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Is There Really A Learning Curve?
By Dan Novak

When purchasing a quilting machine, keep in mind that the person that you are buying it from is likely experienced in the business. They will have the machine set up to show you how it runs and they will make it look very easy. What you donít know is that this person had to learn just as you will. A lot of the well-known quilters wave spent several hours behind the handles and have plucked many yards of thread from various quilts. There are many things that you need to consider. First, what machine will be right for you? What size? What model? What brand? When deciding what size machine to purchase, think about what you want to do with it. Ask a lot of questions and take a notebook with you. It is a good idea to write down your questions before you talk to anyone, and donít be afraid to ask. If you are going to use it for yourself, you may not need a large machine. Since you are doing your own quilts, you can set your own deadlines. If you have to handle your quilt a little more to get it through the machine, it wonít be such a problem.
If you are going to use your machine for a business, you may want a larger machine so that you donít have to handle the quilt as much. This would make it go faster and also be more apt to meet your deadlines.
You should get in contact with many quilters and find out what threads and fabrics they prefer to use and why. You will also find a wide varity of needles and other equipment. Make sure that you do your homework before any major purchase.
Now that you have your quilting machine set up and have your thread and fabric neatly organized, where do you go from here? One of the best things that you can do is make a few quilts for family and friends so that you can get used to the way that your machine handles and operates. Try many different techniques and a varity of threads and fabrics. You will find that some of these things work better than others. This is part of the learning curve.
After you become familiar with your machine, it may be a good idea to take a few classes. Many of the teachers will show you a wide variety of techniques that will expand the natural talents that you already have. If you can, it would also be a good idea to take a few maintenance classes so that you do not have to rely on a repairperson to make minor adjustments for you. You will find that at many of the shows there are allot of classes offered. Sometimes you have to sign up for classes in advance, but in most cases it is well worth the money.
Some people seem to learn certain things quicker then others, so donít get discouraged, it will come to you if you keep at it. Quilters are a very special group of people and seem very willing to help each other. So if you have any questions or just need some helpful advice, give a fellow quilter a call. Iím sure that they will point you in the right direction.
The best advise that most people could give you is, donít start on customer quilts until you are satisfied with the quilts that you are doing for yourself.
Yes, there is a learning curve.