Saturday, 26 April 2014

Watching Paint Dry

The Great P and I are learning to 'long arm quilt'. We have a Pfaff workshop next week and need to quilt 3 metres of fabric for a jacket. We always had an interest in the possibilities of using the long arm quilter at the shop, so this seemed to be what we needed to get going.

What were we thinking?

The quilter hadn't been used in a while and we had a one day tutorial. This makes 2 strikes against us. I had done some puttering and could stick a design in a pattern box, so of course I thought I might be ready.

Now I know:

  • there are actually 3 oil ports, but only 2 of them are marked
  • the machine stops dead when dry
  • you need to hit it with a hammer, gently, to free it up. Lots of times.
  • Roy in Toronto is a tech god
  • but even he can't measure up to Rhoda in the classroom
  • I owe them both my firstborn
  • excess oil drips don't really show up on batik prints (major bonus!)
  • excess oil will change your bobbin tension. Not for the better.
  • thread breaks
  • again and again
  • for many different, difficult to diagnose reasons
  • when threads break, it's important to know where it broke
  • .1 cm to the left will take your machine in a whole new direction.
  • when you get to the end of a row, you need to start the next row in the precise spot that allows the rows to live nicely together
  • that precise spot is hard to find
  • Move Start Point is the best command ever!
  • joining 2 pieces of batt off the machine frame is easier than hand sewing them together on the frame
  • pick a simple design that goes end to end without stops and starts
  • pretty thread is not always happy thread
  • batik fabric dulls needles at a fairly amazing rate
And watching every stitch the machine makes is truly like watching paint dry. We newbies are intent.

However, the fabric looks amazing and I am having a ball! The possibilities are indeed endless. The good thing about having lots of things go wrong is that the learning curve has been intense, but rewarding. I believe the Pfaff P3 will be my next best friend. Of course, 3 days later we are not halfway through the fabric, and Friday is the deadline. That swift learning curve better come in handy soon!

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