One of my favourite things about shows is watching people's expressions as they try a machine quilting frame for the first time. There is a moment of stunned disbelief as the carriage holding the sewing machine starts to glide effortlessly over the top of the quilt at the touch of a finger. The eyes widen and focus, considering the new potential that this sort of tool opens up.
No more pinning or basting or gluing or tacking! No more frustrating pain in the neck as you try to hold the layers of the quilt together AND move them smoothly round the bed of the sewing machine. Within seconds of guiding the sewing machine over the top of the quilt you are creating a bold and flowing line, the stitch length is already pretty good and you begin to imagine what you could do with a bit of practice. Exciting stuff!
People start with circles and loops. The needle has become a pen and the thread is transformed into gloriously coloured ink. The perfectly tensioned quilt top becomes the paper. As this realization dawns people go on to writing their names and begin drawing flowers and stars, houses and at this show... cats! I'll end with one of my favourite drawing from the Italian show; this lovely woman, trying out our frame for the first time began drawing people holding hands. Just wonderful!
After the show closes for the evening, Emily and I cut out the designs from the show demo quilt sandwich and keep them to hand out as machine quilting samples. Quilters are so tactile! Having watched a demonstration or had a go yourself, it's good to walk away with a sample of what can happen when you put a JUKI TL98-P on an Art Quilter frame. If you would like a 'piece of the action' give us an email and we'll send you a machine quilting sample: