Driving the Ferrari

gammillGentlemen, don’t hold your breath on this one…

I was buying material at one of one of my two favorite quilting shops in the Sierra foothills (Whistle Stop in Auburn and Sugar Pine in Grass Valley, should you ever be up this way) and chatting with the owner about sewing machines while waiting to connect with Sister Jane so I could begin quilting the two quilt tops that were my gloomy, stuck-in-the-house January projects.

The owner suggested that I drive down to Sacramento and check out an inventory of new and used machines at a large warehouse type store.  I did just that, with the plan of getting an overview of what I might, possibly, need somewhere in the future. Maybe.

A young clerk smiled and offered to help.  I was ready for the sticker shock, having already visited one of their satellite shops nearby, but, row after row of machines doing more that I’d ever use at prices I wouldn’t want to afford was still overwhelming.

She finally stopped, looked at me and said, Let’s go down to the other end of the warehouse.

We made the long trek down to a row of four or five ENORMOUS machines.  They were beyond what you’d call long-arm. They were each 12 feet long and we won’t talk about the price other than to note they’re in the tad pricey category. One would doubt take up an entire garage, which given the price, may be an appropriate place for them.

But those machines sure did the job of making quilting a breeze.

The driver of the machine stood, holding a bicycle handlebar, on which was attached a laser light.  The beam shown down on a design that extended along a 12 foot long roll of what looked like the old continuous feed computer paper.  You just selected the design (or make your own), attach your quilt top, the batting and the backing to the machine, turn it on and follow the design.

The clerk had me hooked, especially after explaining that after a day long training and $15 an hour to rent said machine, I could be on this Ferrari model of sewing machines and quilting!  And have someone around to answer questions and provide the thread!

Whoo Hoo!  Sign me up!

Earlier this week, I attended the six hour class. It was learning to drive a Ferrari, including trying to remember how to use a stick shift while following the laser dot on the pattern and keeping an eye on the computer screen.  Good Grief.  I used to be able to multi-task, but this was more challenging than I imagined it would be.

I was also the novice in the group.  The instructor asked how long we had been quilting.  Twenty, thirty, forty years. Eight weeks.

Nonetheless, I got four rows quilted on a dummy quilt.  It was not close to being ready for prime time, but I am going back in next week, with more scrap material in hand and will practice some more, and some more and…

…and a whole lot more before the Ferrari and my two quilt tops will ever be introduced.  I figure that when I can quilt a pattern and have it kind of, sort of look like the pattern is the time that I will bring in my quilts.  In the meantime, my two quilt tops will just be folded, looking tidy, neat and very impressive to my non-quilting friends.

8 thoughts on “Driving the Ferrari

  1. You are so brave. Can’t wait to see completed quilt. This makes me marvel even more at those I’ve inherited.


  2. Wow. Hope you enjoy it. Should make a beautiful quilt easily and quickly…. once you learn how to
    use the machine (and have $15 per hour to spend).


  3. Quilters, start your engines! (Background audio of revving machines.) In the distance, the strains of Wagner’s Valkyeries (sp?) increases in volume as the 50 calibers stitch their way up the valley. “I love the smell of sewing machine oil in the morning.”


  4. Pay all due respect to the advice about thread. Threads come in a surprising variety of weights and are designed to do different jobs; different machines running different speeds also affect choices. Hand quilting thread is not used for machine quilting, unless things have changed since I last looked into it. You’ve been playing with color, texture, overall design, etc., so you will enjoy learning more about thread.

    Liked by 1 person

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