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ffq-lar

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ffq-lar last won the day on July 6

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  1. If you want to choose only one , go with the Bliss system. Quilt Glide evens out the stitch regulator for micro-quilting and while it's nice to have, it won't be used often and it's not a necessity. Bliss is great and makes a huge difference for smooth quilting. I retro-fitted mine and it cost $3000 plus shipping. It was a good decision. Best, of course, to try out both additions first---maybe the dealer knows an accommodating owner locally who will allow you to try theirs.
  2. Hi Monika. What you own is a pre-2000 Ultima longarm, not a Lenny. I don't know if that wooden table can even be upgraded to the Bliss system, which replace heavy-duty aluminum rails not used on your frame. The wheels are wood composite and I don't know if M&M wheels available now are a match to the ones on your machine. After 2000, APQS used edgerider wheels---that are horizontal and ride on the edge of the rail instead of on top. To investigate solutions for easier movement on those wheels, you should check that the tracks are pristinely clean without oxidation build-up, and clean the grooves of the wheels with alcohol on a Q-tip to remove any oxidation build-up there. Investigate if there are bad bearings in the wheels (they should turn easily) and that they aren't bent on the axles, which would cause drag. Drag can also be caused by a flexed/torqued table, so make sure it's level front-to-back in several places and along the length. If you can isolate where the drag is (like the length of the table means to check the frame rails and wheels, or front to back check the carriage wheels) it will be easier to diagnose. If it's in one distinct spot, the frame needs to be leveled. If you were able to stitch nice curves before, you should be able to again. New wheels won't fix that unless the things that support the wheels are correctly aligned. Good luck and email your closest dealer for more advice.
  3. Hi Deb. I will assume you mean the Bliss system instead of Glide tracks. Some newer APQS machines have "Quilt Glide", but it has nothing to do with the wheels. So---Bliss is a ball-bearing pod set on a stainless steel rod that runs the length of the frame at the front and the back. It eases the horizontal movement. The vertical movement is on M&M wheels and regular rails on the carriage, which are the best wheels available on APQS longarms. One set of four wheels on the carriage and the ball-bearing pods on the table. They are fabulous. I believe you can retro-fit Bliss for about $3000 if it's on an APQS frame. That seems like a lot when you're getting a deal on the machine, so you'll need to decide. If there's a dealer near you, try out the Bliss system versus a regular wheel system. As for being "necessary"? Absolutely not, but comparing the two (and your stamina and physical ability added to the mix) will guide you to whether it's an attractive add-on or a must-have. Good luck and have fun!
  4. For those looking for alteration of a Rulermate base---contact a local machine shop. A welding shop or even an auto repair shop may have a milling machine that can remove a sliver along the edges so it will fit. They'll need very specific measurements (though a bit too big will still work since the base is supported and the screws are what holds it secure). If you have a relationship with a local machinist, give that a try.
  5. You can find blogs and websites where the heavy-hitters share their quilting. Margaret Solomon Gunn comes to mind. Also Karen McTavish, Lisa Calle, Bethanne Nemesh, Karen Marchetti, et al. I had a great class (in the before times) from Renae Haddadin about what judges look for in competitions and what they mark down on. Check out any of these talented people and then find out if they have videos or classes available. Also look for the judging criteria of the separate shows. Many stress piecing over quilting, some will split the difference. But winning quilts are usually an original pattern and have spectacular quilting. The "stretchers"---those who come up with innovative, cutting-edge quilts that they build themselves are Margaret Solomon Gunn and Bethanne Nemesh. I assume from your statement (you're getting competition-level quilts) that you longarm for hire and perhaps have customers wanting to enter some shows. If so, check the rules for all the big shows. The categories are sometimes capricious---like two-person quilts have to be a collaboration and not paid-for-quilting (but the makers share ribbons and prizes) or there is a separate category for paid-for quilting. Go over the various rules with any interested customers. Good luck and have fun! ( I had two quilts from the same customer accepted at Houston one year. It was a huge thrill!)
  6. A customer quilt from 2019. I did a combo of feathers, CCs, and freehand swirls. Every area/border was stitched differently-but-similar.
  7. Now she knows that she needs to piece better and you know what to look for. I agree it's all her work and not yours so don't be concerned it will mar your reputation. Don't help her and don't hover unless you're concerned about her damaging your machine. If she asks for advice, be generous, but you aren't hired to give piecing lessons. Nor are you hired to give her quilting lessons, I suppose---just to show the mechanics and stand back. One of two things will happen if she continues to be a customer---she'll improve her piecing and have nice flat quilts, or she won't improve and become discouraged because her quilts have so many flaws (and probably stop coming). I'm betting on the former! Who isn't entranced by a nicely quilted quilt that one makes from start to finish? You may eventually lose her anyway when/if she decides to buy her own longarm!
  8. If you plan to do all SID first, start in the center. That's where the most fullness will live and where the eye focuses first, so it needs to be flat and symmetrical. The big issue with this is what happens to the rest of the quilt when you start in the middle. You'll need to float it, so secure the top edge of the top with pins (don't stitch it down because you may need to re-position it later). Then advance to the center, smoothing as you advance. When you reach the center, adjust so it's symmetrical then stitch baste or pin baste horizontally above and below the center. Then baste the entire top, stepping out from the center and keeping areas straight and flat. You will immediately see where else there is fullness and needing extra care. I've quilted over twenty Judy Niemeyer quilts as a pro, and none of them was flat---ever. With it fully basted, you can start anywhere you like, but I'd do the center first. Also, you aren't stuck with doing all the SID first if it involves a lot of thread color changes. You can SID and custom quilt a section at a time. The photo is my latest---Dinnerplate Dahlia. Good luck and have fun!
  9. You won't want to force it, but can you rock the hand wheel at all? Remove the needle in case that's part of the problem. Spray some WD-40 all over the case and remove the needle plate to spray from the top, to ease things along. If it's a thread snarl stopping things, a soak overnight might help soften things up. Last solution---remove the bobbin assembly completely. That will require retiming, but may be the last resort. The jammed bobbin case will be much easier to work on outside the machine. Good luck!
  10. Caution *****It looks like Dave has re-registered on this site. This seller is Dave Jones, who has a bad reputation in the industry. He had a good gig buying and selling longarms and doing deliveries/set/up between buyers and sellers. But several deals went sour and caused a loss of reputation for him. Be very careful and make sure you pay AFTER delivery and not before.
  11. The black flakes are oxidation from the aluminum carriage base, not material from the wheels. Not to say you don't need to replace them, but mine have had steady business-use daily for 9 years and so far no problems. The diagonal stitching can be tested by freehanding a big circle, slowly. If you feel drag all four of the diagonal sections and none at the horizontal/vertical, then you can investigate more. Wheels too tight and drag from your power cord can be looked at. Also, if you're stitching diagonals with a ruler, that, of course, can cause drag. But a freehand diagonal line will have a bit more drag because you are overcoming the natural ease of stitching an x/y axis. The machine WANTS to go horizontal or vertical and diagonals take more control and more of a push. If this is a really new problem, call APQS service or your dealer to troubleshoot. Good luck!
  12. You may have better luck tracking down a QP group. Here on the forum info will be under Longarm Machine Quilting Training/ Computer Aided Quilting. That section is usually monitored. There also is a QuiltPath Facebook group that is very active. That would be your best bet for some help. Barbara Mayfield at APQS Northwest is a wiz at QP---contact her through her business or FB page. Good luck.
  13. Contact your nearest dealer. They will be helpful and are a good source to cultivate for repairs and questions.
  14. Your tension is too high---try 180 and loosen the top tension as well. You only need it tight enough to make nice stitches---tighter is definitely not better. I set at 180 for 50 wt and 60 wt thread and 150 for Microquilter (100 wt) and invisible. Match your top tension to your bobbin tension. Test-stitch on a sample to find the sweet spots where stitches are balanced. When you get good stitches with a certain combo, pull the top thread through the needle and to the left. See how much your tension spring deflects. Make a chart that with X top thread and Y bobbin thread, the spring deflects from 10 o'clock/resting to 9 o'clock pulled---or whatever. Eventually you'll get a feel for how hard it is to pull the top thread. Your small backside stitches may be cured or there may be something else going on. Tiny stitches can be a stitch-regulator problem or if you're using a ruler, you're pressing too hard. Good luck!
  15. Here's a quilt with many National Park patches that travels with the couple in their RV. She sewed them down (I think she said she used a Featherweight) and I couldn't stitch on them with my Millie, but I echoed them once. If it will be a wallhanging, use a heavyweight double-sided fusible to attach them if they're too thick to stitch down.
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