I am a quilter which happened strictly by chance when my husbands second overseas assignment in Okpo, Korea put me there at the same time as an avid quilter. Unbeknownst to me, her mission, I think, was to turn everyone she met into a quilter. As I was not busy with school aged children, I feel into her web and she invited me to learn to quilt and I did. I still have that first quilt which still functions as a nice warm bed cover but also is pretty rugged and raw in quality. But that was the start and now, around 50 or more quilts later, I am a quilter.
I quilt by what I call the “Law of Three” In every three quilts I do, one is absolutely great and I’m proud to show it to anyone. One is OK, humdrum but acceptable, quite nice but only from a distance kind of quilt. And quilt number three is just crap. Usually because I get really tired of messing with quilt number three and just finish it up as fast as possible so usually the quilting isn’t as nice on it and the binding is really ugly or bad but it still works in the dead of winter to keep us warm and looks good from a further distance. I don’t intentionally work this way, it just comes out this way, no matter what I do, it seems. So now I accept it and go with it. and embrace all my quilts and love them, even the ugly and crap ones. We have so many that I joke we’ll always be warm, even in a nuclear winter, but we may but crushed under the weight of all my quilts!
Anyway, I have two machines. One is my first quilting machine, a very nice Elna. I took it to the states with me a couple of years ago to leave with my daughter as I figured I would be going to visit her once a year or more often and during that time, I would be wanting to do some quilting as I would stock up on supplies and fabric and patterns when there. My machine was with her less than 6 months when she got a new assignment and closed up shop, put all her things into storage, including my Elna, and started rotational assignments out of Africa. The good news is she gets to come and visit me more often. The bad news is my backup sewing machine is in storage with no idea when I will see it again.
I bought my Janome at a quilt show probably 8-10 years ago. I love it as it does everything but tap dance for me. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t use it to it’s full capacity but it has made many a delicious lovely quilt for me (even with the Law of Three). Sometimes I get really busy doing other things here in England and it sits for awhile and then I go back to it and bang out several quilts in a row and everyone is happy.
This last time, I let it sit a bit too long and made a really beginner error that has cost me the life of my machine! I killed it! I went back to get a quilt done for a present, a little small thing with applique but needed zigzagging around the applique figures. I forgot to change my plate on the machine – that part where the needle goes into the machine to pick up the bottom thread. I had the straight stitch plate on the machine and needed to change to the plate where the needle could find it’s way into the machine by being in other positions rather than dead center. After breaking three needles, I figured it out. Of course, each time I broke a needle, the machine would “stopped for safety reasons”. I would change the needle, curse a bit or a lot, and try again.
Finally, after the third needle breaking and a lot more cursing, I figured out what was wrong and started changing out the plate and cursing at myself that I had made such a stupid mistake. I turned off the machine while I was doing this. When I turned on the machine, a new error was showing in the message panel and I had to look up this error because I had never seen it. Basically it said “I’ve died now, you idiot, because of your stupidity, and now you must take me to a service center to fix me!!!!”
Oh My! Who knew my machine was so expressive. Found a lovely Janome service center about an hour away from my house and my husband and I hauled in my machine along with the transformer because it is a U.S. machine with a U.S. plug. I have had that machine with me in Korea and used it on a transformer for over three years without a problem and have had it here in England for over two years with the transformer without a problem.
Unfortunately, the service center first suspected I was just a total idiot and had plugged my machine into British current and a surge had killed it. when I explained that wasn’t the case, the owner delved a bit further and came back with “there have been 4 upgrades to this machine since you bought it and it is no longer supported by Janome so there are no parts available”. OH, as good as the kiss of death! Booooo Hooooo Hooooo. There is nothing left for me to do except go pick it up and store it away until we go back to the states and try to find parts there. poor machine. But my quilting days are not done. I will find some sort of replacement to continue to quilt here in England. I’m sure we need more quilts and it is my duty as the quilt maker to have warm quilts available for all members of my family, be they two footed or four footed!