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Everything posted by loraquilts

  1. Yesterday when trying to show someone my Ultimate I, I was trying to show her how easy it was to make beautiful feathers. Unfortunately, I was not able to make nice looking feathers because when stitching on a slight diagonal, the machine would "chunk" as if it were going up a stair step. Sorry, I don't really know how to describe it any better. After she left, I started looking for obstructions, loose thread in the wheels, etc. etc. What I discovered is that the machine head, which is connected to the carriage at the rear wheels and midway over the center wheels, is loose over the center wheels. How can I fix this? Do I have to remove the machine head from the frame (please, please, please say no ; )? What type of adjustment do I have to make to secure the machine head to the carriage again? Does anyone know whether the screws that hold in this area are flat, phillip, or allen? I don't want to bugger this up, so any kind words of help and encouragement will be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!
  2. Were you able to find someone to retrofit your Ruler Mate? I'm upgrading to a newer machine and would love to keep my RM. I, too, much prefer it to the plastic one. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  3. I've been thinking about doing a mosaic pieced on the long arm for quite some time. Need to finish some UFOs before I start on another project though. I like the idea. I saw a video on youtube that inspired me (sorry, it's been so long ago that I don't recall the specifics of the video). Basically the quilt sandwich was loaded onto the long arm and then additional fabric pieces were sewn down on top of the top fabric to create the mosaic look. I found it a very interesting way to use up scraps. It was kind of like machine applique.
  4. I tried the link for the vanishing design wall and wasn't able to find it. All I got were lists of shops selling all kinds of unrelated items. Any other link? I'd love to take a look at it. I'm recently in the process of a whole house remodel and just now putting stuff back together, so if I could incorporate a vanishing design wall before I "finish" the sewing and quilting rooms, that'd be great. : )
  5. I love your camping sewing room. Shoot, I wouldn't mind having something like that just so I could get away from the kids when I was sewing. I'd just drive it a few miles to a nearby park and enjoy a quiet pieceful afternoon.
  6. Thanks for the input. You have all expressed things I have been batting around for some time now. Q - will I ever do enough customer work to pay for the new machine and the new IQ (if I end up getting a new IQ)? A - definitely not. Q - will the new Millie30 be thaaaaaaaat much better than the Ult I with IQ that I have now? A -- probably not. Q - would I get enough enjoyment out of the new machine to make it worthwhile? A -- I think so. I think the pride of owning the latest and greatest machine, the lifetime warranty, the bliss system, and some of the other features would be nice and that I would be pleased with them. Q - will I be able to do that much more with a 30" machine than I can with my 26" machine. A - I think so. There have been several times when either a quilt of my own or a customer quilt required rolling up and back several times during a pass to get the whole area completed because size of the block was too large for the throat space I have. Not sure if 4" would make a huge difference, but on those occasions when I needed it, I think it would have really come in handy. I know this wouldn't be the case for 90% of the quilts that I do. Okay - and here's the truly stupid reason that I am seriously considering upgrading. My mother passed away two years ago and she had been encouraging me to get the new machine as a treat for myself. I never did it while she was alive and regret that because I think she would have had fun with it. My sister was in charge of getting the house cleaned up and sold. I thought that when the house sold I would use some of my portion to get the new machine -- kind of a thank you and tribute to mom. HOWEVER, my sister kept all of the money for herself. She stole my inheritance! There is a lot that I could go into here, but I won't (trust me it isn't pretty). Anywhoo, I determined that since I can afford it anyway, I'm still going to get the new machine (of course tomorrow my resolution may be back to waffling). Last question ---- L or M bobbins? I'm kind of leaning toward M bobbins just so that I don't have to change them that often. Has anyone had problems with the M bobbins? Thanks again. Keep the input coming.
  7. Greetings fellow quilters. I currently have an Ultimate I with Intellistitch and Intelliquilter on it. It's been a great machine for many years, but I'm getting close to retirement (yea!) and am thinking about treating myself to the Millie 30. ...but I have a few questions and would love to get your thoughts. 1. Has anybody upgraded from a 26" machine to the 30" machine? Did you find it worth the extra money? Does the extra 4" make a big difference for you? 2. If I sell my Ult I, should I sell it with or without the IS/Turbo and IQ? Obviously the IS/Turbo will stay with the machine, but I'm wondering if I should sell it with the IQ and then just buy another IQ when I get my new system or just have my current IQ transferred to the new machine. 3. How much would an Ult I sell for with or without the IQ? Any other thoughts you care to share will be terrific. Thanks!
  8. Okay, thanks. That helps. I've never actually even thought of having a fuller binding. Hmmmm Something to consider for a future quilt - probably a lap quilt.
  9. Okay, I'm confused. When you trim a quilt, why would you trim it 1/4" or 1/2" larger than the edge of the quilt top? Why not trim even with the edge of the top? If you roll over the backing to use as the binding, I can see trimming 1" away from the quilt top, but you'd still have to trim the batting away right up to the edge of the top. What am I missing? I'm always interested in how and why others do things differently, so please help me understand. Could it be that I've been trimming my quilts wrong all these years?
  10. I love math. Give me Calculous, Trig, proofs and theorems, and I'm a happy camper. Algebra, well that's just plain boring.....necessary and the most practical, but still boring.
  11. You are so funny, how could you not know how much fabric to buy? The answer is always MORE!
  12. I've had very good luck with the Maxi-Lock variegated and solid threads. I know they are really serger threads, but they work like a dream in my machine. I've had no issues with them at all. (p.s. just learned that I've been spelling "varigated" wrong all these years. )
  13. Connie, I'm sorry, but there's no way you did 27 years in the Navy. In your picture your only in your late 20's or early 30's, so unless the Navy started hiring embryos, I'm going to call shenanigans!
  14. Another program that I use to organize and categorize my designs is Evernote. There is a free version, but I'm using the paid version. Anywhoo, you can add tags to each photo of your quilt designs. That way if a customer says she only wants to spend a certain amount, I can search for designs that are in that budget and let the customer decide what they like from a shorter list. This has served me well also.
  15. I found a very reasonable software program for just this purpose and it works great and is easy to use. It's called Quilter's Lightbox. You take a picture of the quilt and load it into the program. Then you can bring in pictures of your quilting designs and overlay them on the picture of the quilt. You can select thread colors, size the designs, and play play play. I think it only cost around $25, so very reasonable.
  16. A very sweet lady that attends the monthly sewing group has been making quilts to send to Japan for the last few years. She said there is still a huge need for recovering tsunami victims. Someone in the group suggested that the group make and donate 50 quilts to this effort. I volunteered to quilt the quilts for free, but the customer had to provide all materials and do the binding. There are a couple of other quilters in the group who later also volunteered to quilt for free, so that lessened the burden on me. I ended up quilting 15 quilts in a three week period. My hope was to generate some new customers down the road. That was in July, so we'll see, but it's not looking hopeful. I also suspect that not all of the quilts that I quilted for free ended up going to the tsunami victims. I say this because of the total number of donated quilts did not quite match up to the number of quilts that were quilted for free. This kinds of makes me rethink my position on quilting for free. I'm not opposed to supporting a good cause, but I don't want to be taken advantage of either. IF (and that's in all caps for a reason) I ever do something like this again, I will charge a small fee for binding the quilt and then I will take the quilts and make sure they get turned in to the donation center.
  17. Just a quick update. I talked to one of my customers at the sewing club this morning and asked her why she was taking her quilts to another quilter instead of me (not in those words of course). I just wanted to hear from her what I could do to improve my business, my relationship with customers, etc. I could tell she was a little uncomfortable at first, but I assured her that I was not trying to coax her into coming back to me, just curious about the change. She said that she uses the other woman for all over panto work, and would be using me exclusively for custom work - something the other woman doesn't offer. She showed me an invoice from the other woman and her pricing was very similar to my new pricing, however, one thing she includes in her pricing is trimming the quilt and attaching the binding strips to the back of the quilt. gkazee, I really like your idea of making a sample quilt with the pantos that I would do for 1 1/2 cents a square inch. Linda, your suggestion of having a sale month is a great one too. I'll make up the sample quilt and promote my sale for the month of November and the first two weeks of December. We'll see what happens. Thank you all for being candid with me. I had checked around and found that my previous prices were about a cent below the average in my area. I had been told by many that I wasn't charging enough, so I raised my prices a little after I got the computerized system. Now I see your points about customers not caring that the stitching is perfect and just wanting to get the quilts finished quickly and as cheap as possible. Also, I recognize now that showcasing all of my custom work probably scared some people off. I think you are right - they see the detail and amount of effort in the quilting on those quilts and think $$$$$ cha-ching! and don't want to pay for that. Next year, I'm going to try to show off two quilts a month (probably lap size) - one with custom quilting and one with an all over panto. Hopefully, that will convey the message that I can do both. Thanks again. I really appreciate your honest feedback and input!!!!! Thank you.
  18. First I'm going to start this post with an apology. I don't want anyone to be offended that I'm broaching a sensitive subject like pricing and customer loyalty, so if you don't want to share, that's fine. I've been quilting for others for a little over 10 years now. Most of the ladies that I have quilted for have been steady repeat customers. Before I had my computerized machine, and especially when I was really green, I charged about 1.5 cents per square inch for an all over panto. I know that's really low, but I figured that I was trying to grow my business and at the time I was just learning as well, so I was just happy for the little extra income. I was constantly busy and I really enjoyed it. About three years ago I upgraded to the IQ computerized quilting module. As those of you who have it can attest, it wasn't a cheap upgrade. So to help offset the price of the IQ and to be more in line with other long arm quilters prices, I increased my pricing to 2 or 2.5 cents per square inch depending on how much time I have to spend programming the design into the IQ or if the customer wants custom free motion quilting. I don't think this is outrageous, but I did notice a considerable drop in the number of quilts that have come in, especially this year. It's really confusing to me. The quality of the quilting is flawless because of the computerized part, I have hundreds of pantos and custom quilting designs for my customers to choose from, my turnaround time is very good (usually one week). I just don't understand what I could be missing. The thing that really just burns me is that there are several of what I thought were loyal customers that I see once a month at my local sewing center who during show and tell show off their quilts that they have had quilted by someone else. All of them, and I mean every single one, is quilted in just a simple pantograph. None of them ever have custom quilting at all. When I do show and tell on my own personal quilts, I always do custom quilting. I like getting in there and really trying to make the quilt sing in the piecing as well as the quilting. Since my customer workload has dropped off, I've been making a lot of personal quilts (actually finished 8 UFOs so far this year YAY!. Two more will be done before the end of the month. ). Last month when I was at the sewing club, one of the ladies asked me if I every quilted for anyone else. ...... She had to ask!?! Duh! I very nicely said that I did and gave her one of my cards. Then she asked me if I ever did anything simple like an all over design. ......again I was dumbfounded...... Of course! I can do whatever style of quilting you want on your quilt, is what I told her. She thanked me and then pocketed my card. Am I missing something? Can I be scaring people off because I show off my custom quilting and that's not what they are looking for? Are my prices too high? I really am at a loss and scratching my head. If you don't mind, would you please share your thoughts, pricing methodologies, and other factors that could be affecting my situation. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and respond. Thank you.
  19. You could also use Evernote. I use that with my IQ and it works just fine. Angela Huffman has a youtube video on the subject that you might want to check out. Best part is that it's FREE!!! Of course, I upgraded to the premium version which does cost a little, but it's very inexpensive. And with the premium version, I can see all my designs on any device. I'm not limited to just the designs I can see on my computer. This is tremendously helpful when picking up a customer quilt and getting his/her input on the quilting design to use. Another great program, which is very inexpensive and very helpful, is Quilter's Lightbox. I don't remember how much it cost, but I do remember that I was surprised that it was so cheap. Great program to test out your quilting ideas on pictures of actual quilt of quilt blocks. You can play with designs, thread color, etc. I like this much better than using the transparency film on the actual quilt tops. No more worry about running off the edge when I'm drawing out a pattern, and my customers are a lot less nervous when I mark a sample design out on their quilt. I even had one customer remark that my operation was so "professional" since I could do everything on my computer. HA! If she only knew how much doesn't get done on the computers. hahaha. Anyway, hope this helps.
  20. Wouldn't it be nice if someone invented a way to store an entire cone of thread under the machine and feed it through the existing bobbin mechanism. Then you would never run out of bobbin again. Ahhhhh to dream!
  21. I love love love bamboo and bamboo/cotton blend battings. They can take a lot of quilting and still result in a very soft supple quilt. Many of the 100% cotton battings, including many of the Warm Co. battings, will get very stiff if the top is heavily quilted. It can take a several washings before the quilt starts to become soft and pliable. The ones I've done for myself with W&N and quilted with a medium dense panto are still quite stiff even after many many washings. Many of my customers like W&N and other 100% cotton battings, but from now on I will only use bamboo on my personal quilts. Sleeping under one of the bamboo finished quilts is like sleeping under a cloud. Mmmmmmm, just delightful.
  22. I've also done my fair share of vintage tops. Some were my grandmothers (super duper special) a couple were my mom's, but most were from customers or quilt tops that I purchased on ebay for a song. I started with the ebay quilts because there was absolutely no sentimental value to me on those quilts. Unfortunately, the piecing quality on the ebay quilts was very inconsistent. Most were hand pieced and not very consistently so quilting was a bit of a challenge. I almost didn't want to machine quilt the DWR that was hand pieced, ..... still haven't quilted that one. As for how I load delicate quilts on the frame, I always float my quilts. I found that with vintage quilts, especially those that are hand pieced, putting them on the rollers puts way too much stress on the seams and often the seams will come undone. I also take care to make sure the backing is not stretched too tight on the frame. This won't have anything to do with the seams on the top coming out, I just find that after the quilt is finished it looks much better if the back is not super tight. Not loose, mind you, but consistent with the top.
  23. I baste the edges about 1/8" from the edge. I used to use a basting stitch, but if the customer is going to be sewing on the binding, rather than rolling over the backing, I just use a regulated stitch and let it go. Nice smooth edges and you'll never see the basting stitches once the binding is added anyway. Sometimes I'll even do a little wiggle stitch on the edges. If the customer is going to roll the backing over for the binding, I never sew off the edge of the quilt because it would show on the rolled edge. For these quilts, I use long basting stitches about 1/8" away from the edge and then quilt within 5/8" from the edge of the quilt. I love setting the IQ to clip the designs so they fit well within my parameters. : )
  24. Hi Zeke, just searching for the perfect bobbin winder at the moment. Any suggestions?
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