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Fabulous Firsts

This has been a summer for firsts in my quilting world. First time tools. First time techniques. First time opportunities. Those firsts keep me going back to the sewing room because there is always something new to learn and experience. A wise man - my husband actually! - once told me that when you know it all you better move on to something else. And after 29 years I haven’t moved on from my quilting hobby yet!

My first time opportunity came in June thanks to one of my customers, Janet Huenink. She entered two of her quilts that I had custom quilted into the Omaha Quilt Show. Janet loves to appliqué and her work is always magnificently done. The largest of the two quilts called “Almost One Thousand Leaves” won 1st place in its category as well as receiving the award for Best Professional Longarm Quilting! What a thrill that was! Entering a quilt show like that is not something that I would have ever done on my own. I am too much of a perfectionist and a competitor to really enjoy that experience. And I was glad that I didn’t know the quilt was going to be entered into a big show when I was working on it as I would have been reaching for my seam ripper more often than usual!

I discovered my first time technique when I was reading the August 2022 edition of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. On page 27 Lindsay Mayland gave a tip about using hand quilting thread when stitching a binding. I have quite a few spools of hand quilting thread that I used early on in my quilting journey and haven’t used since I got my longarm in 2015. I figured those spools would just end up being a pretty wall decoration. But no! The hand quilting thread is coated and glides so nicely through the fabric when hand stitching a binding. And even better - it doesn’t tangle! I’m so glad to have found another use for my hand quilting thread.

Quilting with just the right tools makes the process so much more efficient and even more fun. Recently I discovered two tools that have done just that for me. The first is the Sure Foot by Handi Quilter for my longarm quilting machine. It looks a lot like the presser foot that I normally use on my machine except that the sides are taller. This little difference is a game changer when I’m quilting with rulers. While I used my normal foot for years when using rulers I would sometimes have issues with the foot hopping onto the ruler. Not a good thing!! In that case your straight line suddenly becomes not so straight and you run the risk of breaking the needle on the ruler. With the Sure Foot those issues simply disappear.

The second tool that I discovered was one that I have actually had since I purchased my longarm but I just had not had an opportunity to use it. That tool was the black light on my quilting machine. I needed to stitch out a stencil design on light fabric on a customer quilt. I am always hesitant to use a dark marking pen on light fabric because I’m afraid it won’t be totally erased when I’m finished. By using the black light I could see the white Pounce powder that I used to transfer the design onto the fabric. It worked so great and I can’t wait for the next time that I can use that tool again.

All of these firsts have added so much to my quilting experience. I just wonder what new and interesting things will come across my path next.

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