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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. I'm puzzled by the question about the hole in the top of the cone, since the thread feeds off the cones in exactly the same way for both and the hole isn't used for any reason in the winding process. Leaving on the net is best. More control of the thread will aid with even feeding. Apply some Sewer's Aid if you have some to keep the thread cooler. Try another cone of Bottom Line to make sure it isn't a bad cone of thread. Good luck finding the problem so you can get to the fun part of the process.
  2. I gave up on King Tut years ago and sold it all to a friend with a Gammill. The "phantom stitching" happens when the thread breaks below the needleplate and the rotation of the hook picks up the broken thread and continues stitching. I would slather on sewer's Aid, put the cone upside down, thread the three-hole guide so it didn't twist the thread---everything I could think of and still had breakage and random loops of top thread on the back. One thing you might check with thicker thread on top---move the hook retaining finger out as far as possible while still stopping the rotation of the bobbin assembly. That will give the thread a scooch more room to make the stitch.
  3. batting costs

    If you are selling batting on a roll, do as the quilt shops do and sell by the length, giving them the off-cuts to take home. I figure out the cost per running inch (like W&W is $.27 per inch) and do the math. I charge full retail so I'm not undercutting my friends at the LQS. If you would like to use the extra yourself, post where your customer will be writing her check that you will gladly accept donations of batting pieces for your charity quilting. I also sell unusual kinds and sizes of packaged batting. King size wool is a big seller for me.
  4. Trimming Question

    I never trim a customer quilt, even if there is a massive amount of backer or batting left when finished. I do trim the bottom edge of batting if I need to roll back to do more quilting, since otherwise that extra can bunch up when reversed and cause problems---but I trim so two inches of batting extends beyond the edge. You never know what the customers plan is. She may want to fold the backer to the front for binding. She may want a binding wider than 1/4". If you've used double batting or something puffy like wool, enclosing the edge may take a wider binding to get a consistent width. I've never had anyone ask for trimming and never offered the service. Too many ways it can go wrong, especially if the quilt isn't square.
  5. 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.
  6. Rita and Roland visiting Dennis and me in 2009.
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 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!
  11. 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.
  12. 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!!


  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.)