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Any lessons learned?

Any lessons learned?

Old 08-12-2017, 04:35 PM
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Default Any lessons learned?

I'm doing the happy dance as I just purchased a HQ simply sixteen mid arm quilter with the little foot frame. It should arrive at the shop in a week and need to schedule a lesson on the machine.
will be putting it in the loft walk area on the second floor ( perfect fit). Yeah
i am interested in any lessons learned from others. I'm sure there are some tips and tricks. Is anyone willing to share? Thank-you!
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Old 08-12-2017, 04:53 PM
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Have fun, enjoy yourself and learn from your mistakes. We all make them! I have HQ16 on a frame and it works so well, I am amazed at how well it is holding up.
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:00 PM
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I kept having tension issues, and some times it would happen all of a sudden.

I learned that my HQ likes a loose quilt top (looser than I expected).

I put a digital readout for my top tension (some come with that now) and learned I never get the "lefty losey, righty tighty" thing correct (I go the wrong way all the time) and I also learned I needed to turn that dial a lot more than I was.

Still was having problems, so I finally bought a towa bobbin tension gauge, and discovered the five bobbins that came with the machine - did not turn smoothly in the bobbin case. They looked quite different from the extra HQ bobbins I bought. I liked them because they seemed sturdier, and almost always used at least a few of them on any quilt.

Now no matter what thread I'm using, I use the gauge to set the tension at 200 for the bobbin, adjust the top to balance it, make sure my quilt is loose enough, and I rarely have tension problems. The HQ was an upgrade for me, and I never had tension problems with the Bailey, so I was really frustrated for about 2 years until I finally got it all figured out. I spent a lot of time NOT quilting during those 2 years - now I spend time quilting most weeks.

Last edited by Macybaby; 08-12-2017 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 08-12-2017, 06:43 PM
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Hi Macybaby, Thank you for all your comments...do you use pre wounds or do you wind your own bobbins?
I have the Sweet 16 sit down quilting machine which I have had for a few years and only now I am having time to properly play with it.
I also have tension issues and have only used pre wounds to date but your idea of getting the towa tension gauge might be the way to go even though it is expensive as I want to enjoy my quilting and not be constantly playing with the tension settings.
To be fair some of my issues are probably with getting the hands moving in time with the machine and not going too fast around curves but it all takes practice so hopefully i too will get there one day where quilting is enjoyable for me.
I am only using rasant thread on top at this stage while learning as don't want to introduce more issues by using too many different threads.
To hopefully help others with my limited experience if your tension suddenly goes out after stitching fine, check the tension disks and make sure your thread hasn't jumped out of there or that there isn't a bit of fluff in there. Also check your thread that it hasnt caught up on something or wrapped itself around the spool holder etc. If still having issues check your bobbin holder as that may have a bit off fluff caught up in the bit where the screw is to adjust the tension. Use a pin to slide under there and push out any fluff.
Also after each bobbin change put in a couple of drops of oil in the bobbin area and remove fluff.
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Old 08-13-2017, 06:58 AM
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I have the Simply 16 and frame and love it. Keep the wheels clean and make sure you level it!. When my basement floor started cracking and shifting my frame became unlevel causing me some bumping issues. My son re-leveled it for me and the issues stopped. I also purchased the top tension gauge as I had difficulty balancing the tension. HQ has great customer service. Enjoy you new machine!
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:09 AM
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congrats, enjoy your new machine
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:29 PM
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I absolutely love, love, love my HQ Sweet Sixteen. I easily use it FMQ with and without rulers and with and without the True Stitch stitch regulator attachment. You will love the HQ site, but especially the monthly 45-minutes or so videos showing all kinds of stuff you can do on the machine. They come out every second Thursday and stay on their site indefinitely. I promise you'll learn bunches of stuff. Visit their other areas as well.

As to rulers, I usually Google a general query and have often found rulers at a price less than some are offered by HQ.

To tap into and sign up for notices on Sweet Sixteen tutes, go to: https://www.handiquilter.com/hq-live/
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:34 AM
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I'm with you sister! I just bought my Simply Sixteen with the Little Foot Frame about a month ago and I'm still dancing the happy dance myself! I've always been a handquilter and never wanted to machine quilt or longarm - didn't have the space for the longarm and hated dragging a quilt under my "regular" machine. But when I saw that simply sixteen - I thought...maybe... Took me over a year to decide, but for me it was the right decision!

So far I've changed a needle, changed the foot a couple of times, tried out the ruler base and a couple of rulers, and done a little free motion. Tension has been perfect so far - no issues with that. I did get the needle in backwards at first try - that shredded the thread pretty quick so I found my error immediately. I have only used the superior sample threads and I've just worked on sample sandwiches so far. But - this weekend I'm going to load my first actual quilt! My local dealer is FANTASTIC - can I give a "shout out" to Sherry at the Sewing Bee in Jonesborough, TN.

As far as tips and tricks - just be kind to yourself. Longarming is a learned skill - just like playing an instrument. You don't go from chopsticks to chopin in one day! Have fun! I fully expect it to take me months (dare I say years) to get proficient - but I fully intend to enjoy the process along the way. So turn on some music and relax your grip and your shoulders and breathe! Don't try to guide with just your hand/wrist - let your shoulders move your arm! You'll get much smoother curves!
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