jimerickson

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  1. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from MaryQuiltsTx in loop in stitched random   
    Missy:  The problem you're incurring is probably due to the change in geometry of the thread path due to the new spool position.  You're probably not getting full service from your thread take up spring.  Take a close look at how it moves when you stitch.  If it isn't moving the full rotation, it won't work properly all the time.  The solution would be to change the geometry, or rotate the tension assembly so that the take up spring works with the thread geometry you have with the thread path you now have.  Jim
  2. Like
    jimerickson got a reaction from AnnP in Roller Brakes   
    Ann:  My Zelda, didn't come with roller breaks originally, but since I built my custom table, I built a set.  They aren't like APQS's, but they work the same way-put pressure on the roller and keep it from turning.  I originally used the non-skid strips you put on your bathtub to keep from slipping, but recently had to replace some, and decided to try Velcro hook.  It failed quickly.  I've gone back to bathtub strips.  They hold better and last longer.  Next time one of your's fails give the tub strip a try.  The adhesive seems to be much stronger.  Jim
  3. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from Kwiltr in Small Pleats in Top   
    Kathy:  When I quilt, I compensate for the hopping foot pushing fabric by pushing/pulling the fabric "wave" back into place with my fingers as I sew.  Try doing that when you approach the meeting points of you SID.  I seem to do a lot of SID, and I've been doing this a long time with good results.  I originally thought it was a problem exclusive to the Ult 2 with a presser foot rather than a hopping foot, but I soon realized the same thing (perhaps to a little lesser extent, but still a lot) happens with the hopping foot on my Gammill.  Jim
  4. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from patty123 in Using Two Layers of Batting   
    Kathy:  There's no substitute for experience.  Start with whole cloth quilts.  Use inexpensive fabric, and experiment with different methods of loading the quilt, different types of batting, different quilting techniques.  Start using templates, try different types of threads.  I say whole cloth quilts because they are less labor intensive, and without piecing issues, easier to quilt on.  You can always find some one who wants the finished quilt.  Working on quilts like these will remove your fear of making a mistake.  In fact the mistakes are exactly what you want because, we learn far more from our mistakes than from our successes.  Starting out on an important quilt will take all the fun out of learning to long arm, and indeed, long arm quilting itself.  It really is good to do some uncomplicated quilting for others just for the experience.  The learning experience goes on forever.  I've long arm quilted nearly 800 quilts, and I still learn something with each new quilt.  Once you learn how to turn on and run your machine, and learn how each feature works, the rest comes from experience.  Good luck.  Jim
  5. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from MaryQuiltsTx in Is This "Normal" - Update   
    Betsy:  I'm not sure I explained what I meant.  While the wool batting stretches when you pull it off the roll, it snaps back after you cut it off, and becomes shorter than your measurement .  Good you've already begun to adjust for this.  Jim
  6. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from MaryQuiltsTx in Is This "Normal" - Update   
    Betsy:  I use wool a lot off the roll, and have found that it stretches as you pull it off the roll, so I've started to cut it about 5" or 6" longer than I think I need to deal with the stretch.  You might try that to eliminate "surprises".   Jim
  7. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from dbams in Is This "Normal" - Update   
    Betsy:  I use wool a lot off the roll, and have found that it stretches as you pull it off the roll, so I've started to cut it about 5" or 6" longer than I think I need to deal with the stretch.  You might try that to eliminate "surprises".   Jim
  8. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from dbams in Tables   
    Joyce:  I can't say for sure, but I seriously doubt there is any shake or shimmy with ANY of the tables APQS has made or is currently making.  Good table construction is one of the hallmarks of the APQS brand.  Jim
  9. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from MaryQuiltsTx in Bobbin thread breaking   
    Pretty basic, but do you have the bobbin in properly?  It might be backwards.  I can't think of a time when I had bobbin thread breakage.  If the bobbin is in right and properly seated you might check for burrs on your needle plate.  One more thing to check is your bobbin case backlash spring.  Is it in place, and working properly?  Good luck.  Jim
  10. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from Bonnie in Ok in Long arm needles   
    For years I've puzzled over sewing machine needles and the vast range of nomenclature to identify them.  It started more than ten years ago, with my wife's Babylock serger, and has been a puzzle for me ever since.  Little by little I'm beginning to unravel this mystery.  Heidi's post of a week or so about Schmetz needles got me going again.
     
    I have used Groz-Beckert 134 MR GEBEDUR FFG/SES needles almost exclusively, with an occasional Singer 1955 MR needle thrown in.  They've served me well, but I'm always interested in trying new things with the hope I might find something that I like better.  With that in mind, I just ordered some needles made by Schmetz, and Organ that I think will work in my machine (this is where the mystery comes in)  It is difficult to know exactly what needle works in my machine from the package nomenclature.
     
    Here are the package ID's of the needles I use, and the ones I ordered:
     
    Singer                  Groz-Beckert  Schmetz*           Schmetz              Organ
    1955-01-MR4.0   134 MR           CANU:20:05 1   CANU:20:05 17    135x5
    Set/R                   1955MR          134R                 134R SERV 7      DPx5
    134    135x5        134 SAN 11     135x5                135x5 SERV7     135x7
    797     DPx5        DPx 5 MR        SY 1955             DPx5  SERV 7    134R - 1955
                                                       DPx5
     
    The Schmetz needle with the * is the one Heidi is using.  The other is the one listed as the long arm needle on the web site link that was referenced by someone else in that thread.
     
    Now I do know what some of the designations mean.  For instance the MR stands for a needle configuration intended for multi-directional sewing.  The 1955 represents a style of needle I think, and is probably duplicated by the R, and Set/R designation.  The DPx5 I think means the same as the 135x5 and the 134 which I believe is the length of the needle, and the position of the eye.  The CANU 20 I think represents the thickness of the needle shank.  I know that the SAN 11 is important, but I don't know exactly what it means.  Perhaps, how large the scarf is.
     
    The MR (multi range) needle provides a particular blade configuration and shank that is stiffer than others to proved needle deflection resistance.  The SERV 7 design provides the same sort of benefit as the MR, but in a bit different way.  Both have a larger and deeper thread groove in the front of the needle.
     
    Interestingly, the size needle recommended by Superior Threads, deals not with what you're sewing, but rather what thread (mostly size) that you're using.  I notice that they recommended using an 18 or 19 size needle for King Tut, and a 19 or 21 size for Lava.  Perhaps folks who use these threads (I don't), and have problems, have so, because they are trying to use too small a needle.  The size of the groove in the front of the needle being the issue, not the needle eye size, needle diameter, or the fabric being sewed. 
     
    I plan to experiment with the three new to me needles on the list, and find out if, and how well, they work.  I'll up date this thread with my impressions and thoughts on each.  Jim
     
    BTW, I'm not quite sure about the nomenclature on the second Schmetz, and I'll check it, and make any appropriate corrections when the packs of needles arrive.  Also, anyone who know exactly what any of the designation codes mean, feel free to share your knowledge.
  11. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from Cagey in Long arm needles   
    I thought I'd update you all on my experience with my long arm needles.  Since I last reported, I've re-timed my Gammill to run the Schmetz SERV 7 needles.  I can recall breaking only one needle, and it was with the Gammill, and was on a very heavy seam.  Not the kind of deflection break one gets by moving the machine, but simply breaking because it couldn't penetrate the layers of fabric.  I never damage the needle point anymore, and seem to be able to use a needle endlessly without changing it.
    The stitch quality has improved on both my machines.  I now have much less directional tension change than I did before.  The stitches when I sew a circle, are almost the same all around the circle.  I almost never encounter missed stitches anymore.
    The Schmetz SERV 7 needles have performed so well that they are what I now use.  In fact I've given the sizable stock of Singer and Groz-Beckert MR needles I had to a friend, and don't intend on using them again.   Jim
  12. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from quilterkp in Long arm needles   
    I thought I'd update you all on my experience with my long arm needles.  Since I last reported, I've re-timed my Gammill to run the Schmetz SERV 7 needles.  I can recall breaking only one needle, and it was with the Gammill, and was on a very heavy seam.  Not the kind of deflection break one gets by moving the machine, but simply breaking because it couldn't penetrate the layers of fabric.  I never damage the needle point anymore, and seem to be able to use a needle endlessly without changing it.
    The stitch quality has improved on both my machines.  I now have much less directional tension change than I did before.  The stitches when I sew a circle, are almost the same all around the circle.  I almost never encounter missed stitches anymore.
    The Schmetz SERV 7 needles have performed so well that they are what I now use.  In fact I've given the sizable stock of Singer and Groz-Beckert MR needles I had to a friend, and don't intend on using them again.   Jim
  13. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from quilterkp in M bobbins   
    I recently checked my bobbin tension with my TOWA, and was surprised by what I discovered.
    To give you a little background, I almost exclusively use Superior's Bottom Line thread in my bobbins.  I wind my own bobbins on my industrial stand alone bobbin winder.  I have made no adjustments to the winder in at least months, but more likely years.  As I indicated above I own three types of bobbins, bronze colored steel, black steel, and silver anodized aluminum.  I have bobbins of each type wound with left over bits of thread.  For self education, I decided to see if there were any difference in TOWA readings.  The steel bobbins I checked both bronze and black, registered 30 (same as 300 on newer gauges) on the TOWA.  The aluminum ones on the other hand registered 20 (200).  I checked bobbin after bobbin and the numbers persisted.   I measured the size of each bobbin, diameter, and thickness.  They were all the same.  Does anyone know why the difference?    As a side note, it did seem like the aluminum ones gave a steadier reading.  My guess due to the solid sides they have vs the sides with holes in them on the steel ones.  Jim
  14. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from quilterkp in 2015 Lenni with Bliss SOLD   
    I have one of those 20 year old machines.  Very little has ever gone wrong with it, and whatever it was, with the help of APQS's service folks, I was able to fix myself.  No regrets about buying it.  Jim
  15. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from quilterkp in Top Thread still breaking   
    Mary:  Check the gap between the black "finger" that secures the bobbin basket, and the basket assembly.  It should be as wide as possible with just enough contact to keep the basket from rotating.  Also check the "finger" for burrs.  If the thread catches on the "finger" it will fray or break.  If everything looks OK there, check your timing.  The hook should just "kiss" the needle, and the hook should reach the needle in about the center of the scarf.  Good luck.  Jim
  16. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from quilterkp in Top Thread still breaking   
    Mary:  It might be helpful to hold a white card or paper behind the needle/hook when you look at it.  That seems to help me see the relationships better.  Just a thought.  Jim
  17. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from MaryQuiltsTx in Top Thread still breaking   
    Mary:  Check the gap between the black "finger" that secures the bobbin basket, and the basket assembly.  It should be as wide as possible with just enough contact to keep the basket from rotating.  Also check the "finger" for burrs.  If the thread catches on the "finger" it will fray or break.  If everything looks OK there, check your timing.  The hook should just "kiss" the needle, and the hook should reach the needle in about the center of the scarf.  Good luck.  Jim
  18. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from MaryQuiltsTx in Questions on Quilt Backing   
    Long verticals would require rolling the quilt before it is stabilized in all areas of the rolled fabric.  Exactly what you're trying to avoid by basting in the first place.
    I have a question about the embroidery.  I've quilted a lot of embroidered pattern quilts, but the embroidery was always done before the quilt sandwich was put together.  I would think that the bobbin side of the embroidery might be unsightly on the back of the quilt.  Are you sure you want to do it this way?  Jim
  19. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from quilterkp in M bobbins   
    I have M bobbins in both my APQS Ult 2 and my Gammill Classic.  Since my Ult 2 was originally a machine fitted with an L bobbin, I have the benefit of quilting with it both as an L and an M bobbin machine.  I noticed no difference in stitch quality between the systems.
    I've used three different types of M bobbins in my machines.  The bronze colored steel bobbins, the black colored steel bobbins, and silver anodized aluminum bobbins.  I really haven't noticed any difference in performance.  I would caution that the black ones are probably Chinese made, and I've had quality control issues with them.  Some have been out of round.  Any such bobbin I find, I throw away, so rather than go through the trouble of sorting out the bad ones (about 10% of those I've bought), I've just stopped buying them.  I have about 5 dozen bobbins between the two machines and don't feel like I need any more.  Jim
  20. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from Quilta93 in Open toe foot will NOT center!   
    FrammaJoy:  Is the needle centered in the "cone-shaped" foot?  If so, something is probably bent.  If it isn't centered either, you may need to rotate you hopping foot bar a tad to get it in the proper place.  Such an adjustment should be pretty easy.  Jim
  21. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from quilterkp in What is the difference/advantages between the Smart Bobbin (L) or Big Bobbin (M)?   
    Pat:  If you're trying to decide which bobbin system to order on a new machine, do yourself a favor and order one with the M bobbin.  As far as stitch quality goes, in my experience, there is no difference.  My experience is different from most in that I have a Ult 2 that came with the "smart" L system which I converted to M.  Same machine, both systems.
     
    As far as cost goes, it is true that the M bobbins and bobbin cases do cost more than the L's.  But really, how many will you need to buy in your life time?  I have two long arms that have M bobbin systems, had them for more than six years, and I've bought two or three dozen bobbins.  Similarly I've bought two bobbin cases, the most expensive a TOWA costing me $42.
     
    In my experience (I've quilted over 700 quilts), the most frequent tension/stitch quality issue occurs immediately after a bobbin change.  The M bobbin hold twice as much thread as the L.  Twice as much thread, half as many changes.  Now what's "smart" about changing bobbins twice as often?  In my humble opinion there's no contest.  Jim
  22. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from quilterkp in Help   
    Mary Beth:  Your needle was probably loose, causing your problems.  Do yourself a favor and get rid of the slotted screw that tensions the needle.  Buy yourself a socket headed one from Ray at Quilt Tech.  The allen head screw holds the wrench, and doesn't slip.  If you like, you can even rotate the needle bar so that the screw faces forward.  Making access and view even easier.  That's what I did years ago and have never regretted it.  Jim
  23. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from MaryQuiltsTx in Help   
    Mary Beth:  Your needle was probably loose, causing your problems.  Do yourself a favor and get rid of the slotted screw that tensions the needle.  Buy yourself a socket headed one from Ray at Quilt Tech.  The allen head screw holds the wrench, and doesn't slip.  If you like, you can even rotate the needle bar so that the screw faces forward.  Making access and view even easier.  That's what I did years ago and have never regretted it.  Jim
  24. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from Mary Beth in Help   
    Mary Beth:  Your needle was probably loose, causing your problems.  Do yourself a favor and get rid of the slotted screw that tensions the needle.  Buy yourself a socket headed one from Ray at Quilt Tech.  The allen head screw holds the wrench, and doesn't slip.  If you like, you can even rotate the needle bar so that the screw faces forward.  Making access and view even easier.  That's what I did years ago and have never regretted it.  Jim
  25. Upvote
    jimerickson got a reaction from Lovemyavy in Long Arm reviews   
    C:  If I were buying a new machine it would be an Innova.  That being said, I'd be pretty happy with an APQS, A-1, Gammill, Nolting, or Prodigy.  There are things I like about each, and things I don't like.  I have an APQS Ult 2 ca. 1997, and a 2000 Gammill Classic.  Both were unregulated machines when I got them.  Helen and her husband Tony came to my house and studio in early 2011 and installed Intellistitch regulators on both.  The Intellistich regulator is great, and I'm happy with both.  The only thing I've had to do with them is replace a couple handle switches.
     
    You might ask why I say Innova, and there are a few things unique about them that I like.  First the head turns on the Innova, so it can be removed from the table without removing the take-up roller.  I think maybe the Prodigy's head might also turn.  I also like the Lightning digital stitch regulator.  I like the table configuration as well, but I'm not quite so sure about the wheels.  I don't much like the "erector set" look of the table frame but that just cosmetic.  Now I must confess I've only removed the head of my Ult 2 from the table a couple of times, and never on my Gammill, so maybe the turning head feature really isn't a real winner.  I don't know about their service, but I've been told the machines are quite problem free.
     
    APQS.  I don't like their horizontal wheel system.  It seems unnecessarily  complicated.  They've improved it somewhat by using linear bearings on the rails in their Bliss system.  But it is expensive.  I like their 4 roller system table.  I don't really like the batting access system (or more precisely lack of).  Their roller configuration accommodates it to some degree.  Also on models other than the Millie, there seems to be little adjustment capabilities on the rollers and rails.  What I DO like is their customer support and service.  It's absolutely great.
     
    Gammill:  While their tables are well engineered and robust, the batting access system is a joke.  I don' think it was designed with how we quilt today in mind.  It could be improved, and made simpler by going to a 4 roller system like APQS.  The Gammill is strong and dependable.  I've heard people refer to them as the Mercedes of quilt machines. But I'd classify them more as the Peterbuilts of quilt machines.  
     
    The A-1 is a nice machine, maybe the perfect size.  The table is very well built, but like the Gammill it's a 3 roller system which requires more adjustment, and adjustment mechanisms that wouldn't be necessary with a 4 roller system like the APQS, Innova or Prodigy.  Maybe it's the most user considerate table of all the makes.  I don't know much about their service though.  It's probably good, but pretty dependent on their MO headquarter.
     
    The Nolting Pros are good machines.  They use Intellistitch regulators on this line, and the I/S is great.  Their tables are well made, but not nearly as refined as the A-1.  I think their service is probably quite good.  They've made pretty much the same machine/table system for quite some time, so they've had a long time to work out any issues, and I think it's pretty sound.
     
    The Prodigy is a nice looking machine.  They have a very nice user friendly table.  Nice manual lift system (it can be power if you'd like).  The one thing holding the Prodigy back as far as I'm concerned, is their rigidly sticking to the L bobbin system.
     
    I personally wouldn't consider any other manufacturer.  All the machines I've referenced are industrial quality machines built to last decades.  While I don't know first hand about support, I think all is pretty good.  I can't say that for some of the other machines out there.
     
    Size is an interesting issue.  It probably has more to do with how and what you quilt than anything else.  I personally wouldn't want a machine that wouldn't sew at least 14 inches front to back.  Seventeen would probably be better.  You have to look at individual machine set ups to see what a machine can actually do.  Some smaller measured machines will actually sew a bigger field than other "larger" machines.  It has to do with the roller configuration and the "harp" shape of the machine.
     
    You can feel pretty secure buying a used model of any of these machines.  If there's something wrong with the machine when you get it, it can be repaired and put back into excellent service, but probably there will be nothing wrong to begin with.  These machines don't break.  Pick a price point, and buy with confidence. 
     
    This is my personal opinion.  I'm not promoting one machine over any other.  What I've said reflects the experience I've had, how I personally quilt, and my own personal likes and dislikes.  I'd probably be happy with any of them.  Jim