New Quilting Machine

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So here’s a short story:  This all started two years ago when I test drove a Bernina FancyPants Machine during one of my Road to California classes.  That thing could do everything but cook dinner, and I pined about it for a year.  I love my current Husqvarna Quilt Designer machine, but it is coming up on it’s 14 year-old birthday and one morning, I woke up with an unhappy touch screen.  Horrors! and so the intensity of my search increased, or at least the anxiety of wondering when my machine would conk out on me.  Then I took a domestic free motion quilting class with David Taylor this year at Road to California and at first, I was unhappy that we were working on Handi Quilter’s Sweet Sixteen machine–what?  No teensy weensy harp space of my regular domestic?  But the techniques are the same, so I took to this machine like a duck to water.

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Now I needed TWO machines: one to replace my aging Husqvarna and this new Sweet Sixteen quilting machine.  But I only had resources for one.  After some time to think about it, I decided I could prolong the life of my Quilt Designer if I took the quilting tasks off its back.  One afternoon last week, Richard of Quilter’s Cocoon toted this up to my guest bedroom, set it up for me, gave me my first lesson (so happy I’d had the day with David Taylor to augment what Richard was teaching me), and I was up and running.

Except I wasn’t.

I didn’t touch if for two days.  Scared? Excited? Thinking I was out of my mind?  All of the above?  But I finally put together a mini quilt sandwich and went to town, trying out new stitches, using the two rulers I’d purchased, taking it out for a test drive. Notice how all four corner blocks are different; I was having fun.  No, I don’t name my machines (but know a lot of people do, and invariably it’s always my childhood nickname of Betsy — which explains why I don’t do it) but we do refer to it as the “quilting machine,” to keep it distinguished from my “regular machine.”  (By the way, the pattern for this quilt — Ribbon Star Beauty — will be up on Craftsy later on this week.  It’s a fun little mini that sews up quickly.)HQ Sweet 16_5

My daughter has a new shop in her small town of Kingman Arizona, The Farmhouse Kingman.  I plan to send this to her so she can use/sell it in her shop.  If you drive through Kingman on your way to somewhere else, stop by and see her.  She’s in the old section of town, with a cute shop of fun farmhouse decor items.

And that’s the whole story.  Now back to quilting.

Two Blocks, Two Machines

Windmill Blocks

Bees are interesting things.  I’m in a new one and am still figuring out how it ticks when this block arrived in the mail.  The instructions read to leave the quadrants unsewn as the bee-er wants to really make her quilt scrappy and move the blocks all around.  It’s paper pieced.  Seventy-two pieces per block (4 quadrants).  It took me over 7 hours, closer to eight hours, to finish the two blocks.  I began wondering about this quilter–who would send out such a complicated block to the bee and expect us to do not only ONE, but TWO blocks? I began wondering about what a sheep I was to follow along, when I should have just sent back the unused fabric after the first block and the scraps for the little triangles, and kept it to one.  The end result was that I didn’t feel very good about her, nor about myself–for not standing up and saying “This is excessive.”  I was more than happy to send that off this morning!

Steps Quilt Blocks

This is the blocks from another bee-er in the same bee.  Because my first batch of fabric got lost in the mail, I was doing her September blocks in October.  These blocks were already cut out, and both went together in under an hour.  I’m happy to spend more than an hour on a bee block, but the contrast between this quilter’s and her bee-mates was astounding.  I felt good about things as I mailed off her blocks this morning.

Green Sewing Machine

On our walk yesterday morning, we passed by the house of an older neighbor, who was downsizing and moving up to the high desert.  Stuff had to go, including this funky green sewing machine.  We continued on our walk, never mentioning it, but on the return loop, I said to my husband, “Want to go and get the car . . . and your wallet?”  He laughed.  When he came back there were two machines waiting for him to load into the car (I didn’t take a photo of the other), but I got both for $55, including the matching cabinet that the father-in-law had made for this green machine.

I took them right up to my Sewing Machine Whisperer, and he said they were worth tuning up, so into the shop they went.  “You know, you have no foot pedal,” he said, gesturing to the green machine.  In my defense, it was early in the morning, so when I went back, the older neighbor went up into her sewing room, but couldn’t find it.  I left my name and phone number, and hopefully it will turn up.  I’ll get these two older machine back in a few weeks; I plan to give one to my granddaughter, who wants to learn to sew.

Today I plan to sew my brains out.  And NOT on complicated funk-inducing, grumpy-generating bee blocks.