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Monday, November 25, 2013

Training Videos...Not our cup of tea...

This topic has come up before...and we have watched some...90% of the time to no avail when it comes to longarming, our experience. So it has come up again on one of the Yahoo Groups we follow so here is our response that we posted on Yahoo. We thought it needed to be shared on the blog also. Will more than likely link on Facebook too. In our case just an opinion we want to share. I'm sure there are training videos on sword swallowing...not going to make me a sword swallowing guru. I'll bet it would take doing it to get efficient. 

Our Response:
We are going to be the devil's advocates here. More me, Les, than Elaine, because where she has quilted a dozen, I've quilted a 100. And being the male of the species, "I don't need no stinking instructions." 

I have tried to watch several training videos. And though I find the quality of the ABM videos to be good many others were found to be poorly done and incomplete. Seems like one or two things are always out of whack; poor lighting or poor sound for the lesson I was trying to learn. In my case, not being a quilter and having never sewed a stitch, they all miss the simple things. There was one on tension that was pretty good, but only provided general knowledge and not knowledge specific to Innova. I want to learn 'feathers/free motion.' I've watched a couple of videos and the 'instructor' says stuff like, "Just get the feel for the motion and go with it." If I had the feel for the motion I wouldn't need to be watching your video. I bought a book and will be lining up the practice quilts. 

Rene does some pretty good stuff...but if you can't figure out how to use Red Snappers you’re going to have a lot of trouble. Probably one of the greatest and simplest inventions ever associated with longarming. But hey that's just me. I'm sure for some zippers work good...I don't sew. i.longarm and you have to sew on zippers.

I'm afraid, even as frustrated as I have gotten, I find it best to learn via doing. Trial and error. Jack the Seam Ripper at hand. Practice Sandwiches at the ready. Adjust this, adjust that, use this, remove that, tilt this, lean that. It has been the mistakes that I have made that provided the lessons learned. 

I've had crooked patterns on the screen. I've had crooked patterns on the quilt. Patterns that load and patterns that don't. I've had the machine just stop. I've had neither the white button nor the green button operate in mid quilt. I've had PantoV freeze up in mid quilt. Do you know about "X" and "Y" Axis and the little black wheels? I certainly do as they have been a real pain in the butt since initial install. They are almost dependable now...not quit yet but almost. Have you ever adjusted yours...I have, several times. Have you ever calibrated your grid...don't ask...too complicated. 

My point...this is not what is covered in Training Videos...everything in Training Videos works well as the one being videoed. That's not reality. You want to learn about the PantoVision connected to your machine...load a practice sandwich and quilt and quilt and quilt. Feeling a little more some 'charity' quilts. 

You want some training...find a way to get to a hands on class. We drove for four hours and stayed overnight for our two day class. Hopefully with other users that have had problems and can share what they did do correct them. Start an Innova at your or another Innova owners house/studio and do hands on, sharing and learning. 

So I'm not a fan of training videos...with that said I am well aware we are all different. There may be some that can learn this way...neither of us can. We need to do to learn. I couldn't thread the machine when we started, or the bobbin winder. And the needle, well that's a whole other story. I threaded both at least a dozen times before I loaded a practice quilt or a bobbin. I couldn't follow a straight line on Panto to save my butt...I think my first 4 or 5 quilts were "Meander." I can't tell you how many times I heard 'Just follow the line." Well I'm here to tell you I never follow the line. I follow the pattern, the little red "+" may be in the vicinity of the line...but the moment I try to follow the line...well it appears I'm still meandering. 

Good luck with whatever learning process you choose. I just know this...I learned to drive by driving, shoot, by shooting, cook, by cooking and well...longarming by longarming. I finished what many would call a 'complex' pattern yesterday, on a 60" X 80" quilt. It took almost three hours, the seam ripper never came out, my transitions when changing bobbins were smooth and without a whole heck of a lot of effort; undetectable, there were no 'birds nests' and the piecer was extremely satisfied with the longarming and said something that makes my heart smile. "You complimented my quilt." 

There is an event coming to our area in February. Birds of a Feather ( I have been ask to preside over the class and provide some instruction on PantoVision. I was honored to say the least...more than is a hands on class with other Innova users. For all of those involved, including lucky me...another opportunity to learn about something we all do...longarm quilts using PantoVision...I'm excited to say the least for another opportunity to learn while doing. 

ABM has researched, developed and manufactured what we feel is the absolute best machine available to a longarm quilter...the best. They have provided some good quality videos to cover the basics and when you pick up the phone, 24/7 you get a human response, something disappearing in customer service worldwide. We feel they have put the ball in our court and it is time for us to make the effort to move forward. In this case forward involves longarming and if we are watching another training video we aren't longarming. But hey that's just us. 

Les and Elaine Page
Virginia Beach, VA
We Quilt on Facebook
Quilt of Valor State and Guild Coordinators

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