MaryQuiltsTx

Not as Easy as I Hoped

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Hello, I felt it was time to officially join in. I have been lurking and reading....lots of reading....all the way back to the beginning.....and I have learned a lot. So first of all I would like to say thank you to each and every person who took the time to ask a question and especially to all those who took the time to answer those questions. There is an entire library of problem solving tips contained on this forum. It was amazing to read all of it.

I have been quilting my own quilts for about 8 years. I owned a, shall we say "lesser model" 18" machine. When it worked, it was great. But when it didn't, which was frequent, there was no help to be found from the company that made it. Many individuals tried to help with tips but I finally just got tired of the hassle and bought a Lenni with the Bliss rails. She got delivered last week, is set up and I have started test driving her. I guess I was very naive. I really thought there would be a fairly small learning curve. I mean once you've used one longarm you've basically used them all, right? WRONG! This is nothing like my old one. I was pretty good at pantos on the old one, I tried a panto yesterday and it looks like something my 3 year old grandson would draw. (Well maybe not that bad, but awful close.) It was like I had no control at all. My curves are jerky and I overshot every point. I think it moves too fast. So remembering something I learned on here, I stuffed some batting under the leveler bar and I think it helped. Still didn't look great but a bit better. I floated the quilt top, first time to do that. I think that worked okay. Guess it will just take longer to get used to than I anticipated.

Although my old machine had issues, it did have a few features that I think were more user friendly. The backing roller and the quilt top roller were a bit farther apart and I found it easier to load the quilt. Stuffing the batting and quilt top under the top roller is awkward to me. I also find it harder to clean (and load) the bobbin area. The rails are right in line with it and I have a difficult time seeing what I am doing. Hopefully, it all gets easier with time.

I did have some issues with my panto. Not sure what I need to change. I lined my panto up with the edge of the vinyl to keep it straight. I had my starting point very close to the leveler bar. After I got over half the quilt rolled up on the take up bar I couldn't reach the very bottom edge of my panto pattern. I fudged a bit and made it work but am curious if I should keep the edge of the quilt a bit farther from the leveler bar when I start to allow for the bulk when taking up the quilt? 

This purchase was a huge one for me and I still am a bit stressed over the amount I spent. I hope I get the feel of it sooner than later. I am impatient, I admit it. I just want to jump on there and quilt. :blush: Thanks again to everyone who shares  what they have learned so willingly.


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A good friend will come and bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be sitting next to you saying, 'Dang, that was fun'!

2017 Blissed Lenni and loving it!

 

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Mary,  smooth operations will come in time.  Give yourself time to learn the "feel" of your new machine.  I've had several different sewing machines over the years and each has it's own strengths and nuances.  I'm sure the same applies to quilting machines. 

As for working with your pantos, I recommend that you set the panto so that it spans the center of your quilting area -- not too close to the take up bar or the backing bar.  Test the placement with your machine before you start quilting. 

As for the jerky curves and overshot points, this too will smooth out with practice.  When I got my longarm machine, I made the most perfectly rounded squares when I was trying to make circles.  It was frustrating, but one piece of advice that was counter intuitive to me, but really worked, was to sew faster.  You get a much smoother circle when you speed through it rather than try to go nice and slow.  Points are the exact opposite, you want to slow down as you come into a point, pause slightly, then proceed as normal. 

I understand what you mean about loading the quilt and stuffing the batting and top under the top roller.  It is awkward.  I wish I could say that gets better, but it doesn't.  You just get used to it.  Then it just seems normal after a while. 

Welcome to the forum.  There are a ton of fantastic people on the forum who provide a wealth of knowledge, insight, and sometimes humor.  You're going to love it here.  : )


Lora.

Lora in California -  Ultimate I with IntelliStitch and IntelliQuilter.  The Thimble Bee http://www.thimblebee.com

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Mary, welcome to the forum.  Lora is correct every machine has a mind of its own.  It will come to you after some practice.  Do you have a dealer/retailer close by who can give you the free lesson that came with your machine?  Even if you have been quilting awhile, the lesson is valuable to go over your machine.  I know others will chime in here with great support and advice.  Welcome!


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
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Mary and Lora which way do you stuff the top and batting under the front roller from the front to the back or from the back to the front

ok I found a video the add the batting and the top start about at the 10:40 area of the video I hope this helps I find it very easy to load the batting and Top I hope this helps. If you have a table for using for ruler work If you put that on when you are doing pantos itputs a bit of drag on the machine which gives you more contol until you get used to it. Good Luck remember listen to all advise and use what works for you. Welcome

 


 

Terry

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Good question, Terry.  I go front to back.  Never occurred to me to do it the other way, but I will be interested to hear what others do.

Mary, I am wondering if your panto issues are because of your Bliss rails.  From what I've heard, they make it so easy to move the machine that you need to exert very little effort.  You may be used to using more muscle when doing pantos.


Betsy

quilting with Emmeline, a 2011 Freedom SR

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Connie, I think the "mind of its own" part is the problem! LOL There were times I thought Lenni was quilting a whole different pattern than me!  I do have a dealer/rep and have scheduled my class for the end of the month. She suggested using it awhile before taking the class and making note of any issues. I am sure I will have a lot of duh moments,

Terry I laid the batting and top (one at a time) across the top bar, lined it up along the back,  accordian folded it back towards me and shoved it under the bar. I saw it done that way on a video from Sparrow Studios. It worked okay, I just thought it was easier on my old machine. I am sure Lora is right and it will just take time. Sometimes patience is not my strongest suit.

Just saw the video, Yep, that is how I did it. The biggest surprise for me was the fact that I didn't need to mark the center. I was amazed at how smoothly it went on. Thanks

Betsy, it did take a lot more muscle to move the old machine. I always did pantos with one hand on the old one. I am using two on this one, one to drive and one to slow down!

Thanks for the welcome.


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A good friend will come and bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be sitting next to you saying, 'Dang, that was fun'!

2017 Blissed Lenni and loving it!

 

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Welcome to the sweet world of the Lenni. Mine is named Miss Margie. She may be lighter than your previous machine. And that blessed Bliss table adds a bit to your learning curve. Lenni will move with very little effort, so relax, slow down a little, try holding the handles as though you were holding a bird - very gently. It took me a while on the Lenni to stop making square spirals - so be patient with yourself and Lenni. I use panto's a lot, and love them. One panto tip you may already use, is to look ahead of the laser light, and watch it approach where you are looking with your peripheral vision. Smooths out my curves beautifully.

I've hit the same problem (with the machine running into the quilt on the take up roller) so I give myself a little room for the quilt buildup by putting the panto a few inches away from the edge of the table. I just use a 6.5" x12" ruler to make sure the panto is parallel to the table edge. I also limit my panto size to 9.5 to 10". If it is a king size quilt, I usually go way conservative and use 9" or less panto to be sure I won't run out of quiltable space as the quilt builds up on the take up roller. Just keep trying. I like to find jelly rolls on the Missouri Star Daily Deal, and just make quick jelly roll race quilts for practicing a new panto. They make great charity quilts, of course.

Hang in there Mary, I know you will soon love your Lenni!


Sharon

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Terry, thanks for sharing that video.  I learn something everyday.  I had previously been stuffing the batting in from the belly bar toward the takeup roller.  Now I'm going to try it the way in the video.  For the quilt top, I've always folded it in half, stuffed it in between the two front rollers and then smoothed it out toward the back.  I think the method in the video might give me much better results.  Thanks again for sharing.  Now I see why your quilts always turn out so good.  ; )


Lora.

Lora in California -  Ultimate I with IntelliStitch and IntelliQuilter.  The Thimble Bee http://www.thimblebee.com

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Mary:  A rolled up quilted king quilt should probably be about 6" in diameter, so make sure that you don't start your panto any closer than 3 inches from the center of the take up roller (I think the take up roller is 1.5 " in diameter).  So, 3/4" subtracted from 3 (half the rolled up total) equals 2.25".  Make sure that the back of your sewing head is at least that far from touching the take up roller at the lowest point on your panto before you start.

I have an Ult 2 (same size as a Lenni) on a custom table I built which makes it a bit different than a Lenni table (mine has a gas strut assisted batting access system), but I don't think it would load too much differently.  What I do is pin my backing, both top and bottom, then  roll it up on the backing roller.  Then pin the top, roll it up on the top roller.  With that in place I put the bulk of my batting in my batting sling, feed the batting top edge to the pin line for my backing on the take up roller, unroll enough quilt top so it reaches where I want it to start on the backing, then baste it through the top, batting, and backing.  The only squeeze is the batting between the top and back.  After I have it basted, I smooth things out and tighten my top and backing rollers to make the quilt "sandwich" as taught as I like, clamp the sides of the backing, and I'm ready to quilt.  I hope this helps.  Good luck.  Jim

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Thanks Jim. I was wondering if I had started too close to the back bars. I will leave more room next time and move my panto in a bit from the edge also.

Sharon, thank you for the size recommendations on the pantos. I was wondering how large of a panto Lenni would accomodate. My old machine was an 18" so many of my pantos are in this size range already. Got lucky there I guess.

I know I need to just keep at it until it feels "normal". I was having so much trouble with the old machine I kinda gave up and now have quilts stacked everywhere. Feeling a bit stressed to get caught up. I don't work well when I am afraid of sufficating under falling stacks of quilts! :o  I don't mind having 2-3 quilts waiting to be quilted but I am way past that number. Since they are all mine, there technically is no time line except the self imposed one. I guess that is why I was hoping the learning curve would be smaller. It's nice to talk to folks who understand. Thanks everyone.

 


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A good friend will come and bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be sitting next to you saying, 'Dang, that was fun'!

2017 Blissed Lenni and loving it!

 

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You may wish to do more free hand free motion quilting from the front of the machine so you can use all that muscle memory you stored when you used your previous machine.   That way you can get used to the feel and freedom and the lovely stitches Lenni and you can produce.  

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Mary,

I'm brand new to Longarm quilting and definitely have a lot to learn.

One thing is for sure.. APQS machines on a Bliss Frame move with your fingertips!  no effort is needed, in fact IF you GRAB your handles .. you will jerk it around.. anyway I did :)

I have a new Lucey on the Bliss frame and here is one thing that really messed with my smooth movement.. THE CORD :)

You can't believe the grief it caused and not knowing anything about Longarm quilting, I figured it was just me.

well.. once I realized it was the cord fighting me.. I tied up my Serge Protected Power cord under the center of the Pantograph table.. and the is where I then plug Lucey in.

at the back of the machine.. I made a nice small curl of cord  from the machine under the right handle and tie strapped it there and put 3 pieces of that self stick velco around those 2 cords.. then I made a big loop of cord.. just so that it does not touch the floor and I put one of those big rubberbands around the cord, so I could put one of those little s hooks in the rubberband.. and I hook that S hook in my belt loop .. now the cord can only pull on my waist and not on Lucey and that makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE.

If this didn't make sense to you.. I can attach a picture if your interested in seeing how I tied up my cord.

Also.. as said above.. when your following your Panto.. make sure you look ahead of the lazer light.. and tell yourself what your doing...  ie:  make a loop, do an s curve, arch to the left, arch to the right.. and so forth.. that really helps me.. but with your experience i'm sure you know all that..

just don't fight your cord and only use your fingertips.. Lenni will do the rest :)

Have fun

Rosemary


Rosemary

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Here are a couple pictures.

In the first picture.. you need to make sure that when you tie strap the two cords coming down from the top of the machine, that when they curl around they CAN'T touch the rail. or you will get friction you don't want..

the second pic shows how I then made another loop to just go around with a rubber band and that S hook I hook on my belt loop.  now the cord can only pull on me, NOT LUCEY.

When I walk away.. I just hook that S hook on that thread spool spindle on the right side.

this little trick sure helped me a lot..  the cord rubbing on the rail or pulling against the machine across the carpet was really bad for me trying to make smooth moves.

Hope this helps .  In the pictures it looks like my cords are laying on my rail... but they are not.

UPDATE:

I just added two more pics.. under the handle I added a piece of black stick on Velcro so that I could stick that white Velcro that I have wrapped around the cords.. and that helped to keep  those cords up off the rail more.

you can see that I have just enough cord to push Lucey all the way to hit the throat, but there is no drag on her.

that S hook .. hooks in my belt loop , and there is no drag on Lucey's movement caused by the cord.

I also bolted on two steel pieces to the frame ends and attached a full length piece of 2" pvc pipe and that is my Batting roller and it really works nice! :)

Rosemary

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Rosemary

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HI,

I had problems when I first got my Lucey on bliss.....much, much easier to move than my old one.......I don't know if you are old enough to ever have driven a car without power steering or power brakes.....yikes....the fist time I tried driving a car with power steering I was all over the road....turned the wheel like the old car without power steering....Yikes!  almost went off the road...took a while to learn I just had to turn the wheel a tiny, tiny bit.....also with the power brakes....came to more than a few screeching halts...keep practicing....it will come and you will enjoy the less effort needed......I rigged up a "batting sling" under my frame using an old queen top sheet and some cut off selvages....and safety pins ...just pinned the selvage strips to the corners of the sheet and tied up to the frame.....works great to keep the batting off the floor on those big quilts.....I work in basement on a concrete floor...I have gotten a thick mat which is 12 feet long for the front side.....working good.....

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Ha Ha, yep, still have our old truck with no power steering or brakes. Haven't driven it in a long time but I remember. 

My cord hangs from the ceiling so no drag there. I like how you solved your problem. Very ingenuous. Quilters are very adaptable people aren't we? 

I did some meandering yesterday and it worked very nicely. Top thread broke a couple of times but I am still tweaking tension and all. My biggest obstacle is my 

self, too impatient, but I am tweaking that too ;) .


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A good friend will come and bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be sitting next to you saying, 'Dang, that was fun'!

2017 Blissed Lenni and loving it!

 

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That is great Mary, I'm glad your getting more comfortable with how easily your Lenni moves.

I just learned a few weeks ago when I posted the Needles post.. about threads and tensions and needles.

I watched those videos that were suggested and learned a lot about tensions including the bobbin.

I have mine with the M sized bobbin just loose enough that I can't pick up the casing and the top thread pulls fairly easy thru the needle and I didn't have any breakage with the Varigated Superior 40# thread with 60# Bottom line prewound in the bobbin, and I am certainly no expert, neither of my stitches pulled to the wrong side. :)

Keep practicing.. I can't wait to see some of your tops all quilted that you have piled up :)

Rosemary

 


Rosemary

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I am reading up more on tension and needles etc. So much to learn, so little time! :P


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A good friend will come and bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be sitting next to you saying, 'Dang, that was fun'!

2017 Blissed Lenni and loving it!

 

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On 4/25/2017 at 2:38 PM, T Row Studio said:

Mary and Lora which way do you stuff the top and batting under the front roller from the front to the back or from the back to the front

ok I found a video the add the batting and the top start about at the 10:40 area of the video I hope this helps I find it very easy to load the batting and Top I hope this helps. If you have a table for using for ruler work If you put that on when you are doing pantos itputs a bit of drag on the machine which gives you more contol until you get used to it. Good Luck remember listen to all advise and use what works for you. Welcome

 

I really liked this video!!  I wish it went all the way through to finish the top of the quilt!He is doing it differently than I do and I really like the way he is doing it!  Is there another video that finishes it up??  Who has those leader grips?  They look awesome!  I have zippers, which I like, but these look much quicker!!


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Linda Gibbons

Cabin Creek Quilting

APQS Freddie (aka, Gracie ll)

Hand guided

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13 minutes ago, lindasewsit said:

I really liked this video!!  I wish it went all the way through to finish the top of the quilt!He is doing it differently than I do and I really like the way he is doing it!  Is there another video that finishes it up??  Who has those leader grips?  They look awesome!  I have zippers, which I like, but these look much quicker!!

If I was buying the clip system get the red Snappers they are more of a hard rubber instead of a plastic I had several of my plastic version crack and breat I invested in the red snappers and love them....what do you mean finishes it up Linda?

 


 

Terry

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Terry this video cuts off right before he gets the top loaded. Kinda odd? I have the leader grips and they do tend to crack after awhile. I may have to try the snappers. Do you know if they use the same size dowel?

Linda there is another one. It is from Sparrow Studio too and has a lady loading the quilt the same way he does. If you go to the end of this one, other choices pop up and you can see her, she has short dark hair and is wearing a black shirt.


signaturedimage

A good friend will come and bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be sitting next to you saying, 'Dang, that was fun'!

2017 Blissed Lenni and loving it!

 

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I just tried to load the quilt according to the video above.  I had a terrible time getting the backing on the take up roller because every time I started to clamp it down, it would pull the leader over the rail and fall to the floor.  I was getting very frustrated.  Do you think it would be better to load the take up roller first and then the backing bar at the front of the machine? 

As for the batting and quilt top -- I love this method for loading.  Thanks so much for sharing. 


Lora.

Lora in California -  Ultimate I with IntelliStitch and IntelliQuilter.  The Thimble Bee http://www.thimblebee.com

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