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Thread: Wow, learning to longarm has a tough tough tough learning curve

  1. #26
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    When my sis in law and I were working on a quilt and the thread was breaking we slowed down and it didn't break.

  2. #27
    Senior Member Quiltlady330's Avatar
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    I really like King Tut thread for my machine. The tension is as important as the right needle in the right position. You are right. There is much to adjust to. I read where it takes 400 hours to be proficient. Keep practicing. You'll be glad you did.

  3. #28
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leatheflea View Post
    Boy does this sound familar! Hang in there, remember to breathe and relax and little glass of wine might help!LOL!
    Yes indeed! That'll work every time!
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

  4. #29
    Senior Member Cheshirecatquilter's Avatar
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    AndiR had a good piece of advice -- look to where you are headed, not at the stitch you are making. When you drive a car, if you look well ahead down the road you will drive a straight, smooth line and stay in the middle of your lane. If you look directly in front of the hood you will be constantly correcting, all herky jerky.

  5. #30
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    Try Glide thread.....I never have any problems with it!

  6. #31
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy60545 View Post
    You've gotten so excellent advice from everyone. Just keep doodling, practicing & remember to breathe! We've all gone thru those beginning stages where we forgot to breathe! Don't be so hard on yourself! Practice makes perfect, and I'm sure not perfect! With each quilt you'll get better & better. Believe me, one day the light bulb moment will happen & all of a sudden you'll be doing spectacular quilts!
    I agree just keep practicing-it takes a bit of practice.Our shelter got lots of cat/dog mats during my learning curve.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

  7. #32
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    I just tried on a friends or the first time she's fabulous and letting me do one quilt a week!! I'm so excited....we use panographs and I found the simple one very easy. try on a busy pattern first!! Think about it unless you make a lot of light colored quilts your stressing over not much. I don't mind practicing on my quilts because they are lap quilts for the living room. You'll relax more if your quilting is hidden by a busy design you wont be so critcal!! Happy quilting!
    *Rachel*

  8. #33
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    I remember when I got mine thinking that it was a huge mistake. I struggled so much with it but kept on practicing. I did find that the thread kept breaking no matter what kind I used. I also tried all kinds of needles, but it wasn't until I went to a larger needle that I stopped having that problem. However, the thread tension was a disaster. I have always been told that no matter what, you don't mess with the bobbin tension. Well, at one point I decided I had nothing to loose and did play with the bobbin, and all of a sudden it turned out right. Now I am not afraid to touch the bobbin when I have problems.
    With all that, it does take tons of practice. I've had a quilt loaded on my frame for several months and finally decided it's time to do the rest of the work. My quilting is terrible. If you don't keep at it, you loose it. So don't quit. Keep trying and one day it will all click.

  9. #34
    Super Member moonwork42029's Avatar
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    Gosh I love this board!

    My DH is going to get to read this too when he comes home this weekend (he's a truck driver and gone all week). He is so excited to use the machine but was majorly bummed out that it didn't "just come to him" as easy as he thought it would.

    Since we both love peach wine (and just happen to have some on hand), we'll pop the cork, doodle around and see what happens.

    thanks again ... the more the merrier and we all learn something new each day
    Lisa L.
    Howdies from Possum Trot (yes it does exist)
    My most recent swap - Boomerang 16



  10. #35
    Senior Member sherian's Avatar
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    Glad I read this, my quit shop has a long arm you can rent, you have to take classes, and get a certicate.
    Maybe I think I should get more use to quilting & sewing , etc. first. Good to know all sides of a project.

    Have fun and patience will carry you to great projects.
    Last edited by sherian; 05-22-2012 at 09:38 AM.

  11. #36
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    I have purchased the same machine, and waiting for hubby to finish seeding so we can set it up.
    From others I understand that when you lay the bobbin in your hand, pull the thread it comes out smoothly
    and will just have enough tension to tip the bobbin up on your hand, not lift off. Looser than you would think
    it should be. Also a larger needle is a good suggestion, I always used a topstitch needle with a bit larger eye
    in my 9inch machine on the frame. The 18.8 takes the Gros Beckert and most use the 16, but some the 18.
    Probably depends a lot on the thread being used. Good luck, I'm sure I'll be in the same boat soon - looking for
    help.
    Laurie

  12. #37
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    Practice, practice, practice. In the beginning I was the same way. Slow down on your sewing and it will help with the thread breaking. Rethread the machine sometimes does wonders. Make sure the bobbin in in the right way. You'll do fine. My husband is better at quilting the designs than I am. But, it's a great way to enjoy a hobby and be together. I also own a Pfaff Grand Quilter and a Crystal Quilter. Love them both.

  13. #38
    Super Member Taughtby Grandma's Avatar
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    You'll learn to relax as you play more with the machine. My first few times I was worn out by the time I finished a quilt, but now it sews like a dream. I love it. With mine the thread broke more at first because I was stopping and going at different speeds, that too has smoothed out.

    Good luck, breathe and relax, it will get easier.
    Jeanie

  14. #39
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    Take a couple lessons if you can find them - practice, practice, practice on charity quilts or just scrap fabric. Twelve years ago I was crying because I didn't think I'd made a good decision, but today it is a great retirement business.

  15. #40
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    As far as using your laser and pantograph's try to make your laser finer, you can do this by putting a pin hole in a piece of painters tape and wrapping the laser with it. when I started quilting with the LA I was never 100% happy until I made the light finer. Good luck remember to have fun. I'm a little envious that your husband likes to quilt on the long arm too my DH is very supportive but wouldn't dream of touching the handles of my machine.

  16. #41
    Junior Member ssuzz's Avatar
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    I even called a repair person out to check my machine. He said nothing wrong with this machine , that'll be $125.00
    Turned out it wasn't the machine it was the table that wasn't adjusted right. Be sure your quilt is flat on the base
    under the needle. If its not flat the needle is pushing against the fabric. Mine worked just fine after I got the quilt flat.
    And yes you have to move your whole body to keep up with the machine,or you get stuck out of balance.
    Good Luck SSUZZ

  17. #42
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    I enjoy doodling over pantos, and I usually don't draw. Do invest in a dry-erase board and practice muscle memory.
    Find some fun pantos, try: www.urbanelementz.com. I am not affiliated, just love their pantos! They also have a monthly club, which makes it more affordable.
    Remember to breathe, relax your shoulders, and bend your knees. Change it up every now and then. Drink some water. Good music-? All good fun!
    Be a blessing to others, as you may entertain angels unaware!

  18. #43
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    Well,your hushband should have done a lot of research befor saying,'write it up."They aren't all the same.I got my long arm several years ago.I remember trying to follow the lines on a panto.Wow,I had tears running down my face.I knew my hushband spent a lot of money for my machine.And this needed to produce income.Well,I kept at it,and now I am one of the best in my area.It gets better.Do you have good support through the store you purchased it from?That is necessary.Also,practice on paper.The brain doesn't know the difference between pen and paper or you guiding the the machine.In the brain it is the same.Try it,it works.Also maybe go a little faster when you stitch.This makes your curves smoother.Also,you can dot the thread with Sewers Aid.It is silicone and will make the thread slip through all the thread guides a lot smoother.If this doesn't work,insist your dealer help.At this point you don't have enough experience to figure this out on your own.And,RELAX.It is just fabric.Go for it.

  19. #44
    Super Member Ruby the Quilter's Avatar
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    I have had a long arm for several years. Practice is the key. I was quilting this week an just couldn't get the tension right. So messed with the bobbin tension and the screw in side the upper tension and Bingo the tension is fine. Still think my thread breaks to often. I'm going to take a quilting class in July. Ready to go from meandering to so patterns.

    Enjoy your long arm
    Quilting in the Desert

  20. #45
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    A good video to watch one that is free is Pam Clarke on you tube she has a few ...I have bought her cds and her stencils and like working with them.

  21. #46
    Senior Member drgranny's Avatar
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    Jratcliff---This sounds just like me. I really like making tops and bought the machine cause I had so many to quilt I thought it would be a good idea. I have made many many lap quilts for a nursing home done with pantos but my free hand quilting sucks. I can do stipple and meader pretty well but I don't know if I will ever be good at free hand. I have a quilt on my frame right now that I tried feathers on the borders. When I finished I thought it looked so bad that instead of taking it off the frame I proceeded to rip out all the feathers. It is still on the frame. Not finished. I decided to do something else for awhile.

  22. #47
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
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    Hang in there. It's like learning to dance with a guy with two left feet. You'll learn what speed you like, what thread you like, what your machine likes and doesn't. You're right that it takes practise. I've heard that there's a rule of thumb that you have to do at least 20 quilts before the confidence kicks in and then there's no looking back. look out world!!
    I used to be "hot", now it's just "hot flashes!"

  23. #48
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    My machine uses needles that do not have a flat side at the top. If I put them in and they are off even a teeny tiny bit i have issues with thread breakage.

    Try different patterns of free motion and different sizes. I still struggle with meandering (lines don't cross). But, I am really good at loopty loo stuff (swirls with loops, think coiled rope spread out on the floor). Hang in there. And, just like the other ladies said, relax and move your body. I liked the dancing analogy. If i get tense, my quilting gets herky jerky. Listen to some music, or better yet, sing a catchy song!

    Oh, and, straight lines were really hard.

    Have fun!

  24. #49
    Senior Member rrhaigh's Avatar
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    I recently purchased a longarm also (Handi Quilter Avanti). They set it up for me and gave me a quick lesson. They said to practice free motion first and once that is mastered move on to pantographs. Well, I could not for the life of me do very good free motion. So, I attempted a pantograph on a charity quilt and that seemed so much easier to me. I have now done 3 charity quilts with different pantographs and finally ventured on to two of my own quilts. I also used pantographs on those. I suggest you go on the Handi Quilter web site. They have lots of tutorials - the one on thread and tension is so very helpful. You don't have to have a Handi Quilter to benefit from their tutorials. They are video tutorials or pdf files - however you choose to open them. Lots of different ones. Good luck - you will get more comfortable as you go.

  25. #50
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    Get some heavy plastic from Joann's or some quilter's plastic from your local quilt shop, about 18" square is easy to work with and put painters tape along the edges (so you don't accidentally go off the plastic!), grab a dry erase marker and a quilt top - put the plastic on top of the quilt and practice different designs with your dry erase marker, erase the design with a little piece of batting and try another design. Free-motion is not difficult and by practicing you build muscle memory. If you need help with designs, check out the websites of quilters and try to copy what they have done.

    As far as your thread breaking, check out Superior Thread's website and look at the "education" tab - Dr. Bob has all kinds of fabulous information on there for fabric artists. I love the King Tut, Rainbow, Lava, Bottom Line and So Fine, as well as their metallics. I can run all of them on my LA with no problems. Yes, the thread is expensive, but not having thread breaks is worth it to me - I do enough tying and burying knots without the thread breaking and adding more!!!

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