I have been using the APQS George to free motion quilt my latest piece. Most sane quilters use the realistic idea that you should practice first on baby quilts or muslin sandwiches before you tackle a large piece. Well. as impatient as I am , I did give it a try for about maybe 10 hours. Boring. Very boring. And it is not very realistic as my work has lots of seams with little lines.
So, I basted a piece up and away I went. I was very careful to test on a sample before I jumped into a change of color or change in type of thread but I definitely just said to myself: get going and quit being a perfectionist.
In the process of spending about 25 slow hours of machine quilting on it, I bonded with this machine. I learned the following tips and tricks which may make your journey a little easier:
1. Do test each and every bobbin and thread change for accurate tension on a muslin sample. He is FUSSY and likes to be pampered a bit as far as tension is concerned. He works beautifully if you have the top and bottom tension happy with each other. Otherwise , you are not in control and he is. The extra time to fiddle with the tension is worth the time you would spend ripping out bad stitching.
2. I tried various combinations of threads. I found that the combo of Superior Threads So Fine on top and Bottom Line in the bobbin works well. Also, I tried Masterpiece in the bobbin with Mettler Cotton on top and it was not a planned experiment but it worked well. I did eventually get Aurofil to work as well but I needed lots of patience with this thread.
3. George wants to run fast and does better if I set my speed and let him work full speed at that speed .(Confusing sentence if you don’t have this machine …) But push your pedal down and fly on the speed. This is a big machine and when I finally got moving and got my rhythm, he was happy to oblige with nice stitching.
4. The bobbin winder that they send with the machine is really CHINYZY. The Simplicity bobbin winder gave me big headaches . I am not sure why this cheap piece of equipment is sent with this expensive machine. I started winding my bobbins on my domestic machine and since then the bobbin tension has been much easier to control. I am using a Bernina 430 to wind the bobbins which is one of my piecing machines. This is the only complaint I have at this time with my machine.
So ta-da: my first finish on my George!
Rooflines #14 is not a huge piece-39×58 at this point without the facing -but it was breeze to work with it on this machine. When I conquer a beast of q quilt, I will update you again!
Thank you Elizabeth!
Colleen- The quilt looks fantastic! I found that even with my Gammill, spending time checking the tension with each thread change is worth it. Eventually, you will be in total sync with your machine and your time checking the tension will dramatically decrease. Good for you!
Thanks Maria! I am ready to be in sync with it and not fight tension issues. But time spent now will definitely be worth it in the long run.
Beautiful quilting, on a beautiful quilt! Glad you’re settling in to a relationship with George. I don’t like that cheesy bobbin winder either, but I’ve gotten used to it. I might start winding bobbins on my old Bernina; thanks for the idea.
Fun to see you working in this fresh, lighter palette (though I like your darker ones very much too). I’m going to get a George soon so was happy to read about your experiences with it.
Any questions, Monica-ask away!
Still happy with the George? I am seriously considering purchasing one at HMQS in May. Just wanted to know if you were still happy a year in…