Friday, April 5, 2013

My Quest

 It never entered my brain. It was the furthest thing from my mind. Three and a half years ago I was just starting on my journey to becoming a quilter. I've been happy to piece blocks together and combine them into beautiful quilt tops. 
Even this time a year ago I wasn't thinking about this at all.

But six months ago a thought came, a curiosity and I started on what I'm calling My Quest to learn more.
Research commenced. Lots of questions asked of friends who know things.
Thinking, thinking and more thinking. Almost daily.
Watched YouTube videos. Joined Yahoo groups.

What has had me obsessed lately?
Drum roll please........

I had decided that I want a long arm machine!

Aggg! I can't believe that I was even considering such an idea but the more I researched and the more I learned, the more I knew that this is what I want to do.
I have been a cake decorator for 20+ years and if I can create masterpieces out of sugar, flour and butter, I know that I can do this too. My brain is in overload with the creative possibilities this brings.

Here are just a few of my sugary creations. Sorry about the picture quality; they were taken long before I had a digital camera and then were scanned into the computer.
This is the very 1st wedding cake I ever made.
Yes the bride and groom are all cake, they are sitting at their "head table" looking at "their own wedding cake", which was an Italian Rum Cake and absolutely to die for BTW.
 For a retirement party for 2 teachers.
 For my step-dad's retirement party.
 One of my very favorites of all, for my nephew's christening.
 Another favorite, for my grandma's 90th birthday party.
I don't do nearly as much cake decorating these days and am more obsessed with quilting but every so often the pastry bags come out for some sweet creating.

Anyway....I HAD planned on taking you on the long journey to my long arm with me. I HAD planned on test driving as many brands and size machines as possible and then posting my thoughts and impressions about each one. When I went to the quilt show in New Jersey 5 weeks ago I did a quick test of a number of machines and talked with some of the vendors, but because that road trip was a fast one-day one, I knew that I wanted to spend more time testing out each option available. I HAD been planning on setting up appointments to check out the brands with dealers within reasonable driving distances to me. I even HAD a visit penciled in with an owner who was willing to let me try out her machine since there isn't a dealer for that brand nearby.

The one thing that I did know already is that I only wanted a 10 foot frame and one of the smaller throat machines. A 10 foot frame would fit in my studio (though it would be a bit tight) and I could still hear and keep an eye on the kids while they play. Anything bigger would have had to go in the basement and I wasn't thrilled about that idea. None of the basement is finished yet so moving the frame as we did do that work would have been a real pain in the rear. Plus being in the basement would prevent me from quilting on it at all while the kids were home and awake, unless they were playing down there too. So a 10 foot frame also meant an 18", 20" or probably no more than a 22" throat machine. I just don't have the space in the studio for anything deeper.

My plan WAS to figure out which one I wanted, to know how much it was going to cost and to work on saving up for it, to comb the used machine listings on Longarm University, House of Hanson, the various Yahoo groups for the brands, Craigslist and Ebay until I came across a deal that was perfect for me.

But that isn't what happened at all. My Quest is coming to an end a whole lot sooner than I ever expected. Stay tuned for the big announcement of what will soon be mine.

11 of you added your own colorful comments:

beaquilter said...

I didn't know you did CAKES?
I took my first two classes when my kids were little, just a basic decorating class and a fondant class, the only time I do cakes now are for my kids birthdays and last year I BOUGHT a cake or was it cupcakes? right around the time I had Sonja, my son turned 10, so two months later when my daughter turned 8 I had to do the same thing or it wouldn't be fair :-)

Michele said...

My maternal grandmother was a cake decorator so I actually got the bug at a very young age. My grandfather was a tin smith and made many of her cake pans which I have and still use. When Gram saw the 1st cakes that I made she was so proud. I do like that craft a lot but because of my hands, I can't do as much of it any more. That is just one reason that I love quilting....I can create wonderful things and it doesn't hurt me.

Carol said...

I'm just starting to look for a machine. Would love to know your thoughts on what you've tried and investigated! congrats too by the way!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Oh, you stinker - you got something!!! Oh, pins and needles - great pun for a quilter.

Heleen Groot said...

Those are AMAZING cakes! But you are correct....quilting is much easier. Not so sticky....well, if you are not using glue that is. It is just as messy though. I am very afraid of machines, don't even get along that well with my lovely sewing machine. Quilting is largely done by hand. Good luck and enjoy your new addition (whatever and whenever)!

Needled Mom said...

How exciting!! I can't wait to see the end result.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I can't wait to find out! I finally found a place not too far away where I can learn to long arm, and have started meeting some local people with longarms so maybe I can ask them too. ;) I am far from considering my own machine, but I can see it a few years down the road if I really like it and am still (or more) involved in sewing. How exciting. I can't wait to read the rest. Your cakes are beautiful too!

Linda said...

Your cakes are just amazing! Can't wait to hear the big announcement.

Rachel said...

OK, the cakes are amazing. The cliff hanger is just mean!!!!

lefuntz said...

Cakes are fun and delicious and yours are beautiful but quilts last longer and are less fattening. Easy to see why your inner artist made the switch. Can't wait to see your new toy.

Kathy said...

My work is moving 1 mile from my house in the fall. Trying to convince hubby I can afford to buy a long arm with the fuel far not having much luck on that. I use to decorate cakes,too. Still don't think that would convince him that I need a long arm now to create with...Congrats!