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Thread: Thinking of buying a long arm? Read this Longing for a long arm book

  1. #1
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    Thinking of buying a long arm? Read this Longing for a long arm book

    I told my husband this $5 book is the best money Iíve spent all year. It outlines the benefits and especially the drawbacks of owning a long arm. It also talks about the feasibility of setting up a business. It referenced you to YouTube videos, that demoed what it took to set up the longarm for quilting and other videos. Talked about many things I hadnít thought of. Short but informative. After reading it, it was clear to me a longarm would not be a wise purchase for me.

    Only drawbook was that I could only find it as a kindle book but it was easy to download the app to read it.

    Hope it helps los someone else and no Iím not getting a kickback.
    https://www.amazon.com/Longing-Longa.../dp/B00HY1LXZE

  2. #2
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I thought for years I wanted a nice big long arm. My non quilting cousin's MIL died and they had to clean out her house fast. There was an APO LA as her MIL was a quilter. The thing was hardly used. She gave it to me to use. I was thrilled. After a few classes and lots of practice I didn't want it anymore. Too much trouble. I am so glad I didn't invest in one. We sold it. I bought a sit down Juki machine set up and love it. It's not any trouble, just sit down and quilt, more like using a sewing machine.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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  3. #3
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    There was an APO LA

    Ooops should be APQS Long Arm machine.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  4. #4
    mkc
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    I very much appreciate the heads' up on the Kindle book. It will be an interesting read.

  5. #5
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    I just bought my long arm a few months ago. It was a hefty investment, no lie, but so far I am happy with the decision. I will look into this resource, as I am always looking to learn more. thank you.

  6. #6
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    Long arming does take more physical stamina and ability than a lot of people realize. On the other hand, it allows some of us with physical issues the ability to do our own quilting that might be too hard on us in another form. I think most of the people here really advise people to take their time, visit Sew Expos, try a few machines and take a class or two at a local shop/long armer and I always say use your tape measure before committing to the purchase. It takes at least a typical sized single car garage or family room to be comfortable, for me anyway.

    I would so get a long arm if I had (a) the money and (b) the space. I know there is more to being computerized than just pointing and going, but I'd love to learn how to do it and I want that ability. I've gotten pretty proficient with stitch regulator and my technical skills were ok, but my downfall is that I just don't think in terms of what can be done with quilting. My joy is in the planning and piecing and I can piece very quickly. The only thing that does slow me down is getting my tops finished or I would piece even more than I do now. I haven't counted in awhile but I typically have around 20 tops waiting to be quilted. Everything is expensive in my area, I think to get what I want each of those tops would cost $350-500+ for quilting (sure, I could get a simple edge to edge non custom finish for a little less -- but I can do that eventually on my domestic), if I sent out those tops alone that's 8-10k. The way I see it, it makes a lot of sense for me to have a long arm, but I just don't have the space even when I've seen some really great deals. I was able to use a friend's set up for a few years and now I'm spoiled, really hard to go back to a domestic.

    For people with more space and/or budget than me, why not get one if it isn't going to break the bank? In my lottery dreams I turn my current home into my sewing studio and I have a professional Statler model named Elvira sitting right about where I am now.

    I see the wonderful things people do here in in shows and magazines and all that, and all I can do is admire their work and sometimes steal an idea or two. Some people can take any old thing and elevate it by their work. I'm mostly just trying to keep it all together in the wash! I have fairly high standards, so it isn't my workmanship but rather the art of quilting that I'm missing.
    Quilters: Advanced tool using humans.

  7. #7
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    mjpencinitas - If you have made up your mind, i certainly dont wanna complicate your life, but...

    Maybe you would be happy with a sitdown longarm instead... they dont take up near as much space as a standup machine. They cost about a quarter of what you might spend on a standup longarm.

    Mine is not electronic, is easy to maintain and learn to use. I just basically sitdown and quilt - there are no feed dogs and i have a huge harp area and height. I love having a dedicated quilting machine and it - and the included table - fit perfectly into the extra bedroom that is now my Happy Place! Just a thought cuz there are more types of longarms than just the standup ones.

    I only quilt for me and never wanted to make a business of quilting. If i invested in a standup longarm, i would feel compelled to get one with all the bells and whistles because i would feel like if i spent all that money then i better be prepared to make it pay for itself. I dont want that because for me that would take all the fun out of quilting - then it would be just another job. I quilt to unwind and relax and be creative.

    I had done FMQ in my DSM for many years and pretty much decided that i didnt need a longarm (even though i wanted one). But... in consideration of retirement in a few years, i finally quit talking myself out of it because basically if i really wanted one it was now or never! I am so happy that i finally allowed myself to go ahead with the purchase!

    I have had mine for a year now. FMQ is so much more fun now with more room! I also thought i would never have any interest in doing ďruler workĒ... boy was i wrong! After watching some really great videos on using rulers i could really get my head around the value of learning that skill and i am working to get better!

    Like i said, i dont want to make your life more complicated if you have already decided what is right for you. I respect that. I just want to make sure that you are aware of all of the options you might have available to you.

  8. #8
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    Oh there was a nice sit down set up on Craig's List today, still no room for it!

    My modern Bernina 820 has a huge throat and I can happily and easily do a twin size -- and if it was in a table I'd consider a queen, but still not the same as the long arm. Unfortunately, Bernie needs a servicing and I am just not going back to my old vintage machine.

    I think there is just a basic difference between moving the machine which I do better than moving the quilt, which many people do better than I do.

    Edit/PS: You can have a long arm set up for chair height, one of my friends is set up that way. She says you quickly get used to involving your feet in the process but she likes to have really loud music on while quilting!
    Quilters: Advanced tool using humans.

  9. #9
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    Oh yes, long arm quilting can be tiring. my friend's daughter did quilts for others and is such a perfectionist she ended up with serious neck trouble. she had me make tops for her and then sent those to others for completion when needing quilts for her friends. sad but hopefully she will be back quilting sometime soon.
    "From hence only infer that an Englishman, of all men, ought not to despise foreigners as such and I think the inference is just, since what they are today, we were yesterday, and tomorrow they will be like us"
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    Iceblossom - Mine measures 48Ē x 30Ē including the table... still too big?

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    mjpEncinitas - I'm curious - what things made you decide that a long arm is a good purchase for you?

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    For my house, anything that big would mean something would have to go out. I could give up on my living room entirely and let the couch go... but then I'd still be faced with the issue that I prefer to move the machine than the quilt.

    Or maybe we are talking two different things, I'm thinking of something like the Craig's List set-up described as "TinLizzie QueenQuilter 18" Long Arm w/stitch regulator. It is the sit down model and comes with the table for easy fabric movement." That's the thing about doing your research, it's a great set-up for some people, each machine and style and frame has someone that it is perfect for.

    I know frames can be set up at smaller sizes as well, but mostly I do queen+ sized tops so would want that full 12' frame. If I had the ability to quilt them down, I do more in the 3-yard square king size top that I never make because I don't want to handle. One of my friends was quite clever, she had a 2-story living room and built out a balcony from the open upstairs hallway to accommodate her long arm! But most have given up a garage or family room.

    When my son was little, I figured when he moved out I'd change the family room into my long arm room. But then I got a husband who needs his computer desk every bit as much as I need mine, and truthfully, most days I'd rather have the hubby than the long arm. Most days... My husband is a wonderful man and I am so lucky we met. All in all, I'd rather have a huge dog kennel and a few critters than a long arm.
    Quilters: Advanced tool using humans.

  13. #13
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    Understood, iceblossom... and for me, i like the setup i have because i prefer to move the quilt instead of the machine! Just a natural extension of doing FMQ on a DSM for years - its a relief to have more room in the harp area!

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    Thank you for sharing this resource. The more resources available to people when considering an expensive purchase the better.

    I highly recommend people going to a Sew Expo and trying as many machines as possible. Also checking out local places where they can rent time on a LA. There are many communities with rental programs available and it is a great way to see if you can physically manage the machine.

    There are a great many different reasons people purchase LA machines, just as we all have different budgets and different physical abilities.

    I bought a second hand machine and love it.
    Attending University. I will graduate a year after my son and year before my daughter.

  15. #15
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    If it is a passion then yes get one by all means and enjoy it. What's the worse? Sell it and forget it.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  16. #16
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    For me the long arm is the answer to my wanting to do the whole process myself. I started out with a 10 ft frame with a HV 18/8 machine set up in a spare bedroom. That machine was a floor model and only used in short bursts of demoing at the store. When I got it it would go nuts after a half hour of quilting. So long story short it spent more time in the factory for repairs than in my house. I ended up getting a HQ Avante on a 12 ft. frame and putting it in my living room. I got it from a store who needed to sell it to buy the next years model, ended up getting the computer virtually for free. Couldn't resist the bargain. I have arthritis in my wrists and hands so moving the fabric became a problem when I used the DSM. I have quilted 90 quilts this year for me and my friends. I mostly do computerized designs, but sometimes do FM, but I am not good at it, so enjoy the computer. I also have a great dane, so not much else fits in the house. But you really NEED to test drive many machines and decide what works best for your situation. I have never regretted buying "Bob" the longarm.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by platyhiker View Post
    mjpEncinitas - I'm curious - what things made you decide that a long arm is a good purchase for you?
    actually I decided it wasn’t a good purchase for me.

    The biggest reason is that I’m not making enough big quilts to justify it.

    The learning curve is pretty steep with a long arm and I’m at the intermediate level already with my sit down sweet 16. It handles big quilts pretty well

    I thought it would be so much better than basting quilts. I have a method for basting my quilts that doesn’t hurt my back, using a table at cutting board height and it didn’t seem that loading the quiltop, backing batting on a longarm was that much less of a hassle than what I do now. The video the book sent me to demonstrated that.

    The costs. $14,000 I was mainly interested in the robotics. When I compared to other things I could do with the money, I thought the other things would bring me more joy. ( six month trip around the US in a van my DH turned into a little home ). My DH was the one who wanted me to get a longarm but I handle the money in the house and I thought it was too extravagant. Maybe I’m just too cheap.

    The space. I have a 300 square foot sewing room ( empty nest) but if I put the longarm in there I’d lose my desk and perhaps the big table my friends use when we quilt together three times a month.

    The book really clarified my thinking.

  18. #18
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    iceblossom. I wish you lived nearby. I’d be happy to share my sit down mid arm sweet sixteen with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceblossom View Post
    Long arming does take more physical stamina and ability than a lot of people realize. On the other hand, it allows some of us with physical issues the ability to do our own quilting that might be too hard on us in another form. I think most of the people here really advise people to take their time, visit Sew Expos, try a few machines and take a class or two at a local shop/long armer and I always say use your tape measure before committing to the purchase. It takes at least a typical sized single car garage or family room to be comfortable, for me anyway.

    I would so get a long arm if I had (a) the money and (b) the space. I know there is more to being computerized than just pointing and going, but I'd love to learn how to do it and I want that ability. I've gotten pretty proficient with stitch regulator and my technical skills were ok, but my downfall is that I just don't think in terms of what can be done with quilting. My joy is in the planning and piecing and I can piece very quickly. The only thing that does slow me down is getting my tops finished or I would piece even moom e than I do now. I haven't counted in awhile but I typically have around 20 tops waiting to be quilted. Everything is expensive in my area, I think to get what I want each of those tops would cost $350-500+ for quilting (sure, I could get a simple edge to edge non custom finish for a little less -- but I can do that eventually on my domestic), if I sent out those tops alone that's 8-10k. The way I see it, it makes a lot of sense for me to have a long arm, but I just don't have the space even when I've seen some really great deals. I was able to use a friend's set up for a few years and now I'm spoiled, really hard to go back to a domestic.

    For people with more space and/or budget than me, why not get one if it isn't going to break the bank? In my lottery dreams I turn my current home into my sewing studio and I have a professional Statler model named Elvira sitting right about where I am now.

    I see the wonderful things people do here in in shows and magazines and all that, and all I can do is admire their work and sometimes steal an idea or two. Some people can take any old thing and elevate it by their work. I'm mostly just trying to keep it all together in the wash! I have fairly high standards, so it isn't my workmanship but rather the art of quilting that I'm missing.

  19. #19
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    I placed an ad earlier in the year on Craig's List looking to share a machine. It's about time to run another I did get one or two emails from the earlier ad but they didn't work out. This is such a wealthy area, I know there are a lot of people here with machines that aren't being used all that much for one reason or another. And some of those are people who find they just aren't using the machine all that much, or that they didn't enjoy the business aspects of quilting, or many other reasons. I'm willing to pay but I'd like a little more time and flexibility for my money that going to one of the local shops that have a machine set up. It's about $100 per session at a shop, I'm hoping for more like $100 for 2 days once a month, I can slip that into the budget. Still, I'm basically asking to be let into someone's house and play with the equivalent of a car so I understand why I'm not getting offers left and right

    I'd prefer to buy supplies for just one machine and to learn just one machine, I like prewound bobbins especially. I'm hoping for regular basis and want a win/win situation for both the owner and me, someone who travels, maybe I can do my quilting while house or pet sitting. Maybe someone with a bad health year isn't up to quilting but could use groceries brought in once a week or something.

    My natural speed of sewing is probably at least one finished queen sized project a month plus smaller quilts here and there, and like I said, I have approximately 20 top backlog. I don't think a long arm is for the person who only does one project a year, but hey, again -- if they have the space and the budget I'm not going to disagree. I have zero desire to quilt for others, but sure, I'd take in some orphan tops and do a few extra donation quilts, most of what I do is for donation anyway.

    Something else to consider, it's all a very physical activity, but I say that about sewing anyway. Sure, maybe not big muscle movements but hand/eye coordination and such. On a long arm you do have to move your entire body. I also like to have music on when I quilt. I get rusty quick when I don't FMQ or LA regularly. Before I could tell a big difference if it had been 3-4 months before me quilting. And like most things, you don't get better if you don't practice practice practice.
    Quilters: Advanced tool using humans.

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    There is a serious learning curve with a longarm. Nothing will teach you patience like longarm quilting. I decided to get a longarm but was not prepared to shell out the big bucks. I was able to locate a sort of plain but mechanically good Nolting 17 inch on a Hinterberg frame for a low price and have grown to enjoy my quilting time very much. The machine has a speed regulator as its only "fancy" feature. There is little to really go wrong with it and it is a worthy workhorse. I am still learning and always will be--that's the fun of it. Someday I might upgrade, but quite honestly, this machine is a dream. If I wanted to quilt with a computer, I could use my Janome 14000 to produce mechanically perfect designs on quilts. The one thing that I miss is the up/down needle feature on my Nolting. I have quickly adapted to the process of longarming and am constantly looking forward to further developing skills. I like the "relationship" I have with my machine and don't miss wrestling quilts in my lap, table, or horror of horrors the floor!
    I'm big on reading and researching everything, but in the end, it is most important to follow your heart and follow through all the frustrations that come with learning something so completely different to reach your goals. It will require patience with yourself and your machine, but doesn't anything worthwhile?
    "The great doing of little things makes the great life." Eugena Price

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onebyone View Post
    If it is a passion then yes get one by all means and enjoy it. What's the worse? Sell it and forget it.
    I have learned not to stress over should I or shouldn't I when the decision is not life changing. Guilt over having something I want and able to get it is silly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fruitloop View Post
    I have learned not to stress over should I or shouldn't I when the decision is not life changing. Guilt over having something I want and able to get it is silly.
    Well it certainly isnít a life changing decision but for our family it is a big $ decision. I always enjoy these decisions more if I spend some time researching and making a pros and cons list. Once Iíve done this Iím almost always satisfied with the decision, be it a car, a solar system, longarm. I know what the advantages and more importantly disadvantages are. When the disadvantages show up Iím prepared for them and not disappointed. Also itís fun learning about new things.

    Since we retired and decided to stay in our house, weíve had to make a lot of these big ticket ( for us) decisions. Our windows were very overdue for replacement ( some wouldnít open) , the car had 200000 miles on it, solar panels were purchased, we wanted to do a Ďbigí vacation. All these took a lot of time. Iím glad Iím done for now. I actually found planning for vacations was very very fun. We never plan day to day, just generalities for that.

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    I bought a mid arm on the 4x6 frame a couple of years ago. Trying the machines out at a quilt show was very important. Most vendors had only small samples on which to try out their sit-down machines. When one vendor let me try to do a little practice on a larger quilt, my mind was quickly made up for the standing, framed version. I still have to baste the quilt and move it side-to-side if the quilt is larger than the frame window, but for me it is still worth the investment. I've only completed about 10-12 quilts on it, and most of my quilting patterns have been pretty basic. But I'm moving out into using rulers and trying designs that aren't edge to edge. I'm not sure whether I will try to get a larger frame (our new house has the space in the basement) and computer assist, but I do want back handles so I can try some pantographs. Still happy with my decision!

  24. #24
    mkc
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    I think the point of this thread was to alert folks to an eBook to help them understand the things to consider when thinking you might want a longarm, not to debate whether or not to get one.

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    I am enjoying hearing the pros and cons that other people are posting, though. No offense meant, mkc. I always thought that I wanted a long arm, but did not have enough room in my tiny house. Then we moved to a much larger house, but by that time, I had heard about the learning curve and realized that I hate getting new technology, such as cell phones or new computers, so the chances of me learning how to use the long arm are practically nil. That is why I decided against it. But I still want to read this book.

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