Today I went to the house of my teacher for the Dear Jane class for a chance to learn how to try her long arm machine (and learn how to use it). After today, I have a whole new appreciation for the beautiful work done on those machines.
The class was 3 hours. First we learned how to load the machine, then practiced pantographs and then free motion/front of the machine work. It looks a lot harder than it is! The machine is not too heavy, but requires a certain kind of momentum to get the curves looking good. It's kind of awkward in terms of where to stand. And I found it really hard to use both hands evenly on the machine - I can see one shoulder getting more sore than the other for sure.
Here's my pantograph work:
It's a little squared when it should be more rounded - it's like learning to machine quilt all over again!
The free motion went a little smoother and looks more rounded. I kept reminding myself that this was also a plain muslin top with high contrast thread, so everything showed (good and not so good).
All in all, I enjoyed the class. Now, I can rent the machine for a day and do my own quilting on it. I need to start with something small and easy - and not the red and white hunter's star. I think I'll pay to have that one done.