Friday, October 21, 2011

Busy in the sewing room

I have been busy in my sewing room, as you can see below...the room is a mess!

My cutting table is loaded with stuff....fabric and rotary cutters, fabric paints and even a glue gun! I've had a strange variety of projects lately.

You may have noticed that my sewing room has been rearranged again.

I was going nuts.
Remember?  I bought a longarm quilting machine that was delivered in late July.  While I love this machine, I was NOT in love with the way it looked in my sewing room.

The end of the machine was my view each time I entered the room....all the knobs and pipes and straps, oh my!  I was trying really hard to get used to this (and LIKE it!) but it was not fitting well with my sense of order and aesthetics.  But I was trying to get past these feelings, telling myself that it was just something new...I'd get used to it.

However, the lighting was very poor in this area of my room, so DH and I bought and installed some narrow black fluorescent lights over the quilting machine.

Well, I think that was the straw that broke the camel's back!

I HATED the look of the room once the lighting went in!  See for view:

I was filled with dread and anxiety every time I looked in there!  And it wasn't about the money.  Yes, this was an expensive machine, but I did want it.  But I also wanted (and needed) my sewing room to be conducive to creativity!

This was not doing it for me.

So I measured my stuff and DD created a few alternate arrangements for me to consider and try.  Yes, it was a lot of work,, but the new arrangement is SO much more pleasing to me now!  I don't have quite as much usable floor space in the new arrangement, which meant the striped chair had to go (boo hoo) but other than that, the new arrangement is far superior!

I ditched those black fluorescent lights.  I HATED those!  in the beginning, DH was not willing to rewire a fixture that was intended to be hardwired to the ceiling, which limited my choices to those I could plug in with a cord.  Well, those dangling cords from these lights and the extension cords that went with them are gone.  (yes, I had planned to tack them to the wall, to control the 'dangle factor', but there was still excess cord length bundled on TOP of each light...ugly!)

In this new arrangement, you can barely see a fluorescent fixture that hugs the ceiling over the quilting machine, because the ceiling fan is in front of it....PLUS, it is white, so it blends in with the ceiling.  Yes, you can see the one that hangs over my sewing machine, but that one doesn't bother wasn't right in front of my face each time I looked in the door!

There are cords from both these lights that travel down the wall but I put them in channels that I painted the wall color, so they don't bother me at all.

Finally, with the room arrangement determined and the lighting improved, I was once again able to work on the quilt that I had long-ago loaded on the quilting machine!

This is the first quilt I have tried to do since purchasing this machine.  I did a couple of throw-away practice pieces then went straight to a real quilt.

Almost immediately, I realized I had jumped the gun.  I had NOT worked out the tension issues as I thought I had.  When I advanced the quilt to a new area, I could see that the part I had already done was NOT good...there were loops on the back where the top thread was coming through.

I had had trouble with the tension balance right from the start.  To make a long story short, the problem ended up being the height of the needle bar: it was set too low.  Here, you can see a picture of the needle at its lowest position...notice the relationship of the eye of the needle to the hook arm above it.  You can see part of the needle above its eye.

Now, after resetting the needle bar height to raise it, you can see that there is almost no needle showing above the eye...this is how it should be.  Sorry the exposure is so different...hopefully you can still see.

Once I got the machine to sew as desired, I was ready to go.  I ripped out the bad quilting...that took about a day and a half.  By this time, the new quilting threads I had ordered had arrived, so I was all ready to go!

The actual quilting went pretty fast and was fun!  I was making it up as I went along.

Here are a couple of sneak peaks:

Although I am finished with the quilting, this piece isn't 'done' yet. I might paint on it...and I might add beads! We'll see...
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