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  1. #1
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    Default Sit down long arms

    I cannot FMQ on my standard machine, am thinking about a sit down Longarm as I don't have room for a full size longarm machine. Does any one here have one, if so what brand and what are the pros and cons? Thanks much!

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Sit down long arms

    Same here. I got a Sweet Sixteen and I love it! It was used in classes at a quilt show so I got a good deal. I find the stitch regulator awkward to use. I wouldn’t have bought it but it was included in the deal. With practice I’ve been able to get a pretty consistent stitch length. My advice is to try out several models to see which one you’re most comfortable with.

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Sit down long arms

    I have an HQ Sweet 16 and I love it. After doing research and finding that this was available at a great price at a quilt show, DH purchased for us. We added two small white IKEA tables on each side. DH also designed a suspension system with white PVC pipes when we wuilt Queen and King size quilts. She, Sweetie, is sturdy and is not finicky. Although in the beginning, we were intimidated by her, I pushed myself to jump in and use her. She has been humming along for a few years now. I do pay attention to care and cleaning her as recommended.

    I think the important factor is to find a machine that is available locally, which means you can get lessons and service from local dealer. Although our LQS is an hour away, there is also another dealer also an hour away in other direction in the event that this one were to close. If I want an all over design in King quilts, the LQS rents out the HQ Amara by the day for under $100. Although we would have space for it, I prefer to rent when I want a change.

    Good luck in your decision.

    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.

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Sit down long arms

    I have had the BabyLock Tiara III for two years now. I love it. She is 30 x 36 inches and I got the 18 inch drop leaf with her, which can be added to either side of the table. I also got the overlay for it, which gives a nice smooth surface on which the quilts slide easily as I quilt. The Tiara has a speed regulator which I really like. The dealer I purchased it from is local (about 18 miles away) and also services it when/if needed. I can get unlimited lessons on it if I want them. I found it very intimidating at first, but have now quilted several quilts on it and feel much more comfortable using it. The key is to clean the bobbin case area and oil after at least every couple of bobbin changes. The Tiara and the Sweet 16 are basically the same machine. I never tried out the Sweet 16 as there are no dealers in my area. Good luck with your decision, but I do suggest that you find a dealer who is fairly close to you who will also service and give you lessons if you purchase.
    A day patched with quilting Seldom unravels Sharon

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  9. #5
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    Default Re: Sit down long arms

    Thanks Suzanne, have you tried quilting without the suspension system? I think the largest I would quilt is queen. I don't have a great deal of room so don't think the suspension would work for me. They never show anyone quilting a large quilt in any of the You Tube videos or on the websites, so I don't know how difficult that would be. I have looked at a Pfaff which is the demo at a quilt store and seems like a pretty good deal as it includes bobbin winder, the stitch regulator and the extension for the table. But another store has a used Viking for $3500, haven't looked at that one yet. My local Babylock doesn't have one on the floor for me to try. The Viking dealer also does Handiquilt so I am hoping to look at that.

  10. #6
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    Default Re: Sit down long arms

    How do you find these at quilt shows? Through a dealer or at the show? I've only been to one in Houston while I was at a conference so didn't have a long time to look at everything, but it was amazing!. Hoping to go to the one in March in Chicago as that is local.

  11. #7
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    Default Re: Sit down long arms

    Quote Originally Posted by gracien View Post
    How do you find these at quilt shows? Through a dealer or at the show? I've only been to one in Houston while I was at a conference so didn't have a long time to look at everything, but it was amazing!. Hoping to go to the one in March in Chicago as that is local.
    I found mine at the Handy Quilter booth. They were offering classes at the show and all the machines used in class were specially priced.

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  13. #8
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    Default Re: Sit down long arms

    If one was used to fmq on a domestic machine would they need the stitch regulator?
    I don't understand the limit on size, I have quilted kings on my Viking with a 11" throat is there some problem with the sit downs doing that?
    I plan on checking them out at the Paducah Fall show and hoping to find a real bargain.

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  15. #9
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    Default Re: Sit down long arms

    I own the Baby Lock Tiara II LA. Three years ago, I bought a discounted floor model from my LQS/dealer. I tried out the same machine at a large quilt festival, but their price was more than the local deal, plus it was an out of town vendor. I chose to stick with my tried & true local dealer (in my town) who also is available for service. I bought the main table with overlay plus the 18" extension table, which is on the left side of the machine. It provides adequate table surface on which to spread out the quilt. The harp space is 16". I have not quilted anything bigger than a large lap -- almost a twin size. Patsy Thompson sells those suspension things, but I have no interest in quilting anything larger. Anything from full size or larger, I still have done by my LA lady. Since I had been FMQ on my DSM for 3 yrs., I did not feel the need for the stitch regulator. It costs extra. You can adjust the speed settings to your comfort. I quilt at 42%. I would recommend the Gold Standard 3 yr. extended warranty, which will add ~$500. to the cost. I don't know what the Tiara costs now, but I would guess apprx. $6,000.

    I have been very satisfied with my Tiara & have quilted many quilts with it. I also did not have space in my bsmt. for a larger frame, plus I didn't want to stand to quilt. I wanted to sit down. The space my set-up takes is 54" wide & 30" deep. I have it behind my couch in the fam. rm. Under the extension table I have a plastic 5 drawer unit in which I store fabric & thread. On the R. side of the table, I have a 3-drawer plastic unit in which I store the cord for the bobbin winder, my quilting rulers, bobbins, etc. On the top of that I have a sectional box with a lid in which I store needles, the Tiara tools, etc. Probably the thing that was the biggest learning curve for me was having to check/adjust the tension with every bobbin change in order to get the stitching to look right.

    When I purchased my Baby Lock, the owner of the shop stated that although the Sweet 16 & the Tiara are similar, the BL has a better warranty & is better made. I had to clear the space behind the couch to make room for the Tiara. There still is adequate space to use the piano as well as the Tiara. I have an adjustable office chair on which to sit when I quilt. I use the fam. rm. for my cutting table. When I'm in the middle of a project, there might be fabric spread over the recliner as well as the couch. It's just DH & me now, so we really don't use the fam. rm., so I took it over for my sewing projects. The floor is my design wall & where I sandwich the quilts.

    It's my understanding the BL Coronet standing frame LA is comparable in price & takes up only 5 ft. of width. I hope you find the product that suits your needs the best. Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #10
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    Default Re: Sit down long arms

    Quote Originally Posted by JCY View Post
    When I purchased my Baby Lock, the owner of the shop stated that although the Sweet 16 & the Tiara are similar, the BL has a better warranty & is better made.
    I have told people before that they are different machines but they did not believe me because the machines look so much alike. I asked at Babylock Headquarters in Fenton Missouri why the machines looked so much alike. Chris (sorry don't remember her last name) who was the hostess for the Longarm Getaway told me that there used to be over 25 manufacturing companies in the U.S. but now it was down to about 6 and most of the longarm and sewing machine companies use them. Babylock has even resorted to sending to Japan for a couple of their machines. The machine that looks like hand quilting and I forget the other one. This is why some of the Brother sewing machines look like Babylocks and why Handiquilter longarm machines look like the Babylock longarms. Kay Capps Cross who is a Babylock Ambassator and taught the Longarm classes in Fenton, told me she works with the engineers there at Babylock.

    The only reason I chose the Babylock Crown Jewel II over the Tiara was that I wanted to quilt large quilts and I was having a terrible time with making the quilt sandwiches. Plus my Babylock Espire only had a 7" throat space and quilting a queen size really hurt my shoulders trying to maneuver that large quilt through a small harp/throat.

    I also highly recommend buying local so you can get better customer service. The place where I bought my Longarm gives me a 20 percent discount on all disposal items like needles and thread. Even the cutting mats for Accuquilt! They not only installed it for me but will come to my house if I have a problem that can't be solved over the phone or being in their shop.
    Vonnie

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