quiltmonkey

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  1. Hi Caddyhomes, Sharon gave you some great advice. I read your part about "changing spools" and that might be part of the problem. Spools don't tend to work with evenly feeding off the thread. Cones work much better for the longarm machine. Of course, you can use spools, but it's a little trickier and requires a little more patience and tweaking. I tend to use the cones and never have issues with breaking. One thing I would suggest is to change your needle to a 4.0 or even a 4.5. That is a bigger hole and might give you a little more forgiveness with breaking thread. Good luck!
  2. Some (but not all) wide backing fabrics are made with a lesser grade than those fabrics that are made 45" wide. I read this at a reliable source. The suggestion is to buy the 45" wide fabrics and piece those together. However, I have found that some of the wide backings are a better quality grade. You have to shop around to find them.
  3. There's an obvious difference between computer guided and hand guided quilts. The judges know it and they judge on that merit. Believe me, even if these categories are not "separated" you are not competing with a computerized quilt. Trust me when I say that. The judges base their scores on what the criteria in which they are given to judge on. Have you ever been a judging scribe for one of the major national machine quilt shows? I have. If you haven't, it's valuable information and a great insight into what the process is for judging all of these quilts, regardless of the method they have been quilted. I suggest getting more educated on the process before making any opinions. Honestly, we cannot have 50 different categories so that people can win prizes. That would really dilute things to the point of ridiculousness. There are just way too many beautiful quilts out there and there are not enough ribbons in this world to hang on their borders. I will tell you one profound moment as a scribe. The judges were back and forth for 10 minutes trying to decide which (absolutely remarkable) quilt would be top winner in a specific category. They finally agreed. It's very difficult to choose the most amazing sparkling diamond from a bucket of sparkling diamonds sitting in front of you... They all sparkle and they are all diamonds. But not all of them get to have a ribbon, unfortunately... otherwise, there would be factories cranking out millions of ribbons to hang on every single quilt. Do we really want that? It's a quilt. It's beautiful. There are many beautiful women in this world that are more beautiful than a supermodel, but we all can't be supermodels. That's my opinion that I took after being a scribe for those quilt shows.
  4. So sorry this happened to you. Yes, it's happened to me once or twice before. I have found that it's the brand of minkee that is the issue. As the quilter, it is unacceptable to continue on and finish it looking like this. I would take it off of the frame and rip out the stitches. Solutions are 1) change to a darker thread color that blends in with the minkee or 2) get a different brand of minkee (test it on the side, first)
  5. Hi Judy. I've successfully quilted many pillow cased quilts without any issues. Most of them are not too big, though... baby and lap size. What is the size of this quilt? If you are nervous about the rolling and maybe getting pleats, I suggest that you pin baste it every five inches... (doesn't need to be safety pins... corsage pins are fine)... and then roll it on the frame and unpin as you quilt. It should quilt just fine... don't pull or tug too much tension while it's on the frame. I've actually been brave enough to pillow case a baby quilt made of minkee on both sides (yes call me crazy) and I quilted several of these. Talk about hugging a cloud! Good luck!
  6. This is going to be a little tricky if you want to exactly fit a pantograph perfectly on your quilt top. The best bet to do this is, prior to loading the quilt on the frame, I think you are going to have divide your top into "rows" and mark your quilt top (e.g. pins, or a light mark with water soluble pen) and this will give you an idea when the quilt is on the frame where your next row is starting. Because this is rolling up and your measurements will slightly skew with the batting and other factors, you will likely have to "fudge" the width of the pantograph slightly to make it fit. If I were you, I'd give myself a little fudge factor space (a couple of inches) that way you can make the pattern a little higher or a little lower (slightly) as you move along through the quilt. Those minor adjustments will barely be noticed. by the time you get to the last row, chances are your pattern will fit in, either slightly adjusted higher or lower. That's my best advice. Good luck! Tell us how it works for you.
  7. A long handled screwdriver is going to give you the most leverage / torque to loosen and remove a screw. Follow Nigel's advice by tapping to get the screwdriver into the grooves of the screw. Being careful, slow and deliberate, while pushing in/down into the screw, turn left and you should be able to get that screw loose without stripping the top of the screw. Definitely a long handled screw driver is your friend.
  8. If I plan to quilt different sections as I go, I use corsage pins to baste my quilt in those sections (as I advance along)
  9. Hi. These are really good questions. There are lots of ways to skin a cat, and lots of ways to quilt a quilt. For your specific situation with the border designs, this is what I do (in this order). As a note, I'm not sure if you fully float your tops or partially float. I have always been a partial floater because it gives me a little more control when I'm rolling and starting out to stabilize, etc. Because you are doing the special borders, I would quilt the middle section first and the borders last. That stated, load the fabrics on the frame as you normally would. Instead of basting down the top edge (because you are doing borders) pin the top edges and the sides. During the quilting process, the fabrics shrink up a little. That's why I quilt the middle first and then the outer borders. So the order of quilting is this: 1. Stabilize the top edge and outer borders by pinning -- not sewing/basting. 2. Roll down and pin the borders/sides. Quilt the center. Repeat these steps pinning the outer borders and quilting the center section until you get to the bottom. 3. Since you are at the bottom, you can quilt the bottom border first. When you are ready to quilt the outer borders, you want to arrange your designs from the corners first and work the design toward the center / middle. It's way easier to fudge the center section of the border design than try to fudge a design into a corner. Corners and out is the easiest way. You can draw out/mark your design before you load the top onto the frame, or you can mark it while it's on the frame. I usually use white chalk or blue water soluble markers. Because the sides of the quilt are rolled up, I usually quilt the bottom and top borders first. Then I go back and sew baste down the side borders that I pinned and get ready to quilt the sides. If you don't have enough length on your frame to turn the quilt, you will have to mark your designs on the side borders and quilt and roll. Your corner sections will already be quilted, so you only have mark the designs and fudge in the side border designs toward the center part of the side borders. Anyway, that's how I normally do it when I have a special border design that I want to fit in. Best wishes and have fun. Share a photo when you're done! Shana
  10. Sometimes I get this way too (no go mojo) but taking the first step in quilting is like a light switch turns on and the mojo is on the go go.
  11. How old is your Millie? Chances are Yes, you can upgrade the head and keep the old table, but new heads require either 1) a new carriage to mount the new head on or 2) different axles installed on the bottom of the new head to fit your current carriage. Call the APQS office and speak with the staff there. They can help you get what you need.
  12. Have you tried contacting the EZ Quilt people here? http://www.quiltez.com/butler/
  13. Have you tried contacting these people for advice? http://www.quiltez.com/butler/
  14. Hi, I have an ideas/suggestion about your interest in IQ. Please send me an email at Shana@showstopperquilts.com