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Thread: I have finally conquered the Longarm!

  1. #1
    Senior Member PlanoDebbie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Plano, TX

    I have finally conquered the Longarm!

    Finally finished my first quilt on my longarm. Apparently I still suck at trying to follow any sort of pattern lines, but at least I did fairly well with my meandering stitch. I forgot to put my tension bar down for one section and spent 2 hours with a seam ripper pulling out all of those stitches, but I was determined to finish this baby quilt. It's only a 40"X40" baby quilt which will be donated to Project Linus, but it really feels good to be done with it and have no eyelashes on the back side!!!

    Things I've learned as a Newbie Longarm quilter:

    1) Be sure you know which side of the needle faces the front. When the needle is backwards, it won't sew at all.

    2) Be sure that you ALWAYS lower the tension bar unless you enjoy spending HOURS ripping out those horrible eyelash stitches on the backside.

    3) If you have loops on the bottom side, your upper tension is the problem and needs to be tightened. If you have loops on the top side, your bottom tension is the problem and needs to be tightened.

    4) Always make sure your backing fabric is at least 6" wider on both sides of your quilt. If not, your bungee clamps will go flying across the room when your machine gets too close to them.

    5) Make sure you know exactly how to thread your machine properly. I had to search youtube and all over the internet for this information since my machine came with ZERO instructions.

    6) Before you attach your quilt to your leader fabric, be sure that the leader is hanging perfectly straight. When you roll it up, the center line should still be in the center of your pole. If not, tug on it a little bit to straighten it out.

    7) Since I'm not very good at keeping really straight lines just yet, I used straight pins to attach my quilt top to the top of my backing fabric instead of trying to stitch a straight line there. I also preferred to use straight pins to hold the sides down while working on each section. Since I wasn't quilting all the way to the edges, the pins were not in my way at all. When I rolled up the quilt, I removed the side pins.

    If all I manage to do with this machine is a meandering stitch, I'll be more than happy! Hopefully with lots of practice I'll be able to follow the 4-leaf clover pattern and not make them look like round daisies! Oh well. Somebody will still love this quilt.

    Went to our local quilt show yesterday and picked up 2 quilt kits from Project Linus. The pieces were already cut out and I easily assembled both quilt tops yesterday. Now I have two more projects to practice my longarm skills on without having to pay for the materials. Instead of spending lots of $$$ making my own practice quilts, I can put the Project Linus quilts together for no cost other than my thread and get lots of valuable practice on my longarm. It's a win-win for me and Project Linus. Hopefully I can pick up a few more kits to "practice" on!

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Western Wisconsin
    Blog Entries
    Sounds like serious fun! What kind of machine and frame do you have?

  3. #3
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Congratulations!! What a good feeling you must have. I KNOW it isn't easy. I have watched my sister learn to use her long arm, and I have decided to just be a helper and never conquer it. It is just too complicated for me. You are off to a wonderful start!!


  4. #4
    Super Member Ruby the Quilter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Far Far West Texas
    Blog Entries
    Sounds like you have figured it out. Have fun. I enjoy meandering and sometimes add a flower as I meander so sort of have a design. Just relax and enjoy.
    Quilting in the Desert

  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    #4 gave me a chuckle. I've had similar things happen. I'm happy that you're getting acquainted with your longarm.

  6. #6
    Super Member leatheflea's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    martinsville Indiana
    I'm glad you figured all that out. It took me a little longer than one quilt and I still am learing with every quilt. I would suggest you try to find a Support group for your machine. Yahoo Groups has a group for about everything. I belong to several different ones that cover my machine to different blocks of the month. I've found that most are very friendly and willing to help with even the silliest of questions. Theres also tons of longarm forums on the internet just like our lovely QB. Its never fun to have to learn by our mistakes and having someone to ask when you want to pull your hair out is always nice. Congrats on you new machine and knowledge! Have fun playing and learning!

  7. #7
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Try clouds....they are easy and each one SHOULD be different shapes!

  8. #8
    Junior Member An Arm Long's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Maryland's Eastern Shore
    I found that leaves and vines were easy for me. I made a muslin practice quilt and just practiced a few designs. I drew a line across the quilt to keep me on a straight line. I also did open "C's" over and over again. First I did them on drawing paper repeatedly - pages of them. You will be surprised.
    Beth in Maryland

  9. #9
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Central Iowa
    Blog Entries
    I jusst finished my second quilt on a long arm I rent time on one. My bobbin was not in right so you know what I got. Not all the quilt was done like this but enough I will remember next time. Which will be the end of the month.

  10. #10
    Super Member LindaM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Rural Small Town Ontario
    #2 sounds about right - 15 seconds of stitching = 2 hours of frogging

    Enjoy your journey - learn with each quilt - practice, practice practice! Doodling on paper or an easel (with a marker in a similar position to your handles) is wonderful at building muscle memory and working out continuous quilting paths.

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