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Thread: Just Another Post About Buying Long Arms!

  1. #1
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    Just Another Post About Buying Long Arms!

    I hope my regular pals on here aren't getting sick of my long arm/mid arm posts! I'm just trying to research a purchase we are planning in the spring and I want to make the best decision for myself. I am a stay at home Mother of three and I make a small side income selling quilts, crafts, patterns, and doing custom sewing from home. I don't want to start a big huge long arm business, we have a plethora of great reputable long arm quilters in the area who have huge top of the line set ups. However, my passion is quilting and I have set some goals for myself - to achieve them I need moolah!! I could upgrade to a bigger domestic, but I can piece on just about any machine so I thought upgrading to a mid or long arm would allow me to earn a little extra side income to pay for some of the big projects I'd like to do for myself and give me the upgrade I need for the free motion work I love.

    My budget is really small - I'd really like to be around $3000. I REALLY don't want to finance anything unless the difference is small, like $2000 and I could pay it off quickly. I don't want to feel pressured to make money before the ability to provide a quality service is there.

    What I really want in a machine and frame are the ability to quilt a king (120") quilt, an 18-20" throat space (limiting me to 14-16" sewing space), a laser light for pantographs and stitch regulation.

    I've thought about an older used high end set up or getting something like a Bailey's Home Quilter 17" - can some of you tell me what you have and about your experiences with them? I just cannot afford to compete with these 26" Gammil set ups the ladies around here have, but if I could generate some income just doing basic all over designs and panto work that would tickle me pink. I'd even consider a Juki on a frame but I just think after a while I'm going to want extra throat space because I'll want to get some quilts finished fast.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? Advice? Thank you!!! You guys are seriously the best!!!
    Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    Do you have space for a king size frame? I have a Majestic and it is huge - 46" wide and 128" long. That is just the frame. You need space behind for laser work and space in front for free hand work. You need space on the sides as well to adjust the railings and sneak behind the contraption. Unless you buy it used that is going to set you back about $2000.
    Baileys 17" looks like a good, sturdy workhorse. I have just set it it up and did not have much time to play with it, but a little time that I had it looks and feels pretty sweet to me. Learning curve is high, but that I really do not mind. One thing to remember about the Bailey is that it is no frills machine modeled after Singer 15 I believe. I did not use the stitch regulator yet, so cannot comment on that. It sews 700 stitches per minute and for me that is fine because I am used to slower machine since my DSM is a mechanical Singer. If you are used to higher stitches per minute you may have to slow down a bit. You can get it on your budget especially if you buy one that was a classroom model. Talk to the owner, he is a really nice guy. The best would be to try and find someone close to where you live and try it. That will be the best because you would know if it is for you. I bought mine unseen because I really wanted the Bailey for their customer service and the fact that they are a family business from NY state. Also, I knew that we could never, ever afford any other long/mid arm. Good luck to you. There are many people on the board who own different set ups and I am sure they will give tell you their experiences as well.

  3. #3
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    Thank you Tashana for your input on the Bailey! I'm really interested in one of these but the 700 stitches per minute is a concern for me. As of now I quilt FAST. Part of the reason for my upgrade is I need something to move quickly with me. I have a feeling once past the learning curve, I'm going to yearn for speed! Lol** I'm even interested in a Juki/frame set up but I'm afraid I'm going to be disappointed with the small work area.

    I definitely have the space for a king set up - my sewing studio is in a 23 foot by 23 foot former two car garage that was remodeled into our second living room. We still use it as a living space too but eventually I will put up some seperating walls so we don't have to look at all my quilting nonsense to watch a movie!
    Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  4. #4
    Junior Member An Arm Long's Avatar
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    I have a Baby Lock Crown Jewel (same machine as the HQ Avante) and a majestic frame (only 120 inches - 10 feet). I have done large queen quilts but a king would not be possible. You would need a 12 foot frame. The Jewel has an 18'" arm.
    The Jewel is around $10,000 new (without the computer) but could be alot less used. I think Baby Lock is still offering interest free loans. I am paying $250 per month which is $3000 per year. It will mean quilting 3 quilts or so a month for pay to pay it off. But if you could get a used one for $6000 or so, it would be a really great machine for the money. I am at the point of starting a business after 18 months of practice and doing my own quilts.
    I have had no problem with my Jewel. It is a wonderful and smooth machine.

    I forgot to mention that the cost included the frame.
    Last edited by An Arm Long; 12-02-2012 at 11:46 AM.
    Beth in Maryland

  5. #5
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    Thsi is good to know - $250 a month is more affordable than I expected, but I'd still like to avoid a loan if I can. Thank you An Arm Long! Oh wait, I see it now, Beth in Maryland!!!
    Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  6. #6
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    Anything over 18" is considered a long arm. I own the Nolting 24" PRO, love it (only quilt for myself). Most dealers have used machines as do the manufacturers. You need to haunt the APQS forum, MQG forum and on yahoo the groups of Nolting, MQSG and any other longarm groups. That's where you'll find the deals. Go to shows, you can always get a deal and ask about used machines. Don't be afraid to buy used .... dealers give you a warranty. Good Luck

  7. #7
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    Anything over 18" is considered a long arm. I own the Nolting 24" PRO, love it (only quilt for myself). Most dealers have used machines as do the manufacturers. You need to haunt the APQS forum, MQG forum and on yahoo the groups of Nolting, MQSG and any other longarm groups. That's where you'll find the deals. Go to shows, you can always get a deal and ask about used machines. Don't be afraid to buy used .... dealers give you a warranty. Good Luck
    You know, silly me, I didn't even THINK about checking out the deals at shows. There is a show in the spring. To be honest, the ONLY reason I'm inclined to go new is for the warranty and customer support.

    I'm really leaning towards a used machine because of my budget - do you think it's a bad idea to buy something as old as the 90's? I mean - I really WANT stitch regulation, but space is a lot more important to me and I'd be willing to sacrifice it at this point to get a bigger work area.
    Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  8. #8
    Super Member sewingladydi's Avatar
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    Try looking around for a used machine. I got a TL18 (from '07 & hardly used), with wooden frame, laser light and stitch regulator for under $1,000. I'm having a blast with it. But I'm just quilting for friends & myself.

    Keep in mind that you will need extra $$$ for pantos, laser light, thread, maybe leaders, clamps, extra lighting.

    But it's sooo much fun!

    SewingLadyDI

  9. #9
    Junior Member JillC's Avatar
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    Longarm University has listings for used machines as well. I have a Nolting Commercial 18" /stitch regulated with 12 foot frame. Bought mine used from a dealer...Noltings website has used machines sometimes.
    "Never approach a bull from the front,a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction"

  10. #10
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    Keep in mind the puffer the batting the more you will lose space because of what is on the take up roller. Right now I am quilting a 108 x 86 quilt with the quilt laying with the 108 from L to R on the rollers. We are using Quilters Dream Select on the bottom and a layer of QD wool on top to make it puffer. My APQS Millenium is a 24" throat. I wanted an open pattern to allow the puffiness to show and we picked one that is working out nicely. But I could only enlarge the design to a little over 13" to be sure I would have enough room to stitch it out by the time I was done. I'm nearly finished and it looks like we had it figured just about right. The amount of room used on the take up roller can be deceptive. By the way we do have Intelliquilter.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

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