Machine upgrades

18 08 2014

I took my Sweet Sixteen to my dealer (http://www.handcraftershouse.com.au/) the other day to get the latest software upgrade. My dealer and the technician from the other side of the country were hard at work. They had machines coming in all week.

These pictures are just the machines they had ‘benched’ the previous day and that day ready to work on. More were due over the next five days… You can sorta see why she’s been Australian and International Dealer of the Year a couple of times!

And no, I haven’t had time to use my machine since the upgrade so I can’t comment on it yet.

Just for my own records… My previous C-pod (motherboard) had 6.2 million stitches on it, and the one before that had 8.5 million stitches, so I’ve done 14.7 million stitches on my machine so far. As the C-pod is totally replaced with this upgrade, my stitch count has reverted to zero. My dealer is awesome though, as she keeps these records too!

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Handi Quilt Sweet Sixteen: Using the couching foot

3 08 2014

I purchased the conversion kit and couching foot kit for my Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen a few weeks back, and had my first ‘play’ while on my annual quilt retreat with the girls a month ago. Life has sort of got in the way since then, so today was my first time back playing with the couching foot.

In the interim I’d bought some cheap yarn from Spotlight, so it was time to try it out.

First, here’s a video from Handi Quilter on using the couching foot. The instructions for starting off are around the 5-minute mark and again at the 8-minute and 10-minute marks. However, the instructions give you NO information on how to tie off/bury the yarn at the beginning/end of your stitching.

Here’s my first practice piece with both a variegated yarn and a gold metallic yarn. I was going too fast initially and thus my yarn wasn’t always caught by my needle — once I slowed down (25% speed or less), I had no trouble. I used the middle couching foot (2 mm, I think)

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After I’d finished that piece, I decided to do something on a spare quilt sandwich I had in a navy linen-like fabric. I’d seen an image of a boomerang and thought it would quilt well, so I did all the inner couching with the variegated yarn, and the outer edge with the gold metallic yarn. Some practice still required!

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It all looked a bit plain, so I filled in the inner part of the boomerang with a scribble stitch just using the brown variegated thread I had in the needle for the couching. Then I made up some elongated curved lines and spirals for the rest of the small sandwich, emulating the spiral pattern inside the boomerang.

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It was fun! I’m not sure how much I’ll use it, but it’s good to know how. However, I still have to find a quick and easy way of tieing off at the beginning/end without doing it by hand, and without the cut ends of the yarn fraying.

More: If you are a member of QNNTV.com, then Helen Godden has a great 49-minute video on using the couching foot, including information on how she stops and starts and finishes off the ends. This video is available from: http://www.qnntv.com/videos/1896_qbn-couching-yarns-with-your-longarm-full-episode/

 





Gorgeous winter’s day

2 08 2014

Yesterday was one of those amazing winter days — clear blue skies, green everywhere, mild temperatures, no wind. A perfect day for a walk. So I took my new camera and set of on the ~3 km walk ‘around the block’. Normally this walk takes me about 40 to 45 minutes, but yesterday I was gone nearly two hours as I stopped along the way to take lots of photos (more than 150!), took little detours off the path, etc.

The photo below is a sample of what the day looked like.┬áIn this photo are some winter ponds (these are mostly dry in summer), and in the far distance is the estuary, and behind the estuary is the sand dune peninsula between the estuary and the Indian Ocean. And no, I don’t know why the owners of the 5-10 acre property shown here have a yacht in their backyard! (Click on the photo to view it larger, then click on it again to view it full size.).

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