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Long Arm practice

Long Arm practice

Old 02-06-2011, 12:39 PM
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I'm gonna be broke before I am good enough to do an actual quilt. I got my new tin lizzie yesterday and have practiced non stop. I can do meandering loops pretty well. LOL This is going to take alot longer than I thought. I keep boxing myself into a corner.

I'm buying the cheapest batting possible went to JoAnns 4 times with 50% off coupons and tommorrow I am going to good will for sheets to quilt for practice.

Don't take your LAQ for granted, this is very hard work!

From any of you Long Arm Quilters out there, any advise?
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bamamama
I'm gonna be broke before I am good enough to do an actual quilt. I got my new tin lizzie yesterday and have practiced non stop. I can do meandering loops pretty well. LOL This is going to take alot longer than I thought. I keep boxing myself into a corner.

I'm buying the cheapest batting possible went to JoAnns 4 times with 50% off coupons and tommorrow I am going to good will for sheets to quilt for practice.

Don't take your LAQ for granted, this is very hard work!

From any of you Long Arm Quilters out there, any advise?
I think you have already figured out that it just takes practice, practice, and then some more practice!

Be careful buying sheets, though..... sometimes the thread count can be very high, and that can cause you tension issues. While you are at Goodwill, you may be lucky enough to run across some unfinished quilt tops -- snap 'em up. That way, when you are done practicing, you can bind them and use them. I have to admit, when I did that, my dogs inherited the finished quilts, but they loved them!

If you can stand one more purchase at Joann fabrics, I would suggest a bolt of muslin. They sell it wrapped in plastic, so you don't have to stand in line and have it cut. Just use a coupon. Oh! One other thing.... what kind of batting are you using?
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:49 PM
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Remember to breathe! And don't grip the handles so hard!!
Good lighting is a must also. I am usually barefoot, and have a cup of tea handy. Take breaks often and do a bit of stretching. Most of all, have fun!! ;)
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:56 PM
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The first batch was cotton batting but that is expensive. I bought some Mountain Mist Polyester batting. I would not use it normally. Does it matter if it is just a practice piece?
Originally Posted by Candy Apple Quilts
Originally Posted by bamamama
I'm gonna be broke before I am good enough to do an actual quilt. I got my new tin lizzie yesterday and have practiced non stop. I can do meandering loops pretty well. LOL This is going to take alot longer than I thought. I keep boxing myself into a corner.

I'm buying the cheapest batting possible went to JoAnns 4 times with 50% off coupons and tommorrow I am going to good will for sheets to quilt for practice.

Don't take your LAQ for granted, this is very hard work!

From any of you Long Arm Quilters out there, any advise?
I think you have already figured out that it just takes practice, practice, and then some more practice!

Be careful buying sheets, though..... sometimes the thread count can be very high, and that can cause you tension issues. While you are at Goodwill, you may be lucky enough to run across some unfinished quilt tops -- snap 'em up. That way, when you are done practicing, you can bind them and use them. I have to admit, when I did that, my dogs inherited the finished quilts, but they loved them!

If you can stand one more purchase at Joann fabrics, I would suggest a bolt of muslin. They sell it wrapped in plastic, so you don't have to stand in line and have it cut. Just use a coupon. Oh! One other thing.... what kind of batting are you using?
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Old 02-06-2011, 01:00 PM
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The pantographs may help you figure out how to keep yourself out of corners. Practicing the pattern you want over & over again by drawing on a whiteboard helps build muscle memory and is much cheaper than thread, fabric & batting.

I also draw with chalk on the quilt top to plan out when I need to stop, change direction, etc. to keep me out of those corners.
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Old 02-06-2011, 01:04 PM
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As to cotton vs. poly batting on a practice piece...... it depends.

If you are just practicing for the sake of getting to know the feel of the machine, then no, it doesn't really matter. Once you master those loops (and it won't be long, trust me!), you will be paying more attention to the quality of your stitches, and the tension of your threads. That's when a poly batting can either help you --- or hurt you. Confused yet?

A poly batting may hide the quality of your stitches, and that can be a good thing, BUT...... if and when you do switch over to cotton batting, you may see a lot of change in the way your stitches actually look. If you don't have a stitch regulator, for example, cotton batting will make it easier to see the length of each stitch. If that's something you are trying to master (even stitch length), you may want to use cotton batting and contrasting thread.

If you just want to be able to finish pretty quilts, and actually USE them (smile), then poly should be fine. Just keep an eye on your tension settings when switching back and forth between the two, because you could have some surprises on the back side!
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Old 02-06-2011, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by BKrenning
The pantographs may help you figure out how to keep yourself out of corners. Practicing the pattern you want over & over again by drawing on a whiteboard helps build muscle memory and is much cheaper than thread, fabric & batting.

I also draw with chalk on the quilt top to plan out when I need to stop, change direction, etc. to keep me out of those corners.
A whiteboard! Yes, I forgot about that! Fantastic idea!

Also, someone told me a long time ago to watch "where you want to go" and NOT "where you are". It takes a little time to get used to keeping your eyes ahead of the needle, and not ON it. :-)
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Old 02-06-2011, 01:09 PM
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Bamamama, this is going to be a very helpful thread for those of us just starting out. Thanks for starting it!

Rose
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Old 02-06-2011, 01:10 PM
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Yes, the whiteboard helped me a lot.
Also -- when at Goodwill look for some cheap blankets that you can use as batting....just for the first practices.

I've had mine since last Fall.....I just gave my GF 5 of the practice pieces. She bound them, gave 2 to her sons and the rest went to the humane society. I have 2 more to give her and that's not counting the ones I tossed!!!!!!
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by stewyscrewy
Yes use your practice piece over and over till you feel comfortable and use different color thread to see what you are doing. Tuck your elbows into your body and move your whole body it helps smoothing your movements. Another way to practice is to use a pantograph to help your movements. You dont have to stitch any just follow the designs. You are in for lots and lots of practice. Have fun. when you get tired take a major break and then come back to it.
Great idea to use over and over with different thread! I am going to remember that! Love the pantograph idea for practicing to! We are buying a longarm in a few months!
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