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Thread: Scared of my longarm machine

  1. #26
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    Take some solid fabric and load it. Use one color thread on top, another for the bobbin. When you are done with that piece of fabric, but to save money, change the color of your threads on top and bottom and quilt over what you have already quilted. That way you can tell what you have quilted, and you don't waste the fabric. It will give you a chance to just practice, practice, and practice some more. You may not have a piece to even give to a dog shelter when you are done with all the practicing, but you can get lots of practice in.
    Remember to relax and breath. Don't hold the grips tight, just loose with enough control to direct the machine.

    Many others have given very good advice. One being, don't expect to be perfect right from the beginning. It does take practice, practice, practice. I still practice in between quilts when I get a chance.

    Also draw out patterns on EVERYTHING. Even with your finger in thin air. When using a pencil or pen to draw out a pattern, or practice the movements, don't hold the pencil as you would when you write. Hold it like you would the grips to the longarm. It is a totally different movement.

    Good luck and more importantly - have fun!

    Phyllis
    QuiltingGrannie

  2. #27
    Super Member leatheflea's Avatar
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    Thats ok, just take the machine off of it and the rollers, throw a table cloth over it and use it as a buffet table with all your favorite sewing snackables, make sure to invite plenty of friends, thats a long buffet table! LOL...

    Now get in there and load something on that frame and don't you come back till you have something to show us! You know you want to! We've all posted our quilts of shame and disappointment. Put on some music and just dance your way across that quilt. Don't make me pull out the book "The little engine that could". Go on now....we are waiting..

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by love to sew View Post
    congratulations, you will have so much fun.

    Thank you!

  4. #29
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    Just be like Mikey.."try it, you'll like it!" Seriously tho, it does seem a little scary at first, I remember I thought I had made a big mistake getting my longarm. But after some practice, more practice, and even more practice, I think I've improved. Mine will never be for a quilt show, but I feel comfortable and happy with what I do. And yeah, remember to breathe!!

  5. #30
    Super Member Friendly Quilter's Avatar
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    I agree with all that has been said. We are scared at first but practice makes perfect. A good way to get used to doing designs is get yourself a White bullenton erase board, and some dry erase markers, I use this board to practice my designs, that way you will get used to the movement of your hand and doing the design. It always helps me and I think it will help you to. I have been LAQ for 15 years and I still practice designs to get used to the motion. It works. Remember a feather is half of a heart. Good Luck and Have fun.

  6. #31
    Super Member Cindy60545's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leatheflea View Post
    Thats ok, just take the machine off of it and the rollers, throw a table cloth over it and use it as a buffet table with all your favorite sewing snackables, make sure to invite plenty of friends, thats a long buffet table! LOL...

    Now get in there and load something on that frame and don't you come back till you have something to show us! You know you want to! We've all posted our quilts of shame and disappointment. Put on some music and just dance your way across that quilt. Don't make me pull out the book "The little engine that could". Go on now....we are waiting..
    Oh I so agree! You've been given some great advice here. That first quilt you load is the most intimidating. Doesn't matter whether it's an actual quilt or not, it just kind of dares you to do anything with it! Just grab those handles & start quilting. As others have said, none of us turned out perfect quilts in the beginning, we just keep going & trying to get what we have in our minds come out on the quilt. Put on some music & dance with your machine. Just for grins, I entered one of my practice quilts into our local show & it came home with a ribbon! I was just playing around & having fun! You can do it! Post us pictures of your progress, we've all been doing that & watched the evolution of some great quilting.

  7. #32
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    I have a Tin Lizzie that my husband got me last summer and it took me a few months to get comfortable with it. I just
    kept practicing off and on and now I'm comfortable with it and have my first quilt almost done, should finish it today. Just hang in there and you'll soon be comfortable with it.
    Charlie 60
    Keep the faith and do your best.

  8. #33
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    I love my LA>>>The mid arm machine I had before it hated me and rebelled allllll the time. I moved up and now "Wally" (a Martelli Lacreasta) and I are in love. It takes time and patience. Just go for it. Make practice junk, give it to the pound for the dog cages and keep going. One bright and glorious day it will all come together and you will be in love. But you have to date first. Get in there and play.

  9. #34
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    First, I am envious that you have a long arm... I recently took a class on a beautiful AQS at a LQS, after you take the lesson, you are permitted to rent it by the hour. We first practiced on a solid piece of material with contrast thread so we could clearly see the stitches then I FMQ'd two table runners and really had a ball once I got in the groove.

    You'll be just fine!

  10. #35
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    When I first got my LA I used got a big piece of felt from the fabric store and loaded that. I Practiced, practiced and practiced on that. I think every inch is covered. It is really inexpensive and gets your muscle memory going. I keep that piece not just to see how far I've come but every once in a while I see a pattern I did that inspires me for the piece I am doing now. I agree about using two very different colors of thread so that you can see how your tension is doing. I would also get a couple of different brands of thread and try them out because some machines are a little temper mental with certain threads. What machine did you get????

  11. #36
    Senior Member Noiseynana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OKLAHOMA PEACH View Post
    Try one of your LQS that give lessons, with guidance maybe the fear will be taken away.
    Ya know you could just spend some time there and ask if you could just watch for a while. I get a lot more out of watching than I can reading about it. Of course thats just me
    Stitching is Meditation in Motion

  12. #37
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    I am trying to work through the same feelings that you are experiencing. I was watching a QNN tv eipsode recently and learned about Skill Builders. http://www.rgadesignquilts.com/store...products_id=16 I think I will try this as a jumping off place to practice.

  13. #38
    Super Member Lady Jane's Avatar
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    Just jump in feet first , and keep telling yuourself I CAN DO THIS, I CAN DO THIS!!!

  14. #39
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    DonnaR. I understand where you are coming from. I have a short arm and was afraid of it. All the advise you got is great and I know I still am not good. but better than I was at first. I have 2 quilts to do for my granddaughters for their gratuation and I am not sure I should try my quilting machine, I have had it sence July, or just do it buy hand. I quess I'll just practice some more.

  15. #40
    Super Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    When I first got my LA, we lived in a 90 y/o house, in the country and everyting got covered in dust faster than I dusted, so I wanted it protected. I bought 90" wide muslin long enought to completly cover the table & machine x2. Sandwiched it with batting and loaded that machine. I practiced all kinds of pantos, FMQ and so did my friends. We had a lot of fun. I'd go over the same stitches several times, then roll it up and have a fresh go of it. By the time I'd quilted 5 yards of muslin I was ready to quilt any charity quilts the guild had. Many years later, I still am learning. But, my circles are round, not rounded off squares, I can tell when there's a thread problem from the sound of the machine, and I've got a great spread for Gretchen. Oh! Yeh! We're on a first name basis!

  16. #41
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    I can so totally relate to what you are saying. About 3yrs ago I had the opportunity to buy a Gracie Frame, it's looks just like the big metal ones but it only goes up to a crib size. I was supposed to get lessons from the LQS on using it and that was a joke. I went to the store with an appointment and she just said a few things and suggested me buying a certain book and that was it; no hands on. I put my reqular sewing machine on it the first day but as you can imagine it would only quilt a few inches and so I decided I'd wait until I could get a bigger machine, plus it was the only machine I had and if it was on the frame I couldn't sew anything else. Since then I've gotten the Viking Mega quilter 9in and a Ruby which I traded in for the Diamond Deluxe and have yet to use the frame. I was going to sell it this past yr but around here things like that don't sell as well on Craigslist even if it is a good price. Right now I've set my goal to finishing up old projects. This past weekend I finished quilting and binding two crib size quilts that have been ready for binding for 2yrs and I quilted a table runner that was for this past fall season. I make my holiday tablecloths, runners reversible with different holidays on each side instead of a different one for each holiday; like a 2 for one. Now I'm hoping this weekend to sandwich a couple of quilts that I have in progress and start quilting them. I'm doing the ones that my kids want first and then I have a wall hanging and a quilt top that I bought and those I'm going to set up on that frame and quilt; for better or for worse. If nothing else, no matter how they will turn out I have a 6yr old grandson who loves the whole idea of quilting and he'll love it and think its the greatest. No one I know quilts so they never see the mistakes that I see so that is great. The only new projects that are getting started until I catch up is my monthly embroidery club and since that's is educational and I still need to learn so much it's important to do that. I'm not even going into a fabric store (except for emb club) unless I need something to finish a project, which is doubtful. I just am being very firm with myself so that I do it. That is what I did when I bought my emb machine and then read from so many how it intimidated them so they hadn't touched it in yrs. I promised myself I would use it and I do more embroidery on that machine that sewing, also another thing I'm trying to change this yr since I have such a great machine. Just jump in there and practice on things that if they aren't the greatest they can keep you or your loved ones warm in the winter and who cares if there are mistakes. Good luck with getting your courage up. If nothing else I know there is a LQS that is about an hour away and I can take classes there to build up confidence. I'll try on my own first though. I did FMQ at a class this yr and was surprised that I did pretty well with it. You just never know.
    Judy

  17. #42
    Super Member IBQUILTIN's Avatar
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    I am also learning on a long arm, and I am so excited by it. I have done two quilts in a very basic pattern and I have 2 sheets sandwiched so I can just practice all I want. Don't let it scare you. You got that machine for a reason, so have at it

  18. #43
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    I have been there and I have not moved far from total fear of FMQ.So to at least be able to enjoy my quilting machine I use pantographs and do alot of SID and ruler work,I may never move to FMQ but I am learning every day about my machine and quilting in general.All I read says practice, practice, practice! One lady I talked to wasn't very nice,But maybe she was having a bad day.Another lady said to work on paper and remember to flow (be free). But please don't let fear keep you from trying.

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