Now, How Do I Actually Quilt with a Longarm Sit Down?

Posted by on May 26, 2017


by Myrl Breinholt | TinLizzie18 Educator

Principles to keep in mind:

  1. Working towards you is easiest since you are able to see where you are going.
  2. You can create muscle memory and hand-eye coordination by doodling basic shapes with paper and pencil.  Your brain cannot distinguish between whether you are quilting or drawing.
  3. Your eye should be focusing ahead of your needle rather than where you are quilting at the time.  A ball player will tell you that your hand will follow your eye.

Prepare your quilt with a backing four inches wider and longer than your quilt top.  This will make it easier to insure the backing will cover the entire quilt even if it shifts a bit. 

  1. Spray adhesive works well to hold the quilt sandwich together while it is prepared.
  2. Lay the batting out.  Roll the quilt back onto a broom handle, mailing tube or similar object so you will be able to spray adhesive a few inches at a time on the batting and roll the backing and then the quilt top out onto the batting, a little at a time, smoothing as you go.
  3. Use Safety Pins set about four or five inches apart all over the quilt to hold it securely while it is quilted.  Remove the pins as you get to them.
  4. Roll the quilt, burrito-style and begin quilting in the center of the quilt.   Work your way out of the middle, then return to the middle and work out to the other side.

How do I start?

  1. It is important to bring up the bobbin thread as you begin.  To do so, while gentling holding the upper thread, tap the foot control to cause a full rotation of the needle.  This will cause the needle to make a complete stitch and will bring the bobbin thread to the top.  Pull the bobbin thread up through your project until you find the end.  Take hold of both the bobbin thread and the upper thread while you tap the foot control about three times to secure your thread very near where you brought up the bobbin thread.  (You may use the needle up and needle down button instead of tapping the foot control.)
  2. Begin your design and then trim the long thread ends before they become entangled in the design.  (Some people like to “bury” the thread ends with a hand needle rather than cutting them.)

How do I end?

  1. When you come to the end of a row or design it is important to make a secure stitch as in the beginning of your design.
  2. Again tap the foot control three times to secure the thread.
  3. Pull the thread just below the take up lever to release a length of thread without causing it to break in the needle.  Raise the presser foot and pull the extra thread through the needle.  Make sure the needle is at the same position as your last stitch and lower the presser foot lever.  Hold onto the extra thread (it will be like a loop) and tap the foot control once to bring bobbin thread to the top of your project.  When you pull on the needle thread the bobbin thread will be pulled up and you are then able to trim both threads.  (Or again, you may bury the threads if you prefer.)
  4. If you do not bring up the bobbin thread in this manner, it will continue to be connected and be dragged all over the back of the quilt.
  5. When the needle thread breaks it is important to bring the bobbin thread up as well.  In this case it will not be disconnected.  Cut near the end of the thread that is not pulling free.

Quilting gloves with grippers work well.  Quilting hoops also may be useful to move the fabric around easily.


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Muscle Memory: What is it?

Posted by on May 19, 2017


Muscle memory is the ability to become competent completing an action or movement without conscious thought.  This is accomplished because of frequent and deliberate repetition of that movement.  We all have much of our daily activity that has become muscle memory.  Most of us don’t think much about brushing our teeth, buckling our seat belt or even typing our name.

“Your muscles don’t actually have brains, but rather your brains have learned to quickly call upon these quick procedure lists to get certain tasks done as quickly and efficiently as possible.  The more often you complete these tasks, the less “processing power” your brain needs to complete the task, the more automatic it becomes. Think of it sort of like a cache…We are creatures of habit.  The things that we do on a daily basis, the way we walk, the way we talk, the way we sleep (or not sleep), the things that make us happy or sad, are all results of hundreds and hundreds of repetitions of these activities. “

So, how does that effect how I quilt with my Longarm quilting machine?  My piano teacher would always say, “Practice doesn’t make perfect.  Perfect practice makes perfect.”  Any time we repeat an activity our brain remembers to repeat it more efficiently next time.  It is important to practice a lot and with the best method possible so our muscle memory will be as accurate as possible.

1-Practice quilting elements using a white board, holding your wrist rigid similar to the way you hold the handles on your quilting machine.

2-Repeat the element over and over improving its accuracy moving left, right, up, down and diagonally.  You will learn which way to move to create the element in all directions without much thought.

3-Go to the machine and move it in the same manner without stitching.

4-Now you are ready to turn the machine on and practice the elements while the machine is stitching!

The beauty of repetition in quilting is that each element that becomes part of your muscle memory makes each succeeding element a bit easier to accomplish.  It takes time and effort, but isn’t that how we learn?  Learn, practice and become an accomplished quilter!




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Finding Confidence for Longarm Quilting

Posted by on May 9, 2017


We Learn By: Observation, Imitation, Repetition

—Denis Waitley

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

—Helen Keller

Here’s some inspiration to help you along your quilting journey!

Attend quilt shows.

Volunteer at shows.

Take pictures.

Take classes including internet subscriptions.

Sketch what you see.


Make an inspiration notebook.

Do charity quilts.

Join quilting groups.

Join the longarm group on Facebook.

Pinterest is a great resource.

Subscribe to magazines that teach about quilting skills, not only piecing skills (be selective).

Be patient with yourself.

Teach what you have learned.

Save your practice pieces (you will feel encouraged about your progress when you see how far you’ve come).

Go away from your work when you are tired. It always looks better when you are rested.

Use positive self-talk. Shun negative self-talk (I am capable. I am confident. I know with time and effort I can achieve. Each step is taking me to where I want to be.)

Practice. Practice. Practice!


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Adjusting the Hopping Foot on the TinLizzie18

Posted by on March 24, 2017



There are a variety of presser feet to choose from for the TinLizzie18 long arm.   The original presser foot is used for general quilting and comes with each TinLizzie18.  In addition to the original foot there is a template foot that has a higher fence and a consistent clearance around the entire foot for even stitching around any template.  Also available is a minimal open toe applique presser foot that is small and allows the quilter to easily view the quilting area.

It is important that the feet are attached and adjusted properly.  If a presser foot is too high, it may cause skipped stitches or broken thread.  If it is placed too low it may cause the machine to become out of time.  To adjust the presser feet properly follow this procedure.

Place the foot so the needle will clear it when lowered and so the screw for securing the foot is loosely connecting the foot.  You should not tighten the screw at this time.  Move the machine away from any quilt that may be on the frame.  Lower the needle to its lowest point.  You may use the needle down option.  With the needle at its lowest point, place a dime under the edge of the presser foot to make sure the foot is at the proper height and tighten the screw.  Remove the dime and raise the needle. The presser foot should be at the optimal height.  This procedure should be followed any time a presser foot is placed on the TinLizzie18.

Please note that if there is a quilt with thick seams and the presser foot is having a difficult time clearing them you may raise the presser foot temporarily to avoid the thicker seams.  Then follow the adjustments above to return the presser foot to the optimal height.

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Coping Strips

Posted by on February 23, 2017

“Sadly these strips are called coping strips because we have to ‘cope’ with the fact that all blocks are not equal…”

What to use coping strips for:

  • Make all blocks equal
  • Make your quilt larger quickly
  • Easiest way to keep your points

Fabric Yardage*:

½” Finished Coping Strips (13” finished block) – 7/8 yard – 1 ½” strips

1” Finished Coping Strips (14” finished block) – 1 1/8 yard – 2” strips

1 ½” Finished Coping Strips (15” finished block) – 1 ½ yard – 2 ½” strips

2” Finished Coping Strips (16” finished block) – 1 ¾ yard – 3” strips

2 ½” Finished Coping Strips (17” finished block) – 2 yard – 3 ½” strips

3” Finished Coping Strips (18” finished block) – 2 ¼ yard – 4” strips

*This assumes that your blocks currently measure at least 11 ½” and does not give you extra yardage if you are pretreating the fabric and it shrinks.

Coping Strip Sewing Instructions:

Sew your strips all the way around your block then square up to the desired size. Remember that finished size does not include your seam allowance. Add ½” to the finished block size to get the size you need to square your blocks up to. (Finished size is 100% done; sewn into your quilt; all four sides sewn to other pieces.)

 To square up: Place large square-up ruler on top of block. Center the ruler over the block and trim all four sides.

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Free Motion Option of the Quilt Magician

Posted by on December 8, 2016


Using the Free Motion option on the Quilt Magician you can create and save your own original designs.  These designs can then be edited in the same ways that other patterns are edited.

While in the Quilt Magician Mode:

Touch the House > Free Motion.

You will see a field with crosshairs indicating where the needle is positioned.

On the right-hand side is START.  As soon as you touch START the recording begins.  It does not record time, but movement.  You may record while stitching or not depending on your preference.  The Quilt Magician will record until you touch STOP.

When STOP is touched, a SAVE option appears on the screen.  If you are happy with the result touch SAVE.  A New screen opens with a key pad to name the pattern.

If you are not satisfied with the result, simply touch START again and when you begin moving the new recording will appear.

When you are ready to save touch the SAVE option and then key in the name you prefer and touch the check mark to save.

To retrieve the pattern is it as with other patterns.

Touch the House èAdd Pattern.  You will find the new saved pattern at the end of the pattern list.  You are able to move your pattern to your preferred folder by the following procedure.

Touch House > File Manager

You will see a window with SPOURCE at the top left.  Choose INTERNAL since that is where the pattern is.  Then touch the blue search sphere at the right to find the pattern you want to move.  A window with the list of patterns will open.  Locate your new pattern at the end of the list and touch it. Touch the check mark for okay.

Now Touch the DESTINATION option in the lower left of the screen.  Make sure the INTERNAL option is chosen because you are saving it to an internal folder.   Touch the blue search sphere to find the folder where you would like the pattern to go.  Notice you have an option to create a new folder.  You may want to create a folder of your own patterns rather than placing the pattern in an existing folder.  Choose the folder to place your pattern and touch the check mark for okay.  You now have the options at the bottom of the screen to save or delete.  Touch save and you should have a message saying SAVED.

If you would like to move the pattern to a USB stick, just choose USB instead of internal in the DESTINATION option.

If you are tracing a printed pattern that has repeats in it to convert it to a .qcc file in the Quilt Magician it is advisable to trace only one repeat and then add as many of the repeats you need on the quilt in the EDIT option.

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