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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A potpourri for a Wednesday...

I guess one of the reasons for this blog thing is to share ideas, thoughts, concepts and opinions, in some cases even if they aren't requested. I've always said if you don't want mine...don't ask...even then there are no guarantees. With that comes this post...and not a soul ask. My standard disclaimer...there may not be one other longarmer, Innova owner or operator, or the owner or operator of any other longarm machine that has had one or any of the situations we have encountered. But if, just in case someone has and what we have found out and shared here on the blog helped...well that's the whole idea behind this.

Fabric Tension...Side Clamps...we use the Red-E-Edge as well as the Red Snappers along with the white side clamps that came with the machine to secure and maintain the fabrics tension while we quilt. But if you want to save a couple of bucks...

Use a 'pants hangar' and just hook the side clamps to the hanger...there are numerous types of pant/skirt hangers...even those little plastic cheap ones with the little silver slide lock work well.

Red Snappers...I've heard several comments about hard to install...I have to agree in part. Attaching the quilt to the lower/front bar can be a pain and if someone suffers any type of arthritis it could be difficult. We installed a longer leader (a top/back bar leader Innova) on the lower bar. It allows the leader to reach the table and permits installing the Snappers by using the whole hand to press down and not relying on finger/grip strength.
The longer leader reaches the table and provides a solid base to attach the Snappers

 If you stay with the short leader...once you get the end of the leader with the Snapper tube positioned on the bar where you want it...attach several magnets to it and it will remain in place to clip on the retaining clamp of the Snappers. Here's one of those opinions you didn't ask for...If you don't have Red Snappers...sorry. I guess zippers would be my second choice, and I prefer my blood flowing within my body so pins are totally out of the question. 

Bobbins...we can't speak for anyone else, nor can we relate to you how embarrassing it is to answer the question..."Are all Innova Machines this noisy?" We have a terrible bobbin noise, (as of yesterday evening HAD) the rattle transfers through the machine and is amplified. This has been going on for some time. I even  made comment of it on a yahoo group. The manufacturer called and recommended more oil, the 'drop' we had been told to use was not enough. It helped but did not alleviate. Tried 'genies', took out the little spring in the bobbin case and have since purchased a steel "M" bobbin. 

Here's what we know so far...and along with getting the proper bobbin case tension figured out  the standard "M" style bobbin, in the bobbin case with no genie, no spring and a good oiling (we use Mobil 1 0-20WT Synthetic) is the quietest...We have a close friend that has a Gammill...her noise level is our goal...all you hear is the hum of the motor if that makes sense. We feel we are as close as we are going to get considering we are on hardwood flooring and her Gammill is surrounded by wall to wall carpet...acoustics does play a roll.  Found a dealer that sells the steel "M" style bobbins for .50 cents...will be buying quite a few. They even use them in their machines with the Haya Bobbin Case. The little red aluminum ones, for us, are just too light and seem to be 'clangy-ier' than the heavier steel M's.

Thread Tension...there is no answer, no right way, no wrong way, it's not my way or the highway. If you like what you see when you take if off the machine you had it set perfectly. Quick...list all of the things that affect thread tension...You can''s too long a list. I mean like how many different types of batting are there? There are all kinds of ideas and concepts...Jamie Wallen's bobbin tension system works pretty well; full proof? Of course not. That is what we use most of the time...We also use and record our tension with a TOWA and have the Superior Device for top thread tension. I have been told and seen online usage of a Berkley fish scale used instead of the Superior Top Thread Tension device, available at Walmart for just under $20. I and the wife have spent hours watching videos and reading articles and have not found the definitive answer...I think because there isn't one. But I found this article, written I don't know when,and updated in 2008, that is pretty good and probably one of the most thorough. I took away a couple of good thoughts. 
It is on A-1' site (
There is quite a bit of information here that we have found to be beneficial, not only about tension, but also to our quest of quality and efficiency in the longarming process.

Someone ask me how I check my alignment of the quilt before basting...and as I go along. I guess I just figured everyone used a laser level. The one I use can even be attached to the machine, via magnet, for a guide inline with the needle when doing straight lines. And although I have rulers for truer precision, just following the laser line for many patterns works well.

Okay enough for one day, I've got a quilt on the machine and four waiting. Make it great and Quilt till you wilt.


  1. Can you list the make/model number of the laser you use? Thanks

    1. Meg...We currently use two different styles...both are Ryobi and both purchased from Home Depot in the neighborhood of 8 years ago. I did not locate any Model numbers but the one is called Air Grip. I'll post with some pictures later today.