For this month’s JUKI Tip, we’re focusing on adjusting the bobbin tension on your longarm machine like our Miyabi J-350QVP! A common question we hear from sewists and quilters is, “how do I adjust the tension for my bobbin on my longarm?” We’re going to start off today’s JUKI Tip by covering what bobbin tension is, how to get true good tension for your next project, and a tool we think all quilters and sewists can benefit from having in their tool kit!
Follow along below as our JUKI National Account Trainer Alba demonstrates setting the bobbin tension for her Miyabi J-350QVP Longarm machine and how she finds the perfect tension for her project needs.
The first thing we cover is what our bobbin case and bobbin look like. For our JUKI longarm machines, you’ll need an M-Class bobbin and bobbin case. Inside the bobbin case, you’ll find its spring, which prevents backlash as your bobbin turns inside. Always check on your spring when changing bobbins, confirming its blue color to ensure it’s good to go! If you notice the blue haze diminishing, it’s time for your spring to be replaced.
Now it’s important to take care of your bobbin case! Handle with care to ensure that the metal doesn’t receive any bumps or bending from drops. This will affect your tension in the long run and how the bobbin pulls on your thread.
Starting off with a full bobbin, we’ll place the bobbin thread inside the bobbin, ensuring to pull the thread to the right side, before placing the bobbin in the bobbin case and stretching the thread to where the slit is so that it falls right into that tension area. That area is what holds the thread tension when you’re creating. Now the two screws you see on the side can be used to adjust the tension. By turning the screws in 15-minute increments, as opposed to twisting it fully, you’ll be able to adjust your tension slowly to your goal tension number. Remember, lefty loosey and righty tighty!
There are two ways to test your tension. One way to test your tension is by hand. You can do this by setting the bobbin on your palm, making sure to face the bobbin away from you as it normally would in the machine, and then pulling on the thread. You’ll want to make sure you can pull the thread up, slowly lifting it from your palm without the bobbin releasing from the bobbin case. The second way, a technique that offers more precise measurement, is using a tool like the TOWA Guage.
The TOWA Gauge is a tool quilters will love because of the assistance it can offer when you’re trying to get that perfect tension. The goal place our trainer recommends is between 180 and 200. However, her favorite is a little lower at 150. On a longarm, you want your tension to be able to handle multiple layers of batting and fabrics, so you’ll want your top thread and lower thread to meet right in the middle of your batting for good strong tension.
Following along on our youtube video, you’ll notice how inserting the bobbin into the TOWA Gauge is like inserting the bobbin into your longarm machine. Make sure to listen for a click as your setting your bobbin to ensure it’s placed in properly. Next, stretch the thread and run it along the bottom side of the first wheel and up and around to the top; here, you’ll begin to notice the gauge move. As your thread goes into the thread guide and out to the side, pull steadily and even to measure the tension. From here, you’ll be able to decide if you need to adjust the tension number to your preferred goal tension.
Once you’ve finalized your perfect bobbin tension, you can focus on your needle and thread combination. Having the right bobbin, needle, and thread is what will help your projects finish successfully and beautifully, but we’ll cover those combinations soon!
Thank you for joining us in this month’s JUKI Tip, where we focused on how to adjust the bobbin tension on your longarm machine. What JUKI Tip do you want to see next? Let us know in the comments below!
Join us this month as we celebrate National Quilting month with some of our favorite JUKI quilting machines. Whether you’re working in a studio, or on your kitchen table, we make sure to have what you need to start creating.
Check out this month’s top quilting machines and contact your local JUKI dealer here to learn more about our machine features and projects you can start creating today!
Do friends and family members ask for you to make quilts for them? Is someone asking where you got that pillow that you quilted yourself? Sometimes, when we get good at our craft, we find people who want to buy our work. That’s when a business starts to grow, so where do you start?
Today we’re going to dive into how you can start your own at-home quilting business. Now, a quilting business doesn’t mean you have to create projects endlessly; in fact, there are possibilities in pattern creation, custom requested works, and more. In this post, we’ve pulled together some steps to make your own quilting business and how to start.
Create Your Business Plan
While a business can start with some scribbled plans in your notes app, creating a successful one without a real plan is much more challenging. Businesses, large and small, begin to see success when some serious planning and budgeting is put into play. A business plan is a roadmap you create for your company.
Business plans should include:
Description of your business
How do you plan to manage it
The products and services you plan to sell
Market and competitor research
Budget and finance plans
Marketing and advertising plans
All of these things can be completed by you, but if you decide to build your brand and go legal, look for a professional who focuses on small businesses. They can help you decide on a business structure that’s best for your plan and are more likely to have contacts that can help you in finance and marketing matters when you need it. Need help creating your plans? Keep up with JUKI Business Plus blog posts to help you start your business here.
Getting the Right Equipment
Now that you have your business idea in motion let’s start thinking about the equipment you’ll need for your small business.
The best thing about quilting is it doesn’t require a specialty machine. There are two basic types of machine quilting that quilters can access on most sewing machines—straight line and free motion.
This type is best accomplished by replacing a regular presser foot with a walking foot and even feed foot. A walking foot is a specialized pressure foot that grips the top of the quilt sandwich, advancing it through the machine at the same rate as the quilt’s back, which touches and is moved along by the sewing machine’s feed dogs.
A machine like the TL-2010Q is perfect for basic straight stitches and piecing. However, a free motion quilting machine like the TL-18QVP or Miyabi J-350QVP is required for designs like curves and intricate patterns.
Free Motion Quilting
With free motion quilting, you’re able to create intricate designs as if you had hand-stitched them into the quilt. Learning FMQ takes time, but many resources are available that teach you to create unique designs.
For FMQ, the machine’s feed dogs are lowered, meaning nothing is in place under the quilt sandwich to guide it along. The quilter is in total control of the motion. Now your speed and how fast you run the sewing machine work together to determine stitch length. You have options on sewing feet like a darning foot or a special foot for machine quilting. Remember that special feet resemble a darning foot but have larger openings.
A machine like the Miyabi J-350QVP is perfect for free motion quilting since you have a large workspace and can use the machine bars to move and design intricate pieces.
What to Sell
If you’ve thought about opening your quilting business, you probably already have some ideas set aside on what you would sell in your shop. However, there are so many ways to make money with your long-arm or sewing machine, so let’s review some options for what you can do with yours!
Not everyone has the skills for quilting, and that’s where quilters like you come in to help! With so many quilt lovers in the world who don’t have the time and skills to create their ideas, you can offer services for making custom quilts. A venture like this is excellent because of revenue, as shoppers pay well for handcrafted personalized items.
Use that machine! Mass production doesn’t have to mean creating 100’s of quilts, but instead using simple designs and creating multiples of the quilt to sell in marketplaces or e-shops. Also, not every quilt has to be unique, as many homeowners enjoy simple pieces they can add to family rooms and bedrooms.
Owning a quilting business doesn’t mean just selling quilts. Many quilters love to try their hand at creating new projects. Create patterns and upload their PDF files onto your site! By selling physical copies to your local quilt shop, you now have a product that people can continually purchase that doesn’t require you to quilt!
Do you have a long arm at home? Many quilters work on domestic home machines, meaning they don’t have that large workspace long-arm quilters have. Offer long-arm rentals to local quilters for hourly rates, and enjoy that time to work on other projects. You can also offer your skills for rent and finish quilts for others on your long arm.
If you’ve been quilting for years, attended quilting classes yourself, and find yourself teaching friends and family, look into teaching! Contact your local quilt shop’s favorite sewing brands, or start your own social media channel. There are always new quilters in the world looking for instruction, and with technology, you can offer online and in-person education.
How and Where to Sell
Now that you have an idea of what services and products you can offer let’s discuss how you will reach your audience and sell to them. In our day and age, many small businesses begin on social media platforms or e-shops.
Social Media and Sales
The best way to reach your audience is through social media platforms. Easily accessible and free to use, sites like Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and more have opened up new sales channels for small businesses. One of the first things you should do when starting a side-hustle is set up a business or company page. Many customers now run to social media sites to see if your company is legit before ordering. In addition, these sites offer customers the opportunity to see what kind of products and services you offer, customer reviews, and so much more.
Social media sites now offer selling points for businesses as well. Facebook marketplace, for example, is perfect for selling home goods. Anyone can post an item for sale, and you can hit niche markets easily by discovering pages and groups for specific topics. Facebook marketplace does hold guidelines that sellers must abide by when selling, and can be found here. (link guidelines)
Instagram offers its version of an e-shop now as well. With Instagram shopping, you’re able to post products for sale directly onto your Instagram account. Think of this as a digital storefront for your shop. You can include graphics, videos, shopping tags, and more to drive sales. It also allows you to place full product descriptions, advertisements, and more. However, unlike Facebook, there is an approval process for selling on Instagram’s shop. To have a shop on Instagram, you need a business page, Instagram shop approval, and a small fee is applied.
Remember that you don’t need to invest money when selling on social media off the bat. Instead, you can focus on organically growing your business by word of mouth, using engaging posts, and attaching hashtags to your descriptions.
If you feel you’ve outgrown selling on social media sites and want to upgrade, the next step we recommend is researching e-shops. Now there are multiple options when it comes to opening an e-shop, so we gathered a few of the top ones below:
eBay: This eCommerce site has been a go-to for sellers since 1995. With the ability to sell any form of product and service, you can sell services like finishing quilts, or you sell your hand-made projects. Their fees include non-refundable product/service listings and fee charges if you’re placing your product in multiple categories for sale. The perks of this site revolve around its popularity. With eBay constantly having high traffic, your items can easily be accessed by customers all over the country.
Etsy: Artisan-focused and highly popular, Etsy is the perfect e-shop location for someone opening their small business. This site allows you to promote and sell your handcrafted products at low fees. Listing fees are $0.20 for each item and will last for four months. This site is great for upgrading their shops but isn’t ready to fully commit to a website.
Shopify: Shopify is an excellent option for those opening their first e-shop. With Shopify, you can create a website to sell your products and customize the site to your aesthetic. This is a significant step when building your credibility as an established business! Everything is now done on this site, from placing products and selling to handling inventory and processing payments. Shopify comes with a monthly fee from a Basic package of $29 to an Advanced package for $299.
If you’re someone who enjoys selling in person, research your local farmer’s markets and artisan fairs! You can purchase a shop space and sell to new customers you wouldn’t have reached online by communicating with these event planners. These events do require a larger budget and should be planned accordingly. Keep in mind the furniture you’ll need to showcase your products, how you’ll handle money, and other variables like food, inventory, and more. ‘
Get To Work
Now that you have a basic rundown of what you need to start your new side business, it’s time to sit down and plan! Circling back to the start of our planning, it’s time to create that business plan. Remember to include your product/service plan, marketing plan, budget plan, and finance plan. Starting a business plan is like building a roadmap. Follow the roadmap, and you’ll have a much higher chance of reaching your destination, a thriving business, than trying to jump into this with a few notes written down.
We hope this has been able to help you get a clearer vision for your future quilting business! So if you’re looking to start your own quilting business, join us here to learn more about JUKI Business plus and how we can help you today!
Celebrate National Quilting Month by bringing out your favorite charm squares, jelly rolls, and sandwiches! Whether you’re creating for friends and family or your small business, we’ve put together a few fun ideas for projects you can quilt next.
Decorating new office spaces or livening up current homes is easy with wall hangings. Projects like these are perfect because you can create smaller designs than quilts and use them for seasonal purposes. With the ability to create on a large or small scale, you can try new techniques like adding embellishments and accents (for example, cording) that you wouldn’t have thought of using before. This project is excellent for when holidays and birthdays come around since it can brighten up any room, from a nursing home to your kid’s college dorm.
Accessories like the Couching Foot are perfect when creating wall hangings. They allow you to add three-dimensional textures to your projects, bringing in an extra element that will make your design pop. Use decorative threads like yarn and cord or other thicker threads that don’t fit your needle.
Pillows are great for many reasons:
You can create beautiful personalized décor and treat pillows like a small sample for a quilt idea you have by making that one block you need. A pillow allows you the freedom of creation like a quilt, with less fabric and space required.
You can treat pillows as an add-on to your quilts and create matching or complementary designs.
Creating simple add-ons like pillows is a great way to increase your revenue if you have a small business.
Look into an accessory like theGlide Foot when creating décor like pillows. This foot can help you glide along with applique, and other three-dimensional textures, allowing you to get creative and add more personalization to your projects.
Table Top Décor
Have holidays motivated you to create new table runners? Have the seasons changed, and do you want to brighten up your home for spring? Table décor is a great way to bring color to your home! Create pieces like table toppers, table runners, dresser décor, storage covers, and so much more. Perfect for protecting your furniture while bringing in color and a theme to your rooms, these patterns are great for anyone who wants a touch of color in their home.
If you want to add fun shapes and lines to your designs, look into quilting rulers like our JUKI Ruler Set. You can create different textures from straight lines to circles and waves and bring your designs to life.
Totes, Pouches, and More!
Bring your artwork outside your home by creating beautiful travel gear! Show off your quilting skills by creating pieces that can hold your money, electronics, or clothing. Work in matching sets like wallets and handbags or traveling sets like make-up bags and carrier totes to brighten up your trips. The possibilities are endless when it comes to hitting the road with your creations.
Tools like Grip and Stitch are great to have one hand when you’re quilting those detailed projects. They make free-motion quilting fun and easy and allow you to easily add on fun designs like spirals, feathers, and more.
Quilts and More Quilts
Whether your project was created for comfort and lounging, or décor that can bring in bright colors, quilts will never be out of style. Quilts can be so versatile when we step outside of the box. Decorate your home by placing quilts on racks and ladders, use them to upholster chairs and love seats, toss them on white couches for pops of colors. Whether you’re using them for comfort or because the pattern was just suitable for your aesthetic, you can never go wrong with creating a quilt.
Look into extension poles when quilting more significant projects for a more effortless and more fun experience! By adding extension poles, you can easily design quilts from twin to king-size on your stand-up quilting machine like the Miyabi J-350QVP.
While quilts may have started off as a necessity in the past, they’ve become their own form of artwork for current generation quilters. So branch out and try your skill in new quilting projects like the ones mentioned above the next time you start on a new project! What are your favorite inventive ways to use your quilts?