My Big Secret has arrived, and it seems fit to make it this week's Friday Finish. May I say I never dreamed this day would actually happen? I'm bruised from pinching myself.
Axel , my new Avante by Handiquilter, was delivered Wednesday. I had to name it after all my friends with machines had given theirs names. Sandra at Musings of a Menopausal Melon has an Avril, so I stuck with the "A" names. Axel suits it.
I sweet-talked my daughter into taking a few pictures. It's all real here. Five huge boxes and two small were on that truck for me, and they were heavy!
We lugged most of them up the stairs ourselves, but 2 of the heaviest were more than we could handle. I was going to have to wait all afternoon for someone stronger to come home and help. I figured out that key parts were in those 2 boxes, and begged another daughter to help me. I think the adrenaline helped, because we got those up, too!
Most of the basic table was together by the time my more mechanical half got home. We worked together until I said I could finish on my own the next day. This was where I started in the morning.
Bungees, velcro, leaders. Finish adding parts to the machine itself, and all threaded. I was ready to load a practice piece. This is when I realized I hadn't raised it to fit my height.
Carefully remove 2 poles. Take off the machine and the carriage.
I will tell you I had a smaller person there with Herculean strength, and we raised that table up with the aid of packing tape to hold the catches open. I don't recommend this method.
This is where I hit the wall. I had no idea how to load a quilt, and I was so tired by this point that I didn't remember to watch the dvd's that contain everything you need to know. My quilt store was so understanding when I called half a dozen times with little questions including this one, and was wonderful at sending me PDF's to help. Even so, I pinned and repinned leaders 5 times before I could make it all work in my mind, and on the machine.
My first go at it. I had lots of tension issues at first, but the shop had already given me good instructions on how to remedy this with both bobbin and machine adjustment. Several phone calls to a good friend with an HQ Sweet Sixteen led to much better results. Beth at Cooking Up Quilts heard it running on the phone, and you would have thought we were cooing over a new baby between us! Seriously, we are adult women, but it just purrs!
I didn't buy this on a whim. I started looking at longarms last fall when I used one in a local shop. I was just new on the quilting blogger's scene, and it really wasn't something I needed. I investigated all the brands. I talked with and ran an APQS, Gammill, and Tin Lizzie. I looked for a used machine for months, and made many, many phone calls. Longarm University is a good source to look for all kinds of used longarms, if you're looking. When so many friends talked up the Handiquilter products, I decided there had to be something to it. The warranty is the best I've found, and we had many shops within 2 hours.
Sue and David at Quilt Trends in Columbus, Ohio were the best I found on price--they were running a sale along with an HQ promotion, and have been excellent in training. The day I travelled to actually look at the Avante, I spent nearly 3 hours with them in the store, and going over the machine. In home training takes place in a few weeks for me, and I hope to have some good experience before then.
After all the waiting and heavy lifting, and in spite of the fact it might not be the most flattering, can you see the Joy on my face? No buyer's remorse here. While something such as a longarm is a tangible thing, I see it as a way to express Joy in thread and cloth.
Did you ever have anything that was just so exciting, and you weren't sure why? You couldn't quit smiling, and when you woke up at night and remembered, it made you smile again? I'm a little speechless, and that's rare.
C.S. Lewis wrote some powerful words on his pursuit of joy,
and may help me express my feelings.
"All Joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still 'about to be'."
--C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
Linking up with~
Crazy Mom Quilts
A Quilting Reader's Garden
Quilt Shop Gal
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
This might be the best time for me, and YOU, too, to browse Craftsy tools and supplies. There is a BIG Weekend Sale with very tempting deep discounts on supplies through Sunday, June 21st. Up to 70% off!
(I'm there already!)