Saturday, May 5, 2018

Listen and learn

I promise that today is the last post on the computerized long arm. At least for a bit. I'm like a kid in a candy store and I'm learning and I'm loving that it's not hard. Considering that I watched three videos on YouTube and one 15-minute call, I have to admit the system is pretty easy to use. But there's a lot not explained in the video and I'm learning as I go. Which is fine by me because that way I'm going to remember it.

I know this isn't going to mean anything to you, but I have to write it anyway. It's my way of patting myself on the back. Once the computer has completed a row, you have to advance the quilt. That means unlocking the carriage so you can move it. There are buttons on the tablet that will unlock the carriage. So I was using those buttons and thinking to myself, I shouldn't have to do two clicks to make this happen. Then when I slightly changed the sequence of button pushing, I HEARD the carriage unlock by itself. AHA - if I do that button, it tells the computer I'm ready to move on and unlocks. PERFECT. I only caught that one by listening! I heard that slight click! I think I know have perfected the steps to advancing a quilt!

The other thing is that the system is well designed. Let's say the bobbin runs out. Normally I would pull the machine towards me for a shorter reach to pull out the bobbin case. Not happening with the computerized version. That carriage stays locked (and so it should), so you have to reach WAY BACK to pull out the bobbin if the carriage happens to be at the back when the bobbin runs out. And there are prompts in various parts of the process, you get asked the question - "Did you do this step?" It's a reminder to do something very important before you move (and the carriage is locked so you can't accidentally move it).  You can turn that reminder off, but for the moment, I'm keeping it there. It makes me look good - no mistakes!

Here's the good news about yesterday. Remember this sign I posted yesterday?

The scoreboard on Friday AM

This is the sign this morning.

The scoreboard on Saturday AM

I won't have time to do that again today, but I hope to get one more done later today. I'm teaching all day today.

I didn't' have time to switch the tablet yet, but I learned something else yesterday. There is a piece of black velcro on the back of the tablet. You can barely see it behind the power bar in the lower corner of the tablet. I wasn't quite sure what that velcro was for.

The bracket holding the tablet
Well, look at this.  I was using an external USB port to download my pattern. And the USB port has velcro on the back of it!  Imagine that!! So when I rotate the tablet to its correct position, the USB port won't be hanging off the machine.

The USB port is hanging off the machine

I downloaded a pantograph and was all excited to put it into the computer. That took a wee bit longer than I had planned. I'm not sure why - but I got it to work. Now that I've done it once, hopefully, it will go a lot easier the next time. My intention is to upload the pantographs that I buy into the tablet. For now, they are on the USB port and my hard disk and I'm OK with that.

Stitching out the new pantograph
It was an intense day yesterday and I just love scaring myself. When we were in Orillia a couple of weeks ago, two of the #Humboldtstrong quilts were made. Susan found the perfect backing at the Fabricland. A hockey print on green fleece. I bought all that was left. I was hoping to run the quilts sideways but I knew that I was tempting fate by doing that since the quilts were almost the same length as the fleece is wide. If I were doing the quilt manually, I might have tried it. So when measuring the fleece the other way - it was going to be tight! Really tight.

Onee thing that I need to figure out is the length of the pattern rows (or should I say the depth). This one overshot the bottom of the quilt by about one inch. Not a big deal, but I will try to shorten the virtual quilt measurement next time.

Pattern over ran the bottom of the quilt
 I loaded the top of the next quilt as snug to the bottom of the previous one as I could. Remember, I'm dealing with a very limited amount of fleece here and no room for error.

One quilt top loaded right up against the previous one

I prayed a lot when I advance the last row. Phew - just enough room to spare. That was close. Thankfully it worked out because I'm not sure that I could figure out how to shrink that last row to make it fit (if the backing wasn't big enough).

Just enough backing for the second quilt
 Ooops - I forgot that the pattern was going to run off the quilt a little bit, but I still had a bit of wiggle room. Phew!!!!

Even with the run over, there was still a bit of wiggle room
 Yeah - done two quilts!!!!  Here's the first one.

#Humboldtstrong quilt - DONE

This is the one that Susan made. The colors are very striking and these quilts are all going to be gorgeous. I choose a big hockey skate as the pattern and it turned out not bad. It wasn't the one that I was searching for, but it will do. The only thing is that it's directional so those quilts had to be quilted from top to bottom, not side to side. Top to bottom takes a little bit longer as you have to advance one more time (5 rows instead of 4 rows).

Hockey skate as the pattern
 And the backing was hockey players on a green. It was the perfect backing.

Fleece backing
 Here's a close up of the backing.

Hockey skate quilt pattern
 Here's the second quilt that Ronda and I made. We didn't put a border on ours so we made a few more blocks to make it the right size.

#Humboldtstrong quilt - DONE
 And this one had the same fleece on the back.

The backing of the second quilt

I'm feeling good and know there is a deadline for these quilts so I loaded the next one. I have yards and yards of wide backing to do the next bunch, but because of the orientation of quilting and the size, it was going to be easier to cut each backing separately. No big deal. It was beautifully pressed and I laid it out on the work tables and took only a few minutes to cut.

Third #Humboldtstrong quilt - DONE
I used a variegated thread on this one. It's a bit hard to see in the picture, but I like it. And so far so good with thread breaks. My machine is a happy machine.

Variegated thread
The fourth one is loaded and ready to go when I get home later today.

Fourth quilt is loaded

I managed to get all the quilts trimmed that I had quilted in the last couple of days. Five of them waiting for binding. Although I won't be binding some of the Humboldtstrong quilts so that's good. But there are four here waiting for binding. I'd better get myself organized to make binding while the machine runs or I'll never catch up.

Trimmed quilts waiting for binding

There you have it. Even though I was able to get more stuff done while the machine worked, it was a long intense day! I put in over 15,000 steps.  I definitely move MORE now that the machine is computerized, and you have to be on your toes to do it. The computer makes it easier somewhat, but it's still an intense job. Especially when the bobbin ran out and it was a bit before I caught that. So I had to trace back an entire hockey skate. However, I managed it and I'm thrilled with my progress. Now to get to something more complicated, but not right now!!!

Have a great day!!!


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