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Long Arm Question

Long Arm Question

Old 07-17-2013, 10:31 AM
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I'm new here and I may not be posting this in the right place so if not please redirect me. I've had my long arm for about a year and have had a great time with it but I have what is probably a dumb question. When I advance my quilt to the take-up roller when/how often should I adjust the take-up roller height and do I also adjust the backing roller height? I do mostly small quilts which never give me problems but I've had several tshirt quilts lately that give me fits because my machine seems to drag on them after a couple of advances. I've been adjusting the height but it seems to take a lot of time for me to do that so I'm sure there is a better answer out there than what I'm doing. Thanks for any advice. (If you have good sources for long arm info please let me know that, too.)
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:46 AM
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What brand of frame do you have? I got a wooden Gracie frame with my Tin Lizzie and it can be a pain to advance, you have to adjust at both ends. If your quilt is not laying flat, level with your machine, it will drag.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:49 AM
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How often you have to advance really depends on the thickness of the quilt sandwich.

I have a Hinterberg stretch frame and, when I first got it, I had to do as Gramie bj and adjust both sides. It wasn't all that time-consuming for me to do it, but definitely did interrupt the flow of quilting. I purchased Bower lifts and now it is much easier and faster to raise the takeup roller: http://www.kathybowers.com/ . I think these are only for the hinterberg frames, though. The only roller I raise up is the takeup roller (underneath the arm of the machine). There is no need to adjust any of the other rollers.

What a lot of people do is install a dead bar. Basically this is an extra roller underneath the arm of the machine. You raise the takeup roller and install the dead bar below and maybe a little forward of the takeup roller. This means you never have to adjust the takeup roller. You keep it raised, and the dead bar keeps the quilt sandwich at a constant height. If you Google "dead bar on a quilting machine" and click on "images", you should be able to find some photos to help you see what a dead bar looks like.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:55 AM
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A good group to join is the homequiltingsystems group on Yahoo. You have to create a Yahoo ID to join, but here is their home page:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homequiltingsystems/
Once you join, check out their "files" area and "photos". If you view threads online, you can also search for old threads there on the dead bar.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:24 PM
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I have a Gammill, and adjust the takeup roller when necessary in order to be able to just slide my fingers underneath it, with no extra space. Check it with each advance. I never adjust the height of the backing roller. On my machine, the backing roller and the quilt top roller aren't adjustable. HTH
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:27 PM
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I have a Pfaff GrandQuilter 18.8 with an Inspira frame. I will definitely check into the dead bar option. So...if I understand what you all are telling me is that I should not have to adjust the height of the backing roller...just the take up roller?? I've been adjusting both so maybe I'm doing overkill for myself.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:38 PM
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Like JustAbitCrazy, I have a Gammill and only adjust as necessary. If I am using a thin batting, I can often advance 3 -4 times or more before I have to adjust. However, if using a high loft batting, I may have to adjust more often. If the machine doesn't move as easily, I know to adjust the take up roller. That being said, I read a tip somewhere in the past suggesting that you can lower the take up roller to create a small amount of drag if you need "more control" while quilting. I don't recall where I read the tip and it's not something I do but thought I would share...
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:51 PM
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It is only the takeup roller that needs to adjusted, no matter what the brand of frame (as far as I know).
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:01 PM
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I rarely change the height of the backing roller but on each pass I check the height of the take up roller by attampting tp slide my fingers between it and the base of my machine.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:34 PM
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I adjust according to each quilt, I keep it so that my finger tips will go between the quilt and bed of the machine.
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