Wednesday, September 23, 2015

George Learns a New Trick

My APQS George is a real workhorse. As I often say, he's my "other man." And yes, my husband is completely aware of our relationship; in fact, he encourages it! 

George and I have been together since 2008; and believe me, we've had our differences from time to time, and even our share of fights--these usually happen late at night when one or the both of us is tired. We've been through a lot, even a serious "medical" (mechanical) issue a few years back. But Susan, from Over the Top Quilting (the local APQS rep), fixed him up, and he was good a new again! 

And you know how these intensely passionate relationships go: at first it's all flowers and flirting, and then sometimes things sort of fizzle out. That's kind of how it was with the George and me.

Yes, in the beginning, it was love, Love, LOVE. With just a single touch of my fingertips, George would fly into action and together we would wrestle any quilting job we had into sublime submission. Ah... those days. Back when I thought quilts were just for beds and had to be large and cumbersome and that I needed a big man like the George to help me with 'em. 

But no more. Nope. Now I'm an art quilter. Oh, well, sometimes I still make a big quilt that needs a big boy on which to quilt it. But that's less and less often. And so George wasn't getting as much action as he used to (you know how it can be with long-term relationships, right?). And then, a couple years ago I bought Big Betty (my big Bernina). And Big Betty is pretty dang good at quilting my art-quilt-sized (wall) quilts. Betty was happy whether I used giant cones of thread or the smallest spools. I could even use a wound bobbin in the needle, and Betty took it. And I have loads and LOADS of  different colors of spools of thread and thread on bobbins. So more and more, I relied on Big Better.

Meanwhile, I had only used the giant (and costly) cone threads on the George because I was advised that he had these peculiar thread "preferences" and that only the high quality, spooled thread would work (unless I bought the spool attachment, that is, which I eventually did but I was never too happy with it). I believed I had been told about George. I believed that he was too rough to handle the more delicate threads. I thought he was a rough, tough guy whose brute strength required the more expensive threads.

So on the advice of all the experts, I began my collection of bland, but expensive, cones of thread. "Blenders" they call them. Off white, grays, tans, black, pale hues (bleh!). And sometimes I would even spring for a big honkin' cone of some bright or unusual color, use a few hundred yards of that thread on a quilt, then put the remaining 3000 or so yards of it in a drawer. What a flippin' waste of money!

Well, gentle readers, yesterday--in the middle of a big art quilt project in which I was using many small spools of many colors of thread--I had to take Betty the Bernina in to the shop for service. It seems that Betty had choked on a big wad of bobbin threads that were stuck in some unmentionable place deep insider her innards and she was coughing them up all over the back of my beautiful art quilt (which had to be tediously removed, inch by inch). Of course the service center required that Big Betty stay with them at least a few overnights... so my only choice was to stop... or was it?

So back in the studio, in a moment of desperation, I did the unthinkable: I used a spool of thread on George. And I put that spool of thread where the cone of thread usually goes. Yup, I did! And, I might add, it was a spool of inexpensive, easily attainable (at JoAnn's, y'all) Coat's Brand thread. Just a plain old doggone spool of thread! Then, even crazier, I skipped the pre-wound bobbins and loaded my own (to match the top thread, of course). And you know what?


Here's George now, lookin' all handsome and tough... and yet, in a way, so delicate and tender. Tender enough to use a spool of cheap thread.

Thanks for reading my blog, y'all. Hopefully, and with George's help, I'll be able post something about the finished art quilt soon.

Peace, love, and quilts everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Funny... No way I could do my quilting with just one, or even two machines....! BTW, I get various needle sizes for my big sweet 16 from Superior Threads, and find the machine works all sorts of threads fine with smaller (size 90) needles, and have done really weird thread in my spare bobbin (one never get's messed with)...As you've discovered, you just have to have the right "delivery" system for the threads. I have even used Sharon Schamber's method of "dipping" frail cottons in mineral oil to lubricate them for shred free running through the machine. They are much more versatile than the folks that sell them like to let on...!