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Thread: Long arm quilters

  1. #1
    Member peppermint's Avatar
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    How many long arm quilter on board. Why did you decide to purchase a long arm. How did you decide on what one. Do you feel that it was a good thing. I'm asking because I would like to purchase one and I'm not sure if I should or not. It would be a new toy. I quess I need to justfy spending the money.

  2. #2
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    I decided to purchase my longarm to start my business as well as doing my own quilts. After trying to do large size quilts in my small sewing machine I knew I had to do something else.

    We shopped around (DH and I) and attended the AQS show in Knoxville, TN last summer. We tested several and were most impressed with the Nolting.
    We we VERY impressed with the customer service from the rep and since our purchase with continued service and contact with them. We have had not issues with the machine.

    We went with the Fun Quilter with stitch regulator on a 12' steel frame with hydraulics. I can do any size quilt including King size.

    We also purchased the SideSaddle computer system and I have very happy with that.

    I do computer designs as well as free motion work and often combine the two.

    We are in TN but if you lived closer or are going to be in our area you can drop by for a demo! Just let me know first.

    Tip --- test several out before you buy. Ask questions. Other people like other machines. Each one is different.

    If you get one you will need to Practice on lots of scrap material. Don't expect to be perfect the first time out.

  3. #3
    Power Poster debcavan's Avatar
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    My favorite part of making a quilt is the quilting.

    If you go to a big quilt show, you will find many of the dealers there and can actually run the machines. An important part is getting the handles that you are comfortable on. Also some machines are heavier than others.

    I actually chose my dealer because the dealer was closest to me and I can get service easier. Machines do need to be cleaned.

    I got a big machine right away not the biggest because I have short arms. I had had a frame a million years ago that I put my regular machine into. I only had 71/4 inches under my arm and then part of that was taken by the take up roller. The area was way too small. At that time , they didn't have handles on the front as they do now. It was hard on my back. So I decided that I would never upgrade again. I got what I wanted and I am so glad.

    I teach on a Baby Lock. That is a good machine, not fond of the frame but the machine does such a good job and has such a good stitch. I have had it break the thread once with all the beginners using it and have never seen a pop up. But the way the frame turns the fabric ahead, it is slow compared to my own home machine. So it frustrates me.

    But compare the price, it has raised it's prices and you may be able to get a larger machine for little more with a much more efficient heavier frame.

    I love having the long arm. I do much bigger quilts now. My machine was four times faster than doing a quilt on my small home machine when I first started. And now I am so much faster than that. It is so much easier on the body also. I still enjoy FMQ on my small machine on very small projects.

  4. #4
    Power Poster debcavan's Avatar
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    Yes I read the other reply, don't expect to be perfect the first day. You have to train your muscles. So even when trying out the machines, your designs won't be as good as they will be after a week, and especially a month on the machine

  5. #5
    Senior Member quilticing's Avatar
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    I love my computerized Gammill. My shoulders wouldn't hold up to free-motion all the time. After 7 years in business I have more work than I can do. The key to success is reasonable price for the project. I know the customer gets their moneys worth and that's job satisfaction to me. Plus the even funner part is doing my own thing on kids' quilts.

  6. #6
    Super Member PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    as far as justifying the money, do you currently send your quilts out to be quilted? how much do you pay per quilt? After trying out as many brands as you can, take the price of the LA and divide it by the average price you pay to have a quilt quilted now. This will give you the number of quilts you have to do in order to break even vs. sending them out. There's always the fun factor, however, which is priceless!!!

  7. #7
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    I got mine because I just couldn't FMQ on my regular machine because of the problems it caused with my neck and back. I have a couple of LA friends and I tried out their machines, I went to shows that featured LA vendors and tried their machines and I joined online groups that discussed LA quilting and asked questions of those who had machines. I talked to the Nolting people in Iowa a lot and just decided that this is the machine for me.
    I agree with you, it is a big decision because of the cost, but I'm glad I did it. Talking about the cost of LAing, be aware that the cost you incur is not just machine cost. If you go into business with your machine you will have licensing costs and supply costs and training costs to consider.
    After all is said and done, I'm really glad I made the decision to get my machine.

  8. #8
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    I wanted a long-arm for a while because I hated trying to quilt large quilts on a DSM. I also hate giving up creative control by having someone else do what I want to do. Plus, if there is a screw-up, I did not want to have that level of anger against anyone but me. So, when my mom died, she posthumously purchased a machine for me. I picked something mid-arm size, an HQ16, because it fit the bill of what I want to do. I've had it three years and haven't looked back once. I love it.

  9. #9
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    i got a long arm because i wasn't happy FMQ on a DSM.

    sending quilts out to be quilted was not an option for me because i like to have control over the entire creative process and having some one else do my quilting makes it a collaborative project.

    i set a budget and worked within that to purchase the setup. i bought the frame used and purchased the machine new.

    i'm very happy with my purchase.

  10. #10
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    I got a longarm because when I was done with the top , I wanted it done now.So I just took a deep breath and got one.But I did go to shows and test drive them first.I was a mess but I had to have one.I just love it now.

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