I got to play on a long arm! It was so much fun!
One of my best friends growing up bought a long arm quilting machine with her mom (I'm just a little bit envious!). They both live near where I grew up, but I no longer do, so I hadn't gotten to see it or try it yet. My family is in town for the week, so I asked if I could try out the long arm. They said yes!
This is my friend, Rachel. She tells me that I did her a favor in asking, because she had a quilt loaded and half done that she had put off finishing, and my "need" to use the long arm spurred her into action. The machine lives in her mom's basement, and I only had my camera phone, so the pictures are not great, but you get the idea!
Loading the machine took a long time, but we figured it out. I really think it helped to have two of us working on it, because we could talk through the right side up and upside down direction of everything, as well as the zipper positioning.
Once we loaded it, I started in with a loop-de-loop, as I call it. Great beginner stuff because it doesn't matter if you cross over existing lines.
I chose to take my son's Caterpillar construction quilt because I knew a 4-year-old wouldn't be picky about the quilting--seemed like a perfect quilt to practice on! I finished about one third of it and will go back over the next few days to complete it. I had brought a second quilt along, but I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to try loading it myself!