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ffq-lar last won the day on November 22

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About ffq-lar

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  1. ffq-lar

    Looking at a used Millie

    If you're on Facebook, look at the "longarm & accessories 4 sale" group. Lots of different brands, locations, and prices. Longarm University has a machines-for-sale page as well. I'd be concerned about the seller you contacted. Sounds shady to me if she changed the price. I can understand the cash-only part. Good luck with your search.
  2. Hi steggo83. When logged-in, go to the bottom of that post and click on "edit". That will allow you to ad "SOLD" to the title and people will by-pass it.
  3. ffq-lar

    Looking at a used Millie

    What year was it made? The serial number is inside the harp and will tell the date of manufacture. If there is a letter at the beginning of the #, the machine has been worked on after the sale by APQS. Is she the original owner? Millies depreciate about $1000 per year. Does she have any service records? Has she ever re-timed or replaced the bobbin assembly? I'd be more concerned about "only doing 4 quilts" than some heavy use. Sitting idle for potentially years doesn't do the innards a lot of good. Since this is maybe 10 years old, take off the left side and see if it's gunked up from old oil and that the rocker assembly has no rust and works as it should---it runs the hopping foot. Check that the wicks are saturated with oil. Leave off the left panel and run the machine. How does it sound? Test-stitch, using different stitch-lengths in SR and different speeds in manual. Make a circle and inspect the stitches. Check that the wheels are good by pushing in all directions and seeing if there are clunks from flat spots, which can happen when it sits un-used for a long time. Eyeball the rollers from the ends to see if they're straight. Make sure the advance works. If you can, check the fuse drawer and see if there's still an extra fuse in there---it's in a pop-out panel near the power switch at the back. If it's there, that will mean she probably hasn't blown a fuse. Which isn't a big deal, but will tell you if she really only quilted a few times on it. Finding a few issues means you have wiggle-room to negotiate a price---but nothing mentioned here actually hurts the machine. Plus, she will think you're an expert! These heavy-duty workhorses last for decades and are easy to repair---my 2004 Millie is a trooper and helps me finish many custom quilts per year. Best advice, find a local dealer/rep and pay them to inspect it for you. If you buy, they will be a valuable contact for help and lessons. Good luck!
  4. ffq-lar

    Quilting Magazines available

    I'll share that after chairing my guilds quilt show boutique last year and having a quilters garage sale last month, "old/stale" quilting magazines have little appeal to quilters. Sort out the vintage mags and books and research if you have any of great value---you may be surprised. Then bundle like-titled non-vintage mags by fives or tens and offer at a bargain-basement price. We had acres of magazines and sold them for 50 cents each. As the show wound down, we reduced the price and recycled what was left. Perhaps find a local FB page devoted to quilting or a local miscellaneous selling page to offer them. That way there is no shipping involved. An original "first edition" of Eleanor Burns' Quilt in a Day---self-published, spiral bound, and wonderfully "homemade" with no photos but self-drawn pictures--was donated and it was bought for $40. Good luck finding buyers and you're nice to help out your friend.
  5. ffq-lar


    For my own quilts, I use a single layer of wool or a layer of cotton on the bottom and a wool or poly on top. Cotton batting is wonderful stuff, but I longarm and want my efforts to show! Double batting can be many combos, usually cotton on the bottom and something fluffy on top. Tuscany (Hobbs) has a lovely cotton/wool blend that I love. I use whatever my customers bring, with only a couple on the "will not use" list---which are Fairfield poly (horrible, uneven stuff that if they insist, I have them take it out of the package and inspect for holes and fist-punches) and bamboo, which I don't accept because the linty-ness does a job on my breathing. Double batting is great to quilt on, but it does add weight to a quilt. Most of my customers use doubles for show quilts and those Judy Niemeyer quilts that need the depth for the quilting to show.
  6. ffq-lar


    I always get pokies with 80/20 batting. Always. There is no up/down with 80/20 so unstitching and turning over the batting won't help---BTDT. When I use it I check the back very carefully with the starting stitches. I have gone down a half-size for the needle, always start with a new one, and watch closely. If the pokies are manageable (only a few in a pass) I keep going and when I groom the back I poke those pokies back in with a used machine needle. Very easy and effective, but time-consuming. But I hate 80/20. Luckily, my customers are embracing wool and double batts.
  7. ffq-lar

    Auto-Advance Pedals

    Have you checked the motor brushes? If they're worn they don't make a consistent connection and you'll have intermittent function. Easy to find and easy to replace. I imagine there is something in your manual about replacing them. Good luck!
  8. ffq-lar

    Disappearing Stitches

    It's the nature of the beast, SewingDiva. Puffy batting will hide stitches. Plush fabrics like flannels will hide stitches. Using a thin thread like 50 wt will hide stitches. If you want the stitching to show on flannel, use a heavier weight and a contrasting color---and lengthen your stitch length a bit. Don't mess with the tension. Good luck!
  9. ffq-lar

    leaders not straight

    Before you do any drastic trimming, make sure your rollers are exactly parallel, both with each other and the floor. The eye bolts of the back roller determine the height from the floor and must all have the same number of threads showing. Ditto with the threads of the bolts of the front roller---those one stick out towards the front and if one side is farther out it will make your backer sag on one side, making you suspect the leaders and not the rollers. Your photo looks more like sag than uneven leaders. If it was set up by a dealer, this should have all been checked. If you set it up, it's not stressed enough in the instructions how crucial this step is to good results. Good luck!
  10. The guys at the factory screw things down "man tight" and usually the exposed shaft will have minute gouges from the screws. Using fine-grade sandpaper or emery cloth around the shaft and running it at a slooooow speed will sand off the gouges and reduce the shaft so the assembly slides on easier than it came off. What I usually forget is to replace the hook retaining finger and wail to my hubby that it's "NOT WORKING"! Good luck and it will be fine!
  11. I believe Gammill sells small cylindrical needle-aligning magnets just for this task. You insert the needle and place the end of the magnet on the eye of the needle, projecting out towards you. You can easily see whether the needle eye is facing forward perfectly. And if you like "6:25" or "6:35", it's easy to turn it slightly and check again. https://www.longarmsupplies.net/needlealignmentmagnet.aspx
  12. ffq-lar

    How to do this

    The quilt will need to be completely marked before an attempt is made. The marker-on-a-string method works well, or a long (longlonglong) piece of template plastic with holes punched in even increments to mark through---with a blue wash-away marker so the marks stay through the process. Either method needs to have you anchor the center pivot well, so the top needs to be well-secured to the marking surface. On a domestic with the feed dogs up and an even-feed foot, follow the lines. On a longarm, stitched with a guide/template to keep on the line and obviously, one quilting field at a time. Each circle can be stitched entirely by advancing and rolling back. Or each circle-segment stitched as you fill an area, with lots of starts and stops. In either case, you will get distortion (as you can see in the photos--it will never hang straight but is lovely draped) caused by the pushing and pulling of the foot on diagonals. That is accentuated if you stitch all in the same direction every time. It's a beautiful look that's hard to pull off, but well-loved by modern quilters. Perhaps using fusible batting might stabilize it enough to pull it off without as much distortion.
  13. I'm sending good thoughts and a gentle hug, Lin. As for the quilter's garage sale---it should be advertised exactly as that and you'll be overrun with buyers. I've seen several pricing methods. One was by the yard---the buyer measured the fabric she wanted on the honor system and paid for the total yardage---$5 per yard. FQs and smaller pieces were done by weight--$5 per pound. A yard of good quality fabric is a bit less than a pound. This way, no one had to measure and price each piece, which takes an army if there is a big stash. Don't do any cutting! Notions in close-to-perfect shape/rulers with instructions, etc---half regular retail. Used notions and partial spools of thread--set up a table with everything the same price---like $2. For our quilt guild boutique at the last show we bagged like-items (six zippers, 5 spools of thread, used notions, buttons, etc, into $2 grab bags. Those went fast! Here's the other method I saw recently. Regular sized paper grocery bags---all you can fit in the bag for $20. This way, only minimal sorting and no pricing. The fabric that was left was sold two week later at $15 per bag. The price went down every couple of weeks until most of the stuff was gone. Put "Prices Firm" signs out so there's no haggling. Quilters know a bargain when they see it. Good luck!
  14. Hi Dory! Attached is the spacing and pathway I use for basting for hand-quilters. It would work fine for DSM quilting as well. I use a long stitch length and thick, slippery, contrasting thread for ease of removal. This path requires no long vertical stitching but you still end up with a grid. The customer can remove the stitching as she goes or save it until the end. I charge a half-cent per square inch and usually do only one a year.
  15. ffq-lar


    A couple of things would help. It looks like the quilt shrunk when it was washed and that crinkled look (which many find desirable) caused the quilting to be not as prominent. Make sure the fabrics have all been washed, both for shrinkage and dye bleed, and that the batting used has little or no shrinkage. That would be 100% poly or several blends, though cotton batting in any percentage will shrink some. That way, after quilting there will be no shrinkage to cause that "blending" of the quilting. If you have no control over customer quilts, communicate with them as to fabric and batting shrinkage if it's destined for a show. As you can imagine, the award-winners at shows have been carefully assembled with fabric that has been shrunk, treated, starched, measured carefully at every step, and while maybe not washed, at least dampened and blocked. That will retain the crispness of the fabric and the stitch definition of the quilting. So, proper fabric handling and a proper fiber content of the batting will help. Washing and drying in machines will age your quilts. Hand-laundering and laying flat to dry will keep them the same condition and size for a long time.