Juki TL2010Q – Part 1

When I started sewing about eight years ago, I never dreamed that I would be where I am today in my skill level.  I can still remember that misshapen chicken pincushion. Or thought I would be able to make a bag where the handles were even, and the same length.

As I began making bigger quilts and wanting to do more intricate quilting designs, I started to dream of a sewing machine with a bigger throat and maybe a higher arm that I could push the quilt through.  I love my JANOME, I really do.  It has even stitches, some nice bells and whistles, and it has never given me a lick of trouble.  But trying to push a quilt lap quilt through that 6″ throat was starting to make me ache for days afterwards.  I’ve been so impressed with the Janome brand that they were the company I went with when I got my little travel machine.  So of course I had my eyes on the HORIZON, with the stitch regulator and 9″ throat.  *sigh*   But it wasn’t in my price range – well perhaps it would be if I stopped buying fabric and yarn – so I did make my decision there.

A few people began talking about straight stitch machines.  Some people had little feather weights that they used on retreats.  Straight stitch is the majority of what I do, so I started wondering about them. A gal I know then came to a retreat with the JUKI TL 2010Q.  We talked about it for a while, she let me try it and I began to think that this might be a good machine to start thinking about.  I began doing some heavy research on machines, when the Juki name kept appearing.  Trying to find a great domestic machine that could produce lovely free motion quilting was a key piece for me. There seemed to be quite a few folks who were using this JUKI and loving it for piecing and for free motion quilting.  After all, Juki says that this TL 2010Q is for quilters.  It has an enormous throat and the space between the table and the arm is HUGE.  And it was in a price range I could manage.

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After more research and chatting about it with dear old Nate, we decided to give it a whirl.  The only thing it didn’t have was the stitch regulator, but after talking with so many people about what it was capable of, that ended up not being a deal breaker for me. Now in my city there is NO Juki dealer, so I knew I was taking a risk by ordering it over the phone or online and having it shipped.   I found it on Amazon for a very reasonable price,  and I took the plunge and ordered it.  It came in record time.

The excitement was unbearable.  After un-boxing it I took time to read through the manual.  After all, I am going from a computerized machine to a manual machine.  The learning curve, I thought, was going to be steep.  Once it had been set up and threaded I was set to go and began working on it.  The speed and power was SCARY in fact.

Everything was going fine and dandy too.  But then I came into some problems and things went from everything coming up roses to some sleepless nights – no I’m not joking.

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Are They Craft Worthy?

One of the reasons that I love quilting or knitting or crocheting is because you can personalize a gift for someone.  The colors, the patterns, the design, the function, and the sentiment, just to name a few of the options a crafter has.  Even though it is agonizing, I love sifting through patterns to find just the right design for a new born quilt for a dear friend and then picking a color palette that will be just right.  Time seems to stand still on those projects because everything has to be perfect and hold up well.  Mistakes that normally I might let slip if it stays with me, I correct as I would die if a recipient told me the quilt or other project didn’t hold up.

I’m sure we have all been so excited to present a crafted gift to someone to only have them not appreciate it, and all excitement and pride (the good kind) is sucked right out of you.  Now appreciate isn’t exactly the right word, but we’ve probably all encountered that giftee who has taken the gift, looked at it, forced a smile, uttered the words thank you, and put it off to the side.  Its not that I want them to marvel over the craftsmanship, investigate each stitch, or ohhh and ahhh at the color choice.  I simply hope that they would look at the item and know that it took many long hours, hours that I maybe should have been cleaning my house or cooking meals or sleeping.  With each hour I worked on the project I was thinking about them, and I hope they could see that.  I would hope that they may USE the item and it wouldn’t stay in the bottom of the purse where it went when they got it.  The hope would also be that it would stay with them and not be re-gifted to someone else, or thrown out.

Recently, I’ve taken QUITE A FEW knitting classes, don’t worry I am still quilting, and at the last two there has been a discussion about people being knit worthy.  We’ve all went around the room sharing times when gifts have been stuffed in purses without a care that those blasted cables took forever, or kept in a drawer, or asked if it could be redone in a different color, or given to the giftee’s best friend.  I started to really think of this, as I know there are people who are not quilt worthy.  The people, I’m sorry to say, would be gifted with something else rather than a quilt that took 30 hours.

I have a BFF who came back to work after a maternity leave and I wanted to make her a little something to welcome her back.  After much planning and thinking, a pineapple mini quilt was decided, after all, she loves pineapples and she complained that her classroom walls were bare.  The morning of her return I dropped it off, she opened it up, a big smile came across her face and she immediately put it on her wall by her desk.  SHE IS CRAFT WORTHY!

Once I made a gift for someone.  A lap quilt.  They opened it, I was so proud of it as it was an earlier work, and she faked a smile and put it aside.  A year later I saw that quilt at her friend’s place.  NOT CRAFT WORTHY!

Now, before I continue.  I will admit that at time ALL OF US are not craft worthy.  Well I know I have not been all the time.  Perhaps a great aunt made you an itchy scarf that you disliked wearing?  Or the sweater with a bunny and pompom as a tail when you were 14? But now I know what it took to make that, and the pride they would have had, and how they took time to make something JUST FOR ME.  My tune has changed.

Perhaps you are like me and have a little list in your head that you now go through of people who you may craft for.

For example – CRAFT WORTHY:

  • Have a past of using the crafted item been given to them
  • Supported your craft by asking about it or taking an interest in it
  • Have NOT said that your blog is dumb and why waste time on your hobbies
  • Will not give it away as a white elephant gift
  • Will take an interest in what would be given to them

How about you?  Do you have a CRAFT WORTHY list?

 

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One Year

It is hard to believe that one year ago I was getting ready to drive to the Foothills Hospital for the surgery to remove the melanoma.

At this time, we were making the drive to the hospital, me dreading putting on the paper gown, dreading the whole day in fact.

A year later, I can look back and remember those details.  The lay out of the day, the feelings, the fear, the discomfort, the relief of the recovery room, the driving home, kindness of a meal left for us, and the quiet time with Nate.

Its been a struggle though this year.  There was an aftermath I wasn’t ready for.  Not that it was treatments or side affects, but the mental and emotional aftermath.  I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what that would be like. I didn’t think anything of it in fact.  I thought I would roll out of the hospital and it would all be ROSES.  As I said, I wasn’t ready for that not to happen and I wish I could say that I wasn’t still dealing with it. If we’ve learned anything from Elsa, I should just “Let it Go!” but sometimes that isn’t so easy.

 

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So I’m a work in progress there.  But I am pleased that the swelling has gone down considerably and it only happens once in a blue moon.  And finally, feeling has started to come back into that area – also a bonus.

I am glad I have such an amazing team of doctors who work with me.  They keep watch over me twice a year and listen to all and every concern.  So far everything is clean and I hope that it stays that way for a very very very long time.

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36 List

36 List
Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday dear me, Happy Birthday to ME!

At the beginning of March was my 36th birthday. I don’t know if I am ready to be over the mid-thirties.

As my annual tradition, I create a list of things I want to accomplish that year.  Every year it grows one item bigger.  Which is why its taken me a little bit to get this post published – I’ve struggled with what to put on here.

  1. Finish my Swoon Quilt top
  2. Go to a movie in the theatre with Nate
  3. Go to a U pick
  4. Make a lemon tart
  5. Make sidewalk paint with Ella
  6. Toast Pumpkin seeds
  7. Have a Waffle party
  8. Have a candle lit dinner
  9. Knit a pair of socks
  10. Knit a pair of mittens
  11. Finish the gravity quilt top
  12. Knit a bolero
  13. Try a new drink at Starbucks
  14. Try something different at restaurant, not my usual choices
  15. Have a tea party with Ella
  16. Try to bake something new
  17. Try to keep my finger nails at a decent length
  18. Finish reading 5 books
  19. Go to Fiasco gelato shop
  20. Go bowling
  21. Have a shopping day with friends
  22. Try making a new jam/jelly during canning season
  23. Make a pair of thrummed mittens
  24. Go to a CPO concert
  25. Finish a quilting UFO
  26. Take Ella to the Dinosaur museum
  27. Finish knitting the GIANT blanket
  28. Learn to knit a sweater
  29. Learn two chords and play them well on the ukulele
  30. Compliment someone every day
  31. Try something out of my comfort zone
  32. Take Ella for a bike ride picnic
  33. Throw a 4 year old birthday party
  34. Go walking every other day
  35. Learn a new song on the saxophone
  36. Get a quilt entered in the Out of Hand contest

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Knitting: Revisit

About eleven years ago my Grandma showed me how to knit.  We went to the Walmart and picked up some knitting needles in the most common size and some yarn.  She taught me the basics of knitting, purling, casting on and off.  Grandma also taught me the continental style of knitting.  I had watched people knit and had noticed that the way I knit wasn’t the same as everyone.

I knit for a little while but my hands would ache.  I couldn’t figure it out.  My cast on was also a bit of a mess and my knitting became too tight that no needle would fit through the loops.  One day I found myself at a well known yarn/knitting store in town, which shall remain nameless, to see if they might be able to help.  The gal told me I was hopeless.  So I packed up my needles and donated all my yarn and needles to the knitting club at school.

My Grandma also taught me how to crochet – though I struggled with this as I was about 6 when she showed me.  Once I failed at knitting I thought I could try crochet again.  I found an easy project or two and watched a you tube video or two and was back at it.  Last year I decided to take a crochet class to learn any of the skills or tips that you learn at the very beginning that I either forgot or didn’t pick up on Youtube.  I took it from a great yarn store called STASH.  First let me say that it is an amazing store.  The yarn choices are incredible, they have lovely knitting needles and supplies, some super fun accessories and a staff that are wonderful.  Later a class called Granny Square Party called my name as a friend of mine said granny squares were super fun – they are, she was right.

While in the class my fun teacher, Marjorie, said I should try knitting.  I explained my situation and she said that was silly.  She told me I was a continental knitter – I hadn’t known the name until then.  Marjorie also showed me a couple of tips.  When class was over another wonderful staff member, Christine, helped me pick my first project and all I would need.

I made the GAP TASTIC COWL.

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I worked on it while I was in the surgery preparation, waiting rooms, pre surgery and after recovery.  I loved how it turned out and can’t wait for colder weather to wear it.  It was the first time that my hands didn’t hurt.

It was finished, after a few set backs of course, and but I felt invigorated.  By the way, they really should put on post surgery instructions/pain prescriptions that people should not operate heavy machinery, drive, make important decisions or KNIT under the influence of anesthesia.

Since then I’ve tried, and am still working on, the Shadow Shawl and a fun summer shawl.

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I also took a double pointed needle class and made this fun octopus.  Then Ella claimed it and I ended up making a family of them.

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Needless to say, I’ve caught the knitting bug again.  Some people have mentioned that I should knit the English way.  I learned it to be well versed, but I will always knit continental – in honour of Grandma, it was one of the last crafty things she taught me.

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Mystery Quilt 2015

Last year the guild I was a part of did a mystery quilt that ran the course of the guild year.  I was the one running the mystery quilt so I knew what the finished product was going to look like.  I really liked it and thought it would be great in two colors or a scrappy look like the design was intended.

However, I wasn’t fully aware of how many half square triangles there was going to be.  Lets say over 300.  And they were all very very small – 2.5″ unfinished.  As many of you may know I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with HST.  I love the quilts that they are apart of, but HATE making them because somehow I mess them up.

I decided that this would be the quilt to use to try out the different methods of making HSTs, after all I had to share a demo about the HST in guild.  I search all over the place for methods on making more than 2 – again this quilt needed about 300.  I had originally tried the bias method – sewing all the way around your square then cutting it up along both diagonals.  Like the demo that Missouri Star Quilt Company has in this video.

But the math I tried, according to one tutorial, was a little wrong and I ended up creating smaller HST than I needed.  For every 1 that was the correct size I ended up with 3 the incorrect size.  I was worried I was going to run out of fabric.  Then I remembered that Melanie over at Melanie Dramatic did a HST mini series so I made my way over and discovered that 1. I did have the math wrong and 2. the simplified grid method where I could make 8 HST in one fell swoop.  Who wouldn’t want that?  Especially if you needed 8 of that color scheme.  It made this quilt much less daunting as well.  The method worked amazingly well and I was able to finish the quilt using this method.

HST and I still have a love/hate relationship, but using this simplified grid method may be the way for me to work with HST from this point moving forward.

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Baby Quilts Galore

Though I haven’t quilted as much as I normally would like to in a year, I did manage to get some baby quilts ready for three new little lives that were entering our world. The patterns I picked out back in November when we first learned of their arrival and fabric was selected. My grand plan was to work on them a little at a time beginning on my Christmas break, then again during feb break and finishing them off during spring break. Well, things happened, and I lost my spunk to do them. I did pick away at them during Christmas break and here and there until February break came and I once again picked them up with more time that I could dedicate to them.

Around then I completed one called Arrow Feather.

27708026644_b65935bc50I loved the look of the quilt and tried to pick my fabrics close to the ones she featured in her pattern. I however found some of the instruction to be more geared towards more experienced quilters, though a confident beginner could handle it but may need to read the instructions a few more times to understand the direction she is going. In the middle of the project I wasn’t loving where it was going in. Was it the colours, the pattern, or the way it was taking shape, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. In fact, it was inches away from joining my incomplete pile or be repurposed for something else, but in the end I stuck with it and was pleased where it finished.  

During March it was my goal to complete the Preppy Pod quilt by Elizabeth Hartman as the baby it was going to was coming next. I had such a wonderful time making this one. I would love to make this one over and over again, especially the big version. It is a well put together pattern with clear instructions. And the cutting wasn’t unreasonable either – which really is my least fav part. What is wonderful about her patterns is that she provides size options for that quilt from baby to a large version. Anyways, I came close to the goal, but recovery got in my way a little bit. Luckily, it was completed before the baby was due – by a day or two, but still.

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Then came the what was I thinking quilt, also known as Fancy Forest. I should have started this in December and picked away at it a little at a time rather than what I ended up doing. I didn’t actually begin it until after my surgery. I remember it like it was yesterday…cue dream like music… Nate was going out, it was the first time he had left me alone with Ella since surgery. The night, once she was in bed, would be spent cutting out the fabric. Obviously, I was still delusional thinking I could get it all cut out in one evening. It took me a few days in fact as it was very detailed cutting and I still would get tired and I couldn’t be on my feet long. Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy that at all. Once it was cut and in individual bags, I set out making each block – or animal in this case. I started with the foxes as I’ve made a ton of those for the fancy fox quilt. Smooth sailing, which lead to overconfidence. The hedgehog was the next step as I’ve made that one before as well. Perhaps you recall me mentioning overconfidence, well it reared its ugly head and it began to go down hill. I made a mistake or three and had to unpick, then noticed that I had made some cutting mistakes, yep more than one. Which lead to some re cuts and starting again. I basically tackled an animal per night. Some, like the owl, took two, especially when I had to fix so many cutting mistakes. I think I cut this quilt out twice. I am pleased with how it turned out, though I wish I had made some fabric changes. It is another great pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, but I think I will put a hold on making the big version for a while.

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