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Thread: Scared of my longarm machine

  1. #11
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    All of the above sounds like good advice. I agree with the "don't compare yourself to professionals". Quilters are too hard on themselves. We don't refuse to drive a car because we are not as good as movie stunt drivers. We don't refuse to paddle around a pool because Michael Phelps is better at it than we are. Racheal Ray may be a better cook than we are but we still feed our families. So why do we refuse to try FMQ just because others will be better at it than we are?

  2. #12
    Senior Member Toni C's Avatar
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    May I make a suggestion? While you practice on your muslin put one color thread on top and one on bottom. That way you know what both are doing if you need to tweak the tension. If you can't find or have any cheap panels and you want to practice 'a quilt' draw 'blocks' on your muslin. You can even use the wash out markers and later wash them. YOU RE NOT ALONE! There are some out there that had their longarms set up for years before they pulled their big girl panties up and tried. You will not break it. Get a dry eraser board and 'pratice' your designs in your head. This builds muscle memory (like writing your name) What machine do you have? Play and practice, shoulders down, light hand, breath. Once you get some time in you will be fine. just don't do what I tend to do and overdo it where I'm so darn sore later. I get so wrapped up in it I forget to take breaks until a body part starts screaming LOL

  3. #13
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    practice is the key, I know. I'm not a long-armer, but what would happen if you put a large sandwich at the beginning of the quilt to use for practice before you get to the quilt itself. I know that the places I've seen attach the sandwich to be quilted directly to the leaders so they just jump into the job. How about adding a two foot attachment of sandwich at the beginning of the quilt with basting stitches on which to practice before going onto the quilt itself....then cut off the practice and use it for a dog bed, donation whole cloth quilt, etc.? Would that give you the practice immediately before the real thing to give you confidence?
    Kate

  4. #14
    Super Member wraez's Avatar
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    When my friend got her long arm she started practicing by buying quilt tops on ebay or thrift shops ... some of the areas of the quilt she wrote her name over and over, another section she did loop de loops, and on and on till it was done. Was it pretty, no not really but she had lots of fun, playing, practicing and learning how she and the machine worked together. When it was done the quilts turned into dog beds. Now she is an accomplished quilter!

    So do as someone else suggested, just put some sandwiched muslin on your machine and have fun quilting.

    Truthfully, I wish I had a long arm machine, but I want to quilt on it (after having played on my friends several years ago, boy that was fun) BUT doing the setup is what hinders me from even thinking about getting one, LOL... you have already got that down. Hey invite me over and we can play together! Oh dang you live too far away!
    Warm quilt hugs, Sue in CA
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PostCardMailArt

    Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death....Rosalind Russell

  5. #15
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
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    You are not alone - trust me - I had mine for about 6 months before I truly used it - I could not tell you why - because I think it was all of the above. I was completely new to this - I had never even heard of a longarm until a few weeks before I got one and I had never used one. My husband talked me into it - and I am so glad now. But for the first several months I would load it up and just freeze when it was time to quilt - I know that I will never be a pro at fmq - but I have improved - what really helped me was groovy boards - I purchased a few of them and it really made the quilting easy and it looked good. After I was comfortable with that - I slowly started making loop de loops and trying different quilt desigsn (they did not look good at all) but I was trying at least....Finally, I found Craftsy and there was a class called Quilting Negative Space with Angela Walters - that was finally my AHA moment - what she taught me in a few hours has increased my confidence by 1000% - this is about 2yrs after I purchased my longarm - I have accepted that I am not a Picasso but I do like what I can do now. So you need to find what works for you. I suggest the Craftsy class with Angela - it was amazing. Congrats on your purchase - can't wait to see what it brings next.

  6. #16
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    just load it and jump

  7. #17
    Junior Member An Arm Long's Avatar
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    Practicing with muslin is the way I did it. I drew designs on it and tried to follow them and then also made large squares and circles and then tried to fill them with free motion meandering. I also drew lines the width of the fabric and then practiced doing C's and S's for the whole width of fabric. That s curve is used in alot of patterns as is the c. If following a pattern try not to look at the needle but ahead of where you are sewing or at a larger part of the pattern as you sew.
    Freehand large circles are hard as are straight diagonal lines so don't worry about getting them right at first.
    Practicing will also give you a chance to work on tension as you go. And most of all, don't grip the handles hard. Try to relax and use just fingers to move the machine.
    Beth in Maryland

  8. #18
    Super Member MaryMo's Avatar
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    and when you get done with your practice piece, trim it up and donate it to a dog shelter. Dogs love their special quilts! and you will feel like you've done something worthwhile. Good luck to you .... each of us has had to overcome small blocks to get there.
    Make it a scrappy happy day!

  9. #19
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Just do something! Load a practice piece - something that DOES NOT MATTER TO YOU, and go to town so you get the feel of the machine. It won't matter if you mess up or not. My first two actual projects on my HQ were child quilts for community service. They were far from great but a child in hospital will not judge me for stitchen not being perfect.

    There are also some great classes on craftsy, and you can get videos on youtube. Happy quilting!
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  10. #20
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    just got my used longarm i have to wait to really use it since i had shoulder surgery on the 1-3 getting real anxios i have played some using my lefty it is noy easy but it is fun

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