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!