Sunday, March 9, 2008

My week!

Lots has been happening and yet I've accomplish nothing I set out to do. sigh!

I had booked some time with the Gammil Dealer in St Albans in an attempt to finish some flimsies.

This is the pantho I purchased for my brother's Corn and Bean quilt.

I thought it would work well for the quilt. So I did a bit of practicing for an hour or so and decided to tackle the quilt.

I loaded the queen size quilt and made the attempt. I quilted about 12 inches of the pantho and decided that I didn't like it.

Given that the bulk of the quilt is light, I didn't want to use a dark thread. I didn't like the fact that you could see clearly the inaccuracy of my inability to follow the pantho accordingly on the borders. So I ripped it out and decided to do some custom quilting.

Well, that didn't work very well either! They did not have the lower attachment that you use to guide the machine for stippling and I didn't have enough control from the top. So I ripped those stitches out and re-attempted the pantho with the understanding that I needed to live with whatever came out of it.

Unfortunately, the machine started to beep so I had to stop. When I went back to the pantho, I didn't head in the right direction and stitched over what I had already done. More ripping! After taking the extra stitches out and six (6) hours later I decided it was time to leave before I start crying in public. At this point, I didn't even want a long arm anymore!

After a glass of wine and some thinking, I decided that I needed to go back the next day. I was determined to get it right.

I set up the quilt, found where I thought I left off on the pantho and had Beth (the instructor) check everything. She informed me that it was the exact spot I left off and told me which direction I had to go.

Well, guess what? Same mess, twice! I was fit to be tied! I could not bare to do more ripping at $15.00 an hour!

So, I took my quilt off the machine and decided to go to my Friday quilting bee.

The girls had decided to give me an "unbirthday party". So there were these beautiful flowers, a cake, a bottle of wine and a candle for me.

To think I blew these girls off! Thank you again Jennifer, Lora and Joann for making me feel better. You guys are the best!

So, $150.00 later, I have nothing to show but a huge mess.

What have I learned from my experience you might ask?

1) It dawned on me that I don't have to load fabric to test a pantho. I could have just followed it with the laser light to get a feel for it. It takes time to load a quilt/fabric on the machine. The meter adds up as you pin away.

2) If I buy a long arm from this dealer, I'm pretty much on my own (unless they have other instructors that I am not aware of).

3) Don't blow off your friends for long arm rental! ;o)

I did book more time on Tuesday but guess what? I'm cancelling it! I do not like the light thread and since they cannot show me how to do the center with the pantho, it's pointless for me to learn on my own at that price. Mistakes are a great way to learn, however I would like it much better if it was on my own machine. I do not need the stress of a meter running!

Thank you for reading about my week!

In friendship!

20 comments:

Screen Door said...

My heart goes out to you...While I don't have a long arm, I do have a grace frame set up. Just from reading from other quilters, I load a project one day and quilt the next... it's exhausting just getting it set up. Hat's off to cancelling... there will always be quilts, there won't always be friends close by.....
Have a good week.

Karrin Hurd said...

Sorry to hear about that mess Carole,
I kept reading along thinking it would get better. Too bad they don't have more informed people instructing. Hope you have a better week this week!

Vicki W said...

What lovely friends! Don't give up on a longarm. It just takes a long time to get the hang of them. My first few (actually, many) quilts were total crap. But they were good practice and I eventually got better. I continue to get better. The panto that you picked is a difficult one anyway. The dealer could have helped you pick something a little more reasonable for a beginner. You will also find that different brands of machines are more or less difficult to use. Be sure to test drive all of them before you jump in and purchase. Don't beat yourself up. I could not have done that quilting that well when I first got my machine!

Julia said...

Hang in there Carole! I don't think I could do well with the meter running either!

Pat said...

I am so sorry to hear of your quilting mis-adventure. That panto looks very difficult for a beginner. I agree with Vicki. I think that you should have had more help from the dealer. I love where we live (except for the ice storm this past wekend) but I do wish that a larger city would relocate close to us for some shopping choices. Wouldn't that be nice? Its great to have good friends. What would we do without them!

Patti said...

Welcome to the world of longarm quilting. I doubt it will make you feel any better, but know that every single one of us has gone through what you just went through. People don't realize just how much practice it takes until they try. It took me several months until I was really comfortable with my machine. Here's a couple suggestions. Since it is your pantograph, spend time at home tracing the design over and over with your finger. It plants the motions in your brain and really helps - believe it or not. Also get a big white board and practice with a dry erase pen. That really helps also. I also recommend the DVD "Pajama Quilter Reloaded". It's great for lots of stuff including beginning things. Email me and I'll try to find her website for you if you are interested.

Suzy Quilter said...

That panto looks like a huge undertaking for a beginner. I'd be terrified, so kudos to you for trying it! It probably didn't help with the lack of help from an instructor and the fact that your mind was always on the ticking clock. I'm a beginner longarm user also (I also rent hourly from a local quilt shop), but happily there is much support (including a very reasonable $10 loading fee where they load the quilt top for you and you can then just come in a quilt). So don't give up! Just lower your expectations a bit (we all have to learn somewhere -- remember as a beginner piecer?) and try something much more simple and forgiving, such as a large allover meandering stitch. Quilty hugs! :o)

Rhonda said...

Bless your heart, girlfriend! Have another glass of wine on me. You have more patience than I do for sure.....LOL

blueberrylane said...

That pattern did look complicated and the clock ticking would definitely not help, you must be feeling so frustrated ! Glad you had a nice ending to the day !

Libby said...

How frustrating for you . . . and it certainly seems unreasonable that you should have been charged for time after the instructor gave you bad info. At least your friends were there to give you a needed boost *s* Yeah for friends!!!!

quiltmom said...

Hi Carole,
It sounds like you have the best kind of friends- I am glad that they were there to brighten your difficult day.
I don't have a long arm but I do know about spending hours only to find that I have to do it over again-That's almost enough to make you want to give it up for ???? :)
I am sure that you will soon find a way that will work for you.
Hang in there and keep hanging out with your friends- they'll get you through..
Regards,
Anna

Quilt Nut said...

agree with the others, that was a very difficult pattern for a beginner to tackle!

Pam said...

My goodness - that sounds like a totally frustrating experience! And the worst of it seems to be the "expert" help at the shop. All that stitch ripping!!! And that sort of stitch ripping is such a pain, much easier to rip out seams - I just use my rotary cutter for that. Lucky for you that you have wonderful friends! And now you have to figure out another way to get that quilt finished. What are you going to do?
I hope you have a better day today!

Guðrún said...

The owner doesn´t seem to be much of a help. I know that you will be the best longarm quilter in no time at all.

Shelina said...

Here I was, wishing that there was someplace around here that I could rent a long arm and finish up some quilts. Wow, I forgot about the learning curve. You're right, it would definitely help to have someone who could show you the ropes. Thanks for the heads up!

Greenmare said...

oh man that is just tooooooooo darn much ripping! We need to find you someone who owns their own machine and will take you under their wing and nicely teach you. I lucked out by learning from my favorite cousin, and you will be able to do it if you just get that chance! Really!

Shelina said...

Hey Carole, I tagged you on my blog.

Cheryl said...

I am sorry to hear about your longarm frustrations. I don't have one but I can tell you from the girls that have them that come in the shop they all have stories similar to yours happening when they started. And to top it off it sounds like where you bought it isn't helping you. Your friends sound like a wonderful bunch and truly know how to cheer you up. Hang in there, I know you will be an old pro in no time. We are all behind you.

Kathy Wagner said...

Oh no! What a frustrating time! Thanks for being honest about the experience...I always wonder if it's as "easy" as people say.
That's amazing that you kept trying and went back for more! You are a trouper!

Alycia said...

Bummer - but what a lovely ending to the day that started not so well. Its nice to have friends huh?

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