Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tech Sunday - oops!

I wrote a bunch of Tech Sunday post and thought I had scheduled them to post. Nppe. When I went up today to start working on posts for December, there sat my November posts. Scheduling in advance only works of you actually do it. Instead of just posting them, I scheduled them for the upcoming Sundays.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tech Sunday - Needles (needs pictures)

I have had a couple calls lately from longarmers that have had issues because they inserted their needle backwards and tried to run the machine.  It is a really frustrating situation to be in.

Most of the time putting the needle in backward does not actually hurt them machine.  But it can cause the needle to jam in the hook assembly.  The really damage comes when too much force is used to try to get that needle out.  I have had luck in loosen the screw in the needle bar that hold the needle in place and then carefully rocking my fly wheel back and forth while holding the needle with with a pair of pliers.  I put a slight upward pull on the pliers so that the needle will come up when it gets to a point it is loose enough to move.  I have actually had to do this several times to other people's machines and have not had to time the machines afterward.  It is a really good idea to check out your stitches on practice cloth, if you ever make this mistake.  After all, it is better to find out you have an issue there then on a quilt where you have to pick out stitches.   Also if your machine ever jams, turn it off immediately.  Just turn the power switch off.  There are worse things then retiming...  Actually retiming is not as bad is it's reputation would have you believe.  It is more fiddly then hard.   

When you look at your needle one side will have a long channel that runs all the way from the eye to the the top of the shaft that is inserted into the machine.  The other side has a concave area that is about as wide as my index finger, shown is the slightly blurry picture above.   The channel faces toward you when you put it into the needle bar, the concave area faces the back of the machine.  The channel is designed so that you can slide the very end of the thread down the channel and straight into the eye so it makes sense that have to be able to see it when you are threading the needle.  I normally cant my needle ever so slightly to my left.  So that the eye is at about the 35 minute mark if straight towards me is the 30 minute mark.  This helps when you are using finicky threads.  It gives the hook a little bit longer to catch the thread when it is spinning.   I use a very thin pin to show me how my needle is orientated and then use it to hold the needle all the way up in the needle bar as I tighten the screw.  I use a flat headed screw drive with a long handle as that give me more torque and I really tighten that little screw.  The last thing I want is that needle getting loose and falling out and down into my hook.  This is one of the few places that I "boy" tighten a screw on my machine.  

I actually use the channel ever time I thread my needle.  I tickle or flick the end of the thread across the front of the needle (left and right) when it catches in the channel I just slide it down and through the eye.  It is the fastest why I have found to thread the needle.  If you watched me do it you would think that I was just sticking the thread directly in the eye of the needle.  I would notice immediately if my needle was backwards because it would be harder to thread the needle.   

Monday, November 5, 2012

APQS Beginner's Class in Raleigh, NC

With the beginner class offered at APQS, our goal is to teach you the skills you'll need to accomplish a typical quilting project on your new longarm machine. This class is designed to be an introduction to machine quilting after you have made yourself familiar with your machine controls. Whether you intend to start a business or just want to get your quilts done faster, you'll learn valuable techniques to accomplish your projects creatively and efficiently. This class is mostly "demonstration" so we can squeeze in as much information as possible.

We will cover specific topics during each class, however, each class is unique and based on the needs of the students. We encourage questions and active participation -- you're here to learn!

Bring all your questions about operating the machine, business practices, thread, tension and anything else you can think of. This is a demonstration/lecture class. No hands on time will be available. Information we will cover includes:

  • Starting a business
  • Thread, tension, batting
  • Deciding how to quilt a quilt
  • Dealing with problem quilts
  • Different methods for loading quilts
  • Pantographs
  • Borders
  • Stitching a block
  • Marking quilt designs
  • Ruler work

 *Free to qualified new APQS owners or $200

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
9:30AM- 4PM
Thread Waggle Quilting
Space is limited so, call Angela to reserve your space.  919-576-9897
If this is not a good date, call me so that we can arrange a future date for you to attend.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tech Sunday - Skitch Update

I was playing on my laptop today.  I don't use my laptop very often anymore so I had not looked to see what is available for use on Windows.  I just downloaded Skitch for Windows from Evernote.  It is actually very easy to use with a mouse.  Color me happy!  Now I can play with pictures on my laptop and my iPad!  Woo Hoo!  Skitch is available for iOS, Andriod, Windows 8, Windows and Mac.  So pretty much everyone gets to play.  

Tech Sunday - Skitch

In previous post I have talked about different design software that I use.  In my last Tech Sunday post I posted a picture of my very dirty bobbin area with arrows showing two of the places I can choose to oil my hook assembly.
I had a couple friends ask me how I made this picture.  I imported the picture into Skitch by Evernote and drew the arrows onto it. It took about a minute.  I also have a map that I email to people that need to find my house that I made in Skitch.  It has a choice for Map on the main screen and then you can draw and type on it.

Skitch is a great app!  It is extremely intuitive.  It is really easy to just figure out by playing with it.   It is one of my go to design apps.  You can see all the pages that are on the main screen.  I have been drawing my background fills into Skitch and them exporting them to Evernote.  That way I have a digital design pad that I can show my customers no matter where I am.  All I have to do is log into Evernote, which is easily done on my smart phone.

Disclaimer time...  I am not affiliated with Skitch, Evernote or Apple, nor was I asked to review this app.  I love my iPad and like to share apps that work well for me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happiness is...

Quilting tiny little feathers.  the Flowerhead pin is for scale.  The flower is just less then a half inch.