HQ Sweet Sixteen table

30 04 2011

For future reference… and in case anyone else has the same problem!

I’ve just purchased my ‘Beast’ — a HandiQuilter (HQ) Sweet Sixteen sit-down quilting machine. It comes with several things, including a purpose-built table.

Now this machine is big — and heavy. So it’s important that the table is stable and that the fold-out legs are fully folded out and locked into place before you put the machine into it. Sounds easy, right? Not so much…

There’s one instruction in the instruction manual for the table, which tells you to open the collapsed legs and lock them into place. That’s it.

But there’s a problem. This is one tough table and it has an exceptionally tough metal framework for the legs (and rightly so — it has to hold a lot of weight and deal with a lot of vibration over its lifetime). My dealer warned me that the legs ‘could be a bit stiff’ to lock into place on the fixed frame, and, if they were hard to lock in, to try using a screwdriver to lever the metal bits apart a little so that the hole on the collapsible arm could slot over the dimple on the fixed bit.

So late yesterday afternoon I unpack the table and put it on its back. I open out the legs and try to snap them into place to lock them. Nope. After a few tries, I get a screwdriver and try that. Still no joy. All that’s happening is that little flakes of black paint from the metal are coming off. I ask my husband to help me (he’s much bigger and stronger than me). Between us all we get is frustration. I go out to the shed to get the BIG screwdrivers to see if we can get more leverage. After about 45 minutes trying to get these legs locked away, we give up and agree to try again this morning.

At 5 am this morning (I woke at 4 am and all sorts of ideas for this table were running around my head…), I email my friend who has one of these machines and tables, as well as Michelle, the HQ dealer I bought the machine from. I also post a request to the Yahoo! group for owners of this machine to see if anyone there can offer any ideas.

A couple of hours later my husband gets up. I’ve had a suggestion from the group to try WD-40. My dealer emails me about some of the problems she’s had and how she’s had to kick the legs into place on some of the tables (about 10 kicks before they locked in!). My friend calls me and tells me her husband is coming home from his mine site this morning and she offers his assistance (he’s put together and taken her table apart at least twice). So I call him and arrange for him to drop into our house on his way home (we’re about halfway on his 3-hour drive).

Meantime, my husband’s now properly awake. I mentioned to him that I thought a block of wood might help to pry these metal arms open a couple of millimetres, but I discovered that the design of the arms is such that that’s not going to work (it sounded good in my head at 4 am!). I also mentioned the WD-40 option, and that my friend’s husband would be dropping in a few hours. So off my husband goes to the shed. He comes back with CRC, a block of wood (4×2), and a rubber mallet!

Back we go into my sewing room, where he lightly sprays the area (the dimple on one arm and the corresponding hole on the other) with CRC. Then he places the wood at the bend where the two bits need to lock in and become straight. I hold on to the other end of the wood block and he gives it a decent thump with the rubber mallet. It moved! Two more hits and it was locked away. We did the other set of legs and it was done!

So for anyone else having the same problem with their HQ Sweet Sixteen table’s legs, save yourself some time and frustration and have to hand a block of wood, a rubber mallet, and some CRC (or WD-40) before you start. I’m not sure which of those three items was the critical one — I suspect it was a combination of all three.

Thank you to Michelle for her suggestions, to Bobbie for offering Brian to us (it was nice to see him!), and to the Yahoo! group for their suggestions.

Update: There’s a video on HandiQuilter’s Facebook page about locking the legs in place: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150165136526966. However, we did this and it still didn’t work for us…





Gender-neutral cot quilt

25 04 2011

Some time back I received a set of charm squares (5 and 10 inch) and matching 2.5 inch strips as part of a promotional ‘gift’ for subscribing to a quilting magazine. I never figured out what to make with all this fabric and, over time, I’ve used parts of it for some of the travel accessories I make and sell on Etsy — luggage tags, luggage handle wraps, luggage straps and the like (http://www.etsy.com/shop/RhondaMadeIt?section_id=6122839).

I hadn’t touched the pack of 40 five inch squares. Until now.

I decided to make a gender-neutral cot quilt out of them, using mostly the lavender and soft greens, peppered with some of the pinks and blues and the occasional orange.

I used a disappearing nine-patch technique and then mixed up the blocks to give a more random appearance. I separated each set of four blocks with sashing strips in the lavenders and greens, added batting and a purple backing fabric, then free motion quilted the entire cot quilt in a large meandering stitch, using lavender thread top and bottom. The binding is a mix of the remaining lavender and green fabrics.

I’ve now added this pastel, gender-neutral cot quilt to my Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/listing/72831508/lavender-and-green-gender-neutral-cot

Click on a small photo below to show it full size, then click on it again in full size mode to zoom in to see the stitching.





Bright jelly roll lap quilt – finished

25 04 2011

I’ve finally completed some of the projects that were still outstanding from when I returned from the Eleanor Burns Quilting Academy in California last month.

On Day 3 of the Eleanor Burns Quilting Academy, I was in the class that made a quilt top from a jelly roll in 6 hours, using a serger (overlocker). The pattern is an Eleanor Burns design, and Eleanor gave us labels for the pieces we made, which she autographed using a permanent fabric pen (see the photo of the label).

When I got home, I added the borders, the batting, and the very bright backing fabric, then spent many many hours (about 10?) free motion quilting it on a HQ Sweet Sixteen. I found that flame motifs worked well in the square blocks, and so did several blocks with flame variations. I used a red, yellow, blue and green variegated cotton thread in the bobbin, and while it worked well with the backing fabric, it did show through a bit in some parts of the stitching. I did hooked feathers for the white border. Finally, I bound this quilt with a mix of the jelly roll and border fabrics.

I’ve now added this very bright lap quilt to my Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/listing/72828803/bright-lap-quilt.

Click on a small photo below to show it full size, then click on it again in full size mode to zoom in to see the stitching.





Cushion cover – finished

25 04 2011

I’ve finally completed some of the projects that were still outstanding from when I returned from the Eleanor Burns Quilting Academy in California last month.

On Day 1 of the Quilting Academy, I was in the class that made a cushion cover in 3 hours, using various embroidery machine techniques, including making three-dimensional pieces.

The only thing I had to do when I got home was finish the buttonholes and add some buttons — those pink and black polka dot buttons are just so cute and matched the super bright colours on the front of the cushion cover perfectly!

I’ve now added this cushion cover to my Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/listing/72827683/bright-floral-cushion-cover.

Click on a small photo below to show it full size, then click on it again in full size mode to zoom in to see the stitching.





Black and gold table runner – finished

25 04 2011

I’ve finally completed some of the projects that were still outstanding from when I returned from the Eleanor Burns Quilting Academy in California last month.

First cab off the rank is the black and gold table runner I made in Eleanor’s class (see https://sandgroper14.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/quilting-academy-day-2-march-2011/ for details). She’s signed the label too!

I added insulated batting and my own backing fabric, then spent many hours free motion quilting it. These were the first feathers I free motion quilted after a couple of weeks of doodling them!

I was surprised how easy they were to do after doodling. Something about a brain shift and a hand/eye coordination thing, even though doodling is the direct opposite to free motion quilting on a domestic sewing machine. With doodling you have paper that’s kept static while you move the pen; on a sewing machine, you have a static needle (pen) and you move the quilt (paper) under that needle. I doubt I could do that with real pen and paper!

I’ve now added this table runner to my Etsy store (http://www.etsy.com/listing/72826221/black-and-gold-fan-table-runner). SOLD! See my comment below.

Click on a small photo below to show it full size, then click on it again in full size mode to zoom in to see the stitching.





Testing ‘The Beast’

7 04 2011

My good — and most generous — friend Bobbie is going away for a couple of weeks, and she’s lent me her HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen long-arm quilting machine to try out. How amazing is that? I’m really interested in one of these machines, but couldn’t visualise if or how it would fit in my sewing room. I went to Bobbie’s house on Monday to ‘play’ on her machine and that’s when she offered to lend hers to me to really give it a run and see if I like it (it’s a big expense…).

So here’s Bobbie’s Queenie (I call it ‘The Beast’) in my sewing room. I got it set up last night and quilted two more blocks on one of the quilts I made at the Eleanor Burns Quilting Academy last month. And my free motion quilting is improving by leaps and bounds with this machine (plus all the doodling I’ve been doing).

Update: I’ve now ordered my own ‘Beast’ and I pick it up at the end of April. Can’t wait!

Click on a small image to see it full size.

I’ve still got to figure out where the ironing board that was on that wall is going to go! 😉