I'll get to the flamingo in a minute. I began machine quilting in earnest back in 2003. I spent my first couple of years, with a 30 year old school's Bernina on a SuperQuilter frame, kicking the foot pedal across the floor. I never really stood on one foot, I always kept my weight on my heel and operated the foot pedal from the side with my toes. This helped me to keep my balance. Not ideal exactly, but you have to start somewhere.
A few years later, we introduced the New English Quilter and I upgraded to a JUKI TL98 P and purchased this gadget called Handi-Handles. These handles replaced the foot pedal with a hand guided speed control dial. I found it so much easier to work from my center rather than have my foot doing one thing while my hands did something else. This meant that I didn't have to kick the foot pedal across the floor anymore. Now that I'm used to a hand guided speed control I could never go back.
Unfortunately, the Handi-Handles company ceased trading last December. This created a real problem for machinequilters using table top frames. To fill the gap, we've created a new UK version called Nifty-Grips. We'll be introducing Nifty-Grips at the Festival of Quilts this August. You can visit us at stand B7 and try them out. We didn't want to leave you standing on one foot!