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Thread: Grace Machine Quilting Frame

  1. #1

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    Does anyone out there have one of these? I am waiting on the delivery of the GMQ Pro. The juki machine, stitch regulator and all kinds of other goodies started arriving today. What am I in for as far as learning curve? Any words from the wise?

    Thanks!

    Scott

  2. #2
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    Scott, I have had a GMQ Pro frame since just before Christmas. After months of research I chose the Bailey mid-arm quilter and so far I like it. The problems I had were not with the frame or machine...they were with the old lady who was playing "Speed demon" on the controls. But once I realized that breaking needles and thread is all a part of the learning process, and took my foot off the gas, I began to get along pretty well with it.

    I was not sure that age 73 was a good time to invest in this equipment but I was tired of paying to have the quilting done. I want to do it myself. I now think I am on my way....to getting the hang of it.


  3. #3

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    June -

    I am so impressed by you, and we just met. I really admire you for taking on the challenge of the frame, machine quilting, etc.

    I've heard that breaking needles comes from speeding. I will have to remember my Grandmother when I start learning. She allowed me to drive her oldsmobile on dirt roads while vacationing at her cabin. I was 14 at the time.

    Feed a little gas now. Now brake a little, now brake a little, Scott!!

    Have you finished a quilt yet?

    Scott

  4. #4
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    Oh yes, I took the first "real quilt" off the frame on Monday and put the binding on. As I was making it and breaking thread, I decided this would not have a label or be given to any of the Charities I like to make quilts for. As I was sewing the binding it occured to me that I needed to put it on my bed, so I could admire it and say" don't forget you did this wrong" and need to correct it on the next one. I had another "dumb" quilt that was made of 3" squares in a Trip Around the World design. It was great for practice, i made circles and curly-ques in each block. Then I made flowers and anything else that came to my mind. It has some skipped areas where the thread broke and no stitching took place. I will put it back on the frame someday and add to it. But it was purely "lesson #1" and not for show and tell. It is my Secret!

    Do one thing at a time and learn at your own pace. And above all else, ENJOY being able to finish your own quilts in a lot less time. Just think of all the money you will save. I am keeping track until I know I have paid for my equipment with my own work.


  5. #5

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    That's great. Congrats on finishing the first one. You've got a health attitude about learning.

    My investment was $2500. I bet I could get more than a handful of quilts quilted for that amount.

    What pushed me into the purchase was having just about ruining my shoulders and neck passing a King quilt through my Janome 6600P. I love that machine, but quilting a king sized quilt with a moderate batting was brutal. I'm 44 years old, in good shape, active, etc. I am still suffering from a sore neck, shoulders, and numb hands from that project.


  6. #6
    Super Member Yvonne's Avatar
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    Hey there,
    I don't have a machine quilting frame but do have a Grace hand quilting frame.
    The Grace Co. are a very reliable company. I called about a couple of pieces that hadn't traveled well and they were replaced immediately with no questions. They also sent along a dvd that answered a lot of questions. The Grace Co. is a very consumer friendly company so don't hesitate to ask them for help if you need any.

  7. #7

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    Thanks Yvonne. That's good to hear.

    Scott

  8. #8
    Super Member 2 Doods's Avatar
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    I have a Grace frame. I bought it on Craig's list from a lady that became unable to use it. (health reasons).

    I have only made 5 quilts to date and do not understand how someone can live without a frame. I would never be able to quilt without Grace.

    Santa brought me a Juki TL 98Q. I have only quilted one quilt so far with the new machine. So much faster tham my Bernina that I used to use with Grace. Nina and Gracie did well together but I think Juki and Gracie will be an even better team!

    Almost ready to put # 2 on and get started.

    Good luck with yours!

  9. #9

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    Hi Two Dudes!

    Thanks for the encouragement. The Juki came yesterday, and I am using it to piece a quilt top that I had started. That thing soars! How about the construction of those presser feet?

    I can't wait for the frame to come. I have three very simple quilt kits, all alike, that I can throw together for practice. Well, won't blow the first time on a quilt, but you get the drift. These are lap robes, so they won't take much to comlete.

    Thanks again, and good luck on Number two.

    Scott

  10. #10

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    Do you mind me asking what brand of thread you are using?

  11. #11
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    Not at all. The Bailey was designed to use any kind of thread. For my practice I have been using the cones I bought at JoAnn for $1 each. When I thought it was the thread, when it was breaking so much, I changed to another brand of spool thread, but that was not the problem. I am able to use any kind of bobbin thread, including some pre-wound bobbins. It uses standard needles, and plastic bobbins. The design was well thought out. I think it was based on the Singers from earlier years.


  12. #12

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    Thank you. I had read somewhere online that the brand of thread made a difference. As I think back, it was not a Bailey or Juki machine that was being used. Whew!

  13. #13
    Super Member Pam Pollock's Avatar
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    Scott, Do you have a 6' table or a 10' table? I learned the hard way on my 10' Gracie frame that if the quilt is a bigger size, then the take up rail can sag a little in the middle & cause extra tension where it rubs on the deck in the throat of the machine (because of the long span). When this 1st happened to me I thought it was my machine causing the thread to break or bad thread. I took my new Pfaff machine back to the sewing center & they couldn't find any problems with the machine. I ended up figuring it out & it wasn't the thread or the machine. Each end of my take up rail was at the same height but the sag of the take up rail made the material rub as I got further towards the middle of the table. I have found that a putting a plastic footstool on the table (at one end) to support the "takeup rail" helps. I place the stool on the other end from where I'm starting about 1ft from the end. Of course you have to move the stool to the opposite end when your quilting has worked over to the end where the stool (or support) is located. This relieved the problem of the thread breaking & relieved problem of tension being forced out of adjustment due to the drag. When I use the support it doesn't matter how fast I go. It was a hard trial to learn this & I think if the take up rail could be solid & unbending the problem would go away. I have been meaning to write the Gracie Co about this to see if they have improved the take up rails for the longer tables. They have always been fast to respond & very helpful & I have been meaning to contact them for awhile now about this (I'm bad for not doing that because how do they know there is a problem unless you tell them). If you have a longer table this may help for now. Ultimately I think the take up rail would be better if the 2 pieces that are joined to make the 10' take up rail were joined with a "longer inside connecting piece" for added support or a "one piece" rail was used out of a material less likely to sag in the middle with the weight of a larger quilt. Hope that helps for now to anyone with a 10' table. When I do smaller quilts on my 10' table I don't have the problem.

  14. #14

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    Wow, Pam! Thanks for taking the time to convey all of this.

    I don't have have my frame yet. I've ordered the GMQ PRO. It adjusts to crib, queen, and king. Sounds like I may have three breaks in the take up rail as opposed to two ?

    I really appreciate you sharing your experience with me.

    Scott

  15. #15
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    i love my Juki machine. and can't wait to get a Gracie frame. Let me know what you think of it.

  16. #16
    Super Member Pam Pollock's Avatar
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    Hi Scott, My frame can either be set up as a 6' or 10' table but they suggest if you want to do larger quilts to set it up as a 10' & leave it that way as it's not easy to change back & forth. My 10' frame can do King size quilts or smaller & the take up rail has only 2 sections so yours probably will only have 2 also. If I can prevent anyone from the learning struggle I went through...I'd be pleased. Hope it helps!

  17. #17

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    Hey, I just bought a new Janome 6600p back in the fall and love it. And since buying it I am making about 3 quilts a month and doing a lot of small stippling and wreaths, etc. and now I am really worried I am putting too many hours on my new machine. I am thinking about buying a long arm machine and frame but I am really scared to make such a huge investment because I read reveiws about them and don't know which one is the best.

  18. #18
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    longa, your Janome will stand the test of time. I have a Janome Memory Craft 7000 that is 23 years old this year. I sewed hours on end every day on it and it still sews like the day I got it. I just got a new Pfaff 2056 Performance, my Janome is taking a much deserved rest on the other end of my sewing table.

  19. #19

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    I bought the same frame and Juki last year and love it - compared to pushing it all through the machine, that is! I'm still having a problem with random long stitches appearing, especially on the first row of quilting, and even with a phone call to Gracie, haven't quite figured out my problem. Assembly of the frame is a real trip - be patient! Good luck.

  20. #20
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    stitch length is going to vary according to how fast you move the machine.

    Slow movements give a more even stitch....fast caused the stitch to lengthen. When you are going too fast, the thread will break!

    Slow and Steady.....like the turtle!

  21. #21

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    Thanks for the hint, June. Come to think of it, the areas where I've had the problems are in the curves of circles, so maybe I need to make my circles larger.

    On another note, I've been quilting the body of the quilt on the frame, then taking it off to push through my machine to stitch in the ditch inside the border, then to quilt the border(s). Does anyone have any tips about how to quilt the whole thing, including borders, on the Gracie GMC Pro frame? I've only been quilting a little over a year, so still have lots to learn. Thanks for any help.

  22. #22
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    ok Scott, we're waiting for the consumer review.
    Are you still putting it together? LOL

  23. #23
    Super Member Pam Pollock's Avatar
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    I've been quilting the body of the quilt on the frame, then taking it off to push through my machine to stitch in the ditch inside the border, then to quilt the border(s). Does anyone have any tips about how to quilt the whole thing, including borders, on the Gracie GMC Pro frame?
    Hi Calico, If your're quilting across the width & you want the borders to be different than the body, then you can finish the width borders & the body & then take it off the frame & put it back on lengthwise to get the borders going the length of the quilt. It really just depends on what you want to do. My applique sheep quilt had to be pinned on my frame 2 different directions so that I could get the effect in the borders that I wanted. Other quilts I have just stippled or done patterns all the way across the body of the quilt & border. I guess it just depends on what you want. Hope that helps.

  24. #24
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    Pam, good answer. I am starting my 2nd quilt on the frame and I intend to do just that. The practice piece I did the hard way. But I had decided it was no big problem to get the quilt back on the fame turned one quarter turn. It is must easier to do the border as a whole piece, rather than in sections.

    Anyone with a frame should not need to take their quilt to the machine and do more stitching. The reason I bought the frame was to do away with the machine quilting and all the tugging and pulling of the quilt.

    I suggest anyone who has questions about using the frame/machine combo, ask on this forum and other forums to learn how best to use it. Also, phone the company where you bought your equipment and tell them what you are wanting help with. You paid them for service as well as the product.

  25. #25

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    Yes, my girlfriend has one and loves it. Took 3 of us to put it together:))Once that done...it is smooth as ice as it glides the machine tray around. My favorite part of it (see, I talk as it is my own!) is the clamps on bungee type cords on the ends...so when you have your quilt on the rollers, you just clamp the sides and it holds your quilt nice and tight. The only prob. she has had in about a year of it, was there are these plastic tube (hard to describe)that are where the bearings/rollers of the rolling tray roll against...they cracked...she called them, and they shipped out new ones no prob. I don't know why they happened...could be the machine (janome) is heavier then they expect? Or just the wrong kind of plastic to put there. Other then that little burp...she quilts on it almost every day!:))Hope that helps..Skeat (We also made sure to use a level to make sure the frame was level-good thing we checked! Her floor wasn't:)))

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