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!