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Where do I start???

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I am ready to make the jump to a computer system, probably to the new system being developed by APQS, although IQ is a strong second right now. I have been doing my research, and what I have found is that I don't know enough to know what I don't know!!!:( Is there any resource out there - book, dvd, YouTube, whatever - for someone who is just getting started in computerized quilting? I know there are videos out there for the individual systems, and forums for some of them, but I just need the basics. Where do I go for those?


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Barbara Mayfield
APQS Sales Representative & Educator
AND Quilt Path owner!!!

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best." ~Henry van Dyke

APQS Northwest

1315 NW Mall Street, Suite 4

Issaquah, WA  98027

 

(425) 243-3502

info@apqsnw.com

www.apqsnw.com

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Good luck Barb, I don't have a clue! But sounds exciting!!!!


Dell 2016 Millie Frannie Ann Jr. with Bliss & she is Quiltaziod and Circle Lord Equipped with lots of Quilting Toys and now has Quilt Path!

 

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Barb, I would look at ease of use to begin with, how user friendly is the system, what kind of support or training material is there.

Look at some of the basic things you will be using it for, such as setting up a pantos. What options do you have with this, how quickly and easily can you set up a panto, How easy is it to plop a design in the block, rotate, resize, etc. How do you program your quilt layout, what are your options with this?

How can you define your block or quilt, is it just manual entry on size or are there other options such as trace or mark, etc.

What are the steps to go from computerized to freehand?

I don't know of any one place or way to learn the differences in systems. I would watch videos for each and play with demos that you can download.


Patty Butcher
Katydids Quilting Studio ~ APQS FL Store
IntelliQuilter Dealer
EdgeRider Wheels Dealer
Brooksville, FL (Central FL)
352-397-4959, 850-502-0272 Cell
http://www.katydids.net
patty@katydids.net
New Generation Millennium W/IQ; 2015 Lucey with Quilt Path: George

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Patty,

What I'm looking for is not so much the tools for evaluating the different systems but something to help me (and anyone else starting out, no matter the system) as I make the move to a computerized system.

I have so many questions: Do I have to turn a quilt to do a continuous border pattern? Do I measure all the blocks on a top before I load it or do I wait until I get it loaded? What kind of designs fit best on certain quilts or in certain blocks? And on and on...

I'm pretty sure that a lot of these questions (and their answers) are fairly universal across the different platforms, just as our machines, whether they are APQS, Gammill, Handi-Quilter, or whatever, are very much alike. So I'm looking for a cross-platform instruction guide for beginners at computerized quilting. Is there such a thing? Or maybe someone can write one?????;)


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Barbara Mayfield
APQS Sales Representative & Educator
AND Quilt Path owner!!!

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best." ~Henry van Dyke

APQS Northwest

1315 NW Mall Street, Suite 4

Issaquah, WA  98027

 

(425) 243-3502

info@apqsnw.com

www.apqsnw.com

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well, there is no such thing that I am aware of.

Just like in quilting, there are no set rules. The answers to some of those questions would be dependant on the capabilities of the system you are using.

We would need to talk... I can't type all this out :D


Patty Butcher
Katydids Quilting Studio ~ APQS FL Store
IntelliQuilter Dealer
EdgeRider Wheels Dealer
Brooksville, FL (Central FL)
352-397-4959, 850-502-0272 Cell
http://www.katydids.net
patty@katydids.net
New Generation Millennium W/IQ; 2015 Lucey with Quilt Path: George

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Crystal Smythe is an instructor at MQXWest with all IQ classes. None of the classes are "how to evaluate" classes, but maybe contact her by email and she may have some suggestions for you.

Or you can become our resident APQSCGT expert. (I just made that up! Stands for APQSComputerGuidedThingamajig. Obviously we all hope they will find a better name for it!)

Become the beta tester!!! Then you can teach me!


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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I'd recommend looking at the websites for the different computers that you are interested in. They're packed with info.

Angela's website has lots of info and links to videos that describe the IQ system. http://www.quiltedjoy.com/intelliquilter

Also look at the IQ training videos at http://www.intelliquiltertraining.com/search/label/Engagement%20strength.

They are application specific, but I found that they gave me a very good idea of what the capability is and how easy it is to use the system.

When I was shopping, Angela Huffman gave me a great live Skype tour of the system. That was extremely helpful and it looks like she is still offering it.

Obviously, I chose IQ. I couldn't be happier :):)

To answer the questions that you posted.....I'm finding that it's easiest to rotate the quilt to do continuous borders. Just like I do them myself, I do the top and bottom, the turn it once to do the other two sides.

If I want to pre-design a quilt, I measure the blocks and borders and build the quilt in the computer before it's loaded. This is very helpful to visualize what the quilting will look like. It's also nice to be able to run it by the customer if she wants to see it first. If I'm making up my own designs, I like to do that sitting down, taking my time, not standing in front of the quilt.

But when it comes time to sew, it's easier to start fresh with the loaded quilt. IQ lets me trace the blocks on the quilt, which tells it size and location, very important. Then I can drop my designs in and stitch quickly.

What kind of designs fit best? Just like quilting on your own, your choice. I haven't found anything different about the designs on computer versus the ones that I create, other than there is so much less stress and more consistency when the computer is doing the thinking:)


68580D71558C5CD4FA14E80CBBEC4870.png  Millenium with Circle Lord, Bliss and IQ

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Barb - basically, when using a computerized system, you will approach what and how you quilt the same way. If you don't normally turn a quilt, you won't with a computerized system. You will learn how to break your borders down into sections and then how to fit the sections together as well as adjust the size of the sections due to draw up of the fabric. The biggest difference you will have to adjust to is adjusting to draw up. When we manually quilt, we are able to automatically adjust - our eyes and hands do the work without realizing. When you use the computer, the computer does not see this so we use our hands to manipulate fabric on occasion or we mark sections as we go and adjust the size of the design to fit what is marked by our systems. In the beginning, you will allow a little more fudge room - example: you have a feather wreath to fit into a block. When you are manually quilting the wreath, you guide the machine to where you want to quilt. Once you start using a computer system, it will take a while to truly know where your needle is as compared to screen/fabric & draw-up of fabric when the computer does the work - so you will set the size of the wreath to be 1/8th+ from the edge of the boundaries of the block - looks good and won't go over the edge of the block. As you and your system become more familiar, you might go only 1/16th+ from the edge. It is a learning curve just like all of quilting. All the systems have the same issues - the differences are what the systems have to offer in terms of what they can do without additional designing programs.

I work with 2 totally different systems - One quilts more accurately, the other enables more design options without the use of any additional software programs - each has its positives and negatives. No matter which system I use, I approach the quilting the same - what and where am I going to quilt the designs or am I going to be quick and lazy and do a panto. If I do custom, I definitely take plenty of time to do a basic layout and have all my chosen designs ready in a file so it will be a quick select, place and tweak as I go. The only real change I have made is that I do all my SID first and get everything totally squared and in place prior to starting my computer work - I don't SID with my computer - some do but I don't. This seems to handle some of the initial draw-up of fabric and I have less tweaking with my computer to do.

If you want to chat (I think you have my number) give me a call. Knowing you, you will jump in a adapt very quickly and easily.

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Guest Linda S

The most wonderful thing about IQ is, you can do all the things you mentioned any way you want to do them, Barb. You can plot your whole quilt out, block by block, border by border, etc., before you even load it if you want. If you're fairly certain the quilt is well pieced and the blocks are square and accurate, you can design the whole thing and just load it and methodically go through and do it -- even high custom work. You can easily do borders without turning - Crystal Smythe teaches an excellent class on that. There are videos on the web, updates are free, the yahoo group gives nearly instantaneous help, and the dealers are fabulous. The other options with IQ are that you can do your quilt block by block - mark the block on the quilt by sampling the points - IQ will put the design in to fit the block, even if it is wonky. Now there is the option to distort or use a magnet on the screen to smoosh the pattern exactly as you like it. You can split and rejoin patterns if they are too big for your sewing space - helpful if you have a small throat like I do, or if you don't want to turn your borders. The possibilities with IQ are virtually endless, and -- yes, I am biased -- the service and support cannot be beat. Zoltan (IQ owner and guru), Helen (my dealer) and the folks on the board have been so helpful and kind to me. I couldn't be more pleased with this system.

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I, too, use two different systems (brands) every day and am anxious to find some time to get acquainted with the APQS system. Each system has its own strong points and each operates a bit differently.

Anyone in this area that would like to try out each system first hand is more than welcome to come here and do so!!


Lucy Drinkall

o2b Quilting, LLC
APQS sales/rental and custom quilting

1025 Industrial Drive, Suite A
Spring Valley, MN 55975
www.o2bquilting.com
lucy@acegroup.cc

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I am planning on adding a computer system to my machine soon. I am glad to have all this information to help me make a choice. Thanks you for posting and please let us know what system you decide on going with. I am really interested.


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Take a class from me. All computerized longarms are the same but different. User friendly software is a must and being able to go from computer to freehand instantly is very important. Point to point capabilities are very important. You need to get your hands on one for the day and you will know what you want and what you need. I can also teach you how to digitize your own designs. Fly to SD, I will teach you.

JoAnn


APQS Freedom owner
pahasapa@enetis.net

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Barb, I think the best advice is the same we give to Longarm machine customers. Go and try the different systems. Then you can make a better decision on what you want. Just like our APQS machines, we love them best. Same with computer owners we love the system we have. Prior to deciding on my IQ, I spent several hours on another quilters system. She actually had me quilt an e-bay quilt that she had for a demo. It was love at "hello". Happy shopping!


Connie
Port Huron, MI   48060
APQS Sales Rep and Educator
Millennium with Intelliquilter (IQ)

"Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble" Frank Tygr


sewsweetgator@aol.com
http://www.yoursite.com
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Thanks for all the responses, ladies! While there has been a lot of valuable info shared here so far, I'm not really looking for testimonials for different computer systems - what I'm looking for is resources on computerized quilting in general.


314B4A28F5D2B9A393862864B500E102.png
Barbara Mayfield
APQS Sales Representative & Educator
AND Quilt Path owner!!!

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best." ~Henry van Dyke

APQS Northwest

1315 NW Mall Street, Suite 4

Issaquah, WA  98027

 

(425) 243-3502

info@apqsnw.com

www.apqsnw.com

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I would be interested in seeing how the IQ works if anyone has one in the area that I could see. I am located between Streetsboro and Ravenna OH. I do travel to Columbus periodically so if anyone is located near Hillard Ohio that would work too. . I don't know if I would have the patience with the computer. LOL


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Barb, I don't think what you are looking for even exists, yet!

A computer is just another tool that you use to aid in the quilting process, just like a ruler, a CL, whatever! You still approach the quilt in the same manner as you would if you were hand guiding the machine. The computer just lets you quilt more accurately, more detailed in your design choice, etc. That and the ability to multi task! :P

Sometimes you would pre-mark your quilt, and sometimes you may just load it and "mark as you go". Same with borders, some borders are easier to stitch out if you turn your quilt and stitch the whole in one pass, others, with smaller repeats or the ability to "split" the design, can be stitched in sections without turning the quilt.

Meg hit the nail on the head when she talked about "draw in". The computer does not see the shrinkage you get as the guilt gets quilted and this is the big difference you need to be aware of with computerized quilting. The computer only sees the X and Y parameters that you input, you need to adjust for the draw in as you go.

Quilting with a computer, really does come down to a matter of finding the system that meets your needs. Its that simple! :)

To help others that don't know what to even look for in a system.... these are some of the things that I wanted.

1st and foremost - easy to use and good support/training material

easily switch from computer to freehand

ability to have "no sew" areas with in a panto for all those "memory" quilts, etc.

recording capability so I can record my own designs w/o having to learn a separate digitizing program.

included software updates

design editing ability - again w/o a separate program

being able to do full quilt layouts with/in the system

A big issue for me too was to not be tied to a monitor/keyboard. I wanted a tablet system to be able to take off machine and work on quilt designs/layouts while relaxing in the evening.

Hope some of this helps.


Patty Butcher
Katydids Quilting Studio ~ APQS FL Store
IntelliQuilter Dealer
EdgeRider Wheels Dealer
Brooksville, FL (Central FL)
352-397-4959, 850-502-0272 Cell
http://www.katydids.net
patty@katydids.net
New Generation Millennium W/IQ; 2015 Lucey with Quilt Path: George

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Guest Linda S

I think Patty's right Barb. There really isn't a compendium of computer features you can view that would let you know which system can do what -- perhaps someone should start one? ;) Anyway, I was thinking that if you were to see a demo of each system - not just a "watch this miracle of sewing" demo, but a demo of the features that interest you, you could make a more informed decision. I know that in buying patterns, I notice a difference in the elements required for purchase. Statler owners generally are instructed that they must also buy a right corner in addition to a left corner at times, as I guess (don't know for sure) that they don't have the ability to mirror or flip things in the same way that IQ can. One of the big selling points to me, since I always like to do things differently, with IQ was, you can buy just simple little elements or use ones that are already in the tablet (curves, loops, S-shapes, etc.) and combine them to make your own designs. Of course, if you have software like JoAnn or some of our other designers, you can really go to town and make some spectacular things. With IQ though, you are able to make designs, flip things around, down the sides of your borders, diagonally up sashing for on-point blocks, etc., without buying anything additional.

So, until someone writes the book on computerized system comparisons, I think your best bet is still to try them all. :cool:

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It would be very hard to write a book that compared the systems as the technology changes daily. As one system comes out with a new feature the other companies try to make a comparable feature in their program...playing catch up. As we quilters ask for new things the programmers scramble to accomodate us. I think any book would be absolete before if came off the printing press.

Most of the different companies offer a demo program for free or a small fee. You may not be able to try all the features using these demos but you can get a pretty good feel for what that program can offer.

I own both Compuquilter and Intelliquilter systems and am also anxious to try the new APQS system which will be released very soon:)


Lucy Drinkall

o2b Quilting, LLC
APQS sales/rental and custom quilting

1025 Industrial Drive, Suite A
Spring Valley, MN 55975
www.o2bquilting.com
lucy@acegroup.cc

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Barb,

I am in the boat with you!

It would be nice if there was something that told you things that you can do without being system specific. But with constant software updates and different hardware on all the systems I know that it probably isn't possible. I am sure that when we get our hands on a system things will start making more sense.


Angela Clark

Thread Waggle Quilting
APQS Sales Representative
APQS Certified Service Technician

APQS Raleigh Showroom

8521 Cantilever Way, Suite 101

Raleigh, NC 27613
www.ThreadWaggle.com

919-576-9897

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Trying out each system on a real quilt is ideally the best way to learn about the differences in each system, BUT, that just is not possible for most people trying to make the decision of which system to choose. A comparison chart would be out of date before it got published as each company is constantly adding new features and free upgrades.

One way to start doing your reseacrch is to read the manuals and download the demo software, IF these are available to you. CompuQuilter allows ANYone to download the complete manual AND a demo program. These are both great ways to get familiar with the CQ system. The manual has exercises after each chapter, so you learn as you go. The system really is so easy to learn that I know many who have never gone beyond the first few chapters of the manual!

Here's a direct link:

http://www.compuquilter.com/compuquilter/manuals

I'm not saying that CompuQuilter is "the best". My question would be "the best at what?" Each system has it's own strengths & weaknesses. That's the way it is with anything in life. You just have to decide if the strengths outweigh any perceived weaknesses. AND what one person considers a weakness, another person will consider a strength.

Time to do your homework. :) Start with the manuals and demo software so you can play around with it. Whichever system you choose, I don't think you'll ever be sorry!

Computerized quilting opens up another whole area of creative quilting. I still use lots of freehand & ruler work AND computerized quilting on almost every custom quilt I do. The difference is that now my "custom" quilting is just so much more ......... well, just more! ;)


14EABCCA535C11FE692767BF2F0B87E2.png

DIGITIZED Designs for Computerized Quilting

The POCKET GUIDES to Freehanding

eppd@telus.net

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