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Everything posted by quiltmonkey

  1. The poly loft plus cotton works great as a combo. You have to use high loft poly, or extra high loft poly. I've made a quilt using the poly to "pop up" my applique and it looks great.
  2. LinneaMarie, it's not the batting, it's the backing fabric. Can you change the backing fabric?
  3. Hi. I can't answer your question, but here is a link to post a question and get support for the Compuquilter system. https://www.intelliquilter.com/compuquilter-support.php
  4. ack! the dreaded pokies. we've all experienced them. some situations are worse than others. you have several options: you can stop now and remove the quilting stitches, find a different batting to use, or a combination of different batting and different backing. sometimes it's the backing fabric that's the culprit. perhaps you have the batting flipped the wrong direction. that could also be an issue. a last resort is to get a pigma pen and color in the pokies. that is something that longarm quilters do in situations that have no other options. good luck!
  5. what size needle are you using? It's possible that the eye of the needle is too small for the thread to pass through.
  6. Custom work using rulers - this is a highly specialized skill that take months, if not years to perfect. If it were me, I would charge by the hour, not by square inch. Don't underestimate your time and skills. I rarely do ruler quilting for customers because it's so expensive. I find other ways to quilt, or I choose to use minimal amount of rulers and then freehand the rest (combination) Find the going rate for custom heirloom quilting in your area, or ask other quilters in your area what they charge for ruler work. If I were doing ruler work, I would charge at least $35 per hour. For estimates, you could guess that it takes 40 hours and give them a quote. I'm not giving my time away for minimum wage. No way! I've had many customers ask me to SID their quilt. I kindly explain the costs and time involved and I offer other solutions for them.
  7. Regardless of what you've heard about "saturated", I still think you should follow your dreams and create a business plan. Stick to the plan. Give yourself time now to practice, build up skills, market your business. You will SLOWLY build up clientele. By the time you retire, you should be up on step with a steady customer base. I will tell you that customers like to try out other/new longarmers. So, don't be surprised once word gets around that you are in business. As a business person, it's always good to find your niche in the market and get your name out there. That niche could be as simple as your friendly personality or your quick turnaround time. Advertising is expensive, but spending money on a Facebook page, paying for a blurb in the local longarm newsletters or even in the local advertising newspaper, creating cute business cards and trifold to hand out to potential customers. You have to get your name and face out there. It's who you know that gets the word of mouth moving around. Make quilts and put them in the local fair. Create quilts and DONATE them to charity fundraisers. Donating quilts to fundraisers gets your name out there as a business person. Attend guild meetings or other craft groups and hand out your cards and trifolds. Talk to local shops about displaying your information. Eventually when you can afford it, buy a domain name and create a web site. Customers like to look at your site on the internet. Be creative-- think out of the box on your advertising angles. You'll be surprised that even in a saturated market, you can find your place. Follow your dreams.
  8. Oh, Connie... I agree with you and I miss the "old days" on the APQS forums, too. Back then, it truly was a very special place and time... where so much creativity was shared and forever friends were made.
  9. Please be wary of trolls and unsavory people posting on this forum. I was recently victimized by someone who goes by the name Celena. This person blatantly copied and pasted my story under her name. Are people half nuts? What is going on here? I'm deeply troubled by this. To all of you kind folks here, be wary that there are some odd happenings on what should be a safe place for all of us. Here's the post I'm referring to.
  10. This is an easy fix with a minor adjustment. Call the APQS headquarters in Iowa. They can resolve this for you over the phone. Before you call, remove the needle from the machine and the thread from the take up lever. This will avoid any thread getting tangled up in the bobbin area.
  11. Agree with you. I do not float my tops - I've always felt better control with my top pinned to the leader.
  12. Adding one more thing: I am (by nature) a very accommodating and nice person. Probably too nice sometimes. In dealing with my quilting customers, the word "no" is not a word I use, ever. Very rare situations when I need to tell a customer the word "no" ... and this situation is generally the only time I stand up for myself and say "No! Sorry, my requirement is to have 8" wider and 8" longer than quilt top." Period. End of story. I've almost hurt myself numerous times trying to quilt a quilt with barely enough backing fabric. It's dangerous. I draw the line when it comes to injuring myself because of a customer did not give me enough backing fabric.
  13. Even if you sew scraps of fabric to all four sides, if the quilt top is the same size as the back, it's absolutely impossible to avoid quilting the extra strip's seam line into the quilt while quilting it. Trust me in my 15 years of longarm quilting, it is nearly impossible to accomplish this very difficult and extremely stressful situation. I would contact customer and ask her to provide you with larger backing fabric that is at a minimum 8" wider and 8" longer than the quilt top. My job is to quilt the customer's quilt without pulling my hair out... it's not my job to perform miracles due to the failure of the customer to provide ample backing fabric. IMHO.
  14. Hi Pat, Connie's suggestion about your leaders is good. However, I don't know if you want to...or need to buy new leaders, or if you want to give your current leaders a "hair cut" ... There's plenty of extra canvas on you rollers, if you want to try the hair cut route. These are the steps: Pin the take up leader to the bottom leader, overlapping the edges a few inches. After pinning, pull these two pinned leaders taught as much as you can. As you roll out the take up leader and roll the bottom leader canvas that's pinned to it, do this until you have about 12 inches or so of fresh new section of canvas from the top leader. Next, if you have channel locks, turn on the horizontal channel lock and using a cream colored thread in top and bobbin, slowly sew a line across on the fresh new section of the take up leader. While everything is still pinned together, roll forward until you have about 12 inches or so of fresh new section of canvas on the bottom leader. Repeat with channel locks on stitching a line of thread across the bottom leader. Leave the pins in. It's easier to trim the brand new straight line while everything is taught. The thread line you sewed on each leader is a line as a guide to carefully cut your brand new fresh clean straight edges for both take up leader and bottom leader. You will want to clean up the edges on your top leader, too. Repeat steps for pinning the take up leader to a fresh new section of the top leader (about 12 inches down), stitch a line across the top leader leader. Leave the pins in. It's easier to trim the straight line while everything is taught. Viola!
  15. All I can say is, some people are absolutely clueless (I mean absolutely completely clueless) to the heart and soul and thought and love that the quilter goes through in making a one-of-a-kind ---"BLANKET" ... these people are absolutely clueless. Even though you never received a thank you it doesn't mean they did not appreciate it. Trust me, every one of us has had this happen to us. What I do is I make and give quilts because it makes me feel good and I love doing it. It's a gift that I chose to give. What happens to my gifted quilt after I have given it is no longer in my control. I'm sure that some of my gifted quilts are being used in a not so flattering ways. I'm willing to accept that fact. I know that most people are grateful and are thankful and treasure them. Sending you a hug. Don't ever stop creating and giving the things you love. It's something that makes you special and kind.
  16. King Tut is cotton. Combining cotton threads in top and also in bobbin-- these cotton threads tend to "fight" with each other because of the natural "nubs and bumps" that are part of the cotton thread. The best combination is to use a polyester thread in the bobbin (I use Bottom Line) and use King Tut cotton on the top. I usually install a 4.0 or 4.5 size needle - the larger eye in the needle allows the cotton thread to pass through without issues. I have successfully used King Tut on top and Bottom Line in the bobbin for 12 years without any problems. Give that a try. I love King Tut. Also what Jim stated above, the loops on bottom (and even on top) are because the top thread is not tight enough. Keep adjusting/tightening until your thread pulls through smoothly - while watching the tension spring so that it is between 7:00 Pm and 8:00 Pm on the clock. Go tighter.
  17. I think you answered your own question in your last sentence. You won't make a mistake going with APQS.
  18. 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!
  19. 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.
  20. 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.