Dead in the Water

Well yesterday I was clicking along in my basement studio. I had two quilts loaded and quilting away. Then it happened, my Intelliquilter on the Innova machine decided to have an issue.

I thought at first it stopped quilting near the end of a row because it ran out of bobbin thread but oh no, it couldn’t be something that simple. I still had bobbin thread but now I could see an error message flashing at the top corner of the screen. Comm error B3, which means communication issue with my Y motor.  So now I know it’s a machine issue, and the machine is not the Innova, it’s an IQ (Intelliquilter) one.

The best I can describe it is an issue with the robot is a more high tech thing to deal with than a regular computer issue. It talks to the hydraulic motors which move on an X, Y axis so I need to do some reading & problem solving before I submit my problem to the Zen desk where they will walk me through a litany of issues to get to the root of the problem.  While they are brilliant people to work with, I was just hoping for a simple Sat of finishing up a couple quilts & maybe getting a little piecing in or maybe watch a movie.

After a lot of checking leads and connections, I’m pretty sure my Y motor cable has a break inside, and it only works when in a specific position. This cable moves with the machine so is never just still.

Cathy D, I was working on your quilt so it is on hold partially completed for now. Hopefully they can get me up & running again quickly. Worse scenario, they have to mail me some parts for my to reinstall. If it turns into a longer issue to fix, then I’ll move your quilt over to the other machine to finish up.  I’m grateful I have a second machine so I can do a little work still on the panto only machine.  I also know that Zoltan doesn’t give up on issues and will work it through until it’s working again. He also ships parts next day so it we aren’t dead in the water for long. Happy Saturday!

Music Quilt – Moscato D’asti

Here is a cool Music Quilt with Spikey Swirl allover quilting, gold thread & Hobbs Polydown batting. This is the front of her quilt. The name of the quilt pattern is Moscato D’asti. I’ll share a pic of the pattern photo too. Its the reverse color way. I like the way Jackie made the pinwheels dark so they stand out more.


The next photos are of her quilt back. This turned out really pretty but was difficult for the Longarmer since I cannot see the back while I’m quilting. Its not uncommon for that much piecing next to a solid piece of fabric to draw in and cause trouble in areas that cannot be seen by the quilter. Its hard since this is hanging upside down on the machine.

I did have to take out a large pleat in the center and do some “quilter magic” to re-quilt that area and make it flat enough to be quilted.   Thankfully there was a good outcome but I like to avoid this if possible. This quilt turned out to be a lovely two sided quilt. I love the piecing and anyone that sees this quilt would never know that there were some moments during the quilting process that involved some extra care.

It’s a great teaching opportunity when I can share info about quilts since I see such a variety of them. When I used to get my quilts Longarm quilted all I knew about the process was where to find my quilters house.  I really didn’t know what went into the quilting process.  I like to share ‘why’ I have some special requests or restrictions. Its easier for clients to know what goes on in the quilting process and why we charge extra fees at times that we weren’t expecting during intake.



**Just a note to say, if you love your quilter, bring them a simple quilt back and that will guarantee a good outcome. I don’t want to have to charge for extra work when it can be avoided.  Love the quilt though. It really turned out to be a beauty 🙂




Homespun Quilt

This is Celeste’s Quilt made with homespun fabrics. She chose channel quilting, Quilters Dream Request batting & Taupe Grey thread.  The back  is a taupe floral wide backing.  This is a really soft light weight throw. It will be really comfy to curl up with.




Transparency Quilt

This is Martha’s Transparency quilt. This was a quilt made from a workshop she took with Bill Kerr, of   Don’t you just love the fabrics? They are from Modern Quilt Studio’s line of fabrics.  Here’s a link to their Facebook page

The quilting design is called BerryVine, the thread is charcoal grey & the batting is Wool.

I love this. I can’t wait to finish my own Transparency quilt now.





Cute Flannel Baby Quilt and why I prefer to not quilt highly pieced backings.

This turned out to be a really flannel cute baby quilt.  As a quilter I cannot always guarantee a good outcome when it comes to highly pieced quilt backs.  I was relieved when I turned it over and found no pleats in the back. In the end it is a lovely quilt.


This is the quilt back. I understand that pieced backs are trendy and look how great this looks!  It’s also a great way to use up fabrics.

Now from the long-arm quilters point of view, this is the type of backing that gives me worries. It’s easier to explain when you see the backing loaded on the machine. See the next photo down.


Why do Longarm quilters like to avoid highly pieced backings???

While this is a nicely pieced backing, it was a bit wider at the top than at the bottom.  That is a hint that something is off.  It doesn’t lay flat. Yes, I have clamps to add to the quilt edges but I really don’t want to use those to try to pull the fullness out of the backing. I don’t want to stretch her quilt.  What will happen when the clamps are released?? Will it pull back in and lay like a ruffle?

The next step is to lay the batting over this, then place the quilt top over the batting. After that you can understand, I cannot see the area that is sagging on the back.


The photo below is looking up from under the quilt back, under my machine. You can still see after clamping the sides, the piano key area is still drooping.  I cannot guarantee what will happen when it’s quilting.  Now there is a 50/50 chance that will pleat. (the fabric will fold over  itself and be stitched down that way) If it pleats I have to rip out that area, turn the quilt upside down, try to steam it down & restitch the design backwards.   That is a lot more work, a lot more time.


So the reason Longarm quilters are not excited about highly pieced quilt backs is because they take us longer to deal with in general, and because we cannot control what is happening on the bottom layer of a quilt when its quilting.

Thankfully, this turned out well and is a lovely quilt.  I think the backing would have made a beautiful second quilt top.

Champaign Bubbles on Batiks

This is Maralee’s pretty batik quilt. The quilting design is Champaign Bubbles, the thread is teal & the batting is Hobbs 80/20. She chose a pretty batik backing. Won’t this be a wonderful gift?   She does a nice job piecing, which makes my job so much easier. Thanks Maralee, this was a fun quilt to work on!


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Charity Quilt

Here are some photo’s of a cute little charity quilt I quilted yesterday.  I had a Dr’s appointment  which gobbled up a lot of my work day, so with what was left I loaded a quilt for the next day & quilted a small charity for guild.

The pattern is Espalier by Hermione Agee. The batting is a light weight cotton. The backing is flannel. I did slightly different colors thread to match the fabrics. The top thread is a pink taupe color to match the background fabric. In the bobbin I chose a darker cream to go with the toile print backing.  This didn’t come with a binding so I dug through my fabrics and found a shade of green that I think works well with both sides of the quilt.

This is a photo of the charity quilt before quilting, while loaded on the machine.


After quilting off the quilt machine.


Here is a shot of the binding that’s applied to the front but not yet sewn to the back side.


I couldn’t resist this shot. I love toile prints. I’m not sure what’s going on there but they sure dress well for being in the woods.


Another Local Shop Closing

I saw on Facebook this morning that Material Girls Quilt Shop in Dearborn will be closing their shop. Here is the newsletter that was posted on Facebook.

Their closing sale begins tomorrow. This was a nice shop, although a bit of a drive from my location.  The shop owner is very nice. They had a lot of great notions and fabric. Congrats to them on retirement, they will be missed.

I encourage you to visit any of the local shops that are still open. They remain only with our support.