Monday, September 23, 2019

In Which the United States Postal Service is Out to Get Me, So I Design a Scrappy Quilt in EQ8 for My Accuquilt Qube Dies

Greetings, y'all!  I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am that my Internet is working again -- it's been down since Sunday afternoon.  I am so happy to be back in the 21st century!

New Scrappy Quilt Design Brought to You by Accuquilt, EQ8, and a Day Without Internet
What I am NOT happy about is that the first part we ordered for my APQS Millennium longarm machine -- the $200 head encoder -- did NOT solve the problem with my machine, so we had to order the $700 Bliss carriage encoder as well.  Did I ever tell you guys what was wrong with my longarm?  The motor randomly surges and speeds up in stitch regulated mode, especially noticeable and especially annoying when I'm moving the machine head at a slow and steady pace, like for ruler work.  When stitching in Manual Mode (without stitch regulation) she runs smooth and steady -- but I want my stitch regulator to work the way it's supposed to and if that means replacing a couple of expensive parts, so be it.  But the cost of the parts is not even the most annoying bit, though.  

The United States Post Office is conspiring against me, rerouting my APQS parts all over the country to prevent me from getting my machine up and running smoothly again.  I kid you not!  That first part was ordered a week ago Thursday and was shipped Priority 2-Day Mail from Carroll, Iowa to Charlotte, North Carolina, but it didn't get here until the following Wednesday evening because the USPS distribution center in Iowa decided to send my package to Akron, Ohio instead of to Charlotte, North Carolina.  After installing the part and testing the machine again on Wednesday night, we ordered the second part (the one I'm still waiting on) first thing Thursday morning.  Again, the package was shipped out Priority Mail with a 2-Day estimated delivery time from the post office, with the tracking number originally telling me my package would be here on Saturday...  This time, the package was sent straight from the Iowa distribution center to the Charlotte, NC distribution center and it was HERE IN CHARLOTTE on Saturday morning.  But alas!  Instead of forwarding my precious package from the distribution center in Charlotte to my local Charlotte post office, so it could be loaded onto a little mail truck and delivered to my house, the Charlotte distribution center put my package back on a truck or a plane or a camel or a whatever and sent it off to another distribution center in LAS VEGAS, NEVADA.  So here I was with no Internet and no longarm machine, since the post office is taking my replacement parts on a tour of the country like my package is Flat Stanley or something...

Flat Stanley and My APQS Parts are Both In Las Vegas 
When you can't quilt in real life, it's EQ8 to the rescue with a Virtual Quilting Fix!  Designing in EQ8 was one of the few things I could do with my computer that did not require an Internet connection.

When I was up in Boone, NC visiting my son at Appalachian State University a few weeks ago, I found a lovely Bernina dealer and quilt shop where I purchased a larger AccuQuilt GO! die cutter (I had the GO! Baby version previously).  The larger die cutting machine that I purchased was packaged as a Ready, Set, GO! so it came bundled with an 8" Qube, which is a set of several dies that can be combined to create 72 different 8" quilt blocks.  

8 Inch Accuquilt Qube Die Set Can Cut Out All 72 Blocks Shown on the Side of the Box
Now, in order to use my AccuQuilt dies, I need to design quilts with blocks that use the shapes and sizes that correspond to my cutting dies.  I would LOVE IT if Accuquilt and Electric Quilt could get together and come up with an Accuquilt block library for EQ8 that I could download and link to my software, but so far this has not happened.  So I pulled out my manual (yes, I purchased the spiral bound manual for EQ8 -- I like to read, highlight, and annotate my manuals!) and looked up how to create a custom block library under My Favorites.  My new library is called AccuQuilt 8 Inch Blocks, and I'm going to put all of the blocks that I can make with my 8" Qube dies in that folder.  That way, when I want to design something that I can cut out in a jiffy with my die cutter, I can go straight to that folder for my blocks.

So the first block in the AccuQuilt Qube booklet is called Airplane:

Airplane Block from AccuQuilt Qube Booklet
There was a very similar block already in the EQ8 Block Library called Airplane, so I started with that, edited it to look just like the block in the AccuQuilt brochure, and then I saved it into my custom block library in EQ8.  Then I suppose I should have gone on to add the next block into my custom library...  But I decided to play with the Airplane block instead.

50 x 66 Airplane Quilt, 3 Colors
This is how the AccuQuilt 72 Blocks brochure suggests laying out the Airplane block.  It's cute, right?  But for me personally, it bugs me to have unnecessary seams in my quilt blocks.  In the quilt above, I don't like that I have two small light blue triangles instead of one larger triangle, or four large triangles that could be one larger square.  However, it would NOT bug me if the fabrics for those triangles were similar colors but different fabrics...  So I played around with a bunch of mostly Kaffe Fassett fabrics from Free Spirit to see what a scrappy version of this Airplane quilt might look like:

Same 50 x 66 Airplane Quilt, Scrappy Version
Now, doesn't THAT look like fun?  I replaced the deep reddish orange with various pink, orange, yellow, or coral prints.  I replaced the deep blue with various blue, green, or teal prints.  And I replaced most of the light blue patches with an off white, but mixed in a few other neutrals so I wouldn't have four of the same white triangles coming together to form a square.

Ah, I see you rolling your eyes out there.  You've seen me post so many EQ8 quilt designs here that have not yet been realized in actual fabric.  Will this quilt ever make it beyond this blog post, you might ask?

WELL...  This could actually be a good "leaders and enders" type project, once I got it all cut out and organized.  It would also make a great portable project, too, for my when my bee gets together, and for our guild's monthly Sit-and-Sew-Saturday.  I'd just need three Ziplock bags containing the following:
  1. 4" HSTs (Half Square Triangles), 192 of them, in shades of Orange/Pink/Coral/Yellow
  2. 2" HSTs, 576 of them, cut from scraps of whites and off-whites
  3. 2" HSTs, 192 of them, from scraps of blues and greens

Accuquilt says their die cutters can handle 4-6 layers of fabric at a time, and I love how precisely the dies cut out each triangle with the little dog ears pretrimmed.  I'm curious how long it would take me to get all of this cut out?  I probably don't have enough scraps in large enough sizes, but I definitely have enough fat quarters in my stash.  Stay tuned...

But meanwhile, here's my weekly Tuesday To Do list:

  1. Label and Machine Bind the Christmas Outreach Quilt
  2. Seam the Backing for the Tumbler Outreach Quilt (that one's next on the frame, as soon as that blasted part comes for my longarm machine)
  3. Clean Up Studio; Set Up One Machine for Curved Piecing (Double Wedding Ring and Giant Clam Shells) and Set Up the Other Machine for Foundation Paper Piecing (Anders' Modern Building Blocks Sampler)

I'm linking up today's post with:


·       Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework


·       Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  
·       Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·       Moving it Forward at Em's Scrap Bag
·       BOMs Away Katie Mae Quilts  


·       Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at Clever Chameleon

·       To-Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us


Michelle said...

That is a gorgeous design!

SJSM said...

What did we ever do before we had internet access? A much quieter life! Unless you count all those phone calls you had to make to keep on top of things. And all the manual math and drawing to design a quilt.

What a computer literate person you are! With only one block you change and manipulate colors and come up with such creative alternatives. Go! You!

I do hope your touring encoder finds its way back to you quickly. I wonder what the problem is with packages coming out of Iowa? Keep us posted.

Alison V. said...

Oh man! I had an issue like this a couple weeks ago but I think it was the fault of the shipper -- they created a tracking number and label for my order, but it NEVER shipped! Eventually they cancelled the original order and shipped a new one.

I really like your design for the quilt -- I recently got the same starter bundle from Accuquilt and I am having so much fun cutting my scraps for different projects!

Carol R. said...

I hear you loud and clear about your issues with the USPS. I have had several instances very similar to what you're experiencing - are they jealous of quilters? I had one order that somehow was sent to Kalamazoo, Michigan and then on to Detroit.. I live right between them! Why did they not at least drop the package off in Lansing??... can get VERY frustrating especially when you want/need said package YESTERDAY/NOW/ASAP!
Hope your machine part arrives SOON!! :)

Preeti said...

Oh my goodness, Rebecca. Spoken like a soul sister. I am the same way - hate unnecessary seams but your idea of making it scrappier is genius and so much richer and colorful. Love your colorful pattern :-)
You are in the middle of a major communication snafus. Sending warm hugs and best wishes and hope that those $%%&*(*&%^$# folks get their act together quickly.

Vasudha said...

USPS seems to think your longarm parts need an all-American vacation :-)
Designing on EQ8 can be addicting. It gives a quilting high. I have so many EQ versions of quilts that may never make it to fabric.
Love your scrap quilt design.

Vivian said...

I can so relate to USPS horror stories! I had a similar problem when I ordered a sewing machine foot not too long ago. In that case, even the shipper professed having had many problems when packages were routed through a particular hub near to them and kept a documentation file recording them. That design is really pretty and I love that it's based on the Shaded Four Patch/Cat's Cradle block. For a quilter, making up designs that might not actually get constructed is about stretching your mind in the abstract -- the way a runner stretches their mucles before a run. Got to prime the pump! I really have to get on board and learn how to use EQ8. I missed watching the Sampler quilt webinar live yesterday -- hope I can still access it today. Also hope Accuquilt and EQ hear you and make that collaboration happen!

Roseanne said...

Hi Rebecca! Thanks for linking up today. Oh, I would have missed my computer and the internet so much. It's scary how dependent we've become on it for just about everything. Love the EQ8 design. WOWEE to those parts traveling about the US. From Charlotte to Las Vegas?!! HAHA - Flat Stanley . . . love that picture. WOWEE again - what a great idea about creating your new library of blocks. I wonder why there isn't such a library already designed and that you could purchase. I think I am making your EQ8 in my beehive group with a block called Ripples. Hmm, I'll have to check this out further. I hope your part arrives soon! ~smile~ Roseanne

laura bruno lilly said...

Where there's a will there's a way - I enjoyed your 'virtual' quilting!

KaHolly said...

Glad your back online. Dorian knocked out our service for 4+ days, so I know the feeling. But boy, did I accomplish a lot while I waited, at least during the daylight hours. I don’t understand what’s going on with the mail service. Try to get answers! Won’t happen. Hope you don’t have to wait much longer. Have fun with your new Accuquilt!

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

Hopefully your encoder won't be so tired from his travels that he won't be able to work properly when he does finally get to his new home. :) What a pain! I hope the new part fixes the problem and your machine is up and running soon. I have that same Accuquilt package, and will admit I haven't even opened the cube box! You idea to create a block library in EQ is pure genius and now I have a new item on my quilty To Do list. LOL I love your scrappy quilt and look forward to seeing it in fabric soon. ;)

chrisknits said...

It is gorgeous! You must make that a leaders enders project!!!

Susan said...

When I saw your title on Roseann's linky, I had to come read the post. Wow, twice in a row! and you can't even blame one distribution center since it happened in two different cities. I hope you soon have, or already have, your part in hand. Charlotte is a big city, I'm surprised you had such issues, or that there isn't a dealer there who could help. I suppose they don't carry all that many parts, though.

Kate said...

I'm almost positive the post office knows how necessary a delivery is and those are the ones that end up going cross country. Hopefully there are no re-directions and you get the new part ASAP. And having no Interet, that's even more miserable. Seems like September has not been your month. Hope all is lined out now and you can have fun with your new dies and EQ8 designs.

Lynette said...

oooo - This sure is one gorgeous scrap quilt mock up! Man, that has to be so frustrating about the the shipping mix-ups!! There comes a point when you have to wonder if there's something more to what's going on and there's an actual reason for what's happening, eh?