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Frequently Asked Questions

Holding Templates in Place

How do the templates stay in place while I stitch around them? How can I prevent having jagged stitching if I need to stop in the middle of stitching around a template?

Fabric Grips that you adhere to the back, and along the edges of the circles, ovals and hearts templates. These fabric grips help hold the template in place while you are stitching and when you need to reposition your holding hand. Packages of fabric grips are available on the Notions page.

If you start with the needle in the 6:00 position and your holding hand to the right of the needle, you can stitch the entire circle or oval without stopping. With the larger templates you will "walk" your fingers near the edge of the template along with the needle. KEEP YOUR FINGERS WELL AWAY FROM THE NEEDLE WHILE STITCHING!

You are not always able to start in the 6:00 position. In these cases you must stop stitching, reposition your holding hand and resume stitching. If you have the needle positioner, use it in this case. If you do not have the needle positioner, make sure the machine comes to a complete stop before moving your holding hand. Once the machine has stopped, lift your holding hand up and "walk"your fingers to the new position. If you press down on the template along the edges while doing this, you can press against the extended base of your machine to keep the template in the same place.

Now that you have repositioned your holding hand, make sure that the needle of the machine is directly over the last stitch that was taken and that the template is still against the hopping foot. Complete the stitching.

Starts and Stops - Circles, Ovals and Hearts

When I am stitching circles, ovals or hearts I am not happy with how the starts and stops look at the point where the stitching meets. How can I improve the look of the stitches at the meeting points or at the start and stop of each blade of a fan design?

Several ideas to improve the look of the stops and starts are:

Be sure that the template stays in place while you are stitching. It usually takes a lighter touch than you think to hold it in place. Sometimes holding the template tightly in place can contribute to movement of the template. Relax and loosen up on the tightness of how you hold the template in place.

Watch carefully as you come around to meet the stitching. Usually you can "eyeball" when you might have a problem meeting the beginning stitches. Loosen up on the template just as you approach the stitching and slightly move the template so that the stitches meet.

Try to keep your work close to you. Just because you have that large throat on your machine that gives you such a large working surface, doesn't mean that you have to use the areas farther away from you. Be sure that you are far enough away from the take up roller to comfortably see what you are doing.

Slow down your machine and take tiny, tiny locking stitches at the starts and stops. Or, concentrate on back stitching exactly over the first stitching to lock the stitches.

* If possible, try to start and/or stop in a busy fabric or seam line. When stitching on a solid or light color fabric, encourage your client to choose a thread color that closely matches the fabric. See The Importance of Choosing the Right Backing Fabric.
Practice

Etched Lines on the Clear Gadgets

The etched lines on the clear acrylic are difficult to see on the quilt. What can I do to make them easier to see?

Purchase a small bottle of acrylic paint from your craft store or discount store. We used black. Use paper towels to put a small amount of the paint into the etched lines. Use a clean paper towel to wipe off the excess paint. BE SURE to let the paint dry completely before using the gadget on a quilt. With heavy use, the paint will wear off and need to be reapplied in some spots.

3/8" Circle Set Templates - Weight

3/8" Circle Set Templates - Weight

The 3/8" thick circle set is very heavy. How do I manage the weight of the templates while making fan designs?

With the circles, especially the larger ones and especially when using them all to make fan designs, the weight of the entire set of circle templates might be a problem for some people.

When making fans, use the largest and the smallest templates and stitch them first across the quilt. Use the small one then the large one at the first center point. Start at the top of the small template and stitch down. Then take the large template and start at the side and stitch up. Now you will have your largest blade stitched and your smallest blade stitched. You will also have the center for the next set of blades. (See A and B below.) Don't cut your threads until you reach the end. Just crossover with the threads.

 

Now take the small template and stitch down and the large template and stitch up. (See C and D at left.)

Continue in this manner until you reach the end of that row.
For the next pass in that row, take the next larger and the next smaller template and do the same thing. First using the small template then the large template for the next set of blades. Do this all across the quilt.

Going from the small to the large template for each set of blades will minimize thread crossovers and save thread. Keep going until all the templates are used on that row.

With this procedure you are only using two templates at the same time and by using small and large, the weight will be evened out.

Gadgets For the Beginner

I am new to longarm quilting, which gadgets do you recommend for beginners?

For the beginning quilter, we recommend the tools included in the Beginner\'s Package, which are: Circle Set Jr., Janet-Lee\'s Favorite, Little Girl Ruler, Shells & Swirls, Shells & Diamonds, 90 Degree Jr., Stitch Guide & the Small Swag. (A package of T-Pins and a roll of Invisigrip are also included).

These gadgets will allow you to practice perfect stitch in the ditch and give you a wide variety of design options to offer your clients.

The SID Guide is used for small seamlines and curves.

The Circle Set Jr. will give you practice in stitching all the way around a template.

Both the Janet-Lee's Favorite and the Little Girl Ruler will help you measure and quilt straight lines.

The 90 Degree Jr.will give you lots of designs that involve working with angles.

The Small Swag is an excellent border tool.

The Shells & Swirls and Shells & Diamonds are two of our most popular tools. The Shells & Swirls ruler gives you 4" clam shells & a swirl to set stems & vines with. The Shells & Diamonds ruler has 2" clam shells & several sizes of diamonds.

When you are ready to learn more gadgets, try the Circle Set Templates, Ovals and Hearts.

With the Circle Set Templates you can quickly and easily stitch circles anywhere you want. Fan designs have never been easier!

If you want to try just one or two Gadgets we recommend the Circle Set Jr., Little Girl and 90 Degree Ruler, Jr. These gadgets will give you a wide variety of design options and will give you experience in using each type of Gadget.