Friday, June 18, 2010

Chest Thumping Allowed


A dear friend of mine, Marilynn, has a long-time friend named Judy. Marilynn introduced me to Judy a couple of years ago when she brought me a quilt. Judy's quilt was a Block of the Month. She added Prairie Points to the quilt. It was the first time I quilted anything with PP. I figured it out and the quilt came out great. Judy loved it and has sent me several more quilts to do. She is active in her church's Prayers and Squares group and wanted to be able to quilt the small (usually 42" x 50") quilts at home. So she bought the Grand Quilter by Pfaff with the wooden frame. She assembled the quilt frame and carriage and put her Pfaff machine on it and plugged everything in. (Me, I wrote a check for $500 for Gammill to install and assemble my machine. Since then DH has moved it 4 times; each time he asks me for $500. Dream on.) Back to Judy. Hmm, lots of drag, bobbin not working, nothing is working. Grrr.

Then I heard that Judy was battling throat cancer. Everything else got put on the back burner for a couple of years. She finished her treatments and is doing fine. So she got back her vigor and jumped back into quilting. Marilynn told me that Judy had never gotten the quilting machine to work and asked if I could take a look at it. So we made a day of it. It is a nice drive, only about 25 miles and Judy has a beautiful view from every window.

So we got busy. Judy was familiar with the way it was put together, I was not. But I had a schematic that Jinny Hoffmann from Paradise Sewing in Poway gave me. It showed the layout of the rollers.

Here is what we found and fixed:
Backing roller was winding in the wrong direction
Front roller to low
Takeup roller to low
Bobbin in backwards
Clamps too loose and clamped to quilt top (big no-no)

So she tried quilting after I showed her how to hang onto the thread tails when you start. It quilted great from top to bottom but was draggy and not working going left to right. I decided to call the tech at Jinny's place later and get some ideas.

A day or two later it hit me. The encoder for the left to right axis is bad or mis-installed. I checked with the tech and he verified that the encoders are the same and it was probably not hitting the track at the right place.

So Wednesday Marilynn and I went back to Judy's with our sleeved rolled up. We had to remove the quilt sandwich on the takeup roller and remove the takeup roller. Then we removed the carriage top so the machine could slide out.

Once we removed the machine, we flipped over the carriage and "Ah HA!" there it was. The encoder was installed backwards! We removed the nut, a washer and the encoder. We flipped the encoder around and replaced the other parts. We put the machine back on the carriage. I wanted to test that our fix worked before re-assembling the whole thing. We removed the top thread from the machine and hit power. We were able to move the encoder-wheels with our fingers and watch the needle go up and down in all directions according to our finger movements. It was fixed. We had a Tarzan moment when we felt like thumping our chests with pride.

We reassembled the rest of the rollers, etc. Judy started stitching away in all directions making loops and lines. She was happy. We all went to lunch at the Hacienda Restaurant and celebrated our victory.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Big Foot Lives at My House



I am tall. Just regular tall, though. I am 5 foot 11 inches and shrinking (old age is no fun). I have always struggled to buy clothes long enough and shoes narrow enough. Shoot, my grandmother would have worn my prom dress - it was so old-lady looking. You get the picture.

So when a friend suggested that I try SAS Shoes I was a bit skeptical. I sometimes wear a brace on my left foot. I hate the brace since I have to buy BIGGER shoes in order for the brace to fit inside. I ruptured my posterior tibial tendon last year and am not a candidate for surgery. So when I will be standing for long times, like to quilt, I wear the brace to cut down on the pain.

It's been decades since I've been able to walk into a shoe store and come out with shoes that fit. I'm not about talking Crocs (which just kill my feet) or men's boat shoes, well, because they don't fit. Confidence was not high when I entered the SAS store and saw two old guys (read as 70-something) with blacksmith aprons working there. I was the only customer. Yeah, this is not going to work. I saw some nice sandals near the front - hmmm, those probably come as big as size 10. Grumble.

I told the guy, (who turned out to be a peach and knew his stuff about shoes) that I was looking for walking shoes and hoped that he could fit me. He was pretty confident that he could....until he measured my feet. Yeah, big foot lives here. But he went up and down the aisles with the shoes. My husband, Terry, could see him searching, I was off to one side. "Does he have any boxes in his hands?" I asked. "Nope" says Terry "but he is still looking". So the salesman finally returns and he has a box with him. Years of disappointment have taught me not to get excited by shoe boxes since the contents rarely fit. The guy opened the box and pulled out a pair of those sandals that I had admired earlier.


I tried them on and walked around. Comfy. So I bought the only pair of size 13 Narrow shoes at that particular SAS shoe store and danced out the door.

Don't you love a happy ending?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hummingbird Babies


I was at a friends house today and she had to show me the hummingbird wind chime on her patio. Great, I thought, "hmm, another wind chime". No, she was showing me the tiny hummingbird nest wedged in between the wings of the hummingbird windchime hanging from the rain gutter. And inside, 2 tiny beaks of 2 baby hummingbirds. The parents check in periodically to feed. But they cannot sit on the nest anymore. These hummingbird babies are ready to leave the nest.


Can't see them. Here's where to look.
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My life has changed in the last couple of years - some bumps, I retired from quilting, and then I moved to Texas. I'm anxious to see what new adventures await me in the next phase of my life.

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Ramona, California, United States
I started quilting when a quilt shop opened in our little town in January 2004. I have been hooked ever since.

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Books I"ve read lately

  • The Help (Kindle)
  • The Appeal by John Grisham
  • Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (again) by Harper Lee
  • Bleachers by John Grisham

This is called Fruit Cocktail

This is called Fruit Cocktail
It is all batiks