Friday, September 26, 2014

Figuring Stuff Out

Tension adjustment on sewing machines can be a real challenge. On a big long arm machine, one that is designed to sew layers together and make a quilt, the tension adjustment is critical. A few weeks ago, I volunteered to do some long arm quilting for my sister's company, Thangles. The fall is always a push-come-shove time for a quilting company because the biggest market of the year, the International Quilt Market in Houston, comes at the end of October.

So this past week found me in my studio with my long arm and I was figuring stuff out. I had already finished a quilt for my grandson in August, so the machine and I had been buddies. Machines can take on a life of their own. My long arm machine, a Gammill, gets these streaks where the best thing you can do is to walk away and start again the next day.

Usually my machine acts up around tension issues. But not this week. I rigged a different tension threading pattern and it worked splendidly. I could turn up the music on my CD player and quilt away.

Sister Mary's quilt, the first of two that I am quilting for her, was in the mail by Wednesday and now I have the weekend to think about the patterns that I will quilt into the second quilt top. She wants feathers, sort of smaller ones, and I will have to work out the loops and curves in one of my art journals.

I don't envy her the process of getting ready for Market. I used to do that, too, and I really don't miss those long days of preparation and travel. What I am getting to do is the fun part -- the quilting -- and, this week, it was good to pull out all of my old skills and figure stuff out again.

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