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Thread: Long Arms - best tips and advice for a beginner

  1. #1
    Super Member kristen0112's Avatar
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    I am in the process of setting up my Grace Pro GMQ frame and Bailey's 17 inch home quilter machine. I would love to hear all the advice and tips you can give me before I start quilting my first quilt - which hopefully will be tomorrow if all goes well today.

  2. #2
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    quilt on some plain fabric for practice before you put your 1st real quilt top on.you can practice different shapes and get your tension adjusted .try swirls and stipple-great for beginners.

  3. #3
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    Don't get too frustrated if things are not perfect at first. Every machine and user have to get to know each other. Adjusting tension to your needs is often an issue. Practice, practice, practice!

  4. #4
    Super Member Lakeview Quilting's Avatar
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    Relax, breathe, relax, breathe!!!!

  5. #5
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    practice, practice practice. even after almost 10 years i still on occassion load up a practice quilt to 'play on' when i first bought mine i bought a bolt of 90" wide muslin. i would cut off 2 - 2 yard pieces load them up with warm & natural batting and quilt away. gave us all the opportunity to try out the laser, pantos, free hand, writting, drawing....as each was taken off the frame it was either squared and a binding put on...play blankets for the kids/picnics car blankets ect. some went to the fire rescue dept. for emergency use and some instead of binding were cut into 4 pieces with the edges zig-zagged and gave those to the humane society. some of those practice quilts are still fun; i did find though as other people started using the machine, everyone likes to write their name so i kind of had to be careful what i did with them, but most of the time who ever was practicing kept their practice quilt to do with as they chose.

  6. #6
    carmen4him's Avatar
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    What a great idea. You get to practice and still bless someone else in the process. Thanks for the info. I will deffinately use this. LOL in Christ, Happy Stitchin
    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl
    practice, practice practice. even after almost 10 years i still on occassion load up a practice quilt to 'play on' when i first bought mine i bought a bolt of 90" wide muslin. i would cut off 2 - 2 yard pieces load them up with warm & natural batting and quilt away. gave us all the opportunity to try out the laser, pantos, free hand, writting, drawing....as each was taken off the frame it was either squared and a binding put on...play blankets for the kids/picnics car blankets ect. some went to the fire rescue dept. for emergency use and some instead of binding were cut into 4 pieces with the edges zig-zagged and gave those to the humane society. some of those practice quilts are still fun; i did find though as other people started using the machine, everyone likes to write their name so i kind of had to be careful what i did with them, but most of the time who ever was practicing kept their practice quilt to do with as they chose.

  7. #7
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    Here's my advice. Make certain the rails are straight and level. It'll make a bigger difference, than you think. Then enjoy the quilting ride.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cindyg's Avatar
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    I practice with pencil and paper first. I practice McTavishing for backgrounds and feathers. Doing them on paper puts that motion into your head and it's easily transferred to the quilting machine. Practice practice practice.

  9. #9
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    Practice, practice practice.

  10. #10
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    I spent about 1.5 years listening to people tell me my problem was the thread tension. I just couldn't get it right. One day a wonderful person told me my problem was not the tension, upper or lower, it turned out to be how tight the bobbin was wound which makes it look like a tension problem. Be sure to check how tight the tension on your bobbin winder is. It can make all the difference. The thread in the bobbin should be rather stiff when you press on it with your finger nail and should not make a depression in the wound thread. Of course this is just a guidline and all machines have their own feel and personalities. Congratulations and good luck!

  11. #11
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    Don't forget to have your feed dogs down or darning plate on. That little detail threw me on my first time (which was last week).

  12. #12
    Super Member kristen0112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mytwopals
    Here's my advice. Make certain the rails are straight and level. It'll make a bigger difference, than you think. Then enjoy the quilting ride.
    That's a good point. I will get the level out and verify when I get to that step.

  13. #13
    Super Member kristen0112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolph33
    quilt on some plain fabric for practice before you put your 1st real quilt top on.you can practice different shapes and get your tension adjusted .try swirls and stipple-great for beginners.
    That's a good idea. I have a couple of lap quilt tops I was going to use first (it's nice but would be ok to practice on) but maybe just some cheap fabric and batting will do the first time out.

  14. #14
    Super Member kristen0112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ube quilting
    I spent about 1.5 years listening to people tell me my problem was the thread tension. I just couldn't get it right. One day a wonderful person told me my problem was not the tension, upper or lower, it turned out to be how tight the bobbin was wound which makes it look like a tension problem. Be sure to check how tight the tension on your bobbin winder is. It can make all the difference. The thread in the bobbin should be rather stiff when you press on it with your finger nail and should not make a depression in the wound thread. Of course this is just a guidline and all machines have their own feel and personalities. Congratulations and good luck!
    This may sound dumb but...do I need to get a side winder I thought maybe my machine has one but now maybe not? I haven't pulled it out of the box yet.

  15. #15
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kristen0112
    Quote Originally Posted by ube quilting
    I spent about 1.5 years listening to people tell me my problem was the thread tension. I just couldn't get it right. One day a wonderful person told me my problem was not the tension, upper or lower, it turned out to be how tight the bobbin was wound which makes it look like a tension problem. Be sure to check how tight the tension on your bobbin winder is. It can make all the difference. The thread in the bobbin should be rather stiff when you press on it with your finger nail and should not make a depression in the wound thread. Of course this is just a guidline and all machines have their own feel and personalities. Congratulations and good luck!
    This may sound dumb but...do I need to get a side winder I thought maybe my machine has one but now maybe not? I haven't pulled it out of the box yet.
    Find out first. Is there an instructional DVD with your machine? I hope so. Or as with mine, some one from the company dilivered, set up, balanced the table and got me started. My machine, Nolting, came with a seperate bobbin winder and as with all machines it is hit or miss for awhile untill you get closer and closer to the corect tensions. Then , if you choose a different thread or a quilt has thick seams or thin material, it is always a test. Keep a log on each time you use your machine and how it handles with different fabric loads and thread and even needles, freehand or panto work. Machines act differently with every thing you do on them but only to a degree. After you use the machine for some time you get to know what to do. Start simple and don't be in a hurry to do complicated patterns. Enjoyment is the goal!

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