Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Attention to detail


I'm thrilled to report that I'm back on track! 

We had our Monday Sewing group yesterday, and it's always great to sew with friends! I don't care if they are on Zoom - it's better to chat via Zoom than to not chat at all! And as usual, when I shut down the meeting, Studio B feels empty! 

While they were chatting and sewing, I was busy working on a magazine quilt, and I made great progress. Nope - can't share, but I hope to get it on the long arm tomorrow. No - let's rephrase that - it HAS to be on the long arm tomorrow. I've got a different quilt already loaded for today.

But let's go back to that other little mishap that I had. And I will say that the issue was 100 PERCENT operator error. It had NOTHING to do with the quilt. 

So you know that on a long arm as on any other sewing machine that there's a throat space - the distance from the needle to the tower, or in the case of a long arm, the reach between the bars. Some machines have a short throat space and are called short arms, and I think the largest distance right now in the long arm world is 30 inches. That means you don't have to advance the quilt as much, but you still have to deal with the bobbins. 

The amount of workspace on my long arm

And yes, you can get the head of the long arm close to the bar at the front and the back, but it needs a bit of clearance. Actually, this picture is deceiving because the needle can get much closer to the bar - it's just the closest it was when I snapped the picture. 

Clearance on the long arm

And how does the long arm know where to stitch? Well, when you turn the computer on, it asks you to set the safe zone. You are basically setting a zone for the machine to work in. This is critical when setting the pattern, so the pattern actually stitches on your quilt and doesn't hit the bars. 

The safe zone for the long arm

Now I can set the safe zone for a much longer distance, but this is pretty much the maximum width that I can do. So what happened last week? 

After the safe zone is set, one needs to load the pattern and set the height and width according to the quilt size and number of repeats required for the length of the row and the number of rows. Normally, I keep the pattern height around 9 - 12," so it's never an issue. But from time to time, you get a wavy pattern - one that undulates and the rows snug right into each other. Shoot - I thought I took a picture. So that means the total height of the pattern from the top of one "wave" to the bottom of the next "wave" has to fit within the safe zone. 

Last week, the pattern height was slightly larger (by less than an inch) than what was allowed in the safe zone. Even when I maxed out the safe zone, the pattern was still too big. Hence the ripping story. 

Yesterday, I made sure - SEVERAL times, that the pattern height was less than the safe zone height. I've used this pattern before, and I can't believe that I ignored that. 

The settings for the pattern

The way I programmed the pattern, the first row was shorter than the subsequent rows, so it fits, but when I went to stitch the full pattern, it didn't fit. What surprises me is that there isn't a warning that the pattern height is larger than the safe zone. I think I shall let the support people know that! I'm sure it would be an easy thing to add to the software. 

BUT - the best news - the quilt quilted up like a charm, and now it just needs to be trimmed. 

Customer quilt - done!

That made me feel a whole lot better when it was done! And well, I learned something - the hard way. I don't mind learning, but that was a hard lesson to learn. 

My last two presentations are done! That means I'm finished for 2020. I had a blast doing them, and they were well received by the attendees. Thanks to all who attended - I loved all the show and tell and the questions. Now it's time to plan for 2021. We have some new sessions and going to get everything in place well before our start date! Phew - nothing like good planning to save time. 

I was trying to get my UFO homework done the other day, and well, I ran out of fabric for the background. Seriously?? Well, what to do because the background is a weird shade of beige. I thought I was going to have to go fabric shopping. However, when I searched through the bucket of fabric set aside for this project, guess what I found? Yep - a huge hunk of fabric that I had purchased at some point for the rest of the background. 

The background fabric 

I had already used two different backgrounds, and while it's not the same, it's going to have to work. There's no way that I could ever match this now without running around, and well - I don't have time, and this is what I chose before - it's going to work! So that means I can get back to that homework, but there isn't time today. 

The new background fabric against the old

I went through that last huge tub of samples this morning. I took a few things out, and now it's time to take some pictures, and hopefully, I can drop them off tomorrow. 

The last tub of samples

My goal for the end of the year is to have that area at the bottom of the stairs and under the long arm COMPLETELY organized. I'm so close now, and then I can set up my table to work on non-quilting stuff. I'm quite excited about that. 

I haven't decided if I'm going to disassemble my film studio. I don't need the space, so I think I'm going to rethink it and maybe rearrange a thing or two, but I won't take it down. That's just too much work. I can't wait until I have some time to do that. It got thrown up in a hurry, and I never really had time to rejig it. The scenario worked very well, but I'm sure I can do a wee bit better. 

On that note, I'd better get myself organized for the day. 

There's so much to do, and well - there's no time to waste. 

Have a super day!!!!


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