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

  1. #1
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    I've got it. Now, what do I do with it???? Help!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now, that I've got it, I'm at a total loss. What do I do with it??? My new longarm was delivered Friday and set up. My rep showed me the basics but I am totally without a clue here. I think I am learning the panthograph fairly well. But, I am more worried about free motion quilting. How do I learn to make feathers? Do I draw them out and do it that way or just practice until I get it down? How do you go about choosing a design and then implementing it?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Aquarius's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat. I got my Gracie queen and my bailey 13 a couple of months ago. My daughter has helped me set it up and her husband put in new plugs and got every ready to go. I still have to make my leader cloth then I'm ready to start using it. I am so nervous. Like you, I don't know how to make feathers and just where to start. I think that is why I haven't finished making my leaders. Because I am afraid that I will not be good at it. everyone says it just takes practice, practice practice. I think I am going to start out with just stippling at first. I did hand stippling on a huge queen quilt I just finished but doing it on the machine is to me a bit scary. I`m hoping I will do ok. Good luck.
    Last edited by Aquarius; 09-03-2012 at 04:31 AM. Reason: spelling mistake

  3. #3
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquarius View Post
    I'm in the same boat. I got my Gracie queen and my bailey 13 a couple of months ago. My daughter has helped me set it up and her husband put in new plugs and got every ready to go. I still have to make my leader cloth then I'm ready to start using it. I am so nervous. Like you, I don't know how to make feathers and just where to start. I think that is why I haven't finished making my leaders. Because I am afraid that I will not be good at it. everyone says it just takes practice, practice practice. I think I am going to start out with just stippling at first. I did hand stippling on a huge queen quilt I just finished but doing it on the machine is to me a bit scary. I`m hoping I will do ok. Good luck.
    I've been wathcing some videos on you tube and other tutorials. That is helping. I'm getting dizzy watching these though. I have also been doodling on paper to try and get the hang of how some of them go. I'm going to have to buy more paper looks like. Get that leader cloth on and put in some practice cloth. Just remember that you aren't alone in this boat. Maybe we will both get some good information from these gals/ guys on the board. I'm also going back and reading some previous threads where others have had questions. Hang in there!! We will make it.
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    Senior Member lynndianne's Avatar
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    Thought I was the only one. My longarm (haven't even named it yet) has sit there for a year...just looking at me.

    Lynn
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  5. #5
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    Sew. Just sew. It's a sewing machine. The more you practice, the better, more confident you will feel. I'm still improving with every quilt I work on. I see the beautiful things that other quilters do and I'm inspired...sometimes I think that I could never do that, but, maybe I'm not supposed to do that. I'm a squiggly, swirly, leafy, feathery kinda girl. Yes, Hang in there and just relax. You'll get more comfortable with it the more you use it.

  6. #6
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    I don't have a LA but if I did, I think I would practice on some Jelly Roll tops. I would load the top so that the stitching lines were horizontal and use those like lined paper. I would choose patterns I wanted to try and quilt them between 3 or 4 rows of the top. After I got confident with those, I would load a pre-printed top and try quilting around the pattern. Some people like to put in a large floral fabric and outline the flowers with quilting.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    I'm taking an online class right now from Craftsy - machine quilting in negative space. It has been really helpful in getting me to brainstorm ideas. Have fun!!!
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  8. #8
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    there are several books - especially written by Sally Terry showing how to do the different motifs in free motions quilting. Check them out.

  9. #9
    Super Member kristen0112's Avatar
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    Congratulations! I still can't do feathers (of course I haven't tried very often). When I first got my longarm and frame I put white fabric and batting on and just started playing. I did hearts, and flowers all kinds of free motion stuff. Go down to the fabric store buy some cheap muslin and play.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Christine27's Avatar
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    I've had mine a year and after lots of drawing, my feathers are almost presentable. Keep drawing, practice on cheap fabric, and watch videos. I watched the Pajama Quilter DVDs and a Km Brunner DVD called Machine Quilting For Beginners or something like that.

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    I would not recommend practicing on any quilt. I went to estate/garage sales and bought cheap old sheets and thin blankets. For less than $5 I could get a queen/king sheet and blanket. Fold the sheet in half with the blanket for batting. You will feel much more comfortable and free to practice if you are not using good fabric and batting. I just started practicing various patterns, trying to get use to the machine. It' funny, My daughter wanted the finished "quilt". I kinda fell in love with it too, as it was my 1st longarming attempts. I put binding on it and it's in my quilt room.

  12. #12
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I ordered a roll pattern of meandering with sticky edges. This way I can just follow the pattern and it should help me get the feel for meandering.
    This should work for any pattern you want to learn.
    It costs about 15 dollars a roll but it is long enough to do a quilt. By then I should have a feel for it.

  13. #13
    Super Member Happy Linda's Avatar
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    I know what your talking about. I did as the ladies suggested. My big break through was when I gave myself permission to let myself go into those spaces with a swerl or some v shape. I found a hint about feathers, "right side is perky, left, droopy.
    Linda

  14. #14
    Super Member LindaM's Avatar
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    I'm with KSellers - start out with something-anything! that you won't care what it ends up as. Sheets, muslin, etc. Do lots of doodling - builds muscle memory for those designs and helps you figure your way out of corners.

    Give yourself permission to not be perfect when you start, and remember to breathe!

    There are also lots of great videos on youtube showing you how to do some of the designs. Here are a few of my favs ...

    http://www.youtube.com/user/SharonSchamberNet/videos
    http://www.youtube.com/user/renaequilts
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXLCQj--eSs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hLGeebryLQ

    And McTavishing - be sure to see some of Karen's amazing videos!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjvK1OqQYKI

    PinkText: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLDOS...eature=related

    Then throw in some Zentangling on quilts ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX9CzJCuIOc
    Last edited by LindaM; 09-03-2012 at 07:01 AM.
    Linda
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  15. #15
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I, too, was in your boat. Watching all the videos you can find on Youtube helps. Also, go in to Google and do a search for "longarm tools" --- some of the sellers have videos how to use their tools and that'll help, too. There is a forum out there called www.MQresource dot com.... The quilters on there are professionals. For a very small fee you can join up and look at their videos! Every once in a while they offer online classes.....that's where I learned to do feathers.

    Hint on the meandering: think dog bones -- the biscuits. try to quilt the end of the bones....around and around. Or - think jigsaw puzzle.
    Another hint: Get a large sketch pad --- practice practice practice the designs --- BUT -- put the sketchpad on the dining table, stand over it with your hand on the pen.......do not rest your wrist on the table.......believe it or not, that helps a LOT!

    Good luck -- RELAX
    Dee


    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." by George Bernard Shaw

  16. #16
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    just put on some plain fabric and play for a long time before putting a real quilt on the frame.find what you are comfortable with.artsy quilters are not born in a day or a week.make dog blankies for shelters with your practice pieces-dogs are not critical of our work.spend lots of time before loading a real quilt.in the long run that is better than ruining your 1st quilt. waste them uglies we all have sitting around,lol.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

  17. #17
    Junior Member Karenowc's Avatar
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    I belong to a quilt guild where we make quilts for a women's shelter. When I first got my machine, I started quilting those tops. They give you the top, batting and backing so all you need is thread and time.
    It's great practice.
    Karen in CA
    Babylock Ellisimo, Babylock Enlighten Serger, Janome 6600, Janome 760 for travel

  18. #18
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
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    I just got my machine, and I agree - just jump in! I loaded some muslin, and went wild on it with various motifs, feathers, swirls, whatever. I did a couple "samplers". My plan is to repeat the sampler in a few months, so that I can see my improvement (I hope). I've done 5 quilts now, and while I have a long way to go I feel that my quilting is quite passable. Here's a piece of one of my samplers. Not great, but you only get better with practice. Thinking about it doesn't make you better, unfortunately

    There are lots of tutorials out there - for feathers and everything else. Drawing on paper first, to get the motion into your hand seems to be the main recommendation. Check out "365 days of free motion quilting" (google that) for lots of quilting designs.

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  19. #19
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
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    Instead of aiming for feathers right away, I would suggest practising loopy loops until you get a feel for you and your machine. It's kind of like dance partners, you have to practise before it becomes smooth and second nature. I did find that doodling really helped. My son would go nuts when we were in a restaurant that had the paper for table covers and gave you crayons. I'd have the whole thing covered before the entree arrived
    I used to be "hot", now it's just "hot flashes!"

  20. #20
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    Get feather panographs to practice. I use a long arm I use panographs...feathers take lots and lots of thread, I can't free motion them but the panographs still look as pretty!!
    *Rachel*

  21. #21
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I just had some more thought. There are books out there on feathers is one thought. When I took the class they had us draw a straight line -- from left to right and then feather using that line as a stem. Then left to right, then north to south, etc. The curvy's are HARD to do. Also -- looking at the feather above....the feather fronds need to come BACK to the beginning of the frond -- not just to the stem.

    I buy sheets at thrift shops ---- or plain fabric...whatever I can find cheap. Walmart sells cheap twin sheets for $5.00 each if you can't find any. Draw with your ruler straight lines.....try to think "quilt" -- do the sashing, a block, border, etc. Having those constraints makes it easier to learn to control your machine.

    Hope this helps.
    Dee


    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." by George Bernard Shaw

  22. #22
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    Well.....I don't have a LA, nor do I ever hope to have one, but I found all the advice and commiseration here very very interesting. I am in awe of the beautiful artful quilting work I see here on QB, and I just wanted to say so!!!!!

  23. #23
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    I do not have long arm and I am not an expert quilter so I made a quilt called trial and error. It is a simple 1600 quilt which gives me lots of long 2" spaces to practice Fmq. I am ok with meandering but not the shapes. Maybe you can do the same. I am sure you will find where to use the practice quilt. Mine is going in the car for impromptu picknicks and beach stops. Good luck and congrats!

  24. #24
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    My first LA item was a piece of muslin batting and ugly backing. It did get me used to the motion of the machine, but I really think that if you can practice on something that resembles a quilt, it helps. I had some ugly fabric, and just cut a bunch of 6.5" hst and made a pinwheel quilt. Practicing on actual quilt squares helped me a lot. You can also get cheater fabric or draw quilt blocks on muslin. Drawing also helps. I got a large whiteboard and put it right on the frame so when I practice a motif by drawing it, I can hold the marker and move my whole arm. The motion is very similar to using the long arm. Finally, see if there are any charity quilt groups in your area. They are always looking for folks to quilt tops. You get to practice and do something nice too!
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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    Senior Member allie1448's Avatar
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    Buy cheap fabric, cheap batting and just have fun!! Dont call it practise call it playing!! It is amazing how fast you can improve when you are just playing around!

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