That’s a phrase that comes to mind when I think about possibly buying a quilting machine. I wouldn’t get the biggest one, or the fanciest one, but it’s still pretty pricey. I did the math, and I would have to quilt at least 50 quilts (of my own) on it to break even. I took the average that I pay my incredible friend to machine quilt my tops, and came up with that figure. I don’t have 50 quilt tops. Yet.
I actually have 34 tops ready to be quilted. Some are quite large, and others are quite small. Those should be easy to do on my home machine, it’s just a matter of doing them. The bigger ones, however, have me at a standstill. Wrestling with a big quilt on a regular home sewing machine is something that I’m just not that good at, and frankly I don’t enjoy it. I feel as though I can’t achieve the quality of quilting each project deserves. Why spend all that time (yes, and money) putting together a top, only to have it look awful with poor quilting? That’s where my wonderful friend comes in.
I’m very fortunate to have a talented friend with her own quilting machine and the time to take in my quilts. She is delightful, and I’ve loved how each quilt that she’s done has turned out. Still, I would like to try my hand at doing my own. There’s something about putting every stitch into a quilt that’s very satisfying. Besides, at some point my friend will fully retire from her quilting business, and then what?
I’ve poked around on the internet some, and tested out the machine I’m leaning toward at my local sewing center. I’ve tried it out on 2 separate occasions, and man is it satisfying! It’s an entirely different experience than quilting on a home sewing machine. On one of those you move the quilt under a stationary needle. With the quilting machine the quilt is stationary and the needle moves across the surface. The first is like trying to write by holding the pen still and moving the paper, the second is so much more intuitive, and allows for so much more freedom in design (at least from my limited perspective). It also has a feature that keeps all of your stitches the same length. Yes, please! I found that after 10 seconds I could achieve beautiful quilting with the machine, which I haven’t been able to do on my home machine with years of practice and several classes under my belt.
So maybe I don’t have 50 tops, yet, but I do have a lot. I also have the space in my home, now that my son is grown. And the money? Well, I can make it happen, if I make a few sacrifices. Truthfully, I’m not worried about quilting 50 quilts to “get my money’s worth.” Finding the joy in this part of quiltmaking is something I’m looking forward to. It sounds as though I’ve just made up my mind.