I have a few things to share. First...I read this Kindle book while I ate lunch the other day. I highly recommend it for anyone thinking about getting a longarm or even a midarm (which is what I have.)
I have struggled for many years to get the hang of using my machine. I barely touched it the first two years I owned it. Then I got motivated. I called the manufacturer and they recommended some DVDs made for my machine...it was just what I needed to get going. There is so much to learn and it is so expensive: thread, bobbin winder, templates, pre-wound bobbins, machine needles, batting, marking pens....it all adds up and is different stuff than you use with your domestic sewing machine.
Handling an longarm is a physically demanding job. You are standing the whole time. Bending over when pinning the layers to the frame. Often guiding the machine with one hand while the other holds a template. It ain't so easy!!!
And the most challenging part is figuring out what design to stitch. At one point I considered selling my midarm and just paying for someone else to quilt my tops.
I'm glad I kept working through all my issues. It has been eight years and just one year ago I made a big leap in my knowledge and ability...which for me came from experience. Of course there were many obstacles in my life that kept me away from quilting for several months at a time...and just like the book pointed out...it isn't like riding a bicycle.
Next is a fabric organizing tip I got from our Breakfast Club leader, Marcia. Here's one of my fabric cubes. I try to fold the yardage the same size but as you can see...I'm a bit off!
So simple...can't believe I didn't think of this. Use an acrylic ruler to wrap the fabric around...just like fabric companies wind it onto a bolt.
In my case, the storage cube is about 13 inches wide so a six-inch acrylic ruler that I had in my stash of rulers was perfect for this job. Pull the ruler out after all the fabric is rolled into place...
And fold in half.
The same cube with my re-folded pieces...I had trouble fitting 3 of the pieces back in but I'm thinking maybe the stacks will settle down and I can fit them in later. It took me 40 minutes to refold the fabrics in this cube. I didn't need to re-iron so it could have been worse I suppose. It will take me some time to get to my entire stash but it will be worth it. Fabric pieces must be at least a yard in length to make the cube The bonus...getting a new look at my fabrics. Lots of good stuff here!