Oh my, what a big frame you have

....All the better to quilt you with.

Or at least that is the plan. In August at Festival of Quilts I saw a brilliant product which converts a domestic sewing machine into a long arm quilter-esq machine. For those of you who are not machine quilters the basic concept of long arm (LA) quilting is that rather than moving the fabric through a static machine, the fabric is mounted on rollers which hold it still while you move the machine around. Genius. LA's are VERY expensive in the UK and there is little or no rental market unlike the US where it seems you can't turn a corner in blog land before you stumble across someone sending their quilts out for LA-ing.  Silver Lining and I have been discussing going halves on a LA for a few years now but the cheapest smallest machine we could find started at £6k. Every year we wander round the Festival of Quilts playing with the LA's trying frantically to figure out a way to pay for one. This year we stumbled across Freestyle Frames. Finally a reasonably priced alternative to a long arm. I thought about it for about 12 hours before giving in and ordering a 6ft frame which I finally picked up yesterday.

And it is MASSIVE! I am very glad I didn't go for the 7 or 8ft both of which had been discussed. It only just squeezes in my pretty generously sized studio.

There are a few teething problem around tension and the shallowness of my machine's throat (yes, I avoided writing I need a deeper throat...nearly)but all in all I am in love with this baby. Why? Well several reasons the main one being you do not baste your quilt with this frame. Yes, its true, no more hours spent bent over a quilt trying not to stab my fingers for the 20th time and bleed all over my quilt while sewing basting stitches that only serve to keep the quilt together while I quilt it. Secondly I can adjust the frame to be standing height. I have nerve problems which leave me with little or no strength in my hands on occasion, a big draw back when my whole career needs hand work. This is aggravated by long periods of sitting in the same position. To be able to quilt standing up is going to have a very positive impact on my life!

I made a small sample whole cloth quilt yesterday to have a play and I am very happy with the results. I am off to spend a few hours with my sketchbook and my stash to make up some quick quilt tops I can sew to practice on.

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