A Juki Adventure

It sounds so much better to call it an adventure, instead of a bloody nightmare, doesn’t it? When I last left you, I believe I was hopeful that Meissner’s Sewing in Sacramento was going to be able to help me. And I have to give huge kudos to Meissner’s. Within 3 minutes of calling and asking to speak to the service department, I was talking to J., a very knowledgeable service guy. Turns out, yes, they do service Juki’s, but not the long arms. And especially if they are under warranty. So it was back to the dealer that I bought it from.

I’ve decided not to name them here, because essentially I’m a nice person. But this dealership provided absolutely horrible service. In my very first call, I asked to speak to the service department, and it was an entire WEEK, and so many phone calls before that ever happened. In the mean time, there was a lot of hemming and hawing, and broken promises. And here’s the thing. On the FIRST day I spoke to a young man at that store, he said, “I’ll talk to Elbert, he knows everything about the Juki TL2200.” Read on, and remember that name.

So after I found out that Meissner’s couldn’t help me, and it became clear that I would get no help from the dealer that I bought it from, I looked once again at the Juki website for a phone number. When I had looked a few days before, there was no phone number listed, and I did send a pitiful email asking if anybody was interested in helping me. So this time (its now been a week since I first started trying to get help) I saw a phone number. I call Juki, and I ask to speak to the service department. They transfer me, and a REAL PERSON answers the phone. I explain about the alarm, and this nice patient man tells me “unplug this and this and detach this, and put the needle in the down position. Now turn the machine on and count how many beeps before it pauses.” And sure enough, it did pause, and he said, “it sounds like the motor. Now you need to call B.” And then this nice, knowledgeable man says, “I’m Elbert.” Screaming inside. A whole week ago, the dealership knew exactly who to talk to about this problem, but they just kept doing nothing.

Now, once again, I had to play phone tag/multiple emails etc., before I finally got to talk to B. Seems B. is a busy guy, and he is the only one who REPLACES THE MOTOR in this Juki. Yes, my Juki needs a new motor. And to rub salt in this wound, I believe that it needed it from the start. Remember, when I was setting the machine up, that same alarm went off. At that time, I sent an email to the Juki rep, asking about the alarm. He never answered me.

This adventure is not over yet. But the Juki IS in the mail (after MORE multiple phone calls asking for the mailing label.) B. says I’ll get the machine back in two weeks. Hahahaha. That’s two weeks of service-man’s time. I am hoping to get it back in a month.



What inspires you? Most often, I am inspired by other textile artists. And often, their work is a springboard for something I want to try in quilting. If you think that’s wrong, here is a quote I keep in my studio:

Copy the designs of others without shame, and keep going, until you find that the things you are doing are completely original and have nothing to do with anything but what your feel inside. MAXWELL GILLINGHAM-RYAN.

Here are some of the latest artists that have inspired me. But first, I have to share a quote from Mary Fons. She succinctly says something that I have firmly believed for a long time.

 If I wanted to make perfect objects, I wouldn’t use fabric.

Does anybody remember Colorforms from their childhood? Re-stickable forms–I LOVED those things. Can you believe they have an original re-make available?  Anyway, I saw this artist’s work, and just liked the idea of putting simple shapes together–it seemed like a good canvas for embroidery stitches or kantha work, so I made a small piece to experiment with. I don’t know that the name for her work was inspired by the child’s toy, but I liked the idea of that.

Somehow I ran across this weaver’s work, and I am smitten! So smitten that I want to go and take tapestry weaving classes from her! Alas, I have too many other textile areas I am working in, and I have not figured out how to increase the number of hours in the day. I am sure some of her designs will inspire my next quilting experiment.

Here is a wonderful free e-magazine to inspire you. Linda and Laura Kemshell do wonderful and inspiring work, and put together this wonderful magazine that I find most inspirational. Check out page 55–yours truly responded to their call for reader’s work. This same piece is in SAQA’s Northern California Inspirations II exhibit, and it is now being shown in the Olive Hyde Gallery in Fremont, CA. On Saturday, October 29, they are going to have artist talks, which I will be participating in–that will be something new for me.

I am also inspired by words. I finished my “Dust if you Must” sampler, and it is awaiting quilting, which brings up another topic.


That other topic being….THE JUKI. Cue ominous music. Last Wednesday, the alarm went off again. (It went off when I first got the machine, and I just kept futzing with it and it stopped.) There is nothing in the user manual or anywhere online about an alarm on this machine. After fooling around with the machine for an entire morning, I finally called the dealer that I had bought it from. I won’t mention their name yet, but I am NOT HAPPY with their lack of help. They are in Southern California, and I am in Northern Ca. But I still expected better help via phone. ANYWAY, after checking google ONE MORE TIME, I realized that although Meissner’s does not sell Juki long arms, they are a certified repair center. I AM VERY RELIEVED. I am not happy that I am having this problem with a machine that I purchased nine months ago. I will be sure to update you on how this problem is resolved. So for now, quilting has come to a screeching halt. I have plenty of handwork to do on my Hallelujah quilt, so I continue to stitch away at that. Here is something I am doing in the smaller circles. I do like this design very much!


And I will end this post for now. Have an inspiration-filled week! And spend a little time on your art every day. You will be surprised at what you can accomplish.

A Colorful Interlude

You all know I need a little color in my life, right? After working so long on Hallelujah, I allowed myself some colorful play. Mostly meaningless, but fun-to-me projects. Remember this saying that I said I wanted to embroider? Well, one night, I just got a piece of cloth and a blue disappearing ink pen, and went for it.


Here’s my version. Can you see where I personalized it? Its not finished yet, but getting there. Had to share!


Embroider and a needle, instead of paint and a paintbrush.


I recently ran across a new blog, and on the first time I visited, she was doing a giveaway. I was really impressed with one of her paintings, and said that if I won, that was the one I would choose. If you can believe it, I won that giveaway! And so I decided that I would embroider a version of that painting.


A pen instead of a pencil, and I fashioned it after a special fountain pen that my dad had given me.


I was going to make a regular cake instead of the cupcake, but it was just too cute. I left it as-is.


And of course I had to add flowers to the seed stems.


Here’s my design wall. I have been working occasionally on Noah, and then I need to take it off the frame and look at it for a while to see if I’m still on track. The two big blocks are just the start of that Genesis quilt I want to do. And the other blocks were what I let myself play around with on Friday.


I just like making these cross-cut blocks. These are a lot bigger than the last set I did. I wonder if that means I’m on my way to making another big quilt??


Last weekend I went down to Quilting in the Garden. I was pretty excited to see my quilt (#74) hanging at the front display right at the entrance to the show!


And here is another of my quilts (the cross) hanging on one of the magnificent old oaks.


It was really fun to go to this show, and to see my quilts hanging. Its probably not the best venue for my quilts, because they are small, and you can’t really see the details–they are hung pretty high. But what’s not to enjoy about walking around a beautiful nursery and looking at quilts at the same time?

Working without a Net

Working on this Hallelujah quilt has been challenging, to say the least. I had an idea, but that idea included a lot of things I had never done before. And I guess I’ve been more nervous about this particular quilt because I very badly want it to turn out good. Changing my vision along the way has created more uncertainty. And to be fair, I do tend to drag my feet when faced with learning something new.

I think I showed you this before–just fitting the 10 panels together into a finished top was a challenge. It looked a little empty, and I had the thought to add more circles.


But I thought that might look silly, so it sat untended on the design wall for a few days. One day I told myself, just go out and try a few circles. That’s all you have to do.

And surprise, surprise, I liked it. So I set about cutting a myriad of circles out of various fabrics, and pinning them to the top to decide where to place them.


Once the circles were zig zagged in place, it was finally time to make the quilt sandwich. Oh, but first I had to make the back. Of course, I did not have one piece big enough for the back, so I used four different light colored fabrics and pieced together the back.

NOW it was time to make the sandwich. Another thing that caused me great concern. I usually rely on steam to put my quilt sandwiches together. That would not work with this slippery top and the wool batting. Oh, when I took the wool out of the bag, it was very wrinkled. Somewhere in the recesses of my memory there was something about putting it in the dryer for a few minutes. Google to the rescue–I put it in the dryer with a damp washcloth for less than 10 minutes–perfection!

So. I decided I would just pin the daylights out of this top. But shortly into that process, I became concerned about moving it and trying to machine baste it. Since the layers weren’t steamed together, I did not have faith that there wouldn’t be slippage in that process.

So I decided I needed to hand baste it. Here is how it looked to me. An ENDLESS sea of pins, waiting for the slow and painful process of hand basting.


My finger was getting a beating. I remembered I had these little thingies, and they came in very handy. I tried to be patient and basted it in a 4-5 inch grid.


Making progress.


And after three days, it was basted. I checked the back, and amazingly, there were no pleats. So I folded it up and put it on the quilting table. More decisions awaited me.