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!




Filed under: Blog,TinLizzie18 Quilting Tips | Tags: , , ,

10 Ways to Use the Channel Lock on the Quilting Machine

Posted by on December 11, 2015

Note: You must have a Quilt Magician attached to your machine in order to use the Channel Lock feature.

Clicking on the H would command the quilting machine to lock onto the horizontal cable so that the machine can only be moved vertically. Clicking on the V would command the quilting machine to lock onto the vertical cable so that the machine can only be moved horizontally.

  • Use the channel lock when floating a top onto the backing.
    • Create a straight line on the batting once it is laid into position on the backing and awaiting the placement of the top fabric of the quilt.


  • Use the channel lock to keep rows of pantograph straight.
    • Baste a straight line across the quilt while you have the channel lock on. Then double check your pantograph layout to see if it appears to line up with the basting line accurately.


  • Use the channel lock to create grids
    • Mark the top and left hand side of the quilt with chalk marks is the spacing you which your grid to have. Choose either to channel the horizontal lines or the vertical lines first and the other direction second.
  • Use the channel lock to create channels as wide as 9 inches apart with really deep batting to create an English comforter.
  • Use the channel lock to create channels that you can stuff with feathers for a feather comforter and then sew the opposite channel to create the squares that will lock the feathers into position.
  • Use the channel lock to create a vertical line of basting along the starting edge of the quilt when you are running rows of pantograph. The quilt may not be straight but the line will be straight. You can easily adjust each row when you match up your starting point to the line.
  • Use the channel lock to run a basting line across the quilt after you have rolled your fabric to see if you have rolled the fabric evenly. Your patchwork should line up with the line.
  • You can put the channel lock on and put the computer in record mode and record
  •        straight lines that then can be run as a computerized pantograph.
  • For whole cloth quilts you can mark off the boundaries for blocks and borders with the channel lock. Then with the computer pick your box and set in your patterns.
  • You can put the channel lock on and stitch alone the edge of the quilt in a perfect line. This line will be used to trim and add a nice straight binding.

Filed under: Blog,TinLizzie18 Quilting Tips | Tags: , , , ,

What to do when the machine “jams!”

Posted by on June 2, 2014

Bam! Don’t you just hate that sound? And then the machine is locked up.

The first thing to do is stay calm 99% of the time it is only a fuzzy or thread jam.


If you are in computer mode—save your layout. Don’t worry, you can get back to where you were in the pattern if you save the layout. Then turn everything off.

Go to the back of the machine and grab on to the fly wheel and see if there is any play in the motion of the wheel. In simple terms, rock the wheel back and forth and see if you can get it to free up. Don’t force it; you don’t want to turn the hook on the shaft into another position. You can be firm with it but, let’s check some other things before we go to brutal force.
PHOTO2Rock the fly wheel to get motion between the hook and race to help clear out threads.

Take the bobbin case out.
Take the needle out. You might have to unscrew the needle bar screw to get the needle out—and it might be that you have to take the needle out to get the bobbin case out.

PHOTO4Look in the bobbin basket area and see if there are any threads or fuzzies that you can clear out. Pull them out and use a tweezers if necessary. Then use a lint brush and really work at it to get every bit out that you can.

Oil the bobbin basket/ hook. Oil it until the oil can saturate the fuzzy. Sometimes you will need to let the oil set for a while. Rock the fly wheel a little and then re oil in sequences so that you can work the oil into the fuzzy.

PHOTO5A PHOTO5B PHOTO5COil at the top          Oil on the left        Oil on the right

Try to get oil between the outer part of the hook and the inner part that is called the race. That is generally where the fuzzy is. Our plan is to oil up the fuzzy and when it is greasy enough we will be able to turn the fly wheel and spin the fuzzy out.

PHOTO6Now begin to rock the fly wheel. You will know if you are making headway by how far you can rock it back and forth. It is definitely a fuzzy or thread jam if you can get the fly wheel to respond and loosen up. I remember that I once had to rock that fly wheel 500 times to get the oil worked into the fuzzy so it would then turn.

Once you get the fly wheel turning free, you can turn the machine on without any needle or bobbin case and spin the fuzzys and extra oil out.

It is possible that during the initial thread jam the hook could be turned on the shaft. You will know that this has happened if you cannot get a full rotation of the needle without hitting the hook. You will also know if you are slightly out of time if you begin sewing and skip stitches. If the hook is no longer synchronized with the needle then check out one of the timing videos on our website or YouTube channel, or look in the manual for timing instructions.

Filed under: Blog,Lizzie Support,TinLizzie18 Quilting Tips | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Double Your Pleasure: Another Time Saving Tip from TL18!

Posted by on April 17, 2013

OK. So some of you grandmothers out there… this is for you!

Are you torn between sewing sweet dresses for that beautiful grand daughter or quilting on your TinLizzie18? With this time-saving tip, you can do both!

Start by buying pre-made, pleated clothing. It makes smocking a breeze! Then simply change the buttons to something more fancy and voila! You’ve got beautiful, heirloom-style dresses in a fraction of the time.

PLUS… it leaves more time to quilt on your TinLizzie18 long arm machine! Double pleasure!

What time saving tips do have for us?

Filed under: Blog,TinLizzie18 Quilting Tips | Tags: , , , , , , ,

<< View all posts

© 2018 TinLizzie18. All Rights Reserved.   |   Site Map   |   Legal Disclaimer   |   Privacy Policy