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Thread: Advice On Sit Down Long Arms

  1. #1
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    Smile Advice On Sit Down Long Arms

    I would appreciate any advice on this subject. There are 2 local dealers that sell Bernina, Pfaff and Janome. The Bernina machines are over my budget. The Janome dealer has the Artistic 16 and the other machine is a Pfaff Power Quilter 16.0. I'm also liking the George, but I think this one is probably over my budget and there is no local dealer.

    Thank you in advance for any insight on these machines.

    Sandra

  2. #2
    Junior Member catsden's Avatar
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    I am also looking at a sit down long arm. It's a toss between HQ sweet 16 and the Husqvarna/viking platinum 16 on sale which will be a better deal. Can't help with the machines you are looking at but will be watching this thread to see what others have to say.

  3. #3
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    The best advice is for you both to go to your dealers and test drive them!
    Ask questions. Lots of them. Then go back and do it again ... and again .... until you are comfortable with your decision.

    The Janome Artistic, while labelled Janome is not made by them, if that is an issue for you.
    Janome do represent them and offer the servicing, from what I understand.
    Two big differences between the Janome and most other sit-downs is that you sit at it, in the same way as you would a DSM. Also, the Artistic has very little table space to your left, and more than ample behind. That is, unless they have changed that since I looked at it.

    Without checking, I am more than certain that the Babylock Tiara, Pfaff, Husqvarna and the HQ Sweet 16 are all the same machine. They are all made by by HQ, and just painted/trimmed up differently. The important/working parts are the same.

    Keep in mind that with these machines having been on the market for several years now, there have been updates. If you are doing comparisons between the S16 sisters, you may find a difference, and that is simply explained by the different updated models. Just make sure you know which you are seeing ... and which the prices apply to. You may get a super deal, only to find that the updates are not on the one you buy.

    To me, two things are vital.
    First, what style/model you like ....... and then what dealer is going to not only sell you a machine, but provide the training, service and follow up after the fact.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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    I'm in the very beginning stages of researching these too. For me, warranty length and details of how any issues are handled is a big concern as I will be moving to another state and can't count on being near a dealership for my particular machine. I'm not anywhere close to making a decision yet; still just gathering info and taking test-drives. I plan on really grilling the salespeople at PIQF in October - that's about when I hope to be ready to make a decision.

    I really LOVE the stitch regular on the Bernina Q20. I think it's unique among sit-down LA's. But yes, that is one pricey machine!

    Does one of the two you've narrowed it down to "fit" you better? Feel more natural when you're sitting at the machine? All other things being equal - which one is most comfortable to use? Is one more quiet than the other?

  5. #5
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Another point .... read back through the numerous threads already here on the QB.

    There's lot to be learned from those, that may not get re-said this time round!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  6. #6
    Super Member mandyrose's Avatar
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    i am also on the fence getting a sit down my brother dealer said he is going to start selling qnique quilting machines from the grace company https://www.graceframe.com/en/sewing-machines this would be a good thing fo me i really want a tiara but that dealer is 1and 1/2 hr drive,the Qnique has 2sit down styles Qnique 21 is like the tiara with either side free which i think i like that much better and the other style is Qnique 14+ which is like an over size dsm and not sure i would that style that restriction to the right drives me crazy, i like the free space on either side if you google leah day she uses one in her youtube video, i hope he gets them in his store i want to try them out before i buy, he was talking price matching and i didn't quite understand if he would order the one i wanted or if he was getting some in the store i'm not buying anything if he dosen't have them in his store i want to try before i buy,good luck with your purchased ...price range on these the qnique 14+ is cheaper then the tiara but the tiara is cheaper then the qnique 21 hope this helps (maybe)

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    The problem is the Bernina/Pfaff and Janome dealers do not have these machines available in their store to try out. I don't want to buy a machine without trying it out. The Pfaff Power Quilter 16.0 is closer to my price range. I haven't been able to find a lot of customer reviews on this machine. I guess the sit down quilting machines are not big sellers.?

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    I guess you'll have to look for expos and shows? That's where I played with the Bernina Q20 recently. I don't think I've every played on the Janome LA, but I'd like to. My main machine now is a Janome and I like it quite a bit.

    That's also part of why I figure I'll make my decision sometime close after PIQF - I think just about every LA maker shows up there so I should be able to talk to someone about and test-drive any machine I'm seriously considering at that point. And maybe even get a deal!

  9. #9
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrammieN View Post
    The problem is the Bernina/Pfaff and Janome dealers do not have these machines available in their store to try out. I don't want to buy a machine without trying it out. The Pfaff Power Quilter 16.0 is closer to my price range. I haven't been able to find a lot of customer reviews on this machine. I guess the sit down quilting machines are not big sellers.?
    If the dealer doesn't stock the machine then IMHO he's not much of a dealer, and I would wonder how good he would be at servicing, training, or supporting the machine. A dealer who understands the product would realize that customers need to try out the machine before purchasing.

  10. #10
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    If the dealer doesn't stock the machine then IMHO he's not much of a dealer, and I would wonder how good he would be at servicing, training, or supporting the machine. A dealer who understands the product would realize that customers need to try out the machine before purchasing.
    Oh so true ...... as soon as I hear they do not stock a machine, then red flags go up and bells go off!!
    Especially a machine that is "different" than most others.

    I had a dealer recently tell me how much she knew about the S16, despite not having one in the store.
    She was sure to let me know how had been to the company twice for training twice
    and was quite familiar and competent.

    Competent? and yet no machine to continue growing her skills?

    When I was buying my machine, I called HQ a couple of times and their people were amazing at answering my questions. So don't hesitate to pick up the phone if you want/answers.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    I don't know about any of these except the HQ Sweet 16 which I have. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT! Also the HandiQuilter website has all kind of training videos (free and accessible 24/7). I pick up something new every single time I take the time to view one. For instance, this a.m. they had one on thread types, needles for long arms, bobbin control and tensions overall. It ran a little less than an hour and I picked up at least three things more that I had likely missed in previous videos. I got mine with the stitch regulator which I only use for the most intricate designs because FMQ is just so easy. I also got a lot of the quilting rulers available on the HQ site (pricey) as well as the Westaleer brand (very nice - also site tutorials).

    Invest the time in continuing your own training. You won't regret it and most of it is free.

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    I love my HQ Sweet Sixteen and would buy her again tomorrow..... I got her because I went to IQF Houston and a friend bought one that day. I got mine a few years later (after she still was happy she had gotten and used hers). Try to go to a quilt show where the brands you want to see will be... that's the best way to see demos of many different ones!

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    I had a Phaff Grandquilter and it was nice. The problem I had was I was constantly rolling it and it seemed like it took forever to get a quilt finished. I did some research on long arm quilting. Sold my Phaff Grandquilter and upgraded to a used 24" Gammill that is stitch regulated. I was the second owner and have not regretted it at all. Everyones needs are different as well as likes. It worked out great for me and I love it. I was able to work out payments with the dealer and it worked for me. They were very nice and if I had any questions were always there for support and advice.
    Last edited by Carol Jean; 06-13-2017 at 05:44 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member KathyJ's Avatar
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    I purchased George 4 yrs ago at the Paducah quilt show. Main reason was space & he sits in his table like a sewing machine does. I keep a 2' x 4' conference table behind him to add more space to hold the quilt while in the quilting process.

    One thing to keep in mind is that when these machines are demoed, they are demoed w/a small quilt sandwich, not a throw size, twin size, queen size or king size quilt. The small sandwiches show the process very well but when you get the bulk of a large quilt under the needle, sometimes things can get a bit tricky, similar to quilting on a domestic machine.

    "Learning to dance with George" was a challenge for me but once I learned the "steps" we did a lot better together. I am proficient at stippling & meandering but still have trouble w/feathers. I have found it difficult to use rulers because you still have to drive the fabric & manipulate the ruler all while keeping your stitching somewhat even. That said, I still love him & have had no problems that I could not handle w/either a phone call to APQS or on-line videos. Their product support is wonderful.

    If you can manage it, going to a big show & demoing every sit-down machine is an excellent idea. The techs are there & you can drive everything you want to. If you can't, visit LQA & drive everything they have - more than once or twice or even 3 times. Take one of your larger tops & try that so you can get a feel of what you will really be doing.

    Good luck & enjoy whatever decision you make. Kathy

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    Thank you for your information. I have found a dealer not too far from me. They actually have a Tiera III on display. I'm going to take it for a spin today. Does anyone have any experience with this machine?

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    Junior Member MsHeirloom's Avatar
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    Grammie- I have the original Tiara and absolutely love it. It is easy to use and the results are so much better than what I got trying to roll quilts and push/pull them through my domestic sewing machine. I have the stitch regulator, but only use it sometimes. I bought it, set it up, used it, and have never looked back. I'm sure the Tiara 3 would be an excellent machine.

  17. #17
    Senior Member maryfrang's Avatar
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    I agree, you need to test drive the machines. I had a APQS and love the machine. We went to a demo from the dealer and tested the machine. We also went to several other manufacturers and tried their machines. We also asked questions on warranty and maintenance with repairs. At one of the dealers while we were there three of their machines came in for repairs. That is not good, since they could not be repaired at the owners locations. More cost. APQS we were able to repair at our home with emails and phone assistance from the factor. That was a big plus. Good luck and I hope you get a great machine for YOU.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Maire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrammieN View Post
    Thank you for your information. I have found a dealer not too far from me. They actually have a Tiera III on display. I'm going to take it for a spin today. Does anyone have any experience with this machine?
    I have the Tiara 1, totally love it, it is the same as the Sweet 16 & one of the Pfaff's. I was so fortunate when I bought mine 4 years ago there was a sewing expo nearby, I spent the whole three days trying all the sit down models, I liked the Sweet 16 type the best & the Babylock dealer had the best price that day & also was the dealer closest to me. The other models all had good features, so it depends on what is best for you, one brand (can't remember the name) seemed to have a better stitch regulator but the foot pedal was awkward & uncomfortable for my old feet, caused pain in my knees, the dealer said it couldn't be changed or adapted. I've heard the Tiara III has improvements from the first, and the first is great.

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    I recently bought a Tiara III (Babylock). It is a forward facing machine which is what I wanted. Gives you large open area for quilt movement. Good throat space. No stitch regulator purchased. It's a simple mechanical machine which works very well. Store offers great training and support. Very happy with it!

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    I have played with one of the Tiara machines (pretty sure it was a III) in a table about 6 months ago and I liked it. I couldn't get past the stitch regulator though, it seemed so clunky. But that seems to be how most sit-down LA's do stitch regulation, so unless I want to pony up $12K for the Q20 I might just have to learn to live with it or just do without.

    That was really my only complaint about the machine though. Nice smooth stitches, seemed pretty easy to use, lots of throat space, decent looking table. I didn't try to thread it, though, mostly was just playing with it. That's going to be something I want to make sure is easy when I'm shopping more seriously. I also can't remember what bobbin size it had.

  21. #21
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    I prefer the HQ Sweet 16 sit down machine. I now have the HQ Avante, a LA machine. HQ is wonderful with helping out if you have any problems. Just a call away. I prefer calling them as they can 'translate' into my personal language. They will really listen, paraphrase, and repeat for clarity. They are well versed in working with a variety of people.
    Yes, my local dealer is good. But it takes them longer to translate to 'alice'.

    Would also suggest you look at Pinterest or online to get a 'cradle.' The cradle will hold your quilt up so there isn't a weight drag while quilting. The person who I knew who used to make them is well retired and I couldn't reach him so I could refer anyone to him. The cradle is relatively easy to make with PVC pipe and bungee cords.
    Last edited by AliKat; 06-14-2017 at 12:16 PM.
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
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    Senior Member petpainter's Avatar
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    I have the Platinum 16 which is Vikings version of the Sweet 16- I love it! I didn't want the stitch regulator- it looks more trouble than its worth and I wanted to learn how to get the stitches right with my timing. My dealer is close and wonderful when I messed up my bobbin case at Christmas time- they came to my house. I can't stand to quilt for medical reasons and just love the throat space. I also had my significant other make a set of the quilting suspenders
    (Jenoop system) and they work great for a large quilt.

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    I wanted to thank everyone again for responding to my thread. I went to the Babylock dealer, which is local. I tried out the Tiara III and I liked it. I love the throat space and it doesn't seem to be a complicated machine to learn to sew on and to maintain. It appears to be well constructed. I like that you can customize your speed, so I didn't purchase the stitch regulator. It has the programmable needle positioning needle up/down. It uses the large size capacity M class bobbin, a separate bobbin winder and low bobbin estimator warns you when bobbin is getting low. I think the dealer offered me a fair price. I also purchased the extra extension table. The machine hasn't arrived yet, but will probably be here tomorrow.

    I have a lot of practicing to do. I had given up free-motion quilting because I was so tired of battling with trying to squeeze the quilt into such a small throat on my machine. It just wasn't any fun. I'm excited again about quilting.

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    Very exciting! Congrats on your new "toy".

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    Super Member liking quilting's Avatar
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    Congratulations! Yes, you will now be able to quilt as much in the middle as the outsides of the quilt! With a domestic, I thought I was doing pretty good, but with a midarm, it's no comparison. I use a Sweet 16 and love it.
    Mavis

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