with a portable sewing machine, etc.

I quilt with a Gammill Classic Plus, but I always remind myself it isn't the machine that does the work, it is me. The machine does nothing unless I move it. If I stitch crappy, it's my fault and I have to work better. If the machine acts up, I need to fix it or work around the problem.

There are lot's of famous domestic, sit down, and midarm machine quilters. Laura Wasilowski, Diane Gaudinski, Ricky Timms, Claudia Clark Myers, Anna VanDemark and on and on. I'm sure I spelled some of their names wrong.