Gammill Training + first quilts!
We did it! This week Brandon and I officially became longarm quilters. We learned how to use our Gammill Statler machines at our dealer's location in Virginia.
Training was in depth and hands on, but not overwhelming. I was impressed with how Brandon took in in stride. We had spent a good bit of the 5 hour road trip discussing tension, basting, and all the quilting terminology that I figured might be useful. He's a smart one, my husband!
At training we had the opportunity to quilt practice quilts. We brought two baby sized do. Good Stitches quilts for practice. They were made by Hope circle for NICU beds and the lead quilter was happy to let us finish them at no charge.
The process begins with some very unglamorous basting. The backing, batting and quilt top must all be carefully loaded onto the machine, straight and smooth. Then we were taught to stitch baste along the edges and periodically through the center. For newbies like us, loading takes more than an hour. Even on a baby quilt... Then it's on to the best part - the quilting!
On our first day we were taught edge-to-edge quilting. That's a style where the quilting pattern is consistent throughout the quilt, hence it is edge-to-edge. I chose a linear pattern called Broken Glass for this quilt. Our teacher, who is extremely experienced, wasn't pleased with my choice of pattern. In a nod to her wisdom, I adjusted the scale as suggested. I had wanted to use a slightly smaller scale that would have made the broken glass pattern more discernible in the negative space.
I learned a ton that first day, but one takeaway was that I need to go with my instinct on design decisions. No, I am not an expert, but I do have a sense of style and my sense of style is not the same as anyone else's. I think my customers are going to want me to be true to myself. As a modern-ish quilter, I may not think like a traditional quilter. I am unlikely to have the same goals with my quilting. That's part of the draw of working with Stitched in Color, I guess? I hope it will be a draw!
On Day #2 we learned basic custom quilting. In this case we quilted a pattern over each block, scaled to fit that block. I selected another linear pattern called Modern Sun.
Brandon and I were pleased to set the angle of the quilting so as to make secondary patterns where the edges meet. I love, love, love how it turned out! This process took much longer than edge to edge, but it is not technically difficult to execute. We're going to be able to offer this kind of custom quilting, which we'll call "block quilting" right from the start.
Both Broken Glass and Modern Sun will be part of our pattern catalog. Don't worry, we'll also have curvy patterns as well and even flowers. You know I do like flower quilting too! Still, our pattern catalog will have more linear and geometric designs than most quilting services do. And, we hope our customers will also request patterns that you feel are missing!
We have another practice quilt set to load and finish (hopefully) tonight. There's a lot to do before we can open for business, but I'm excited for our progress.