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Should I purchase a long arm?

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  • bhaggerty
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    I have the Babylock Crown Jewel longarm. It will never pay for itself, but I love it and it brings me great joy! I can do so much more than I used to! I only finish about 15 or so quilts per year, but before that it was 1 -2 quilts per year! I do not regret it one bit! I love making quilts for others and charity. It definitely is not a business for me, but a hobby. I am blessed to be able to have one and also that my family supports me with my hobby!

    Leave a comment:


  • ldnanny3
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    well I don't particually like to tell my age but last year at the great age of 66 my husband bought me a longarm and I love it !!! its has a computer and I do mostly E2E designs on it, will it pay for itself, never but that was not the reason he bought it,he knows how much I love quilting and this is just another aspect of making a quilt. For what he spent I would never live long enough to pay for it just figuring how much I will spent on having them quilted, but that's ok, yes if pretty much filled my nice large sewing room but that's ok too, I love it and hope to be able to use for many more years. I say if you want one and have the money and space then go for it.

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  • Carlie Wolf
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    Originally posted by JaniceR View Post
    I think I owe you an apology for my very long post that probably did not help a bit with the question you asked! I do feel a stand up machine is best for me anyway as I can handle "driving the machine" around as opposed to moving the fabric around. The only pain I have in doing that is my legs and back do get tired if I stand there too long and that only happens if the quilt is pretty big then I may need to break it up, rest, and finish later. But I am also almost 68!

    There is a learning curve but there is with moving the fabric around to quilt on a domestic machine too.

    I got so enthused about telling you life is too short and you're worth it that I didn't really address anything you asked! Sorry about that! I hope you end up with what makes you happy and causes you the least amount of pain doing it!!
    Janice in the beginning I had a bit of a problem with back and shoulder/neck ache and I noticed , I think it was Walters used a particular back brace she used and sold them too. I purchased it and wore it for probably a week when quilting. It really helped alter my posture while quilting. It actually gave me a "memory" on how to stand during the quilting so I rarely even put it on now. I think I used it for a week or two. I think the price was somewhere between $35 and $50 but not sure. Also, like you've learned I do stop and walk around a bit so I'm not standing in one position for long periods. Usually I move around about every half hour for about 5 minutes if even that.

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  • Vonnie
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    You will love it. I love Babylock machines!

    There are several members here that have the Babylock Tiara. I'm thinking the main difference is a couple of inches of throat/harp space. But you should still be able to quilt large quilts on it. I have the Espire and it has a 7" harp and I was able to quilt a 90" X 108" quilt on it and you will have more that twice the space on yours.

    I just remembered how I made a quilting design that I used on that quilt. I took Liz Porter's idea of using freezer paper to make a snowflake type design then ironed the freezer paper to the quilt top and drew the outline with a chalk pencil. Worked like a charm.

    What all are you getting with your Coronet?

    Leave a comment:


  • Teacherbarber4
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    Thank you very much for your advice. I have decided to go for it and purchase the Babylock Coronet. I have six quilts already waiting to be quilted! I love making things from start to finish and did not want to send off to someone. Again thank you to everyone for putting up with my questions!

    Shauna

    Leave a comment:


  • JaniceR
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    I think I owe you an apology for my very long post that probably did not help a bit with the question you asked! I do feel a stand up machine is best for me anyway as I can handle "driving the machine" around as opposed to moving the fabric around. The only pain I have in doing that is my legs and back do get tired if I stand there too long and that only happens if the quilt is pretty big then I may need to break it up, rest, and finish later. But I am also almost 68!

    There is a learning curve but there is with moving the fabric around to quilt on a domestic machine too.

    I got so enthused about telling you life is too short and you're worth it that I didn't really address anything you asked! Sorry about that! I hope you end up with what makes you happy and causes you the least amount of pain doing it!!

    Leave a comment:


  • Equilady
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    I have a Brother Dream Fabric Frame with a Dream Weaver XE on it. I can sit or stand to quilt. I like that I don't have to pin the whole quilt and I've done some fairly wide quilts on it. I just have to plan and move the quilt from side to side.
    Good luck in your decisions.
    Take care,
    Susan

    Leave a comment:


  • JaniceR
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    Originally posted by Carlie Wolf View Post
    Initially I tried free motion on my sewing machine but found I just could not get the hang of moving the fabric to quilt as opposed to moving a machine to quilt. It was harder on my hands (I do have very slight arthritis in one of my thumbs) and for some reason just cannot process the mental aspect of the coordination.

    I know that when I find a craft I really like that I spend a lot of time into it and I do it for enjoyment. If I make any money off of it (which at some point I always have) then that makes me happy too. I really too did consider the Juki on a Grace frame but then decided to go with a larger throat that the blockrockit had. I didn't see much difference in the price particularly when I considered that I'd be using it for a long long time. At any rate I was able to purchase what I wanted for under $5000 and it was at a time that I had come into a little bit of money. I would not have been able to do it otherwise. I think I paid around $4200 two years ago, so it was the machine with a Grace Queen frame. I'm very happy I did get a stand up long arm. I think regardless of the make/model there is a learning curve of about 3 months getting use to it.

    The learning curve. It seems to me that the problem most people have in the beginning is adjusting to the tensioning requirements. The other thing is that often it turns out that the encoders are not installed properly when you first put the machine and carriage on your frame. So you go through a process of always question is it the machine or is it something I'm doing in the beginning! If it's the encoders and your using the stitch regulator then it is pretty easy to narrow down because the long arm machine models usually have a diagnostic program on it that will zero in on that problem. As far as the tensioning, I would strongly, strongly recommend you get a Towa Bobbin gauge from Superior Threads, it costs about $50 but will save you hours of fiddling with tensioning. I mean REALLY! They have them for many of the LA models on the market.

    Good luck with your search :-) And I agree with what was said above. Many spend thousands on tools, boats and other toys. You're worth it too. I saw a saying the other day that said: If you always put others first, you are only teaching them that you will always come second. Now that's a mistake I've made in my 67 years that I'm working on changing LOL
    Oh my goodness Carlie! I love the saying you mentioned about putting others first and it making you always come second! I am about to turn 68 myself and that one really hit me because I'm trying to learn to be better about handling that one too!! I think sometimes we are supposed to see thought provoking things like that! Thank you for posting it!!!

    Leave a comment:


  • JaniceR
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    I have a Handi Quilter Sixteen which I have had for a few years now and I love it!! I have NEVER regretted buying it. I think it may be very similar to the Babylock Coronet as Handi Quilter makes the Babylock.

    I went to a shop and rented a long arm machine made by APQS (because I found it first) to see if I would like using one or not. I was interested in the Handi Quilter but at the time didn't know where to try one. When I told the owner of the machine I was interested in trying a Handi Quilter too, she gave me a very hard core sales pitch to purchase an APQS because she sells for them and highly discouraged me from even looking at the Handi Quilter. So since I have NO patience for the hard core sales approach and knowing the Handi Quilter was at that time half or less than the price of the APQS, I was even more determined to try a Handi Quilter since I had always heard good things about them and knew it was MUCH more in my price range. I found a lady who rented them for people just like me and she also offered classes so off I went. I loved the machine immediately and actually felt it was a smoother running machine than the "expensive" one! I bought one and my husband and I ended up later going to Salt Lake City and took a class at Handi Quilter together with about 10 other people. We had a blast! My husband took it with me for the fun of it and I was so thrilled he was willing to do that and go with me. We made it a little vacation type thing. He was the only man in the class and he has a great sense of humor and is a fun guy and everyone loved him. The class was great and everyone learned a lot and had fun doing it.

    Before I bought mine, I questioned for a time whether I should spend the money too. My husband was 100% supportive (obviously if he was even willing to take the class!) and I decided after working all my life if it would make me happy, why not!! I financed mine on an interest free type plan and never minded the payment because I was having so much fun making quilts for my loved ones and could say I did the whole thing myself. I don't do any for money or rent out my machine. I love every minute I spend on it with a few exceptions when I do something stupid-lol! Knock on wood, my machine has been very reliable and I have been very happy with it.

    I totally agree with Jean and others who have said it shouldn't be about the money. It should be about how much joy it will give you having it and the pain it can possibly save you from other types of FMQ quilting! Sorry for such a long post, (I don't post that often) but life goes by so quickly and my feeling is if you can afford it and want it, go for it!!!

    Good luck with your decision and have fun!!! I would love to hear what you decide😊

    Leave a comment:


  • Lyndaj
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    Originally posted by cv quilter View Post
    I just bought the Baby Lock Tiara III sit down long arm (the same machine as the Sweet 16. I'm told Baby Lock makes it). I find it very easy to use so far. Yes, it is an investment ($4700) show price, but I think for me it's going to be worth it.
    Actually, BabyLock does not make the Sweet 16, but it is actually the other way around, Handi Quilter makes the long arm machines for BabyLock.

    Leave a comment:


  • Carlie Wolf
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    Originally posted by Teacherbarber4 View Post
    Thank you for all the advice. I like the Babylock Coronet and am leaning toward that due to space. You can do any size with moving the quilt around. Guess I am wondering if that would be a pain. I had also looked at the Block Rockit but again not sure if I want to take up the entire wall. Also heard it might have some vibration in the machine?

    Shauna
    I haven't had a problem with vibration in the machine. The few times I recall it mentioned I think ultimately the problem turned out to be something else causing a vibration. That being said, some machines have been replaced due to manufacturing types of problems. I had my first machine replaced which was done rapidly and with no hassles. Where they have occurred they do back their machines and you don't pay the shipping or anything.

    You mention you may not want to take up a whole wall with a Grace frame. I had thought about that too, fortunately I do have the space and the extra rooms. Yeahhhh. When I looked into the Grace frame it said that say with the Queen which takes up about 10' (you'd need a little more for the walk around) can also be used as crib sized. So I thought about that for a while...like ok I'll set it up as a crib and if I need it queen sized for something I'll just add the extra part etc and take it off afterward. Well, my advice is, DON'T. It is a real pain adding and subtracting for frame size. Once you have it up you won't want to do THAT again LOL. It is managable but it's NOT how you want to spend you life!

    Leave a comment:


  • mike'sgirl
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    I have a grace frame with the Janome 1600. I just got the upgraded carriage ;makes a huge difference. I, too, have neck, back, and shoulder problems. Moving the machine over the quilt is by far a better option for me. I can sit down and rest when I need to and no wrestling trying to sandwich the quilt. It's much easier to load it on the frame.
    .

    Leave a comment:


  • Teacherbarber4
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    Thank you for all the advice. I like the Babylock Coronet and am leaning toward that due to space. You can do any size with moving the quilt around. Guess I am wondering if that would be a pain. I had also looked at the Block Rockit but again not sure if I want to take up the entire wall. Also heard it might have some vibration in the machine?

    Shauna

    Leave a comment:


  • JCY
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    LA quilting in my area is quite expensive, and that's just for edge-to-edge. Custom is much higher. I learned FMQ on my domestic sewing machine 4 yrs. ago. While I was able to do a good job, it was not a comfortable position for my arms & shoulders. After test driving the Baby Lock Tiara II at my LQS, I decided I'd really like to have it. I do not have space in my home for a long frame. The table model is a perfect match for my space. I prefer having a sit-down model; I don't want to stand to quilt. With the added 18" extension table, I have plenty of surface space on which to spread out the quilt sandwich. I probably will not quilt anything larger than a twin size on it. Most of the quilts I make are crib size or lap size. If I were to make a larger quilt, I still would pay a LA quilter to do it. I like the convenience of quilting my own quilts in my time frame, not being in a queue & waiting 4-6 wks. to get something quilted. When I bought my machine, which IS considered a LA -- it has a 16" harp space -- I was told the Baby Lock is better made & has a better warranty than the Sweet 16. I did not buy the stitch regulator since I already was comfortable with the FMQ technique. Tiara II - Sept. 2015 001.jpgTiara II - Sept. 2015 002.jpg Here are a couple pics of my Baby Lock. The table space is 30" deep x 54" wide.

    Leave a comment:


  • Carlie Wolf
    replied
    Re: Should I purchase a long arm?

    Initially I tried free motion on my sewing machine but found I just could not get the hang of moving the fabric to quilt as opposed to moving a machine to quilt. It was harder on my hands (I do have very slight arthritis in one of my thumbs) and for some reason just cannot process the mental aspect of the coordination.

    I know that when I find a craft I really like that I spend a lot of time into it and I do it for enjoyment. If I make any money off of it (which at some point I always have) then that makes me happy too. I really too did consider the Juki on a Grace frame but then decided to go with a larger throat that the blockrockit had. I didn't see much difference in the price particularly when I considered that I'd be using it for a long long time. At any rate I was able to purchase what I wanted for under $5000 and it was at a time that I had come into a little bit of money. I would not have been able to do it otherwise. I think I paid around $4200 two years ago, so it was the machine with a Grace Queen frame. I'm very happy I did get a stand up long arm. I think regardless of the make/model there is a learning curve of about 3 months getting use to it.

    The learning curve. It seems to me that the problem most people have in the beginning is adjusting to the tensioning requirements. The other thing is that often it turns out that the encoders are not installed properly when you first put the machine and carriage on your frame. So you go through a process of always question is it the machine or is it something I'm doing in the beginning! If it's the encoders and your using the stitch regulator then it is pretty easy to narrow down because the long arm machine models usually have a diagnostic program on it that will zero in on that problem. As far as the tensioning, I would strongly, strongly recommend you get a Towa Bobbin gauge from Superior Threads, it costs about $50 but will save you hours of fiddling with tensioning. I mean REALLY! They have them for many of the LA models on the market.

    Good luck with your search :-) And I agree with what was said above. Many spend thousands on tools, boats and other toys. You're worth it too. I saw a saying the other day that said: If you always put others first, you are only teaching them that you will always come second. Now that's a mistake I've made in my 67 years that I'm working on changing LOL

    Leave a comment:

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