Friday, July 24, 2015

I think I will call her George....

I can not, in any way, express to you the excitement I have felt since early last week. 

Story goes...   I have a 10' quilting table and a MegaQuilter with a 9" throat.  I bought it to see if I
liked "longarm quilting".  I do. 

Sewing a large quilt on this machine (aka a midarm quilter) rather than a regular domestic sewing machine (aka DSM) is that you don't have to worry about wrestling the fabric around.  But I had outgrown this set up and wanted a bigger sewing machine...  a real longarm.

However, buying a real longarm is a substantial purchase and was just not in the cards...  but I did have a house listed to sell in Iowa.  A couple nibbles on it but no buyers so I take it off the market during last winter....  fast forward to spring, relist it, and sold it in two days.

So now I had the approval of the hubby and some $ to buy a longarm quilter. 

But I was frozen with indecision...  should I spend the $?  what should I buy?  how many bells and whistles do I want....   and am willing to pay for?    So my decision was apparently to do nothing because that's what I did...  for a while.

Then I finished hubby's quilt top.  I had made it as large as we wanted it....

but there was a problem....  my quilting table was 10'...  which left no room for the mechanics of "longarming".   I guess I needed a bigger table....   and if I am buying a bigger table, perhaps I should buy a bigger machine....

So many had suggested attending quilt expos and trying all the machines but I really believe that its like buying a fridge.  Even if you love it in the store, when you get it home and real use begins, you always find something you do not love as much as you thought.

I know the name of the "good" machines...  so if I bought a good machine, I would love what it offered and I would not wish for something I saw or used on another machine.  With PTSD, its easy for me to get overwhelmed...  so I went about it backwards.  I will buy a machine; the best machine I can get for the $ I have, and I will love it...  and perhaps hug it and call it George.

Add to the mix that I am frugal at heart....   so I started shopping on craigslist.  

I found several Avantes, which were totally acceptable.   They are definitely a huge step up from my set up and affordable - all well under the $10,000 I allowed to get this thing going.  Several friends have them and have very few bad things to say about them...  I contact the sellers with what I felt are appropriate questions... I researched, I asked, and I considered, and I felt I was ready to go try the machines and check their condition...  and make a decision.

Then I find this ad:

Gammill Optimum with Statler Stitcher, with hundreds of pre-installed patterns. The 14 foot table can easily handle king sized quilts. This is a great machine for home quilting business or just a quilter. Tuns of thread and bobbins and fabric. to much to list. Purchaser is responsible for dis-assembly, pickup, transportation and set up costs.

My mouth dropped open... at first glance of the ad, this machine would be...  well, like EVERYTHING anybody could EVER want in a longarm.  It is located in Tucson, which is perfect as my son is there and his neighbor is a guy that sets up longarms.  Was it Karma?

But wow... it was just a little more (ok A LOT) than I had planned to spend.  But, BUT, BUT... its a Gammill with a 30" throat, 14' hydraulic table, light bar, Statler Stitcher....  I was having heart palpitations.  I had the $ and I had room for it...  but I wasn't planning on spending THAT much.   But here it was... and I would NEVER EVER have the money to buy a new one as this one was listed for about 1/3 of what it would cost new.

I did nothing.   I thought about it.   I slept (ok TRIED to sleep) on it.   I fought with myself...  buy a bigger machine and someday want more (computer guided, deeper throat, etc, etc) or buy it all...  go for the gold....  live the dream.... and do it now.

stock photo

After a day or two of fighting with myself, I talked to the hubby.  I talked to my mom.  I talked to a cherished quilter friend.  I even talked to a quilt shop owner.  They all basically asked me what was I waiting for...

So I called the number attached to the ad.  She was a lovely woman; she answered my questions, but said that someone was coming for it on the 19th and she would call me if it fell through.   I was not sad as I had already decided that it was just too good to be true.

I continued to peruse the Avantes, staying in touch with the sellers, but decided to buy nothing until after the 19th....  just in case.

Then the call came...  She said they were not coming after all.  The Gammill was mine if I wanted it.   I said I would talk to my husband and let her know tomorrow if that was ok...  she was fine with it.

Then I had a heart attack.  So much $.  But so much machine.  There was no question in my mind that it was well worth what she was asking.  The question was, did I want to spend that much...  did I need that much machine....  and would I live through this! :)

Hubby said DO IT.  I called her back.  We discussed a day to "get acquainted" and if all was well, a day to dis-assemble.  We reserved a hotel room.  We reserved a truck.  I talked to son and longarm neighbor.  It was a go and I think I had all the bases covered.  Well, aside from the heart palpitations.

Chain Stitch Machine
We had travel plans over the weekend so Tuesday, we left for Tucson.  Todie and Dean spend several hours with me, walking through the table, the machine, the Statler, the tips and tricks, and what all went with the set up.  They were lovely and amazing people.  So kind, caring, and truly invested in me being happy with the machine.

And I truly felt ill...  but in a good way.   I agreed to buy it.  I teared up. Todie teared up.  Dean and my hubby laughed.

We started dismantling the machine.   WOW.  Heavy is the first word that comes to mind.

The dismantling took several hours but we got 'er done.
Boxes of manuals, pantos, quilting tools, lights, and backing.

Thank GOD for my husband, my son, Uhaul coming through after a small screw up (another long story but they made it right), and for the wonderful couple that sold me their machine.

Computer and parts

And thank you to Mia for helping with the carrying and holding of doors.

3 boxes and bins of thread

We left Tucson with a 20' Uhaul truck bed completely covered with long, big, heavy table parts, batting, thread, a chair, a thread stand, and various other items. 

2 full boxes of  batting

Our Avalanche was full of machine heads, backing fabric, computer parts, about 10 quilt tops, and other miscellany.

We were hot, sweaty, and tired.  

I was happy beyond words.

And all this started because I made a quilt top too big.

Her name is George.   Because I will forever love her and squeeze her and call her George.  I told Todie to come up any time to quilt her remaining UFOs.  After all, I owe her big for this incredible gift.

May your dreams come true...  but when the time is right.  Remember that Karma knows best.  Listen to your gut and trust that it will all work out the way its suppose to  :)

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