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How many of you use the micro drive on your LA? I purchased one recently but haven't used it yet. I talked to a couple of longarmers who didn't think it was very useful. My quilting wish list is so long that I'm wondering if I should keep it or should I put my money towards other goodies.

Please share your pros and cons. I'm interested in what my fellow quilters think about this tool. Thanks for your input.

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Jean,

I got the Micro-Drive for free when I bought my Millenium back in April. I tried to use it for micro-stippling and it just really didn't work as well as I thought it would. I only use it when I am quilting a curve or shape that needs to be perfect. I usually put my left hand on the micro-drive and my right hand on the regular handle. For your money, I'd buy something else. It's pretty pricey.

Jill K

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I have the micro drive but haven't used it yet. However, when I had my classes with Myrna Ficken in May, she put it on her machine and I tried them out. I really liked the amount of control I had for micro stippling.;) I believe that these drive handles are great for close-up small quilting. I know that Marilyn Badger and Karen McTavish use them all the time and they do lots and lots of micro stippling. I believe they are like everything else ... you have to get used to them with ppp:D

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Jean,

Ergonomically, I like my microdrive because I can use fine motor muscles (instead of gross motor muscles using the large handles), can sit down, and have better control for close stippling (and get much less tired and can see better!) and for some acrylic ruler's use (flipping one side up). Course, I'm a gadget girl and like the extras. I haven't found a con yet - unless it is user error if I did not secure the side nuts when flippng them up. Good luck with your decision!

Vicki

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Although I am a newbie I have found the micro drive to be very valuable. I bought the micro-drive the same time as my machine so I don't see the problem with them because I haven't had my machine set up any other way. I think they make it easier to sit down and quilt and I feel like I have a lot more control. I definitely vote to keep them. ;)

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Like several others have said - I don't use it all the time, but I LOVE it for microstippling and for teeny-tiny fill work.

I just slow the machine way down, sit and stipple away!

I think it's terrific for small, precision work.

Sherri Dolly

Overland Park, KS

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I rarely use my microdrive handles. I seem to have less control and it makes it more difficult for me to move the machine. I also seem to accidentally touch the (very hot) light when using them. The only time I find them useful is when I am doing diagonal straight line quilting using a ruler. I never use them for echoing as I have less accuracy when I do.

Kay

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I think the secret to using the Micro-Drive handles is to pull up a stool and sit down. Like someone else said, the trick is to use your fine motor skills, not the large muscle groups in your arms, shoulders and back. This is almost impossible to avoid if you're standing up.

I use them for outlining applique and fabric motifs. My very first session with them was on Little Mermaid fabric blocks in a quilt for my granddaughter. I did that whole lap size quilt sitting down. The control I had outlining around the sea weed, the mermaids face and hair and fingers, was just amazing! I never would have had that amount of control using the regular handles.

Here's the technical aspect of how I use them.

1. Put on the Hartley Base PLUS, the one that is wider on the right hand side.

2. Install the handles so they are JUST a bit above the level of the quilt.

3. Pull up your stool and get comfortable.

4. Adjust height of stool so you can rest your foreams on the top roller and hold the handles so the sides of your hands are resting right on the quilt top.

5. Using just your wrist motion, guide the machine around the applique, or around the fabric motifs.

I always put the fabric advance foot pedal up on the rollers so I can adjust the quilt often and keep the quilting space within the range for my optimum control.

Personally, I don't use them for fine stipping etc. Maybe I just need to spend more time, and experiment with different hand positions to be successful. I know that Marilyn uses a hand position that would make my hands cramp up, so I need to find a position that works for me.

This is a wonderful tool! Spend the time getting to know what it can do for you. You'll be glad you did!

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Hi Cynthia,

To add your photo to your posts, you must have it stored somewhere on the world wide web. It must also be 100 x 100 pixels or smaller. I put mine at the end of one of my Webshots albums. Then bring up the picture, copy the URL and paste it to the appropriate space on the Options page.

I did a google.com search for the term "Avatar URL". That's how I found out it had to be posted on a public storage system like webshots. Your own web site would work too.

Hope that helps. It would be great if everyone would post their pic. You never know when you'll run into someone on this forum at a quilt show and walk right by them because you didn't know what they looked like!

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Thanks to all of you for your input. If anyone wants to add to the pros and cons feel free. In the meantime, I think I will give the micto drive a test drive before I make my final decision. I have a customer quilt right now where I need to outline some applique and then do some small stipple around some trapunto. That should be a pretty good test. I will report back to you.

Thanks,

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Darlene, you stated that you use the Hartley Base Plus and that it is wider on the right wide. I only see two Hartley base expanders, one for machines with a thread cutter and one for machines without. I have the one that fits my Millennium. What is the Hartley Base Plus and does it have certain advantages over the others.

Thanks you.

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  • 11 months later...
  • 4 years later...

You really need to give your microdrive handles more than one shot. At first I didn't like mine either but I was trying to use them like the regular handles and they are not meant for that. Then I watched Marilyn Badger on a Fons and Porter episode and saw that she had parts of her hand actually resting on the quilt and worked very slowly for very fine detail. I also watched Sherry Rogers-Harrison on utube and again she was working verrrry slowly. I tried that on a whole cloth and fell in love with those handles. I don't use them all the time just when doing very detailed quilting, but I couldn't get along without them for that.

Here are a couple of pics of the detail I am talking about. I know many people use them for microstippling also. I'm not too adept at those so not so much.

2107761740098991033S425x425Q85.jpg

2134183100098991033S425x425Q85.jpg

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i have the microhandles and i hate them when i'm standing and LOVE them when i'm sitting.

i hope to soon be able to purchase a good chair so that i can sit more comfortably.

its a vicious cycle....one purchase just leads into the next.......sigh.....

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I think sitting and using them is key or having a hydrallic lift might help and making your machine very high. I love my microdrive handles and use them a lot. I use them for feathers and fine background fill. I can also use them when outlining, especially helpful with outlining applique.

Meg - I don't think it ever gets better. I have a stool but sat on the stool Jamie Wallen uses and boy I almost wish my stool would break so I could change mine! LOL

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