My local sewing machine dealer lacks customer service

I’m so sick of the (lack of) customer service I get at my local sewing machine dealer.  I simply must vent!

It never fails that I leave feeling like the interaction was painful, but this time was excruciating.  I called to inquire about a certain part.  As I tried to explain, I was interrupted multiple times.  I was peppered with questions with an undertone of “why on earth are you asking ME?”  When I thought we were finally on the same page about the next steps, the person on the other end of the phone said, “But I’ll have to FIND OUT if we can even order that piece.”  As if that would require EFFORT and God-Forbid we make her exert effort!!!

The thing is, I’ve worked retail. I know how hard it is, so I’m extremely nice to people in that position.  When I’m interrupted, when I’m peppered with questions with an attitude, and when I’m obviously putting you out asking you to take my money…well, I honestly consider taking my money elsewhere.

So I pulled up the googles and looked to find the other dealers in town…and there are…none.  The closest one is A LONG WAY away.  Think 2-3 hour drive.  :(

Which got me thinking, why are there so few of this specific maker’s dealers around? What would it take to open a dealership?  Maybe I could parlay my “hobby” of fixing up old sewing machines into a career as a dealer?  Just a thought.  A very nice one!

 

UPDATE – She never called me back to tell me if they could order the part. In the meantime I’ve decided to start repairing sewing machines in addition to the long arm quilting, basting and binding services I offer.  Maybe someday that will translate into a brick and mortar store where I can offer my favorite line of sewing machines.  Until then, I’ll just keep dreaming!

 

 

Finished the first row on Well Blankie

I should probably consolidate all of these into one post…maybe I’ll do that when I’m finished.

Here’s the whole row completed:

First Row Completed

And here’s a pic of the concentric (ish) circles from the back:

Back

Took three bobbins and about eight or so hours of quilting to do one row.  I’m getting faster (and steadier) with the rulers, so maybe I’ll get a bit better time with the next row.

 

Getting ready to quilt Well Blankie

Though I didn’t have much time to work on it today, much progress was made on the Well Blankie project.  I ironed the top and backing, and got the entire thing loaded.  I decided to try floating the top, which I’ve seen my friend, Robin, do before, but have not tried myself.  We’ll see how it goes! Here’s some pix of the  progress made:

Backing on the frame
Backing on the frame
Batting on the frame
Batting on the frame
Here's the thread I picked, up against the backing (wrong side)
Here’s the thread I picked, up against the backing (wrong side)

 

And here she is, ready for quilting!
And here she is, ready for quilting!

I still have to baste the sides, and load all my bobbins. Not sure how many to do for this one.  16? 20?

Charity Tshirt Quilt is finished

Wow this one was a labor of love.  A couple weeks after I picked up the tshirts from the winner of the auction, baby T, my foster daughter arrived.  She was supposed to spend a couple of days, but ended up with us until recently. She arrived at 18 months old, and celebrated her 2nd bday with us.  What a handful!  Also I picked up a second job (long story) and started working about 70 hours a week between the two.  What a mess.  So this poor quilt got back burned more often than I would have liked.  But wow do I love how it turned out.  I’m glad I didn’t choose to just outline the tshirt blocks and move on.  There’s stippling in the blocks, and in the sashing is wonderful cinnamon roll swirls.

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“Well Blankie” is back and ready for borders

I sent the Well Blankie blocks off to my cousin to sew into a top. He asked me to make the top a bit larger, as this will be going on a twin sized bed.  So – I just need to add a couple of borders and then we’ll be ready to prep the backing and get this baby on the Handi Quilter!

Here’s a shot before the borders:

IMG_4231

ETA: Borders are on!

13567349_10154222241699854_4756332818102832517_nSize is now 69″x82″.

Boy is this true! Quilty Confidence

Gosh I’m having a down day.  I probably shouldn’t blog when I’m down, but maybe it will help others to know that we all have those days.  I’m seeing all the great “Best of Show” quilts coming through twitter and instagram from Quiltcon, and wow…I’m feeling mighty insecure.  Mighty is actually quite the understatement.

Where do I start?   “The backtracking is too obvious in my quilting.  That line is wobbly and those two lines are too close together.  I should have made this concentric swirl bigger and that one smaller.  My thread broke and now I have a start and stop in the middle of the quilt.  REAL QUILTERS would NEVER have those problems!!!!”

Does that voice live in your head too?  Mine goes on:

“No one liked my Facebook page today. There are no new views on my blog.  No followers on Instagram, still???  My twitch livestream only has 4 views.  Twitter? Oh don’t get me started!!!”

Yeah, it’s really bad today.  “I wonder why someone is paying me to quilt their top.  I should give them their top back and apologize for wasting their time.  I’ll just ruin their quilt.  I’m too new to charge anyone for doing this.  I just plain suck.”

Then I walked over to my piano, took this frame down, and took a picture of it:

Remember This!
Remember This!

“Comparison is the Thief of Joy” Teddy Roosevelt.

My best friend Sheri gave me this for my Birthday, or Christmas (I opened presents on reverse days – perils of being a December Baby).  Anyway.  Boy did I – Do I – need this today! My confidence in myself dipped way low…simply because I was comparing myself to the BEST QUILTERS IN THE WORLD.

So, of course I felt inferior.

I’m more of a worker bee at this stage of the game.  Which is fine, it’s just where I’m at.  Maybe some day I’ll be in a quilt show, or maybe not.  I don’t know.  For now I’ll continue to do what I do well, and try to just have fun doing it.

And that is pretty freaking awesome.

 

Exploring Videos on quilting

So I’ve been talking to my hubby and my son, and both are very much encouraging me to take my blogging to the vlogging level.  To that end, I’ve developed a YouTube Channel.  And a Twitch Stream.  So what’s Twitch you say?  (Yeah, everyone knows what YouTube is.)

Twitch.tv is a website for game streaming.  But they also have a cool “Creative” channel, which is just starting to take off.

There are a couple people streaming some sewing, some crocheting, and NO ONE doing quilting.  Well, Until NOW!!!  That’s right, Yours Truly is the FIRST quilt topic in the Creative channel.  (ETA, found someone doing lots of quilting videos, not sure why he didn’t show up in all my searches prior to making my video.  But cool!!!) Interesting, huh?  Will it take off? It’s hard to say.  If you build it, they will come; I hope!

Link to my first Twitch Video

Link to my first YouTube Video

Yeah they are the same topic. I don’t get out much.

Teamwork! Double square star quilt!

IMG_2815I’m so proud of this quilt, yet I can only claim like 1/8 credit for any part of it.  My boss’s wife was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, so my friend Robin and I conspired to send her a “care package.”  It contained, among other things, ginger and peppermint (not together! ick!) lozenges and teas for nausea, washcloths for having a cold compress, comfy PJs, comfy slippers, chapsticks of several varieties, lotion, etc, etc.  And of course a quilt because Robin is an awesome quilter and because I want to be!

Well, after broaching the idea with Robin, I get a text message that said “Do you trust me?” and then instructions for where to go spend money.  Trusting Robin is EASY because she is simple the nicest, sweetest, most generous person you could imagine.  I simply did as told and several days later a package arrived on my front step.

We then planned a Saturday to piece the quilt top, and Robin ambitiously thought we could finish the top in one day!  In reality it took Sat, most of Sunday, and several evenings during the week. IMG_2814 But by Thursday, if I recall correctly, we met back up in a conference room in my wonderful company and arranged the blocks.

IMG_2816 Quickly we came to realize that the conference room tables were great for plotting world domination, but were not up to the task of quilt block arranging.  So we moved to the floor.

12507650_10153794484164854_4827931145234582403_nWe discussed how to arrange the fabrics, and I immediately jumped at the chance to do a light-to-dark arrangement.  I’ve always loved these quilts, and this set of batiks was just perfect for the chance to make one of our own.  Robin went along with my crazy plan and after lots of squatting and kneeling, we had the layout.

Robin’s fantastic daughter, Rachel, numbered all the post-it notes (as well as wrangled my foster daughter while I pieced with Robin!), allowing us to quickly identify the placement so that Robin could take the quilt home and finish piecing the top.

IMG_2818So then Robin graciously agreed to quilt the top for us, which rocked because she is not only the best quilter I know, she’s also set land-speed records at quilt completion.  Did I mention she’s an AWARD winning quilter? Oh yes, there’s that.  So, ARod was my pinch-hitter, what are you going to do?

12644637_10153801520779854_2068069085341045901_nShe added an awesome border and then quilted it in the most beautiful manner possible:

12644665_10153818473889854_7677283024111887766_nI should have taken a picture of the basket when we were finished it, but it was so awesome.  I’ve heard that the whole thing was well received, though I seriously look forward to hearing how the quilt looks once it’s washed (I love a washed quilt SO MUCH!).

Anyway this is hands down the fastest quilt I’ve ever completed, owing entirely to the fact that I didn’t actually complete it.  But this is also the first Joint project I’ve ever worked on, and it was finished in about 2 weeks? Start to finish?

I couldn’t have done it without Robin.

She chose the pattern, the Double Square Star. She chose the fabric.  She made this happen, and I learned so much.  She was kind enough to offer advice on the mistakes I made in a gentle and encouraging manner, and then she had the audacity to not even take credit for how awesome the whole project turned out!  Am I not the luckiest quilter on the planet?

Thank you, Robin and Rachel, from the bottom of my heart!

Donna

Poe Quilt is Finished!

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So this was a way to kill two birds with one stone (Two Ravens with one stone???).  First I needed to get some practice time on the Handi Quilter, and second, hubby asked me to make him a quilt using the luscious Nevermore fabric Collection by Micheal Miller over at Fabric.com.  Being a huge Edgar Allen Poe fan, this fabric spoke to him on several levels.

 

My first plan was to have this finished by Halloween, but that came and went.  In my defense most of 2015 was spent either sick, or renovating the house I used to rent to my daughter.    10250222_10153745924029854_3110284480386042892_n

I was lusting after some quilts by famous quilters when I chose the quilting patterns for this quilt.  The border is overly complicated and completely lost on the busy background.  I was warned that this fabric wouldn’t be good for quilting, but did I listen? Nope!  In the middle I chose to do a “quill” pantograph, which I just kind of made up, drew on a piece of construction paper, and then referred to periodically as I went.  In the corner blocks I decided to do cute little pumpkins, which you can barely see:943894_10153745754649854_4551106175920388950_n

On the sides, I gave up the extensive geometric quilting design and instead went with a simple horizontal beadboard.  I LOVE the feel of this quilting.10157397_10153748081564854_4098495127345836291_n

Here the quilting is done and binding is being pinned.  By this time, the hatred I have for this quilt had grown exponentially. I just wanted it finished.  10409049_10153799358529854_6127450450437758521_n

 

12642759_10153803885844854_2049033348133128045_nThere are so many issues with it, but at least the binding turned out sweet. I love a good mitered corner!12592221_10153803887119854_9044414767139509214_n

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Above is hubby holding the quilt (sideways) before throwing it in the wash.  Here are the problems with this quilt:

  1. The fabric design is too busy for anything other than a simple pantograph or stippling.
  2. The backing and the top were identical dimensions, which leads to the “phone book effect” when the quilt is rolled up on the take up pole.  I compensated for this by trimming the top several inches off the bottom edge, making the top border and bottom border uneven.  Really this should count as two problems! The backing should be 3 inches larger in all directions.
  3. The tension was off the WHOLE TIME I was quilting and I didn’t realize it because I wasn’t checking.  The eyelashes on the back are TERRIBLE.  I’m ashamed to look at the back.  Frequently check your bobbin thread to confirm stitches look the same on the top and bottom.  Use scraps on the sides to test stitches after changing bobbins.
  4. There are wrinkles in the backing. Apparently I didn’t load it well, or something.  Take care in loading, always check for wrinkles, and learn from my mistakes!
  5. Don’t jump into complex quilting designs just because the experts on youtube make it look so darn easy.  They practice for hours, sometimes daily (apparently they don’t work full-time outside of the house!).
  6. Practice! Practice! Practice!  Especially loading and unloading.  Because it was MONTHS since I’d done the Pinwheel quilt, I’d forgotten the process.  I reviewed the HandiQuilter channel on Youtube for the basics for the next quilt. I wish I had done it with this one.

SO, in retrospect, this was meant to be a learning quilt and to that end, it was a rousing success.  I learned A LOT. Mostly “what NOT to do,” but hey, that’s the story of my life (and title of my soon-to-be-written autobiography).  Hopefully you learn from me airing my dirty laundry here!

On to the next disaster…err I mean Project!!!

Donna