Friday, October 8, 2010

Long arm, Mid arm, Shaky arms!!!

I know, I read it a hundred times,"learning to quilt on a frame with a mid or long arm takes practice, practice practice."
But, surely, that didn't mean me? I've been sewing for over 40 years and quilting for almost 10. Surely, I could just plug it in and go?
Well, in a word, No.
I couldn't believe how shaky I was for the first few rows. And I had all the problems a beginner has, broken thread, broken needles, tension off, etc. Don't count the dog chewing on my feet.
I got the thread sorted out - what I was using was just too soft - it looked great, but it shredded with the higher speed machine.
I changed the bobbin thread because I wasn't using the same as on the top, and miraculously things got better, until I rolled the pickup roller far enough to see the back stitching - tension problem. I had eyelashes everywhere.
So, after a bit of practice on the edges to get the tension right, I thought, OK, let's get going. Still my hands were too shaky.
So, I modified my beautiful new $3000 machine.
I took the hood off the head of the machine, and on the two screws that held the hinge, I mounted two small "L" brackets. To them I mounted a 4" steel plate that was predrilled with holes, and to THAT I mounted a 8" piece of 1" wooden dowel on yet another "L" bracket.
Touchdown! Being able to hold the machine comfortably worked wonders. Having the "hood" off had extra benefits - I could actually see the needle to rethread it, and I could see where I was going. A novel idea - duh!
And, I slowed down the speed of the machine to med-fast.
With a stretch of my neck, and a crack of my back, with a little shoulder roll to reduce the knots I had worked up by hunching over, things started rolling along. My swirls were starting to look like - well - swirls!
But I'm humbled. Yes, I do need to practice, practice, practice.
So much for superpowers!

1 comment:

A.J. Dub. said...

Sounds like fun! :) It also sounds like you are very "handy" and inventive. Good for you!