Monday, February 24, 2014

APQS Road Shows!!!

APQS is hosting Road Shows in the area!  If you are interesting in attending, space is limited. Reserve your space today!  You can call Jen at 800-426-7233 or click on the name of the city where you want to attend and it will take you to event page on for more information and links to register online.

Raleigh, NC 
March 3rd Noon - 3:30 pm
La Quinta Inn 
2211 Summit Park Ln
Raleigh, NC 27612
Charlotte, NC 
March 4th Noon - 3:30 pm
Best Western Plus Sterling 
242 E. Woodlawn Rd
Charlotte, NC 28217
Roanoke, VA  
March 5th Noon - 3:30 pm
Ramada Roanoke
1927 Franklin Rd SW
Roanoke, VA 24014

What you'll learn at an APQS Road Show
Designed for quilters who do not currently own a longarm machine and owners who want to see what's new, our Road Show includes valuable information about owning your first longarm.
  • Discover resources for templates, batting, instruction manuals, wholesale contacts, thread and more!
  • Find out where to buy pantograph patterns, books and stencils to make your longarm quilting fun and hassle-free.
  • Learn business philosophies, products and services, pricing, marketing and income forecasting. (You'll even get a sample business plan)
  • Explore the differences between each APQS model.
  • Learn which accessories are the "gotta haves" to make your quilting fast and easy.
  • Learn how to oil, clean and service your machine to provide years of quilting fun!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tech Sunday - Basic Optimizing

Today we are going to take a look at optimizing your designs.  This time I am going to jump right in and assume that you have a design that you are ready to sew and just need to optimize it.  I created a 12 Branch Flake with ends that are not joined.
From the picture, above you can tell that the design starts and stops in the center and that there is a jump stitch, represented by the light blue circle at the end of each spoke.  In this case, I want to join the ends of the spokes.  Because this design is pretty basic, it would be a candidate for just the Remove All Jump-stitches button.  However, I think it is really important that you know different ways to get the software to do things.  

Look at the spoke in the 3 o'clock position, in the picture above.  Notice that the Yellow 1 and 2 circles are both on that one spoke.  If I tap on the blue dot it will remove the jump stitches and create a straight line between the end of the first line, with the red dot, and the beginning of the second line, the green dot.  
Once you have done this it will renumber your lines.  See that the entire 3 o'clock spoke is now labeled 1.  Then you are ready to go to the next spoke.
Notice that the entire first line is highlighted.  This is how you change the stitching direct for a single line.  If you click directly on the line (not on the number) it will change the stitching direction of that line.  So you would get this...

If you click directly on the line again, it will change the direction back.
If you keep clicking the blue circles it will join the tips.  In the picture below, I have one jump-stitch left to remove.  
Being able to control the direction of individual lines makes it possible to get continuous designs.  Remember that you can also click directly on the yellow numbers and that will allow you to change the order that they will stitch out.  When I am working on a complicated design, I will go back and forth between renumber and removing jump-stitches.  As soon as I get two lines in the order I need, I remove the jump-stitches and then start reordering the lines again.  Time to go play!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Quilt Path Page

After trying to find a Quilt Path post, I decided to set up a page to act as an index for just the Quilt Path posts.  This has also helped me see features that should probably be covered.  

I am starting to work on March Tech Sunday posts.  My goal is to always stay a couple weeks ahead.  Hopefully that will mean that I will not skip a week and that the post will go live in the morning ever Sunday.  

I am going into 3 weeks of fun!  There will be a trip to Atlanta to teach a Beginner's Class and Quilt Glide Class, a series of Road Shows, a quilting retreat with my Mom, and the big Capital Quilters Guild/Carolina Longarm Association Quilt Show.  And by big I mean, almost 500 quilts to judge and hang!  If you are near NC, you should really come and see the show!  It's March 14-16 at the Kerr Scott Building, NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh!  

Friday, February 21, 2014

APQS Used Machine Sale!

APQS has updated their list of Used Machines. These machines are being sold at incredible prices.
Call now to reserve your machine as they will not last long!
2013 - Was $15,900  - Now - $14,900 **8yr Warranty** 
2012 - Was $14,500  - Now - $13,500
2009 - Was $12,600  - Now - $11,600
2008 - Was $12,000  - Now - $11,000 
Freedom SR 
2013 - Was $15,300  - Now - $14,300 **8yr Warranty**  

2013  - Was $10,500 - Now - $9,700 **8yr Warranty** 
2013 Demo - Was $10,300  - Now $9,000 *Lifetime Warranty*  
2012 - Was $9,000  - Now $8,300 
2011 - Was $8,700  - Now $7,900 

2011 - Was $5,200  - Now $4,700
**Bliss can be added to any machine for $1,000**  

A $500 fully-refundable deposit is required to secure the machine. All customers must take possession of the machine within 30 days or order will be canceled and deposit refunded. Machines are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

** All 2013 used machines include a Eight-Year warranty and a new standard table. All 2012 and older machines include a One-Year warranty and new standard table. 


For more information on this offer contact Angela Clark @ (919) 576-9897

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tech Sunday - More Flakes!

Right now I am having a serious love affair with EZ-Flakes.  In the Design & Create - Pattern select EZ on the top right and then the Flakes button.  This time we are going to leave the Double-sided button selected.  Make snowflakes buy drawing undulating lines that cross the line of our flake.  First I started with 6.
All I did was smooth and optimize it.  Then I tried 5 branches
Which is really cool.  I tend to be drawn to shapes with odd numbers.  This looks like a fancy star fish.  So then I went for the max and tried a 16 branch. 

On this one I purposely did not attach the ends and then removed the breaks when I was in the optimize screen.  I really like how it looks like twisted ribbons.   Time to go play!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Quilt Path: Pantographs in EZ Mode

After reading a post on the APQS forum, I looked through my post to grab one that I thought might help with a question.  What became apparent is that I have never covered how to set up a pantograph.  More then likely this is the first thing a new user wants to do.  Most of us are buying these systems for them to help us make money.  The quickest way to get Quilt Path to pay for itself, is to use it to pantograph quilt.  So, this Sunday you are getting a bonus.  We are going to go through the steps that I do to complete an edge to edge design on a quilt.  

First off, I measure the quilt.  I do both the length and the width and I do it in a couple places.  Both edges and across the middle.  I also take the time to look for problems.  Is it pretty flat and square?  Are there any seams that have popped or applique that my hopping foot might get caught on?  A little wonky is usually OK.  But if I think there is anything that I might get my foot caught I either have to be standing there to control the situation, or I might decide to freehand that quilt.  

For our practice, we are going to say that we have a top that is roughly 60" X 80".  I will measure the width in three places and use the largest measurement as my width.  I will do the same for the length.  I use the largest measurement because quilting that stops short of the edge is not the look what I want.  I like the quilting to go all the way off the edge so that it just kind of disappears under the binding when it is applied.  I just use the largest measurements.  On the videos, they add a little fudge room in, but I have found that I have not needed to do that.  For this quilt my largest measurements are 60 and 80.  

Then I load the backing, batting and quilt top.  I used to tack baste the quilt top on to the batting, but since using Quilt Path I know sew it down.  I do this so that my foot can't get caught on the edge of the quilt if I quilt completely off the top and then back onto it.  I always sew the sides from my belly bar to my leveler bar so that I am keeping any excess fabric where it should be.  

Now I am ready to set up Quilt Path.  I usually go into Design and Create - Pantographs.  I do this because I also normally use Basic method.  When you go into the Design and Create option the first thing it ask you is to set your Safe Area.  Then I can click on the Mode button and change to Basic.  Then Select the design I want to use.  When you go into Select and Sew the first thing it ask is what pattern you want to use.  Then when I click the mode button I have to go back in a select my pattern again.  I just don't like doing things twice.  Either will work and you can chose the one you like the best.  I use Basic often, because many of the digital designs that I use undulate or need partial rows at the top and bottom of the quilt.    In this case, I am going to use Aztec that came with my system and it is a straight set square spiral, so I will be using EZ mode.  

Notice above that my length is set to 80 and my width is set to 60.  I am in EZ mode.  Tap on Select Pattern and chose Aztec.

When it brings the design into the screen it shows a sign pattern   We actually wan repeats so I clicked on the Pattern height and entered 10. which gave me 8 rows. 

Then I clicked on the Nesting button once and it added additional patterns. I want a little space between my rows so that I can see the full design so I clicked several times on the re-size smaller button.
If  did not want the patterns to line up one under another.  I could chose to stagger the rows.  If I stagger the Odd Rows, it offsets them. 
When I get the design the way I want it to quilt, I would click on Quilt as Rows.  

Now let me show you a panto that I would not quilt using EZ mode and explain why.  
See the areas circled at the top and bottom of the quilt.  Those areas of the quilt would not be quilting.  This panto is a nesting panto and EZ mode does not let me do partial rows at the top and bottom.  To do this I would use Basic mode.  

Tech Sunday - Designing Mirrored Images

Today, we are going to learn how to do something that I do all the time as a freehand custom quilter.  The nice thing about using Quilt Path is it makes repeating is a breeze.   Let's say we have a basic 4-Patch block that we want to quilt swirls into each patch from the center.  If I was freehand quilting I would tie off in the center and then quilt each swirl ending back in the middle.  It is a simple and effect way to custom quilt.  

Now let's see how we can get Quilt Path to do this for us.  We are going to start out in Design & Create - Patterns.  
Tap on the EZ button on the top right side of QuiltCad, then tap on the Flakes button. 
 Change the Branches number to 4.  We are going to deselect the Double-sided button.  But I want to show you why before we go on.

When you begin drawing you will only be working one quadrant or space.  The remain spaces will draw themselves as you are working.  When you have Double-sided selected, it will be creating mirrored image inside that one space.  So, if you were drawing a hook shape you might get something like this...
While the heart shape is fine, I want a swirl.  So, I will turn the Double-side off and then I can get something like this...

To draw all I did was select the Pattern - Draw button.  

To be able to get smoother swirls you will want to reduce your Node Spacing.  You will notice that mine is set to 2.  I also have Continuous Line selected.  I know it is pretty ugly.  But I can change that by going to Pattern-Edit and Selecting All.  Then I will deselect my points so that they stay points.  
You can see in the picture above that the point nodes are not selected.  I hit smooth many times to get the lines to look the way I wanted them.  Let's see what it looks like when we Quilt it. 

It will ask you to save the file and then it will give you the following message. 

If you say no, you will only save the quadrant that you were actually drawing.  Say Yes to save the reflections.  This will combine the four quadrants into one motif.  

QuiltMotion will come up with your design ready to quilt.  First, you will want to optimize your drawing..
I selected Check for Breaks and the Animated Stitching.  I had it remove any breaks it found.  If you lines are not smooth, you may need to go back in the QuiltCad to smooth them.  If it looks the way you want it to, start quilting!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Update on Making a Panto in Quilt Path!

Check out Susan's blog post!  She has posted picture of the customer quilt that inspired the How to Create a Panto in Quilt Path lesson.  I love that we were able to figure out how to do something new in Quilt Path and make the customer happy!

Monday, February 3, 2014

APQS Longarm Giveaway

APQS announced today that they are giving away ANOTHER longarm!  The Freedom is such an awesome machine.  Someone is going to be very happy!  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Tech Sunday- Block Placement Methods - On-point Blocks and Triangles

Today we are continuing our exploration of Block Placement Methods.  So far we have talked about Fill Methods and 2 point, 4 point and multi-point placements.  Today we will be looking at how to place things in blocks that are on-point and triangle shaped blocks.

We will be starting in the Setting option of the Select and Sew - Pattern screen.
Here are two of your options for blocks on point.  You can either use the Tilted Block option or you can use the Four Point option.  For the Four Point option you just click on the corner like you would if it was a straight set block.  It is easy and effective.

There is also a Tilted Block option.  Which to me is a little harder to use.  I am still not sure when it would be better to use because you only have 3 points to set with.
The top button is used to set the top of the the block and then the bottom 2 buttons are used to control the tilt and width.  I am sure that is an application where this makes sense, but it is more difficult to use the the Four Point method.  If I find a place where Tilted will work better, I will blog about.

The triangle feature works a little bit like Tilted, but it makes more sense because you are using a three point set for an object that has three points.  I do like and have used the Triangle feature with ease and with predictable results.
Now it is time to play with these options and see what they can do.  Have fun!