Sunday, 3 April 2011

Happy Mother's Day - to me

Look what I bought myself for Mother's Day! (yes, here in the UK it was Mothering Sunday today).

This is a Grace Next Generation quilting frame with 120" poles (wide enough to do a King size quilt, and even to turn quilts sideways) and a Pfaff HobbyGrandQuilter 1200 machine.  All secondhand on Ebay for a bargain price (the whole set up for about what the machine alone would cost new).

I was wistfully watching videos of HandiQuilter mid-arm machines on Youtube last weekend, wishing I had more money and more room, when it occurred to me to look on Ebay to see if there were any secondhand machines.  As they aren't very common here in the UK, not surprisingly there were none.  But my search on 'quilting frame' suddenly popped up the just-listed entry for the above.  Bargain price for 'Buy it Now'.  I did a quick bit of research on the Yahoo HomeQuiltingSystems group and found it was a well known frame and machine combo, and decided to go for it.  And we picked it up today.  It was all dissassembled and took us most of the afternoon to put back together, so I ran out of time and energy to actually have a play on it apart from testing that the machine works.

It's still only got a 9" throat, which is the same as  my current machine, but my current frame can only accept quilts up to 60", so it is going to be a huge improvement to be able to do an entire wide quilt.  Hopefully I can finally tackle my collection of huge tops from my pre-frame days.  As you can see, I've had to set it up in our living room which is the only room big enough, so once again my family are going to have to live around my hobby for a while.  I've committed to about a month to my DH, so will have to get cracking.  Luckily we've got two double bank holidays (four-day weekends) this month, one for Easter and one for the Royal Wedding.

What else have I been up to this week?  I've started giving my knitting machines a sorely-needed clean.  One of the videos I rescued and converted to DVD before the third VCR died on me was a knitting machine maintenance video.  I transferred the file onto my smartphone so I could watch it out in the knitting machine shed and pause it while I completed each step.  I brought out lots of fluff when I ran the cleaning brush through the sponge bar channel, and now I am taking out all the needles, cleaning them in surgical spirit, and replacing them.  As I have three machines each with a ribber, that's over 1000 needles, so it is taking me quite a while.  I'm just about finished the first machine (400 needles) but it is giving me sore fingers.

I wet-blocked 24 afghan squares from my Learn to Knit Afghan.  That also took quite a long time and virtually every plastic-headed pin that I own, to pin them all out to 9 inches square.  As you can see, they are rather a motley assortment. Now I need to crochet around each one and join them together.  I have some navy blue aran in the shed that I might use.

I have been doggedly ploughing on with my Holden Shawlette and am now doing a picot castoff on the edge.  Really annoyingly, I ran into a knot about 6 rows from the end.  I did the overlap/knit with both ends method of joining on, but now I am wishing I had done a spit splice.  Not ripping it out now, and it was in one of the garter rows so isn't obvious.  I have been having my usual trouble when I have a project that doesn't require much concentration - my brain ceases to concentrate at all and I start making stupid mistakes.  In this case, omitting a set of decreases for about 8 (very long) rows and having to drop down and fix them.  I guess the knitter's version of 'less haste more speed', is more like 'more chart reading, less time wasting'.

The new manager has started at work, and she seems really nice.  And our Director has verbally told me that I will be getting an 'acting up' allowance (more money).  Don't know how much yet, but I feel a sense of achievement to have asked for it and actually get it.  Considering I was all prepared to quit only a matter of weeks ago, it has been quite a turnaround for the better.

So I need to get some practice fabric rolled onto my new frame and start learning how to use it this week - wish me luck!


swooze said...

Ah very nice machine setup. Will you be selling the other one? Hope you can find a good setup place so you can get more use out of it!

Marthaamay O_o said...

The qulting machine looks great, the deatils are way over my head but I am looking forward to seeing some results.
A knitting machine is on my wish list, it'd be nice to have one, room would be an issue, but a small circular one would be great.

Your afghan quilt, wow, I can't choose a favourite! It's an excellent idea to learn and use the swatches for a blanket, nice to keep and refer to. Does the technique make a thicker knit? What does the reverse side look like?

Thanks for your help through the ravelry emails, it's all sorted now?

Heather x said...

Oh way to go girl! What an awesome mothers day gift to get :)
Ouch thats a lot of needles to clean, I moan everytime I clean my passap because of all the needles....I will moan no more lol.
*hugs* Heather x

Sue said...

Love your knitting and congrats on the Kaffe quilts! I have the same machine and frame that you have. It works pretty well though I could always use more space. Yahoo has a group devoted to these type of machines and frames that has a lot of good troubleshooting info should you need it. It's called PfaffHobbyGrandQuilter as there are three machines that are twins including the MegaQuilter. Good luck and I can't wait to see what comes off of it. And bravo for you asking for more money. Sounds like it's well deserved!

Daisy said...

It looks very impressive. Not totally sure how it works, but very impressive!

Mabel said...

Ive been looking at the freestyle frame that you had, did you ever get the *hang* of it properly ?

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