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Thread: I have the Longarm Learning Blues!

  1. #1
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    I have the Longarm Learning Blues!

    Uuugggg! I have been practicing on my new longarm and I just quilted 1/4 of a quilt. From the top, it looked like I was doing great. When I looked underneath, the thread was a jumbled mess. Evidently when I rethreaded after the warm up, I missed a slot. Now, I have to rip and rip and rip!!! So, I have the Longarm Quilting Blues!! I think I will write a song.
    Got up this morning da dah da dah
    Ready to start my day da dah da dah
    Warmed up my machine da dah da dah
    Was well on my way da dah da dah
    Was looking swell da dah da dah
    I was proud of myself da dah da dah
    Till I looked under da dah da dah
    And saw all the da dah da dah!!!
    Now, I've got the longarm blues!!! Da dah da dah!!!
    Be the best that you can be at everything you do.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member nance-ell's Avatar
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    At least you've got your sense of humor. So sorry you're having to deal with that! I'm sure that would be my luck too if only I had a longarm :-)
    Nancy

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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    so sorry for your blues. frog stitching is no fun. there are just sooooooo many things to check when LAing!
    Nancy in western NY
    before you speak T.H.I.N.K.
    T is it True? H is it Helpful? I is it Inspiring? N is it Necessary? K is it Kind?


  4. #4
    Jim
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    Super Member Jim's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about mistake...so many things can go wrong when LA'ing that you have to experience before that lesson is learned to watch for. Just mark it up to experience or a lesson learned and sing those blues away while ripping. Sorry this happened but, someone could tell you and you may not even think about it happening until it actually happens and then you understand exactly why you check how top and bottom stitching is going before you get too far along. Mark it up to experience and keep practicing. I know it doesn't make you feel much better about it right now but, it will make you a better LA'er in the long run. Good luck with the learning process... It's a journey
    A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort :lol:

  5. #5
    Super Member TexasSunshine's Avatar
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    I feel your pain. We have had nothing but trouble with our LA since we bought, used. It has never sewed right for more than a little bit at a time. I am very disappointed with it.
    Texas Sunshine, piney woods of NE Texas

  6. #6
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    At least the top looked good. You are halfway there!

  7. #7
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Ooh, bummer! Have you put a door mirror under your machine yet?

  8. #8
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    Get a mirror that is on an extension like a radio antenna. I got mine at O'Reilly Automotive. I quilt about half a row and then take a flashlight and my mirror to check my stitches underneath. At the automotive store I also got a strong magnet on an extension for picking up pins and needles from the floor and a magnatized parts dish to hold my pins. These items were quite a bit cheaper than ordering them from a quilting site.
    For practicing on the longarm, I got a wide piece of muslin and made my "sandwich" from that. I drew straight lines on the muslin and practiced "writing" the alphabet in cursive. To keep from getting bored with that I would also "write" words and sentences. This is a good way to help you get comfortable with the machine and perfect the curves and lines.
    Crashnquilt


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  9. #9
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    The only saving grace is that *usually* when you have a thread mess under the quilt, it's easy to remove because the stitches aren't well formed. And knowing WHY you have the mess is good, because it's easy to fix. I find that I've become complacent lately and haven't been checking the bottom of the quilt as often as I should. A door mirror underneath wouldn't help me - I'd probably step on it and break it, and anyway I like to crawl under there and hide and stare at my stitching to see how the pattern is looking on the back.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    The only saving grace is that *usually* when you have a thread mess under the quilt, it's easy to remove because the stitches aren't well formed. And knowing WHY you have the mess is good, because it's easy to fix. I find that I've become complacent lately and haven't been checking the bottom of the quilt as often as I should. A door mirror underneath wouldn't help me - I'd probably step on it and break it, and anyway I like to crawl under there and hide and stare at my stitching to see how the pattern is looking on the back.
    You are way more agile than I am!!

  11. #11
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    LOL! I've had lots of practice with removing stitches. the method that works for me is to go to the back of the frame, roll the quilt onto the take up roller and remove the stitches from the back of the quilt. Use lots of masking tape or a lint roller to get the little pieces of thread, then go back to the front and remove the thread from the top of the quilt. Just make sure you get all the little threads so they don't get caught up in the wheels or track.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

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    Oh, I feel your pain. I've had my longarm for a year and still get the LA Blues! I've tried a few of the mirror/flashlight suggestions and the best way for me to see the stitches underneath is to hold my Walmart mirror (about 7x8" with handle) under at the backside, at an angle to the quilt and shine the flashlight right onto the mirror(small LED with several lights from Harbor Freight). I can get the mirror really close to the stitches and, therefore, easy to see the stitch quality. The small telescoping mirror and the door mirror lying on the table didn't work well for me. I keep them right on the table and check frequently since ripping is difficult when the quilt is on the LA. Also, you said you skipped a slot when rethreading. Did you know you can cut the thread above the cone, tie the new cone to the thread from the previous one that's hanging on the machine and from the front pull the new thread through all the "slots"? It's so much easier than rethreading every time! Hang in there...it does get easier.

  13. #13
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    Don't you just go 'grrr when you have such an 'excellent learning opportunity.' I know I do.

    It is often by our errors that we learn the most. The worse the error [or so it seems] the less likely we will repeat it.

    ali
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

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    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i keep a 12" square mirror tile on my quilting table- it is thin enough that the carriage travels right over it without hitting it- and i can start- stop & check- so a large area underneith & know if all is well- everytime i change my bobbin or thread, or stop for a bit as soon as i go a couple inches i stop & take a peak to make sure all is well before i have a large area of a problem...it really saves alot of time to take the moment to check. good luck with your next trial-
    and great song!
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  15. #15
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh74 View Post
    Oh, I feel your pain. I've had my longarm for a year and still get the LA Blues! I've tried a few of the mirror/flashlight suggestions and the best way for me to see the stitches underneath is to hold my Walmart mirror (about 7x8" with handle) under at the backside, at an angle to the quilt and shine the flashlight right onto the mirror(small LED with several lights from Harbor Freight). I can get the mirror really close to the stitches and, therefore, easy to see the stitch quality. The small telescoping mirror and the door mirror lying on the table didn't work well for me. I keep them right on the table and check frequently since ripping is difficult when the quilt is on the LA. Also, you said you skipped a slot when rethreading. Did you know you can cut the thread above the cone, tie the new cone to the thread from the previous one that's hanging on the machine and from the front pull the new thread through all the "slots"? It's so much easier than rethreading every time! Hang in there...it does get easier.
    I did know about tieing the thread and pulling it through. But, my machine requires a 5 minute warm up before use. And, you have to take the bobbin out and unthread part of the machine so that it doesn't get sucked up in somewhere during the warm up. So, I usually just thread and tie to the too of the machine so there isn't any danger of that happening. I'll have to invest in a mirrow soon cause it is hard for me to get down under the machine. My body aint what it once was. thanks for the tips!
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  16. #16
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    It's always good to check the bottom right after you start. I also do it every time I do a bobbin change. You never know when it will mess up and it's a good habit to always check on it.
    enjoy your life...it's the only one you have!!!
    Heather

  17. #17
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    A few other tips you may not know is doing test swatches on the edge of the quilt where the extra backing and batting are. I lay a square of material on top of this area and every time I change bobbin or advance the quilt I do a quick test to insure the tension is all good.

    Another trick to check the backing is to run your fingernails under a finished area of the quilt backing and if it feels smooth you are ok. If you hear popping or cliking sounds as your fingernails hit the thread you have a tension problem and need to adjust.

    I also use a mirror and flashlight to check the back.

    As for why the thread does this, it is usually thread tension, which improper threading of the machine would be part of. Good luck and keep on practicing. My teacher actually had me reset the tension several times after she purpously knocked it out of proper tension. Talk about a learning experience!

    peace
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  18. #18
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I am like Dunster, I like to crawl under with my flashlight and sometimes I just lay there on my back and stare for the pleasure of it and to give my body time to argue with me before the getting up part. LOL. I also do the test swatches on the side like ube quilting. On the edge like that you can simply flip it over enough to see of the stitches are good.

    I have never heard about having to let a machine warm up for 5 minutes?!?! I am sure glad my LA doesn't have that requirement, that would drive me insane. Especially when having to unthread part of it? What kind of LA did you get that requires this? And more importantly what was the manufactureres reason for it? That seems a bit ridiculous in my mind with today's technology.

  19. #19
    Super Member terri bb's Avatar
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    thank you! now i will have this in my head all day long! )) what a horrible thing you'll be pullin them stitches for hours!
    A rolling stone gathers no moss

  20. #20
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic View Post
    I have never heard about having to let a machine warm up for 5 minutes?!?! I am sure glad my LA doesn't have that requirement, that would drive me insane. Especially when having to unthread part of it? What kind of LA did you get that requires this? And more importantly what was the manufactureres reason for it? That seems a bit ridiculous in my mind with today's technology.
    I was thinking the same thing: what kind of machine requires a 5 minute warmup? especially with unthreading entire thread path?

    Sorry to hear about your 'learning experience' - I know when I have my 'learning experiences' I almost NEVER forget what I've learned...a.k.a. 'on the job training'
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  21. #21
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltinghere View Post
    I was thinking the same thing: what kind of machine requires a 5 minute warmup? especially with unthreading entire thread path?

    Sorry to hear about your 'learning experience' - I know when I have my 'learning experiences' I almost NEVER forget what I've learned...a.k.a. 'on the job training'
    I got the Nolting 30. the warmup is supposed to make sure all the parts are lubricated and the computer is set after it has been shut down. The nice part is that I only have to add one drop of oil to four spots on top of the machine every 8 hours of sewing time and 2 drops to the bobbin carriage every couple of bobbins. All of the working parts are enclosed so there is no cleaning except to blow or brush away excess lint. As for my remembering everything the first go around, my mind isn't what it used to be.
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  22. #22
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    We had a Handiquilter that from bobbin to bobbin was a persnickety machine -lots of issues like yours.We got an Innova-and oh my-great-seldom any tension issues or adjustments.I still check after each bobbin change-but never need to -just an old habit now.If you pay attention to the sound-bad stitching will sound different while quilting.
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    Well, we are all one big happy family, aren't we? Usually share the same learning mishaps, do overs, ripping, etc.
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    Might try getting one of those closed circuit security cameras from "ToolsRUs"(Harbor Frieght). They have one in their current add for ~$50 including the B/W monitor.

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    the good news is that you will never make that mistake again !!! da dah da dah
    sorry that it happened to you tho !
    follow your dreams you never know where they will take you

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