So Frustrating!

The Germs Are A Flyin

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been a bit lax at reading and commenting on your blog posts. Unfortunately I’ve been ill. My lack of energy kept me from doing anything but relaxing on my couch. Thankfully I have turned the corner and am finally on the mend. This uptick in energy has helped me to catchup on my reading and my interactions with your posts.

Just Before

Shortly before hitting the wall I was working on finishing up three on-going art pieces as well as a brand new one. All that was left to do on the on-going art pieces was the hand stitching. The new art piece had reached the quilting stage.

The plan was to quilt my project using my Pfaff Performance 5.0 because the piece was too small for my longarm machine. Sadly the machine had begun to have issues; issues that I couldn’t ignore. Even though I had been doing regular maintenance the machine just wouldn’t cooperate.

View One-After

After ripping-out my quilting twice I finally threw in the towel and admitted the repair shop was my only alternative. Sad as it was to be without my workhorse I knew I could always rely my old sewing machine, or could I?

My Backup

Knowing that I needed to put it back into use I went to my storage closet to remove my Pfaff 1475CD. This trusty machine has been with me since the early 1990’s. I’ve successfully used it to create many, many items.

The machine had been sitting idle for more than a year which meant it would probably need a bit of cleaning. I removed the cover and layers of dust that had gathered. Next I checked for any lint accumulation that may have been forgotten, replaced the needle, wound a bobbin, threaded the machine and grabbed my art piece. As I released the lever that suspended the presser foot in mid-air I assumed the shaft would slide down and engage the presser foot with my fabric. After releasing the lever I waited, and I waited, and I waited but that little critter refused to go down on its own. Who would have thought that my second machine wouldn’t work either?

Time to Dismantle

Since the warranty on my Pfaff 1475CD had expired eons ago I figured I might as well attempt to troubleshoot the problem. I did research on the internet to find a solution. Through my searching I discovered that this is a common problem with this machine. Using the knowledge I acquired I proceeded to disassemble the machine.

I followed all of the suggestions, even enlisting the assistance of my hubby to try to revive my machine. After days of oiling, cleaning, poking and prodding we came to the conclusion that the issue was beyond our abilities. I bet you can guess what happened next…that’s right! Not only did my Pfaff Performance 5.0 take a ride to the repair shop but so did this one.

To the Rescue

I was so distraught. The thought of being without my machines for three weeks along with the fatigue of my illness was more than I could bear. Tears came rolling down my face as I struggled with my emotional dilemma. I shared my issue with my family via iMessage. In no time my oldest daughter was offering me the opportunity to use one of hers. I did accept her offer and made arrangements to bring one of her sewing machines home. Having her machine available means the next three weeks, sans my own machines, will be less painful.

Tin Lizzie

Since I’m on the subject of ailing sewing machines I thought I might as well give an update on my Tin Lizzie.

Tim Lizzie Error Message
Tin Lizzie Error Message

For a while I have been sharing the troubles I have been experiencing with my longarm quilt machine. My machine has been randomly deciding not to turn on. I reached out to the company for assistance but received very little if any response. Thankfully the issue I was having was intermittent.

Tin Lizzie
My Tin Lizzie Ansley 26 Longarm Quilt Machine

One day, out-of-the-blue, I received a random phone call from my Tin Lizzie repairman. I was absolutely aghast to hear from him because my previous cries for help had gone unanswered. As our conversation progressed it was obvious he was oblivious to my issues. His reason for calling was totally unrelated. Thankfully he promptly made an appointment to stop by to trouble-shoot my machine.

After diagnosing the performance of my Tin Lizzie he was able to determine that there were parts in the motor which needed replacing. Thank goodness there was actually something wrong and it wasn’t just my crazy thinking. He immediately placed a call to order the parts. As soon as they arrive he will stop back to install them. I plan on enticing him to checkout a few more things while he is here, just because. My warranty expires in a few short months so it’s now or never.

Who would have ever thought that all three of my machines would have issues at the same time!!!

Thank You!

Thank you for letting me cry on your shoulder! I really needed the support.

Talk with you soon!


Friday Favorites: Something New

Friday Favorites

For twenty plus years I have proudly used my Pfaff 1475 sewing machine to assemble countless items, mend clothing, add buttons, attach achievement badges, among other items. It traveled with me to sewing events, retreats, and even on vacation. Throughout all of that it faithfully performed day after day with barely a hiccup.

Late in December of 2015 a new resident moved into my home. Inside the cardboard box was a brand new Pfaff Performance 5.0.

Pfaff Performance 5.0.jpg

So how did this come about, you might ask? As 2015 drew to a close my spouse suggested that we shop for a new sewing machine. I was quite surprised when he offered. Although I was very satisfied with my faithful companion I just couldn’t turn down such an opportunity?

Before setting out for a local vendor we did research on the available machines. We eventually decided to stay with the same brand as my current machine.

As is our custom we took several days to contemplate the purchase. We weighed the pros and cons carefully. After thoroughly analyzing our options we jointly decided to move forward with the purchase. We chose the Pfaff Performance 5.0. Before the close of 2015 the machine was paid for and brought home. Unfortunately it sat unused until early in February.

After unpacking the machine and all of the accessories I connected each of the cords and plugged it in. With the users’ guide on my left I paged through the manual learning how to thread the machine, wind and install bobbins, select a few options from the menu, then put the machine to work. The machine worked flawlessly! I’m very, very thrilled with the choice that we made.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

Maintenance on my Tin Lizzie


Just like most mechanical machines, long-arm quilt machines require regular maintenance. How nice it would be to just turn on the switch and start quilting. Unfortunately it wouldn’t take long for equipment failure to occur. Listed below are the steps I take to keep my machine running smoothly.

First and foremost is checking the oil. A long-arm quilt machine has many parts requiring lubrication. Each time I get ready to use my machine one of the first things I do is check the oil. Although there’s no hood to lift there is a dip stick. This dip stick is tiny compared to that of a motor vehicle. The procedure is very similar.

The next and most obvious key to successful operation is the accurate threading of the machine. Missing just one step can cause missed stitches and/or broken thread. Long-arm quilt machines are a bit trickier to thread than conventional machines. To simplify the threading process I always leave enough thread in the machine to make one complete pass through the circuit.  That way when it comes time to change thread colors all I do is tie the new thread to the end of the old one and gently pull it through. The only time this fails is when my knot falls apart. Of course it’s not the end of the world. It just means I have to finish it myself.

Thread is inherently accompanied by lint. Lint is an ongoing obstacle; too much accumulation will create problems with the bobbin as well as the movement of the machine on its rails. An accumulation of lint, threads or other debris will prohibit the wheels from moving freely. A bumpy ride makes for wobbly stitches. Wobbly stitches is a recipe for a very unhappy quilter.

To keep my machine gliding effortlessly I regularly clean the rails as well as the wheels that ride on them. Cleaning them is a simple procedure. I utilize a dusting wand to remove obstructions from the rails. To clean the wheels, of which there are many, I hold an ordinary facial tissue against each of the wheels as I advance the quilter. You’d be amazed at the volume of debris one can remove.

The frame, which provides not only support for the long-arm quilt machine but also the path by which the machine travels, is composed of many metal and plastic parts. Those various parts are held together by screws. Each of those screws has the potential to loosen up. On one such occasion I experienced one of the consequences. A screw securing one of the handles on a rod came out. A quick phone call to the supplier of my machine, Park City Quilting, resulted in a very simple solution. Ever since that episode I faithfully check the status of each and every screw. A little turn here and a little turn there keeps everything together.

The last but not least maintenance issue is the all important needle. The needle of a long-arm quilt machine travels at a very high rate of speed. The repetitious movement causes wear and tear on the needle resulting in burrs and/or a dull needle. This deterioration can cause damage to a project. To eliminate that possibility it’s important to regularly replace the needle. Some people believe every project deserves a new needle. Others are of the opinion that closely monitoring the status of your needle for problems is just as effective.

Well this brings my tour of long-arm quilt machine maintenance to an end. Perhaps it’s a bit more information than you were interested in. If I lost you somewhere back in the first paragraph there’s no need to worry because you won’t be tested. I am happy though that you took the time to stay with me. Thanks so much for stopping by.