It’s been several weeks since Freddy, aka HQ Fusion, came to live with me. As you know, we had a bumpy start but we are getting along better every day.

Fusion HQ quilting

That being said, there are some things about quilting on a longarm that have surprised me and I thought I would share those with you.

I have to say I’m really glad I had a sit-down machine prior to buying the longarm. While I don’t think it’s necessary to start with one, I am so comfortable using my Sweet Sixteen and very familiar with the machine and how the tension, etc. works. It eliminated the anxiety that I otherwise might have felt moving to such a big machine when I bought Freddy.

Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen

The first issue I had when I started longarming was with ruler work. On Star Blossom (which still isn’t finished!) I did a LOT of ruler work. Each little section was quilted with a straight ruler and with different spacing. I found that I needed to write down the measurements for each section, because after I advanced the quilt I couldn’t see what was already quilted. After I unrolled the quilt for the second time, I remembered to write everything down!

Ruler Work

The next issue I had to work out was the thread that Freddy likes to use. My favorite thread to use is Omni by Superior. Thank goodness Freddy likes Omni! He’s not so keen on King Tut though. Every time I tried to use KT, the alarm would start buzzing at me telling me there was a thread break, but there wasn’t. I finally remembered hearing someone say their machine only liked to stitch in one direction with certain threads. Changing the direction I was stitching in (switched from left to right to right to left) eliminated the alarm and the stitches were beautiful. Who knew such a little thing would make such a difference?

Lesson Three – Picking is a PAIN! My goal now is to avoid it at all costs. Picking out my stitches was so much easier on a sit-down machine. I’m sure I should have tried to avoid it then too!

Finally, and most surprising to me – longarming is physical! When doing ruler work I tend to lean over and hunch my shoulders. This gives me a catch in my upper back. After about an hour I have to take a break and stretch everything out. I’m also on my feet a lot. I like that I’m not sitting for hours stitching, but it’s taking my body some time to get used to all that standing. I found myself taking frequent breaks.

I’m sure there will be other things I’ll discover as I do more quilting. I am so happy I have Freddy and I have a lot of learning to do. Quilting curves is not as easy as it is on my sit-down, so I’ll be doing lots of practice with curvy designs. This machine has made quilting so much easier, and I’m seriously crushing on how quickly I can load, quilt, and trim a quilt now. It makes me smile just thinking about it!

On a different note, later today I will be posting about the Christmas in July 2017 Bundle Sale. The sale starts at 3pm EST and runs for only 72 hours, so be sure to check back in this afternoon for more information. You won’t want to miss it!

Before we get to the linky party, I’d like to say Congratulations to Sarah of Cedar Fork Stitches. Sarah’s quilt – Four Square Float – is featured in McCall’s Quick Quilts. Her quilt was the most clicked on link from last week’s party, and understandably so. Her quilt is gorgeous!

Photo by Sarah of Cedar Fork Stitches

Now it’s your turn to share your quilty crush! You can link any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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