My husband and I love to watch a local Sunday morning 30-minute TV show called Texas Country Reporter. The show usually features very cool Texans (or transplanted Texans) doing very cool things. Keith and I sometimes use that program as a guide for our road trips. Several months ago, they featured a quilter named Terry who used to be a critical care nurse, and she gave up her professional life to open Lone Star Quiltworks in Bryan, Texas. Of course I was glued to the episode and then had to run over to her website and check her out.
While I was surfing around their site, I came across the most gorgeous quilt kit! It’s a Block of the Month (BOM) called Getting to Know Hue by Nancy Rink. Oh my goodness! This beauty is stunning! I signed up right away and my first package came in the mail yesterday. I’m so excited to get going on this! Just look at that center star! I’ve never tackled anything like this. Such a challenge! It comes in several colorways but being the traditionalist I am, I chose the original version.
This month I received the book, the outer background fabric, and Getting to Know Blue. There’s enough blue to make the four blue corner blocks. I like that she allows extra border fabric for each block so the block is too big on purpose. Then you can exactly cut it down to the perfect size to fit.
Each month I’ll be posting about my progress and the fabric I get for the following month. I need to get busy!
Finally!My old sewing room is empty and everything has been migrated into the new quilting studio!It has taken weeks…months.Here is my new lair.
I even did my first attempt at quilting with a pantograph.Let me tell you, that’s MUCH harder (for me) than it looks.And I can tell you that it is true what they say, “Practice, practice, practice.”I used my new long arm for the very first time, and did a pantograph for my very first time, and it turned out…well…really bad.But that’s OK!At least I know that the machine works, the laser works, and I don’t know how to align a pantograph.
The quilt that’s on the frame now is actually one I made years ago and I’d originally sandwiched by pinning, and then did some freehand and ruler work on my mid-arm sit-down only to reaffirm what I already knew – that I can’t freehand.Since this quilt was a UFO, I just took the pins out and rolled all three layers onto this new frame to get in some practice.But what fun!Even though I’ve made some newbie mistakes (like forgetting to lower the presser foot resulting in horrendous loops on the backside) and my sewing looks like a 4-year-old did it, I’m so excited to have something for me to work on and get better at.
UPDATE!After I began this blog post, my MULTI-TALENTED AND FABULOUS husband fabricated new brackets for the frame and got the robotics to work! This is the Grace GQ frame, one of their newer models that QuiltEZ, who makes the Butler robotics, haven’t worked the kinks out of yet. Finally, QuiltEZ fessed-up that their installation videos on YouTube show to install the encoder on the wrong side of the upper carriage resulting in the machine moving backwards when it’s supposed to go forwards. In the photo below, everything is as how the instructions say to install it. See that black box? That’s the Quilt Butler robotics unit on the front of the machine – you can tell it’s the front because the sewing needle is above the box. Note the black belt that runs on that little wheel on top of the box and it only turns one way. That’s what moves the machine front-to-back. And in this case, front-to-bassackwards. There’s a light gray belt directly behind the box that runs from one end of the frame to the other for side-to-side movement. Note in the 2nd photo how there is not a place to mount the gray belt on the back side of the frame. You can see how the gray belt is attached with brackets in front of the machine, but there isn’t an extension to install the bracket off the back of the frame. Here’s where my husband earned his keep yesterday. (just kidding!)
I’ve been at my wit’s end because the front-to-back path line on the tablet went the wrong direction. When I pulled the machine toward me, it went to the back of the quilt and vice versa.Then they told me that the Butler really needed to be mounted under the machine vs. on the end of it. That is NOT what the instructions said and that is NOT what I wanted.Because if we put the robotics unit under the machine, I wouldn’t be able to do pantographs because I couldn’t install the table shelves that the paper will lay on.So it was one or the other but of course, I wanted BOTH. So my husband made brackets that extend the left-to-right belt off the back of the frame vs. underneath it, we moved the little encoder wheel on the top carriage from the right side to the left side and flipped the lower carriage around so the box hangs off the back.I’m sure this is confusing and I’m sorry.But the end result is that it WORKS!I pleaded with him to round the corners on those brackets because I was sure to run into them and cause myself an injury.He’s such a sweetie!
Here’s a video of the robotics in action.
I made his favorite dinner tonight of course! Now, no more excuses.I have to learn how to use the Quilt Butler and pronto!My freehand is sooo bad that I really need that help!
It’s like Christmas in January! My #SewSampler from FatQuarterShop.com came in the mail today and it’s so much fun to open one of these. Where do I start?
1. A Birds of Liberty Half Roll Up from Robert Kaufman Fabrics. 2. Six spools of coordinating 1930’s Aurifil applique thread. 3. Orange Peel Impressions Quilting Templates to be used for applique. 4. Round Robin Impressions Quilt Pattern to turn the orange peels into a bright and colorful quilt. And finally, 5. Sew Cherry Magnet Set to brighten up my kitchen!
There’s also a Block 9 recipe but I’m not making that quilt. On the back of the contents card is a nice 2017 Quilt Resolutions form where you can look back at your successes for 2016 and then list your goals for 2017. I think I’m going to add “Master my new longarm!” ha We’ll see about that…
The 3-room transition is finally taking shape.For my new blog followers, we enclosed a back patio to become a quilt studio for my new longarm and frame.My old sewing room is 90% moved into the studio, hubs is moving his custom fishing rod hobby into my old sewing room, and then we can get our game room back because he has 7-foot fishing poles all over the pool table.I’m still in the process of moving everything that is not sewing related out of the quilt studio.Baby steps my friends. The wagon is full of tools needed to install the windows and doors and put everything all together but we’re getting closer.
I purchased my longarm, the King Quilter 18″ Special Edition, the Grace GQ frame, and the QuiltEZ Butler from Sewing Machines Plus .com.This has been a real experience y’all.Long story short, they ended up sending me an entire new machine and tablet last week.It’s been nothing but problems, problems, problems and I still haven’t quilted on it yet.SMP has done everything they can in a timely fashion to make it right, but it’s just the entire process that’s been a pain.They are a middle-man between Grace Frames (zero problems with the frame so Grace is still in my… well…good Graceslol), Tin Lizzie who makes the machine, and QuiltEZ who makes the robotics.
First QuiltEZ sent the wrong hardware to mount the Quilt Butler robotics unit to my frame so I shipped the wrong hardware back and received new.Then the tablet died and wouldn’t reboot so we swapped tablets.Then it was still the wrong bracket for the robotics so a third bracket was sent.Then the encoders were faulty – they are the little wheels on the carriage that tell the tablet where the machine is on the frame – so I got new encoders.The new encoders seemed to work, the tablet worked, but the precision stitch (stitch regulator) on the machine wouldn’t work and the machine would freeze.This was a real issue because the robotics in the Quilt Butler uses the precision stitch.Fortunately, I’m tech savvy enough to upload videos of the problem to YouTube and SMP could see the problem immediately and determine that it wasn’t user error.They immediately sent out an entire new machine, tablet (3rd tablet), encoders, and all.SMP promised me they would test the new machine for two hours before sending it to me.It got here, I set it all up and it and everything works fine.Finally, hubs went to install the robotics yesterday and the 3rd mounting bracket is still the wrong one!Fortunately, he’s got the ability to make it work and asked me if I wanted him to retro-fit the new bracket which would mean drilling additional holes into it.I told him to go ahead – what do we have to lose at this point.If it still doesn’t work, then we’ll send it back again but I really want this baby up and running you know?He did some minor fabrication and the robotics unit is mounted.That’s as far as we got last night. Those two silver Phillip’s head screws are in the new holes he made.
Today he’ll work on installing the belts that move the carriage around on the frame.So I bought this on Nov 3rd and today is January 16th.I’m about to make my second payment on my 0% interest 4-year plan and I still haven’t been able to use it.Actually, at this point, I just shrug my shoulders and laugh at the situation.It’s that or get pissed enough to raise my blood pressure and it just isn’t worth that.To SMP’s credit, they are letting me have a clear plastic grid for the pantographs ($79) and a $300 box of Madiera embroidery thread both for $100.We tried for free, but couldn’t make that happen.
So there you have it. The only comfort in this for me, is that misery loves company. I follow another blogger and she just dropped $10k on the Quilt Path for her APQS and still can’t get it to work right either. So much for a private dealer right? Still, I don’t know if the Butler works properly yet or not until we get it all hooked up. I found a video on YouTube where QuiltEZ is going to have 4 live webinars on how to use the Quilt Butler from start to finish to include different patterns in different blocks and how to do the borders.In the video they recommended we make up a quilt top to use for the class with sectional blocks, sashing, and a border.I finished a UFO Spider Man quilt from Villa Rosa designs that I’ve had in the works for my oldest grandson (5) for the last year or so.I have a horrible cold right now and I’m heavily medicated so I wasn’t paying attention to row placement as I put it together.But hey, “Finished is Better than Perfect” right?I’m sure my grandson won’t even notice.
My #stitchingsanta was so much fun this year courtesy of Sheila from sewchet.com. My secret #stitchingsanta was Claire MacPherson from #craftblogclub. She wrapped all my gifts individually in happy Christmas paper and I was so excited to tear into them!
She admitted not knowing what to get a quilter but she sure got it right! Everything from marking pens to cute little fabric for a baby quilt that is in the queue. I absolutely love the sewing art that will make its home in my new quilting studio and she thoughtfully made a couple of zipper bags which I always can use when I travel back and forth between home and our coast house. She even included five little hand stitching and crochet kits. I’ve been wanting to learn how to crochet and have spent a lot of time in the aisle at Wal-Mart staring at yarn and hooks wondering what to buy and where to start. In the end, I’ve always put everything back and left without buying anything because it would probably be a waste of money since I’d buy the wrong things. These little kits even include the correct hooks so it’s all there for me to start and learn. I’m so excited to try them! The bendable ruler is a gem. It can help to make sure scalloped edges on my quilts are all symmetrical. I’ve always wanted one but it’s one of those extravagances that I talk myself out of in the store because I always use a tape measure. Of course, a tape measure isn’t designed to stand on its edge like this ruler so it’s always flopping over and I cross my fingers that the measurement is right. No more! This ruler is sturdy enough to stand on its side. Isn’t that the best kind of gift? One that you wouldn’t splurge on for yourself but are delighted when you get it as a gift!