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Thread: Mid arm - what questions to ask

  1. #1
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    I am getting a mid arm! I'm saving now, and will have enough by summer. In my mind, I feel like it's between the HQ16 and the Tin Lizzie. I haven't decided against the other brands, just my research keeps pointing me towards those 2 (and specifcally the HQ16). Tomorrow I'm heading to Sierra Vista where they have a quilt show and both HQ and TL will be there, not sure about any of the other ones. I've already scheduled my demo with HQ, and TL said I can just show up and schedule it then. I'm making a list of questions to ask and I would appreciate your input on anything I've missed, please. Getting a list of questions was invaluable when buying my sewing machine, so I'd like to make sure to have a comprehensive list here. Thank you!

    Deal breakers:
    -Does it have a stitch regular (which I know both do, but it's still on the list)
    -Can it stop in needle down (didn't get that on my 1st sewing machine.... mistake)
    -Can it fit in a space 10' x 10'?

    Other questions:
    How do I load it, esp. how do I roll it up and how does it work with the batting?
    Are there issues with vertical seams in the back (I use a Flynn Frame system now, which I love except that the system HATES when there are vertical back seams)
    How does the side tensions work?
    How does the machine tension work?
    Do I need specific thread?
    How much quilting space does it actually give me?
    How does the lighting work?
    Do you offer classes?
    Where is the nearest tech?
    Does it have the stylus piece?
    How easy is it to quilt the center then do a different pattern for the border?
    Can I quilt with the quilt on an angle (there's one pattern where I need a 45 deg turn on the quilt, which is why I haven't finished it)?
    What do I have to do for maintenance?
    How big is the bobbin/how is it loaded?
    How does the bobbin winder work?
    What frame/table systems are available?
    How does the set up work?
    How easy is it to quilt straight lines?

  2. #2
    Senior Member humbird's Avatar
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    Sounds like your ? list is down pat! The only thing I would question is the stitch reg. I'm not sure I understand just what it is supposed to do. I thought I did, but after reading some of the posts here on the board, I think I may be mistaking.

    Lucky you to get the new machine. Good luck with what ever you choose. I'm sure you will love it.

  3. #3
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    You might want to join the homequiltingsystems group at Yahoo for additional tips. It's a very active group and members have all different kinds of setups. From what I recall from just cursory reading is that a lot of people really enjoy the HQ16. Tin Lizzie seems to have more problems. But that is just my cursory impression from dropping in on that list once in awhile.

  4. #4
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    ask about training! there is a learning curve and hands-on training reduces it. You will want to be shown how to set tension, of the quilt on the frame and of the threads, bobbin and top.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MamaHen's Avatar
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    You do have a load of questions. I think the best thing for you to do, is find a good rep from both companies that will answer all of your questions. Everyone on this board will give you answers about their machines (including me) and you still might not understand. Do lots of research, try out the ones you have chosen and ask questions, questions, questions. As for the HQ16, I don't think they are going to make it anymore except in the Sweet16 sit down model. I have the Avante 18" and can quilt up to 15". I have the stitch regulator and couldn't live with out it. the Studio frame is easy to load, easy to use, and wouldn't recommend any other table to use with it. It is just my size, very low maintance, uses any type of thread, (I've used many including metallic). I did lots of research on all the types and found for what I wanted, it is just the right one. Don't dispare, you'll get all your answers, just ask your questions to the reps. If they won't answer your questions then that is one you do not want.

  6. #6
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    Also, HQ gives phenomenal customer support for forever after you've bought their machine. I have the HQ16 and really am enjoying it. I quilted a full-sized quilt last Sunday in under 4 hours! and, not just stippling either.

  7. #7
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by humbird
    Sounds like your ? list is down pat! The only thing I would question is the stitch reg. I'm not sure I understand just what it is supposed to do. I thought I did, but after reading some of the posts here on the board, I think I may be mistaking.
    The idea with a stitch regulator is that it goes faster or slower as you go faster or slower with your machine, so it makes the stitches more uniform and even. Especially on my regular machine, I have difficulties with moving it at the same speed. This way, when I lurch, rather than 2 stitches over an inch (which I've done), the machine does a bunch of quick stitches, so it looks even. I've used the TL before and there's is amazing. I even tried jerky motions and for the actual stitches, couldn't tell (could tell in the design, lol).

  8. #8
    Super Member LucyInTheSky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MamaHen
    As for the HQ16, I don't think they are going to make it anymore except in the Sweet16 sit down model.
    I hope that's not true! According to their DVD, the HQ16 is their best selling machine, so I hope they keep making it. I was thinking the Sweet16 sounded more like an attempt to get the lower end of the market since it's about $4-5K ... now I'm worried that they'll stop making the 16!

  9. #9
    Senior Member MamaHen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LucyInTheSky
    Quote Originally Posted by MamaHen
    As for the HQ16, I don't think they are going to make it anymore except in the Sweet16 sit down model.
    I hope that's not true! According to their DVD, the HQ16 is their best selling machine, so I hope they keep making it. I was thinking the Sweet16 sounded more like an attempt to get the lower end of the market since it's about $4-5K ... now I'm worried that they'll stop making the 16!
    If they do discontinue it they will still support it. I think the only difference will be that the Sweet 16 will be on a table. The machines are the same.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MamaHen's Avatar
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    Just looked at the Handi Quilter web site, the HQ 16 is still there, so maybe my info was incorrect.

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