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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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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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Update

last day of school

Hello everyone,

Today is the  last day of school for me.  I’ve cleaned and sorted and organized and planned and now I am officially spent.

What a year it was.  I know it is only June, but for a teacher that is the end of the year.  Then we go through a vortex of two months that is suppose to be restful, but we are doing everything we should have done during the year but didn’t – like doctor and dentist appointments. Anyways, I am thrilled this year is done.

Nate told me the other day that I sort of left people hanging when I didn’t update my cancer results.

I AM THRILLED TO SAY THE CANCER IS GONE!

Yes, I did mean to YELL that!  How could you not?  The surgery was a success and they found no trace of spread.

What comes next you may ask?  Well I get teamed up with a dermatology team who will ensure it says all good and I see my surgeon every year to make sure things are good too.

This summer is going to be full of rest and doing things that I have been putting off – like the Marcelle Medallion Quilt.

 

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March came in like a LION

Many of you know that the beginning of March usually brings a birthday list of the 34, or whatever age I am becoming, things to do over the course of that aged year. This year it was absent as March came in like a lion for us And knocked us off our feet.

It all started back in February, though if I’m being completely honest further back than that, with a mole. A mole the size of a dime about 2 inches from knee on my left thigh. It was starting to change a bit. It was getting puffier, scaly, it would bleed if I scratched it and when I hid it with a band aide it would leave a mark on the band aide once it came off. 

When I was able to get in to see my doctor we made the decision to remove it and took care of it later that week. It was sent to pathology as is the practice now. After a week of not hearing, I put it out of my mind. Then one Friday I got to school and had a lot of missed calls on my cell phone- naturally it was an evening when I should have turned around to get the phone once I realized I had forgotten it. The message simply said that the pathology report came back and that she was sorry and that it was melanoma. To be honest, I didn’t know what that meant. I knew in my heart it wasn’t good but I didn’t really know what it meant. Of course I turned immediately to google (not my best decision I know) discovering that it was a form of skin cancer and not necessarily a good kind. I phoned Nate immediately, crying as I tried to tell him what I had found out, him trying to calm me down as students were entering my room for a rehearsal. I made the decision to keep it to myself until I knew more, as I said I had only been told it was melanoma there was still a lot to find out like what stage it was in and what the next steps where. I didn’t want to worry anyone yet as I only knew what it was and that I was heading for an appointment with a surgeon. 

I had my appointment at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre on March 7, less than a week after my 35 birthday, hence why there is no list- my mind hasn’t been in a place to put one together quite yet, it’s been a bit occupied. Anyways, I met my surgeon who would be removing more of the infected area and had a once over to make sure there wasn’t any other areas I needed to be concerned with. As the appointment progressed I learned more about the issue. I tried to think back to the last time my upper knee/thigh saw sun – as sun exposure and burns are a leading cause of melanoma. It was being put at a higher stage than I had thought it would be. Walking in I thought it might be a stage II and maybe one of the sub levels, but alas I was greeted with a stage IIIb. I nearly choked on my tongue. The doctor told me though that they couldn’t be 100% sure because of the way the original biopsy was done, which meant a bigger and deeper removal of the infected area and the removal of some lymph nodes for testing. I saw that as some optimism. 
I received my call about a week later that the surgery had been scheduled for March 29 with the lymph node mapping on March 28. 
My surgery was a week ago. I’ve been at home now since the 29th as it is a day surgery, it amazes me that it can be done in a day. I’ve been resting and recovering and watching a lot of Netflix. The surgery went well and the pain and discomfort have been decreasing every day. Each day without pain medication is a victory for me, especially because it is a day without dizziness. Each day I am able to do more things, like get out of bed, get on and off the couch, go to the bathroom by myself, get something to eat, and be in positions other than being horizontal. Though today I discovered I can’t quite get dressed all by myself yet as I cannot bend down enough to put on my left sock due to where the lymph node incision is.  

This has been made easier because of our amazing support system that has come around us and been there for us. Ella has been taken care of and loved by her Mama and Pa (grandparents). We have been cared for by our friends and family with meals lovingly prepared, messages, cards, flowers, phone calls, care packages and visits. People came around us that we weren’t expecting and have been so supportive and caring. Our church has been such a support for us with prayer and meals and phone calls. The love we have been shown by all of these folks is more than I ever imagined, that is the silver lining in all if this, and I don’t know how I will ever be able to thank them enough.   

It isn’t over yet. We find out on Thursday if the surgery got it all or if it has spread- the lymph nodes will tell them that. Fear sometimes creeps in and takes hold of me when I think about the possible results. I want it to be finished. I’m praying for it to be finished.

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Summer 2015

Right now I am sitting on my deck in my adirondack chair, the temp is 22 degrees Celsius (though apparently it feels like 25) and it is lovely out.  Just so you are aware I wrote that sentence on the evening of July 21, I finished the post a little later on.  The only thing that could make this scenario better is if I had a lovely drink beside me like a black tea lemonade or a mocha frap – as I am not a wine drinker.

Summer has been lovely so far.  Ella and I have gotten up to many great adventures so far.  We have been to water splash parks, playgrounds, farmers markets, the zoo, some pancake breakfasts and a bit of shopping just to name a few.  We often spend our afternoons playing in the back yard – her in the pool and me hand stitching as I try not to get splashed.

Currently, I am stitching the Crabapple Hill Whooterville quilt.  The owls are great in this quilt because they are too cartoony.

This summer I also took another quilting class at Out of Hand here in Calgary.  It is a 6 part series that has us working through the My Small World Quilt by Jen Kingwell.  It was featured in the Quiltmania Special Issue that came out a little bit ago – I can’t remember the date I’m sorry.  It is such a fun quilt to make as well.  I’ve only done the first section but really like how it is taking shape.

A couple of weeks ago I spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon at my friend Paula’s place for a quilting time – non stop and managed to complete all the “sky” section.  That is all the top section of low volume fabrics – most of the pieces are 1.5″ with a few 2.5″  It took the entire time I was there to complete it, but it is done and now I can have fun with the bottom.  YEAH!

We have also been to Canmore and Kelowna for a short holiday and Ella and I will be working on round 2 of our swimming lessons.  Can’t wait!

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34 Things to do…..Another Birthday List

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

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Today is my 34th birthday. Its hard to believe actually.  I don’t know if I’m quite ready to be 34, that means I am almost in the mid thirties.  YIKES!

Anyways, three years ago I started a “TO DO list” for myself, a bucket list of sorts for the year, 31 things that I wanted to do before I hit 32.  This year I had 33 things to accomplish and you know something I think I did really well completing the majority of them.

Because I enjoyed the list so much, I decided to make another list, my 34 things to do before I hit 35.  So here we go.  Each year there is one more thing….should have started with a count down instead.

  1. Have some gelato in Italy
  2. Step foot in St. Mark’s Cathedral, Venice, Italy
  3. Have authentic Italian Pizza
  4. Print the Year Book for Ella
  5. Complete level 2 of swimming with Ella
  6. Make a bean bag chair for Ella
  7. Make a cute little girl dress for Ella
  8. Get Ella’s basement play room set up
  9. Take Ella to Barrier Lake for a picnic
  10. Finish my Swoon Quilt top
  11. Finish the Shiny and Brite Quilt
  12. Do a small applique project to get over my fear
  13. Walk at least 10 000 steps on week days and 7000 on weekends (minimum)
  14. Lose 15 lbs
  15. Get a Cruiser bike to bike to work
  16. Ride my bike around the Reservoir
  17. Bike to work at least 3 times a week during the Spring/Summer/Fall at least
  18. Bike to Fish Creek for a picnic
  19. Learn at least 5 chords on the Ukulele
  20. Practice my Ukulele at least once per week
  21. Not blow my FUN money budget
  22. Go Bowling with Nate at least once
  23. Go to a movie in the theatre with Nate
  24. Go to the CPO
  25. Eat at a new restaurant
  26. Go out for Ice Cream and sit in the park to eat it
  27. Purge the stuff under the stairs
  28. Take a family vacation
  29. Blog at least once a month
  30. Read Lord of the Rings book 1
  31. Make Peanut Butter Ice Cream
  32. Make cupcakes that actually turn out
  33. Try one new menu item each month
  34. Purge my Closet

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FNQG: Zipper Challenge

Zippers seem to be one sewing basic that strikes the fear in the heart of almost all sewists or quilters that I know.  Back in June we began planning this year’s guild program. We came up with a little zippered pouch to do for one of our challenges.   It was going to be great.  Then I started to get emails about it.  Perhaps people hadn’t quite gotten over their fear of the zipper.

So I revamped things a bit.  We moved the zipper challenge to December for those BRAVE ENOUGH to take the plunge.  Nine people did.  Which is great, I thought it was only going to be me and one other lady.

I used Elizabeth Hartman’s “Quilt as you Go” tutorial and a package of 2.5″x5″ rectangles that I had.  I also followed the tutorial I found on Lori Hartman Designs to make the actual pouch.

I’m really happy with the way the pouch turned out.  I used a puffy batting that I had a little piece of and it really made the pouch seem like it had some substance – nothing flimsy here.  Love it.  I laugh in the face of zippers!

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