A Day of Play

If you haven't read my post from yesterday, then you missed the part where I got a new quilting machine. And if you're reading this via email, then the post you want to read will be down below this one. Just scroll down and read that one first to learn how this all came about. I'll just wait here while you catch up...or don't. It's up to you.

Anyway...today I spent some time playing with my new Baby Lock Tiara. As a few of you noted, she'll need a name. I actually gave this some thought yesterday. I was thinking of things to go along with Baby, but nothing came to mind. Then, for whatever reason, "My Fair Lady" popped into my head, and I had my name...just like that. Eliza. For Eliza Doolittle.

Anyone with a name like "Tiara" should be wearing a nice hat, don't you think? And in this image, she's actually wearing a tiara!

Please tell me you're old enough to remember Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle.

So anyway. That was the easiest part of what I've done with Miss Eliza today. She has three manuals for all of her parts.

For simplicity, I started with the guide for the machine and put the other two where I couldn't see them. I didn't need any distractions.

And where does anyone start with a new machine, but threading it for the first time.

This is where I ran into problems because the documentation is really terrible for this machine. And what I've learned in the process of looking at them as that all of the machines are made by the same manufacturer...just the names and how they are packaged for sale are different. So I got a little wigged when I read this part:

Here was my first attempt. Close...but not quite there yet. You can see that I've wrapped on one side for the top two holes and the other side for the bottom. They should have all three been wrapped on the left side.

So, I got that figured out, but then the rest of the threading instructions were pretty vague. Basically..."just wrap it around the thinga-ma-jig that we failed to illustrate in the picture of the machine...that's right...whoops...no, over there...oh you're really effing up now". Yeah. Quoted only slightly inaccurately. And because I knew this machine was identical to the HQ Sweet 16, I decided I'd check their manual online. Only, it too was exactly the same manual with only the cover changed to reflect the different name for the same machine. Oy.

But let me continue on because I really had to be able to stitch something before I could tell if I'd threaded it properly. It came with two pre-wound bobbins and several more empty ones. I figured I'd just start with one of the pre-wound ones, even though the thread weight was quite different from what I had on top. And to make it extra hard on myself, my top thread was purple, while the bobbin thread was white, and I was stitching on black fabric. Of course, it did make it easy to see the tension.

Anyway...the bobbin was simple. It was just like the one I had on my Bernina 440 back in the day.

It's a little inconveniently located, but I didn't have any problem with this.

So then I spent a little time poking buttons on the screen in front of my face. I can adjust the speed I want to stitch, and these are not preset. I can decide what I want the three speeds to be.

Then that "More" button was intriguing. Here's what happens if I press that. Ooooh, lookie there!

So it has a timer I can use to set an alarm to remind myself to stop sewing and go work out. (Ha! Oh, I crack myself up.) The bottom timer is sort of like the trip meter in your car. You can set it to see how much time you've spent on any given project.

With "Options" I can change the brightness of the screen or the volume of the sounds. Then there's the "System Information". This is sort of like when you get a new car and it only has 8 miles on the odometer. And when it turns over 100 miles, you feel as if the car is ready to be junked for a new one. And here I am with 663 stitches! Cool! 

Also, there's a calculator. I can see this coming in handy.

There's a low bobbin alarm, but it will have to be calibrated by setting it to zero when I put in a newly wound bobbin. I can have three presets at the bottom for different threads, but each will have to be calibrated.

So after I'd done all that, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and pressed "needle down". I first needed to bring the bobbin thread up to the top, and lookie there! It worked! (By the way, this is an old practice piece from the class I took up in Tacoma this past summer. It's still half unstitched, so I'm keeping it around for practice.)

Then I was ready to stitch. And away I went. Cool. Wow. I'm really doing it!

Only I flipped it to the back, and uh-oh. Something isn't right. 

I messed and fussed and cussed and fumed and turned dials, and pressed buttons, and read, and studied, and got online, and tried to find videos. Finally, Mike and I looked at it together, and Mike figured out that despite thinking I had it right, I didn't actually have the thread between the tension disks. Once we got that figured out, things started improving.

And after swirling and circling and stitching a lot of scribbles, I tried stitching a flower. The first quilt I'm going to do with this machine is the Gardener's Journal quilt, and so a flower seemed a good place to start. Here's the front...not too bad.

Here's the back...you can see I'm still having a few tension problems, but I'm feeling confident I can get this worked out.

If I use a consistent thread in both the needle and the bobbin, I have a feeling my tension problems will go away. Also, I still have an instructor coming out to the house to give me a lesson. I'm told she'll be able to help me get the tension adjusted properly...not to mention helping to assure I have it threaded right.

Despite the frustration of the day, I've had fun with it. I'm looking forward to my lesson and continuing to play until I'm comfortable tackling an honest-to-goodness quilt.

Oh yes, and I almost forgot. I'm down to just words on the "Never Underestimate" project. It seems appropriate just now. 

When it's finished, I'm going to hang it in the room where Eliza resides, and we'll just have a great time together.

28 comments from clever and witty friends:

crazy quilter said...

Wow, I think your skills are tremendous! I doubt I could sit down to a new Quilting machine and stitch such a perfect flower. You are one lucky lady, Big Bertha, the wonderful Bernins and a baby lock Eliza! Keep on stitching I cannot wait to see what you quilt up! Your embroidery is beautiful. Wish mine was only half that good. Enjoy the new machine, glad she passed the inspection.

Vicki W said...

It looks to me like you had a very successful day! I expect that after your training that you will be able!to get perfect tension easily!

quiltzyx said...

Now I see more clearly the "manual frustration" you were having! Sheesh!! You can write the manual & I'll proof it for you & we can sell it online - what do you think? LOL
The flower looks darned good for a first-day-on-the-machine try too!
Love love LOVE the D.U. stitchery, you're on a roll!!

Diann said...

Wow! What a great new toy. I predict you'll be an expert in no time.

Marei said...

I'm laughing, Barbara, because I remember telling you & Mike that when threading you have to "be sure to floss the thread between the disks" to avoid tension problems. You can see I've had my share of experiences with that. And that twisting of the thread in the 3 hole jobber....can't tell you how much cussing I've done over that. It all gets easier with time. Have fun!!!

Shari said...

Glad to see you got through the frustration. Your flower looks great.

Christine M said...

Great name, Barbara. My favourite movie of all time is My Fair Lady. I think Eliza is a perfect name for your new toy.

Quilter Kathy said...

That is the absolutely perfect stitchery to be working on right now!!

Janarama said...

Eliza is a great name. Who's Audrey Hepburn? (cough, cough) LOL

For a first time using a new machine, you did pretty damned good with that flower.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Wow, new toys are so fun. Your flower is an amazing demonstration of all the practicing you have been doing. I hope you have hours of enjoyment and produce stunning quilts and wall hangings and pillows and baby stuff. Will you be taking in quilting?

Debbie said...

Yay!!! Thread between the tension disks...they call it flossing the thread. Second is thru the thread loops things....my service guy said that looping thru 2 holes was enough! As for the bobbin....I learned that to save my knees and back, I remove the top plate to replace bobbin, clean and oil. I have a few more tricks to share as you go!

Needled Mom said...

You are really going to be having fun. Eliza is the perfect name for her.

kc said...

Even with a few tension bobbles here & there, that flower is AWEsome! I'd be willing to bet I couldn't even do that with a tracing to follow! I am proud of you for persevering through and coming out on top! You have earned your Tiara in sew many ways!!

juliehallfeldhaus said...

Wow looks like you will be having lots of fun this winter:)

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I see a few of the TIara owners are already giving you pointers - manuals are such garbage. Hands on works best for me. Things will get easier.

Lou said...

I know you will SO enjoy your time quilting!!!! I have a Nolting Fun Quilter 20 and love her!!!! I named mine Dazi:)
Can't wait to see all your projects!!!!

Beth said...

Oh my heck. I knew I'd missed a post--how does that happen, Mysterious Interweb? Anyway, today I was able to catch up on all kinds of fun. Hooray for you!

Dar said...

Great looking machine and your first flower looks fantastic!! You are a born free motion quilter. The baby lock Home Office is close to me. Maybe I should wander over there and check it out!! Good choice.

Tami C said...

Glad that you and Mike got that little problem figured out. It always helps to have an extra pair of eyes looking at a problem. Your stitching project is really looking nice! You're sure to finish it up soon.

LynCC said...

Exciting for the new machine!!! Biding my time for another 18-24 months before I can get something. It's not like I don't have an overload of currently-possible work to keep me occupied far longer than that, though. ;D Congrats on your new lady Eliza!!

Marlene said...

Just catching up on your news and OMG I am so excited for you-you are going to really enjoy having Eliza. The flower you quilted is fantastic for the first time using the machine. Tension issues are the thing that drive me crazy with my longarm, that I am just starting to master. Have fun.

Jacque said...

Congratulations! What fun! And I love the name. Can't wait to see what beautiful things you create!

Betty said...

Looks like you're off to a great start with Eliza. The name fits the machine, it's almost like she was telling you her name. I will admit to being old enough to remember Audrey Hepburn in that role.

liniecat said...

Hope you and Eliza are very happy together : )
I saw Audrey up close, not too long before she died, she came into the VIP lounge I was working in at Heathrow.
She was travelling by Swiss Air with her personal assistant.
Although older than the pictures you show, she was dressed classicly casual and still looked exquisitely elegant.
She had a beautiful calm about her and I remember, she remidned me of a delicate, poised bird.
Her personal assistant did all the checking in with us and she sat in calm splendour, tucked away ina corner.
Eliza has alot to live up lol Have fun : )

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Well, I'm glad that there isn't any 'Rain in Spain' (your sewing room).

Brown Family said...

It is a whole different world! You are doing good to get it going on your own!

Michele said...

Wow! You did really well for your first try. Much better than I did for sure. And trust me, that won't be the last time you cuss and scream and rant over tension. They haven't made a machine yet that behaves all the time.

Kate said...

Love your new sewing buddy's name and how you got there. Looks like it won't be long before your are finishing up bunches of quilts.