Totally New User....Ultimate II 14ft metal table

Recommended Posts

Hello Everyone

I'm completely new to using a longarm machine; only used them a few times at shows for a few minutes.  I was able to purchase a used Ultimate II with a 14ft metal frame at a country auction earlier this week.  My husband and I have recently gotten it home and set everything up.  I need to replace the leaders which I have been reading about online as they are dirty and have many holes in them. 


The machine does work as I have turned it on and had it running.  My problem is with the bobbin.  I can't figure out how to get the needle to pull up the bobbin thread. 


Do I have to have a quilt loaded on the machine to even attempt this?  Is it something with the threading of the machine, threading of the bobbin (not sure that is correct) or how I inserted the bobbin into the machine?


I watched the video that came with the materials and watched how to load the bobbin into the case.  I was then able to hold it in the air and bounce it like a yo-yo as recommended.  It only allows thread to loosen out as it is falling back down.  However I noticed the bobbin itself does fall out of the case when doing this tension test.  I also noticed the entire bobbin case fell out of the machine as well.  Remember, I'm not sure what I'm doing.  I have tried to find videos online but not having much luck.


Also if someone could tell me what style of bobbins this machine uses, L or M, I would appreciate that too.  I just can't seem to find the correct anwser.


Thank you in advance for the help that is provided.  I have three children (two boys who enjoy making quilts as much as I - my daughter sits on my lap to sew, she is only 3), my two boys are as excited to quilt on this as I am.  Can't wait.


Thank you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bonnie,


Congratulations on your new machine and welcome to the forum.  I have a different APQS machine so let's hope that someone with an Ultimate 11 will chime in, I am sure they will.  When you put the bobbin into the case and pull on the thread the bobbin should turn in a clockwise direction.  When you put the bobbin case into the machine you should hear a click when it goes in correctly and it shouldn't then fall out.  


As far as I know until recently all APQS machines had L size bobbins.  If the bobbin is the size of most domestic machines it is an L.   M size bobbins are bigger.  


I am not familiar with the controls on your machine.  On my Millie I press the yellow button on the right handle once to lower the needle and again to bring up the bobbin thread.  You have probably discovered which button on your handles moves the needle up and down.  Try pressing it once to lower it and again to raise it and bring up the bobbin thread.  You do not need to have anything loaded to try doing this while you are playing.


New leaders can be purchased from APQS.  Give them a call and they will walk you through some of the things that you need help with.  


If I have told you the wrong thing someone will correct me!


Good luck and come back and ask as many questions as you need.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome, Bonnie and congrats on your purchase!


The L bobbins are the same size as the ones you use with your domestic sewing machine and the size used in this machine. The M size are larger and used in other brands of longarms, although APQS offers this size in a special order for new machines.


First helpful question---which APQS dealer is closest to you? It will eliminate lots of start-up issues if you contact them. If they're close enough, it's to your benefit to take a beginners class. This will teach you the basics of all the things you need to get the first quilt loaded and everything else set up to do your first stitches. Since you have an unfamiliar machine and it is used, many things may need to be tweaked to bring it to a point of good stitching. To avoid much frustration, a hands-on session is highly recommended and worth every penny.


As for pulling up the bobbin thread-- the bobbin is inserted in the case and the thread pulled through the slot to exit the small hole. Make sure that when the thread is pulled that the bobbin spins clockwise. Make sure the needle is up and pull out a length of thread about two inches long. Hold the case with the hinged flange horizontal and the opening in the case at 12 o'clock. I have the length of thread run back towards me along my thumb to keep it from catching in the mechanism. Insert into the bobbin assembly and when correctly seated you should feel a click. If there is no click, the bobbin assembly may be worn or you might try a new bobbin case. But the case must be seated and not fall out, or else you may damage something by jamming the needle.

Hold onto the top thread as it exits the needle and cycle through a needle up/down. If you're using the flywheel to cycle, make sure you're pushing it in the forward direction, not the backwards direction---meaning the direction the flywheel moves when it stitches.  After you cycle the needle to full-up, pull on the top thread and the bobbin thread will pop above the needle plate. When you do this with a quilt loaded, move the head slightly so you can grab the bobbin thread under the hopping foot and pull both to the left. Now both threads are on top. Without fabric loaded, do the same procedure and use the tip of your scissors to sweep under the needle and bring the bobbin thread up top.


Here's the kicker--if this procedure doesn't bring up the bobbin thread, you have timing problems and may need more help than you can get on-line. Again, contact your nearest dealer and know that you'll get expert help.



Edited--looks like Sue and I posted together and gave the same advice! :)


You'll love it when it's stitching great and your kids will have a ball!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bonnie:  The Ultimate 2's don't have a needle position, or single stitch feature, so you'll need to cycle the machine by hand in order to pick up the bobbin thread.  You turn the front hand wheel clockwise to do this.  As Linda instructed, after you've inserted the bobbin case, hold the needle thread and cycle the machine.  That should pull the bobbin thread up through the needle plate.  I have a "tricked out" Ult 2 and love it.  You've got a great machine, all you need to do now is learn to use it.  I think APQS still offers Ultimate ll manuals.  One might help you out.  Check their parts listing on this web site and buy one if it's still available.  If they are no longer available, just ask the question here or call APQS, and you'll get the info you need.  Welcome to the forum, and good luck.  Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone.  Thanks to all the great support responses and a phone call to APQS I was able to figure out the bobbin; it worked perfectly.  I'm certain I sounded like a little girl in a candy store when I reached success; even the tech. on the phone was laughing.  :)


My husband and I discussed that the leaders on it are ragged/dirty near the ends; so we are going to use my mother-in-law's huge dinning room table (what I usually use to sandwich and pin my quilts on) to cut off the ends and then test out the machine while I'm in the process of making new ones.  Plus it is a rainy day here so can't do yard work so I guess I get to quilt.  :)



Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an Ult 11 with the old style wood table and mine has the added stitch regulator.  Your machine is a work horse and you will really enjoy using it for many years.  

I purchased mine used and had to learn everything by myself on maintenance.  There are many parts that you will need to check to make sure that everything is working well.

 First, make sure everything is cleaned really can do this by using WD40, allow it to sit a little while so it can loosen up any lint,threads, gunk residue. Then wipe it down getting everything nice and dry.  Apply sewing machine oil to the bobbin area and also to the wicks on top of the machine, a couple drops each should work unless the wicks are totally dry then you would need to apply  more.

Run the machine without any thread or bobbin in it, this will lubricate all parts and warm up the motor.  You should do this type of maintenance on your machine regularly to keep it running well.

Check your tension disk to make sure the spring is working and that there is no thread or lint build up inside the disks.  The tension disks are easily replaced should you need new ones and I usually have an extra for those 'just in case' moments.

The needle bar (this is where your needle is screwed onto) should not have any movement in it at all.  If it does, the needle bar might need to be replaced. This is not hard to do, but does take some time. 

Check all of the pig tails where your thread goes, to make sure that there is no groves or wear areas as this will cause your thread to break repeatedly. You can purchase new pig tails, not very expensive and is probably a really good idea to have several on hand as replacements. You can also file down any nicks, groves or burrs with a very fine sand cloth.

The timing of the machine is really important to get good stitches.  Your manual should show you how to do this with pictures.  This is something that you will have to be able to do often...especially when you break a needle.  

When you do replace your leaders, make sure that they are all centered exactly the same and that they are straight.  


I hope some of these suggestions help you.  Should you have any other questions, just ask.  You can PM me if you like.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.