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Help Your Longarm Tech Help You
By Dan Novak

Everyone who machine quilts is going to have an adjustment or repair some time. There are just to many variables when it comes to fabric, threads, batting, and even needles. Everyoneís technique is different as well. This can make it harder to troubleshoot a problem over the phone. It is not all that important that you know all of the proper names of the parts of your machine. If you can explain what the part looks like and where it is located, a good tech can usually figure out what you mean. Donít feel insulted or intimidated if the tech ask you if the needle is in correctly, or if the bobbin is in properly. It is easy to overlook the simple things. Donít be embarrassed to admit to accidents or attempted repairs. Knowing this will expedite your repair. Remember that the main goal is to get you back up and quilting again.
Professionals and experienced machine quilters have spent many hours getting familiar with their machines. They have also developed a technique that works well for them. These people can be an excellent resource for you. Often they are willing to help you learn more about machine quilting.
I donít think you need to be a mechanic to repair your machine. You should have some tools so that you can make minor repairs and adjustments. Keeping your machine clean helps to avoid many repairs.
You should learn the basics for repairing your machine. Read the instructions before you start. Taking classes on the operation of the machine can be a big help. Many machine quilting shows offer basic repair classes. Most manufacturers and dealers offer classes on their machine. In these classes you learn the basics including cleaning and adjustments. If you are not very mechanical you may want to find a local repairperson comfortable with the machines. You can even ask them to show you some of the basic repairs. Often they will show you.
When something goes wrong, think about what changed or what happened. Always start with the easy things. Is it threaded right? Could it be this new thread? Is the needle too thin for this fabric?
Never be afraid to call and ask for advice. If you are not sure what is wrong, call and ask for help diagnosing the problem. It can save you a lot of time. Most of the situations have happened to others and can be quickly identified by and experienced technician.