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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Longarm Machine Rental part 2

The rest of the story......

As I talked to Renee, I shared with her how I teach and some of the things I teach. One of the key factors in my class is the fact that I am NOT at the shop when the students come in to rent, so they have to be very self sufficient, I stress that I am only a phone call away and can help over the phone and that the shop owner is not a quilter so really cannot help if they get in a bind.

I provide several handouts, the first and most important is the quilting check list, I did not take pictures during this part of the class (because I forgot) but I will briefly cover the basics, this is NOT the entire checklist....
Clean rails, bobbin area and machine, checking for threads and fluff, oil bobbin area, change needle, wind bobbin, check bobbin tension with TOWA, load bobbin, thread machine. Then turn machine on...

Load quilt...
back, top, batting, how to roll evenly, how to adjust the rail height, how to tension the quilt, and how to sew or pin zippers on to your quilt before you load the quilt. (you get a set of zippers to keep as part of the class)

How to bring your bobbin thread up and how to tie off, advance your quilt, what is good even tension, trouble shooting problems and thread theory.

Now for the fun stuff, we have our quilt loaded, and the machine threaded, we get to play! The first thing we do is learn how to not strangle the machine and cause ourselves sore shoulders and backs! We do a little stretching and shoulder rolls, I look for white knuckles too. When we are all set and ready to quilt.... we take a working lunch break (I am a MEAN teacher LOL) I have a packet of hand drawn designs... we sit down with our brown bag lunch and start work on the dry erase boards...
For this class we learn large meander, small meander, loops, loops with flowers, L's E's, C's, Spirals, Ribbons, and Dragonflies! I teach left to right, top to bottom, then they have to learn right to left and bottom to top, we go forwards, then when they are comfortable, we go backwards, when that is good we go upside down! As you can tell Fonny was actually having a lot of fun. I think that is one of the most important things I teach, relax and enjoy your self, quilting is fun!
I love this picture, you can see where we have worked on the dry erase until she felt comfortable and then we take that to the machine, do a pass or two then back to the dry erase for the next design, then back to the machine, I also take about 15 minutes and I take the machine OFF stitch regulated and I have them learn how to judge their quilting, and how to move their bodies with a non regulated machine, we practice getting nice even stitches and finding a good base line speed number for them to sew at on a non regulated setting. They many never need that, but it they do then at least they have a feel for stitching with out a regulator.
One of the things we do in class, we use different threads. I supply Glide, King Tut and Superior Rainbows, three very different threads, they have to learn to adjust the bobbin tension for each thread, and the machine tension. It also forces them to rethread the machine from scratch repeatedly. Plus they get to see how each thread looks when sewn out. Again, since I am not right there over their shoulder it is important that they can do everything from wind a bobbin to change a needle to threading the machine.

One of my other important hand outs (I email this one when we schedule the class) is my introduction to longarm quilting....

It starts like this (taken directly from my handout)....

Introduction to Quilting Class At Discount Vac and Sew

In this class you will learn the care and feeding of the Babylock Jewel, how to load a quilt on the longarm quilt frame and basic/beginner quilting.

For this class you will need to bring the following items.

1) A light toned cotton fabric this fabric should measure 46”x40”. For today’s purposes Joann’s or Wal-Mart fabric is just fine, this is just a practice piece and will actually be pretty ugly!

2) A practice backing, this will need to be prepared exactly like you would prepare your backing for a standard quilt. In other words, 10” larger than your quilt top both length wise and width wise. 56”x50”

3) A piece of batting the same size as your backing.


I cannot express strongly enough how important this is. You will be “scribbling” on the practice piece on the frame, it really is not a pretty thing and you will ruin your lovely quilt top if that is what you bring!

One of my saddest stories was the lady who insisted that she learn to quilt on her lovely lone star quilt, needless to say she was very unhappy with what she learned, I was very stressed because it was impossible to teach, and she has never been back to rent the machine again. So now if we have someone come in for class with a pieced top they have to purchase fabric from the shop to learn on. NEVER AGAIN!

So that is why as you see in the photos, Fonny did exactly right, she purchased white muslin, yes you can see all her wobbles and fobbles, she was stitching in Navy Blue! But, I also keep on hand a stack of scraps that I lay down and have them quilt on to show how the quilting blends in and is not so awful when on a patterned fabric. (this does a LOT to help self confidence!)

At the end of a 6 hour day, I am tired, my student is tired... but I think they go home with enough confidence and understanding to come back and use this machine again. I do know that since I have been teaching, several of my students have come in and rented the machine....and to date I have only gotten one HELP phone call... and it was an easy thing to talk her through on the phone.

Well, I hope this was enlightening, entertaining, or at least interesting. If you are an owner and want to know more about my handouts, please feel free to email me... I will supply you with my phone number so we can chat, then I will gladly share with you my handouts. I only ask that you not sell my hard work, you can use it for teaching purposes, change what you need to do suit your needs, but that's it.

Happy quilting,


Terry and Linda Lee said...

Your class looks to be a very worthwhile day!

Quilting_Chris said...

What an excellent outline for teaching classes learning how to quilt on a frame. Very well done.

Jen said...

Thanks for taking the time to post this! I am very interested in taking a long-arm class, but am somewhat intimadated. Your post shows it just a large sewing machine, and I shouldn't be afraid! Thank you!

Ginny said...

You are exactly right, a longarm really is a large sewing machine. Like any machine and skill there are tricks and tips that are nice to learn from someone with experience. I say go for it find a class and give it a whirl!

Renee said...

You were so kind to take your time with me last week - it was a pleasure talking to you too!!
Your student was very nice to allow us to "watch" her learn.
I will certainly be incorporating some of what you shared with me into my next class. Stay warm!!
Renee in GA