Friday, January 6, 2012

Home Quilting Machines, and Working with the Old Prints

 As far as I could go, after 3 hours of frustration!

I have this love/hate thing with my Pfaff Grandquilter. 

back of 
the quilt top, 
it was this 
far on 
Friday night!
 Just getting it 
on the frame
at 9 a.m., 
my hopes 
still high!

I must say, when things are good, Momma's a happy quilting fool. I have shared with others that having just this domestic machine on a ten foot frame has allowed me to complete so many more quilts than I ever have in my lifetime. I LOVE quilting, and for as long as I can remember, I wanted a long arm. Price has never allowed me to have one, and this is a close second. We purchased it from a friend in my quilting class, who allowed me to make "my" size payments. When I quilted for someone, I would turn my check over to her. It took me 2 years to pay her off, and she discounted it $500 from her original investment. (Poor Jill, she never made anything with it. She was designing a quilting studio that most of us would only dream of, it took 2 1/2 years to build. Once she got the sewing machine and frame all set up and ready to go, she realized her physical health limitations would not let her sew at the frame for any length of time. Since she had purchased it at the beginning of the building process, she was stuck with the machine. She "quilts by check" now!)

I do not want to push a queen sized quilt through a regular throat opening EVER again. BUT, I am totally self taught on this GQ, to the point I had to watch You Tube videos to see how to even load a quilt. Trial and error has been a tough taskmaster, with the school of hard knocks degree well earned. Except, I have no support group or instructor, or even a salesperson to guide me when I'm struggling with a lesson such as tension. That is the wall I've hit this past week. ARGH! I was on a roll, completing the 2 comfort quilts on time, praise the LORD, for the Christmas gifts they were promised to be.

Then I got the wild hair to sew the gift for my friend Ginni P's (not Ginny B., lol) 50th wedding anniversary. (Yep, New Year's Eve was the party, she was married on her birthday!)

Ginni P. in black, 
with friends. 
The room 
we were in 
was an 
old school room, 
how appropriate!

BTW, I gave her a cd with pictures we took that night, and photos of the gift to come, lol. What? I bet you've had to do that before, too!

Donna, my teaching partner 
and friend for  20+ years, 
with her honey, Don
Good friends Paul and Ginny B. and Beth

  Our "like family" friends, Beth and Jerry
                                                       my sweet Larry and I

My friend Dora gave me some advice to join a Yahoo home quilting systems, but I've not had a light bulb moment.

Other than to see that no matter what machine you are quilting on, tension is the #1 frustration. And all the suggestions I've read are either things I've tried, or they do not relate to my little set-up. So, with a week now passed of me walking by and appreciating the sweet quilt,

and kicking the frame, I think I'll go back and try again tomorrow morning. I don't want it to get the best of me, but I just don't know what else to do. *sigh*

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Okay, enough grumbling. Here is the little bit of sewing I've done since last Saturday. Since I had the civil war prints out, Temecula Quilt Company has been putting up a small sampler titled "The 12 Days of Christmas" each day, and I was lured in.

One block a day, finishing up at 3 inches, Hey, what's not to love? Even being back to school, it was do-able.

Each day added one more piece to the block. this little blue X was day 11, and my biggest challenge of all of them. That 1/4 inch seam is a bugger sometimes!

I think this will be my layout eventually. It was easy enough to make 2 blocks of each, so there will be two mini quilts. Larry said it wasn't gonna be big enough 
to be a napkin. He makes me laugh-!

He thinks this is small, well, you need to check out this blog. Really, the pattern for these little houses are 3 inches, oh, my... but it sure is a cute neighborhood! I've downloaded the paper pieced version, and I want to give it a try. Her idea was to make one for each day of the year, with a larger house in the center. 366 houses one for this being a leap year. You can make it as large or as small as you want, it was inspired by a mini quilt she did with (I think?) 12 houses.

Tell me you aren't wanting too, also. Come on, Jeanneke has the sign up until the 15th of January, and she has simple ideas for a fun quilt along that's literally world wide! Who knows, mine may end up just being another "napkin" sized quilt!

If any of you have any suggestions on the sewing machine, let me know.  Oh, and did you notice I've lost my signature? Shucks, I threw it away, and don't remember how to put it back!! 
So, without the pretty flourish, I'll just sign off with ~

Hugs, Pokey
"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits...
For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust."
Psalm 103:2;14


  1. I was wondering if you were able to get the machine going okay. You might want to check out Glide magnetic core is, if you e-mailed them and explained the situation they might send you one to try. Since I'm using vintage domestic sewing machines, I didn't think I wanted to sew with pre-wound bobbins, but they send me one, and I admit I love it. It works as well or better than the bobbins I wind myself. I love to quilt with Fil Tec Glide and usually wind the bobbins with Glide. I was thinking I wasn't sure I wanted to pay someone about 60 cents a piece to wind bobbins, but since the 60 cents include thread, I might try it after all.

  2. Oh goodness, so sorry girl! I hope you figure out soon before you lose your sanity, or break your foot from kicking the frame. =]

    Love that backdrop for the party, how fun. You are and Larry are just so cute!

    I really love the colors and designs on the civil war prints, they are beautiful and prim too.

    Best wishes to you, so wish I could help you!

  3. Email me and tell me about your tension problem. I would suggest, since I had a tension problem one time that I could not solve take your machine off the frame. Lay it on it's back, and remove the bottom of the machine. This should expose the gears and all the workings. I bet it is full of 'fluff'. Mine was. As soon as I removed the fluff, and oiled it, it ran like a champ again. Also, how do you clean your bobbin area? Remove the throat plate and remove 'fluff' from around the feed dogs as well, then as you are quilting, EACH TIME YOU CHANGE THE BOBBIN, take an old clean mascara brush, or makeup brush and pull the 'fluff' out. EACH. AND. EVERY. BOBBIN CHANGE. NEVER NEVER NEVER use canned air and blow lint into your machine. Also, take a few strands of embroidery floss, or 'super floss' dental floss, and 'floss' between the tensions disks. Is your thread path clear?

    Another thing that has worked well for me, and I refuse to go back, is that I now use Magna-Glide bobbins. I love them because the little magnet gives you perfect, even feeding from the bobbin, but the reason I REALLY love them, is that I can quilt an entire quilt, and maybe only have to change the bobbin twice. They are prewound bobbins filled with Fil-Tech thread, which is very thin, but strong polyester thread. I use white for everything, and it works.

    Let me know if I can help you more.

  4. Ps. I get my Magna-Glide prewound bobbins from AllStitch. They have the best prices around.

  5. Aargh - how frustrating for you!
    Things like this keep me up at night.
    Hope you can work it out soon.

  6. Sorry to hear you're having machine issues.... sounds as if you're already got some good ideas to make those issues go away!

    Hope you're back to quilting VERY soon, Pokey!

  7. Michelle's information can even help me.I too have the tension problem..or the last time I tryed my machine I did. I too am limited to the time I can stand at the machine so I haven't tryed it in a while. Thoses 3 inch pieces are so cute and I can see why Larry thinks that.Hugs

  8. Could you get in touch with the maker of the frame if there is a name .could your friend find the instructions to pass on to you . Put an advert in a quilt mag

    I bought a frame this year at a quilt show .Not a gammell, not a smart one but it is about 6ft long. It has 3 rollors . I pin the backing to the top one. Roll it Then pin backing to the 3rd. Rollit backall the way on to the £rd rollor,
    Then lay on the wadding leaving it loose .
    Then lay the quilt top on pinning it to the top rollor with the backing . bring the middle rollor on to the top
    Roll the top onto the middle rollor and pin
    Then tighten the rollors and go quilting

    Clear as mud . If you like I will send you pics by email of each stage. I shall be doing a quilt tommorrow

  9. Ps, If your quilt layers are not tight on the frame that could cause your machine tension to be wrong. There must be no looseness or bouncing on the frame

  10. Ps, If your quilt layers are not tight on the frame that could cause your machine tension to be wrong. There must be no looseness or bouncing on the frame

  11. Sorry to hear your quilting machine is acting up. Hope you can get it back in working order soon. That's got to be so, so frustrating.

    But I love that 9-patch! Also, 3-inch finished on your mini quilt? Hoo-boy, that's tiny. And your blocks look perfect. That's gotta take some pretty meticulous piece work!

  12. Oh Pokey, I so wish I could help you out....but I know absolutely NOTHING about the actual quilting part of quilting! Perhaps Mary Flynn of Quilt Hollow could offer you some advice? She's a wonderful long arm quilter, and she sews on a Pfaff, too (she used to work for them). Maybe she could give you some tips on the tension thing.

    Your little blocks are so sweet, and what Larry said is so funny! So what if it's "napkin-sized"'ll be really cute! :o)

    Good luck with the quilting!



  13. I really admire that you have taught yourself how to use a home quilting system. The frames look intimidating to me. Sure like the mini mystery quilt. I've been watching on the blogs and this looked like a fun project.

  14. I really admire that you have taught yourself how to use a home quilting system. The frames look intimidating to me. Sure like the mini mystery quilt. I've been watching on the blogs and this looked like a fun project.

  15. I have the same machine and an Inspira frame. I have to tell you that I have the same "love/hate" relationship with mine. But the longer I have it and the more I practice, the more I love it. To me it is more about practice than any of the stuff everyone tells you to do. I think the movement of the machine on the frame adds another dimension where things can go wrong and cause that thread to break. It is about training yourself to move it "just right" I say that because when I haven't quilted anything for awhile I have problems at first and once I get back into practice, everything goes fine. I do want to check out those magnaglide bobbins. You can have the quilt sandwich too tight or too loose, that comes with practice too.


Hello! Thank you for taking time to peek in! If you say hi, I do my best to send back the love :-}pokey