Sunday, November 26, 2023

Machines ... Love Them Or Hate Them!

Good Morning from sunny California.  It may look like it's warm outside, but the temperature gauge says put on your long johns and two pairs of socks.  That's why Cooper and I snuggle in front of the fireplace in the mornings.   

After two cups of coffee, just to be sure I was awake, I began the project of the day.  I was a little nervous since I haven't done any large quilts since I got my machine set up.  It's like the difference between climbing the steps up to your RV and climbing Mount Whitney.  Little ones are a breeze ... THIS was a big challenge.

Machinery ... you either love it or you hate it.  To begin with, you have to choose a pattern.  This one had stars exactly like the fabric stars.  You never know how it's going to look until you've done enough you don't want to take out 1,000 stitches.  You are looking at a computer screen with circles so small they are not identifiable. 

I thought this pattern was small, so I enlarged it.  Obviously, not nearly large enough.  The problem is I am limited by the "throat" space.  I only have a total of 17 inches to play with.  You just never know until it's too late to switch patterns.  

Like any piece of machinery, including D9 cats and excavators, you have to listen to the sounds it makes.  That will tell you instantly if something is wrong.  I've got one ear on the quilting machine and one ear on the laundry in the back room.  It pays to be ambidextrous in that department.

We were sailing along quite nicely until I got down on the floor to play with Cooper who was bugging me.  That's when I heard it.  I couldn't get up fast enough, banging my head on the bar.  It didn't even complete ONE ROW before running out of bobbin thread.  Small patterns like this use up three times the thread.  Oh it's going to be a VERY long day. 

 It's hard to get the machine to see where it's at.  Once you stop, it thinks it's three blocks away on Elm Street.  It takes sonar, GPS and maps to get it back at the house.  And it's going to stop at least once in the middle of every single row.  Sheesh!!!

This is what it sounds like.  If screaming children bother you, you may want to mute this one.  Never EVER leave the machine and go into a room where you cannot hear.  You will regret it!!  

To compound the problem, because why not, the three pieces you are going to quilt together, loaded separately on three different bars, must be exactly square on the frame.  On a small quilt, you wouldn't notice, but on this big one, it makes a HUGE difference.  None of the pieces for this one were straight.  That means the setup guy didn't put the leaders on exactly in the middle.  Big sigh.  

Luckily  I was able to push, pull and manhandle them so it came out sort of straight ... but now I have to take them all off completely and reset everything squarely.  No one ever said this was easy!  In the end I finished the quilt after a grueling eight hours of standing and watching every second.  I like it, even though the pattern makes your eyes go wonky.  

Now completely beat up, having had to crawl under the machine numerous times, let's make those pumpkin pies!!  Should be easy, right?  Wrong!!  This recipe is made from the Pumpkin Only can.  I was a little leery since the evaporated milk cans were past dated.  

Here's the lesson I learned from my Mom when I got swatted for putting the pumpkin in the pie crust BEFORE putting it in to bake.  Pumpkin went everywhere and I spent two days cleaning the oven.  Yes, that's a Marie Callenders frozen pie shell.

This mixture made not one, but TWO pies, which is why I asked about freezing.  The one on the right came out perfect, baked in my Breville oven.  The one on the left suffered a terrible death for 45 minutes longer since my REAL oven temperature is way off.  I kept having to add 10 minutes after 10 minutes. 

There was a little pumpkin mix left over, so in my little brain I thought why not nuke it and see if it sets up.  No, no it does not.  It curdles rather nicely, looks like you already ate it and never sets up, but it tasted pretty good.  Yeah, it went in the trash.

As for the pie ... anything smothered in whipped cream will taste wonderful.  Truthfully, I again ate way too much for lunch, so this was dinner.  It was well deserved after struggling with the quilting machine all day long.

Since it's Sunday, or at least I THINK it's Sunday, I need to make a trip to the store.  The crowds should be gone by now, and with TWO pumpkin pies to eat, I require MUCH more whipped cream.  I'm thinking maybe a few 5 miles walks wouldn't be a bad idea either!!


  1. Your quilt looks fabulous!
    Everything tastes better with whipped cream on top!
    Enjoy your Sunday!

  2. Nancy, your quilt is absolutely beautiful and I love your color palette. Your star pattern looks similar to my favorite star pattern, Lucky Stars. I know that machine quilting can be a real challenge and am fortunate that a good friend does my quilting.

    1. Thank you so much!! I do love the more neutral colors it seems. I love machine quilting, but there is a learning curve!

  3. That quilt is very classy. Lovely, your 8 hours on the floor was worth it. I like the way you have 5 different stars in the middle.
    The pies look great to me!

    1. Thanks Patsy. I switched the pattern around a bit, and I like the results too.

  4. My sister made Pumpkin Squares for Thanksgiving...they were to die for! Glad we took the day off from our diet, eating only Thanksgiving meal which, with seconds, was enough for three meals for the day anyway.

    1. Oooohhh those sound good!!! Yessirree ... it took quite some time to want food again!!