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Thread: Buying a Longarm online?

  1. #1
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    Buying a Longarm online?

    I do not have a dealer for Longarm machines in my area. I have been looking at Sewing Machines Plus to maybe place an order with them. Have any of you purchased a Longarm and Frame from this company? How did it go and what if the machine needs service down the road? I am looking at the 18x8 King Quilter with a 12' frame. It is very tempting, but I also am not finding any reviews on this machine.

  2. #2
    Super Member Tiggersmom's Avatar
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    I think Sewing Machines Plus is a reputable company. I've only bought small items from them.
    I owned a Gammill Classic Plus and test driving to me is important. At large quilt shows you can put your hands on several different machines, some are smoother than others to operate.
    Think twice if you have any back problems. It was not my smartest decision. Of course I bought mine in 2004 before the computerized models became popular. I just sold mine to my BFF as several years of not really being able to use it myself.
    JMHO from experience.
    Jennifer: Organized in my dreams.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member tallchick's Avatar
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    I bought my fusion from them, the trucking company lost the tracks, I called them and they had HQ send replacements. 7 days later the trucking company found and delivered the tracks. HQ said I could keep the ones they sent as well.
    I have only had positive experiences from Sewing Machines Plus.
    Lisa

  4. #4
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    I really recommend trying a few machines out, there are differences. I also seriously recommend getting a stitch regulator with your purchase (can be much more expensive later if it is an option) and if you have the budget get a computer driven one. Also look at how adjustable your frame is, especially if you are taller or shorter than average. You can get sit down frames if desired or high wheeled chairs for standard frames for that matter.

    The set-up I use belongs to a friend of mine. Grace frame with a Pfaff P3, no back handles for using it with pantograms and no computer. It's rather lovely compared to stuffing a quilt though a standard machine, but not everything as easy as my friend hoped it would be. Still a bit physical for her, so far I've used it more than she has.

    The frame set-up can be a bit complicated and I think really needs two people and a long level. I don't know if any are designed to be easily taken up and down, so make sure you have the space you need, the length/width of the frame and at least 3 feet around each side. We have moved and reset my friend's system ourselves. The long arm itself was pretty heavy and awkward but all of the frame parts were easily moved by out of shape women of the plump and 60ish persuasion...

    Personally I like the 12-foot size but then I pretty much work on bed sized quilts. I think my friend's is a 10-foot, it's plenty big for her and has so far been fine for my queen sized projects. It is two sections and when she tried just setting it up shorter it was just too small even for the more lap sized quilts she makes.

  5. #5
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    I believe the King Quilters are re-branded Tin Lizzies, so TL owners should chime in here.

    Cari

  6. #6
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    How long have you been researching a longarm? Do you have a list of must haves and can live without? Have you tried longarming at all? Some people have found standing at a machine, loading a quilt on the rack, etc are not for them.
    Most people research, test drive, etc for a year or more. Before you consider any purchase, be it on line or with the support of a dealer you really should try going to a large show where there are several L/A vendors so you can at least try them out. There are so many considerations you may not even know what you like or dislike about the rack, the machine, ease of maintenance, after market support, etc.

  7. #7
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Sewing Machines Plus is a reputable company, but I would not buy a longarm online. You need to try out various machines to see which suits you best, and you need some training in how to use the machine. If this is a rebranded Tin Lizzie, I would pass. I haven't seen one in person but the reviews I've read have not been good, especially with regard to service after the sale.

  8. #8
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    I'd agree that you should first try-out several brands at a large show--the headache and $$ it saves you down the road will be worth the cost of attending the show. You don't say where you live, but most of us don't live near a dealer--I have a Gammill and my dealer is at least 2 hours away & covers a territory about twice that space--most of us would acknowledge our dealers are not local. Many people work with dealers at a show and then the dealer will deliver your machine to you. The other thing to remember is that most of us don't take machines in for annual maintenance, so having connection to a dealer is important as you will want (and pay bigtime!) to have a tech come for major issues--but you will also (or need a friend or family) to do many of the "minor" repairs--it's worth a tech coming out and doing maintenance so you can learn what you need to do. Good luck--I love long arm quilting!

  9. #9
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    I have a Tin Lizzie 18LS which I love, no issues with the machine, but there have been with the encoders (skipped stitches) and stitch regulator(racing with tiny stitches). I think I have solved those problems myself, though it's taken a few years as no one near knew what the problems were. However, this was purchased quite a few years ago, so I imagine both attachments have been upgraded by now. You will also find quite a few other machines are actually re-branded TLs. I am also disappointed with my frame, as the seller created his own style, made from aluminium, and joins from when it was extended cause some bother. Am told steel tracks are better for ease of movement. Keep in mind that I do not live in the USA, so mechanics for the TL here are scarce as hen's teeth, but I have had prompt replies from the makers recently. I am also considering up-dating to a more modern set-up.

  10. #10
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    I got my Tin Lizzie from Sewing Machines Plus. The only maintenance issue I’ve had so far was when my encoder cables got damaged when we moved. My model has been discontinued but they found new cable for me and sent them at no charcge even though they weren’t covered anymore by the warranty. I have never had any complaints with their service. Since I got it, I have found a Tin Lizzie a few hours away. When the time comes that I need service that my DH can’t do for me, then I will explore what my best service options are. As far as spending a year trying out every long arm to see which one I like the best, I feel the same way about test driving cars. While I’m sure I would love to drive a Lexus, the Ford is where my budget is at. I would love a Gammil or Bernina or Inova, but my budget said Tin Lizzie, King Quilter or Q’nique. Good luck with your decision.

  11. #11
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    Thank you for all the input. I did have a short arm machine with a 10 ft frame so I am familiar with stand up quilting. My setup was recently damaged/crushed when we had a mishap with a broken water pipe in my upstairs bathroom and the ceiling below came crashing down and totally crushed the frame and machine. I have been looking at used setups, but hubby insist I get a new setup. There are no dealers in my area. I found Sewing Machines Plus and I am interested in the KingQuilter with a 12' frame. I just have not found any reviews of this machine. I am on a beer budget....

  12. #12
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    I recently purchased a nice used machine that meets my needs perfectly. Before I bought this machine, I had done quite a lot of research. If I had purchased new, I would have bought the 20" Eclipse on a 12 ft Grace frame. I found out about the Eclipse at a quilt show in May. It is really nice and in the same price range as the King Quilter. if you want more info about the Eclipse, PM me.
    "The great doing of little things makes the great life." Eugena Price

  13. #13
    Super Member d.rickman's Avatar
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    I also have a Tin Lizzie 18, and now that I have learned to work with it (Tension), it is great. Mine sits on a gracie frame, and I find it very sturdy and not a problem. The encoders and rails were a problem to start, but since my dealer put on new everything, it works really well. The new Tin Lizzies are even better, and the price is so much better than others I have looked at.
    Quilting People are the Best, Have a great sewing day!
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