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! And I think QuiltEZ owes us some money somehow for figuring out their mess. Patent pending? 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!