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Curious about long arm quilting...

Curious about long arm quilting...

Old 03-29-2015, 03:16 PM
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Default Curious about long arm quilting...

In reading throughout this board, it seems there are many who own a long arm quilting machine. Are there some of you who are not professional LA's? By that, I mean, you don't do LAQ as a business. I don't know that I, personally, can justify a LAM so I'm hoping you can help me understand more about LAQ and how you benefit most from having one.

Please understand I am not judging. You are entitled to have whatever machine(s) you want ... so PLEASE don't be offended by my questions ... I'm just trying to learn how I would benefit from a LAM sometime in the future if I could afford to. I realize you can do larger quilts. Do you find your "quilting" is better, the same? Is FMQ easier on a LA? I'm eager to learn whatever you wish to share.

Thank you!
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Old 03-29-2015, 03:32 PM
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I got tired of making the sandwich, especially with bed size quilts. It's so much easier to handle loading a long arm. My quilting is also much, much better, probably because I'm not fighting with the quilt in a small harp area. I quilt for myself, friends and family, and it's really fun!!
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Old 03-29-2015, 03:47 PM
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I wanted to really step up my charity quilting. I hated all that basting and then shoving quilts through a sewing machine. I spent alot of time researching what I wanted. I narrowed it down to an HQ16. Then I started trolling all the classified websites including Craigslist. I had a budget of $3,500. It took me 2 years to find one at that price. It is one of the original ones with no bells and whistles--not even a stitch regulator.

I have quilted for $ for people who like what I do---easy all overs from the front of the machine. It was a great decision for me and I also quilt tops from our charity groups. I did over 100 last year.
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Old 03-29-2015, 04:20 PM
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I also got lucky and found an HQ16 that was gently used and less expensive than new and what they are now. I also go not extra bells and whistles (no stitch regulator).

I look at it like I did my domestic more than 15 years ago. I want to get good quality and what I will use because I will have this machine for the rest of my life. Hopefully someday when I stop working FT, I will be able to quilt more than I do now. And at that point I wont be able to afford it! So I had to do it when I did. I hope someday to maybe make quilts to sell (baby/lap) rather than specific quilting other peoples tops.
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Old 03-29-2015, 04:39 PM
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I didn't like trying to jam my quilts through my DSM harp so started researching longarms. I got an Innova last year and quilt just for myself, my mother and my sister. My FMQ is much better with the longarm and having the machine adds a whole new dimension to the craft - totally different than working with the DSM. I absolutely love it, and switching back and forth from piecing on my DSM to quilting on the longarm keeps me from getting bored doing too much of the same thing.
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Old 03-29-2015, 04:46 PM
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I have a mid arm, Handi-Quilter 16 on a frame. It uses a "robot" carriage that takes orders from a pc to move the Hq16 through a quilting pattern on the frame. I need that kind of system as my arms, hands, etc. can't handle it, and LA is too expensive. I bought the system used at a very good price; it meets my needs.

But, no, I would not consider LA as a business. I'm retired and I don't want to "Have" to do anything - and it is hard work.
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Old 03-30-2015, 12:37 AM
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I bought my HQ16 years ago, used. Then added the ProStitcher [the old version] a few years ago. Due to personal circumstances I do not do this for hire but for my quilting groups' charity quilts as I am able I may consider doing for $$ later on; just not yet as I don't want to deal with the deadlines incurred.
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Old 03-30-2015, 01:45 AM
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I got tired of never having time to finish anything while I was working fulltime. I got a chance to buy a used Gammill (had been trolling for sale websites for years) and went for it. I intended to quilt for hire once I retired, but find I'd rather only quilt for myself. Have never regretted the purchase, though. I do quilt my guild's raffle quilts at no charge.
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Old 03-30-2015, 02:11 AM
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Geez! I woke up at 2:30 a.m. dreaming about mid & long arm machines and got on the computer to read all your comments and researched some machines and reviews, etc. I primarily make lap quilts that I donate to a local nursing home and I purchase all the materials to make them myself. (Although I have just started a bargello quilt for me ... haven't kept any quilts I've made so far.) I just purchased a Juki F600 in Sept/Oct 2014 which I thoroughly love. I'm struggling with FMQ...just can't get that rhythm I keep reading about...and thought perhaps a mid or long arm machine might help perfect my skills.

The closest mid or long arm dealer is at least 2 hours away. And, realistically, a mid arm would probably make more sense space wise for my setup. What I'm gathering from your comments so far re: your investment in a LA is recouping your investment wasn't a big factor in your decision to buy one...but more your ability to produce quilts easier, faster, and perhaps quilt better?

I may regret having started this "thread". I know this is going to bug me until I can actually test drive one of these machines. LOL Thanks to all of you for sharing.
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Old 03-30-2015, 02:32 AM
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I have the Voyager 17 and Hinterberg frame. Had it not been for the fact that I won the frame and bought the Voyager with my prize money, I wouldn't have one due to the cost. I don't do it professionally, and love the freedom the LA gives me to quilt more difficult patterns. I stunk at it on my DSM. It takes a lot of practice, but is so totally worth it! As far as "quilting easier, faster and perhaps quilting better", it depends on the pattern chosen, of course, but it is most definitely easier. Most definitely. My machine is a midarm, and perfect for what I do. I, too, make mostly lap quilts and have a 9-foot setup, which is perfect for lap quilts. I can easily put the quilt on the the frame horizontally or vertically with room to spare on both sides when it's the quilt is horizontal, and can also do a queen-sized quilt. So you don't need a huge 12' frame if you're concentrating on lap quilts.
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