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Everything posted by ffq-lar

  1. If you decide to implement a fee for dealing with Minkee backers, best explain that it's for cleaning your longarm and surroundings---and that the cast-off from the Minkee can "contaminate" the next project. Make a sign for your studio stating the issue and the extra charge. Include a cartoon of a longarmer buried in fluff up to her nose. Humor can take out a lot of the sting.
  2. Trim your backer so you have three inches beyond the top. In your photo it looks like miles of backer to the left. That will always sag because there's no extra thickness of batting and top to load on the roller and keep things level. If the left side still sags when the three layers are closer in size, check that the your rollers are level and parallel. A roller higher on one side will roll tighter, making the opposite side sag. Use a level and a tape measure to determine if the rollers are as they should be. Adjust the eye-bolts that hold the rollers so the same number of screw threads show on each pair. Don't forget to look at the front roller bolts---they come out towards the front. Good luck Jamie!
  3. I'm going to hit you with the math---watch out!! A 9 1/2 in block (finished @9") set in an 8 x 9 setting, on point, with alternate blocks the same size, plus setting triangles without any added border (the binding will hit right on the seam intersections) will give you a quilt that's about 100" by 112". Sort of King sized, but usually a King is square, so you might want to think about it. If that isn't large enough, plan a border to make it the size you need, or make more blocks. Using the Pythagorean Theory yada yada math math math, the distance from diagonal corners of a finished 9" block is 12.72". Sewn together with alternate blocks and 8 across will give you approx. 101". Nine blocks the other way about 114". Use graph paper for a visual for how the blocks fit together. You'll also need setting triangles. These are cut so the bias edges are sewn to the blocks and the straight-of-grain runs along the perimeter, keeping the edges from stretching. The side triangles are cut, four at a time from one big square--in this case a 14" square, cut twice diagonally. The four corner triangles are cut from two smaller squares---and only once on the diagonal, two 7 1/4" squares would work. Here's a link to Bonnie Hunter's chart for determining sizes of squares for setting triangles. http://quiltville.com/onpointmath.shtml You'll find many photos and diagrams of on-point quilts on line---try Pinterest. You won't need a pattern. Have fun and good luck!
  4. Hi Miss Dell! When I searched for this on-line it shows a teal background with scattered cherry blossoms in metallic gold and darker teal. Apparently it's a companion print from the Hoffman Challenge from 2013. I couldn't find it for sale on any site I usually use, but maybe try etsy or ebay.
  5. If your rollers are level and parallel (check with a long level and a tape measure) and if your table top is level (again check with a level) pin your leaders together and unroll and roll back, the entire set at least twice, keeping some tension on the leaders the whole time. Un-pin the leaders and let the take-up leader hang down pooled on the table top. Advance until the edge of the leader clears the table. Is the gap even? Does the edge run in a straight line or does it dip or raise above the table? That's where you can see if the leader needs to be replaced or corrected. Concerning level rollers, you should have the same number of threads exposed at the eye-bolts at both ends of the same roller, if you suspect they aren't level. If APQS installed, they should be OK, but check them. That is usually the culprit with a new machine and new leaders. Good luck!
  6. I'll have to disagree with Lynn. I float exclusively and have never had a problem like Kerri describes. I check for square with every roll and add tension when needed with magnetic bars. Square quilts stay square and un-square ones are dealt with individually to correct.
  7. Are you having problems with the machine moving smoothly? Do you feel it's too heavy for easy use? There are several other options to try before you invest in a Bliss system. Adjusting the wheels can make a difference in the ride. Replacing the wheels also. You should be able to tweak things to make sure everything is adjusted correctly. A new Lenni, properly adjusted, should work well for you unless you have (or start having) back or shoulder problems. I retro-fit Bliss on a Millie in 2012. Great investment and it really extended my quilting years. But the Millie is heavier than your Lenni, so I can only offer things to try. Good luck.
  8. Here's a tip if you want to leave the threads for your customer to knot and bury and keep them out of your way---insert a straight pin next to the exiting threads and wrap the two threads around the pin as many times as they can. They are now out of your way and easy for the customer to find and deal with. Watch out for pin pokes and glass heads pins hold better. The customer can give the pins back to you or you can charge a nominal amount for them. (This way you'll also see how many ends you would have needed to bury if you did them yourself!)
  9. Some of my customer send their quilts to Houston and Paducah. They can't afford my rates for knot-and-bury and none of them expects an award---just participation. Judges check the back for tension and good stitches. If they find snarls or obvious build-up where the starts and stops are, they will comment. But they don't usually comment unless there's an issue. I'm a tiny-stitches-and-clip kinda girl.That's why I use thin and blending thread in the bobbin.
  10. I've done a nice overall design on that size top in three hours from load to unload. I've managed kings in one day---about 6-7 hours. To get faster, find three or four overall designs that you can knock out fast and offer those. Breaking in a new design eats up a lot of time as you find the best density and pathway. Please don't push yourself unless the rent needs to be paid with the next customer quilt. Steady is better than frantic---that way lies a long lonely road with a seam ripper in your hand! Edge-to-edge is such a moneymaker for most longarmers compared to custom, so concentrate on small steps to up your speed.
  11. Your M&M wheels might be bad. The bad batch did have the yellow centers, I believe. Mine were replaced without charge when the bearings went bad and the head began to drag in certain spots. Hoping it's an easy fix.
  12. I don't think this is correct. While the line of stitching may look like it's buried more when it's off the frame, as opposed to when it's tight on the frame, the actual tension doesn't change much. If the tension is bad, it may be disguised a bit, especially with lofty batting. But if the tension looks good on the frame, it won't change to bad when the quilt is removed. Have you found this to be a problem?
  13. This project will help you heal---anything that takes your head away from the pain and gives you a bit of peace is a good thing. As for the clamshells? It's a perfect design since you can stitch continuous curves on the piecing to get what you want. Mindless quilting that will be beautiful! The on-point setting will make the shells upright and be perfect. Sending a hug.
  14. Mark diagonals from both corners through the center and two more lines that cross the block and hit the center---for interest they can be offset a bit, not symmetrical. Start in the upper left-hand corner, stitch on the mark across to the opposite corner, SID up the seam to the next line, stitch across, SID to the next line, across, SID again, and across, and stop. You have 8 radiating lines and the base of your spiderweb. Backtrack almost to the center and stitch arcs between the lines (like little spider smiles), enlarging the spirals of arcs as you advance. Fill the block and plan your quilting so you end at the base line that points to the upper right-hand corner. Backtrack on the base line to that corner and start the next block of spiderwebs. Hang a little spider down on a strand where it will show, just for interest. Have fun!
  15. If as you say "It appeared that it had been stretched then broke. Top of the quilt threads were lifting off"-- which would indicate that the monofilament was used in the bobbin. Mono thread is inherently stretchy, so was it snagged? Were both ends of the broken strand apparent? My suspicion is that the thread didn't break from heat or wear, but that the longarmer didn't secure the starts and stops well enough. With handling and wear perhaps the ends worked themselves out of the quilt. I did a heat-test years ago on Superior Monopoly, Madiera Monolon, and Fil-tec Essence invisible threads. They are listed in order of thickest to thinnest. The only thread affected by 20 seconds of hottest, dry, direct heat from an iron was the Monopoly, which went from transparent to foggy and became rough. The other two showed no change, were smooth and stayed pliable.
  16. No Janice, It's not only you. The same thing happens to me. I found in order to sign out and stay that way I have to carefully back out the same way I entered, if that makes sense! So now I'll have to hit "post" for this message and then immediately scroll up and hit "sign out" or I'm signed on forever. Any other time it's hit-or-miss as to whether I'm out or not.
  17. I'll add, that if you're adept at micro stitching, try with the SR off. Lots easier and smoother. Or set the spi high for microstitching so you get rounder stitching. Good luck!
  18. Hang in there, Susan! The first thing to get under control is the tension. Thread the machine correctly all the way through the needle. Pull the thread towards the left and watch the U-shaped spring of the tension assembly to see how much it deflects as you pull. At rest, the spring should be at the 10 o'clock or 11 o'clock position when looked at straight on. You're trying for the spring to deflect from 11 o'clock to 10 o'clock (or a bit more)---or 10 o'clock to 9 o'clock (or a bit more). The thread should be pulling smoothly. Adjust the tension knob until the deflection is close to what's listed. If you don't own a bobbin gauge, use the drop test to set the bobbin tension. Jamie Wallen has a video on line that's helpful. Get both tensions set and use a practice piece to pull up the bobbin thread. A smooth pull on the each of the threads should feel the same if you have good tension. Test on your practice piece, doing ribbon candy turns to check for bad tension in the curves. Adjust, staying within the parameters , until you have balanced stitches. As for the breaking thread, it might be a separate issue. Tug on the thread to see if it's strong enough---it shouldn't break easily. Use Sewer's Aid (liquid silicon thread lubricant) to keep the thread cool and smooth. When the thread breaks, use the fly wheel to place the take-up lever in the up position. Take the end of the thread and bring it, without pulling any extra thread out, back towards the needle. See where the thread broke. It always breaks on the high point of the take-up lever so you can see if it's breaking before the eye or after. If it's before, you're looking for something above the needle plate interfering with the feed of the thread. It can be a rough pigtail guide, a rough screw near the thread path, a thread sock with a rough spot, or the thread may be flailing out and catching on something. Investigate by stitching while watching for something going on in the path. If the thread is breaking below the needle plate---check the hole for a burr, check the hook for a burr, and check that the hook retaining finger is seated properly. It's that metal piece fastened just under the needle plate that keeps the assembly from rotating. If it's too far into the slot it will catch and snap your thread. Wishing you an easy fix and a calmer quilting future.
  19. I imagine the motor and winders are standard-of-the-industry and keep costs down. The little piece of tubing works like a charm. There are so many different bobbin-configurations, sizes, materials, etc, that the little piece of tubing makes winding possible with any different bobbin that fits in your machine. Hoping you have good luck getting up and running.
  20. Keep using your arc templates but realize that you'll need to make minute adjustments as you stitch. Even with an arc that perfectly matches the curve, slight differences in the piecing mean you'll need to go slowly and change the angle of the template quite a bit. But one nice thing is you have two sides you can use so you can avoid having to hold them behind the hopping foot. SIDing curves is a pain!
  21. Yes, the spindle on the bobbin winder needs a piece of rubber tubing, which you can order from APQS or find locally if someone on the forum knows the specs. It's gas-line tubing used on RC aircraft. In the meantime, take your roll of painters tape and wrap some several time around the spindle. Try the bobbin on as you add tape. When the bobbin is very secure (it'll be hard to push on but will stay without spinning) you can wrap the thread around the bobbin several times ---like 10 or 15--until it's also secure. You can leave the tail or clip it off. I can't visualize which way the bobbin spins on the winder, but make sure your hand-winding matches or else the thread will unfurl instead of winding. I used painters tape on the spindle for years before I bought a turbo winder.
  22. Omagosh! I had a brilliant (?) idea. Making sure the fabrics don't bleed, have them sign with a fine-point blue wash-away pen. If there are oopsies the marks can be removed right there, let dry, and that block is ready for another signature. After the shower, someone can trace over the signatures with a pigma pen or other heat-set pen. Then remove the blue marks and heat-set the writing. Make sure the blue is completely gone before you iron. Test on a sample to make sure it works.
  23. If it's an invitation to disaster, it'll be after you finish the quilt and wouldn't be your fault. Let your friend know what can go wrong and assure her that something will go wrong. Someone won't be happy with their signature. A child will be at the shower and of course want to sign it without supervision. Marks will get on the quilt in unintended places. If she can provide 100% supervision/custody of the quilt by a helper who can hold the area flat while the person signs, go for it. A practice sandwich would be helpful so guests can see what it'll be like to sign on the fabric. If the bride (and the friend) are happy with a memory quilt with bloopers (which may be charming!), go for it. The usual signed wedding quilt is pieced with pre-signed blocks so the signer can "practice" writing on stabilized fabric and any bloopers can be tossed. You won't have that luxury---it'll be one-try all-in on a finished quilt. Good luck to all involved.
  24. Usually the adjustment is made because the needle will cycle more than once per command. Then you adjust to slow it down. And if the needle is super slow when going down or up, it's sped up. The point is to find the sweet spot where the needle goes down fairly quickly without coming up again. It's great that we have the resources to fix so many things ourselves.
  25. Going with a thinner needle won't help--in fact, a bigger needle will work better. I use a 4.0 for everything unless I'm using 100 weight silk thread. Going through bulky seams at the start sometimes requires some help by turning the flywheel manually to encourage the needle through. When you hear the dreaded hummmm put pressure on the flywheel manually and in the correct direction. Dawn explained that while it's easy to plow through bulky seam intersections during regular stitching, at the start it's hard to do. Her analogy was driving a nail into wood. If you press on the nail head with the hammer, nothing happens. But if you haul back and slam it, the nail is driven into the wood. When you're at a bulky spot starting out, the needle down is like pressing the hammer on the nail. It needs more ooomph so help it along. I also recommend choosing a thinner spot to start. If you're stitching CCs needle down a quarter inch away in the direction you'll be stitching. Bring up the thread and start with a run at the intersection and backtrack out again. If your needle up/down is hesitating you can up the speed. I have an older machine and mine is the famous #8 screw technique. I don't know how the newer machines adjust but suspect it's easier. Check your manual for instructions on adjusting the needle up/down speed.