07 March, 2008

Easin' On...

Thanks for joining me, and Sundance, as we EASE on down the long arm road together... the hike up this steep learning curve named "Pantograph" is a workout that ain't for wimps. This exercise is quite different from anything I've tried before, being behind the machine and away from the needle "action" will take some getting used to. Following a continuous pattern with a laser beam and simultaneously translating every slight movement and mis-step to the machine in front isn't as simple as you may think. I've learned a few things worth remembering:
1. breathe.
2. loosen up; go smooth and easy
3. breathe
4. relax shoulders
5. breathe
6. go smoother, easier!
7. glance up from time to time
(your thread may have broken...
OK, this happened to me twice!)
8. BREATHE!

Results after my first, faltering attempt:
Pantograph pattern design, "Double Plume" on top,
actual stitched sample of " Misshapen, Boxy Plumes with Weird Tips" below:
There's much to be said for "easy does it" and relaxed, fluid movements. I never promised that this journey would be pretty! I'll get this right, I have every confidence, or die trying. Everything in good time. Bonnie offered a good suggestion: that I walk left to right behind the machine rather than right to left, as I had been. I'll try that and see if it makes any difference, it can't hurt!

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
Life is Good!

16 comments:

CONNIE W said...

Please let me know how you like the L-R movement. I've been doing only R-L because "they" all say that is the best way, given the way the machine is inclined to produce best results. I know exactly of what you write. I didn't think I'd ever 'get it' and to this day I still find it a challenge to get perfectly curved feathers everytime, especially when using pantos. When Millie was installed the two installers suggested that I practice at least 20 minutes a day. Hmm, I didn't, but once I took the plunge and started just doing pantos I was on my way. And the main thing is to have lots of fun which I bet you are doing! Congratulations on your purchase.

Salem Stitcher said...

The few times that I have quilted on a LA and used a pattern like that, I found that the faster I moved, the smoother I got. I also found that if I moved my whole body instead of just my arms, I was able to control the movement of the machine better. (My arms didn't get as tired either.) It really is kind of like dancing.

Eventually, you will find your happy place!

canquilt said...

The thing I would forget to do is blink. Sometimes my eyes would get dry and I would feel like they would pop out of my head. I always went r-l because my machine worked better that way.

Shelina said...

It looks good to me for a first try. Be patient with yourself and breathe!

Pam said...

I bet it takes a lot of practice. It is too bad that this machine is not working correctly and you have to go to the trouble of sending it back and getting a new one.

Good luck with it all.

Libby said...

I find that a good wad of bubblegum and some music help out a lot. Have fun!

julieQ said...

The learning curve is tough, I hear, but the results are so worth it! Congratulations on getting your machine! I am wheedling my hubby...

Quilt Memories said...

You and Sundance will be doing the " happy" dance very soon, and you will wonder what all the worry was about!! I have confidence in you!! You'll get it!!J

Katie said...

Yep, I have trouble with that breathing part! At the Gammill dealer (which I don't have one of yet...sigh) she said to always look ahead of the laser. As soon as I did that you could see the difference! Very cool. :-)

Lisa Boyer said...

I think that "look at the laser road ahead" before me comment was a great one. Also, the breathing thing is a good idea in general. It sure beats the alternative.

Quilt Memories said...

I just want to check and see if you need to go to Lamaze Classes, they are pretty good at teaching you to breath at stressful times!!
Might be a good idea!! Seriously just try to have a good time........J

meggie said...

It does sound as if it is quite a steep learning curve!

Nane said...

Couldn't you find an easier pattern to start with? But knowing you...you will master it soon! Has Turbo wanted to sit on Sundance and watch the needle yet?

Quiltdivajulie said...

Oh, this all sounds so familiar... I was with Chris during every baby step of her quilting journey (from her first through her present machine)... the learning curve is intidimidating, but perserverence and the desire to create are more powerful!

Do take time to acknowledge how much you HAVE accomplished and learned... all those little bits and pieces will add up over time!!!

And, most importantly, let yourself have fun with the journey (even when you're ready to scream) ...

Carole said...

Lynda Taylor suggest to keep your arms to the side and move your body. I tried that the other day and it seemed better. With time, I have been told, it will become second nature!

Beth said...

I had trouble at 1st just moving my FEET! lolol I heard music and WINE works good! ROTLF I also like to practice on my white board. Even my pantos I run around without thread from time to time just to get my timing loosened up (that is MY timing..not the machines!) WTG on your practicing...