Ursa and Stash Thread Woes

Ursa has been mounted on a nice steel frame (which I helped assemble).  The purple princess was amazing!  As long as I had a certain brand of thread loaded, she was magnificent.  But I only had a smidgen given to me.  And it would not match the quilt I loaded.  I ended up with tension problems and a little operator error.  Finally figured all that out only to have extreme thread breakage.  I have this amazing star thread which I had all intentions of using from my stash.  My dealer instructed me to break the thread she gave me, and then break mine.  NO COMPARISON.  Let the industrial thread shopping begin.  This is a question I regret not asking ahead of time as I could have been quilting tonight.

What will not work for thread?

  • Coats and clark
  • Sulky
  • Star
  • Signature
  • and any omni polyester

These just will not handle the speed of the Ursa kind.

I have below some photos of set up.  Actually I took a bunch of notes on the frame assembly.  As an assembler for 30 years…that was over kill as this was just nuts and bolts, no biggie.  The real notes for the machine I failed to take.  I do have an instruction booklet.  And if you have ever played electronic games, you have to learn the hoops to jump through and which buttons to press correctly and when, with a tad of coordination.

And then besides thread woes, I have electrical woes.  There is a deep freeze running in the garage.  This is very dirty power, which causes voltage in the garage to drop.  So this winter, I will not be able to run any heat.  In the summer, probably no a/c.  The good news is, there is a warm up mode for the machine and should not cause any problems sewing.  Today highs were in the mid 70s and it would have been the perfect temperature to quilt.  No thread….*sigh*.

Additionally, I thought I would just set the quilt up, so on the weekend I will be able to just show up and stitch.  Turns out if I leave anything on the frame and the cat who is the keeper of the garage shows up, it could potentially hammock the batting which would be impossible to quilt.

My idea for Cat repel is to set mouse traps with paper laid over them, so if she does decide to get up there, there will be an arsenal of scare to keep her down, but then there is the fear of retaliation, I mean she is a cat.  I would not put it past her.  I am hoping she is just too damn lazy.  But with cats, you never know.

Since she resided the first 10 years of her life at my Dad’s shop, she was accustomed to be fed on the counter, and was welcomed to all high points, corners, and crevices, nothing was off limits.  I figure this will give me a problem.

Any of you longarmers out there, have a solution of cat repel?  Otherwise quilting will all have to happen within a day.

Before set up, the whole of the garage minus about a two foot section behind me and on my right as this photo is taken.before


And in all my haste, I only took a picture of her in the box……there will be other opportunities.


The good news is, with all the free motion I have done on my small machine, this is actually really easy.  Feathers will require a bit more practice, but flowers, and curves pretty much are flawless.  I have much time to practice, and it will happen soon.  I am still just itching to stitch, but can’t.

The garage was emptied and is now very full.  Three rolls of batting (thank you JoAnns for an amazing Black Friday price {And thanks Mom for an early Christmas present]).  I think it is appropriate to park the cost of a new car right in the garage.  This machine is plain jane, but 20 years ago my new car cost less!  I will drive her for years and the maintenance on her, I will be able to do it myself.

Shopping for a long arm, many questions need to be asked.  Most other machines all look the same and are rebadged.  I am not saying it is a bad thing, but most of those machines are hermetically sealed and impossible to access anything.  Loving the concept and engineering on this.  For those of you not familiar with this brand, next time you are at a show and see the Nolting booth, take her out of a test run.  I liked her best because there was little vibration, and the steel frame, leaning on the rods would not bend them.  Most of us quilters have budha bellies and this could cause the quilt not to be plum.  Food for thought.  I tried many, and kept gravitating to this one.  The team of people in this company is pretty awesome.  A small mom and pop shop, with the right kind of customer service.  A recipe for a long lasting wonderful relationship.

I have quilted my first quilt, and there is much tension issues, which I will probably pick out eventually.  I am in no hurry as I don’t have the right thread yet….and it is supposed to storm tomorrow.  This weekend is going to be a great sewing weekend, even if I just get in a few hours.

Please cat owners/longarm enthusiasts, if you have a cat repel remedy for the potential quilt hammock, leave it in the comments section.  And thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

2 thoughts on “Ursa and Stash Thread Woes

  1. Can’t help with the cat problem as I have to shut my sewing/extra bedroom door when I’m not in it and have a quilt in the frame. I have found a cat making a hammock on a quilt before. I have a Bailey on a hand built frame and table system. My Bailey gave me fits with thread for a long time. I tried to be a purist and use only cotton thread (Gutterman)for quilting. I gave that up and went to Gutterman sew all(poly) thread and that helped. I also use a product called Ease-a-Thread. It is a silicone thread lubricant. It is very inexpensive and I bought it at the Dallas quilt show from Linda’s Electric Quilters. Congrats on your machine. There is a learning curve in moving the machine versus moving the quilt. I know you will master it soon!

    Sent from my iPhone Ruth Ann Hurst



  2. Congrats on your new beauty and hoping you get your thread soon!

    Re the cat issue. All cats love high perches. It’s instinctive. I would recommend providing something higher, perhaps near a window for sunbathing and bird watching. Repellant would probably drive her out altogether. I assume that’s not your intention. How about a simple box (pegboard?) HAlved, that you can push together to cover your diva when not in use? Cats are nosey so she’ll investigate for sure. Plus I imagine mice are an issue in the country. Might save you some troubles.


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