Friday, May 04, 2007

Good news, bad news

You remember I told you about the great deal I got on a used Hinterberg stretch frame? It turns out that this is a huge, cosmic exercise to test my patience. I am gritting my teeth, taking a deep breath and being patient.

First, it became clear that the poles the seller had were simply too big for my space. So I'd need to buy new poles. Okay, fine. Then, I learned, you can't take the pole end hardware off of the original poles without probably damaging the hardware and certainly then making the 10' poles unusable in the future (and lord knows, I may need to quilt a humongous quilt one of these days).

So, I sent off an order to Hinterberg for the pole end hardware. No big deal, right?

Then I set about reading online to learn about preparing the fabric leaders (or hunks of fabric the quilt pieces will attach to on the frame). I ordered the appropriate striped fabric (the better to line things up straight, which is key) and a zipper system which SOMEDAY IN THE DISTANT FUTURE will allow me to save time. Ahem.

So, the leader supplies arrived on Thursday, and I spent an enjoyable afternoon making them (after just one call to the zipper set company because their instructions were so dreadful).

Anticipating the arrival of the pole end hardware, I also got my local hardware guy to cut me 5 pieces of the right sized metal conduit. I love buying weird stuff at the hardware store.

I was in a patient mood. I was zen-like in my calmness.

Then, this morning, the pole-end hardware arrived. Yee haw! I had everything I needed to get it all set up! I was on my knees, whacking the hardware into the poles in a heartbeat. And, some time later I had the frame assembled. I was impressed. My husband was impressed. Look, here's an end of the frame.

Then I set the sewing machine on the carriage, and realized there was a problem. I wasn't sure what the problem was, but something wasn't right.

See how the sewing machine is way out over the edge of that back pole? It's not supposed to do that. I simply couldn't figure out how to set the machine in the frame so that it'd work the way it was supposed to. Did I have it assembled wrong? I studied the pictures. No, the pieces were where they were supposed to be.

I pored over the pictures in the book. I called my buddy Angie, who had this frame, and got suggestions from her.

Finally, I took pictures and posted them on a Hinterberg discussion list, and asked for help. And patiently waited for some experienced Hinty frame user to figure out my problem.

Thanks to a lovely and helpful soul, I learned a fact that is not disclosed anywhere on Hinterberg's website: Hinterberg makes one frame for typical machines and another variation for people who want to use a computer-assisted quilting system called PC Quilter. Between those two frames, there are two parts that are significantly different. And if you have the PCQ one, it won't work with a normal machine without switching those pieces.

Guess which one I have?


I suspect that the seller, who bought the whole shebang from her friend, didn't even know that there were two different frames, so she didn't know to warn me that this was the PC Quilter one with a somewhat limited use. And given that the Hinterberg site doesn't really talk about this different one, I didn't know there were different ones to even ask the question. I guess this is one of the risks of snatching such a deal, eh?

Still, this will be easily remedied. Hinterberg will sell me the pieces I need, and the bargain I got on this frame was sufficiently fantastic that I'll still come out way ahead of the buy-it-new purchase price. So, really, it's gonna work out. I just have to WAIT.

Now, I will wait patiently until those new pieces come. In the meantime, I can clean the poles and apply the leaders so they're properly centered and ready to go.

I am patient. I am calm.

I think I need a big glass of wine while I wait. And some chocolate.


  1. I always find that buttercream frosting along with the chocolate is a good thing.

  2. Anonymous10:30 PM

    Grr...just when you are all psyched up and ready to go. Hang in there!

  3. Oh dear! Let's hope the chocolate worked!

  4. Anonymous9:27 AM

    Aye yi yi! I hope this is all worth it, Diane. Personally, I don't understand why you are doing this - but I would have loved this when I was quilting that huge commission quilt - but, mostly, I would never want to deal with something this huge and complicated. And I have lots of space for it!!

  5. But just wait Diane; I have been longing for the PC Quilter for about five years. Now that you know about it you might need it too. At least if you do you have the parts you need.