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Thread: I need input on machines, please!

  1. #1

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    I am going to start a quilting business, and my little Kenmore, though great, is having tension issues which the repair man doesn't fix. Plus, its sewing area is so small, I have a hard time getting a full-sized quilt in it to quilt it.

    I want a machine with a bigger "throat" (or whatever you call it!) to handle the bigger quilts. (One suggestion a veteran gave me was to quilt a quarter of the quilt at a time and then sew the quarters together, but I don't want to do that.) The same lady suggested I get an older, mechanical (i.e. not computerized) Bernina, but none of the older machines have the working area I desire. I don't have the money for a long-arm.

    I need input on two machines: The Janome Horizon and the Bernina 820. The Bernina is more than twice as expensive as the Janome. ($7,000 vs. $3,000, though I could get the Janome for $2,000 with a working trade-in). I'm thinking of getting the Janome; my shop will take it as a trade-in if I get enough business to upgrade to a Bernina in a few years. What are your thoughts on each machine? Or are there other machines with 11-12" throats which you would recommend?

    ALSO, have any of you ever put one of these on a long-arm frame and used it like a long-arm machine? How does that work for you? I know the working area is much smaller than with a long-arm machine, but it might be a good compromise for me. It would certainly be easier to quilt that way than pulling the quilt along as I quilt, rolling and re-rolling it. I feel like I'm wrestling an octopus sometimes!

    Thanks for any input on these questions!

  2. #2
    Super Member whinnytoo's Avatar
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    If you really want to go into business, get the best machine you can get on your budget. Noltings 18" is an awesome machne, I had one for 5 yrs and its awesome

  3. #3
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    It all depends on what you're planning on using your machine for in your quilting business. Know that any home domestic sewing machine used for commercial sewing voids the warranty. At least for many manufacturers this is true. They look at the useage, stitch count and hours used.

  4. #4
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    Check out the Baileys, most seem to like them.:)

  5. #5
    Super Member Charming's Avatar
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    OMG i did not know this. Thanks for the info. Always good to know these things.
    Quote Originally Posted by Candace
    It all depends on what you're planning on using your machine for in your quilting business. Know that any home domestic sewing machine used for commercial sewing voids the warranty. At least for many manufacturers this is true. They look at the useage, stitch count and hours used.

  6. #6
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charming
    OMG i did not know this. Thanks for the info. Always good to know these things.
    Quote Originally Posted by Candace
    It all depends on what you're planning on using your machine for in your quilting business. Know that any home domestic sewing machine used for commercial sewing voids the warranty. At least for many manufacturers this is true. They look at the useage, stitch count and hours used.
    Yup:> That's why there are commercial embroidery machines and commercial sewing machines. Selling one or two items no biggie, but if you're using your home sewing machine 8-10 hours a day cranking out embroidery for resale, they're going to know about it.

  7. #7
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Are you planning to do piecing and quilting? Do you need fancy stitches or just straight stitches? Are you planning to use a machine for the frame and for piecing?

    There is a mechanical machine that only does straight stitch. It's available by Juki (I think the 980), the Pfaff Grandquilter 1200, Brother has a version of it and so does Viking. It has a 9" throat and is often used on a frame.

    I would not want to lug a machine on and off the frame.

    Have you test-driven the Janome and the Bernina to see what you like? That would be a very strong indicator for me.

    My new machine is a Babylock and it has a substantial throat too.

    Aaaaaah, all those choices. Have you read the reviews on patternreview.com? They have lots of good user inputs.

  8. #8
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board from Southern California!!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member jollyquilting's Avatar
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    I love the Janome's.so that is my opinion

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the input! I plan to piece as well as quilt with the machine. I do meandering and freehand patterned quilting as well as straight stitches and stitch-in-the-ditch. I didn't know about patternreview.com - thanks - I'll look them up there.

    To answer Candace, I won't be sewing 8 hours a day or anywhere near it. I plan to make this a half-time job.

    Thanks to everyone for the good input so far!

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