Anita's quilts and quilting

A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.

Couple more hints

Here are a couple more things you can do to improve the smaller machines.  You know how you get your quilt all prepared and you are quilting along but you realize it’s not as tight on the rollers as you had it?  You look and the pin has slipped out of the cog.  You tighten it up to where it should be, only to realize a little later it’s happened again?  Well here’s what you could do to hold the pins where they should stay.

Find a good spot

Get some really good strong rubber bands.  Position one onto a cog pin and pull on the band until you find a good place to put a cup hook or a nail or a screw to hold the other end.  This might be on the outside of the frame or it might be on the inside of the frame.   The idea is that the strength of the rubber band will hold the pin where it should stay until your ready to advance the quilt.

About the zipper leaders

Most any set of zippers comes with instructions for making the leaders.  You could also do a search on you-tube for more information.  Getting the fabric on the roller bars straight is the most difficult part.  You could use a laser light or a snap line to mark a straight line on the bars which you can then use as your guide to get them straight.

If you have sagging of the fabric anywhere along the bar the reason could be:

  • the fabric is not a tight woven type so it sags in spots
  • the bar itself could have a dip in it – this can be because of the length
  • the leader fabric is not placed on the bar evenly – or cut straight
  • the table is not as squared as it appears – the bars on my machine are 2 inches farther apart at one end of the table, yours might be off too
  • the fabric has pulled away from the tape over time
  • your backing fabric may not be cut straight
One reason I like having the velcro on my leaders is because I can adjust the leaders whenever it needs to be re-done without going back to re-tape.  A wider velcro on the bar and a narrow one on the leader fabric gives more room for adjustments.  Putting two strips of velcro on the bar makes it wider.
Adjust your table
When you stop your machine anywhere along the table it should stay right where you leave it.  If the machine rolls away from the spot then the table is not level.  This can cause you to feel as if you are fighting your machine when quilting.  Use the adjustment screws under the legs to get your machine level.  Use a carpenter’s level if you can.  Level it front to back and side to side.  Move your machine around to different spots and check to see if it stays put or wants to roll away.
When I was working with a lady a few days ago her machine had one spot where she had to fight her machine to move.  She had to push extra hard to move beyond that spot and the machine would go wonky every time.  When this happens to you then you will have to become a detective to find the cause.
Put on some practice fabric.  Quilt to the places where the machine decides it has a mind of it’s own.  The minute you feel a resistance…. stop.  Leave the machine at that place and start looking for a cause.  Check to see if there is thread or lint around a wheel.  Check for a burr on the bars.  There can be many causes so its a matter of looking and looking and looking until you find it.  We still haven’t found the reason on her machine but we’re still looking.


This entry was posted on September 26, 2011 by in Tips for smaller machine users.

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