Quilting is like breathing…I get cranky when I can't do it!!

Serenity Now!!

Sharon-Lone-StarForgive me, Readers, for today is exactly two months since I’ve last written a blog post.

It’s not that I’ve forgotten about the blog, in fact I’ve had lots of things I’ve wanted to share with you.  It’s just been a matter of time to sit down and actually type out events as they happen.  For. Two. Months.  In between all of the mechanical work I’ve been doing on my long arm quilting machine, and all of the quilt repair that goes hand in hand with a broken quilting machine.

I’ve been battling tension and timing issues all year.  The thread won’t lay properly, it sits on top of the fabric, the thread constantly breaks, and it takes forever to adjust.  Then, in the middle of the project, it needs more adjustments.  Again.  I even replaced the tension assembly with a new “upgraded” version.  Not only has it been aggravating, time consuming and expensive,  it’s happened on the two largest projects I’ve had all year.  It even caused me to have to skin a quilt.20130614_195351

What’s skinning a quilt, you ask?  It’s when you have to remove all of the stitching from a quilt so that it is no longer a quilt, taken back to being only a quilt top.  I had planned on only removing two rows of stitching because the stitches were bad, but in the process, I put a hole in the customer’s backing fabric.  I was horrified!  So instead of removing two rows of stitching, I ended up taking all of the stitches out and replacing the batting and backing fabric.  This is NOT the conversation a quilter wants to have with her customer!

BigQuiltLoadedOn July 20th I loaded the double Irish Chain, aka “The Big Quilt”.   This quilt measures 112” x 112” and takes all of the space I have on my frame; I barely have any room to change the bobbin.

You guessed it.  During that project, tech support determined that the timing belt on my machine needed to be replaced and I had to send the front nose piece back to the factory in Houston, TX to be rebuilt.  Bad that the machine is down, but you’d think it wouldn’t be such a bad 20130804_195101situation, overall, right?

Except.  I couldn’t remove the part.  It turns out that the shaft that the ball bearing sits on was slightly out of spec and I ended up renting a gear puller to get it off.

And later?  I had to use an emery cloth to sand the shaft down so I could reinstall it.  How did we determine that?  My husband had pressed on the  nose piece so hard that the 20130827_212234new bearing popped out of the machined area where it sits in the nose piece.  To reinstall it, I had to remove the entire hook assembly and position finger in order to re-install the bearing back into the nose piece using a 3/4” socket and a mallet, all the while hoping I wouldn’t break the seal on the new bearing.  Of course, timing the machine followed.

20130916_204619Last night I also had to adjust the take up lever position.  This involves removing all of the covers from the machine, loosening the motor mount and adjusting the belts and position of the pulley.  I got out the biggest screwdriver we have to leverage the motor back into place.  I like the big screwdriver, it made the process effortless!  Tonight, I get to put this setting to the test.

So, this is only part of what I’ve been doing this summer.  And now I have a pretty large queue of quilts to complete.  I sure hope I don’t run into any other problems!

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