Cheeky Cognoscenti

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About Cheeky Cognoscenti

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  • Birthday 05/27/1973

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    Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A.

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  1. Hi, Jim. My quilt top is very heavily pieced and scrappy, so lots and lots of seams and seam intersections to stitch through for the SID (see photo below). Fabrics in the quilt top are mostly Free Spirit Fabrics printed cottons like Kaffe Fassett Collective and Anna Maria Horner, etc, with a few hand marbled fabrics from Marjorie Lee Bevis mixed in here and there -- those are similar to batiks. My quilt top is also heavily starched throughout the piecing process, not sure if that makes a difference for dulling needles (but it definitely makes a difference in helping me piece a square, accurate quilt top with nice, sharp points). Quilt batting is Quilter's Dream Select Cotton, and the backing is another print from Free Spirit Fabrics. Nothing crazy there, either. I'm using a 4.0 Groz-Beckert needle, regular kind -- my APQS dealer advised against the titanium needles on the grounds that IF they do break, they can cause more damage than the regular needles. The only thing I can think that would have dulled my needle faster than normal is SID through all of those thick seam allowances. Also, since this quilt is a skill-builder for me, I'm quilting it a lot more heavily than i would if it was a customer quilt. In the photo below, only the SID has been done in the area you can see but after that I started adding ruler work and FM. I know this would look great with a panto and it would be a lot faster and easier to do it that way, but I specifically wanted to practice and improve SID, ruler work, and free motion fills, so I'm in the process of "quilting it to death," as they say. Using Bottom Line in the bobbin with So Fine in the needle, if that makes a difference. And I know that the timing, hook/needle bar etc are good because we just went through the whole battery of Spa Maintenance with Tech Support before this quilt, when we changed my hook from the L to the M and retimed. Everything that can possibly be checked, adjusted, worn out or replaced has been done to this machine and she is purring along like a happy kitten! :-). Of course, it's possible that the needle was a dud right out of the package, too...
  2. When I had my new owner training, I was advised to put in a new needle at the start of each quilt, but my dealer said that sometimes if they are small quilts you can wait until after 2 or 3 quilts if you're not experiencing problems. That's great advice if you're doing typical pantograph quilting, but I've learned the hard way that dense custom quilting through lots of thick seam allowances wears out a needle a lot faster. I put in a new needle at the beginning of this quilt, did all of the SID, and then got about a third of the way through with ruler work and FMQ when I started thinking that the stitching sounded different, like the needle was punching through the quilt sandwich instead of gliding through easily. If I'd been on my domestic machine I would have changed the needle right away, but I thought I must be imagining things since my APQS uses "industrial" needles that are so much stronger... And I was remembering that "new needle with each new quilt" advice, so I thought I was imagining that the stitching sounded different and kept quilting. Well, within another hour or so of quilting, I started getting white threads showing up on this purple print as I was quilting it, from the dull needle twisting the fabric yarns as it struggled to get through the quilt (this was most noticeable on fabrics that were significantly lighter on the wrong side compared to the right side of the fabric). And then, when I advanced the quilt, I saw batting pokies where the dull needle point pushed batting right through the needle hole. Lesson learned! I'm still very much a beginner, and this is my first quilt that I'm quilting so heavily. So I'm curious -- those of you who do a lot of heavy custom/heirloom quilting, how many needles do you go through on a single quilt? Is it normal to wear out multiple needles on one custom quilt? I'm not using the titanium needles -- my dealer advised against them because she said they cause more damage to the machine if/when they do break or something like that.
  3. Jim, here's a video from Jamie Wallen (Quilter's Apothecary) that explains this hybrid operation mode: On HandiQuilter machines it's called Cruise Mode, on Innova I think it's called Start Speed, and on APQS it's an upgrade option called Quilt Glide. You're operating the machine with stitch regulation, the only difference is that when you stop the machine head, the needle pulses up and down rather than coming to a complete stop. I tried it last night with some tight back and forth fills and really loved it -- much smoother operation than quilting that particular fill in pure regulated mode, yet the stitch regulator is giving me those beautiful even stitches. Love love love!! From the APQS Facebook forum feedback I received, it looks as though you cannot adjust that idle needle pulsing speed independently of the stitch length on the new style APQS machines, but that's okay with me because the pulsing speed that the machine defaulted to worked just fine for me. :-).
  4. The only video I could find on the APQS YouTube channel for Quilt Glide was about 10 years old, and they were demo'ing the brand-new Quilt Glide feature on the old style beige Millennium. On that machine, Quilt Glide had a button that you turned slightly to engage the feature at a slow speed, but then if you turned the button more you could increase the needle's idle speed and fine tune it to what you were doing. I have a white "new style" Millennium, a 2013, and instead of a button or knob like that I just have a Quilt Glide button to engage or disengage this feature on my touch screen. On my machine, the same buttons that increase or decrease stitch length in stitch regulated mode are used to increase or decrease the motor speed in manual mode. Surely APQS did not take away the ability to adjust stitch length and Quilt Glide idle speed independently when they came out with the new touch screen interface, did they? What am I missing? To clarify, I am trying to figure out how I could set a low Quilt Glide idle speed in conjunction with a relatively short stitch length, so that the machine doesn't cycle up and down quite so fast when I stop moving it. Is there some other knob somewhere that does this? Is there a newer video or tutorial that I overlooked?
  5. Thanks, Linda. I cut up a pool noodle to elevate the front end of the rods, and that works as long as I don't knock into it with my arm. However, on the current quilt I happened to have a much wider backing than normal, about 8-9" on either side of my quilt top, and I'm finding that keeps the clamps far enough away from my ruler base that I don't need to use any rods or yard sticks to elevate the clamps. Problem solved... :-)
  6. When I first got my new-to-me 2013 Millennium, I also got these metal curtain rod-type aluminum bars from my APQS dealer that can be threaded under the Velcro cords of the side clamps, resting on the quilt top roller in front and the leveling bar in the back, to lift the clamps just slightly at the sides of the quilt so the clamps don't hit the ruler base on my machine when I'm doing ruler work. Brilliant, simple solution. I have since learned that others do the same thing with actual curtain rods, yard sticks, etc. However, after trying full float versus partial float on several quilts, I decided that fully floating works best for me. And the quilt top roller bar with no quilt top ever pinned to it was really in my way, especially when quilting with rulers, because that bar requires you to lift your wrist at an awkward angle when holding a ruler near the bottom of your work area (closest to your tummy). So I ordered the Texas Hold Em bracket from APQS, took off the top roller bar and stored it, and I'm loving everything about it except ONE thing -- Without that quilt top roller that's the same height as the leveling bar, what do quilters use to keep their ruler base from hitting the side clamps? Does anyone have a solution for that, or do I just have to make the quilt backing that much wider so the clamps are farther away from the edges of the actual quilt? Thanks in advance for any suggestions. Rebecca Grace 2013 Millennium, 12' frame, no computer
  7. What is the "I/S" and "I/S Manual" adjustment that Jim and Lora are talking about?
  8. Kueser, do you remember how much it cost for your Millie’s Spa Visit (excluding shipping)?
  9. Barb, do you ALWAYS wrap every thread 3 times around the thread break sensor wheel or does it depend on the weight of the thread you're using? With 40 weight King Tut, I feel like going three times around that wheel is adding way too much additional tension to my top thread and making it difficult to get a balanced stitch, even with the upper tension dial loosened to the point that the tension discs aren't touching. I really wish APQS would issue a completely revised manual for the current machine models rather than a book that refers primarily to discontinued models with completely different controls, and making new owners go hunting around for the "new controls" information. Didn't these "new controls" come out, like, 10 years ago -- isn't that enough time to update the manual? An outdated owner's manual makes it that much more difficult for new owners to become comfortable using their machines. Rebecca Grace
  10. Valerie, CONGRATULATIONS and thanks for posting. I ordered a set of zippers for my Millie two years ago when I bought my machine, and I STILL have not gotten up the courage to try attaching them to my leaders! I just keep pinning and telling myself I'll get around to sewing those zippers on some other day that never comes. I know I'm a total dork but there are so many other things I'm still learning; didn't want to throw a new variable into the mix and have to wonder if maybe I put the zippers on wrong and that was causing me trouble. Would you mind posting a link to the video tutorial that was helpful to you? All I know is that you use your longarm machine to sew the zipper to your canvas edge, but I don't get how you make sure the zipper is perfectly centered and aligned and straight all the way down as you're sewing it down. Rebecca Grace
  11. Poor tension that shows up only in certain directions (moving the machine from right to left and from front to back) indicates needle flex. I wrestled with this on a charity quilt where they gave me tightly woven poly-blend bed sheet backing (NEVER AGAIN!!). So the culprit could be a very tight weave fabric, like bed sheets or batiks. You can also get needle flex tension problems if your quilt sandwich is pulled too tight on your frame, if your needle is too small, or if you're moving the machine too fast. Try loosening your quilt sandwich in the frame if it's taut like a drum, try slowing down, and try going up to a larger needle and see if any of those help. Rebecca Grace
  12. MarleneB, are you still having trouble with Glide? It is possible to have balanced tension where both the bobbin thread and the needle thread are too tight. You could try loosening both the upper and bobbin tension to where the stitch is still balanced but not quite as tight, and see if that resolves your issue with breakage. It is also possible that there is a little nick or burr on your needle, even if it is brand new (sometimes you get a defective one) and that would cause your upper thread to break repeatedly as well. Rebecca Grace
  13. How does the upper thread break sensor on a Millennium affect tension? I was using 40 weight YLI machine quilting cotton on my last quilt, a small horizontally wound spool so I had it on the accessory horizontal spool pin, and I had it wrapped around the upper thread break sensor 3 times as instructed by the little sticker on the machine. I felt like that triple wrap around the thread break sensor wheel was putting a LOT of additional tension on the upper thread, even when I loosened the tension dial to the point that the tension discs were no longer touching. I did experiment with skipping some of the other thread guide holes along the thread path, but delld's suggestion to wrap a lightweight thread "up to three times" around the sensor has got me thinking... With a heavier weight quilting thread such as 40 weight, do experienced quilters wrap the thread only once or twice around that sensor wheel -- or would I be better off not using the upper thread break sensor at all in these situations? I've been wrapping three times around that wheel routinely with whatever thread I'm using; felt like I ought to use the feature since I have it, but honestly when I'm doing custom quilting from the front of the machine, I can see the thread break when it happens and don't need the machine to tell me about it like I would if I was quilting a panto from the rear. I feel like the upper thread break sensor is restricting my ability to fine-tune upper thread tension. Any thoughts/feedback appreciated especially as I'm about to attempt some quilting with Superior Metallic thread for the first time and I don't want to deal with snapping thread trauma! Rebecca Grace, newbie owner of preowned 2013 Millennium
  14. Is there a batting bar available for the Millie as well? I hate that my batting is down on the floor where there is always, always dog fur no matter how often I vacuum... :-) Rebecca Grace 2013 Millennium