Crying over a tree

On the parkway portion of my front lawn I have/had a huge maple tree.  It provided shade and beauty, especially in the fall when the leaves turned a glorious orange.  This tree, owned by the city, was struck by lightening and has since rotted out.  It had to come down.

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treecutting2After removing the dead area, the workers cleaned up and left.

treebranchgoneBut they were back today and when I got home from my volunteer job, my lawn was naked.

treedown I’m sad.  Everything looks different.  My house faces the Public Works Department and the tree used to be a buffer from the sight and sounds of the activity there.  Now I feel exposed.  A new tree is promised (or possibly two) to be planted in the fall.  How long before I get shade and beauty again?

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Busy week

Last Monday I loaded my first quilt on the newly acquired long-arm, which took most of the morning.  After lunch, I started quilting in a simple meander and in less than three hours I had the whole quilt done.  Of course it is a small lap quilt, but I was amazed at how much fun it was to easily quilt.

lablacktumblrSimple meandering shows up on the whiter tumblers, but on the black you can barely see the quilting.

firstqltgI also chose a very busy backing that hides my imperfections and some of the tension problems that I have not fully solved.

firstqltgbackMy cousin was here visiting me this past week, so while we enjoyed chatting I worked on the binding.  We also indulged in one of my favorite pastimes, putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

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Photos and more photos

My friend Christine was here yesterday trying out some new camera equipment while I was trying out my new long-arm.  She wanted to get a picture of the fast movement of the needle with all the rest of the photo in focus.  I think she did a pretty good job.

July 2013 12I also wanted a close-up of the back of my quilting to show the tension problem I am having.

closeupstitchingCan you see the top (black) stitches looping too loosely on the right?  I need to learn how to fix that.  But I am still thrilled to have this new machine, which I am thinking of naming Mr. Dandi.

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Today I worked on the Mabeth Oxenreider 2000 quilt, getting all the blocks sewn together and the first border added.

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On a recent post of Bonnie Hunter’s (Quiltville) she talked about leaders and enders, and showed some cute little spool blocks using 1-1/2 inch strips. ( Here is a link.)  It inspired me to prepare some fabric to do the same, and I got 12 blocks done today as leaders and enders.

littlespoolsLast photo on this post is a photo of a picture.  It is a print of a painting done by my friend, Donn Warden.  He gave me this print (and several others).  Hobby Lobby was having a frame sale – 50% off.  What a bargain!  The frame was $20.00 which I got for $10.00, and they frame your print for you and put the wire hanger on the back for $1.00.  A total of $11.00 for this delightful print all nicely framed.

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Quilt Studio re-arrranged

Friends have asked me about how I re-arranged my Quilt Studio since I got the long-arm.  Where did I put my cutting table that lived where the long-arm now resides?

quiltstudioI had to move the sewing-machine table up along the wall and the card-making station back along the wall to make room for the cutting table.  Yes, that is a card table under the cutting table.  It provides me with a shelf and a place to store the card table!

quiltstudio3This is the view from the TV, looking towards the room with the long-arm.  Oh my, it sure looks crowded with stuff – and it is!  But I use every bit and it is organized perfectly for my needs.

quiltstudio2This is looking from the long-arm room past the card-making section, the cutting table, the sewing table, into the sitting area where I have a comfy chair, a desk, a settee, and of course my big TV.  I am so lucky to have all this room.  And this is only half of the basement.  The other half is storage and the necessary stuff – furnace, laundry, etc.

My big project today was to tear down the boxes, fill up my recycle bin, stack up what didn’t fit for next week’s pickup.

avboxesAfter that chore was done, I re-loaded my new long-arm with more practice fabric.  I’m getting to be an expert on loading.  Now I need to work more on the actual quilting – and also adjusting the tension.  It is very, very hot outside in my part of the world, so it was nice to work in my cool basement.

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Progress

This is a little of the meander quilting I did today.  Not bad.

meanderAs to yesterday’s problem, thanks to commentor Linda P.’s advice and Brenda from Handi Quilter responding to my forum question, I was able to figure out how to advance the quilt without a problem.  It is simple when you know how!

I finished up my practice piece just as the bobbin ran out.  What great timing!  I pulled off the “quilt” and looked at the back.  This is a picture of when the machine was threaded incorrectly.  What a mess!

meandernestsNow that the machine is threaded correctly, the back looks like this.  Still not perfect by any means (have to figure out that tension stuff), but a little neater.

meanderbetterSo much to learn!  My first official lesson will be in August.  Can I be patient until then?

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Practicing

This afternoon, after watching a video three times, I got very brave and loaded some scrap fabric and batting on my new Avante.  The video was good and I was successful in getting everything loaded correctly.  Then I started stitching.  Not so good.  Something was not working right and I decided it was the bobbin.  I took it out and then couldn’t figure out how to get it back in.  Persistence paid off and eventually I got it back in……..but that did not solve the problem.  My thread was nesting underneath, and after reading the “trouble shooting” information I figured out that the machine was not threaded properly.  Once I got it threaded correctly everything went smoothly.  I pretty much filled up my practice area, even going over stuff just to get the feel of the machine.  It was fun!  I need a lot more practice, but I will get more confident as I go.

practicingGuess what none of the videos or instructions explain…………..how to advance the quilt!  I’m sure it is very basic, but right now I have no clue how to advance the “quilt” and therefore don’t know how I will continue practicing.  I tried getting on the Handi Quilter forum, but because they get so much spam, I have to be approved by the webmaster who will not be on duty until tomorrow.

Don’t know if you can see this, but here is my signature done on my new long-arm…..

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The Surprise

avbrianThat is Brian and he is putting my new long-arm machine together.  Yes, I purchased a long-arm machine!!!!  It is a Handi Quilter Avante.  Some folks already know about my big purchase, but now I am spreading the news to all my blogging friends too.

Here it is, all set up and ready for me to take lessons.  My friend Aline and my niece Becky are hoping to learn how to use the machine also.  Aline was here this morning for the setup and watched in amazement as Brian constructed this complicated machine in no time.  He has put hundreds of them together and doesn’t even need the instructions.  Had I needed to put it together, it would have taken me approximately five years!

avsetupThere is much to learn – videos to watch, manuals to read, and lessons to take.

avtolearnAnd there are empty boxes that I will have to drag outside on recycle day.

avboxesUntil I take lessons, I don’t think there is much that I can do.  However, Aline managed to get the machine threaded with a little coaching from me as I read the manual.

avthreadedUntil the lessons are learned, I will dream of that first quilt coming off the rollers.

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Blocks new and old

Finished making the blocks for this quilt……

OxenreiderNow I have to sew the blocks together and make the three borders.  First border is a small plain black as kind of a frame, and the second and third borders are the leftover fabrics sewn in scrappy elongated blocks.  Not today though – I put this project away as I moved on to something else.

This is the second block for the Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery block of the month.

fqs#2A cute little basket with a bow on the side.  Fortunately for me the fabric sent is generous as I made THREE cutting mistakes.  I swear I look at the directions at least twice, check my measurements at least twice, but I still manage to mess up.  The little booklet of  instructions is excellent – step by step, in color, and includes ironing directions!

Please come back tomorrow to visit my blog as I will have a HUGE SURPRISE.

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Old Kit/Project

Yesterday I dug out an old kit/project that I haven’t worked on since I got it in 2000.  It was a very “trending” quilt back then titled Nine Patch and Diagonal Cross by Mabeth Oxenreider.  I remember I just had to have the pattern and the kit of fabrics – Cocheco by P & B Textiles, a reproduction collection.  It calls for nine patch blocks and diagonal cross blocks.  Why did I stop working on this project?  Two reasons.  1.  Deciding which combinations of fabrics to use for which kind of block was daunting, and 2. making the diagonal cross blocks was not easy.  Getting that center square (1 inch) in the precise center of the diagonal on both sides was much too exacting for me, so I put it all away and have had it on my UFO list ever since.

oxenreider1Excuse the blurry picture.  This is what I have done so far.  There are 13 more diagonal cross blocks to make.  It took me all afternoon to make six of them, and that was after I had the fabrics picked out and cut!

Oxenreider3I’m not a lover of reproduction fabrics, but the overall look of this quilt appealed to me.

oxenreider2Those center squares that came out perfect make me so happy.  It would be very nice to finally finish this quilt.

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Two finishes

Block #7 of the Comfort & Joy quilt was much easier than block #6.  I already had the flying geese and star made so all I had to do was the appliqued basket.

block#7C&JI also finished binding an adorable doggie quilt for friend Moe.  This is the backing – cute little puppies keeping me company as I did my hand stitching.

moesdoggiequilt

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