Who would have thought that the One Block Wonder Woman household would have had such a visit? Well, as it turns out, my Quilter’s Support Staff (husband) and I had made the appointment. I will keep you in suspense for a few moments. First a photo of my “Dining Room” before the visit with a shot of my much used and appreciated Tin Lizzie longarm machine.
Hmmm…how can it be a dining room without a table and chairs? The bins under the frame hold my assortment of batting just in case you are curious, but not the dining room furniture.
As it turns out, a few weeks ago, The QSS and I made a quilting emergency overnight trip of 250 miles south to Pasadena, California to attend the QuiltCon quilt show. QuiltCon is geared toward the modern style of quilting, which is a style that just doesn’t float my boat. But we weren’t there to look at quilts, or fabric, or believe it or not, no tools for the gadget queen. No, we were there to test drive every longarm machine represented at the show. The QSS went along to be my adviser on mechanical issues and other guy things that he is much better at than I am. Indeed, we did try out every machine in the place and talked to the machine representatives about features, pros and cons, and got quotes for what I was looking for. I had prepared a Must Have list and a Nice to Have List. I had done my homework and I have used my Tin Lizzie, Rosie is her name, for 3 1/2 years, and knew her advantages and drawbacks like the back of my seam ripper. Rosie has been a great beginning longarmer’s machine and a blessing to me, but it was definitely time for an upgrade.
So, now I will have mercy and tell you, much to my shock, my Quilter’s Support Staff agreed to buy the most expensive machine we looked at and that is what I really wanted, the Gammill Vision 2. Her name is Greta. Greta is all hand-guided quilting. I didn’t want to have to include the cost of an ambulance ride for my QSS due to sticker shock since the computerized quilting version would have nearly doubled the price. Besides, I am happy with the discipline and personal creativity opportunities of doing hand-guided quilting.
So yesterday, the Quilting Fairy, whose name is Karl, showed up with his 20 foot trailer in the pouring rain and spent the next 5 hours setting up Greta and showing me the basics. He also threw in for no charge fixing a minor problem on Rosie, since the dealer he works for (hey, fairies need to make a living too) is also a Tin Lizzie representative.
Here are a couple of photos of Greta being assembled:
As you can see, Greta’s frame is a 12 foot frame as opposed to Rosie’s which is only ten, so Greta sticks out a bit farther, but she also gets snugged up closer to the windows on the south of the room (which the QSS calls the quilting factory) since I only need access to one end to roll up the quilt sandwich, and still leaves plenty of room to walk from the front door off to the right, through the living room and into the kitchen off to the left of the second photo. One other fabulous feature Greta has is she glides on heavy duty industrial style casters. So if I want to place her so I have more or less access to the back portion of the frame, I can easily move it all by myself. In these photos she is out farther just to make it easier to get everything assembled.
These next photos show Greta in her position and all ready to use, which I did for a bit yesterday just to see how everything worked.
One of the features Greta has is being run by a tablet, so it’s easy to see what settings you are using and switch back and forth. The tablet also swivels around 180 degrees so you can run Greta totally from the back handles just as you can from the front. Both back and front handles have four rocker type buttons that are programmable so you can have your most used functions available without taking your hands away from actually quilting. Here are a few other features that Greta has that I’ve never had before. A basting stitch, channel locks at the push of a button for horizontal or vertical so I can now do straight line stitching without it looking like a drunken sailor did it. A tie off stitch. A coast stitch which varies from a regulated speed to a constant speed depending on how fast you are going to be able to do micro stippling or echoing around small designs. Micro Stippling handles, offset handles for the back so you can easily see a pantograph you are working on and still use both hands. Also the laser light for following a pantograph can be moved to the front handle so you can use it to follow a block by block pattern easily from the front.
The show special included $1000 worth of accessories, and one of the best ones I selected was a quick change foot set, which includes a spoon foot for going over thick seams, an open toe foot, a couching foot, a trapunto foot and a ruler foot. One of the other things I selected was a ruler base, which is really easy on-easy off.
My sister-in-law, stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com , who had no idea I was considering upgrading my longarm, had made arrangements previous to our foray to QuiltCon, to come out and get some experience on doing longarm quilting. She was shocked I think when I told her she was going to be practicing on a brand new Gammill. We are going to have so much fun when she comes at the end of next month for our quilting adventure. Now all I need to do is learn really well how to use all Greta’s features and to find a buyer for Rosie.