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ffq-lar last won the day on October 15

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About ffq-lar

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    Olympia WA

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  1. Loyal customers. ???

    No one has replied, so I will gingerly step in and give you my take on the problem. Adding a computer to your machine does not mean that you should raise your prices above the industry standard, especially for overall designs. The customer doesn't care how you get there or what you use---they are interested in the finished product and don't want to pay extra for computerized when someone else can do the same thing for less. I'm talking about pantos/overalls, not custom. Also, you have "niched" yourself. You have inadvertently sent a message to your customers that you are out of the panto/overall business by showing lots of custom quilting. Custom=$$$$ to everyone. Make some simple quilt tops and quilt them with overalls or a panto and show them everywhere. Remind them that you're still around and offering the less-expensive quilting. I think your customers perception of what you offer and your pricing has been muddled---that you are now too expensive. To get them back in the fold, use your favorite method to contact them and offer a blow-them-away deal on pantos and overalls "exclusively for you, my favorite customer". Any size quilt up to a Queen (you supply the limit for dimensions) with a choice of three pantos/computerized or freehand overall (not a big meander) for $100. This will price you at less than a cent-and-a-half, but will give your business a boost. They will dig out all the big UFOs and maybe get one done as a Christmas gift. Limit the number (like first 20 quilts) and limit the month---like November only or first two weeks in January. See if that will nudge them back to you. Good luck---it's disheartening when the customers you think are friends stop becoming customers.
  2. Rita and Roland visiting Dennis and me in 2009.
  3. It's human nature to let one nasty incident overshadow hundreds of happy interactions. You have my sympathy and a hug from Washington. This has happened to me a few times, but never as blatant as this. If she isn't old enough to be losing her filters due to dementia, cut her loose. If she calls, remind her that she seemed unhappy the last time and perhaps she might search for another longarmer more to her liking. Be sweet, matter-of-fact, and don't let her suck you in again. It's such an ego-blow when they don't love what you do. You offered a fix and she declined. It still stings, but you keep doing you, sweet Shana!
  4. Basting Quilts

    I've basted quilts for hand-quilters several times over the years. Use slippery, contrasting thread for ease of removing the stitching as the customer gets to it and the longest stitch length you can manage. I charge a half-cent per square inch and it takes longer to load than to stitch. I stitch a grid that is done horizontally so I don't have to stitch verticals that require advancing as you stitch. Some do a large meander. For DSM stitching I would think a quilter could stitch their own grid for free-motion on their domestic---I've only basted for hand-quilters.
  5. Customer Service

    A local longarmer with a Lenny called me, knowing I had a Millie and could I come over and "help" her figure out what was wrong? What's the problem? She wouldn't pick up a stitch. Did you go over the checklist? Yes. Did you call APQS? No. Helphelphelp I'm getting behind!!! I drive over (10 miles), look at the machine (so dirty and soooo may set-up errors--yikes!) and immediately see her needle is in backward. No "thank you", she hustled me out the door so fast I got dizzy! That "service call" would have cost her $200 plus travel time. Luckily I live within driving distance of Barbara Mayfield and it gives me vast peace of mind, but I still fix my own. The other side? My nightmare of a spa treatment at APQS several years ago that resulted in me using a loaner for 4 months. Please realize that there are very few "traveling magicians" that are trained on every longarm and will gladly come to your home. My Gammill friends locally have to hand-deliver the head to Eastern Washington or pay $$big bucks$$ to someone traveling 200 miles for a house call. They pay him for a full day's work because he's away from his base. They do it, but don't like it much. The repairman comes to this side of the state a couple of times a year so he sets up work and it cuts the cost by a bit. Dave Jones is the only one I know who makes house calls, besides Barb. If "traveling tech" was a viable career, someone would be doing it!
  6. Selling my Millie

    You're at the right place. Post the model, year made, serial number, photos, if you bought it new, how much it was used, when it was used last, when or if it's been serviced, what accessories come with it (power advance, stand-along bobbin winder, extra bobbin cases, hydraulic lifts, pantos, thread?), where you are located, and how much you're asking. A perk for potential buyers is the offer to help break down/ship or to deliver within a certain area, with or without a charge. You can ask for messages and inquiries to be posted here or you may post a phone number and/or email address. If you want messages here only, monitor the post. Delete your post when it sells. You can also partner with an APQS dealer to help with the sale. They may have someone waiting for a used machine to become available. You can offer them a finder's fee. Good luck!
  7. Irma and Millie

    With help from at least one other person, remove the back take-up roller and the leveler roller. I believe there is a set-screw that will loosen with an allen or hex wrench and release the rollers. Unplug what's appropriate and slide the head off the back of the carriage. Figure out a way that the head will be right side up and the wheels and SR will be protected before you set it down. If you aren't using the bathtub to store water, that might be a good place to put her. Pack around with towels and sheets so she doesn't tip. The head can be damaged by back-and-forth action if the motor clangs around inside the hood. Sending fervent wishes that you and your property are safe after Irma passes.
  8. In May 2013 you posted pics of a diagonally set log cabin with feathers.  I love it!  I'm having trouble figuring out how to stitch out the feathers diagonally.  I have a customer who wants the same effect.  Thanks for your feedback!!


  9. For accuracy and stability, foundation-piece a piano key border. Use thin muslin for the foundation, mark two-inch increments and a quarter-inch outside edge (like with paper piecing) with a blue wash-away marker, and add your strips, sewing on the line. Be sure the outside quarter inch is covered. Trim the edge on the line when your strip is dne. The lining fabric will stabilize the border. This can also be done with paper, removing it after stitching.
  10. I'll jump in here with some info. It spans and sits on the rollers so one made for a Millie won't fit a Lenny. The span between the rollers is different and since it snaps on the leveler roller for stability, the roller diameter must be the same. If it has the wheel, you can make many sizes of concentric circles from the front. If it doesn't have the wheel, it's a holder for pattern boards (blocks only) and allows you to trace the boards from the front. The arm attaches to the head without drilling any new holes. If she doesn't have the original instructions, we can send them to the new owner.
  11. My favorite is Essence by Filtec. It's super-thin, inexpensive, and fairly strong. I don't change the needle, but reduce both the top and bottom tension. Pull the top thread through the needle and reduce the tension until when you let it go, there is little curl. (I've used Monopoly and Madeira invisible and much prefer Essence.)
  12. You might need to have the wheels adjusted if the machine is super-sluggish. But take a deep breath and allow yourself to be bad until you practice enough to be good. The X/Y set up of wheels running horizontal and vertical means your machine LOVES to go horizontal and vertical. It's easy--just a push will move the head and it will stay on course until it stops, never veering off the line. Now diagonals? Not so pretty. You must overcome the natural tendency of the head to go h-and-v. This requires training your muscles. Boring...but necessary. It becomes automatic when you put in the hours. Your brains sends the message that "now we're going in a circle. That will mean a tiny nudge this way, another, another, another"---you'll have four spots in a circle where you will need to apply that little smidge of extra force/speed needed to make a nice curve. Practice (arghh) will do the trick. Make circles---just like learning cursive years ago. Practice big "O"s-- it may take 400---or 4000---but they will get better with every one you stitch. Do overalls of loops, making them as big and as round as you can. Another good practice is curvy stencils. Staying on the line will become ingrained. Good luck and you'll see improvement very quickly.
  13. Vintage Quilt Tops

    Don't be afraid! These vintage tops are being quilted/finished all the time. Inspect the fabric for open seams and thin spots. Back with muslin if it seems delicate, float it, decide on an era-friendly quilting plan---and go! I rescued this one from a local antique mall. There was evidence that it had been sandwiched and hand-quilted along one end. The buyer must have realized the top itself would sell better if the quilting was removed. There are still "ghosts" of the hand-quilting left and because of that it's very dear to me.
  14. I wonder if they want three pieces for the back because they have it figured so the embroidered designs miss the seams that way. Basting it on the longarm will be much easier than pinning. There are several methods, but use a thicker and slippery thread (like a poly) in a contrasting color. I'd remove the stitches after hooping but before embroidering. The stitches will remove very easily. Here's my map for basting---a fake grid with lines about four inches apart. This allows you to avoid long verticals. Don't plan to baste on the diagonal.
  15. Carbona Stain Devils formula for ink removal got gel pen out of a vintage top in the same situation. It was my item so I advanced through all the usual remedies and this one worked. Apply, back with a paper towel, and pat it with your finger to push it through the fabric. Repeat. It works best if it's just the fabric and not the batting and backer as well. It will need to be washed when you finish because it does have a solvent residual smell. It can be found on the laundry aisle in a rack of little yellow bottles and Joanns used to carry the line as well. Good luck!