Sunday, September 5, 2021

Spending a Day with Thomas, the Longarm

Leaf quilting pattern
Earlier this week, I spent a day quilting on Thomas, the Longarm. Thomas is a computerized Innova longarm. His original owner quilted quilted more than 500 quilts for the Clark County Quilters (CCQ) comfort/charity group. Last Spring, cancer killed his owner. His owner wanted the guild to have his longarm and to continue quilting comfort quilts.

Back and front of quilt
Alvera invited Thomas, the longarm, to share her shop which is her garage. She put together a proposal so CCQ guild members could quilt tops that members make for comfort quilts. Thomas moved at the end of June. 

In July, he quilted 19 quilts. In August, he quilted 11 quilts. I'm part of the outreach group that longarms the comfort quilts. There are about 13 of us. We are all learning how to longarm.  

Closer view of the back
A couple people quilted once and decided that longarming wasn't a skill they wanted to sharpen. Before June, I had quilted on a longarm about three times. The rest of the group have had a similar quilting experience. Two guild members, Sue and Alvera are our trainers. 

We arrive about 10AM on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and leave about 2PM. Up to two people can quilt on the same day. This time, I quilted a big quilt. It measured 60 inches by 80 inches.  

When I saw it, I immediately thought brown thread and leaves. Then I saw the back which was a grey flower print on a white background. I was thinking gray thread and that was what Alvera thought too!

This was the first project I've quilted that was square and flat. I couldn't believe what a difference that made in the distribution of the quilting. Some turned these scraps into a beautiful quilt!

View of the texture in the quilted border
Introducing Thomas to Pat, a new outreach member; trimming the backing and batting a bit before loading; loading the quilt, quilting having a lunch break; quilting another pass; removing the quilt; trimming the quilt and cleaning up after the quilt took three and a half hours. I'm getting a little faster. I'm feeling a little more confident about my abilities. I like quilting on Thomas. I picked another day in September to quilt. This is the fifth quilt that I have quilted for comfort quilts. Quilting a day on Thomas was goal number 11 on my September list.

I'm also linking to Cynthia over at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. I'm headed there now to see what other people are creating.

Regarding COVID:

Worldwide: 219M cases; 4.55M deaths United States: 40M cases; 648K deaths Oregon: 248K cases; 3,281 deaths

The number of cases and the number of deaths continue to rise at alarming rates everywhere. The European Union has now dropped American travelers from the EU's safe list and have recommended that Americans should be banned from non essential travel. 

In the United States with schools returning to in person learning, there is an increase in cases. Both in students and in staff.

In Oregon our vaccination rate is slowly rising. Sixty-four percent of the population have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 58% of the population is fully vaccinated. This is about a two percent increase in at least one vaccination and a one percent increase in fully vaccinated over the last three weeks.

The hospitals continue to be over run with COVID cases. People, who had their elective surgeries canceled, are exasperated that they have to live in pain because there is no room for them to stay to recover from their surgery. Since 90 percent of the hospitalizations are non vaccinated people, those waiting for their elective surgery are asking why hospitalizing the unvaccinated who may have protested against the vaccine should continue to take precedence. They feel their elective surgery is in a life or death place as well. Providence Hospital in Portland requested a refrigerated truck as projected deaths in the coming weeks will fill their morgue. 

My quilt guild in Washington is meeting virtually this month. My quilt guild in Oregon is meeting in person and indoors for the first time since March 2020. We met the previous two months outdoors at a park. The first month I went, I sat in the back by myself because people were clustered together. The second month I went, I sat next to three people I knew were vaccinated; but, still at the back of the group because people again were clustered together.

I voiced my disappointment to the guild president in an e-mail that the board had decided to meet indoors. Her response was thank you for your concern. The president went on to state that the board would be following guidelines of social distancing, mask wearing and hand sanitizing as well as signing in for the meeting. She went on to state that a Zoom option will be available for those that are uncomfortable meeting in person.

The Oregon health authority has requested people to limit the number of large gatherings. I've returned to staying home, meeting with people in my pod and continue to wear my mask. I won't be attending the in person guild meeting; but, I will watch the Zoom session.


LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

That's so neat that your guild member/friend took Thomas in and sounds like you're all putting him to good use! Long-arm quilting always finishes quilts faster, and that's especially good for donations.

Janice Smith said...

How wonderful that Thomas ‘s work continues, and how remarkable it was that his owner had quilted 500 quilts. I’m sure he is smiling down from heaven on all of you who are continuing this work.
It is difficult to know what and what not to to do during these times. I am supposed to meet friends for lunch on Wednesday weather permitting as we do not want to eat indoors at the restaurant.
I belong to three guilds: the largest will have zoom meetings until at least February, and the other have not made decisions regarding our September meetings. I know I will not attend one as the venue is very tight and crowded.
Massachusetts is number two in fully vaccinated individuals, all students and teachers must wear masks, and people are encouraged to wear masks in stores, etc. Today at Mass I only counted about fifteen people including me wearing masks.
Stay safe. said...

Diann, You are so right about the length of time it takes to longarm a quilt. I'm working on my challenge quilt. I've spent about 24 hours on in. . . .Yes, it is custom quilted; but, still it takes much longer! I too am excited about the outreach group. I think once we have the logistics figured out, we will quilt more quilts each month. I also hope that there will always people coming in to learn the process. Thank you for your kind comments and for stopping by! said...

Janice, His owner really gave of his time, soul and love to the comfort quilt program. His owner specifically purchased him to quilt more quilts than his owner quilted on his previous machine. I too think he is smiling at what we are accomplishing. To think. . .there are 15 of us doing what one man did! As for the vaccinations, people place too much confidence that the vaccination will fully protect them from COVID. I understand where you are coming from regarding mask wearing. I'm with you! Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment!

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

I love that your longarm is masculine…mine is named Pete. Soon you will be speeding through those quilts. Thanks for linking up with oh Scrap! said...

Cynthia, He is Thomas after his owner. It fits him. I think in another couple sessions, I will be more comfortable with the basics! I think I will be able to load the quilt faster and get to quilting a little faster. I'm learning so much about the process which is cool and overwhelming at times!!!

Sylvia@Treadlestitches said...

Congrats on your long arm quilting skills! Thomas is such a wonderful gift for your group, and he helps all of you keep on giving quilts. I'm so sorry things are bad on the COVID front. Stay safe! said...

Thomas is a wonderful gift. I hope that he will quilt a lot of quilts for many years to come. Surely, we will figure out how to live "normally" in spite of COVID soon! Thanks for your comment, Sylvia!

Bonnie said...

What a great gift to the guild from Thomas, the owner, and the gal's garage who is housing and sharing Thomas, the long arm. I'm curious if he is self driven (ie a computer runs it) or whether it's person-run using a pantograph through a screen. (Does that even make sense?) Congrats on learning how to use it and starting to get proficient. It really does get easier the more you use it. Here in Va. we have many people wearing masks but a lot of places have a mix of masked and unmasked. A lot depends on where in the state you live as to whether people are willingly masking up. I'm tired of it but I mostly wear a mask when I'm shopping or visiting friends indoors. Is it time to worry about Mu variant? said...

Bonnie, Thomas is computer run. Learning to program him has been interesting!!! Yes, it is time to watch out for the Mu variant. Stay safe!!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!