The truth about longarming is that I’m scared of it. It’s been nearly a year since I got my longarm and so far I’ve longarmed one large quilt (badly), no more than half a dozen practice pieces (middlingly), and one mini-quilt (not too badly, actually). I’m struggling to remember when I even turned the machine on last. It must have been in late April, when I quilted the bookshelf mini.

My longarm is the most expensive thing I have ever bought outright. Other than a car that I owned for less than two years, it’s the most expensive thing I have ever bought, period. I scrimped like a crazy person to buy this machine. I spent an entire year making and taking lunches to work, which I’d never managed to accomplish in twenty years of working. I set aside every extra penny I had even when I didn’t so much have it, I bought pretty much nothing for myself during that year. I borrowed nearly €3,000 from the Germ because I had to have it RIGHT THEN instead of waiting a few more months until I had saved the entire amount (€10,000), and I spent months scrimping some more to repay him. And since then I’ve mostly used it as a hanger. This is a very sad state of affair, my friends.

1I’m not sure why I decided that I had to have a longarm, but I’m pretty sure that in the back of my mind, other than the conceivable fun factor, I had hoped to make a little bit (ok, a lot) of money with it, as part of my plan to escape the misery of my day job. So far I’m €105 in, on a job I offered to do for free to get some practice. Be that as it may, I’m not regretting the purchase, I’m just regretting my own fears and the time I’ve wasted.

2It’s hardly a mystery why I’m afraid, it’s not even original: I don’t like being bad at things and I get frustrated when I can’t master something quickly.

I was listening to Kim Werker* on the Crafty Planner podcast recently and she’s an advocate of allowing yourself to be bad at things, so here’s the plan. I’m going to be actively bad at this and I’m going to embrace the ugly, because eventually it won’t be.

I’m setting myself some specific goals (well, I’m thinking of the specifics, as it were), and I’m going to report about my progress here, so watch this space.

* Kim Werker is pretty awesome. Go read her book, Make It Might Ugly.

Comments (5)

  1. Reply

    I can relate to your problem with longer quilting. I don’t have a longarm, but I avoid FMQ as much as I can. It’s a confidence thing, I tell myself I’m rubbish at it and I am. It needn’t be like that. You worked so hard to get your longarm , just go for it, you only need practice.

  2. Reply

    I love that the podcast inspired you to work with your longarm and can’t wait to see what you make. 🙂

  3. Reply

    In the beginning, we all start out coloring with gigantic crayons. It’s only with practice that we stay inside the lines. If nothing else, find a charity that needs a quilter. I can recommend Love Quilts ( I know that Love quilts USA never has enough quilters! You get some practice (no, you won’t ruin the quilts), they get needed help and a child’s struggle is a little more bearable. That’s how I broke my longarm in! I still get stage fright at times but it’s a shame to let such a wonderful thing sit idle 🙂

    • Carmit


      Thanks for the encouragement, Tina! I already got a couple of quilts done since writing this post, one for a local group and the other a heart quilt for Pulse. I’ve used the machine a lot and am really looking forward to some quality time with Angela Walters in a couple of weeks. I’ll really get going after that.

  4. Pingback: The truth about longarming: Part 2 | Quilting Rainbows

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