Maine is my Happy Place!

I’m heading to Maine and the HeartStrings sew in today! I can’t believe this will be the 10th year Bev has hosted the group. I’ve only missed two years – 2016 when I was caring for my sister-in-law and last year when I was going through treatment for my thyroid cancer – and I’m so excited to be going back this year.

Keith and I first visited Maine in 1996 with his father who was born and raised in Portland Maine. It became one of our favorite places and we visited a second time with his parents and then in 2009, we started visiting once or twice every year.

Three times, including last year, we’ve spent the entire month of October there and I’m thrilled that we’ve just made plans and rented a cottage near Willard Beach for April of next year.

Both Chesty and Finn have loved their time in Maine and Keith has done a good job finding us places to stay that allow dogs.

For next April, we’ve booked the same little cottage we stayed in last October. It’s a little quirky but it’s in our favorite Willard Beach location.

But that’s for next next year, this week I’ll work with my HeartStrings group and then Keith will join me for a few days. I wonder how many lobster rolls I can eat in the next 9 days?!

Saturday

I hope you had a wonderful day, mine was busy! I head to Maine tomorrow morning so I had packing and other things to finish up around here but we did take time for a bike ride along the bay!

This morning before our ride I was waiting for a call back from Innova support and since I was in the sewing room, I trimmed and got the binding machine stitched on the two Strippies I quilted Friday … they’ll need the bindings hand stitched when I get home but it was nice to get that part done.

I had called Innova support because I was having problems importing patterns into my Pantovision app. I’d started trying last night and tried again this morning. He had no idea what he did different than I did but he managed to make it work! After I got off the phone I downloaded some free patterns and was able to import them without any problems.

I’m excited about the trip to Maine – I love it there – but I also wish I had more time to play with the new machine before leaving!

I have to add a couple features to my list of things I love about the new machine. There’s a bobbin “gauge” on the stitch regulator screen – see the top left? It’s easy to reset when I put a new bobbin in. You do have to tell the machine how many yards are in your bobbin and I’m still experimenting with that number to get it just right but I’m really close. If you use a lot of different bobbin threads you’d have to change it when you changed the type of thread you were using but I mostly use Permacore so it will be easy for me.

The other thing I’m loving is the basting stitch!! It’s wonderful. On the Gammill I had to hit the single stitch button move the machine, hit the button, move the machine and so on … this one I just drop that Stitches per Inch down to 3 and move the machine normally. It gives me a nice big stitch but not loosey goosey like the one I’d get on the Gammill.

I’m hoping I can get some sleep tonight – I have to get up early for my flight and it’s hard traveling when I don’t get any sleep!

Another one quilted

Hopefully I won’t forget everything I’ve figured out so far when I’m in Maine but I did get another Quick Strippie quilted this afternoon. I wanted something big and open in the novelty print that wouldn’t interfere with my print. My batting can be quilted 10 inches apart but I wanted something in that space so I used it as an opportunity to set up and quilt another pattern from the pantovision. It will take a little practice to smooth out those curves. It’s definitely different quilting these from the front, looking at the screen.

The loops are freehand quilted and the leaves are another Pantovision pattern. I went through and quilted all the narrow and wide strips and then set up another pattern in the pantovision to quilt those middle strips. You can see the leaf quilting better on the back.

I still had a few challenges but I’m definitely glad I made the change to the Innova… I wasn’t so sure yesterday!

Quilted

Well I’m pretty happy this morning … not without mistakes and with kinks still to be worked out, I quilted my first little Strippie on the Innova this morning.

I’m pretty sure I figured out how to load the backing to the uptake bar from the back of the machine which is what I’m used to and it felt much less awkward than loading the practice muslin from the front yesterday.

Before the machine arrived, I had in my head that I could use the digital pantovision not just as an overall edge to edge but that I could insert quilting easily in specific spaces and I wanted to test that idea out with the first Strippie … plus, I just needed practice using the Pantovision app and getting it to consistently do what I wanted it to do so the repetition was really good. I did the same row over and over in the large shark strips and freehand quilted swirls and wavy lines in the rest of the strips.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be able to size this pattern to my 6 inch row and to the length of my quilt and place it correctly … While some rows weren’t perfectly done, I learned a little each row I quilted. That’s exactly why I created these little Strippie quilts when I got my first longarm 17 years ago! The repetition really helps me learn!

I had one small place where I had a little shredding of my thread but the rest of the stitches were close to perfect!!

It’s here!

What a long day – and all on just a couple hours sleep – but the longarm is here and set up. I was a bit frustrated late this afternoon trying to test out the Pantovision but a reboot of the tablet solved my problem and I was able to do a couple practice rows. I also practiced some freehand. It may be my imagination but the machine felt a little harder to move than my Gammill – I mentioned it to the dealer and he checked the movement and said it was as expected. I’m sure I’m just going to have to get used to a few things. There were some skipped stitches at first but he timed the machine and the stitch quality is very good.

Here’s a photo of it all set up – it is NOT a computerized machine – I manually move the machine and I’m the one quilting not a computer but that tablet on the front has a digital pantograph program. It’s going to take some getting used to doing pantos from the front and setting up and following the digital patterns but it’s one of the main reasons I upgraded my machine. I like the idea of having the ability to adjust the size, row spacing, and offset of the patterns myself versus a one size fits all like you have with a paper pattern.

Tomorrow I’ll load a Quick Strippie and practice some more.

A slight delay

I’d written that today was the delivery date for the new longarm but I got a call Sunday moving the delivery to Thursday. Hopefully all will go well tomorrow and I’ll be quilting a top on Friday … today I just continued to knit. You can see the blocks beginning to form.

Dusting off my needles

I finished crocheting the shell baby afghan and decided I needed to dust off my knitting needles before I forgot how to knit!

  • Pattern – Sunny Baby Blanket – free knit pattern found on Ravelry
  • Needle size – US 8
  • Yarn – Sprightly Cotton worsted from BluPrint, colorway Lilac

It’s been years since I knit this one for Rae … I finished it in September 2012, just a month before she was born. That little blanket showed up in a lot of photos!

And still looked great years later when she let Mo borrow it! It was knit with Caron Simply Soft and I’ve been impressed with how well that yarn has held up.