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Thread: long arm quilting machines

  1. #1
    Member
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    Could those of you who have long arm quilting machines answer a few questions for me. Do you leave the frame set up all the time. Is is always set for a king size quilt or do you downsize it. How much room do you need to have one of these machines? I am thinking of getting one but dont know if I have a enough room. Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member quilticing's Avatar
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    Don't do anything until you visit a LAQ! then go to the sellers. I have lots of space (but would like more, of course) but have seen some really cramped setups.

  3. #3
    Senior Member qwkslver's Avatar
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    I am anxious to follow this thread. I have been looking at home quilting systems for a long time. I don't think I have enough room or knowledge or for that matter money either. I hope you uncover some good news.

  4. #4
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    i keep my frame set up all the time - it would be a hassle to break it down and put it up as needed. i also think its good to practice a few days a week to keep your skills fresh.

    i have the ability to do a king size quilt but i don't keep it set up for that size since i rarely make a quilt that large.

    i keep my frame setup in the middle of the room so i can have access to the front and back.

    i've seen some set back towards a wall because they never do pantos only free hand. if you only want to do free hand it takes up less space in a room.

    my space is about 16x20 and i have a walk in closet. i have my room set up with all cabinets and counter tops/work surface along 3 walls and then the frame floats in that area.

    i have plenty space to walk around everything.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Candy Apple Quilts's Avatar
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    If you are able to "test drive" different types of machines before you choose one, it will be worth your piece of mind....

    I started off with a regular machine, a small frame, and 2 conference tables pushed together. It wasn't long before I realized that I wanted more throat space. I checked into lots of different brands on line, and the companies gave me the names of people who were happy to let me come over and try their machines.It took a little bit of footwork, but I am so happy that I did it that way!

    If you have any shows nearby, try shopping there, and do lots of test drives. Always ask about the throat space, and visualize how much room you will have when there is a rolled quilt on the machine. I have a neighbor who gets frustrated every time she has to remove a quilt, turn it around, and then try to finish the other half. The throat space is just as important as the length of the machine -- and sometimes MORE!

  6. #6
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    once set up...that's where it's at...mine is 14 feet long by about 30-40" wide (i'm not sure). i can remove bars to make it smaller but what a pain...easier to just leave set up as is...that way no matter what size quilt i have to work on i'm ready for it. if you are interested you have ALOT of research to do....there are many different set ups to choose from-they are all expensive-it is an investment as big as buying a new car. (sometimes a really expensive car)
    you should visit as many show's and shops with machines and try out as many as you can before deciding...i love my machine but know someone who had nothing buy aggrivation with hers(same brand)...we are all different - and you need to find the machine that is (right) for you....where preferably you have a (dealer) close for classes and tech support-and supplies...i made a big mistake when i purchased my machine-while on vacation...i have no local support-live in northern Michigan and have to call Utah and trouble shoot long-distance when there is a problem. RESEARCH BEFORE INVESTING!

  7. #7
    Super Member cjtinkle's Avatar
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    Set up all the time. Setting the frame up and getting it perfectly level takes a bit of time and adjusting. A smooth operating machine only happens if the frame is setup properly... not something you want to be taking up and down!

    My frame is 14 foot, so it takes a fair amount of space.

  8. #8
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    I have mine set up all the time in our front room. That is where all my machines I use are set up and my hubby's computer. We have a front room and a living room so we have plenty of room. BUT if my soon to be 19 yr old daughter would ever move out, I am taking over her room before she closes the door on her way out. Hubby has step-son's room, he moved out last year.

  9. #9
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    Mine is setup all the time at 10'. My previous frame was at 12' and this one will be also when we can figure out how to get 12' poles for it--different rail system than my old one had.

    Anyway, it did take several room re-arrangements to get a 12' frame into a large bedroom and have it accessible from at least 3 sides. I had it katty-corner at first but eventually cleared out enough other stuff to get it along a wall but with enough space behind it to get back there. My first frame was originally setup in a smaller bedroom and it did not have room behind it but I never quilted from the back side when I first started anyway so it was ok.

    It all depends on what kind of quilting you plan to do, what size quilts, and what kind of toys you add to the mix. I added a PC Quilter which needed access to the backside of the frame. A newer style of PC Quilter does not need to be accessed from the back. I also find it easier to load a quilt onto the takeup roller from the back but I can do it from the front if necessary. Also, if you plan to do pantographs many frames are only able to follow those by quilting from the back. Some people have figured out ways to do it from the front but on the smaller frames, the only way is to do it from the back.

    I wouldn't take mine up & down but then I have a 75 pound Voyager mid-arm sitting on it. It's too much trouble to setup a large frame but with a smaller setup it should be easier but if you mainly do bed sized quilts like me, a small setup won't work for you.

  10. #10
    Junior Member tyoung's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
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    Mine is set up all the time in its 12 foot length because I have no choice. It is a wooden table that doesn't move. It does take up quite a bit of space.

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