If you have a weak stomach, you might want to avert your eyes....
Two entire rows (at least) look just like this on the back of my customer's Pineapple quilt:
I discovered it before I began working on this quilt today, which means half of yesterday's work was a wash. And half of today's work as well. So far I have picked out most of one row. One hour = $0.
I already know that my Gammill is a lemon. Not all Gammills are lemons, I hear. But mine is and so after almost 6 years I've finally learned to give in to sub-standard results, resolving to give my customers discounts because of my temperamental machine.
But this time I blame myself. Last week I replaced the rotary tension assembly since it was clearly tired. When I replaced it, there was a clicking sound when I stitched. The new assembly was in the exact position as the old assembly, so I knew it wasn't the new part. I had no intention of adjusting the white knob, because if there is one thing I learned from my dealer it's that I was to never adjust the white rotary tension knob. The little silver stem that it turns on should always be flush with the edge of the knob - never sticking out or retracted in. "Okay. I will never touch that knob."
Twists of fate happen all the time in my life. What are the chances that I would receive this book by Gina Perkes on the same day as I installed my new rotary tension assembly? I ordered the book so I could learn some new custom quilting techniques.
Lo and behold I come across this:
I scoffed at it, last week, and said to myself "Well Gina of course you have no fear - you're famous and every technician with breath in his lungs would hop on the first plane to help you if your adjustment backfires and your work comes to a complete stop." It was a catty remark, I know. But that's how dark my heart has become.
So today when my tension went belly-up, I scrolled every tension scenario through my mind until I finally remembered Gina's book with her fingers turning that little white knob. With my chin up, I marched over to my little white knob and fearlessly tightened it until it looked like this:
That was the only change I made. I had nothing to lose so I began to stitch the pantograph, praying and holding my breath at the same time. I stitched through an entire Baptist Fan motif and reached under the quilt to feel the stitches. They felt perfect. I kept going and felt again. Perfect still. At the end of the row, I exhaled and rolled the quilt up to where I could see the stitches on the back. I'm happy to report that Gina was right! My tension was now perfect. And, the clicking in my rotary tension assembly has stopped altogether. The new assembly was not the problem. I know that because I had secretly tried to tighten the old one the first year I owned my machine, and it made terrible train-track stitches on the top.
As fate would have it the formula for this fix turned out to be:
Judy C. + new rotary tension assembly + Gina Perkes + 2 cups of coffee + inspired rebellion = Perfect Tension.
After almost 6 years of using this machine, I thought that I could replace one very easy part and everything would be fine. I installed the new one with the same exact setting as the old one, and that ended up being the problem. Such is life with my Gammill.
I hope the next twist of fate brings along a buyer for our house. Which will set in motion our move to Southern California. Which will put me in the middle of a network of longarmers. Which will allow me to have actual technicians work on my machine when I need it. It sounds so surreal! Can there be a world where longarm machines get tuned up and maintained like cars? Since they cost as much as cars?