TABLE: I had read that banquet tables could be used for the frame so we had decided not to purchase the table from
SIZE: We went back and forth deciding if we should go ahead and set it up as wide as we could (120″) or use the 96″ top and just add the smaller table and move the frame whenever I had a wider top to do. We decided on the full size and I’m so thankful that we did. Although this system is designed to be taken down and moved it isn’t something I want to be doing very often! I usually only made lap sized quilts because they were easier to quilt on a domestic machine but now I’m finding my quilts are increasing in size!!
TRACK: The system comes with sticky tabs to hold down the one track. We used them but once I started quilting I found that I seemed to be going over hills and valleys and no matter how often I practiced I couldn’t make even circles or even straight lines because the machine seemed to get away from me. I thought that perhaps the table wasn’t level so I was continually having my husband adjust the legs while I moved the machine around. I finally realized that these hills and valleys were where the tapes were so we tried adding more tabs but it didn’t work. Off came the frame again and we removed all the tabs, scrubbed the residue off and put down a full length of 3m double sided tape. 100% improvement!
BARS: There has been some talk about the bars with the Handiquilter frame being flimsy. The only concern I had was that the idler bar rubbed the machine when it was at the centre point of the frame. I posted my concern on the HQ16 yahoo group and had many responses from changing out the bars to raising the bar to it doesn’t matter if it rubs! I wrote to HandiQuilter and they also said that the idler bar being low is not as important because once you load the quilt the tension of the sandwich being pulled up to the take-up bar lifts it up. Still, I didn’t like the idea of it rubbing so my husband took the bar apart at the centre and put some duct tape around it and put it back together. Simple fix and no more rubbing!
LEADERS: There has also been much discussion about HQ’s leaders. Truthfully I find them a bit flimsy. They are a light-weight muslin with one side of 1/2″ Velcro attached. You are supplied with the other side of the 1/2″ Velcro that you must attach to the bars. While easy enough to do you must be very, very careful to put it on straight. They tell you to follow the machining lines on the bars but some are very hard to spot. The adhesive on the Velcro has only a short time before it sticks permanently so you must take your time to put it on right the first time! Personally, I think HandiQuilter should but the Velcro on the polls at the factory to ensure straightness. If the Velcro is not straight your leader won’t be straight (at least not without some adjusting
I found that pinning the sections onto the leaders very hard on my back so I purchased zippers that are made for long arms where half of the zipper is sewn onto the leaders. I tried basting the sections onto the other half of the zippers with Vanish Extra (water soluble thread) but I found that my domestic machine doesn’t feed even enough and ends up stretching the top or backing while it sews it down. Don’t have that problem any other time but it doesn’t like the zipper tape I guess. So, I pin the zipper onto the top and back but at least I can sit down to do it and my back thanks me. After that they just ‘zip’ right onto the bars and makes unloading so much easier.
TIPS: Here are a few tips I learned from the various yahoo groups. Thanks to those that shared – I’m sorry I don’t remember who you are!