Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our Devil is wearing a Yarmulke!

After a freezing few days on the Utah Tundra, we are back in SoCal picking up where we left off. We ran the Big Bad Barudan right up until the moment we left. We were hoping to complete the latest design before we left so we could take it with us. No such luck. High stitch count, would have taken a few more hours.

We looked at the design and Big Al said, "Why is it doing that color?". Hey, it's a machine. Garbage in, garbage out. I said I programmed the color sequence exactly as he "told" me to. I had the color sequence written down as we were making changes. I asked him to VERIFY it. He did, but apparently missed something. NOT a big deal. I have figured out how to advance forward, backward, and pretty much get right back to exactly where and what color and/or stitch I need to be on…but I boogered up this time too. I can advance the machine and assign the proper color as long as I push the appropriate button once. I guess if I push the button twice it goes all the way back to stitch number one. The design was going well up until that point. It's messed up, too late to fix it, and worse, we had to go. So we spent the next 4 days trying to figure out what went wrong. Because we didn't have the machine we could only speculate.

All I had to do this morning was turn on the machine and look at what had happened. I messed up alright, It had begun again at the beginning but with the current color I had assigned. Now our devil is wearing a yarmulke or, more imaginatively, a do-rag.

The design is hopelessly messed up, but that's okay, it isn't a "live" item, still in "practice" mode. Rather than just bag the project I advanced to the last color, black to see if the outline would stitch okay and we could assess our possibility of using an applique for the background rather than some 70,000 stitches.

The best part is, that with every little mistake, I'm getting closer to mastery!

Thursday, November 26, 2009



Aug 12 Moved to our new home in Utah. It is so beautiful here. The mountains are so majestic, can hardly wait to see snow covering them.

Oct 14 Utah is the most beautiful place on earth. The leaves have turned all colors and shades of red and orange. Went for a ride through the beautiful mountains and saw some deer. They are so graceful. Certainly they are the most wonderful animal on earth. This must be paradise. I love it here.

Nov 11 Deer season will start soon. I can't imagine anyone wanting to kill such a gorgeous creature. Hope it will snow soon. I love it here.

Dec 2 It snowed last night. Woke up to find everything blanketed with white. It looks like a postcard. We went outside and cleaned the snow off the steps and shoveled the driveway. We had a snowball fight (I won) and then the snowplow came by, we had to shovel the driveway again. What a beautiful place. I love Utah.

Dec 12 More snow last night. I love it. The snowplow did its trick again to the driveway. I love it here.

Dec 19 More snow last night. Couldn't get out of the driveway to get to work. I am exhausted from shoveling. Fucking snowplow.

Dec 22 More of that fucking white shit fell last night. I've got blisters on my hands from shoveling snow. I think the snowplow hides around the corner and waits until I'm done shoveling the driveway. ASSHOLE.

Dec 25 Merry Fucking Christmas. More fucking snow. If I ever get my hands on the son-of-a-bitch who drives the snowplow, I swear I'll kill the bastard. Don't know why they don't use more salt on the roads to melt the fucking ice.

Dec 27 More of that white shit fell last night. Been inside for three days except to shovel the driveway each time the fucking snowplow goes by. Can't go anywhere, car's stuck in a mountain of that white shit. The weatherman says to expect another 10" again tonight. Do you know how many shovels full of snow 10" is?

Dec 28 The fucking weatherman was wrong. We got 34" of that white shit this time. At this rate it won't melt before summer. The snowplow got stuck down the road and the ASSHOLE came to the door and asked to borrow my shovel. I told him I had broken six shovels already shoveling that fucking white shit he had pushed into the driveway. I broke the seventh one over his fucking head.

Jan 4 Finally got out of the house today. Went to the store to get food. On the way back a fucking deer ran in front of the car and I hit it. Did about $3,000 damage to the car. Those fucking beasts should be killed. Wish the hunters had killed them all last October.

May 3 Took the car to the garage in town. Would you believe the son-of-a-bitch is rusting out from all the salt they put on the roads?

May 10 Moved to California. I can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would ever want to live in that fucking Utah.

~Source unknown. Taken from one of those copies of a copy of a copy back before the email days, but I could have written it myself.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Getting Better Every Day

A progress report and some photos I didn't get to before.

A completed wing. White parts laid down first, outlined by black parts. Some mystery misregistration occurred. Later found that it was probably fabric stretch. The design should have been built and stitched from the center out. In addition, a heavier cut-away stabilizer should have been used. Overall, not great, but not too bad.

Now black laid down first and white stitched on top. This worked much better, but the stitch count is still very heavy. Didn't have any misregistration problems because the entire shape was laid down in black as a background and the white was stitched on top of it. A few threads to trim here and there, but it worked. Another successful "test".

Big Al does most of the digital work and digitizing while I fiddle with the technical aspects of the machine. He often complains that he can't get anything done. Wonder why? When Schmoopie wants lovin' & scratchin', she wants lovin' & scratchin'. "Damn cat", he says.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Learning Curve Continues

When I last left off, I was having problems with the machine coming unthreaded. I did finish the white wing project, one-unthreaded-needle-at-a-time. It was a B-I-T-C-H! I did every trouble-shooting solution in the manual and even tried a few things of my own. I cranked the tension waaaayyyyy down hoping that would help but to no avail. I unthreaded and re-threaded the machine and did everything I know of using my knowledge of normal sewing machines. But that particular project being done, the things learned are filed away for future reference and Big Al changed the original wing file for yet another
round of experimentation.

The new file was bigger and better than ever. However, he changed the sew order of the colors so I started out sewing black, the needle came unthreaded early and he said, “No, that's supposed to be white.” I had to remember how to change colors/needles on the fly to get the right color down first. You can't see it but the white sewed back down over the black where I started over again. Needle kept coming unthreaded. Fed up, I took a screwdriver and changed the take-up spring because it looked like it was sticking and could be pulling the thread out. Voilá…pullout problem solved. Then I ran out of bobbin thread and the machine didn't stop like it was supposed to. I backed up (this time NOT messing with any controls), put in a new bobbin, and continued along. So far so good? Not exactly.

I had spent so much time cranking the tension down, down, and down, that the adjustment was all cattywumpus. I spent the next while during the entire sew-out of the white part, adjusting the tension back up, little-by-little, until it was properly adjusted again. To do this I had to sit on the floor with a light and watch the bottom of the work constantly. Of course I got it all adjusted and it was time to switch needles and color.

Now it was time to switch to black thread (for real this time). All was going pretty well. There were a few tense moments when I thought the needle was getting close to the frame, but it was okay. Then the needle got too close to the frame…BAM! The presser foot glanced off the side of the frame. I don't know whether the machine stopped itself or if I stopped it with the emergency switch. The important thing is that the machine had been stopped. I had started out the design by doing an autotrace of the bounding box around to see if there would be enough room. It was tight, if not a bit over, but you can see that the design, for the most part, fits inside the frame. I just needed to be one inch over and one inch down. I started from the dead center of the hoop which was also, presumably, dead center of the design.

So, again I pushed buttons and made it nearly impossible to line up the design again to continue, and there was no point in continuing as the black outline of that wing tip couldn't be completed anyway. Back to the drawing board to see if, a)The design can be fit to the dimensions of the hoop, or, b)If the design will be too big for the shirt we're designing in the first place. Either way, there will be much more learning on both our parts.