Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My New Longarm Quilting Machine

Our fast turn-around trip to Tehachapi, CA. Monday and Tuesday has resulted in the transportation of my almost new Prodigy quilting machine to it's new home in Phoenix.
The trip involved two days of nine hours each on the road, very tiring in itself. Add in dismantling of the set up and careful packing and loading onto the rented trailer. It took about two hours to tear down the machine and table Monday evening and another hour and a half to load it up for transit next morning, not bad overall!
The friendly couple from whom I purchased this machine were hospitable and helpful, the previous owner a brilliant quilter, Molly Hamilton McNally and her husband could not have been kinder.
Her we are in the process of dismantling the machine in Molly's beautiful studio in the hills about an hour north of Los Angeles. More about this talented lady in another post.
They have two small dogs and as Molly said "I am a dog person" we were very thankful since we had our little Aussie Terrier with us and she was allowed to wander a bit on their spacious property after being in the truck all day. We spent the night at the pet friendly La Quinta in Tehachapi and then loaded up next morning for the trip home.
The machine head was strapped into the back seat of the Avalanche
but table and components went on the trailer.
It was an uneventful drive if you discount the horrible CA. Traffic. I could not live there, truly, it is crazy and we went nowhere near Los Angeles or any other major city. Nine hours each way for what would be less than seven with reasonable traffic.
Introducing the Prodigy to its new environment was relatively easy compared to the relocation of the A-1 with its one piece 14 ft. table weighing over 300 lbs!
Prodigy breaks down into manageable pieces, the rear rail is the heaviest, housing all the mechanics for the table processes and was too heavy for me to help up the stairs. We called on a friend for assistance meanwhile it sat overnight in the garage.
 We took some pics that helped in rebuilding the set up, and all went pretty smoothly. DH did a stellar job all kudos to him and my friend Gale a long time Prodigy owner and heirloom quilter was also helpful Via iPhone.
Almost there, only a few more pieces to attach including the third pole and batting access and I will be able to test Prodigy. 
 We discovered in the process that I appear to have a faulty encoder for the stitch regulator which should be simply replaced. We have spoken with the design engineer of this machine, we can have no better guide and he has the encoder and will mail it to me. I also discovered that I had equipment belonging to Molly's Innova and in turn the hopping feet for Prodigy had been left behind in her studio so we exchanged these by mail!
Otherwise I made a few minor adjustments and Prodigy is running nicely in manual mode, and with a new encoder will run just as well in auto! I hope we are happy together in the new space, and there are no adjustment issues from sunny California to the Valley of The Sun!
There will be a few adjustments for me with this new machine after ten years with A-1,  and much like adjusting to a new automobile I will soon embrace the benefits. I will miss the extra two feet of the 14 ft. table which allowed plenty of room for "parking" the machine head for maintenance and to keep a small practice piece on the side for testing tension etc. But there are other conveniences that I will enjoy and adjust to the shorter 12 ft. table quickly I expect.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Great Granddaughter's Quilt

As stated earlier we will welcome our first great grandchild in early October. Oldest grandson Daniel and wife Ashlee are expecting a baby girl, Paisley Nichole. Daniel is in the Navy and awaiting deployment for extra training so we hope it will not coincide with the birth of their little one!
This cute young couple requested cowboy theme in patriotic colors which was so much fun to make. Of course I decided it must include some paisley fabrics and a paisley quilting design LOL!
The design I used is called"Chopsticks" from Jaybird Quilts. I think it is a more feminine version of a cowboy theme with the addition of the red star fabric on white background to lighten it up.
I had one FQ of this very cute vintage cowboy/girl fabric and managed to get two blocks from it.
 Red thread shows just enough of the freehand E-E paisley quilting.
There are three paisley fabrics including the backing
Baby quilts are so much fun to make, there is no stress, the baby will love whatever you make.
It is almost instant gratification! I used Quilter's Dream Angel, a genetically engineered flame retardant batting, so no nasty chemicals. It is very soft and fine just perfect for cuddling a little one.
The big news for me is that I am acquiring a new long arm machine! When I purchased the A-1 machine about ten years ago I was almost convinced to buy a Prodigy but the larger bobbin on the A-1 swayed my decision. It's been a great machine allowing a lot of artistic freedom that I did not feel I had with my original Gammill. A decade later and my body has succumbed to some very serious arthritis issues and the design of the Prodigy will ease the discomfort of some of the movements associated with longarm quilting.
This is the new machine, Prodigy 2412, we will be picking it up next week and I am very excited!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

More Baby Quilts

We needed three more baby boy quilts at church, it's been a busy time so far with two little girls earlier in the year.
One boy quilt I already delivered a couple of weeks ago and forgot to take a photo so I will need to ask the parents if they would email one to me!
These two quilts I will take to church with me on Sunday.
These cute fabrics were in the juvenile section of my stash and turned out just right size.
 There was sufficient left of the PBR brushed cotton for backing of both quilts, I am sort of sad to see it all gone. I had an entire bolt and it is lovely and soft. I did need to launder first because I suspected it would bleed and it did but I used Synthrapol in the wash to set the dye.
 Both also quilted using E-E Peacock feather freehand design
I have one more baby quilt to finish, that is for our expected first great grandchild, due in October to oldest grandson Daniel and his wife. I plan to have that quilt ready to post tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Birthday Quilt

The Hunter Star quilt is done and delivered today to a very special lady on her half century birthday! Well, my DIL actually did the delivery for me to her Mom in Yuma, very convenient that she was headed that way for a surprise visit.
 It turned out 90"x100" exactly
 The large Rapid Fire Hunter Star ruler made the 10.5" blocks simpler and faster than the traditional method and the perfect size quilt, no border required.
 Then my favorite quilting design for single block quilts the Baptist Fan made accurate, simple and fast with Loricles Circle template boards. Last night I bound the quilt, from prepping binding to finish attaching in about three hours with my customary method, clean, neat, secure and fast!
Fabrics were purchased from my favorite online fabric store Thousandsofbolts.com and I bought enough of the red by Fabri-quilt for backing and binding.
Also remembered this time to embroider the label onto the backing before quilting, sometimes I get so anxious to get started on the quilting that it gets overlooked until after the quilt is mounted on the longarm and quilting has already begun, argh!
PS. Here it is on Diana's bed!


Sunday, July 16, 2017

We're Back!

 So busy the past month I do not know why it is that our lives seem to get busier as we get older, it is never boring! Or are we slowing down so it just seems that we are busier?!
We had a quieter week or so while The Boy and his parents were in Boston having a great visit with family. Matthew had a lot of new experiences, surfing, riding the inner tube behind the boat off the beach, learning about bee keeping, a day at Legoland,
zip lining
 
fishing,
                                                                      eating lobster
ice skating 
and generally hanging out with cousins and making memories!
This day they went to a pottery class and painted, Matthew chose a crab.
His parents too had a good time, this was the "Sam Adams" tour!
Now he is home as am I and looking forward to hearing about his adventures tomorrow!
Last week I was visiting a friend in the mountains of Colorado Springs enjoying the cooler weather and some rain. We hiked around this lovely lake.
 Joined my friend at her quilt group meeting with a little show and tell!
 This little phone purse was made altogether on an embroidery machine 
as was the very cute flower adornment on this hat. 
We made our own versions of the flower minus the embroidery machine.
We think they turned out very well!
We also visited Glen Eyrie Castle home of The Navigators and NavPress.
 This beautiful 97 room edifice begun in 1871 and completed in 1904 by General William Jackson Palmer the founder of Colorado Springs was constructed of imported materials and furnishings with impressive features ahead of the times such as a built-in vacuuming system and fire fighting equipment on each floor. The setting is breathtaking, awesome evidence of God's mighty Creation. The facility has suites available for bed and breakfast as well as catering to retreats, seminars etc. A tour is available daily as well as an elegant High Tea which Linda and I enjoyed!
Unfortunately we were too busy enjoying the gourmet dishes to take many pics but below are a few that I did get.  There is a wide assortment of teas black, white and Rooibus and it was altogether very delicious!


 Last night I finished off one of three more baby boy quilts for our church families, but forgot to take a photo, I will have to ask Bentley's parents to send me one. This quilt needs binding and the last one will be quilted today I hope!
 The backing is the last of that lovely PBR brushed cotton, so soft!