Sunday, September 9, 2012


I have been in a state of indecision for months about what to do with my Gammill longarm quilting machine and its twelve-foot table while we were selling our house and moving to another location.

I could not decide whether to sell, store, or find a house to rent with a big enough room for my longarm machine.

Like Scarlett O'Hara, my usual decision was to "worry about that tomorrow." 

Finally, it got down to the last weekend before the painters were scheduled to go into the "bonus" room above the garage and paint it on Monday.  They were also scheduled to paint the stairs and stairwell.

Painting around this table and the stuff on it would not be possible.

And I sure did not want to bang up the newly painted stairs and stairwell while moving out the machine.
I finally decided that I did NOT want to sell my machine and then buy an upgraded version.  I looked into storing it in a 5' x 15' storage unit---very expensive! Over $100 per month!
What I finally did was send a letter to the Capital Quilters Guild  e-mail list.  I sought a "foster mother" who would babysit my machine in her home in exchange for my teaching her how to use and maintain it.  I sent the letter Friday, and got a response when I was walking my dog on Saturday morning.  The "Foster Mama" was eager to learn how to use a longarm, and had the space already available.  And she will let me come out and use the machine at her house if I ever get to sew again and make new quilt tops.
Win, win!
So...I had previously arranged for our son, Dave, to come out Saturday afternoon and help us load boxes and stuff into the "Pod."  I feel like I lured him out under false pretenses.  Because instead of loading boxes, he got to help disassemble and move the longarm out of our room above the garage...and into the garage!
My husband, Charlie, fortunately has mechanical aptitude.  (I do not.)  He intuitively knows how things go together.  They were doing great on getting the machine off the frame and taking the table apart...
until they got to the hydraulic system.
My machine table can be lowered or raised in height at the press of a button.  I cannot tell you how much I have appreciated that hydraulic feature over the years.  When you have been working on a quilt for awhile, your back, shoulders, and neck can really get fatigued.  It is amazing how much it helps to raise or lower the table a few inches.  The feature was originally designed for quilt shops who rent out their machines to lots of different users of different heights.  But, it is a wonderful relief for regular folks who put in long hours on their machines.
Anyway, when they got to the level of the table with the hydraulic lines attached, they were a bit stymied.  I did not want hydraulic fluid dripping all over my carpet, or leaking out of the coils.  But the lines were wrapped over and under the table supports.
It took quite awhile, but Charlie figured out how to remove the lines from the table and preserve the hydraulics.  After that, there was one more step...
Moving about a 200-lb table from the upstairs room to the garage!
When my machine was originally delivered, Linda V. Taylor's son-in-law, Todd, brought it to my house.  He asked, "Who is going to help with the heavy lifting?" 
When I replied, "Uh,,... me?"   He disassembled the table into about three layers.
Charlie and Dave "manned up" and carried the whole table downstairs without further disassembly.
And now, it is all lying on the floor of my garage!  If you look closely, you might notice that they propped up the actual sewing machine on a big bag of charcoal.  Oh, the indignity!
We labeled everything that goes together, and took lots of photos. Maybe it will all go back together the way it is supposed to!
I am going to try to take the actual sewing machine, or "head,"  AKA Grendel, to the Gammill dealer in Fayetteville next week, to get a tune-up before it goes to stay with Foster Mama.  There are a few quirks that I have dealt with for a long time that really should be fixed before going to a newbie.  If I can do that once the painters finish with my house,  I will be heading to Loving Stitches to take Grendel for a make-over!
And, I must mention that my preggers daughter-in-law Emily also came out and helped today.  I had already sorted out piles of stuff in the bonus room, and boxed up a lot of it, but Emily organized everything that was left and got it packed.
Of course, I forbade her from carrying anything, but it will be a cinch to get everything else out of there before the painters come back on Monday.  And then, she packed up some other stuff.  Love that girl!
Tonight,  I took Charlie out for steamed oysters and shrimp at our favorite local seafood restaurant, Shuckers.  When we sell the house, we will take Dave and Emily anywhere they want to go for dinner.  And maybe we will all get massages!
Of course, we are not completely done.  We will deliver the machine to  Foster Mama's house.  I told her to line up a strong back to help with the transport, so we don't have to ask Dave to do it again.  She is looking into the homeowner's insurance aspects of having the machine at her house.
And then, it will have to be moved again to the mountain house when it is finished.
But for now, I am so relieved to be able to get the room painted, the carpet cleaned, and have a "safe house" for Grendel to live in (and maybe be loved?) while we are transitioning between homes.


Vicki W said...

A foster mother is a brilliant solution!

shannon said...

what a wonderful solution!! i don't know how i'd feel letting someone else drive my machine...

i have moved my LA three times!! i don't have hydraulic lifts (yet, but i do have over head lighting) so i know how much work it is...quick to take apart, slow to go back together...

hoping for a fast house sale so you can get back to stitching!