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Welcome, Introductions

Give overview of topics, Assembly & Setup, Attaching your Project, Quilting,
Maintenance & Trouble Shooting, Other items of interest.

References: Tin Lizzie 18 owner’s manual dated October 2006 rev. November 2006

Assembly & Setup

Coating the wood frame – 100% Optional
Ensure it is completely dried to prevent pieces from sticking

Prepping your pipes

Do Not sand your pipes as they have a coating to prevent rust
Use a clean cloth damp (water if needed) to wipe them down
Be careful when cleaning pipes burs can cut easy
If you find a bur place it out of the way like towards the bottom

Leveling your table

Use the machine to check for level
The best way to ensure that your frame is level is to place your machine on and see if
it drifts.
There are level devices that can be used if you prefer.

Adjusting the frame

Remove your machine before adjusting your frame to prevent it from falling off.
When you have your deck on track press down firmly and move the deck up and
down your track to ensure that there are no bumps when passing over the jaw.
o You may need to sand these a little for a smooth travel.

How high
Your machine should be adjusted so that your arms are about 90 degrees. If you
arms are too high or too low you will tire quickly and need many rest periods and it
will take longer to finish your quilt. You also want to be able to see your work as
you go.
If you need the frame shorter you can remove the extension legs.

Oiling (reference Handbook page 5)
Cover the oiling point. We will go more into oiling during maintenance.
Surge protector
Use a surge protector to help ensure that your electronics are protected.
o There are several types of surge protectors out there. The typical one that you
see connected to computers, TV and other house hold items is a $5 power strip
which offers very little protection.
o Protection is measured by Joules the higher the joules the better the protection.
Your standard power strip 800 joules

Ü Tip: a better surge protector will keep you sewing longer. A few people have had
fuses go out so I would get the better protection.

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Threading (reference Handbook pages 11 – 12)
Are there any questions on threading your machines?
We will cover tension when we get to Troubleshooting

Bobbins (reference Handbook pages 6 – 7)

Are there any questions on bobbins?
We will cover tension and adjusting the Bobbin winder when we get to

Handle Bars and attaching laser

Moving the bar and controller to the back
How to attach the laser
Adjusting your laser
More in depth use of your laser will be covered in the Tin Lizzie 18 Club during the
month of May

Other items
Adequate lighting is required.
The recommended light for your light fixture on your machine is the Super Bright
curly Q style light, which use 20 watts and puts out 100 watts of light. Using fewer
watts keeps the light from getting too hot during quilting.

Room to work
Depending on your use you want to make sure that you can move smoothly along
your machine to ensure that you can stitch your quilt with a Constance speed for best
quality stitches.

Any questions

Attaching your Project

What are leaders
What fabric to use
How big to make
How to make leaders
Serge the edges
Using zippers, pins, Velcro
How to attach leaders
Velcro, Tape

Your quilt
How to attach
Basting to Velcro
Basting to zipper
Pinning Straight, Safety

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Importance of squaring up (reference LAMQ page 38)
An out-of-square backing cannot be loaded onto the rollers correctly because it
creates sagging in some places and tightness in others. It is best to square each
backing before loading it onto the frame.

How tight
You want your backing and batting to be smooth with no lumps. You do not want to
roll it so tight that you could rest on it. Your quilt sandwich needs to have some give
in order for your needle to create stitches.

Choosing a batting
Your batting choice is wide. One thing to look at when planning your quilt is how
much fluff do you want, how tight are you going to quilt your master piece? Some
batting works better for large space between quilting and others work better for
closer spaces.

Any questions

QCC or Speed; this is a personal choice. When you are using your practice piece do
some stitching with both and see which you like. Then as you get going you will see
some places where Speed is better over QCC and other places where QCC is better over
If you are meandering or stippling then speed might give you better points and
curves. Remember when stitching with the speed switch it does not mean you will
get done faster and you control the stitch length.
If you are following a pattern, stencil, pantograph then you may want to use the QCC
as your speed will change as you are making turns and keeping lined up on patterns.
Speed you can concentrate on your movement where QCC your concentration will
be on your pattern rather than your movement.

Pressure foot
Important to have in the down position to ensure tension is applied to top thread
Important to have in the down position to ensure tension is applied to top thread

Needle up/down
Used to pull up bobbin thread to prevent nest
Needle down helps keep your spot when advancing your quilt.
This also depends on what kind of quilting you are doing.
If you are using a pattern and you want to start in the same place then needle down
when you stop.
If you are stitching lines or half circles then you will want to stop needle up so you
can start the next line.
o If you are going to sew lines or half circles slow your machine down and let it
put two or three stitches in place to help tie off your ends.

What is needle deflection?
Why is it important to understand about deflection?

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How to change
When removing your needle save the old one until you have the new one in place.
You can use the old needle to hold the new one while tightening the screw.
You have a front and back of the needle
The front is the side with the groove; this groove is where the thread rides down
threw your quilt. With out this groove your thread could get cut and break, so
another place to check when your thread is breaking is where is the groove.
The back of the needle has a scarf area this is where the bobbin hook scoops up the
thread and feeds it around your bobbin area to create the stitch. If you’re not getting
stitches ensure that your scarf is in the correct area and that the hook is passing close
to your needle. Remember what we said about deflection.

When to change
How do we know it is time to change the needle?
If you hear the popping sound as your needle passes threw your quilt you’ve waited
too long.
With all the bending that the need goes through your needle will weaken and with all
the stitches it is creating it will get dull.
The recommended time to change your needle is after 3 or 4 quilts with the older
needle the new needle you should change after 9 or 10.
Depending on how much quilting you’re doing and what kind of seams, cloth,
batting, and other threads you cross you might want to change your needle after 6 or
7 quilts.
A sharper needle will pass threw better and cleaner than a dull needle.

What type
You can use any thread you would like to with the Tin Lizzie Eighteen. It is
sometimes easier to use thread that it was tested with which is King Tut.
The thing to remember about using other threads is you will need to make
adjustments to the tension. Tension will be covered under Troubleshooting.
You want to use good quality thread in your Tin Lizzie
o What is good quality thread…. Well you want to use one with long staples, one
that has longer strands hold up better than ones with short.
o One that has little to no lint. I know all threads are going to give you lint but
threads that produce less lint help to keep your machine clean and prevent
needle jams.

What is available?
Marking chalk

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Maintenance & Troubleshooting
Oil and Cleaning (reference Handbook page 4)
Oiling: When you first setup your machine and before you thread it let your machine run
for a couple of minutes then place 3 to 4 drops in all the oiling spots and let your machine
run for another 3 to 5 minutes this will help your machine run smooth and ensure that you
are getting enough oil to keep it running smooth for years to come. If your machine sets
for a few months then I recommend that you repeat this process just so that you know
that all parts are well oiled.
If you oil your machine after each quilt you will have a long and happy quilting life
with your machine.

Cleaning: Wipe down your machine and ensure that your area is clean to keep dirt, lint,
stray threads, and oil from getting on your quilts. Clean lint and threads and oil from the
bobbin area.
Once a month or after 5 quilts: Remove the needle plate and give the whole area a
good cleaning. Wipe down both sides of the needle plate, vacuum out the bobbin area,
and get the lint that is saved between the deck and bobbin.
Do not use can air using can air can create a situation for needle jam. If you use can
air to clean the outside of your machine ok but don’t spray into the open end of your
bobbin area.

Your Top Thread tension is controlled by the Tension disc on the front right side of
your machine. It is important to get your thread into the disc for the tension to work.
One good way to ensure that your thread is in the tension disc is to “floss” your
thread in this area.
Tension is adjusted by rotating the knob. righty tighty, lefty loosey
o Thick thread will take less tension
o Thin thread will take more tension

Your bobbin tension is controlled by the tension bar on the bobbin case.
Tension is adjusted by rotating the larger screw. Righty tighty, lefty loosey
o When adjusting this make very small turns with the screw as this screw is small
and if it comes all the way out it will be easy to lose.

Ü Tip: The tensions from your thread and bobbin are in a tug of war of sorts. They need
to work together to create the perfect stitch.

Bobbin winder
Be careful with the tension on your bobbin winder. If you make it too tight then
you could end up with the winder moving and bobbin held too tight.
For a good fill on your bobbin gently guide with your fingernail.
From time to time, or even for the first time, it may be necessary to adjust your
bobbin winder for good contact.
You see the two screws holding the motor in place on the back side. This is how
you adjust the motor.

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I know your thinking why is quilt listed under tension. How tight your quilt is on the
frame can affect your thread.
If your quilt is too tight then it makes it hard on the needle to get into your quilt and
back out with out possibly tearing your quilt.
If your quilt is too loose then you could get puckers.
Go for the happy medium on your quilt. Just taunt enough to keep flat and pucker
free and loose enough that you can move it with your finger.
Ü Tip: If the only thing you changed was advancing your quilt and threads are breaking
check the tension of your quilt before you start adjusting your thread tensions.

Machine jam
What causes the needle to jam?
One big cause is lint.
Another is threads.
Keeping the bobbin area and under the needle plate clean will help to keep this from
What to do when it does jam…. Unplug your machine. If you can get a good grip on
the hand wheel give it a good turn, you may need to remove the belt guard to get a good
If you can not break it loose turning the wheel the direction of the arrow then you may
need to remove the needle. Once you have the needle out try turning the wheel again.
If you still can not break it free try rocking the hand wheel back and forth it will break
free it will just take some time. Don’t be afraid to get a good grip and crank on that hand

Runaway QCC
If your stitch regulator does not stitch under control like you were shown then first
unplug and check your pins on the cable which go into the power control box.
Plug it back in and give it a try. If it still is not working check the connectors where they
connect to the encoders under the table. If it still is not working call for some help.
Ü (Just a suggestion: For more accurate movement try flipping your encoder on the back
rail and see if that helps it read better.)

Won’t stop
If your machine will not stop stitching with the switches turned off and unplug your
machine and call for help with adjustments.

Thread breaks
1. Thread quality check
2. Rethread your machine
3. Check stitches for tension

If you are still getting broken thread check the following

If you have problems with thread breaking then try and look and see where the thread is
If your thread is broken above the needle plate then it might be a nick in the needle, a
nick in the needle plate, or your thread could be wrapped around something.
If your thread looks like the outside fibers are cut then it could be nicked by the
hook, there could be a bur on your outer hook, also your quilt could be too tight and
the thread is getting pushed off the side of your needle.
If you find a bur sand it away, change your needle if need, loosen your quilt, or even
adjust your tension.

Any questions

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Other Thoughts
Keeping a notebook
Tracking plans
Notes good and bad

Helpful websites
Yahoo Groups
Tin Lizzie 18
Home Quilting Systems

Other sites

Tin Lizzie 18 club

Will be held the fourth Saturday at 10:00 am and the Friday before at 6:30 pm. This will
be hands on. We will work on different techniques and other helpful hints. We hope to
have members of the club share idea and things that have worked for them and also
things that did not work so well.

Recommended Reading
There are lots of good books out there to help with Longarm quilting the following is a short
list of recommended books.

Long-Arm Machine Quilting by Carol A. Thelen (Very Highly Recommended)

The Ultimate Guide to LONGARM MACHINE QUILTING by Linda V. Taylor
Needles & Threads & Bobbins, Oh my! By Nancy Goldsworthy

Any new questions
Feedback sheet

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