OK, let's see if this discussion feed will stay active.
If you are a longarmer, post who you are, what kind of longarm you have and how long you have been quilting on your longarm. It would be nice to know why or how you got into longarm quilting. That will help us know who is out there!
Then, let's begin to share our questions, frustrations, tips and tricks, favorite threads and patterns...
So, I will begin. I bought my APQS Millenium in May, 2011 so I'm fairly new to this. I rented a machine for a year before I bought my own so that helped. My longarm has a name...Mabel...as in "Able Mabel". LOL I run a quilt ministry, Quilts from the Bluffs, in Council Bluffs, IA so I have plenty of practice material. I have also started my own longarm business, Threads of Faith, LLC, that is slowly taking off. I am more concerned in getting experience than promoting my business right now but eventually I hope to make a real go of it. At least by the time I retire. I do mostly pantographs but I'm trying to venture out into the freemotion quilting.
Now it's your turn...
I used to own a midarm but sold it this spring because I could no longer handle standing to do my quilting. I was never able to do the pantographs so did all my quilting free motion. I think the biggest problem I had was tension issues and thread breakage.
I think this will be a great place for all the longarmers to discuss their quilting and machines. I hope this goes well for all of you.
I have a Tin Lizzie 18LS on a Grace Pinnacle frame. I have had it since March 2010. I have quilted about 1/2 dozen quilts on it, plus smaller things like Christmas stockings and tablerunners. I have mostly quilted with pantographs, but last week I combined free motion stippling with straight ruler work on this family reunion quilt. It was the second time I had done any free motion quilting and the first time that I had used rulers.
I will be attending Quilting with Machines in Huron, OH the first week
in October and I hope to learn a lot about longarms and tips for using them while I'm there.
My machine is racing when I try to stitch in the center of the quilting frame, so I need to figure out what is going on there and see if I can fix it.
This quilt is stunning. I love the "filmstrip".
Thanks, Nana - it is one of my favorite patterns. The designer of the pattern, Karen Montgomery, owns my LQS.
That is awesome to have a designer that close.
This spring I purchased a used HQ16 mid-arm. It does not have a stitch regulator, so I am working on developing a good speed/rhythm to keep the stitches even. I can manage a decent stipple, but I need much more practice to do the other types of free motion that I would like to use on quilts. I can't use pantographs because my room is not big enough to be able to attach the handles on the rear side.
On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)
Patti in Pgh--
Your "filmstrip" quilt is stunning. What a treasure.
I recently aquired an A1 with a 12ft table. I was just getting into the grove and then my oldest and his family moved back in...so at that moment I cannot even get near it it play. Hoping in the next few weeks to clear out the boxes and take over my space again. I plan on starting a quilting buisness in the near future and I am looking for some tips on how to get started and what steps I need to take, such as licensing, taxes, accountant? etc.
Patti - i really like this quilt. Very interesting how you made it look like a filmstrip. I went to the machine quilter's showcase in Kansas City in May and took several classes. Everyone was using different kinds of rulers but I am just not sure how to use them. That is something I would like to learn more about!
MNnancy:so I am working on developing a good speed/rhythm to keep the stitches even.
I found that it helped me to get into a rhythm to put on some good music. It helped me relax and things just seemed to flow better.
Nana: I was never able to do the pantographs so did all my quilting free motion.
I think it is funny that some quilters think free motion is easier than pantos and others think pantos are easier. I wonder why?
I had a ton of tension and thread breakage on my short arm! That was one reason I wanted to move up to the long arm. And I don't have that issue at all now.
Have you looked at quilt machines that are made to use sitting down? I think APQS has the Lenny that is a sit down model. It does take more effort than you would think just quilting on a longarm. I try to take breaks and stretch. I also like to quilt with the radio up load and I stop and dance in between rows just to keep from getting too stiff. (That was probably too much info!)
I have checked on some of the set down longarms. Maybe in the future. I agree it takes more stamina than you would think to stand and quilt. I always turned the music up and danced occasionally too.....LOL
MNnancy:It does not have a stitch regulator, so I am working on developing a good speed/rhythm to keep the stitches even. I
I remember it took awhile to get comfortable with my short-arm with no stitch regulator. I could do pantographs at least but I remember it took doing them several times before I could start doing it with my subconscience and not think too hard. You definitely need to relax but I don't think there is any substitute for repetitive practice. You have to train your brain. If you are good at stippling, move onto curly waves or some other design for awhile. Practice, practice, practice.... I have to say, though, that I do LOVE the stitch regulator on Mabel.
Robyn Smith: I plan on starting a quilting buisness in the near future and I am looking for some tips on how to get started and what steps I need to take, such as licensing, taxes, accountant? etc.
Longarms do take up quite a bit of room! It's even more apparent since we moved mine upstairs in the living room because of the threat of flooding. We did build a nice room for it in the basement and that lasted 2 weeks before we moved it upstairs. I know my husband is getting tired of looking at it smack in the middle of our home but you really do need to get your priorities in order! LOL I hope you can find space to get back to quilting soon.
As far as starting your own business, I would like to have others share their experiences and questions. I did go ahead and created a LLC. I thought about this for quite some time before I decided to just go for it. I did buy a software package that tracks my customer services and I do charge and track my taxes. I do not have an accountant yet but I am looking for one now. I am learning as I go but would be glad to share what I am doing. I feel there are no dumb questions. I have lots of questions about where to get the best deals on batting, thread, pantographs. Wholesale prices, do you pay taxes on batting, thread if you have an EIN number? If you do pay taxes on the materials, do you not charge your customer tax on those? So ask...and answer...as you feel led.