Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tech Sunday - Daily Maintenance

Today I thought I would talk about what I do to my longarm before I start quilting for the day.  To start out I make sure I have all my tools and supplies ready.

The first thing I do when I walk into studio is turn on my air compressor.  Nothing says you need to wake up better then a really loud compressor.   I could just use canned air, but in the long run the compressor is cheaper and has better pressure.  Matt keeps telling me to remember to drain the air out of the tanks everyday.  He is insistent that I do this to prolong the life of the compressor and he says that it is safer.  I go with it because it makes him happy.
Then I make sure I have the following:
A can of WD-40
A rag to wipe my rails (It will get nasty so not a towel I care about.)
An rag that I don't mind getting oil on.    (Another towel I don't care about)
A micro fiber cloth to dust the frame and machine
Machine oil

All machine manufacturers have a way they suggest you clean your machine.  APQS has you use compressed air and WD-40.   I have had people tell me that I will run my machine using them, I tend to believe my machine manufacturer over them.  I think WD-40 got a bad rap because people don't understand what it does.  WD-40 is a solvent not an oil.  It is meant to break things down.  So if you just WD-40 your machine and don't wipe it out and oil the hook, you would be heading for a disaster.  I am not using it as a substitute for oil; I am using to break down the old machine oil in my hook so that I can replace it will nice fresh machine oil.

Once the compressor has air pressure.  I take the bobbin out of my hook and unthread the top thread so that it the it is just hanging out of the tension disk.  This means the top thread will just be sitting there but not moving.

Then turn the machine on, set the speed to somewhere between 9-11 and put it in manual mode.  This will cause the hook to start spinning.   This means that sharp hook is moving and can hurt you.  You should always pay extra attention when the machine is on and you are working in the bobbin area.  I use my compressor to blow out the bobbin area with the hook rotating. I have tried to do it without the hook rotating, but you get a lot more lint out with it running.  While a towel in my left hand well below the hook area, I spray the rotating hook with WD-40.  I really soak the hook.  Keep that towel away from the hook!  It only takes a second to get the whole towel wrapped into the hook and then you will be learning to retime your machine.   I usually hold mine 3-5 inches below the bottom of my machine.  I let it running for a couple minutes then stop the machine.  Once the hook is not rotating I use the towel to wipe off any excess WD-40. Once that is done I start the machine again and blow the hook area out again with the compressor.  Then stop the machine and wipe the area again.  Now I get the oil bottle and place a drop of oil on hook and turn the machine back on.  There are two places that I oil from and it really just depends on my mode.  You can either put the tip of your oiler on the little ledge at the bottom of your hook or you can put the tip into the indentation on the right side of the hook.  Either way works.  Then turn the machine on and let it run for a while.

While it is running I check the wicks a the top of the machine.  If my fingers come back shiny at all I do not oil the upper wicks.  I probably oil then every 2-3 weeks.  I have never oiled the wick on the left side of my machine head.  I check it every time I start up, but it has always had oil on it.  My machine is a 2008 so it is has not been oiled in 4 years.  Then I wipe my rails and if I am feeling like it dust the frame.

This whole procedure takes me between 5 and 10 minutes.  Please excuse the picture of my linty dirty bobbin area.  It will get cleaned tomorrow before I start quilting.  :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Streak 'o Lightnin

Streak 'o Lightnin' is another quilt by Janice of Anything But Boring.  It is strip pieced from precut strips!  So, it is a quick.  Just look how stunning the pattern is.  Janice used Blank Quilting's Fabrication Strips in her quilt.  I believe they are the Hot Red and Pralines and Cream strip sets
 It is all over quilted with Lightning meander.  I used gold Aurifil MAKO 50 thread on both the top and in the bobbin.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Honeybell Stars

Honeybell Stars is a new pattern by Janice at Anything But Boring.  It is fun pattern that she designed with Blank Quilting's Honeybell fabric line.  This collection has some really fun paisley and floral prints.  
The center of the quilt is quilted with my all over Pothos fill.   Presencia thread was used on top.  MasterPiece by Superior Threads was used in the bobbin.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tech Sunday - Snips

I had to pick out an entire pass of quilting this week.  As I was doing it I was thinking about my Tech Sunday post and how much I love both of my pairs of Fanmore snips.

The first pair I purchase was a set of Titanium snips with curved blades.  They have hung on the front laser light post of my longarm for over 3 years and I love them.  The curved blade lets me snip thread close to the quilt top without touching it.  When I misplace them I stress out and end up looking for them until I find them.  I do not start quilting without them.  I am obsessed with those snips!

Recently I bought a pair of snips with a hooked blade.  These things are awesome for when you have to rip stitches with the quilt still on your longarm.  I used them for about 4 hours on Friday.  They are wonderful.  I was able to get under the stitches and it made ripping quick.  I know that 4 hours does not sound quick, but it was an entire pass and I quilt dense.  I also use a really tiny crochet hook at times, but did not need it on Friday with my new snips.

Just for the record I purchased both of these pairs of snips.  I was not asked to review them nor have I been given anything to do a review.  I just love them so much I wanted to share.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tech Sunday - Mobile Blogging

Mobile blogging....there is an app for that.  :)  Corny, huh?

I have used both the Android and Apple version of Blogger's mobile app.  They are the same as far as I can tell.  Both let me post a quick picture that always ends up at the bottom of my post.  But for a quick post on the run they both work.  I use the Android version on my smart phone and the Apple version on my iPad.

On a side note, most of the time I use my laptop to post because I and embed the pictures into the post and I can choice how they are aligned.  Plus it is just easier to type on a keyboard and my laptop does not constantly change my words on me.  But it is fun to post while at a shows or market.  I am going to miss Fall Market this year and I am looking forward to seeing some post from my blogger friends that will be there.

APQS Demo Sale

Woo Hoo!  APQS is selling their 2012 Demo machines.  

These machines are a great deal!  To reserve one of these machines, you really need to call right away as they will go FAST!  Call me at 919-576-9897 

Demo Millennium with Standard Table 
(10, 12, or 14 foot table)
$1,500 cash off
Free Quilt Glide ($1250 value)
Free Motorized Fabric Advance ($1350 value)
8-year warranty
Machine Value $20,000 - Sale Price - $15,900 

Demo Freedom SR with Standard Table   
(10, 12, or 14 foot table)
$1,900 cash off
Free Quilt Glide ($1250 value)
Free Motorized Fabric Advance ($1350 value)
8-year warranty
Machine Value $19,400 - Sale Price - $14,900

Demo Lucey on NEW Standard Table
(10 or 12 foot Table)
$1,200 cash off
8-year warranty
Machine Value $11,900 - Sale Price - $10,700
Demo Lenni on NEW Standard Table
(10 or 12 foot Table)
$1,200 cash off
8-year warranty
Machine Value $10,900 - Sale Price - $9,700
**Optional Bliss Upgrade available for all machines!!**  - $1,000

Don't forget the awesome extras that the machines comes with, like:
* Bobbin Winder
* Beginner's class, a $200 value 
* Year subscription to Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine
* Two sample spools of Thread
* Two pantographs from Golden Threads
* Package of needles
* Bobbins

A $500 fully-refundable deposit is required to secure the machine. All customers must take possession of the machine before December 1, 2012 or the order will be canceled and deposit refunded. Machines are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tech Sunday - Zipper Leader Trick

Early this summer I had a friend come over to help me demo my longarm to a potential customer.  At that point I was on my Doctor enforced no longarming for six weeks vacation.  So my dear friend came from 2 hours west of here just to be in my studio with me so that I didn't do anything stupid.  And yes, I do know that I owe her big.

She made a comment about the fact that there was a quilt on my take-up roller, but practice cloth loaded for the customer to play on.  She was really surprised at how I had loaded the practice cloth.  I have zippers on my leaders.  Here is how the leader looks when I get to the bottom of a quilt.  Notice the blue ribbon.  I sew a length of blue grosgrain ribbon to the backing bottom zipper and green to the backing top zipper.  That way I can tell immediately which is which when I start pinning.  I have 6 sets of backing zippers, but only one zipper for the quilt top.  I need to order a second quilt top zipper, but so far it has not been an issue.

In the next picture the quilt with the black backing has been rolled onto the take-up roller and I have added another backing which is bright orange.  Notice that there are two ribbon colors because all you have to do is zip an new top backing zipper onto the bottom backing zipper that is already on the frame.    Normally when I do this the second quilt is smaller then the first one.  But it can also be done if you have enough backing on the second quilt to be able to tape the zippers to the take-up roller.
 I use a lot of tape in my studio.  I have multiple rolls of orange masking tape which is low tack.  You could also use painter's tape.  You will notice in the picture below that do tape the zippers to roller so that they do not flap around.  I also put some on the backing of the first quilt so that it is out of the way.

Yes, that is a third backing that you are seeing.   In this case the second and third backing were seamed together.  If I still have the quilt top zipper pinned on the first quilt, I just fold the zippers in as it is rolling onto the take-up roller.  I normally try to stabilize to the bottom of the first quilt if it is custom.  

Every time I have bought a backing set of zippers they have come zipped together.  I tried loading this way right after I bought the zippers for my longarm and have been doing it for four years. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Autumn Leaves

Last fall one of the members of my bee won a stack of leaf blocks.  Our guild has a program where you make a block and turn in it and that gives you a chance to win blocks.  Normally there are enough turned in to have two winners.  These block became a Bee Challenge this spring we decide to make a quilt an donate it for the Heritage Day Auction.  (Which was today.)  Unfortunately due to several issues the quilt is not finished yet but will be ready for next year.  Every member of the Bee has touched this quilt.  We all worked on the layout.  We all searched out stashes for the perfect border fabric, but none of could find it.  Then flipping through a catalog we found the it.

We thought the fabric would never make it to North Carolina, but we finally got it.  Then the top came to visit my Studio.
I quilted big airy curls.  I love how the gold Glide thread looks.  I really like the way the quilting looks like wind.  All in all it is a successful quilt.  Now we just need to get the binding done so that it can be submitted for next year's auction.