Saturday, December 26, 2015

Me and Georgie (1 - 3)

The Gammill was set up in October.  The "quilt" that had been used for the demo before I bought the machine was still attached. During the demo, I had pushed a few buttons and made it do stuff but there that was several months ago and
everything had been forgotten by the time we were able to get the table set up.  I had started working on getting familiar with the MOM (machine's operating manual) when I was called out of town.  I returned home end of November and it was a few days before I got back into the studio.

NOTE:  I decided to slightly adjust the Gammill's name to Georgie, the feminine version of the original George.

And there it was....  still waiting for me....and not looking familiar any more... not even really looking very friendly.  It looked big and scary.  Did I really make this thing work before I bought it?    Is this buyer's remorse?  I decided to save it for another day and I high tailed it out of the studio. 

A couple days later, I faced my fears (ok, apprehension) about actually using that monster for the first time on my own. 

Biting the bullet, I pulled out the manual and started to load 2 panel quilts side by side as practice pieces.  

One would think that one could buy a computerized longarm quilting machine and pretty much wave a wand (considering the price I paid for it, I shouldn't need a magic one... any old wand SHOULD do) around the room and there would magically appear a big pile magnificently finished quilts, right?   ummm....  NO. 

It turns out that I am extremely glad I purchased the chain stitch companion machine because I am sure I stitched and unstitched each piece 5 times before getting the backing and top in the correct direction to load onto Georgie.  Everything seemed so backward to me and I continued to fight logic... and the instructions.   But finally!!

...the panels, backing, and floating batting are loaded and facing the correct direction. Honestly, I was dancing for joy...  but exhausted...  so I quit while I was ahead and decided to pick it up from here tomorrow.

I was back in the studio early the next morning: I had my cold caffeine, my hair was in a pony, tunes were playing, and I had comfy pants on!  I was ready to have some results.

I took a deep breath, fired Georgie up, and chose a pattern.   I decided to use a simple quilting pattern on the panels, just in case the seam ripper would be needed. (Not that I am pessimistic...  more like REAListic)

I oiled...  I checked the thread, bobbin, and table...  I entered the measurements into the program...   and I hit "go".  

Quilt 1

It went....  It was quilting!  I CAN do this!  More happy dancing!!!

The quilting was completed with only one thread break (thank God) and very little trouble. 

To my untrained eye, the quilting on these panels looked pretty good but I know that my measurements were still somehow off as the pattern continued to sew past the end of the quilt top.  Taking measurements was something I needed to work on, obviously. 

Quilt 2

In review, I thought the tension was ok....  and I finished the binding on the sewing machine but, seriously, I AM thrilled with those binding corners.  OOPS, there is a stray thread on the quilt backing.... 

The panel quilts are ready to go to the children's charity and I am not ashamed of the results.

I had a pile of quilt tops waiting to be quilted.  Time to get moving on them while I had all this confidence.

I decided to next do a charity quilt made by a friend.  I promised her that I would use it to practice on my longarm...  and practice, I did.  The loading went very smooth and I was pleased with that bit of success.  

Quilt 3

I tried different patterns and practiced with measurements on this quilt.  I played around with patterns and sizing and generally had a good old time!

I will admit that I still don't have the measuring (determines width of repeated pattern and number of rows so pattern fits quilt) mastered but I am getting better...  the pattern is ending closer to the edge of the quilt.

I am also happy with the tension, which has been a worry for me.

I have quilts 1, 2, and 3 under my belt and will take all the lessons I learned with me to the next quilt.

I am a happy but exhausted girl.

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