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Turkey Tracks: Coastal Quilters’ 2017 October Retreat, Part 4

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Turkey Tracks:  October 24, 2017

The Coastal Quilters’ 2017 October Retreat, Part 4

Coming Home

This girl was waiting for me when I got home–reminding me that it’s nice to go away but even nicer to come home.

Betsy Maislen’s flowers were still beautiful.  Betsy stayed with me between voyages on the J&E Riggin, a windjammer out of Rockland, Maine.  Betsy volunteered for six weeks in September and October this fall.  She LOVES to cook with Annie Mahle and to be on the Riggin.  She also loves to get her clothes washed, to sleep in a real bed, and to be recharged and ready to go out again.

And she made and sent me one of the cards I was kitting up for our retreat group to make–as a little gift for those who came.  Amanda Jean Nyberg (Crazy Mom Quilts) designed this card project.  You can find directions in her WONDERFUL book NO SCRAP LEFT BEHIND.  I did a recent blog entry on these cards.  Didn’t Betsy do a great job?  Don’t miss the little owl on the right.  I loved getting this card from Betsy.

Betsy was at our May 2017 retreat and is planning to be at the May 2018 retreat.  She retired this past June and is discovering that she loves to quilt.  Rhea Butler introduced her to the Lucy Boston paper piecing blocks on the Riggin this summer–during the Slow Sewing cruise–and Betsy fell in love with them.  She’s just finished her second one now.  Pretty, huh?

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NOW, here’s a challenge for those of you who choose to accept it.  Some of us are challenging the Coastal Quilters to make Jen Kingwell’s pattern “Long Time Gone,” starting in January.  This quilt is an improv form and uses a lot of different blocks, so it is a terrific learning project.  Besides it’s just fun.  Betsy is going to do it with us from Vermont!

I’ll post pics of your finished quilts here on the blog.

Let’s have some fun!

Here’s a version.  To see others, google “images” for the pattern.

 

Turkey Tracks: Slow Sewing at Sea Windjammer Cruise: The J&E Riggin

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Turkey Tracks:  September 27, 2016

 

Slow Sewing at Sea Windjammer Cruise:

The J&E Riggin

We had a blast!!!

I know where I’ll be next September 22nd–God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise:

Slow Sewing at Sea on the windjammer J&E Riggin, led by Rhea Butler of Alewives Quilting (Damariscotta Mills, Maine), courtesy of Co-Captains Jon Finger and Annie Mahle of Rockland, Maine.

You can feel the peace and serenity on deck with this picture.  It was heavenly to sew under the sun while we passed dropped dead gorgeous sights.  We also did a LOT of laughing and sharing.  For more pictures, go to Facebook/Instagram sites for Alewives Quilting and the J&E Riggin.

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I think we got the last two warm days of summer–hardy sailers swam TWICE!

Here’s Mary B, wearing her signature pink hat–ringed with pins from her various trips/experiences.

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Here’s me with Captain and superb cook Annie Mahle.  Boy did she spoil us with her outstanding culinary creations this trip–all local, clean, and glorious dishes.

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Here’s where we went this trip:

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We boarded Tuesday night, sailed on Wednesday late morning, and fall came in with a bang on Thursday night.  The cooler temps and some rain did not faze anyone.  We went right on sewing and sewing down in the warm galley–those of us who did not stay up on deck in foul weather gear to enjoy the clean, crisp fall air.  We returned to Rockland on Saturday morning.

Rhea Butler worked with Lucy Boston English Paper Piecing (EPP) this trip, and I learned so much from her, including a new stitch that really works so that stitches are not seen on the front of your work.  I also learned so much from my fellow passengers.  I came home with a boatload of new friends, many of whom will come back next year, and some of whom I will see again over the winter as they live just south of Camden.

Turkey Tracks: Jane’s Gazpacho

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Turkey Tracks:  August 25, 2016

Jane’s Gazpacho

Yesterday Jane Liebler made a beautiful day for those Coastal Quilters who could break away for the day to visit her out in Liberty, Maine–which is about 25 minutes from Camden and a beautiful ride that traces the headwaters of the St. George river.

Jane’s farmhouse sits in the midst of blueberry barron-covered hills that rise above the gorgeous, blue St. George’s Lake.  And, John’s Ice Cream (all homemade) is just two miles away.

Jane greeted us with warm doughnuts, hot coffee with REAL cream and good honey, and anything else we wanted to drink.  The farm kitchen was warmed with wonderful wood walls.  A collection of baskets hung from the rafters.  This house is loved!  Jane also had a cantaloupe all cut up for us, which we devoured on the spot.  She made a scrumptious summer lunch for us, which included deviled eggs (yeah!!) and GAZPACHO I COULD EAT.  Most people add some form of red pepper to gazpacho, which would send me straight to the kitchen floor and on to the hospital.  We sat and did handwork, ate, laughed, visited, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Thanks Jane!!  Don’t ask us back unless you really want us because WE WILL COME.

I broke away after lunch to drive about 20 minutes further west to Freedom, Maine, and Villageside Farm, where I picked up six frozen, hefty, free-range, non-Cornish chickens.  And after I returned and gathered up my passengers, we went to John’s Ice Cream for…John’s homemade ice cream.  It’s famous!  I had vanilla custard and rocky road, and it was so, so good.

I asked Jane how she made her delicious gazpacho, and she said scald the fresh tomatoes and skin them, then work the flesh with your hands to break it up, rather than putting everything into a blender.  Use lots of spring onions and some balsamic vinegar.  She added cucumber and green pepper.  Simple and as delicious as the summer-ripe ingredients.

So…I have a lot of tomatoes from the Hope’s Edge CSA pick-up this week.  I prepped the tomatoes as Jane directed, reserving some of the flesh to give the soup a chunky texture.  I also reserved some of the diced cukes and green pepper–as Jane did.  The rest I put into the Vitamix with spring onions (4 large spring onions to 1 large tomato, 1 medium tomato, 1 large cuke and 1 smaller one, and 1 green pepper).  I added about 1/4 cup of good olive oil and 2 or 3 dollaps of white balsamic vinegar, rather a lot of salt (2 teaspoons plus–tomatoes love salt), and some fresh ground black pepper.  I didn’t puree the mixture, just got it cut up into small pieces and poured it back into the bowl with the reserved tomato flesh.

When I tasted it, the white balsamic and the sweet ripe tomatoes made the mixture really sweet.  I added more black pepper and some red wine vinegar.  Yummy.

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Gazpacho needs to age a bit I think.  It’s upstairs cooling its heels in the refrigerator.  I’m planning on having some of it–a lot of it–for supper since I fixed a big BLT sandwich about 2 p.m. and am not hungry.  I’ll have some goat cheese and avocado on corn chips (sprouted organic, GMO-free corn) to go with and call it a night.

Maybe I am getting hungry a bit…

It has been a lovely day–even though No No Penny threw up on the bedspread and afghan this morning.  She was left alone for some hours yesterday, and I do not think she is used to being alone for multiple hours yet.  I gave myself some time to sit on my porch and read this morning–accompanied by a bowl of fresh strawberries and blueberries with some yogurt and a piece of gluten-free toast with peanut butter.  It was so peaceful and lovely out there.

A storm is moving in, but humidity is really good.  All day the wind has been up, so when I went by the coast on an errand, I could see that sailing on the bay today would have been amazing. I can’t wait to go back on the Riggin again Sept. 20th.  AND, two passenger additions include Rose Lowell and Megan Bruns.  Mary Bishop will room with me.  We are going to have such a good, good time.  Rhea Butler of Alewives Quilt Shop will be on board to teach English Paper Piecing to whomever wants to learn.

When I walked by my garden at some point, I could see bits of orange in the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.  Time to pick again.  For some reason I checked the beans, and my goodness, I have to pick those too.  I had a terrible time getting the beans to germinate and outgrow the slugs–who seem to be gone now???–so I have one Romano bean plant, one bush provider, and about a half-dozen haricot verte bush “filet” beans.

Here’s what came in the house today:

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I am drying a flat of cherry tomatoes in the kitchen, so I’ll let these guys ripen in the kitchen and eat the ripe ones.  Rain causes these cherry tomatoes to split open–from the extra water the plant takes up I guess.

Now I’m going to sew for a bit.

 

 

Turkey Tracks: Hexie Quilt Center DONE

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Turkey Tracks:  May 3, 2016

Hexie Quilt Center DONE

I started this project in mid-November 2015 and finished it yesterday, May 2, 2016.

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The pattern is from Edyta Sitar’s HANDFULS OF SCRAPS book.  I used only fabric from my 2 1/2-inch strips and from the 2 1/2-inch square bin.

So, it is totally scrappy.

I went yesterday with Megan Bruns to get help from Rhea Butler at Alewives Quilting with picking out the borders, backing, and binding–all of which were due to a generous certificate from Bryan and Corinne Enright for my birthday this year.  Corinne likes this quilt, so her name will be put on it.  I may have to love on it a bit first…

 

Written by louisaenright

May 3, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Turkey Tracks: Tami’s Table Runner

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Turkey Tracks:  March 21, 2016

Tami’s Table Runner

DIL Tami came for my birthday this past weekend.

What a terrific gift.

It was a win-win as her birthday is in mid-February, so I helped with her trip up, and she came for my birthday.

We went flat out for four days–and, of course, had non-stop talking and catching up.

We never get this kind of time together in any large measure–and Tami has such a rigorous schedule with four kiddos and lots of school drop off/pick up, that the break away was good for her.

We went to Alewives–Tami loves Alewives–and I do too.  We came home with fabrics for a table runner for her looooonnnng farm-style dining table.

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We copied Rhea Butler’s idea of combining light and dark 3 1/2-inch light/dark squares into blocks.  Rhea used 5 blocks, which works better in a quilt.  We used 7 to get the width Tami needs for the table runner.

Here are some of the other fabrics we chose:

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The next day we spent about 5 hours sewing and cutting and organizing a long, thin batting, and the time flew by.

Tami got all the blocks cut and into baggies, so she just has to sew the blocks together into the big blocks when she gets home.

She left with the math done for the backing and binding and what threads she will need.

I am going to Charleston next week, so we’ll finish it up then.

We could not get everything into her suitcase, so the package is going into the top of a box of two quilts that I am mailing to two of my son Bryan’s daughters.  I was to mail that package today, but will when the hill I live on gets plowed.  I’ll post pics on those quilts when the girls and  parents have seen them.

Written by louisaenright

March 21, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Turkey Tracks: Sailing and Quilting

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Turkey Tracks:  October 5, 2015

Sailing and Quilting

I LOVED my September sailing on the J&E Riggin this year.

September is sailing supreme in Maine.  The wind was so good on our first day that we sailed all the way to Blue Hill Harbor–after leaving Rockland Harbor mid-morning.  Word was that we were going 10 knots for part of the sail.  We were skimming across the water like a giant bird sailing across the sky.

I signed up for next September.  Of course I did.

Rhea Butler of Alewives Quilting will be on board and will teach interested passengers English paper piecing, using Lucy Boston’s honeycomb template.  (I’ve written about Lucy Boston and her work on this blog if you want to know more.)

Rhea’s use of fabric is stunning, interesting, and fun.  Here are some samples of her and other staff members Lucy Boston blocks.  You can see they really enjoyed “fussy cutting” contemporary fabric patterns–as did Lucy Boston, but Boston did not have access to today’s amazing colors and patterns.

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These blocks can be combined with other templates to make a whole quilt or floated on background fabric and appliqued–either singly or together.

One can also make plainer blocks–as I did as I wanted to contrast red and green in this block:

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I used the templates (as did Lucy Boston) to make a background.

But I am so looking forward to making blocks like Rhea and the Alewives staff do–and I want to applique them to background fabric in some way.

Plain or exotic, quilting or not, Jon Finger and Annie Mahle will be sailing the J&E Riggin with me on board September 21-24, 2016, boarding September 20th.

Come join us?

Turkey Tracks: April Update

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Turkey Tracks:  April 7, 2014

April Update

 

We are finally getting some warm weather, and near me, the Megunticook River is thawing out fast.  I was a little shocked when I went by Megunticook Lake Sunday on my way to see Rose Thomas as the Lake is still pretty frozen.  This view is from the top of Barrett Cove, looking north.  (This lake is 15 miles around and filled with interesting islands and “necks” that jut out into the water.)

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The ice looks bluer towards the middle though, suggesting thinness.

Chickie Diva Queenie has been healed up for some time.  I have only been waiting for the night temps to get warm enough to risk her in the coop.  She can’t take any more frostbite probably ever in her life.

She did not seem unhappy in her kitchen box, but on a bright sunny day last week, I put her outside.  She prowled the yard, scratching and digging, but not getting near the other chickens, who did not seem to notice her.  That night, she came to the back door and when I opened it, she came right in, and hopped in her box.

The next day, I put her out again, and she wanted to come right back inside.  I had planned to clean out the coop, so I gathered up the buckets and the shovel and started to work.

What followed was shocking!

The chickens found her and immediately attacked her.  Even the rooster.  They weren’t trying to dominate her.  They were trying to kill her.

I rescued her from where she had wedged herself behind the sandbox and the house wall.  Her comb was torn again, and she had wounds on her feet again.  She was dazed and stunned and so happy to be put back into her box.

I consulted with the chicken whisperer Rose Thomas, and we formulated a plan to integrate her into Rose’s flock, which is larger and far less territorial.

So, on Sunday, I took her to Rose.

Rose’s chicken house is a lot bigger than my little coop, and there are MANY egg boxes.  Diva Queenie put herself into one and seemed quite happy.

 

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Rose has three roosters at the moment–Guy, the father of my rooster Pumpkin; the brother of Pumpkin; and Merlin, a guina rooster who is ferocious.

Rose distracted her flock by throwing them some scratch feed to them while we put Queenie into the chicken house.

 

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I called Rose this morning.  Queenie is just fine and is out in the yard with the rest of the flock.

* * *

Look at these–I have 12 out of 15 done and have another one half done now.

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Here’s a close-up of one:

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This large “hexie” is made from the kite shape you can see with the dark blue.  I first saw a quilt made with these medallions at Alewives, a quilt shop in Damariscotta Mills, Maine.  The hexies get linked by big diamonds, and the pattern comes from the book Material Obsession 2 by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.  Other blog entries here show their TWO quilt versions using this block.  Rhea Butler made the quilt at Alewives.

I’ve finished the red/green quilt, which remains nameless so far.  It’s loaded on the long arm.  It’s pretty big–I used 7 yards of fabric for the backing–a Kaffe Fasset I bought on sale about a year ago.  And I had to piece a column of about 20 inches to get enough width for the long arm–which was fine as I used up a lot of orphan blocks.  I really draw the line at buying 9 yards of fabric for a quilt backing when I’m only missing ten or so inches.  With the long-arm, I need about 5 extra inches of width on the sides, but I could always put on a temporary outside border that would come off when the quilting was done as well.

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I  am going down to Manchester, New Hampshire, with Gail Galloway Nicholson this week to the big MQX show (Machine Quilters Expo)–where we will both take some classes.  I am taking both pantograph and free-motion quilting classes for the long arm.  So…it seems to make sense to wait until I get home to quilt this quilt.  The pantograph class may change how I currently quilt with a pantograph.  Also I ordered a different green quilting thread as I did not like the color I thought I would use.  Funny how that happens…

So, here’s my current project:

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I am sewing together colorful 5-inch blocks from my stash.  I will put a 3-inch border on this grid and use it to cut out “Lil Twister” blocks.  Here’s a clue of what I am talking about:

 

Lil Twister block images – Google Search.

 

Canton Village Quilt Works has a very nice tutorial on how to use the Lil Twister tool.

 

Turkey Tracks: I’m Obsessed: Hand Sewing

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Turkey Tracks:  November 18, 2013

I’m Obsessed

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Hand Sewing

It’s official.

I’m obsessed with hand sewing.  I have one project going and two more planned.  And I can’t wait for dark to fall so I can settle in and hand sew while watching something fun on the television.  Though just at the moment I’m hand-quilting the clam shell quilt which is, as yet, nameless, but not homeless.  And, I’m putting the binding on the Winding Ways/Wheels of Mystery quilt which I’m naming “Earth.”

I think my obsession all started with Bonnie Hunter’s numerous posts on her hexie projects.  Hexies are all the rage in quilting these days, which I’m sure most quilters know.  And these projects are NOT your grandmother’s flower garden variety.

Or, maybe it was seeing the gorgeous quilt that Rhea Butler of Alewives quilting, in Damariscotta Mills, Maine, from Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke’s MATERIAL OBSESSION 2 book.  (Those gals are from Australia, the home of fantastic quilting.)

I did a hexie project a while back–a challenge to depict a grocery store product–I chose Green Hive Honey, a local raw, unheated honey.  That quilt was called “A Thousand Flowers” since that’s what it takes to make a ridiculously small bit of raw honey.  (You can search for it elsewhere on the blog.)  I found sewing the hexies tedious–especially the whip stitching that joined them.  And the stitches showed in a way I didn’t like.

BUT, But, But!  There is a better way to do this whole process.  And I began to discover that only recently with Micky Dupre and Bonnie Hunter’s book, RING AROUND THE HEXIES:  A Collaboration Celebration.

Hexie blocks

You can English Paper Piece the hexies and then the way you join them is NOT with whip stitching.  I’m posting a video from Leah Davis that’s a close-up of her hands piecing hexies in the “new” way in a separate post.  (Ask and you shall receive from the universe.)

So, Bonnie makes a pieced quilt, leaving, in the above case, blank black squares on-point.  Micky pieces a hexie formation–and she manipulates the hexies to get interesting color changes–and appliques her arrangement onto the quilt.  They are beautiful.  The resulting quilt is beautiful.

But, I think my own obsession stemmed from Rhea Butler’s quilt from MATERIAL OBSESSIONS–hanging in Alewives.  And somehow I did not take a picture of the whole quilt.

Kite Block book

That quilt is made of large hexies–all constructed from a kite-shape (a quadrilateral) that when combined forms a hexie.

Here are some examples of those bigger blocks.  You can see the “kite” in the dark, outer prints with circles–it takes two “kites” to form that dark patch.  The outer neutral fabric is also made of the “kite” shape.  The red dotted fabric is used to link a line of blocks together–it’s a large diamond shape.

Kite Template block

And, here hyou can see the kite shape a bit better:

Kite block 2

These big hexies are joined with interesting geometric shapes and lavish, BIG borders from contemporary fabrics.

Here’s fabric for my first try at these blocks–and you can see the kite template.  The dark fabric will be used on the outer ring.  I suspect the peach fabric will form the inner ring.

Kite Block fabrics

I was going to do these by hand, but Rhea says they sew well on the machine, too.  So, I’ll play around.

BUT, if I’m not going to hand-sew these, what is going to occupy my fingers?

This project I suspect:

Take a hexie and pull out the sides, and you get a “honeycomb” hexie.  And back in the day in England, a woman named Lucy Boston used that shape to construct the most amazing quilts.  Rhea Butler was already playing with this honeycomb hexie when I saw her last.

Here’s the book, done by Linda Franz, and a packet of honeycomb papers.  One varies the block by varying the fabric color within the block.

Honeycomb blocks

Whatever I do I’ll pull from the stash.

So, on to Leah Day’s excellent video.

Turkey Tracks: Quilts, Quilts, Quilts: “Star Light, Star Bright”

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Turkey Tracks:  February 12, 2012

Quilts, Quilts, Quilts:  “Star Light, Star Bright”

I’m still quilting like a madwoman.

And, having such a good time making creative use of 10 years of scrap fabric cut into useable pieces.

I sent off three quilts this week.

Here’s “Star Light, Star Bright”–a baby quilt made for a little boy–Meyer James Kelly–who will be born any minute now.  The bed gives you some size references.

 These blocks are in the “La, La Log Cabin” style, taught to Coastal Quilters by Rhea Butler of Alewives Quilting in Damariscotta, Maine.  For the centers, which are deliberately cut “wonky” so the block develops “wonky,” are a set of blocks from a Wynkin, Blikin, and Nod line of fabric that I used in another baby quilt.  I loved the blocks so much that I couldn’t bear to toss what was left.  I had to make two star blocks–I traced the star on a blue fabric, fused it to the star print, and blanket-stitched around it.

Here’s an upright view:

Here’s a close-up of one of the “Wynkin, Blinkin, and Nod ” blocks–there were different pictures in the blocks:

I quilted with a big meander pattern broken by stars–so it will be soft–and tried one of my curved templates in the border.

I love the orange binding with blue stars.  That fabric was a find.

The backing is plain–and I’ve been printing labels and hand sewing them on to the back of the quilt.  I like it that I can put in little sayings, poems, how the quilt emerged for me, and so forth–even pictures!  You can see both backing and the label in this pic:

So fun!  So happy!

Written by louisaenright

February 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Turkey Tracks: Sun, Sea, Sand Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  November 15, 2011

Sun, Sea, Sand Quilt

Well, here it is all finished–a La La Log Cabin method, as designed by Rhea Butler of Alewives Quilting in Damariscotta Mills, Maine.

Basically, you start with a funky center, build out, and trim up your blocks to a set size.  I trimmed these at 12 inches.

This kind of quilt is a fabulous way to knock back your stash–and I’m on a mission to do that these days.  For every quilt I plan and BUY, I’m trying to make–at least the tops–out of my stash–where many beautiful, beautiful fabrics reside.

This quilt is made entirely out of batiks.  I did buy the backing, which I loved at first sight.  But I got the fabric 20% off–thanks to a sale at Alewives!

Note, too, the light binding.  I almost always finish with a dark binding, but this quilt seemed to want to just keep going and not be bound by a dark line…   It’s certainly full of good, good energy, isn’t it?

Here’s a close up of the binding effect:

Here’s a close-up detail:

And, here’s what the long-arm looks like with a quilt loaded and being quilted:

One can quilt from the front of the machine–which one does if one is working with templates or one’s own designs.  If one is working from a paper pattern–called a pantograph–the quilting is done from the back of the machine.  One follows the pattern with a laser light beam.

I wanted a quilting pattern that was curvy, since there are so many straight lines in the quilt.

Lucy is a Handi-Quilter, Avante.  She has an 18-inch throat, which gives me lots of room for big patterns.  And, it means one doesn’t have to roll up the quilt so often.

I love this machine.  The learning curve has been awesome–and I’m only now feeling like I’m getting some bit of competency.  Working with a long-arm is very different from working with a domestic machine.  I still struggle with getting the tension to behave–but that’s a learning curve, too.  The bobbin adjustments are opposite a domestic machine, for one thing.  But, I learn nothing more than learning all about something new–so I’m quite happy.  And, of course, my ability to make LOTS of quilt tops–I LOVE TO PIECE–is getting fed every day.

 

Written by louisaenright

November 15, 2011 at 11:30 am