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Thread: I've got it. Now, what do I do with it???? Help!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. #26
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    Take a class. In our area the Northeast, Machine Quilters Exposition has a show with classes for beginners and experts. Find someone nearby that teaches. If you have spent that much money on a machine, you need to spend some more and learn how to use it. Also, practice makes you a much better quilter. Make some charity quilts and practice on those. Also, volunteer to quilt charity quilts for your guild, club, church, whatever.

  2. #27
    Super Member Cindy60545's Avatar
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    I agree with everything everyone else said. Just take an ugly piece of material out of your stash & some cheap material for the backing & leftover batting will do just fine. First thing is to get used to the machine. Remember, it only goes where you direct it. Start with some meandering & then go to loops, swirls, curls & whatever you can think of. The more you move the machine in the same shape, the more muscle memory you build up. I'm not far ahead of you. I've had my machine since the end of March, but had frame issues for the first 4 months. I've actually only been quilting with it since the first of August. You can see my progression here on QB. The latest is "fit to be tied" in pictures. Yes, it's a lot of feathers. There are some online classes you can take to learn them. PM me for further information or help.

  3. #28
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    I have had my long arm for about a year and a half. I have not set up pantographs on it, and don't have the computer. I started on jelly roll strippy quilts. I have gotten quite good at meander and leafy things. I don't particularly like feathers, feel they are done to death. So I will probably never try feathers. Most of my quilts are charity quilts anyway, so I don't bother with the fancy stuff. But there certainly is a learning curve with long arming. I find it very relaxing to load a quilt and then just mindlessly do a simple meander, and in an hour or so I am done and ready to bind. I love that feeling. I can also do hearts fairly well, but, my suggestion is to go at the speed you are comfortable with. I have tensions down perfect now, and that is a BIG accomplishment.

  4. #29
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    I started out with easier designs on plain white fabric. It was like fabric doodling. I did clouds, stars, and wrote words on it. I put baby and my sons name on it. After I was done, I cut it out and made a throw quilt for my son(he spent many hours on it). I used it as his tummy-time quilt. It wasn't perfect and was going to get dirty.

    When we got our machine, they told us you should get about 100 hours of practice in to know your machine and what you can do. Don't be afraid to practice. I am a visual learner, so I watched a few videos on youtube and then I would try it. It's going to be baby steps. Watch a few and try it. Don't watch so many you are completely over whelmed. Have fun with it and if you are stressed at all....just walk away from it for a while.

    There is the Pajama Quilter. I don't know if she has any free videos, but my mom bought her dvd. She is very helpful on showing you ways to quilt. Good luck and I can't wait to see some of your quilting.
    enjoy your life...it's the only one you have!!!
    Heather

  5. #30
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    I am LMAO! ;D I purchased my Crown Jewel 3 months ago. I have done two large quilts and two table toppers on it. I named it CJ. I was just chatting on here and CJ came to be her name. I practice feathers by doing them on paper to train my muscles. I am learning! Just do it! Find some material that you do not like and play, play play! I am new to longarming, so I am sure there are many on here who can help better then I can. I am going to a longarm retreat this month. Quilt on!

  6. #31
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    My guild has a long arm. What our "experts" do is to set up a plain quilt sandwich and have all the newbees just play with it. They begin by making a bunch of cursive Ls, then go on to make stars, hearts, draw flowers, etc. They also recommend that you use markers to draw ful sized designs on old newspapers...over and over again. You can always make potholders or dog beds or some such from the practice runs. Do check out UTube.

  7. #32
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    I completely understand! Got my LA 3 weeks ago and was so scared to even try to use it. I did set it up and I loaded a quilt and looked at it for 2 days. Yesterday I threaded the machine and basted the top of the quilt to the
    backing and today I will set up the boards and QUILT! My stomach was in knots just thinking about it. My advice -
    JUST DO IT. It isn't so scary once I took the first step. Good Luck.

  8. #33
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    A suggestion given to me and it worked really well, is to purchase felt, load it and practice on it. No need to sandwhich it if you don't want. It's just for you to practice your movements. I totally agree with AmandasGrandma about Mqrescource. I took the feather class there and oh what a difference it makes. Watch video after video. The crafty class someone else mentioned about Quilting Negative Space is good too! What kind of long arm did you buy? YOu will want to know people, even on-line that have the same machine for the ins and outs of that particular machine!

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by promenades View Post
    I am LMAO! ;D I purchased my Crown Jewel 3 months ago. I have done two large quilts and two table toppers on it. I named it CJ. I was just chatting on here and CJ came to be her name. I practice feathers by doing them on paper to train my muscles. I am learning! Just do it! Find some material that you do not like and play, play play! I am new to longarming, so I am sure there are many on here who can help better then I can. I am going to a longarm retreat this month. Quilt on!
    Where and who with are you doing the longarm retreat with. I would love to do one!

  10. #35
    Super Member Caswews's Avatar
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    Sew like the wind .. don't let a machine intimidate you ..
    When Life brings big winds of change that almost blows you over.Hang on tight and Believe.
    Words and hearts should be handled with care-for words when spoken and hearts when broken are the hardest things to repair. Author unknown to me
    Do what you feel in your heart to be right; for you'll be criticized anyway-Eleanor Roosevelt

  11. #36
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    I don't have a Longarm but do have the HQ Sweet 16. Reading everyone's suggestions for LA is interesting and informative. Once DD finishes HER quilts perhaps I can do some more practice and get MY quilts done.
    Sweet Caroline

  12. #37
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    I got a Bailey some time ago and found it's not as easy as it looks. Time, lots of practice, and more time and I am still learning, but I love it. I will never quilt for anyone else, but I didnt intend to.
    I am into a number of classes from Craftsy & they are wonderful. Again, I find I have to practice alot.
    I wouldn't recommend starting with a large piece or anything you treasure. I did table runners and placemats then a couple of dog blankets. Come to think of it, I think the mats turned into dog blankets too!
    Like Nike, just do it. Mess up a lot with no fear. No one has to see it. Better than looking at a machine and feeling guilty. Go for it

  13. #38
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    I think your questions are why I still don't have one. I sat with my sewing machine for over a year doing a little bit of this and that every now and then-I was so intimidated by it (years ago, and it is a Babylock Ellegante). I was so used to the very simplified Singers and Kenmores and Brothers that I was afraid of breaking something. Then I just dug in, after I got over the guilt of spending so much money on it (got a great deal on demo model). I plan on starting out with a frame and using my Babylock Jane. That way I know I will get a lot of experience in before I jump into spending more on a longer armed machine. I am wondering, once you master the feathers etc. on FMQ on our short and mid-arm machines, isn't it much easier and comfortable to forge ahead in the learning process on a long-arm? That is my thought, but I know nothing about long-arming.

  14. #39
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    your new machine

    my 2 cents would be to buy 2 flat twin sheets load them on your machine with batting between and just practice, circles. and squigglies until you get the feel of how fast you go and how fast your machine is sewing. you won;t be making feathers your first day. atleast i couldn;t.
    its like riding a bike the first time you need to get your balance and be comfortable before you can do wheelies.

  15. #40
    Senior Member Prettiptibbs's Avatar
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    I too was terrified of using my LA, and it sat for months. So off to Joanns I went and bought a bolt of muslin(on sale of course!) and cut large pieces for the top and back and put pieced batting between and sewed and sewed. Jerky and looked awful, but I kept at it. Trouble is , I didnt learn til much later that I could change the speed to give me better control. Oh well. Take your time, and try loops and heart and leaves. The feathers will come later.If you can turn down the speed and just sew and sew and use up that muslin and anything ugly in your stash, you will be OK.
    Happy stitching and dont be too hard on yourself!
    Prettip

  16. #41
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    Just got my sweet 16. I have a quilt top I hate. So I put some batting in and some backing I didn't like either. I have a stencil so drew the flowers on the quilt. Played with vines on the border. The quilting is terrible but I love the darn thing.
    I was going to put it in the motor home but decided I want it on my bed. Hubby loves it..but what does he know. haa
    I am sure I will get better in time. Have been doodeling on paper too. So much fun!!! I say, just go for it.


    ·What does a clock do when it's hungry? It goes back four seconds.

  17. #42
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    Have a look at some of the demos on YouTube and you should get a few pointers.

  18. #43
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
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    You are not alone - I have had my longarm for about 2 yrs - I still feel like I am in the "training wheels" section - it really does take time to become good at it. I look at all those quilts that have all the fancy stuff on them - when I try it - it does not look at all like that. I tend to "paint myself into a corner" I always want to continue my lines rather than stop - pull up the bobbin thread and start again. I really like groovy boards - they are expensive but they work great - when I need a quilt done quickly and don't want to worry about how it will look - I use my boards - my favorites are circles and the baptist fan. Just keep on trying - you will get it. By the way, I did not touch my long arm for a few months after getting it. I was petrified - I am glad to hear that I wasn't the only one out there. Just keep trying - you will get it.

  19. #44
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    Doodle designs on paper with a pencil/pen - builds muscle memory. I draw a quilt block and then play! Also, get a piece of quilters plastic - flexible, kinda thick, JoAnn's or a quilt shop should have it - I have an 18" square and an 18" x 24" piece as well - put blue painters tape all around the edges (keeps you from drawing off your plastic and on your quilt with markers) and get some dry erase markers. Put the plastic over your quilt block and play with designs - wipes off easily with a scrap of batting. I go through a few of these a year as after a while the black doesn't come off all the way.

    Put a muslin sandwich on your frame, draw 10" squares, leaving little "gates" between to go through and practice with a meander, filling one square and moving to another (teaches you how to plan your ins and outs of blocks). Draw flowers, hearts, leaves, etc. on the muslin with a marker and then go over them with your machine, connecting them with quilting loops. Try drawing a square, quilt the square and then echo around the frame, keeping an equal distance from all quilting lines all the way to the center of the square. Write the alphabet with your machine.

    The more you practice, the easier it becomes. Don't be afraid of your LA - they really aren't that delicate and your won't break it if you use it! The lighter touch you have on the handles, the easier it is to control (at least for my machine) - when you have a death-grip on the handles, it seems harder to control the head of the machine. Put some music on and quilt to the beat - dance with your machine!!! It's a lovely partner AND you get to lead!!!

  20. #45
    Super Member duckydo's Avatar
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    Go to Walmart and buy some cheap tone on tone fabric or muslin,, and just start doodling on your fabric.. The faster you move your hands the bigger the stitches are..Slower you go, smaller stitches, Set your machine at a speed that you feel comfortable with then just start making loops and circles any thing that comes mind... As far as feathers, just make a ling curved line on you fabric then start making half heart shapes on one side then when you get to the end start up the other side repeating the half heart method... Invest in some books.. I go on Amazon and buy books cheaper than buying them on someones web site... And do go to utube, it has some great videos.. And relax, it does take lots of practice... be easy on yourself, it is like anything else you are learning, it will take a little time... Good Luck..

  21. #46
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    So far, I have gotten a lot of good advice. I am going to utilize all of it. Just keep it up. I am learning a lot and hopefully some other newbies will too!!
    Be the best that you can be at everything you do.
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  22. #47
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    Definitely play with it. I made muslin and old curtain sandwiches and just practiced. I was a little intimidated, but after I took the class from my dealer, I was more willing to play with it. I have done a few already with more lined up. Now I just need to figure out my time (I'm working fulltime).

    If you belong to a guild, volunteer to do charity quilts. That's what I did. I also picked one up from someone on another group I belong do that makes quilt tops and sends them out to people who volunteer. All the group that sent it asks is that you send a photo of the finished quilt. Go online and check with Quilts of Valor, Linus Project, and other websites. They will get quilt tops and need someone to quilt them. They are looking for help and not for ribbons. They will appreciate any ones that you want to quilt. That way you both benefit. You get practice and they have quilts to give out.

    Last point, just have fun and enjoy it.

  23. #48
    Senior Member Toni C's Avatar
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    Mindy Caspersen's "I've got a longarm (and I'm not afraid to us it) is good. Longarm University you can take classes too!

  24. #49
    Super Member Christine-'s Avatar
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    When mine came I went to a thrift store and bought old sheets, flannel blankets, etc. and used those to make a quilt sandwich. I practiced on those until I was ready to put the real thing on. Now all I need to do is bind the ugly things and donate them to the animal shelter. Dogs don't care what it looks like!
    Last edited by Christine-; 09-04-2012 at 09:04 PM.
    Bernina 640, Singer 201-3, Singer Centennial 15-91, Tin Lizzie 26" long arm

  25. #50
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    Sally Terry and Karen McTavish are BOTH awesome help. Great books n videos.

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