Sewing is a solitary pursuit for me. I have my thoughts, my music and whatever project I am working on. People don't normally stop by my sewing room to see how things are going or swap ideas. My guild is a place to see new projects but very few have longarm machines and none are at my beginning level. My longarm is named Gladys, here she is in fact.
I have been learning on my longarm for two years now, I have years of learning still ahead of me. I had two days of lessons at the beginning but I was so freaked out by the machine that it took me a long while to remember what I had been taught. The first top I quilted I bought in Lancaster County, PA and donated to the Linus project. See the look on my face? It was like this for quite a while at the beginning.
I have been slowly getting better. Yay! I realized I was ready to go up a level. For a subset of quilting like Longarms, that means you may have to drive a bit to find some like minded people. I was lucky enough to drive up to Beloit, Wisconsin for a two day quilt retreat just for Longarm quilting put on by At the Heart of Quilting, where I bought my longarm.
We were so fortunate to have two days that contrasted nicely. Our first day was with Sue Heinz of Kismet Quilting. Sue just went out on her own so she had lots of enthusiasm and was willing to stay longer, work with us at night, just do anything to help us do free motion quilting for feathers. I don't know if I can do a feather yet on my longarm but it won't be for lacking of trying on the part of Sue.
The second day we had Pat Barry who has been doing these kinds of retreats for a long time, she has experience and know-how dripping off her! We got to practice her techniques on the long arms and buy all kinds of stuff she recommended, yep, this was the expensive day!
I really can't thank both of these women enough for their wonderful classes and to the women who attended with me. I may have missed posting blog entries but I learned tons and recharged my batteries. I loved spending a weekend with women at my ability level with whom I could talk and talk. It was just a great retreat.
I think these kinds of events are wonderful for hobbies and professions. Sometimes you don't need to bloom in the desert, you can water your pursuit with experts and peers. Maybe it's time for you to seek out an opportunity to grow and cultivate your own interests. I recommend it!
Sew happy - on your longarm also!