Monday, September 17, 2012

Bye, Bye, Longarm

What did you do last weekend?

Here is what we did:

Yep, we loaded up the truck and moved the Gammill to Clayton for a temporary stay with foster mother Maureen.
We already had a trailer that we use to take the riding mower or the Gator to the shop or to the mountains.  My next-door neighbor showed up at the perfect time to help load the heavy table.  Getting the rest on the trailer was easy.  Then we had to make sure that the twelve-foot rollers would not go sliding out the back.
A combination of clothesline and bungee cords were looped over and under until everything was tied down.
We stopped twice on the way to make sure everything was secure.  The only damage was that some of the plastic that covers the pantograph table tore off.  That is not a problem.
When we got to Maureen's house, we ran into a problem.  The table would not make the sharp turn needed to go upstairs to the room she had prepared!  Not without taking out a wall, anyway. 
Determined to take advantage of my offer to "foster" my Gammill, Maureen cleared out another bedroom, the former "teddy bear room" with antique bed and glass front curio cabinet.  Fortunately, she had called in lots of strong help, and the furniture was out of there in no time.
We discovered that putting the table back together is much more difficult than taking it apart!  Here you can see at least three guys down on the floor and one standing.
If you are going to be attempting a longarm move, be sure to take lots of photos from every angle while it is still in one piece.  Mark the legs and parts that go together with post-its.  Bring the manual.
Of course, I am the one who is the expert on using the machine, but that did not help me recognize which piece of black steel went where!
So, we got it together.  And look how much space was left between the end of the table and the wall!
That would not work very well, because you have to be able to walk around the end of the machine and smooth out the fabric and batting.  Not to mention being able to get to the roll-up wheels.
Solution:  take off the door to the room and angle the machine so the end with the wheels is at the opening to the room.
It was basically an all-day operation.  And when we were done, there was one vital piece missing:  the Gammill quilting machine!
It is still at the shop in Fayetteville being serviced.  We will go back out when it is ready, and I will show Maureen and her quilting neighbor Adrienne how to load a quilt and work the machine.
Then we had to go home and start moving stuff around for the carpet cleaners.  They won't move beds or anything with electronics on it.  So, all of our bedrooms now look something like this:
The beds are all turned up against the wall.  Everything is moved out into non-carpeted rooms, like the bathrooms or utility room.
And you would not believe our kitchen.
We are going to try to get all that into the remaining space in the POD.  Dave has promised to come out and help on Wednesday night.
I'm tired!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Loving Stitches Quilt Shop

Yesterday, I drove to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to take my Gammill sewing machine in to be serviced at Loving Stitches Quilt Shop.  It was a beautiful day for an easy drive.  Warren and Jake lifted the machine out of the back of Sweet Sue the Subaru, and parked it on a cart.  I listed all the things I wanted them to look at.  It might be ready as soon as tomorrow!

While I was there, I had to do a little browsing.  I promised myself I would not buy anything, since I am packing and getting ready to move.  But...I saw these little quilted baby shoes.

I had to get the pattern to make some for new granddaughter-to-be!
They have high-tops, ballet shoes, even cowboy boot patterns.
I love the way the fabric bolts are arranged at Loving Stitches.
And then there is this rainbow wall of batiks.
Walking into the restroom area, there is a painted flower and a quilt.
And on the bathroom wall is this quilt, hung diagonally.
Today the painters that I hired finished up.  The last job was to refinish the stairs and paint the spindles.  As soon as you enter my front door, the  wooden staircase is gleaming!  This picture was taken even before they were varnished.
On my way to Fayetteville, I left Kasey at the kennel to get a bath and a haircut (and get her out of the painters' hair!)  Maybe she won't shed so much with her much shorter hair-do!
Because the stain on the stairs was not dry last night, we went to Cary to spend the night with our son Dave and his wife Emily.  Their friend Charissa was also visiting overnight.  We had some ziti and wine and a soak in their hot tub.  What a nice way to end the day!
Now that the painters are done, we have to get ready for the carpet cleaners.  Lots of boxes to take to the pod, lots of furniture to clear off.  They won't move any furniture with electronics on it.  Got to put away the felting machine and sewing machine and lots of other gadgets.  But we are getting really close to being DONE!

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.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I'm Still Here...

Hello, out there!  Checking back into Blogville after a hiatus which included lots of decluttering, room painting, packing, and some fun times as well. 

I finally got sick of painting walls, especially after missing the last rung of the ladder several times and falling.  I got my daughter-in-law Emily to recommend a power-washer, who is also a painter.  He and his partner are painting the upstairs as I type!  I totally love it when I can sit and play on the computer while other people are working on my house.

I'll have some pictures, but right now our rooms are piled up with stuff from the rooms undergoing a paint job.

The "bonus room" over our garage is where I do my longarm quilting.  This room is normally fairly clean and organized.  If you wonder why I am not doing any longarm quilting...

Yes, there is a longarm sewing machine parked at the end of that twelve-foot long table.  I had to clear off my cubbies and pegboards for this room to be painted.  Not only the table, but the floor
and cutting table are covered as well.
They are painting two bedrooms, the hall, and two stairways as well as the living room and crown molding and other trim in our downstairs.
When the painting is finished and we put all the rooms to right, all we will need is to have the carpets upstairs cleaned.   Then the For Sale sign goes up!
The very welcome respites to all the work include a trip to see the McBrayers in western North Carolina in August.  Charlie's brother Richard has an annual pool party, and we really enjoyed relaxing that weekend.
Yep, that's more like it!
I enjoyed playing with Richard's grand-daughter, Kaylee, who is very much like her mother was at that age.   She simply could not leave a kitty-cat alone!  This cat, CJ, was pretty calm around the baby.
She soon retreated behind the curtains, with Kaylee  hot on her trail.
The weekend after that, we spent a day on Jordan Lake to celebrate my son Dave's birthday.  Several of us went in to rent a pontoon boat for the day.  We cruised the lake, ate brats and stromboli at a picnic shelter on the lake, and had a ball.  One of the guys borrowed a jet ski, and the men had fun trying to splash water on us with it.
I think the birthday boy enjoyed his party!
While we were cruising around, we came across a boatload of boys who were stranded when they drove across an unmarked stump and broke the transmission on their ski boat.  We kindly gave them a tow back to the boat ramp.  Pretty cute, huh!
We went to the mountains to celebrate the Labor Day weekend.  What a pleasure to be there again, and realize that all the work on the house will hopefully result in building an addition to our tiny cabin.  We are looking forward to the day when we can be there full time.
My sister and her husband, along with my dad,  are moving up there in just a couple of weeks.  There were a lot of family members helping her with painting and construction.   That meant I had lots of time to play with their newest grand-baby, Holly.  She liked wearing my cowgirl hat from Hawaii!
We bought a piece of furniture at the Main Street Antique Market in West Jefferson.  I told my husband we were not taking his old side table that he keeps next to the man-chair.  Luckily, we found this very nice replica of an antique ice chest for a very reasonable price.
On the way home we endured lots of thunderstorms and rain.
In fact, we are having a thunderstorm right now here in Wake Forest.
Thanks for your patience...I will try not to delay my next post for so long!