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Thread: A question for longarmers

  1. #1
    Super Member isnthatodd's Avatar
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    I am thinking about buying a longarm and want to know if you all think there would be enough business to go around to help me pay for this after I practice.

  2. #2
    Pam
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    Super Member Pam's Avatar
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    I am not a longarmer, but I know my friend always has a waiting list, she only does custom work and she takes in tops and does them in the order they were received. I think her turn around time now is about 2 weeks, or so. She does great work, very pretty, each an individual quilting design.

  3. #3
    Super Member franie's Avatar
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    I make a little here and there--enough. But once you start taking in work, your own time for quilting and sewing is lessened. And it is more stressful!

  4. #4
    Senior Member ljsunflower's Avatar
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    The other thing to take into consideration is the economy. It's on a downward spiral at this time. Not sure when it's coming back up. Lots of people out of jobs & more will be lost in the near future. They will cut back luxuries & quilting will be one of those. (ask me how I know)
    One other thing to look at is who is in your vicinity who will want longarm quilting done? I live in a county that has a high percentage of retired people on fixed incomes. Not much business there.
    Ask around. You may have more business than you can shake a stick at. But always know that change can come at any time.
    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I think the best places to ask around is quilt guild meetings, sewing groups and test the waters at quilt stores.

  6. #6
    Junior Member gingerella's Avatar
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    I bought a frame and a Jewel (by BabyLock) this past year. I find that just doing my own stuff is amazingly stressful, as I am NOT an experienced longarmer. I am still learning, and I'm not sure when I will be up to speed. Maybe years.

    I bought a computerized program for the machine and find it somewhat unwieldy. I don't particularly like the patterns offered, and at this point, the program doesn't allow the import of patterns. The program is, as well, difficult to learn.

    Unless you are pretty good at free-motion on your own machine, I would think very seriously about attempting to earn any money for a pretty long time on a big system.

    I have a Janome 11000 and that is what started me thinking about a big system. I love the Janome, but it certainly isn't a system using a frame and a long-arm.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by isnthatodd
    I am thinking about buying a longarm and want to know if you all think there would be enough business to go around to help me pay for this after I practice.
    Hi, I am not sure about your local area but I just bought my new Gammill Optimum in January of this year because I was having to wait 3 months to get my quilts done at the local businesses here that do it. However, other than doing almost 100 volunteer quilts for the American Heros and other charity organizations it has been slow. It is starting to pick up some now but it isn't anywhere near what I had hoped or expected. So far I haven't made enough in one month to make the monthly payment on my machine let alone see any extra money. I am glad my DH is understanding and helping with the longarm payments until my business is holding its own. I have been told by other longarmers in the area that this year is slow for them to, so I do think the economy right now is affecting it some. Hopefully for everyone's sake things will turnaround soon.
    Thanks,
    Sherryl
    Candlequilter
    PS - Here are a few of the most popular pantographs that I use. Thanks for the email about the July special on my longarm services.
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  8. #8

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    It simply depends upon how the quilting is in your area. What I gather in my reading of posts from professional quilters over the past couple of years, is that it really all depends upon your skill level, the amount of piecer's in your area and how many hire out for services, as well as how long the current quilters in your area have for waiting lists. Also to be considered is whether or not the local shops will recommend/support your services.

    I recommend doing some investigation in your own area, and through your local guilds, to know for sure. Good luck!

  9. #9
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Once you get experienced and develope a client base you will be able to have a good business.
    I do find that more people have gotten machines so there is more long arm avaiability.... but it is still hard to find someone to do other that pantograph work. Good Custom work is hard to come by and then a long back log. I have a top that I got on the list for custom back in March for quilting in October.
    The rates in my area for typical Pantograph work are all about .015 per square inch.. some offer free thread or some other value of about 10 to 15 dollars. Back log for this kind of work is anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months depending on the quilter. Some LQS have machines and a few have only a week of backlog, but they will not do custom work only pantograph, edge to edge. Occasionally they will send out an e- mail ... a no lines no waitng for long arm work ... typically in January ..after everone has rushed to finish a quilt for Christmas.

    Once someone likes and has confidence in the person doing the longarm work , particularly custom , they will stay with that person.
    I have paid over $600 for custom work on a full size quilt. It is understandable that a good business can not do all custom , there should be a balance of "computerized production work" and custom or the amount of time standing and bending will get tiresome.
    All of the longarm people I have worked with agree that having the computerized system is great for production pantograph work... imagine doing several just stipple quilting , quilts one after another .... without the computer system....boring!
    All of the longarm people I have worked with tell me ... they wish they had more time for their own sewing/quilting.

  10. #10
    Junior Member gingerella's Avatar
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    I agree completely with Lori S. note, above. A good Long Arm Quilter is worth her/his weight in pure gold. I have had experience in the past with a good one and lately, with a quilter in a fabric store, and I can tell you, I feel that my lovely pieced quilt top did not deserve what it got from her.

    It was after this experience that I "assumed" I could do at least as good, and it turned out, I was right. I DID do at least as good. But I would have been very much happier and very much richer had I stuck with my out-of-state long arm quilting wonder woman.

    I'm going to get better at it; I'm impatient. But the learning curve can be rather steep. Especially when the grandchildren come up for a while and the summer is so short.

    I think if you have the time, and the circumstances are right, you will do just fine. But it may also will take a bit longer than you first thought. You should have a back up plan (capital) for those lean times in the beginning. And I surely do wish you the best of luck.

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