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Everything posted by ffq-lar

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. With help from at least one other person, remove the back take-up roller and the leveler roller. I believe there is a set-screw that will loosen with an allen or hex wrench and release the rollers. Unplug what's appropriate and slide the head off the back of the carriage. Figure out a way that the head will be right side up and the wheels and SR will be protected before you set it down. If you aren't using the bathtub to store water, that might be a good place to put her. Pack around with towels and sheets so she doesn't tip. The head can be damaged by back-and-forth action if the motor clangs around inside the hood. Sending fervent wishes that you and your property are safe after Irma passes.
  4. For accuracy and stability, foundation-piece a piano key border. Use thin muslin for the foundation, mark two-inch increments and a quarter-inch outside edge (like with paper piecing) with a blue wash-away marker, and add your strips, sewing on the line. Be sure the outside quarter inch is covered. Trim the edge on the line when your strip is dne. The lining fabric will stabilize the border. This can also be done with paper, removing it after stitching.
  5. I'll jump in here with some info. It spans and sits on the rollers so one made for a Millie won't fit a Lenny. The span between the rollers is different and since it snaps on the leveler roller for stability, the roller diameter must be the same. If it has the wheel, you can make many sizes of concentric circles from the front. If it doesn't have the wheel, it's a holder for pattern boards (blocks only) and allows you to trace the boards from the front. The arm attaches to the head without drilling any new holes. If she doesn't have the original instructions, we can send them to the new owner.
  6. My favorite is Essence by Filtec. It's super-thin, inexpensive, and fairly strong. I don't change the needle, but reduce both the top and bottom tension. Pull the top thread through the needle and reduce the tension until when you let it go, there is little curl. (I've used Monopoly and Madeira invisible and much prefer Essence.)
  7. You might need to have the wheels adjusted if the machine is super-sluggish. But take a deep breath and allow yourself to be bad until you practice enough to be good. The X/Y set up of wheels running horizontal and vertical means your machine LOVES to go horizontal and vertical. It's easy--just a push will move the head and it will stay on course until it stops, never veering off the line. Now diagonals? Not so pretty. You must overcome the natural tendency of the head to go h-and-v. This requires training your muscles. Boring...but necessary. It becomes automatic when you put in the hours. Your brains sends the message that "now we're going in a circle. That will mean a tiny nudge this way, another, another, another"---you'll have four spots in a circle where you will need to apply that little smidge of extra force/speed needed to make a nice curve. Practice (arghh) will do the trick. Make circles---just like learning cursive years ago. Practice big "O"s-- it may take 400---or 4000---but they will get better with every one you stitch. Do overalls of loops, making them as big and as round as you can. Another good practice is curvy stencils. Staying on the line will become ingrained. Good luck and you'll see improvement very quickly.
  8. Don't be afraid! These vintage tops are being quilted/finished all the time. Inspect the fabric for open seams and thin spots. Back with muslin if it seems delicate, float it, decide on an era-friendly quilting plan---and go! I rescued this one from a local antique mall. There was evidence that it had been sandwiched and hand-quilted along one end. The buyer must have realized the top itself would sell better if the quilting was removed. There are still "ghosts" of the hand-quilting left and because of that it's very dear to me.
  9. I wonder if they want three pieces for the back because they have it figured so the embroidered designs miss the seams that way. Basting it on the longarm will be much easier than pinning. There are several methods, but use a thicker and slippery thread (like a poly) in a contrasting color. I'd remove the stitches after hooping but before embroidering. The stitches will remove very easily. Here's my map for basting---a fake grid with lines about four inches apart. This allows you to avoid long verticals. Don't plan to baste on the diagonal.
  10. Carbona Stain Devils formula for ink removal got gel pen out of a vintage top in the same situation. It was my item so I advanced through all the usual remedies and this one worked. Apply, back with a paper towel, and pat it with your finger to push it through the fabric. Repeat. It works best if it's just the fabric and not the batting and backer as well. It will need to be washed when you finish because it does have a solvent residual smell. It can be found on the laundry aisle in a rack of little yellow bottles and Joanns used to carry the line as well. Good luck!
  11. Thermore by the Warm Company comes in two weights and is normally used for garments and bags. It's quite dense but thin.
  12. I float all tops. This allows me to keep the top square on the frame all the way. I mark the edges of the top on the top, unused leader and hit the mark as I advance. I use lots of pins to stabilize the top, but many quilters now baste the entire quilt first. Pinning is faster and I feel I have more control. You'll find what works best for you and may do a combination of techniques on different quilts.
  13. I think 30" is overkill unless you have a computer that can fill that space. I assume the frame will be wider, requiring more square footage in a studio. Freehand can still be done of course. Not for me, but maybe for others.
  14. You can dampen it but not disable it. Open the hood, find the "chirp box" and wrap it with electrical tape. It's a safety feature but I used mine for about six months after it lost its voice. You train yourself to look for the front light or the bars to see if it's engaged. I prefer the chirp and had it fixed at a spa treatment.
  15. Just like last year with Bonnie's Tuscany quilt, I get the fabric together and download the steps. But I wait for the reveal before I start. If I don't like it, I don't make it. Last years was lovely and it's on my list to make. I like this years colors and will pull fabric for it. As a matter of fact, I have a customer's Allietare on the frame right now.
  16. If the other suggestions don't work, I used Carbona Stain Devil formula for ink and crayon to remove a large amount of gel-pen ink from vintage fabric. Available in the laundry section and at Joanns. Good luck!
  17. Scrolls. Hoping you can see the triple curls in each section. https://www.flickr.com/photos/larech/15798056596/in/dateposted/
  18. No good deed goes unpunished! Don't let your wife write checks that you can't pay! Cliche' advice is over.
  19. I sent my 2004 Millie on a trip to Iowa in January of 2015. Before that I quilted 90 quilts a year on average and had it gone over by Barb Mayfield once, so I was concerned it was overdue. The only issues I had were with my SR and my chirp, which had been silent for about 6 months. I replaced the hook assembly a few weeks before I sent it and taped a huge note to the head telling them not to replace that part. Not much was wrong. Brushes were replaced, rocker arm swapped out for the latest replacement, thorough going-over of everything else. It was $600 plus shipping both ways. There was a hiccup concerning shipping but it was all resolved. If you have lots of hours on your machine and are concerned about worn parts, a spa treatment is a good idea. I echo the suggestion that you have a dealer come to you if you have one close. Mine was gone for two weeks.
  20. Sewing binding with the longarm is very quick and easy. I charge a flat $30 for everything up to a Queen. A bit more for a King. It usually takes me a half-hour to do it so it's good money. I use regular folded binding and a C-shaped template Dennis made for me. The hopping foot sits inside the C and the two sides keep the edge flat and aligned no matter which side you're stitching. I start at the middle of the right side because I stitch the classic invisible join---also while it's loaded--and need access to the ends. It comes off the frame completed. No finishing the join on my domestic. I think I've shared that technique before if you want to do a search.
  21. The intended use of fusible batting is to secure the layers for quilting with a DSM. With a longarm the layers are kept separate and I don't know how you would load the already-fused layers so they could be quilted successfully. That said, you can certainly use that batting without fusing it as long as it isn't sticky---it washes out when laundering.
  22. Traditionally the hand-quilters-for-hire (Amish or Mennonites) charge by the yard of thread used. They wind the quilting thread around and around a yardstick and cut into 1 yard pieces. So just like longarming, the cost is dependent upon the density of the quilting. The complexity of the design isn't as crucial since most groups only accept tops that have been pre-marked into designs by the customer, or that have simpler no-mark quilting like crosshatching or quarter-inch-from-the-seams. Search on line--I know the Mennonites in Oregon offer this. See what they charge. Usually turn-around is six months or more.
  23. "Medium" is the material or form used by an artist. "Quilt" would be the form and you can list the materials and technique if necessary.