Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Stake in the Ground

One day I managed to drag my DP to the fabric store with me. I don't remember quite how this came about; we were probably on our way somewhere else when I casually mentioned that I just needed to run in and grab a darning foot.

I had discovered this interesting show called "Uncommon Threads," and had taken to recording it while I was at work. One day a woman demonstrated "free-motion quilting" on a piece. Now, this would shock quilters, I'm sure, but I had no idea that such a technique existed. I finally managed to figure out what "feed dogs" were (the name is not as intuitive as you might think), and promptly went to my machine to figure out how to "drop" them. After searching carefully all over the machine, I determined there was no way to drop these things, so it was time to get the manual out. I learned that I was correct; the dogs couldn't be dropped, but my very basic Singer machine had come with a plate to cover them. So THAT'S what that little plastic piece was. I slid it on and proceeded to attempt free-motion quilting with no success and huge hunks of thread tangled all over the fabric. This terrain requires more exploration, I thought. My first discovery was that I would need something akin to a "darning foot" to help keep the fabric from popping up too high while I whirled it around under the needle. Hence the trip to the fabric store.

At the store, I asked the woman in the sewing machine section about a darning foot. We started chatting about free-motion quilting, and she convinced me that I would probably struggle with my machine forever since it wasn't really meant for free-motion quilting. Now, whether this is true or not I'll probably never know. I'm sure some people manage to free-motion quilt just fine with a basic Singer machine. But she was obviously an experienced saleswoman and very good at her job, because soon my DP was suggesting that I needed a snazzy new Husqvarna Viking with pre-programmed decorative stitches and feed dogs that actually dropped and several other features that seemed quite handy.

"No no!" I protested weakly. "I don't NEED a new machine! I don't know that I even want to learn to quilt!" I'm sure the manic gleam in my eye and the drool coursing my chin had nothing to do with the decision, but DP insisted that we buy a new machine because she really wanted me to make her a quilt.

I was excited about the new machine, but I was also terrified. There was no turning back now.

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