Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What An Adventure!

I first started this Blog to document my "quilting adventure"---boy has it been one the last couple of weeks. As you have read, I purchased my first Longarm!!!! Excited isn't the word for how I felt. From the very beginning I had problems with "Harriet"---first I couldn't get the tension right AND I was breaking needles in the process. I thought the tension and needle problems was going hand in hand and that the tension was causing the problem with the needles. Anyway, I finally got the tension right (I might add the written support materials for the Premier are severely lacking, but that is another post), but the needle problem continued. I was communicating with the Dealer all along and getting telephone consultation. Finally after 30 needles were broken, the Dealer's husband came to look at the machine (he is the repair person and operations expert). Anyway, he says that a piece is broken and it looks like it was shipped from the factory that way. He takes my machine and after three weeks it comes back---Okay, the tension is okay (the company put on another threading system), no broken needles and I am a happy camper----then, I am loading a quilt yesterday and the laser light is hanging out---WHAT!!!! I look and it appears to be glued in although there are threads on a the part which to me means it should have been screwed in---but the threads are stripped. Coincidentally, Gammill had called me to ask me how I liked the machine so I called them back and tell them my story. I think I should have a new machine and tell them so. In addition to the broken part from the factory, the laser light, there is also a screw missing from the back of the machine and the front handle is scarred up. I am asked to send digital pictures, which I do. Anyway after talking back and forth all day, I find out that all of the laser lights are in fact glued in! I am also assured that this has never happened before (all the more I think why I should have a new machine since this is the second time something has happened that has NEVER happened again). At any rate, the company doesn't agree with me and say they will fix the part but will not replace the machine. I say give me my money back and take the machine. I am referred back to the dealer and this is where it gets dicey! He flips out when my husband asked for some type of receipt that says he has taken my machine and will refund the money in a check to come within the next week. He eventually hangs up in my husband's face after he has said "take it up with Gammill".

SOOOOOOOO, I call Gammill and after talking with a very nice lady, agree to keep the machine, glue in the part myself, and she is sending me a screw. But I insist on another dealer and she agrees. Why do you ask do I go through all this just to keep the machine? I really like the Gammill----and the lady was really nice to me---when she said she is a quilter, I was hooked. The moral of this story is a person who is nice, is honest in their responses ("Gammill will not replace a machine if something is wrong that can be repaired, however if you continue to have problems, replacement will seriously be considered"), listens and doesn't place blame AND understands your position--is everything!!!!!! If anyone is reading this and is in customer service please take note. On my part, I was honest, clear and tried to not be unreasonable. The new dealer has already called me and introduced herself (another GREAT customer service activity) and helped me with a problem already. If I ever buy another machine (and I think I will definitely upgrade), I am going to really interview dealers as I try out machines. This dealer, had he (and his wife who NEVER talked to me) been nicer, and listened, even empathizing a bit, I wouldn't have felt so abandoned. That is really why I said take the machine back in the first place.

So the adventure continues!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


So sorry, but I have clearly been lax in my "blogging", since my last post was October 3. I've been gone for a variety of reasons, the main one because I have been very busy!!! Nothing fun, however, just work!
An update about Harriett (my longarm). In my last post I mentioned my problem with getting a good tension. Well I finally got that----I splurged and purchase a tension gauge and through trial and error, got a pretty good tension (on the front AND back). But as I was trying to get this worked out, I was breaking needles. I thought it was because I was adjusting the tension all the time. Anyway, even after I got the tension okay, I still kept breaking needles!!!!! I called the Dealer and she (and her husband) gave me suggestions, and still I broke needles. All in all, I think I broke about 30!!! I was at my wits end and was really seriously rethinking my decision to make such a major purchase. The Dealer's husband (who also services machines), came to the house and checked out the machine and low and behold, something was broken, the "something", he said, he has never seen broken before. Once he got home, he called me and said that he had spoken with the company and the machine came from the factory with the part broken--they had several other complaints about the same problem. Of course I don't get a new machine since it can be repaired, but I am so happy to know what is wrong. Hopefully when it comes back, not only will the tension be okay, but without broken needles, I should be able to quilt some of these quilt up!
Although I couldn't quilt, I did make nine baby blankets (using the nine patch baby blanket that yields three quilts out of 3 yards of fabric) for 3 girls who are pregnant at work. I will quilt them when I get the machine back.
I also have finished my "Picture This" Vest that I started in a Rachel Clark Class I took a couple of weeks ago. I am really very proud of it, and realize that because I wasn't able to quilt, I was able to get back to "plain old" sewing. I really enjoyed this use of my "creative energy". All I need to do is to hem it and put on buttons. I've included a picture in this posting. The back is a Mola that I have had for at least 10 years. I put some hand quilting on the front, and used "Nigerian Applilque" on the other side". You can't tell from the photo, but I also handquilted around some of the images on the b/w batik and added buttons on the peplum. It isn't quite as "creative" as Rachel's vests are, but for my first one, I think it was a pretty good start. I plan to make another one soon, maybe using a Christmas theme to wear to my holiday party at work, and then I am going to make a coat!!!!!! What fun!!!!!
This is all for now---and I will try to be more diligent in my postings.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I am not having fun with this machine at all!!!!! Thank goodness I bought 100 needles because I have broken everyone that came with the machine. I still don't know why! The tension on the front is great, but the back is another story. I get straight lines and so I follow the directions (which are very limited for the Premier) and still get a straight line. I bought a Towa gauge ($69) setter, and still get straight lines (poor directions again). Then I dropped the bobbin case and now the bobbin doesn't go around like before smoothly, so again following poorly written instructions, I think I fixed the problem. Just to be on the safe side I ordered another bobbin case ($39). I wondering if this was a good idea, but I am going to stick with it and I WILL learn how to do this!!!!!!!! The problem is the majority of the instructions are for the big machines. This little ones have absolutely no detailed instructions that I can find--which seems a bit unfair but I don't rule the world so I'll go with it.

Well, gotta go to work! Have a great day with perfect stitches on the back of your quilts!!



Friday, September 28, 2007

Working Hard!

I 've had to work "at my other job" for the last two days so I am a bit behind in my "blogging". I was successful in loading my quilt, but I must say, my quilting "leaves a lot to be desired". I am having a really hard time with getting a consistent good tension, on the front AND back. The front is beautiful, but the back is a combination of "okay" to straight line. I really think it is the operator though. When the Pat, my machine dealer, was showing me how to thread the machine, I wasn't listening as well as I should have. The pictures don't give me quite enough information, so I am going to email tonight for clarification. I also purchased the Towa Tension Gauge "thingy" so I think that will help me a lot as well.

Well, gotta go get ready for work tomorrow!



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Oh Boy!

I woke up this morning with a dull headache---at times I have trouble sleeping and last night was one of those nights. I was really excited to see how Harriet works. I drank my cup of Java and took my blood pressure pills (I wanted to make sure I didn't keel over before I even got a chance to try my hand at circles); cracked my knuckles (people say it loosens your hands up) and practiced slow deep breathing (I have a tendency to hold my breath when I concentrate and holding ones breath increases your blood pressure---I am a nurse after all). When I was sufficiently relaxed I went down to try my hand at quilting via a pantograph. My husband was standing there watching in amazement (I thought--it may have been doubt--but I digress) when I BROKE A NEEDLE (with a horrific sound). Oh My Goodness---I know I didn't breathe for at least 5 minutes (I was starting to get dizzy) but when I looked at my husbands face it said "OMG, she just got this thing and already she has broken it---I haven't even paid for it yet". Not to fear however, I KNOW HOW TO CHANGE A NEEDLE and I chose to ignore that sound. When he wasn't looking I looked to see if there was any small pieces of metal laying around on the floor and when I changed the needle, it did still sew with the same nice sound--so I was okay from that point---but I gotta tell you, my pantograph quilting did not look like Judy's, Bonnie's or Mary's. In fact, I haven't seen anyone's that looked like mine.

I tried and tried to the point where I was now sweating (and I don't sweat), my headache had gotten worst, and I was nauseated. I decided to shut down and go upstairs to research on the internet (what I always do when I have run out of options). I went to You Tube and searched "how to line up a pantograph" and Low and behold, there is a video by "Penney" that was perfect. She told me exactly what to do. I tripped down the stairs and following her directions----lined up my pantograph (tada). It still doesn't look like Judy's, Bonnie's or Mary's, but you can see the pattern and it is lined up perfectly.

I have put together a charity quilt kit that I got at Guild Meeting and tomorrow I will quilt my first real quilt!!!!!!!! Pictures will follow (one way or the other).

Hugs and wish me luck!


Monday, September 24, 2007

"Harriet" is in the House

Today "she" came!!! I was too excited and actually stood at the door looking up the street--how "uncool" is that. Anyway, the Dealer and her husband arrived and the machine was together in no time. Then my first lessons began. I did pretty good, I know how to thread the machine; wind a bobbin (both on the machine and using the stand alone winder); tie off threads and of course load a quilt. I started using a pantograph (a little harder than I thought). After she left I breathe a sigh and then just looked at the machine. I am now a bit nervous. I am going to read the book and then get up early in the morning and quilt away.

I am posting some pictures of the machine and the "stuff" I have to move back into my room. All is well with the world.



Sunday, September 23, 2007


I am taking you "experienced" bloggers advice and posting some pictures. They are of my "clean" sewing room. It's funny, when I decided to take over my dining room and move from a very small bedroom, it seemed like I had loads of space. Then I immediately outgrew that space and was wandering through the house looking from more. After all, your house is suppose to meet your needs--right. I am not a "traditional" sort---so was wondering, do I really need a living room? my husband had taken over my old sewing area for his "hobby"-TV room. Does he really need that?!?

Needless to say, I was forced to try to organize more--then I purchased Harriet with a 12 foot table no less. I am posting pictures of my clean sewing room, BUT the living room has bins I have got to get in after delivery and set up. Hopefully I can put them below the table. There was a lot of discussion on one web group about the state of our sewing rooms, so thought I would post my "neat" pictures first.-----plus I am testing out and seeing if I can do this.

Hope it works!

Hugs and have a good night!