Helen, it's so nice to hear your perspective, as a sort-of insider. I proudly received YOUR teacher's ribbon, which basically saved my experience. I attended MQS this year, and it was my first time to a quilt show. I just got my longarm last August, and I cherry-picked THIS quilt show, because I read that they have a rookie category and it fit my schedule. I emailed the show organizers before registering, to confirm that I qualified as a rookie (I had been quilting on my domestic machine for a couple years previously), and Laura Wertwign assured me, via email, that I was indeed a qualified rookie. This was the actual factor that convinced my husband to agree that I should go this year (even though the expense of airfare from Canada, etc. wasn't in our budget). It would have been smart for me to save my pennies and go some future year, but then I would lose my rookie status. So I registered online, checked all the necessary boxes, booked myself solid with classes, purchased airfare, lined up childcare for my two toddlers, and shipped in my quilt! I made sure to plan my travel so that I could arrive in time for the awards ceremony on Wednesday evening, because I was anxious to see the winning rookie, to see the work of my contemporaries. To my disappointment, they did NOT award a rookie prize. I emailed Laura that evening and asked why they skipped that prize, and she told me that they didn't have a single rookie entry. And I pointed out to her that I MYSELF was rookie entrant! I checked my online profile, and I indeed was listed as a longarmer for less than a year. I reminded her that I had received her confirmation of my rookie status through email ahead of time. I even referenced being a new longarmer in my little paragraph description of my quilt. And her response was "we have had issues with the entry program". (What a shame that I should be penalized for it!) She then told me that she would be returning my quilt through Postal Service, rather than FedEx, after the show, because FedEx is more expensive to Canada. And I replied to her that I had also checked the box during my online registration process to indicate that I would be picking up my quilt in person. Apparently the registry system messed that up, too! I assured her that I had arranged my travel plans to keep me in Cedar Rapids through Saturday evening, so that I could pick it up in person. But when I arrived on Saturday I had to wait quilt a while and got a few exasperated looks from the gals staffing the quilt-pick-up, because they had to go dig my quilt out of the pile of to-ship quilts. A third gripe, I had an overlap in class scheduling. On Thursday evening of MQS, I pulled out my class list to remind myself what I had signed up for the next couple days, and only then did I realize that I had accidentally forgotten to remove a Krista Withers class I had temporarily considered and scheduled it right on top of a Sue Patten class. I was scheduled for two classes at the same time. I took the opportunity to say hi to Laura Wertwign in person after the banquet Friday evening and told her about this. I admitted that it was my fault for forgetting to remove the unwanted class, but that, gee, it would have been nice if the online registry system would have stopped me from doing this. It seems like this would be one of the important benefits to HAVE online registration. Laura said that the registration system was supposed to have caught that and again told me that there had been lots of screw ups with it, but that was it. No offer to refund my $53, not actually even an apology. I've been an event manager before for organizations I belong to, and I didn't want to make waves and cause a big stink, because I know those ladies had lots on their plates. But all these technical glitches were a real spoiler to this event for me. Particularly the Rookie category. I remember seeing some of my heroes' photos of themselves with rookie ribbons. I would have been so jazzed to show it to my family and friends, and especially my husband. And the seeming lack of concern by organizers added insult to injury. I'll save up for a couple years and try an MQX next time.
My biggest symptom right now is usually a thread break that actually fixes itself after a few stitches, before I can actually even get stopped. But this time( I will try to post a photo), it didn't quite break completely. It looped up the top thread for several stitches (where I'm pointing), then continued on normally. And you can look above where I'm pointing to see earlier stitches. When these earlier stitches were made, they were perfect, but when the break/loop-up happened it snapped the top thread tight, like a slingshot, and distorted those previous stitches.
The only thing that I could figure out is that there's something very fine on the bottom corner of the machine head near the light fixture that's causing the thread to shred when I go from right to left. I need to buff out everything to see if I can find it. But my work around is to attach a safety pin to the lower thread guide so that the thread is further away from the machine head when it sews. I was able to sew the long curvy line without any shredding of the thread. So from that I really was confident that nothing is wrong with the timing or needle flex. (I'm using a size 4.0 needle.)
https://instagram.com/p/3U9VGApmN1/?taken-by=lemontreetami (Here's an IG picture of what I did for the short term work around.)