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In Search of a Long Arm Quilter that Won't Cost as Much as an Economy Car!

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    In Search of a Long Arm Quilter that Won't Cost as Much as an Economy Car!

    Hi, all! I have quilted for several years, now, and have always just done stitch-in-the-ditch, because they were gifts and this is a hobby - it is still a hobby. But, I find that while I love every single part of making the quilt... the part where I use the walking foot and feed my entire quilt sandwich through my sewing machine just makes me NUTS... and it means that I have at least two quilts done up to that point and I've stopped because I just don't want to do that part!

    I've seen the Handi Quilter Simply Sixteen $5,999, and the Baby Lock Coronet (not sure of price) - which appeal to me because they are not SO much and their frames don't have to take up as much room... does anyone have any advice? I want a long-arm quilting machine, but this is a hobby, so I'm having a hard time even justifying the $5,999.
    Thank you so much for whatever guidance you provide!

    #2
    Hi Meg,

    Quilting is an expensive hobby. Quilting machines are often the most expensive part of this expensive hobby. My best advice is to start looking on Craigslist and Facebook marketplace for used quilting equipment.

    On Craigslist, I purchased a Little Gracie II frame for $400 and, in a separate transaction, a Juki 98E for $500. This combo gives me what I need: a way to avoid basting! It is not able to do tight, intricate quilting that a long arm would do. But, like you, piecing is my favorite part of this hobby, so I couldn't justify spending the $6,000 to $15,000 that a mid- to long-arm machine would cost. I am happy with the overall quilt patterns I am able to create with this combo.

    A couple of years ago, when I had a bit of money saved up, I bought a Bailey's Home Quilter that will eventually replace my Juki 98E. My time has been very limited due to family commitments, so I've never even unboxed the BHQ.

    I also own a couple of embroidery machines, and I have quilted a few quilts using Edge-to-Edge patterns. You could look that up and see if it appeals to you. An embroidery machine has a MUCH smaller footprint than a Quilting machine, and you can use it to embroider other things, not just quilt your quilts.

    Those are my two best suggestions. Let us know what you decide!

    Toni
    Toni ... If I keep sewing long enough, will they make their own dinner?

    Comment


    • SallyO'Sews
      SallyO'Sews commented
      Editing a comment
      Toni, I did not know that you could quilt with an embroidery machine - how does that work?
      Thought you had to do everything in a hoop? Now I'm really curious!

    #3
    If you REALLY want to save money learn to hand quilt. All you need is a lap hoop ($15-50), thimble ($10-100), thread, and lots of spare time. It's not that hard to learn, it is just much slower than machine. Also the tools hardly take up any space unlike a long arm.

    Comment


    • Momofmonsters5
      Momofmonsters5 commented
      Editing a comment
      I've hand quilted a few quilts to be heirlooms. The one pattern I always wanted to try was the Baptist fan. I have many quilts to be quilted once my back heals ....thanks for the reminder that I could just hand quilt one.

    #4
    I have a Bailey's and love it. They have the best customer service too. It's not fancy but does the job. I really hate basting because I like bigger quilts. Good luck!!

    Comment


      #5
      Check with your local dealer for trade-ins. These machines are usually professionally serviced and much lower in price. HandiQuilter will extend the original warranty if you buy one of their used machines; others may also. My used long arm even came with classes to learn to use it.
      Lyn

      If I ever got it all together, I'd be too tired to do anything with it.
      🙄

      Comment


        #6
        I have a Janome Artistic18 sit down quilting machine. The price was $2999, but I was able to get a discount due to a sale. I see there is a very similar machine selling for $1999. It looks like the Artistic, but has a different name. Like the Artistic, it's a basic free motion machine.

        I just checked, and it's called Encore.

        Comment


          #7
          I purchased a BlockRockit with Gracie Queen frame for $4000 several years ago. Grace makes the exact same machine. I think you can still get a combo for around the same price. I'm happy with it and do a lot of quilting on it. The quilting part is not my favorite part either I prefer the piecing part but it definitely does the job.
          https://forum.missouriquiltco.com/co.../icon_wave.gif
          Women are Angels. When someone break's our wings we will continue to fly-usually on a broomstick.We're flexible like that.

          Comment


            #8
            I've just purchased a Qnique 15M and Grace hoop frame. I watched till they went on a good sale and got the machine and the frame for about 4k. I've only practiced on it a few times and boy howdy is it going to be an adjustment! I can't say how well I like the Qnique yet..I know that I am having issues with thread breakage (upper) and I'm sure it's a tension issue. Seems a very finicky machine but runs well and has a nice smooth movement. ..We shall see how it goes..its definitely different.
            😎 Happy Thread tails and trails

            Sage

            Comment


              #9
              I ,too, hated the stress and strain of quilting on a domestic machine. My dealer had just moved and was in the process of resetting his shop. He had a brand new Pfaff18.8 Grandquilter and frame sitting in boxes. He found out from Pfaff that he would have to take certification classes to sell these long arms. Since he probably sold 1-2 per year, it wasn’t worth it to him, so he sold the whole setup to me for his costs. I used it for about 4 years and then did an upgrade to a better control system. All in all, it cost me about $9000, and since I quilt about 50-60 quilts per year ( gifts, charity, memory, personal),I felt it was worth it. If you do only a few quilts a year, maybe not worth a big expense. But if you enjoy quilting and want to express your creativity, I say go for it. You DON’T have to make it pay for itself by quilting for others to earn money using your longarm. I’ve quilted other people’s quilts and was so nervous doing it, it wasn’t worth the money. Doing other people’s quilts takes the fun out of using the longarm. Many people I know who express shock that I have an expensive machine are the ones with fancy fishing boats, expensive camera collections, woodworking studios, hobbies that are expensive but justified! So don’t sell yourself short. If it brings you joy, and you have the money to put into your hobby, get the machine to help your hobby be more enjoyable and creative.

              Comment


              • KarenC
                KarenC commented
                Editing a comment
                Same here. I don't mind doing memory (mostly T Shirt) quilts, but I do not like quilting for other quilters. For me it takes the joy out of quilting. I stick with my own, gifts and charity quilts.

              #10
              Originally posted by SagedCrone View Post
              I've just purchased a Qnique 15M and Grace hoop frame. I watched till they went on a good sale and got the machine and the frame for about 4k. I've only practiced on it a few times and boy howdy is it going to be an adjustment! I can't say how well I like the Qnique yet..I know that I am having issues with thread breakage (upper) and I'm sure it's a tension issue. Seems a very finicky machine but runs well and has a nice smooth movement. ..We shall see how it goes..its definitely different.
              Try using the Superior Threads Omni thread. Mine loves it. My machine is the same as Graces Qnique. Thread breakage can also occur if you are moving the carriage from right to left instead of left to right when standing at the front of the machine. I'd suggest going the extra $50 and get the thread tension gadget for regulating the bobbin thread tension. I forget the name at the moment but it will save you hours of fidgeting with tension regulation and problems.

              PS: I was very tired the day i replied to this and made a mistake re what direction to move the carriage. I just edited that and now it is correct.
              Last edited by Carlie Wolf; April 25, 2020, 12:23 PM.
              https://forum.missouriquiltco.com/co.../icon_wave.gif
              Women are Angels. When someone break's our wings we will continue to fly-usually on a broomstick.We're flexible like that.

              Comment


              • SagedCrone
                SagedCrone commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks ..I will look into that! ..if you remember the name, just send me a PM ...I did buy the manual not the stitch regulated..and am thinking of purchasing the regulation to go with it..it's a bit pricey though.

              #11
              I have a HQ Sweet 16, sit down. I got after 1st year of quilting. I like it for smaller quilts, although my husband has quilted a king size. When I want to quilt queen / king size quilts, I rent the HQ Amara at LQS. Cheaper and doesn't take up space in our home. If that's an option for you, check it out. Also want to keep this as a hobby.

              Enjoy life and do what makes you happy. Everything else will follow.

              Every day I try to do one thing that challenges my comfort zone.

              Comment


                #12
                I bought the Baby Lock Tiara II table model LA several yrs. ago from my LQS. It was a discounted floor model they wanted to move out to make room for another model. I have the 18" extension table on the L. side, so I have plenty of table space for moving around the quilt sandwich. I've been very satisfied with it. I did not buy the stitch regulator (costs extra) since I'd already been doing FMQ on my DSM. When you consider that having a LAer quilt your quilt costs $150.-200. each, that goes a long ways towards justifying having your own LA. There are videos on YT about various quilting machines that you could view to get ideas.

                There are pics of my Tiara in my Sewing Room album if you want to take a look.
                Last edited by JCY; April 23, 2020, 05:40 PM.

                Comment


                  #13
                  Originally posted by SagedCrone View Post
                  Thanks ..I will look into that! ..if you remember the name, just send me a PM ...I did buy the manual not the stitch regulated..and am thinking of purchasing the regulation to go with it..it's a bit pricey though.
                  It's the Towa Bobbin Tension Gauge. Runs $53.00.
                  Mine came with a stitch regulator. I use it all the time. I could probably do without it now that I'm so use to the machine. But.....I'm too lazy.
                  https://forum.missouriquiltco.com/co.../icon_wave.gif
                  Women are Angels. When someone break's our wings we will continue to fly-usually on a broomstick.We're flexible like that.

                  Comment


                  • SagedCrone
                    SagedCrone commented
                    Editing a comment
                    OK, thanks I will check it out! I actually didn't want to use the regulator, and still want to practice without it, if I find that I can't keep the stitches even (once I get this thread breakage worked out..as well as the general use of the machine) then I will purchase the regulator to go on it.

                  #14
                  I’m like you. I think I want a long arm. I have found several quilt shops that let you use their machines to do your quilting.They charge a nominal fee. They help you get started. I think that is what I am going to do for about a year, before I make a final decision. I like our money and sure don’t want to rush making that kind of investment.

                  Comment


                  • SuzanneOrleansOntario
                    SuzanneOrleansOntario commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That what I did for several years. This June we bought a LA. Have been learning ever since.
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