Where's a Longarm Tech when you need one???!!!

Where’s a Longarm Tech when you need one???!!!!

>>> Pam <<<

If you are me, he is eating one of my delicious biscuits beside me, traveling with me, and maybe, just maybe deep inside my Amara, Avante, Pro-Stitcher, or outside the machines aligning a Studio or Studio 2 Frame to its best, flattest, and smoothest possible performance. (He calls my critique of Frame performance “The Princess and the Pea of Free-Motion Quilting”). Happy with Hubby realizing I am his Princess!

Here’s the deal – for the decade I have been quilting my husband Keith has always been technically supportive, and has self-taught himself on several basic longarm repairs such as hook timing, but to get more knowledgeable and proficient he recently completed the Handi Quilter Technician Training Course at their headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Let me put him on to tell you a little about what he learned, and more importantly what he is doing to support my passion – the Longarm Quilting Community with Education, Service, Repair, Tech Tips, and soon more which he will share.

Read on……


>>> Keith <<<

I confess…I’m a Gearhead – from V8’s, carbs, and breaker-points in my teens to 200 HP motorcycles in my tender middle-age years I love all things mechanical – probably inherited from my aircraft engineer Dad. Below is the juxtaposition of two of my different GearHeaded activities – one maxes out at 2,500 SPM and the other at 15,000 RPM – take a guess which is which…

Amara and Bike.jpg

After having made numerous shade-tree repairs from resetting hook-timing to soldering a broken wire on an encoder I decided to get my knowledge gaps filled in and after Pam’s favorite local shop Tiny Stitches got me scheduled into Handi Quilter Technical Training, joined 20 or so others each with an HQ longarm to take apart, adjust, put back together, lubricate, troubleshoot, and do it over again.

Much to Pam’s chagrin one of her favorite celebrity quilters Jamie Wallen was attending the retailer training that was happening concurrently, allowing me to be where she would much rather be.                                                       

Jamie and Keith.jpg

In addition to the longarm tech training Handi Quilter also put us through Pro-Stitcher boot camp. I was not expecting this, and having never threaded a longarm needle (remember, I just tune the piano – you quilters are the virtuoso pianists), tied off a bobbin, or quilted at all I was at a loss but my training partner Oma from Omadarlings Quilt Shop took pity on me and helped me out. The good news is as a tech guy Pro-Stitcher is very similar to CAD programs I have used and is based on Windows which I have been using since version 3.0 and DOS before that so I was able to give Oma an assist in return.

Since completing the HQ training I have updated software on an Avante (three data loads…main board, front screen, rear screen), replaced a tension spring on a Forte, lubricated and inspected an Amara, and have resolved flatness issues on a couple of Studio 2 frames – and have assisted quilters from Alaska to South Africa remotely – and look forward to helping you with any machine concerns either in person or through distance communications.

If you are in the N Ga area and need service (even if out of N Ga if it gives me a reason to ride the bike I could head your way…) please email me at keith.hayes@longarm-tech.com. If you are not close to me and have a question or problem email as well – if needed I will set up a phone call or video conference to help you out – while also developing a longarm tech-assist website to help with issues, questions, and tips which should be out in beta form early summer 2019.

The mission of longarm-tech.com is “Supporting the technical optimization of longarm machines and frames serving discerning quilters” – further defined as enabling the passion of my wife and all her quilting friends. It is my further certainty that a happy quilter has a happy partner so even if you don’t quilt there is something in it for you to make sure that longarm is smoothly stitching.

Speaking of non-quilting partners – look for a section for us on the website – if you are a motorcyclist like me, a kayaker, stamp collector, a cyclist, a music aficionado – whatever – there will be a mechanism to connect you with other quilting partners with your passion – so when you are a quilting widow or widower at a quilt show you can find some folks to pursue your hobby with or at least commiserate with. (Any motorcyclists going with their quilter to Paducah in April????? – let me know….)

 Now back to Pam….

 >>>> Pam <<<<

So now you know what I put up with on a daily basis for soon-to-be 32 years – and I love every minute of it. I embrace his passion enjoying rides with him on his bike and he embraces mine by not only supporting my hobby but partnering with me to make it better and easier. Here are a couple of examples – tonight at dinner he walked in and showed me a quilt display rack he had built in his barn so I could display even a very large quilt for a photo and not have it draped over furniture.

Quilt car lift.jpg

Don’t ask me about the car lift….

The next is flattening out my quilt frames. As a sensitive free-motion quilter I feel problems from issues like lint on the machine wheels, a thread on the track, and for a couple of years bumps, dips, and other issues causing the track not to be flat which caused my machine to “fight” me. Keith has spent hundreds of hours using everything from levels to lasers to figure out what the issue(s) are and how to correct – and I can now quilt confidently and accurately on both the Amara and Avante with one hand – delivering consistently good stitches without worrying if the machine is going to buck me.

Laser and Level Measurement to confirm frame flatness.

Laser and Level Measurement to confirm frame flatness.


Thanks for reading about our quilting partnership – and please feel free to contact either of us with a quilting question or concern.







Pam Hayes