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Thread: How many of you long-arm quilters

  1. #1
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    have tried and tried and never mastered the fancy, fancy quilting? I am beginning to think that I'm going to have to stick to my loops (going different directions) and stippling, and meandering!!! I practiced again a couple of hours this afternoon "trying" to do feathers.....just can't do it. And forget the straight lines...ruler work....I even bought the extra tool to put on my machine head and the acrylic ruler....AWFUl!!! I guess I hate the thought of hours and hours of practicing....trying....when I could be making another quilt. Anyone else just do the easy stuff?

  2. #2
    Super Member Fabaddict's Avatar
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    I mainly do meandering, stippling, loops - the easy stuff. I have tried feathers and gave up cause they looked horrible. I can do lines with a straight edge. But I usually keep it simple

  3. #3
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    I just got mine ready to go and was amazed at how horrible I am. I do hope that practice makes things easier or, at a minimum, better looking.

    I am going to spend hours and hours just with the little laser and see if it gets just a tad smoother.

    Joy

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by misoop
    have tried and tried and never mastered the fancy, fancy quilting? I am beginning to think that I'm going to have to stick to my loops (going different directions) and stippling, and meandering!!! I practiced again a couple of hours this afternoon "trying" to do feathers.....just can't do it. And forget the straight lines...ruler work....I even bought the extra tool to put on my machine head and the acrylic ruler....AWFUl!!! I guess I hate the thought of hours and hours of practicing....trying....when I could be making another quilt. Anyone else just do the easy stuff?
    I was feeling that way for awhile until I went to a couple of the classes that the company I bought mine from offered and it was amazing the little secrets she taught us on how to do some of the neat fancy things like feathers. Plus there are all kinds of dvd/cds that show how to do some of that. For example the pajama girl and also Pam Clarke. Plus one thing that helped me was using stencils and pouncing them just kinda got me feeling more of a free flowing movement with my machine and just helped get more comfortable as it built up my confidence.

    Hopefully, some of this will help you. Just like anything else it does take practice and patience (which is hard for me at times).

    Good luck,
    Sherryl
    Candlequilter

    Remember to breathe and try to relax as you are doing it. I know that is easier said than done. :D

  5. #5
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    I haven't even attempted to do a pantograph yet. Gotta get smoother at abrupt turns than I am now!! But, I can really do nice round loops, etc. and the stippling.

  6. #6
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    Candlequilter...please send me the websites for pajama girl and Pam Clark...thanks.

  7. #7
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    I'd love any ideas. I especially want to be able to learn stuff here at home. I live in the middle of no where, just getting to LQS takes an hour and a half, so web-based or DVD info is my kind of info. I'm getting better but I'm far from perfect and I'm rather scared to try the detailed work that I've seen on some quilts. Imagine picking out that those close stitches--no way!

  8. #8
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    I have been long arming for 5 years. I have yet to really get the hang of feathers and fancy quilting. There is another LQS across the river from me and there are several other ladies that have long arms. 1 lady has been quilting for about 10 years, people in this area know if they want feathers then to go to her. If they want anything else to go to either of the shops. With me running a shop, having a husband and children that are still in school I have never made the time to push myself to really learn them. Trust me, YOU will find your own niche'. Just give it time and practice, practice and practice even more.

  9. #9
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    I do pantographs and some of them are pretty intricate but haven't ventured into the freehand yet. Have been too busy quilting others quilts and will only "practice" on my own. That is a part of what I hope to do in 2011.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ljfox's Avatar
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    I just got my long arm less than a month ago so I haven't practiced much with Christmas and all to keep me busy. But the first time I tried it I told my daughter that I just spent alot of money just to feel that clumsy! But now that Christmas is over I need to get back at it and see how it goes. I have three quilts to finish in the next couple of months.

  11. #11
    Super Member KathyAire's Avatar
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    This is the best DVD for Feathers, in my opinion.
    Kim Brunner's Twirly Whirly Feathers
    I am not associated with the product, just a satisfied customer.

  12. #12
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    Hi y'all I have to add my .02 worth here on this subject. If you want to get better with your longarming you have to do the PPP and more P that means practice. I can now do some very pretty feathers. ( I could not Draw)!!!! the best way to practice anything is to get yoruself a white board and some of those dry erase marking pens and just sit and doodle. they hand eye cordination paractice will help. but you Have to put in the Practice time. Do some on plain paere when you first start and in a month or 2 then do it again on plain paper and put htem both side by side you will be amazed. The best way to tell you how ot do feather drawing is to treat each feather as a half of a heart.Proving they are on a straight line. if you have curves then in to concave side you have to drop a feather or two. If you are on the convex side you need to add one or two. This will help for every kind of designs you want to master.I hope this will help some of you.

  13. #13
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    I just do easy stuff.

  14. #14
    Senior Member luvstoquilt301's Avatar
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    You will get better. I did a huge amount of charity quilts for my guild and that really helped. I HATE pantos and just do free hand from the front.

    I cannot do a straight line at all so I just do a little wiggle stitch to outline a block or down a border.

    Here is the wiggle stitch around the blocks.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #15
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I'm with you! I'm taking a class in January (hours haven't been set up yet).....hoping that will help. If not, since I'm babysitting this machine, it won't break my heart if I let it go back and I return to hiring my work done. I'd love to do the featherwork, but so far, only there is only one little 6" space that looks good --- and I had 2 queen size sheets on the machine!!!! I'm tired of trying! This machine has the QBOT computer for doing fancy designs -- I use that for quilts that I want to be nice.

  16. #16
    Super Member quilttiludrop's Avatar
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    There are a lot of different techniques to learn. We each can focus on and master different styles of quilting. It's nice that we're not all doing the same thing!

  17. #17
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    Wish I could afford a long arm machine

  18. #18
    Super Member Eddie's Avatar
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    I just do meandering, stippling, loops, freehand, and pantographs so far - certainly no heirloom quilting (yet). Like most everything in life, it takes practice, so I feel like I'm gradually building up the skills. Stick with it, it'll come to you in time.

  19. #19
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
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    Well, I have the same learning curve problem - it can be frustrating to try and do the fancy stuff only to have it look horrible when you are finished. One way I practice is two pieces of muslin with some scrap batting and I just go to town on that piece just for practice.
    When I first got my longarm - I actually ripped out all the stitches on one of my quilts because I just didn't like it. I still cannot do the fancy stuff but I am trying. Hopefully it will get easier with practice. Just know that you are not alone....

  20. #20
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    this is good to hear. :)

  21. #21
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    I finally came to a realization just recently -- I don't have the time or the patience to do really complicated quilting. I let my last quilt just sit there for several months because I was feeling so despondent that I couldn't do really detailed and fancy work. I finally kicked myself in the behind, and told myself to accept me as I am ;) I do pantographs, and that's about it -- no freeform or anything fancy, and I've learned to accept that. I make functional quilts with basic quilting, and that's good enough for me at this point.

  22. #22
    Super Member Thumbelina's Avatar
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    Glad to see I'm not the only one doing just the easy stuff. I noticed that as soon as I push the button, I have a death grip on my machine. I'm so scared to mess up all the time. Maybe I'll be able to relax when my girlfriend quits giving her quilts to practice on.

  23. #23
    Super Member suezquilts's Avatar
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    Doodle Doodle Doodle

    Can I say anything more? I have been LA Quilting for 7 yrs.
    I started with Pantos... and doodling... practicing with the LA... hold the pencil straight up and down, not slanted.
    This has helped me. I have asked to have my way with customer's quilt, someone who I knew who would listen to my ideas. They have been some of my best quilts.

    Most importantly, have a design board... my design board, as I lay in bed (door open) I can look straight out at the quilt.
    It is a good distance away. So at night in the dark it shows a different view of the quilt than in the daylight.

    don't give up! Enjoy the Art!

  24. #24
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    I have not done it on my new 'toy', but I did do straight line stitching with my domestic. I didn't have a ruler, I just fixed the 'wheels' so they couldn't move and straight stitched left to right/right to left and it came out fantastic for a newbie.... I am planning on trying it with my new 'toy' when I get a quilt that I want to do that with, but it may be a little harder as the wheels I need to keep from moving are inside the base of my machine.

  25. #25
    Senior Member 1barron's Avatar
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    Yes I use the kiss method (keep it simple sweetheart). I also quilt for customers (mainly family). I took up FMQ about 5 years ago. My Aunt told me the most important thing is to keep doing and it would get easier. I also use a pencil and paper when trying a new pattern.

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