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Long arm question
happiness5
happiness5
Member since 4/19/11
Posts: 156
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Date: 3/25/12 11:21 AM

As I was quilting a dresden plate quilt on my Creative Vision earlier and trying not to go crazy over cramming my quilt into the harp space, I started thinking again about a long arm machine, but I really know very little to nothing about them so thought I'd ask here.

I have a space about 10x14 if I'd decide to get one, so I'd need a smaller long arm I think.

I'm interested in something that wouldn't require FMQ initially (I can't even do it with baby quilts on my regular sewing machine). I think there are things called pantographs that are basically a pattern that runs automatically. Is that correct and can you do small sections? For instance, could I do a circle type pattern in the middle of my dresden plates, but a feathery pattern in the borders?

Is it hard to set them up to be ready to quilt? How important is it that the quilt be perfectly square/straight? Mine always seem to be a little off, which to be honest, doesn't bother me at all.

There is a Pfaff/Viking dealer near me and also a Bernina/Babylock dealer. I would definitely want to go with one of them since I'll need dealer support. Any idea of approximate cost on a machine?

I quilt solely for fun. I give some quilts away to family and friends, but I will never be interested in doing it for money. It's all about a creative outlet for me.

At this point I'm just seeking a little basic info. I'm no where near making a decision and may decide this isn't the right thing for me, but wanted to at least start to educate myself, so if you can offer any helpful info I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks in advance!

Sharon1952
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Sharon1952  Friend of PR
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In reply to happiness5 <<


Date: 3/25/12 4:43 PM

I too have checked into them and the price put me off since I too quilt for fun. I've discovered shops in my area that will rent you time on their machine. Having priced with a few LA quilters- I'd pay someone else before I invested in a machine. The machines I was checking out were over $10K each! I don't quilt enough to justify that expense.

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Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness. ~Author Unknown

rebe
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rebe  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/25/12 5:44 PM

I have a babylock Crown Jewel. It comes with a majestic table. I think it is very easy to operate. I am just starting out also. I have quilted two quilts so far and it performs very well.

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Rebecca Pitts
Bernina 430
Singer xl-6000
Singer 9960
Babylock Imagine
Elna 740 Excellence
Ellisimo

Maia B
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Maia B  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/25/12 6:03 PM

There are short and midarms that work on frames for much less than $10K. A Juki 9" harp ss machine plus a Grace Start right frame might be as little as $1300. Not sure if that would work with pantos, however.

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🌸 Plenty of machines, mostly Berninas 🌸

aslinnd

aslinnd
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Date: 3/25/12 7:46 PM

Look at the handiquilter 16 I have the sit down which is not what your interested in but they make the same machine to go on a frame. I love mine and unless doing an embroidery wouldn't think of trying to quilt in anything less.

I know people quilt on domestic machines but honestly once you get used to the space of a mid or long arm you won't want anything else.

smt76
smt76
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Date: 3/25/12 10:47 PM

There are a lot of Yahoo Groups for various different sewing machines and long arm quilting that you can join so you can ask its members all these same questions. You might get answers that are even more detailed and specific.

Stacey

happiness5
happiness5
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Date: 3/26/12 7:52 AM

Thanks everyone for your input. I'm really not sure what I'll do. I know lots of people send their pieced tops out to long armers, but I don't want to do that and I'm just tired of trying to smush my quilts under the harp of my machine so I guess I'll keep researching for now.

Maia B
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Date: 3/26/12 11:09 AM

The short and midarms and less expensive frames are often on SewItsForSale, secondhand, with the seller stating that they are moving up to a longarm. So one could rent time on a longarm, to determine if moving the machine and not the quilt works better for that quilter, then buy a used, entry level system and go from there.

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🌸 Plenty of machines, mostly Berninas 🌸

happiness5
happiness5
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In reply to Maia B <<


Date: 3/26/12 12:28 PM

That makes sense. Maybe I'll check with the local dealers to find out if they can offer basic instructions and the opportunity to try one out on maybe a crib sized quilt. If I discover I do like using a long arm, then maybe I can look into finding a short or mid sized machine.

fabrictherapy
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Date: 3/26/12 12:34 PM

Test drive as many as you can before buying, you need one that feels right to you that you can operate the table with the hand cranking or do you need a table that is all hydraulic that might work better for you.

I am new to the longarmer world I have had mine for almost a year. I did test drive everything I could, including renting time on a longarm machine from my LQS before buying to see if it was something I really wanted. I found that although I like pantographs, my favorite is actually using the smaller handles for detailed denser quilting with my own doodling.

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