Tuesday, September 20, 2022

I NEED a new long arm

Oh dear --- the inevitable happened this morning. I decided that I need a new long arm. However, I don't think that is going to happen unless I win the lottery. Fortunately, there is "nothing" wrong with mine, except this. 

As I mentioned the useable space on my machine is 17". I know it looks like more in the picture, but with the size of the head and the spacing required, plus allowing for the quilt to roll up (which doesn't take much as it gets compressed on the roller), I end up with 17" or workspace. I learned the hard way, that you cannot push that! 

The useable workspace on the long arm

However, the top of the line Millie is this! That machine is a full TEN inches wider than mine! 

The Millie 30 inch machine!

This new software version makes it a breeze to quilt more rows and now I find I'm limited by that smaller throat space! I could get an extra row in! 

And then this happened yesterday. 

I decided that with the quilt on the machine I needed to raise the hopping foot a bit so it didn't drag so much on the napped fabric. How does one do that? 

Well, there is a tiny hole on the side of the machine and you stick a screwdriver in there BLIND and hope you can find the screw to loosen it. 

Finding the screw to raise the hopping foot

I found the screw after much fumbling and was able to loosen the foot. Then the question was how to find the screw again to tighten it up. That was NOT happening. 

So the foot is loose, now how to tighten the screw

So I had to turn the machine off and start to disassemble it. The stand for the computer had to come off. That was easy -- one screw and the computer (tablet) was gone) 

The tablet holder has to be removed

I had to remove a small front cover, so I could open the panel on the side of the machine head. This was NOT the side that the screw was on, but it at least allowed me to see inside and get some more light in there. I did find a few errant threads so I got rid of those and cleared all the dust and lint out. Then I found the screw and tightened up that foot. I left it at the original height. Otherwise, I would have had to disassemble the thing again to change the foot back. Why didn't I take the other side off? The tension mechanism and thread guides are there, so it's more complicated. 

Inside the head of the long arm

However, I was feeling in a fix-it mind frame, so I managed to fix the black knob for the light. It was hanging out that hole and not really secure. That happened years ago and I never bothered to fix it. Now it's fixed and back snug against the machine! 

The knob for the light is fixed

And I've quilted a couple of quilts since and all is good! I must say that is one thing about these mechanical machines --- the only tools required are Allen Keys and screwdrivers. But if you get into the electronics? Well, then you need a prayer and luck!

So why did I want that foot raised? This next quilt was some sort of napped fabric and when I was basting it in place, I could see the marks the hopping foot was leaving on the quilt. After my little incident, I just said -- who cares and quilted it. 

Community project quilt - DONE

So you can see the tracks where the foot went. Once the quilt is washed, I don't think it will be a big deal. 

The tracks from the hopping foot in the napped fabric

So that one is done, but I need to find some binding for it. And this one is also done. 

Community project quilt - DONE

So that is another two quilts for community projects -- DONE!! I am ripping through the piles of quilts, but pacing myself. It's a lot of work to get them quilted, prepped, and trimmed and you can't really do too much else while that is happening. I need to get the bobbin sensor thing installed on my machine. I have it, but not installed, so I should do that! It would help eliminate the babysitting! 

I don't know if you noticed the purchase price for that new machine -- it was $25,000 US. Then you add in the software, and the table, and the motor to advance the quilt, and, and, and -- and you are probably looking at $50,000 US!!! Yep--- it's not going to happen unless I win the lottery! I'll just be happy with what I have! 

But here's the thing --- changing the height of the hopping foot is MUCH easier on the newer machines. There is a much larger hole so you can actually look inside and see the screw. I bet when they made my machine, they never thought people would want to do that! It's just like the sewing machines --- the older one will do the same as the newer ones, but it's 10 times easier on the newer ones, plus they have new bells and whistles - just like that Millie 30! 

However, I have paid for that software and will get LIFETIME updates and upgrades. That is well worth the price I paid for it! And this upgrade has been amazing. I can't wait to get into my own quilts and start doing some crazy stuff!!! Let's just say that I'm happy I did the upgrade and while I should have done it sooner (it was released in April), I didn't really have the time to get familiar with it. Now I have the time and I'm loving it!

I again took advantage of the fact that DH is away this morning, so the first quilt of today is already done. It's still on the long arm and I'll take it off and switch to the next one once the girls have gone for their walk. 

I have finished the flannel quilts! At least the smaller ones. And I've two larger quilts that are on the slate for today. I'm using that giant quilt batt and had to cut it down to size before I could use it. I think I still have polyester batting for about 6 quilts! I'm being very careful to make it go as far as possible. There are a couple of smaller quilts and I hope to use up all the little bits for those two. 

Cutting the batting to size

Oh yes -- the software does weird things. In this instance, it went to the bottom of the quilt and finished the partial row, then went back up and finished the full row. Why?? I've no idea. Do I need to know? Probably not, but it's interesting to see how this thing works. 

Quilting the last rows on the long arm

So the good news is, I'm not wearing any bandages on my toes. The only one I was wearing was the one where the toenail is going to go. More just to protect it from snagging on anything. I decided to throw caution to the wind and no more bandages. But I did slather my feet with some cream and put on light socks. I get a twinge from that toe every once in a while and I think the toenail -- well, I won't put that image in your head. But we'll see what happens. The good news -- I can go shoe shopping. That's going to happen tomorrow. 

No more bandages

I'm working on my hexagon block for Green Tea. When have I ever been this focused on handwork? The rows were completed during Monday sewing -- this was the perfect thing to do while chatting with the group! And gosh --collectively we are SMART!! 

My rows of hexagons are together

Then I had the fun job of sewing the rows together. I don't know that there is a good or perfect way to sew hexagons together. It's all about twisting and turning to make it happen. And I like to stitch towards myself rather than away as I find that easier. 

I used a cardstock which is probably just a wee bit heavy, but it worked. 

Sewing the rows together

And when I watched one of the Masterclass shows of The Great British Baking Show and I almost got two rows together. I WILL get this done! I'm through with partially completed "current" projects! I mean leaving them because I have something more interesting I want to do. It's all about focus and perseverance. 

Two rows of hexagons are almost together

Shoot --- this is NOT the picture I wanted, but it's so hard to get pictures of the sky living in the city. When I went for my walk, the thunderclouds were spectacular. When I got to this point, they were less impressive, but still impressive!

Thunder clouds

I need to sit at the computer today and get some work done. Not much, but a few e-mails that need to be sent. Now that I have a good start on today's quilts, I'll have time before lunch to make that happen. Then I hope to turn on the sewing machine and get some sewing done! Besides, I have a quilt back for one of tomorrow's quilts to sew together!

WOW --- I am feeling super productive these days. Yes -- there are MANY quilts that need to be bound, but I am focusing on quilting them at the moment. Then I can take a break and sew the bindings on! I do get a bit obsessed!

And I finished another physical book last night and no audiobooks. I think the audiobooks are a bit of a distraction unless I"m doing absolutely mindless work. You can't focus on two things at the same time and do either well, so I'm taking a break from the audiobooks for a bit. 

On that note -- I'm out of here! 

Have a super day!!!



  1. 'Sew' glad your feet have been pampered since you came home. Also, I do see a bit of 'relaxation' in your day. The main thing is, is that you are doing what makes you happy and that is what life is all about. I am proud of you Elaine, for taking the time for you.

    1. Gwen --- thanks so much!!! Yep -- -taking time for me is something very important and although it sounds like I'm doing crazy stuff all day, I really am selfish with my time (more so now than ever) and I try to only teach what I want to teach (or make!) And my feet are getting better. Almost no flaking skin left - -- well that's a lie, but they dont' hurt! Have a super day!