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Thread: A question for all you longarm quilters out there

  1. #1
    Senior Member Quiltmaniac2010's Avatar
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    Hello everyone: I just purchased a longarm and the QuiltMotion computerized package. The retailer made lots of promises about how much support I would get from her as I have no longarm experience. I live 2 1/2 hours away from her. I picked up my 5 boxes and my husband and I assembled it. It was quite a challenge as I already had a quilting frame which needed adaptions to make everything work together. I am wondering how much teaching you got when you purchased your machines. She promised me that she would teach me how to use my machine, but neglected to tell me that I would have to pay for lessons. When I asked her about this, she said that she did show me how to thread it. That wasn't quite what I had in mind, but didn't know enough to ask prior to the purchase. I also had no idea how much of a learning curve the QuiltMotion would be. She said that you set it up and go and have coffee while it quilts your quilt for you. Anyway, I'm feeling quite discouraged and would really like to know how much teaching you got when you purchased your machine and what did you do to learn how to use your longarms. Can anyone recommend books/DVDs/whatever so I can learn to use my very expensive new "toy"? Thanks very much for listening.

  2. #2
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    for me, this is the biggest downside to Quilt Motion. Qbot and PC Quilter have far superior customer education for the robotics.

    there is virtually zero support on how to use it unless you happen to have an awesome shop that sold it to you.

    you might want to join a yahoo group that uses Quilt Motion and search youtube for any videos that might be out there.

  3. #3
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    also there are forums devoted to long arm quilting (we aren't allowed to mention the exact name or they will delete the post) that you can join.

    a number of people have Quilt Motion over there and could help answer questions plus you can search the old posts for help.

  4. #4
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    I don't have a computer with my longarm, so I can't help there, but I did get a basic longarming class when I bought the machine. An advanced class was available as well (for a fee), and I took it at the same time. The dealer is 2-1/2 hours away, but I knew that when I bought it, and since they scheduled one class right after the other, it worked out fine.

    I don't know of any DVDs to help you with the QuiltMotion, but as far as the basics of using a longarm, I bought Kim Brunner's Machine Quilting for Beginners and I've Got A Longarm And I'm Not Afraid To Use It by Mindy Casperson. In addition, I bought Linda Taylor's Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. All of them were a great help, and I still watch them every so often.

  5. #5
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    With my HandiQuilter (Pro Stitcher with the computer) the place where I purchased it came and set up the machine and gave us 6 hours of training. (We live 3 1/2 hours apart) I will say most of our help has come from the company it self. They have a wonderful staff, who direct us by phone when there is a problem. Good luck. Maybe you can find someone who has that machine.

  6. #6
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    thanks, EIQuilter, I'm going to look into the books and videos you have listed. My computerized long arm is being delivered and set up tomorrow. I think that all they will do is threading instruction, changing the bobbin and oiling and cleaning maintenance info. The delivery & setup was an additional hefty charge, but I'm spending all this money and I wanted to be sure it was set up correctly so if I did have an issue I will know it's me and not the set up ;-) My dealer is about 30 min away and is available for questions by phone and at the store. I am getting a Qbot, and they have web seminars that I'm going to sign up for. My dealer also has the name of a gal who will come out and give me lessons, again for a fee, but at my house.

  7. #7
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
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    I bought my Avante last year - I have a great dealer who answers all my questions - I did not take any classes - but was told how to set tension etc when I picked it up. I must say it has been a steep learning curve for me - I was afraid to touch it for a while - then I got discouraged because I wanted to just go and go but it did not look good when I was finished. Finally bought videos - watched videos online purchased books and finally started using my longarm - I am not perfect and still pick lots of stitches but I am feeling more confident now. You will get it also - just takes time.

  8. #8
    Super Member suezquilts's Avatar
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    Could it be your location, I'm not sure.
    Here in Wisconsin I purchased a Gammill from Janesville, I did pay a set up fee, which was well worth it, and 2 days training came with it.
    When I purchased my second machine with a Statler, the business went under, just a few days after I gave them a check for $15,000, which I borrowed.
    Gammill the company in Missouri stood by the sale and with my receipt. My machine was delivered 2 weeks earlier and all everything went great!
    I can't say anything but good about my machine and company. They can talk you through any problem. At the Heart of Quilting in Beloit WI is my dealer, and I'm totally satisfied.
    We even have a chat board we can talk to others at. This may be available for your machine also. Google support you may find something to help you!
    Best Wishes!
    Sue
    There is a huge learning curve so take your time.

  9. #9
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I was so very fortunate that I purchased from a great dealer about 1 1/2 hours away from me. I have an ABM Innova but I do not have a computer set up. I can't see spending the extra $$ on computer guided without first finding out that I might just LA great without one and so far so good, besides I don't think I want CG, I feel it removes all the artistry out of the quilting process.

    Anyway, my dealer came to my home delivered and set up my machine and spent at least 2 to 3 hours with me showing me how to load the sandwich, thread the machine, adjust tension settings with different weight thread in the top and bobbin, short cuts for changing threads, using the bobbin winder, operating the machine, changing settings and even let me try a panto. When he was installing he sat me down with two DVD's, "I have a longarm and I'm not afraid to use it" and "the Pajama quilter". I think he hoped I would buy one of them but I didn't find it necessary. Prior to all that I went to their show room which is actually their house and got to play at the machines to my hearts content for a couple of hours before actually comitting to buy.
    I understand ABM has great phone support as well but I have yet to have to use it.

  10. #10
    Super Member suezquilts's Avatar
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    [quote=feline fanatic]. I can't see spending the extra $$ on computer guided without first finding out that I might just LA great without one and so far so good, besides I don't think I want CG, I feel it removes all the artistry out of the quilting process.

    quote]

    I disagree with the lack of artistry of the computer assisted design. I felt that way before purchasing one myself. I envied the skill of a computer. To make my designs the same over an over again looking the exact same way is difficult free hand, I did it that way for many years.
    Many purchase it for different reasons, mine was a "fun" health issue that prevented me from standing the long hours. I had 22 or more quilts at one time, going 6 months out.
    We have to realize that 15 yrs ago (or so) when Long arms started out, Hand quilters were sicken by the thought of this.
    Just as when the sewing machine was made to lessen the work of the women, so now the computer is assisting us, even in the quilting area. Embroidery is done by a computer also, but it is still embroidery perfectly done.
    Enjoy the Art!
    Sue

  11. #11
    Junior Member Windsong's Avatar
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    I bought a Lennie longarm with a 12 ft. table from APQS and they sent someone out to set it up and a couple hours or so showing me the basics on how to use it. A manual on DVD came free with the machine and it was helpful. The machine cost me a lot of $$ and I had to take a loan out to get it and I'm not really sure I like to do the quilting part. I love to piece the quilt tops, tho. But I have a lot to learn to do good quilting. I do not have the computer, I just free motion quilt and once I get the quilt onto the rollers I rather enjoy the quilting process. I love my machine. They do offer classes for a fee but I have to drive better than an hour to take them. I will deffinately try to find the DVD's that was mentioned and get them. I'm just learning on my own now. The first two quilts I quilted on my Lennie was a queen size and a king size quilt. I think it will just take time and a lot of practice to get good on it.

  12. #12
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suezquilts
    I disagree with the lack of artistry of the computer assisted design. I felt that way before purchasing one myself. I envied the skill of a computer. Sue
    And therein lies the root of our disagreement on it. I do not envy any design created by a machine but I do envy the symmetry of nature. But even the symmetry of fractals in nature where the same design element appears over and over again, like the seeds in the center of the a sunflower, or the chambered shell of a nautilus have subtle variations and degrees of imperfection from one element to the next. I think it takes artistry to mimic these designs of nature with the creative talent God granted us and it does not take artistry to have a computer do it all for you while you stand and watch it.

    By the same token I place more value on a piece of handcrafted furniture where the craftsman turned the leg of a chair on a lathe and did not simply put the wooden dowl on the lathe and have a computer cut it out. There is a difference and it is the same with CG quilting.

    To digitize a CG design takes skill and creativity but to say it is artistic, well I guess that is where we differ in opinion.

    I try not to confuse the terms "skill" with "talent" or "artistic creativity" with "ability". There are differences in the meaning. Each have merits in their own right but I simply place more value on artistry and talent over skill and ability. All are learned behaviors but talent and artistic creativity are things that not everyone possesses to the same degree, otherwise we would all be Davincis or Michaleangelos.

    I also feel to make the comparison of my opinion to the "hand quilters were mortified when MQ first happened" doesn't fly with me. I hand quilt and machine quilt. I have no problem using machines to acheive an end, I just place more value on art that was created by a person using their own talents manipulating a machine rather then a machine doing the whole thing with a trained operator manning the controls. And quite honestly so do most people. That is why someone who can afford it will by an original oil painting instead of a print, or a handcrafted custom piece of furniture over a cookie cutter factory model. There is nothing wrong with CG quilting and it serves a means to an end but I do not consider it artistry. Yes it takes skill to digitize a design, yes it takes skill to make sure the machine head is properly centered over the quilt so your quilting shows up where you want it to and is centered in a block but, barring some sort of handicap, basically anyone can do it once they are trained (ie skill). Not everyone can freehand beautiful designs on a quilt like Karen McTavish or Sharon Schambers or even Green Fairy who posts regularly here. Because not everyone can do it, I feel it has more value.

    Sorry to hi-jack the topic.

  13. #13
    Senior Member GrammaBabs's Avatar
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    this is a good topic for me...

    I have the Grace Frame (king size), but have the janome 1600 machine on it.. only about 10" of throat space...

    it took me a while to "dare" to quilt.. and get things going.. good thread is a must... i float my batting and tops most of the time... and am pretty caught up in a free motion of loop de loops..sometimes with a little flower incorporated. and horizontal stippling... this keeps me happy most of the time, but can't help thinking about getting a machine with larger throat...
    I just can't decide... speed control seems good, but i think it would hinder the flow.... and the computer looks great.. but a little too perfect for my taste..
    so as was said.. i guess i'm sticking to the "free spirit" mode... saves money and i'm still having fun.. might just try some "pantogram"..

  14. #14
    Senior Member Quiltmaniac2010's Avatar
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    Thank you for your responses. I guess it really varies how much teaching/support you get. I'll stop feeling angry now and redirect that energy into learning how to use my beautiful machine!! Thanks EIQuilter for the book titles, I'll order them.

    Linda

  15. #15

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    go on utube free quilting videos.. linda taylor has videos on how to load you machine and many other things.. take your time turn the speed down.. play.. many hours of play will help you learn .. all the gals do different things different ways.. i brought my machine.. do just about anything you can think of .. have watched many hours of videos.. just be patient with yourself..and your machine.. look for a longarm quilter in your area most of us are glad to share our experience.. enjoy enjoy..

  16. #16
    Super Member Rose L's Avatar
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    I have a Bailey machine and there are no dealers or reps available anywhere in my area. In fact there are only two reps in the US and one in Canada. I knew that going in and still bought my machine which is mfg. in NY. There is no training available. All I can say is that it's just a sewing machine. Don't let it scare you. I can't speak to the computer part of your set up because I don't have one but I can tell you that you should plan on spending a good six months of practice to get beyond the learning curve. As you practice you'll learn the ins and outs of your machine, you'll start to recognize various noises that it makes and what they mean. You'll finally find your personal groove and will be comfortable in the way you stand, sit and hold your arms and hands to give you the stability that you need to make smooth motions with the machine. When everyone says practice practice practice this is exactly what it takes. If you get frustrated just walk away for a while, have some wine and go back to it when you're ready. Just don't walk away for good. It really will take some time to get it all figured out. Then you'll move on to bliss...I promise!

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