Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Longarms. Lovely fabulous machines that quilt our quilts so beautifully.
Longarms. Mechanical, heavy monsters that require maintenance and sheer strength from time to time.
Ms. CCCatlover has a wonderful A-1 longarm. Last year we needed to replace the rails. Not as easy as you'd think as you have to lift the entire machine head off of the rails in order to accomplish this. But, we did it. We also were having a problem with the machine being level so Ms. CCC pushed shims while I lifted one area then another. It's like being a mechanic on a car.....with not much of a manual! (Oh she has a fabulous dealer that once walked us through a timing/computer issue for about 1 1/2 hours but mostly these things happen on the weekend or at odd hours and we are on our own!)
Thank goodness Ms. CCC kept the blocks of wood we used to rest the machine on because this year we were at it again! I was prepping to quilt Aviva's wedding canopy. This is going to be the most involved custom quilting I've ever done. Everytime I hit one spot the machine bucked and kicked and knocked me off my quilting line. The machine had been doing this for a long time. At first we thought it was the tracks. Once they were replaced the problem got better but it wasn't perfect. Plus if you let go of the machine when it was at the far right, it would roll backwards. (remember a longarm machine moves side to side and front to back). If you forgot and let go, it would roll and bounce just enough to give you heart failure thinking the thnig was flying off it's housing!!! (also remember I'm a guest quilter. It's not my machine and everytime I forgot and the machine rolled back and went C-LUNK, I'd nearly plotz!)
After a bit of measuring, repositioning a level and head scratching, (notice I said head scratching as we are women and actually scratch our thinking parts) we realized that the machine itself was off level. Fixing it required #1 removing the machine head from the rails,
#2 me crouching down and crawling between the two rails to reach the wheels, (so this picture is posed as when we really worked on it there were no extra hands for cameras!!) #3 both Ms. CCCat and I using muscle to turn, hold and reposition everything, in tandem. At one point we didn't have the right sized piece of equipment. DH said he would bring us one but just the idea of a man entering our inner sanctum was enough to urge us on to fix it ourselves!
In the end, we did it! No directions or instructions. No helpers other than ourselves. That puppy "drives" better than it has in a long time! Just in time for the chuppa-a-thon!!