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Thread: Wow, learning to longarm has a tough tough tough learning curve

  1. #1
    Super Member moonwork42029's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Possum Trot, KY

    Wow, learning to longarm has a tough tough tough learning curve

    My most wonderful darling husband decided I (meaning he wanted to play on one) a long arm. About a year ago he saw one when we got the embroidery machine and has been itching to get one ever since. Well a few weeks ago, they were on sale (Pfaff Grand Quilter 18.8 with Inspira? frame) so he said to "write it up".

    We were told we could use thread we had on hand (wrong) and that it was easier to learn free hand than to follow a pattern with the laser. (not for the uncreative minded)

    We've now bought several big spools of quilting thread and have been trying the laser out and doing somewhat better than free hand on some practice fabric layered with flannel.

    OMG...it's awful looking! We can't follow a straight line to save our rearends...and the curves....oh the curves look more like rounded off squares a lot of the times.

    It has the auto stitch so it only sews when we move the machine so it's not that problem.

    Maybe in 6 months we can load a "real" top on it but until then, it's just practice.

    Grrrr and we can't seem to keep the thread from breaking so we're biting our nails.

    This too shall pass and we'll laugh at how awful it was...someday.

    Okay, I'll take a big breath and go back in the other room now....Pfaff - look out ...I'm coming back.
    Lisa L.
    Howdies from Possum Trot (yes it does exist)
    My most recent swap - Boomerang 16

  2. #2
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    North of Boston, MA, USA
    thread breaking, when did you change the needle last? How is the tension?
    Don't forget to breath.... try moving your body like you are dancing, rather then moving only your arms.
    Good luck and soon you will be having fun.
    After 2 years with the same signature I have been requested to remove it. Bye

  3. #3
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    West Coast
    no lessons came with the machine? I actually quilted two charity quilts in the shop on the machine (which I bought used). She gave me another charity quilt to finish at home after setup. When I finally loaded one of my own tops, I was a confident beginner.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Blog Entries
    I do not enjoy following that little laser at all. I do love to Free Motion Quilt. Drawing helps you relax and develop muscle memory which will make it an enjoyable experience. I practice drawing on paper and on a white board until I feel confident with the motions, then I move on to the quilt. I doodle all of the time now.

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    If your thread is breaking, maybe you need to use a different brand. I don't have the same machine as you, but I know some machines work best with specific brands of thread. Maybe someone on here with the same machine can advise you better about that.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Sandynorm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Bennington Vt
    can you get a lesson where you purchased it? doodle, doodle, and doodle some more, and then again. Everytime I sat down in front of the tv I had a kids write on board and wipe clear, again, again, and again. Then offer to do some charity quilts to get practice. It will come to you, but doodle till you do not think that you can doodle any more. I find the laser very difficult to follow.

  7. #7
    Senior Member AndiR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    S. Dakota
    Oh, yes, I remember thinking I'd made a HUGE mistake when I got my first LA. Keep in mind that, like anything, it WILL take practice. After all, musicians don't just buy an instrument and then be able to play Mozart sonatas - they have to start with scales and simple compositions.

    The suggestions about drawing for practice, and moving your whole body are both good ones. The other thing to remember when following a pattern with a laser is you do NOT have to stay exactly on the line. The lines are there to be a road map. Some people will move very slowly trying to stay precisely on the line, and end up with jerky wobbly lines. Try instead to follow the general direction of the line - look to the next point, and strive to sew smoothly and evenly, rather than exactly.

    Don't give up, one day everything will just click and you will be in heaven!

  8. #8
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    You will get the hang of it. I got mine and the first quilt I made after practicing on a few pieces, looked pretty good and the grandson loved it. I am now on my 4th one and each one looks better than the last. I only do the freeform at this time.
    W. Washington

  9. #9
    Super Member leatheflea's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    martinsville Indiana
    Boy does this sound familar! Hang in there, remember to breathe and relax and little glass of wine might help!LOL!

  10. #10
    Senior Member kat112000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Sioux Lookout, ON
    The needle has a lot to do with breaking thread! I had one package that wouldn't work at all, about drove me nuts! I finally pulled out a new package and thread didn't break once! The needles must have been made on a Friday!

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