She measured their dresses with string
A quick trip to San Angelo to learn how to use a $40,000 piece of quilting equipment and hear some stories I don't want to forget.
I drove all the way to San Angelo last week to work on a quilt.
For as long as I’ve been quilting, I have wanted to learn how to use a long-arm quilting machine. It’s a high-tech tool that is typically out of reach of a small-time, seasonal quilter like me. You can rent time on these machines, but many people bring their finished quilt tops to a professional quilter, who uses a long-arm machine to finish it. (I usually finish quilts by sewing straight lines on my sewing machine at home. It gets the job done, but without flair.)
I didn’t bring any special quilt with me to work on. I simply wanted to learn how to use the machine. Maybe I’d find it easy enough to bring future quilts back to. Or maybe I’d realize it was better to just pay someone or pay to rent time closer to home.
I picked out two pieces of fabric from my stash — a 20-year textile record of old clothes, flea market finds, and trips to JoAnn Fabric packed into two large plastic tubs — and brought them to the Tom Green County Library in San Angelo.
This public library, across from the courthouse in this town on the edge of both the Hill Country and the High Plains, is one of only a few that offers a library card to anyone in the state.
Texans from Beaumont to El Paso can access their digital and physical resources, as well as a growing STEAM maker space that offers everything from laser engraving workshops to rocket launch clubs.
That’s where you’ll find two long-arm quilting machines that are available to use in four-hour blocks for anyone who’d like to use them. These machines allow you to stitch across long sections easily, stitching curved lines by hand or programming elaborate patterns for the needle to stitch without you holding the handles at all.
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