This has been a learning experience and all the videos in the world or directions in manuals substitutes for experience. I learned the following: (some applies to any quilting but some is more specific)
- Make sure your quilt is truly flat both in seams and at joins with borders (see note below)
- make a checklist such as clearing your sewing surface of threads and other objects (long arms do not like loose and/or stray threads (this makes bumps and squiggles where you do not want them or the threads can end up showing through your quilt top)
- do not quilt when you are tired or upset
- quit when you are tired
- plan how you are going to quilt and keep a picture of the plan or write it down (this is something I learned when using my old mid arm. Another hard lesson)
Note: a little bit of stretch on a border can cause the main part of the quilt to 'hump' up a bit and that bit is a nuisance. Also consider pressing seams open when doing complex areas of the quilt but make sure your machine stitching is not going to come apart. I made a solemn vow to cut and piece with the greatest of care and to reject anything not perfect or I could not press flat with intense heat, steam and sheer force of will. :) Hey I am no angel and perfection is beyond my scope.
There are some other things but that is enough housekeeping for now. I hope this helps someone else to avoid some pitfalls.
I call the quilt Patience because I barreled ahead with an idea and it took an hour to pick out the tiny stitches. I was frustrated with something else hence the advice to be calm. I am not sure who suffered more; me or the threads I pulled out. Then a design element would not go right when I repeated it vertically. Think about writing your name vertically rather than horizontally. My brain would not do it. I have some tools but they were too big. Then in the middle of the night I thought of a tiny (and expensive) can of cat food which was the perfect circle. But it was too high so after scrounging around the kitchen I found a circular cover to a light which was just perfect. I did not do this in the middle of the night (I am not crazy). Sometimes keeping bits is handy. Do not overlook simple solutions. Try drawing the element and break it down into parts that are simple shapes.
So the quilt is on its way. I will NOT pick out the imperfect elements but since it is a busy quilt it will not be noticed. That is another thing; practice on a busy quilt. It will not show when you make a boo boo. And if someone finds it after searching carefully re-evaluate the friendship or the familial relationship. :)
On a very cold and snowy day the sun has peeked out of the clouds both inside and outside of the house. Now off to my sewing room to make some (I hope) close to perfect 12 inch squares. However the iron will be hot.