A couple of weeks ago, Chris and I attended QuiltCon in Austin, which was held by the Modern Quilt Guild. Since this was their inaugural year, there was only a small turnout of vendors, but there were some truly great quilts. And there were some quilts I wasn’t so crazy about. There were also a few vendors there, and we had a good time strolling through, looking at quilts and chatting about some of the things that were for sale.

See, I have the most wonderful husband in the world, and no one can tell me differently. How many 30-something men would be willing to spend an afternoon with their wives walking through a quilt show?? And if he hadn’t gone with me, I never would have found Ricco. What or who, you ask, is Ricco? Why, he’s my new, shiny Janome MC8900. And he took up residence in my studio shortly after QuiltCon, because that’s where we bought him.

Janome was a platinum sponsor of QuiltCon, so they provided machines for classes. Of course, that meant there was a bunch of very gently used machines for sale … for a really fabulous price. At first, I was a bit bummed because I planned to buy a new machine when I get my bonus on March 15th, and there was another three weeks between QuiltCon and bonus time. But after walking away and looking at more quilts, Chris brought up how it was such a good deal. Before I knew what was happening, we were buying a machine! Since there were still a couple of days of QuiltCon left, we didn’t get to bring the machine home with us, but the dealer who sold it to us is only about an hour and a half from our home, so we picked it up the following week. After learning how to wind a bobbin (a more complicated thread path than my Brothers), and then changing the needle (which eliminated some noise the machine was making – I think because the assembly was loose), I put Ricco to the test by dragging out the churn dash quilt I’ve been trying to get made for Chris since we got married nearly four years ago. After just a little bit of time working on it, I can honestly say that I am in love with Ricco! I love the huge throat (11″ to the right of the needle) and the stitching is beautiful. I couldn’t ask for a better machine.

As for George, my trusty Brother PC-8500, I’m keeping him. He works well – his only problem is that the thread cutter messes up stitches after use during sewing. But he still does beautiful embroidery, and I can’t bear to get rid of him. I’m ordering the PED-Basic software so I can download designs from the internet and use them with him. About the only thing I cannot do with him is to use the Brother website ibroidery.com. He’s just too old to be supported there. And that’s why I’m ordering the Brother PE-500 embroidery only machine. I know it only has a 4″ x 4″ embroidery area, but I rarely do anything bigger than that. And in a year or so, I can re-assess and buy a really nice machine with a bigger embroidery area – I also intend to keep my eye out on Craigslist for a really good price on a machine – but for now, George and the new embroidery machine will work just fine for my needs.