Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tech Sunday - New Computer

I am writing this post from my new laptop.  I debated a long time on what to get.  My last laptop was only about 18 months old.  It is dead, and I mean dead.  It gave a message that the fan was not working, but we tested the fan and it is fine.  I can get the stuff off the harddrive, so that is not really an issue.  I am not happy that the laptop failed that fast.  Matt still uses the laptop I had before that one.  It is 7 years old.  It's slow, but it is still working.  I only replaced it because the screen fell off and it was over 5 years old.  At the time, we didn't want to play with it.  After we replaced it I actually looked at the cover and realized that all the little screws I had been finding all over the house had been holding the screen in the case.  So it took about 5 minutes to fix and Matt got a laptop.  Funny that they old apple green Dell is still working and the one I got 18 months ago is a useless brick.

I had tried a different brand for the last one.  I thought it was a reliable company and really I am not hard on my computers so it should have been fine.  Well, I will never by that brand again.  There were lots of little nagging issues but it not lasting two years is a real issue.  Several of my friends suggested Toshiba this time.  I have never had one and the one I purchased had good reviews so I decided to give it a try.  I was thinking about doing a touch screen but at the last minute I went with a cheaper regular laptop.  I just could get myself to fork out that much money right now for another machine.  So far I like the Toshiba and I really like that it has a 10 key pad.  That is something I have never had on a laptop.

Here is the strange part.  Before becoming a longarmer I was a computer tech.  I have never had a hard time figure out how to do things on my computers.  My iPad took a little while because some of the things I needed to do just weren't intuitive to me.  I have not played with a Apple since the original iMac came out in the late 90s.  It's not that I don't like Apple, my job was always PC based after that so I never really got to play on one.  I even considered getting a Apple this time but some of the programs I use still don't have Mac versions and the price is more then I really wanted to spend.

I have to  wonder what Microsoft was thinking when it designed Windows 8.  I have had to actually Google how to close a program and how to shut down the machine.  Who thought it was a good idea to have to use Win + i to do anything? You have taught us all to right click and now you took that away.  What are you thinking?  My in-laws need a new computer.  I am really regretting not getting them with Windows 7 on it.  The learning curve is just too much.

I am not saying that there are not some great new features in Windows 8, because there are.  Skydrive is one that I will be playing with because I can get a app for it for my iPad and iPhone and then I can use it like Google Drive.  I do like the new graphical start window.  It is figuring out how to change settings and close things that is weird.  I know how to now, but it just does not make sense to me that they did not go over it in their overview of the system.  It is a laptop I am going to have to be able to shut it off...  I can't believe the difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8.  I also got the new Office update.  I have only played for a couple seconds in Word 2013, but so far that is very intuitive.  Must have had a different usability team.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tech Sunday - Back up your computer

Before I started longarm quilting I was a software support rep. I know better, but I have not been very good about backing up my laptop.  It's a good thing I have a way to to get the stuff off my harddrive without having to boot my computer, because it won't boot.  And since I have not been backing up, I am going to have to pull everything off that harddrive.  So, please take the time to back up your computer.

Friday, March 22, 2013

APQS Beginner Class in Raleigh, NC

With the beginner class offered at APQS, our goal is to teach you the skills you'll need to accomplish a typical quilting project on your new longarm machine. This class is designed to be an introduction to machine quilting after you have made yourself familiar with your machine controls. Whether you intend to start a business or just want to get your quilts done faster, you'll learn valuable techniques to accomplish your projects creatively and efficiently. This class is mostly "demonstration" so we can squeeze in as much information as possible.

We will cover specific topics during each class, however, each class is unique and based on the needs of the students. We encourage questions and active participation -- you're here to learn!

Bring all your questions about operating the machine, business practices, thread, tension and anything else you can think of. This is a demonstration/lecture class. No hands on time will be available. Information we will cover includes:

  • Starting a business
  • Thread, tension, batting
  • Deciding how to quilt a quilt
  • Dealing with problem quilts
  • Different methods for loading quilts
  • Pantographs
  • Borders
  • Stitching a block
  • Marking quilt designs
  • Ruler work

 *Free to qualified new APQS owners or $200

When: Wednesday, April 17th, or Saturday, May 4th or Wednesday, June 12th
9:30AM- 4PM
Where: Thread Waggle Quilting
Lunch will be provided.
Space is limited so, call Angela to reserve your space.  919-576-9897
If this is not a good date, call me so that we can arrange a future date for you to attend.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tech Sunday - Organization of Customer Quilts

In the last two weeks I have spent 4 days at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival and 4 days at the Wish Upon a Quilt retreat in Old Salem.  Plus there was a quick trip to Charlotte for an APQS Road Show.  Sorry I missed the last two Sundays but I wanted to get a post in today even if it is a little late. 

I would love to have everyone believe that my studio always looks like the ones in magazines. HA! This is a working studio, surfaces are used as stacking spaces, batting is everywhere. There is currently a roll of batting leaning against my french doors. I can only see a fraction of the mat on my cutting table and there is thread on every surface on. Cones waiting to be put away, stings everywhere. Yesterday I decided that the closet in my studio needed to be organized. I could open and close the door. Ok, I might have had to move stuff to actually close the door and the floor may have been stacked 3 feet deep, but it was hidden from my view. Last night I cleared out the floor of the closet. I threw a lot away, made piles to take to guild to donate to the charity drives and put everything I am keeping away.

I can now walk right up to my customer quilts. When I first started longarming I just grabbed some plastic hangers out of a closet and started using them to hang quilts on. Want to see what a queen sized quilt can do a heavy duty plastic hanger?

About a year ago I started purchasing Chrome hangers from The Container Store. Yes, they are on the expensive side, but they can handle the weight of the quilts. I actually ran out today and picked up 20 more hangers. I still do not have enough for all the quilts waiting to be quilted.

I use work order sleeves from Uline. The grommet fits right over the hanger and I can put a full sized piece of paper in it. I also put the binding in it so that everything stays with the quilt. I love this system. I have been using it for my customer quilts for years and I am working on getting all my quilts organized the same way.

Just look how nice it looks when with all the quilts huge.

The scary things is those are my Mom's tops waiting for me to quilt them, mine are still on plastic hangers and my customer quilts are hung on a different wall. Guess it is a good thing I just ordered Quilt Path. I really need to get some of my Mom's quilts done.