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Thread: Machines: Long arm vs others: A Question

  1. #1
    Junior Member KarylMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Kannapolis NC
    I am trying to decide between a HV Ruby (which could do lovely embroidery quilting within my blocks or fill-in spaces, and did smaller FMQ very easily and smoothly but has only a 10.5" throat, so is limited in actual quilting space for larger flowing designs) or getting a long arm system of equivalent cost. (around $5000-ish)
    I am currently using a Kenmore that does just fine for piecing and quilting, but very limited in space (6inch) and also pretty much just straight or straight decorative stitch. Crummy at FMQ.

    I think I just want to know if I will regret buying the Ruby and wish I had a long arm, or if the Ruby will do all I need and more and I'll love it and not miss a long arm because of all the neat stuff I can do on Ruby.

    So: you folks with machines similar to Ruby: do you also have a long arm that you actually QUILT on (or access to one, or send them out for quilting), OR do you do ALL your machine quilt work on your machine and are happy with it and don't feel the need for a long arm?

    (I want both! can only have one! yikes! WHICH???)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Yulee Florida
    I am biased I have a longarm and wouldnt want to live with out it. only downfall is no fancy stitching.

  3. #3
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    New England, USA
    Yes - get both!!

    That being said - here are 2 big questions:

    1 - How many finished tops do you make?
    2 - Do you have children? Do you make gifts?

    If you make lots of pieced tops and you like to do that then the Longarm is what you want. If you have children, you will get a lot of use out of the Embroidery machine. 10.5 is not huge - but it is far better than 6 (or 7). Also quick gifts are a breeze with an Embroidery machine. That being said - I would look for a used HV D1(without the usb upgrade!!), a used Designer SE, a used Pfaff 2170 or even a used Babylock Embroidery before I dropped 5k on a new HV. Their quality has dropped significantly since they moved their assembly to China.

    I have both types of machines (both purchased used) - they serve different purposes. It all depends on what you want to do. Best of luck with the decision!!

  4. #4
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern California
    Well, I vote for both too -but you of course know what the budget is - However, since you are asking - I have both. I bought my Husqvarna/Viking Sapphire 875Q (LOVE it) - it is so good for piecing and other sewing - I did not want the embroidery for now. My hubby also bought me an HQ Avante - my first longarm - I actually never used a longarm and hardly knew what it was when I got it. Love it too - there is a learning curve but it gets easier the more you use it. Space is a concern too - a longarm is big (well the table is ) so keep that in mind too. Good luck... Let us know what you get.

  5. #5
    Super Member cjtinkle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Russellville AR
    I have both. If I had to choose, I'd keep the longarm, wouldn't even have to think twice about that.

  6. #6
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Alturas, CA
    That wouldn't be a hard choice for me, the long arm for me.

  7. #7
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    If you have a piecing machine-get a long arm-you will regret it if you don't

  8. #8
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Festus, Missouri, USA
    I have all 3--sewing/piecing, embroidery & a mid-arm. I bought the Singer Quantum Futura (CE-200) to do embroidery & piece with (-$900 new) because my original old Euro-Pro mechanical machine was having tension problems & isn't worth fixing. I played with the Singer's embroidery module but never did get much into it but have designs for future quilts that will need that function of it.

    Within a year I discovered that there was no way to quilt with such a small neck machine unless it was block by block, quilt as you go and even trying to fit a quilt under the needle to sew the rows together was a pain so I researched & found the Janome MC6500p. It was a semi-industrial machine with fancy stitches and a 9" throat. It could take the abuse of frame quilting and sew all day. New price was between $1000 & $1500 depending on the dealer and none of the ones near me had a clue what I was talking about until I bumbled into the Elna version of my baby--7200 Quilters Dream Pro. The dealer was actually using it to piece a quilt with in the store from start to finish. I was sold--cost $1,300 new. I could easily stuff baby quilts through it but it hurt my shoulders & neck to sit for long spells doing it that way so I bought a B-Line Studio Quilt frame--$900 new. I taught myself how to free motion quilt with that. I was ecstatic for about 2 years. Then I saw the PC Quilter with Max Throat setup at Paducah one year. Computer guided quilting with a gizmo that turned my 9" machine into a 16" machine! (Around $3,000 new back then) I got that for Christmas because Santa had just changed jobs & gotten a bigger salary. I was perfectly happy with this setup for the next 3 years. I had to fuss with some things that a real longarmer doesn't but I was still well under the price tag a true longarm with robotics costs so a little fussing was well worth it to me. I would have my battles with the PC Quilter & Max but I always won & honestly my frame wiggling it's way out of level and/or sinking into the carpet was more annoying than anything and was usually a contributing factor to all other issues. Hubby was dreaming up ways to fix the wiggling/sinking problem when I stumbled across a Voyager 17 with stitch length regulator (SLR) on a Pro-Flex frame on ebay. The seller didn't give many details but had a good rating so I placed my absolute maximum but ridiculously low bid on it & went to Paducah to drool over the real longarms. I did pay special attention to the Voyager while I was there just in case and played on a demo machine the Hinterberg folks had setup. I won the bid while we were at the show & the seller actually let it go at the ridiculously low price. It came with absolutely everything a brand new setup comes with. UPS didn't--although they tried--damaging the Voyager. It took us longer to find the conduit that the Pro-Flex frame(& a few others) uses for rails & poles than it did to get the old setup packed and the new one all setup and the Voyager re-timed. Re-timing sounds a lot scarier than it is and it came with very clear instructions (& lots of pictures for hubby to follow--LOL.) I think the timing issue was probably why the seller let it go so cheap when it was in like new condition. Hubby is a programmer & I'm a computer tech so we're used to following directions out of very boring manuals and weren't afraid to tinker. I've since joined the Hinterberg Yahoo group & discovered that many people have actually had Hinterberg walk them through timing their machine over the phone.

    I wouldn't trade any of my learning curve at this point. I needed those upgrades to teach me and if I ever out-grow or another too good to believe deal comes along on a true longarm--I'll be ready. I still use the Elna for piecing, the Singer for embroidery and the Voyager now for quilting. I haven't setup the Voyager for the PC Quilter yet--I still like to free motion and I actually hurt my knee while using the PC Quilter the last time--my fault, not my little metal buddy's--so I've got to re-think how I control my PCQ before I put it on the Voyager.

    So, the abridged version of my advice is: 1. You can make do with a lot less money than you think. 2. You can upgrade along the way. 3. Watch for bargains.

  9. #9
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    North of Boston, MA, USA
    I have both, love my HQ 16 and have never used the embroidery unit on my Brother 4000D, which is why it is going up for sale. I piece on Elna Quilters dream.

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