Baby Steps with Millie – Getting the Long Arm Set up on the Cheap

I have been having lots of fun getting Millie settled into the house and learning. Lots and lots of learning.

I have also been resisting the temptation to buy a whole bunch of new expensive tools and equipment. This is where having a VERY mechanically inclined husband is VERY handy. And two creative people coming up with solutions on the cheap.

We both agreed that I didn’t need the $500 pretty light bar for the machine that two or three fluorescent lights (that we already had on hand) would do JUST fine. Those got hung yesterday. YIPPIE!!

The other thing we both agreed was that we didn’t want an extension cord for the machine on the floor. With me being so graceful and with the two Mini Steams running around that was just asking for trouble.

First Mr Steam’s tried using some conduit we had laying around and a clevis used for off roading. It was a good thought. But, the problem was the clevis was too heavy and would hang up on the conduit. And it caused the machine to be hard to move and it was causing a ton of thread breaks. So about every two feet of travel I’d have to walk to the back of the machine and move the cord.

Our 1st try at a track

Mr. Steam being the ever doting and loving husband (and desperately trying to keep me from freaking out about my new VERY expensive piece of equipment) came up with plan B. And it’s a WINNER! He had some 5/16″ air craft cable (yep we just had some laying around) bought a pulley from the hardware store for $7. He strung up the cable from the floor joist and zip tied the power cord to the pulley. It works AWESOME. And it’s super duper quiet. Which is a good thing because my sewing time is usually while the kids are sleeping and Millie is directly under the Mini Steams bedrooms. Double win!

New and improved track system

You may also be able to see in the picture that the power strips have been mounted to the floor joists. So ALL of the power cord is off the floor and out of reach of the Mini Steams.

Another cost saving was to not buy the under quilt camera for the machine for about $600. Instead I went to Walmart and got a hand mirror for bout $4. Its hung on the cabinet right by the back of the machine. See that purple square to the right behind Mr. Steam’s head? Yep.

Since I had spent a few days practicing on some muslin it was time to load a quilt on the machine. Just loading the backing on the machine killed my feet standing on the concrete floor. I do want to get some good Anti-fatigue mats. But getting 24 feet worth of those babies is going to be a couple hundred dollars. So we sacrificed the kids alphabet foam mat to act as a temporary floor mat for me.

The first quilt I loaded to the machine is a triple Irish Chain that I have had done for SEVERAL years. How pretty does that look??? So excited to finally be able to quilt some of these larger quilt tops.
1st quilt on Millie

Since this is my first quilt I am sticking with things I know. I am doing some simple loops and in the ditch stitching on the borders. Remember that purple miror? This picture is from the mirror on the bottom of the quilt since the top fabric is too dark to see the pattern. And yes, I know that some people would have used a thread to match the backing fabric, but I tend to match the top thread. That way if there is any pull thru on the top you won’t see it.

Loops in the border

The floral areas of the quilt are getting a stipple. It’s really hard to see. But I am pretty happy with the results so far.

1st quilt on millie 008

I am still working out what I want to do in the chains. I have some time to figure that out though. There is a lot of stippling to do.


About NotYourNormalSteam

I love to make things, food, paper, fabric, the medium doesn’t really matter. I am also an obsessive planner. The day after Christmas I am already working out plans for the next year.
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