Preparing supplies, packing for days and a long drive always make it worthwhile when big smiles and amazing creations make their way into a classroom filled with 16 eager participants. I was in Calgary last week and if you are looking for images of large quilts this is not the place. I delivered two technique workshops. “Machine Embellishment 101”, a two day workshop that makes participants intimately familiar with their sewing machines was fully subscribed (16 participants). The three days class “Cause and Effect” with 15 participants involved burning, slashing, fusing, exploring and general experimentation with materials we often place into the recycle bin or trash.
Each workshop involves a very open mind and I must confess, I was humbled by the commitment and strong sense of adventure every person brought to the class. Participants had arrived from near and far and it is a testament to my friend and colleague Alison from “One Stray Pin” who persevered in advertising, securing a fabulous venue and even managed to get a caterer to supply wholesome lunches to the group. First and foremost: Thanks you, Alison for following your vision and passion in organizing the workshop. And another huge thank you to those who arrived from withing the city of Calgary, the Shushwap region in BC, Canmore, Edmonton and outlying areas of Calgary to fill the classes. Thank you to Ann for making it possible to hold the workshops in a very comfortable setting.
The biggest thank you goes to everyone who persevered in creating samples for 5 days! Much like teaching, participating in a workshop or two to move quickly from one sample to another without loosing heart or energy shows a deep commitment to furthering one’s skill set. I tip my hat to you and if the way I feel is any indication there is a number of tired textile artists catching up with regular life today.
It wasn’t all work and total focus on sampling. The workshop fell on Halloween and on Friday night Alison lifted two large pumpkins onto the counter around 9:30 pm reminding us that these needed to be carved before the goblins arrived on Saturday shortly after we got home from the workshop. We had fun and these images hsow just how we created a unique pumpkin head each. Thanks for this, Alison. It has been seven years since I carved a pumpkin!
Something that was equally wonderful were the daily lunch hour walks around Carburn Park. Wendy joined me and we walked briskly once or twice around the 1 km loop. Along the way I fell in love with the tree by the Bow River’s edge – I am sure this 100+ year old Balsam Poplar has witnessed the growth of the city and the floods of 2013.
And then there was the less than happy moment when I realized that my Bernina 170 QPE would not come home with me. Despite arranging a special appointment and receiving assurances that the machine would be ready for pick up on Saturday I found my machine like this on Saturday afternoon. The workbench was littered with every piece that will hopefully be reassembled again soon.
I had a phone call at noon on Thursday that the machine was not worth fixing… The repair person told me that the foot control was not working properly – it was hesitating. I tried to tell him that this had been the case when I purchased it in 1999. I was told then that this was normal and I was to get used to it. So I did.
He proceeded to tell me that with 22,000,000 (yes, million) stitches this machine was not worth fixing. I told him that the number must be divided over 4 motors. He then admitted that he had not yet opened the machine and did not know this fact. Well, after some back and forth (at which point he told me that I should consider buying a new machine) we agreed that he would fix the machine to a cost of up to $ 500, and he would definitely call me if he could not finish by Friday afternoon (he works Mon – Fri 9 am – 3 pm).
The image above was taken at 5 pm on Saturday afternoon. No apologies, no suggestion on how I can get my machine back. It is a nine hour drive one way. My brand-new machine (purchased in early June this year was also in the same dealership repair bay. While creating me first quilt at the end of August the tension spring broke. On Saturday afternoon it had not been looked at… but with some convincing I was able to get the part replaced and bring the machine home with me.)
What would be the moral of the story? I am still trying to figure it out… At this time I have come to the conclusion that once the sale is made the dealer cares little about ensuring that the customer is satisfied with the purchase no matter how expensive the machine is. I had bought a Bernina 820 based on the recommendation that this is the work horse of the line up and it is the best machine for my situation. On Saturday I was told that this machine is not the best one to purchase when one lives in a rural setting… It was the same person that sold me the machine telling me this fact on Saturday. I am trying not to be too cynical… Thanks for letting me share and rant!
Leaving Calgary behind wasn’t so hard… we woke up to snow and the traffic was slow – seems like everybody in the big city forgets from one year to the next how to drive when winter arrives.
Time for me to unpack my suitcases and get one with the things I have neglected for the last couple of weeks.