Where There’s a Will . .

There’s a way.  Remember my first quilting machine?

Rona Duncan is another MO quilter and she sent me this picture of her machine.

This is the exact same machine that I started on.  Only someone had done a really ugly paint job on mine.  Rona also sent me a couple of pictures of a quilt she’s just completed.  (Click to enlarge)

And the back side!

Here’s a little blurb that Rona sent me:

My friend LouAnn Christie in Oxnard, CA and I, Harrisburg, MO, wanted to make a quilt for a mutual friend for her wedding.  I had always wanted to do the quilt “On Their Wedding Day” from the book “Say It With Quilts” by Laura Nownes and Diana McClun.  LouAnn pieced some of the blocks and the pieced border.  We decided to add the additional border and adjust the size of the pieced border.  I used the quilting in the pattern as a reference and added trapunto in the feather wreaths and feather border.  This quilt was executed on a non-stitch regulated machine and all work was performed from the back of the machine with rulers and a lot of blue markings.

For those of you who have longarms or even mid-arm machines and are struggling, stop what you’re doing.  Look at the machine Rona is using.

  1. There’s about 8-1/2″ to 9″ of space in the throat of that machine.  By the time you get some of the quilt rolled up in that throat,  you end up with very little quilting space.
  2. The machine has no stitch regulator!  No needle up or down . . it stops wherever it wants to stop.
  3. That machine feels like you’re riding on a freight train (I guess . . I’ve never actually ridden on a freight train) whereas most of the longarms now feel like you’re riding in a Toyota Highlander (that’s real smooth for those who haven’t ridden in a Highlander!).

If Rona can do that fantastic quilting on that machine (and she obviously can!), think what she will do when she gets a bigger, newer machine!  And, for those of you with machines and you’re thinking you can’t do feathers and gorgeous quilting . . oh, yes, you can!  So, you can surmise that if you’re not doing feathers and custom quilting, it’s because you don’t truly want to do that kind of quilting.

I’m so impressed with what Rona has done with that machine.  I suppose it’s because I know first hand how difficult that machine can be.  All I can say is WOW!!


  1. 1

    Cindy says

    What gorgeous quilting! I think back on things I have done with my quilting in the past and what I do today. Although some of it may be easier, I still did fantastic quilting that would blow people away. But that was because I would work to find a way to achieve what I wanted to quilt and found a way to do it. Think it through!

  2. 3

    becky rhodes says

    Wonderful quilting! Looks like a ton of work to me and I have no “quilting machine”. Closest thing is the Bernina bsr but still doesn’t give you the space needed within the throat area on the machine. Just had never really thought about purchasing a quilting machine and I think that is due to space limitations. Now that I think about it I’m sure that’s why. I need to have a studio built and then make sure to allow space to setup something like that. Listen to me, like that’s going to happen. But I’ll keep trying.

  3. 4


    Rona has done a great job on the quilting!!! From my experience, both on a home machine and longarm, its all about being comfortable with the machine, knowing the machines capabilities and a whole lot of practice!!! Anything can be done, including feathers!! I have found that more detailed work is way easier than executing a large puzzle piece meander (Ick,Ick, Ick)!!! Control of the machine! And what I feel is the biggest thing…..You have to know and understand what machine quilting, on any machine, will do for the quilt!! Yes ladies….Quilting makes the Quilt!!!!!

    Karen L

  4. 5


    That quilting would be a WOW done on any machine. Done on her machine is absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing!

  5. 6


    Wow, wow! That gives me hope that I can do it. I just need to get back there and practice, practice, and practice some more.

  6. 8

    Rona Duncan says

    Thanks for the comments.

    All of this CAN be done on a DSM also! Used to do it before the quilting machine. Patience and persistence.

    My deal is persistence, anyone else will tell you I do not have any patience, ask my teenagers. I will PPP until I get it. I work on computers all day long with a team of eleven people. We have to keep at it until we get it to work, literally or logically.
    Once I have it logically, feathers and the path to sew, then I can get it literally, with practice on the white board and then on my practice piece with the machine, then on a quilt.

    It can be done and you can do it.

    Wonderful people like Judy that are willing to share what they know has made a big difference in my quilting life.

    Rona 🙂

  7. 10


    Wow, I hope I can do that kind of work one day. For now I’m just learning how to piece blocks so they MATCH up! LOL!

    On a side note… I was born and raised in Oxnard, CA. It’s a small small world.

  8. 11


    The quilting is gorgeous. I love this quilt. I was looking to make a neutrals wedding quilt for a July 09 wedding. I was looking at one in Alex Anderson’s book on neutrals, but I love this one. There seems to be lots of these books under used books online. I think I might order a book and do that quilt. Thanks for showing.

  9. 12

    Cindy Kuipers says

    I just got a short arm quilting machine and I would LOVE to know how she did this. Do you just quilt in the space you have then roll the quilt forward some and start again in the spots you had to stop at?
    It’s beautiful!!
    I was born in Oxnard, too! Dad was in the Navy.

  10. 13

    Rona Duncan says

    Lots of rolling. 4 times over the whole quilt for the quilting process. 1 for the trapunto, 1 for the SID to stabilize, 1 for the feathers and cross hatching, and the last for the echo fill on the feathers. Like Judy said the quilting space was limited. Quilt 5 or 6 inches and roll, quilt again and roll.

    We lived in Port Hueneme on the SeaBee base for almost 7 years before retirement from the Navy. That’s where LouAnn and I became friends and even closer friends when we started quilting together. Now we do it long distance, with lots of email.

  11. 14

    Rebecca Tellez says

    Hi Rona, this is Bekah, LouAnn’s online friend. You have done such a wonderful beautiful job on this quilt!!! You should be very, very proud. that is truly a treasure.