Longarm machines are like children …


I had some longarming deadlines to meet this week. I’ve been tired and stressed. My goal was to have everything ready by Friday afternoon. Well, it didn’t happen and I ended up canceling my evening plans to give me time to finish my work.

I got off to a late start this morning because I had to take my dogs to the vet for a pre-surgical checkup. They’re getting their teeth cleaned next Friday and apparently needed to have bloodwork and immunizations before they could go under anesthetic. I decided to take advantage of the visit and have their anal glands expressed and nails clipped while we were there. Sorry if that’s too much info.

Once I got to work, I had a  frustrating day with my longarm. Everything seemed to be going wrong. The machine was jamming. I broke a needle. My stitches started becoming loopy on the bottom for no discernible reason. Some cable was jamming along the track. I had thread caught around both of my stitch regulator encoders.  Plus I couldn’t find my clip-on scissors, and I kept losing the non-tethered pair. You get the idea. I was ready to call my vet and apply for a job expressing anal glands (it’s even worse than it sounds).

I often wonder if my machine is psychic. It’s like when I had young kids. Whenever I needed to get something done, I could count on them being sick, needy, or just obnoxious. Seems to be the same with my longarm. Unfortunately, on these kinds of days, longarmers and parents have to press forward and meet deadlines.

I did manage to solve my problems. I consulted Superior Threads needle chart and went down a needle size. I cleaned the thread off my encoders. I had my husband remove one of the cables that was jamming under the track. Suddenly, everything was working beautifully again and I’m in love with longarming.

I had a longarm rep tell me that there are many, many unused longarms in basements. People just aren’t willing to put in the effort needed to learn the machines. They get frustrated and give up. After days like today, I completely understand their mentality.  There is no shortcut for learning and no substitute for perseverance.  If you stick it out, you learn something, solve the problem(s), and are farther ahead — knowledge-wise — than you were before you hit the rough spots.

Superior threads has an awesome website. Here is their guide to needle-sizes.



3 responses »

  1. Thank you for mentioning our reference guides and a big congratulations to you for “sticking through it” and adjusting your machine to run the threads you want to. Proper knowledge makes a world of difference when it comes to quilting!

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