ffq-lar

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Everything posted by ffq-lar

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. ffq-lar

    Wondering

    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.
  9. If your Millie is newer, it is equipped with Quilt Glide, which smooths out the stitches when doing micro-stitching. If it is on, it will continue to slowly make stitches when you pause in regulated mode. Find the switch to turn it off. If you have an older machine, the needle-up/down speed can be adjusted easily and if it's making extra stitches when you stop, it needs to be slowed a bit. Look in your manual or on the site---look under "support" and then "commonly asked questions" for instructions on how to adjust a small screw under the hood to alter the speed of your needle up/down. Good luck.
  10. Joyce, I have someone interested---see my reply above with my email address that I posted on March 4th. Thanks!
  11. You have a taker, Joyce! A quilter named Teri would love to give this a new home. Message me your contact information and I'll pass it along. lindarech@comcast.net
  12. Hi Joyce---I posted this on my quilt guild Facebook page and I'm sure you'll get lots of takers. I'm in Olympia.
  13. You should check the motor brushes in the power advance, especially if your 2004 model hasn't had them replaced before. Worn brushes cause an erratic electrical connection and can make the motor sound different. They are easy to replace and easy to find. The shavings could also be graphite from the worn brushes. Look in your manual for where they are and how to replace them.
  14. Did you mean a "Rulermate"? I don't know what an edge mate is. There are several Facebook groups that buy and sell longarms and accessories. Search using those words to join a group and hopefully find what you're looking for. Good luck!
  15. I have a friend interested---how long are the rollers (she needs 12' or 10') and do you have the service records? The serial number is on the throat and providing that would confirm the year made. It looks like a very well-maintained machine. Also, for easier communication (not just for me) please provide a way to contact you beside a message here---phone number or email would be very helpful. Good luck with your sale.
  16. I'm puzzled by the question about the hole in the top of the cone, since the thread feeds off the cones in exactly the same way for both and the hole isn't used for any reason in the winding process. Leaving on the net is best. More control of the thread will aid with even feeding. Apply some Sewer's Aid if you have some to keep the thread cooler. Try another cone of Bottom Line to make sure it isn't a bad cone of thread. Good luck finding the problem so you can get to the fun part of the process.
  17. I gave up on King Tut years ago and sold it all to a friend with a Gammill. The "phantom stitching" happens when the thread breaks below the needleplate and the rotation of the hook picks up the broken thread and continues stitching. I would slather on sewer's Aid, put the cone upside down, thread the three-hole guide so it didn't twist the thread---everything I could think of and still had breakage and random loops of top thread on the back. One thing you might check with thicker thread on top---move the hook retaining finger out as far as possible while still stopping the rotation of the bobbin assembly. That will give the thread a scooch more room to make the stitch.
  18. ffq-lar

    batting costs

    If you are selling batting on a roll, do as the quilt shops do and sell by the length, giving them the off-cuts to take home. I figure out the cost per running inch (like W&W is $.27 per inch) and do the math. I charge full retail so I'm not undercutting my friends at the LQS. If you would like to use the extra yourself, post where your customer will be writing her check that you will gladly accept donations of batting pieces for your charity quilting. I also sell unusual kinds and sizes of packaged batting. King size wool is a big seller for me.
  19. ffq-lar

    Trimming Question

    I never trim a customer quilt, even if there is a massive amount of backer or batting left when finished. I do trim the bottom edge of batting if I need to roll back to do more quilting, since otherwise that extra can bunch up when reversed and cause problems---but I trim so two inches of batting extends beyond the edge. You never know what the customers plan is. She may want to fold the backer to the front for binding. She may want a binding wider than 1/4". If you've used double batting or something puffy like wool, enclosing the edge may take a wider binding to get a consistent width. I've never had anyone ask for trimming and never offered the service. Too many ways it can go wrong, especially if the quilt isn't square.
  20. ffq-lar

    Loyal customers. ???

    No one has replied, so I will gingerly step in and give you my take on the problem. Adding a computer to your machine does not mean that you should raise your prices above the industry standard, especially for overall designs. The customer doesn't care how you get there or what you use---they are interested in the finished product and don't want to pay extra for computerized when someone else can do the same thing for less. I'm talking about pantos/overalls, not custom. Also, you have "niched" yourself. You have inadvertently sent a message to your customers that you are out of the panto/overall business by showing lots of custom quilting. Custom=$$$$ to everyone. Make some simple quilt tops and quilt them with overalls or a panto and show them everywhere. Remind them that you're still around and offering the less-expensive quilting. I think your customers perception of what you offer and your pricing has been muddled---that you are now too expensive. To get them back in the fold, use your favorite method to contact them and offer a blow-them-away deal on pantos and overalls "exclusively for you, my favorite customer". Any size quilt up to a Queen (you supply the limit for dimensions) with a choice of three pantos/computerized or freehand overall (not a big meander) for $100. This will price you at less than a cent-and-a-half, but will give your business a boost. They will dig out all the big UFOs and maybe get one done as a Christmas gift. Limit the number (like first 20 quilts) and limit the month---like November only or first two weeks in January. See if that will nudge them back to you. Good luck---it's disheartening when the customers you think are friends stop becoming customers.
  21. Rita and Roland visiting Dennis and me in 2009.
  22. It's human nature to let one nasty incident overshadow hundreds of happy interactions. You have my sympathy and a hug from Washington. This has happened to me a few times, but never as blatant as this. If she isn't old enough to be losing her filters due to dementia, cut her loose. If she calls, remind her that she seemed unhappy the last time and perhaps she might search for another longarmer more to her liking. Be sweet, matter-of-fact, and don't let her suck you in again. It's such an ego-blow when they don't love what you do. You offered a fix and she declined. It still stings, but you keep doing you, sweet Shana!
  23. ffq-lar

    Basting Quilts

    I've basted quilts for hand-quilters several times over the years. Use slippery, contrasting thread for ease of removing the stitching as the customer gets to it and the longest stitch length you can manage. I charge a half-cent per square inch and it takes longer to load than to stitch. I stitch a grid that is done horizontally so I don't have to stitch verticals that require advancing as you stitch. Some do a large meander. For DSM stitching I would think a quilter could stitch their own grid for free-motion on their domestic---I've only basted for hand-quilters.
  24. ffq-lar

    Customer Service

    A local longarmer with a Lenny called me, knowing I had a Millie and could I come over and "help" her figure out what was wrong? What's the problem? She wouldn't pick up a stitch. Did you go over the checklist? Yes. Did you call APQS? No. Helphelphelp I'm getting behind!!! I drive over (10 miles), look at the machine (so dirty and soooo may set-up errors--yikes!) and immediately see her needle is in backward. No "thank you", she hustled me out the door so fast I got dizzy! That "service call" would have cost her $200 plus travel time. Luckily I live within driving distance of Barbara Mayfield and it gives me vast peace of mind, but I still fix my own. The other side? My nightmare of a spa treatment at APQS several years ago that resulted in me using a loaner for 4 months. Please realize that there are very few "traveling magicians" that are trained on every longarm and will gladly come to your home. My Gammill friends locally have to hand-deliver the head to Eastern Washington or pay $$big bucks$$ to someone traveling 200 miles for a house call. They pay him for a full day's work because he's away from his base. They do it, but don't like it much. The repairman comes to this side of the state a couple of times a year so he sets up work and it cuts the cost by a bit. Dave Jones is the only one I know who makes house calls, besides Barb. If "traveling tech" was a viable career, someone would be doing it!
  25. ffq-lar

    Selling my Millie

    You're at the right place. Post the model, year made, serial number, photos, if you bought it new, how much it was used, when it was used last, when or if it's been serviced, what accessories come with it (power advance, stand-along bobbin winder, extra bobbin cases, hydraulic lifts, pantos, thread?), where you are located, and how much you're asking. A perk for potential buyers is the offer to help break down/ship or to deliver within a certain area, with or without a charge. You can ask for messages and inquiries to be posted here or you may post a phone number and/or email address. If you want messages here only, monitor the post. Delete your post when it sells. You can also partner with an APQS dealer to help with the sale. They may have someone waiting for a used machine to become available. You can offer them a finder's fee. Good luck!