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I'm lusting after a long-arm machine, and wondering if anyone on here has one. They are pricey, and it would only be for my personal use, so I'm not even sure I can really justify the cost, but I'd like to at least learn about them. Right now, I do all my own quilting on my sewing machine, so that's some stitch-in-the-ditch and some free-motion quilting, but I've seen what the long-arm machines can do, and they are amazing.

I do plan to visit the local HandiQuilter shop and get some information, but I'd love to hear from folks that might have one. What do you like? What do you not like? What features are must-have, and what are just nice-to-have?

Anyone have any input? I do follow a HandiQuilter group on Yahoo as well.
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Sorry, I don't have one, and not ready for that yet, but I am ready to buy a much nicer sewing machine to use mainly for quilting, and starting to do research. What kind of machine are you using now? Any recommendations?
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What kind of machine are you using now?

I have a New Home Memorycraft 8000 which I got right after the kids were born, so it's 22 years old and still going strong. I did look at new machines last year, and loved the Bernina 7 series, but decided I didn't need to replace my sewing machine right now. If DD would pick up sewing, though, I'd give her my machine and be out getting a new one for myself.

I would recommend some general web research, and then do a visit to your local sewing machine shop to let them tell you about machines and try them out. I like to buy mine at a place that offers lessons, and highly recommend you look for some place like that for your purchase so that you will have the support when you need it, and learn to use the machine and all its features, especially as the newer machines just do so much.
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Thanks. There is a great shop in a nearby town that sells all the nice machines, with lessons, maintenance, everything. I haven't made it to the shop yet, but I have 'studied' the Berninas and they look great.
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The shop near me sometimes allows you to borrow one of the demo machines for the weekend so you can really try it before you buy it. You can also just take a class at the shop and ask to use one of their machines so that you can try it.

You might also try going to one of the big quilting shows in your area. They typically have all the new machines being showcased, and you can talk to lots of people about what is good about each machine so that you can hear what they have to say. And you can play with the machines and do some side-by-side comparisons.

I'll probably hit the spring quilting show this year so that I can get a better look at the long-arm machines as well, but I'm also going to make a trek to my local long-arm dealer and see what they have before that so that I can start playing around with them and figure out if I really want one, and if I do, which one it would be.
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I'm thinking about at long-arm, too. I hate quilting bed size quilts on my domestic machine. I talked to a long-arm quilter and she suggested taking a class and renting time on a long-arm at a local quilt shop. I plan on doing that in the next several months. The class is $150.

Cosmos
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Long arms are great, but my problem is that they just take up too much space. I don't have the room for it, sadly. I guess I am just focusing on making smaller quilts that I can wrestle under my Bernina, and when I make a big bed sized quilt, I have to pay someone to quilt it on a long arm. I don't like that, but it's all I can afford in terms of time, money, and space.

I have tried cutting the batt, and quilting 1/3 of the quilt (center), then attaching and quilting the rest in thirds. It's a little easier, but not much.

isewquilts
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Has anyone tried or considered a mid-arm? Sounds like it's a great compromise considering space, money and just physical work required to operate vs. a long-arm. After reading some info, I'm not sure I'm physically up to working a long-arm, pushing and pulling 30-50 lbs., from what I've read.
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Has anyone tried or considered a mid-arm?

What is a mid-arm? This is the 2nd time this week that I hear this phrase, and I'm not quite sure what it is. I think of all of that group of machines that just does quilting as a long-arm. I'm looking at the Handiquilter Sweet 16, which I'm guessing might be what you consider a mid-arm? That's got a 16" throat area, and you move the work under the machine, just like I do on my sewing machine.

I'm thinking maybe a 'real' long-arm is something like the Handiquilter 18 which has a bigger throat area, and where you move the machine over the work.
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I'm looking at the Handiquilter Sweet 16, which I'm guessing might be what you consider a mid-arm?

That would be considered a mid-arm. I see Handiquilter calls it a 'sit-down longarm machine'. It looks like you move the work facing the end of the machine, like a long-arm, correct?
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I'm looking at the Handiquilter Sweet 16, which I'm guessing might be what you consider a mid-arm? That's got a 16" throat area, and you move the work under the machine, just like I do on my sewing machine.

One of my friends has started a business putting together the quilt tops and then having another of her friends do the quilting on a mid-arm. Possibly the same brand, but I'm not sure. The one she uses is fantastic! She did a quilt for my granddaughter in bright, pink/blue/green/yellow and white hippy-looking flowered material. They used the quilting machine to stitch in words like "peace" and "love" and also some flower-shaped stitching and some hands making peace signs.

If you want to check out her offerings, she's on Etsy and FB as Hippy Cheek.

If I could afford to get a quilting machine, I would do it. As it is, I just gave DD#1 my old Kenmore and now I'm in the market for a simple machine to make a few crafty things as well as basic sewing.

LWW
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