Part of my big risk taking of last year was stepping down from full time to adjunct, was the idea of becoming a long arm quilter. As in quilting for others. I love long arming, and although only doing it for a short while I feel capable of quilting for others. To assist I found a course through Craft Online University that I thought would help push me further. The official certification is presented through APQS, American Professional Quilting Services. What’s great is the certification is not based on the machine, as many other certifications are, but on the quilting technique itself.
The curriculum has been great and the projects stretching my skills. Albeit the course system had some major errors at the beginning but have since been fixed. So far I am quite happy with the course.
My first few assignments were all about thread and batting types, understanding your machine and thread tension. The fun stuff and hard stuff, was then testing out specific types of quilting shapes. These shapes are common shapes you will use when doing free motion, varying the sizes and combining them. The extra challenge was not only learning the shape, but stitching it in eight different directions. My biggest worry here were the circles. I like doing circles in pebble quilting, but finding a consistent, large, perfect shape was quite difficult.
The next big assignment was completely new to me. A pantograph, by hand. For those unaware of these terms, its a design that is printed on paper on a long roll, and you have to follow the design with a laser. You quilt on the back of the machine, looking at the paper design never your quilt. This assignment was the hardest for me. I had never done a pantograph before and can promise I will never again! Being on the ‘wrong’ side of the machine, looking at paper and not the quilt, not knowing when the bobbin runs out, difficulty of rolling the quilt, etc. Definitely not for me. Get me back on the other side of the machine! I was happy with the quilt, it is being donated to Project Linus. But I knew not my best work and it was my first ‘B’ grade. (the other assignments I received A’s, much better showing of my skills)
Looking forward to the next assignments!