Quilt Odyssey 2010, Part II: The Vendors

August 10, 2010 at 10:09 pm Leave a comment

As I mentioned in the last post, Quilt Odyssey’s quilt exhibit and vendor area are separated by a large lobby area.  Considering that we had parked the car and entered the building on a hot, sunny, humid morning, as we walked from the quilt exhibit to the merchant mall, we were taken rather aback to see that, less than two hours later, this was going on:

Monsoon season!

Anyway, the merchant mall at Quilt Odyssey never disappoints.  The same vendors do tend to come back year after year, which suggests they must have a successful show.  I was conservative in my purchases this year, so my apologies to the vendors (although not to my budget.)  The only really big-gish ticket item with which I indulged myself was the new free motion foot from Janome.

Brubaker’s Sewing Center was there with their Janome machines and accessories, and they were doing a pretty brisk business while I was in the booth; I suppose Sunday afternoon is the time when you want to buy a machine so that a) you can take it right out to your car; and b) you can strike a good deal with the dealer, who doesn’t want to have to pack it back up to take home.  Although a show booth seems like a great place to see a lot of machines and get demos, it struck me as odd that someone would buy a complicated machine from a dealer located far from them.  I overheard an older couple closing the deal on a $6000 embroidery machine, and they mentioned they were heading home to Connecticut.  Either there are no Janome dealers in Connecticut, or that was a really good deal.  I’m very glad that I bought my machine from a dealer I could easily get to for my new user class and any troubleshooting I might need, but I’m glad for Brubaker’s that not everyone thinks like me!

Anyway, I am very happy with my Janome MC6500, which I’ve had for 6 years now; the only two quibbles I’ve had with it, almost since the beginning, were that it didn’t have a bobbin alarm and I didn’t like the free motion foot.  The bobbin alarm is a lost cause; it’s not like they’re going to develop an aftermarket add-on for that.  It just seems so short-sighted to not put one on a machine that’s been designed with an extra-long throat space for machine quilting!  Apparently the designers didn’t think it was necessary, since it has a clear acrylic drop-in bobbin, but when you’re quilting a big giant quilt, you can go hours without seeing the bobbin.  Oh well.

The included free motion foot is clear acrylic and kind of bean-shaped.  I’m sure there are plenty of quilters who like an acrylic free motion foot, but I cannot count myself among them.  The acrylic may be clear, but it catches the light and reflects, especially if there’s any lint or residue of chalk marking pencil on it, obscuring my view of the quilt top.  I prefer a metal foot, which can be significantly smaller and thinner without being too weak.  Also, I want a round foot, so that I can use the foot itself  as a guide for echo quilting; an oblong foot doesn’t stay a constant width from the stitching line.  I have tried feet from other companies and have found some reasonable substitutes, especially when custom-modified with my Dremel tool, but nothing was exactly what I wanted.

Janome Convertible Free Motion Foot

Hopefully, this new one will be.  It’s billed as a convertible foot, because it comes with a single (offset shank, hooray!) attachment base with three interchangeable feet:  open metal, closed metal, and big honking acrylic.  (Suffice to say I am not currently a fan of #3.)  So far I’ve only just goofed around with it; the real test will be actually quilting an entire quilt and seeing if the magic stays.  I’ll most likely primarily use the open metal foot, as this is the most like the Bernina foot I have coveted, but the closed metal foot will be nice for quilts with puffy batts (or badly pressed seams!) as it will be less likely to catch on things.  Also, this foot does not hop, but rather glides above the surface of the top.  This will take some getting used to, but may end up being a real benefit.  I certainly hope so, because the 3-foot pack was $72, which while it doesn’t compare to Bernina foot prices, I can assure you it’s an awful lot to pay for a Janome foot.  But if it solves my lingering discontent on the topic, it’ll have been worth every penny.

New RR Taupes

Other than that, I bought 7 taupe (enough already!) Red Rooster fat quarters from Traditions at the White Swan, a 1/2 yard of a cute owl print from Smile Spinners, and a spool of MasterPiece from Superior Threads.  MasterPiece is the only thread by Superior that I haven’t been entirely happy with, but the only spool I had bought (and just recently finished) was black.  My experience with DMC embroidery floss suggests that perhaps the black dyeing process renders cotton thread a little more temperamental than other colors, so based on the strength of the rest of their product lines, I thought I’d buy a nice neutral piecing color and give it a second chance to see if it changes my mind.  If not, I’ll continue to use all their quilting threads, but I’ll stick with Presencia and Aurifil for piecing.

The show was closing at 4:00, but we were done in the dealer hall in time to get out to the lobby for the prize drawing.  We had gotten tickets as part of our show admission for a must-be-present-to-win drawing for a $1000 cutting table.  Even with the rain and with being the end of the day on Sunday, there was quite a turnout in the lobby, and to the show staff’s credit, they held the drawing right on time.  (Yes, I’m looking at you, Quilters Unlimited show!)  Unfortunately, no one in our group won; fortunately, the woman whose ticket they pulled was indeed there to claim her prize, so there was no tortuously drawn-out process.  Then, with a quick stop at Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet on the way, we were back home to quilt some more!  I’m always happy when I can quilt right after a show, while my motivation’s still up.

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Entry filed under: Fabric Shopping, Quilt Shows, Travel, Uncategorized. Tags: , .

Quilt Odyssey 2010, Part I: The Quilts Patchwork as Fashion

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