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Thread: DIY long arm quilting at LQS

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    DIY long arm quilting at LQS

    My LQS has a Babylock Jewel that you can rent per hour. The condition is that you take 2 hr class that introduces you to the machine and teaches you how to load the quilt, thread the machine, etc. The class comes with 2 free hours of rental.
    I know nothing about long arm quilting and this is the first time I have seen a long arm machine in person. It sounds very tempting because fighting a queen size quilt on my domestic sewing machine can sometimes be very frustrating.
    Did any of you try something like this? This is not a computerized machine so how many hours do you think I would need to rent the beast to get marginally acceptable meandering on a practice sheet? Is loading going to take me forever? Any advice you can give me will be helpful. I believe the frame is Grace and I saw some bungee cables hanging on the side (please don't laugh I know nothing about this). Thank you all for your help!
    Last edited by Tashana; 09-07-2012 at 03:10 PM. Reason: Spelling

  2. #2
    Senior Member Diannia's Avatar
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    I own a Babylock Jewel and love it. Taking a 2 hr class is an awesome idea especially since you then get 2 free hours of rental. I think you should go for it! Take the class then load a baby quilt to practice on...

    Diannia
    I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed!

  3. #3
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    I have yet to try a long arm, and I'm just poking my head in here to say I sure hope you try it and come back and tell us all about it, and of course, show us your quilts, too. I suspect that after you have done this a few times you will not want to go back to using the DSM.

    If you take the class, you will have learned skills that will stay with you, and that's always a good investment. You might ask if you could talk to other people who have taken the class and used the machine. I'll bet the shop will be happy to share good references. Maybe the shop owners can also give you a ball park estimate of how long it typically takes a beginner to do a quilt of a certain size.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  4. #4
    Super Member barri1's Avatar
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    Where on the island is it? I would love to try it. Right now I am in the middle of a QAYG project, but in the future I would do it.

  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I'm curious - how much do they charge for the classes, and how much per hour after that?

    You can probably do basic meandering on your quilt right after getting the 2-hour class, provided someone is around to help if you have questions. You may even be ready to try leaves, swirls, etc. If you've done some FMQ already, the patterns that you used for that will be fairly easy to learn on the longarm.

    As far as loading the quilt, that really depends on the loading system the shop uses (pins or zippers or velcro or clamps like red snappers) and on how ready your top and backing are for loading.

  6. #6
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    I took the required class at Pieceful Quilting in Riverhead. The class I took was three years ago, I mention this because after I took the class, the store changed longarm machines, leaving me without the required knowledge of the new machine. I found the class to be good, the teacher not so good. I learned to move the head around, but the information was given quickly, too quickly for me. I had fun, but did not learn enough to use the machine by myself. The teacher that evening did not hand out the written notes, as she should have and I had to go back a week later and get the written information. It was fun, but not great. For learning to load the quilt, batting, and backing, and threading the machine- I need more than a few brief minutes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    The class is offered by Pieceful Quilting in East Northport. If I remember correctly it is $65 for the class and it includes two hours of rental. After that it is $15 per hour. I would like to at least try it. Don't get me wrong, I really like my little Singer 5050 but it really gets hot with all that quilt in my lap when I am quilting, and do not get me started on having to take the whole quilt out just to change the bobbin.
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  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Those prices sound very reasonable. I would try it. I bought a longarm without having the opportunity to rent one. It turned out that I do enjoy using it, but it was a leap of faith to buy without knowing for sure.

  9. #9
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    I would give it a try for $65. Sounds like fun.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    I will try it. God knows I have never backed away from a challenge. I will report back. I think the next available class is in October.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Toni C's Avatar
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    Sounds good to me. Plus you can get experience over time to see if you like longarming. If you don't you don't have a huge investment that sits around deprecating. If you find you do like it you can keep that in mind and you have room to put it maybe get one some day!

  12. #12
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    I took a class at a LQS and now I can rent their Gammell machine. We use pentagrams and load with zippers. It is really fun and generally costs $40.00 for a large baby quilt. The class cost $100.00 and the zippers $30.00. Loading with zippers is really fast so you aren't using quilting time loading the quilt.
    Sue

  13. #13
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I did that at our little quilt shop. The meandering was shockingly easy to do. Motifs are hard for me, but I can't draw at all so that may be the problem. For me, loading is cumbersome, but doable. The ladies at are shop will always help. Our shop also keeps track of all your rental hours. If you decide to buy a long arm from her in the future, she takes off 75% of the money you spent in rentals from the price.

  14. #14
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    I'll preface this with saying I'm a tried and true hand quilter. That said, there is a shop a bit of a hike (45 min. each way) from me that does something similar with a couple of long arms that they have. Have to say, I've been intrigued by it. Not enough to go the distance but the prices are comparable to what you are stating. I personally think it's cheap at the price to learn the process. No clue how long it takes to 'do' a quilt. Others here can give you that info. But I would think it would give you the opportunity to see if you like the process at a low investment. And, depending on time estimates, it might be more reasonable than sending quilts out to be done. Plus give you the knowledge about possibly wanting to purchase a similar set up sometime in the future. I say it's a win-win. Go for it.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tashana View Post
    The class is offered by Pieceful Quilting in East Northport. If I remember correctly it is $65 for the class and it includes two hours of rental. After that it is $15 per hour. I would like to at least try it. Don't get me wrong, I really like my little Singer 5050 but it really gets hot with all that quilt in my lap when I am quilting, and do not get me started on having to take the whole quilt out just to change the bobbin.
    That is a very reasonable price to take the class. Around here, I have seen the 2 hour classes cost about $150 and that does NOT include any free rental time. I would definitely try it if I were you. I have a long arm machien and it is so mcuh fun to use. Good Luck.

  16. #16
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    Long arms are fun. I have found I'm craftsy not artsy so I like pantographs verses free motion. I just did a twin took 4 hours to load, quilt and unload. a queen and meandering it would probably take the same because you don't have to plan where too much goes. Good luck and have fun!!!!
    *Rachel*

  17. #17
    Super Member barri1's Avatar
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    I would love to do it. The price is decent. The class is only $35. I just hate the drive. I'm five minutes from JFK. Might really consider it. I was at the quilt show in Lancaster, and was able to play with a LA.. It was a lot of fun.. I'm wondring if it woud help to have a quilting buddy work with you. In other words. Rent the machine for four hours, and work with another quilter on both of your quilts. When one isn't working, they could read, or do something else, but when there is a problem, two heads are better than one.. I have no room for a LA, but would love one. I don't have anything to quilt, as I am involved in a major QAYG project.

  18. #18
    Junior Member marybs's Avatar
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    We have a place close by that does similar, I have been wanting to try it. I'll be curious how it goes for you!

  19. #19
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    You should go for it. I have a longarm and you need to know the machine and the correct way to load, thread the machine, and work with tension. It is a must for you to know this. I would never trust anyone to use my machine without knowledge of it. There is alot to know about quilting machines and it will be a good learning experience for you too.
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    Heather

  20. #20
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barri1 View Post
    I would love to do it. The price is decent. The class is only $35. I just hate the drive. I'm five minutes from JFK. Might really consider it. I was at the quilt show in Lancaster, and was able to play with a LA.. It was a lot of fun.. I'm wondring if it woud help to have a quilting buddy work with you. In other words. Rent the machine for four hours, and work with another quilter on both of your quilts. When one isn't working, they could read, or do something else, but when there is a problem, two heads are better than one.. I have no room for a LA, but would love one. I don't have anything to quilt, as I am involved in a major QAYG project.
    Let's stay in touch Barri 1 and see if we can take the class together. Two heads will remember more than one. I fully plan on taking pictures or even video if they let me. They may not, but it does not hurt to ask. I am thinking if I look at the photos or watch the video over and over again I will remember more. I doubt they'll let me but I will ask next time I am there.

  21. #21
    Super Member Knitette's Avatar
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    Definitely give it a try. I'm a new quilter and decided in moment of madness to make my dear friend a quilt for Christmas (decided this at end of November). I booked a lesson on the LQS Gammill and took to it like a duck to water - helped by the fact there is a stitch regulator. When I went back to do my friend's quilt, the only problem I had was by the time I got to the bottom section a couple of hours later, I couldn't remember what I had done at the top (I had a go at loops, flowers and wavy lines on the borders, although the main part was stipple). A little knowledge can be dangerous, lol.
    Lang may yer lum reek. (I'm a knitter - hence - 'Knit-ette'. Confuses a lot of people!)

  22. #22
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    The long arm quilter at our local quilt shop does the same thing. She charges $60 an hour after the free 2 hour practice session. I haven't wanted to do it, but I know there have been some women that have. The LAer stays in the room with you in case you have any problems. She is very helpful. I think she helps every step of the way, if you want her to.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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  23. #23
    Senior Member allie1448's Avatar
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    Go for it!! Lol. I rent out my longarm machine after giving a two hour class which covers the basics. I stay around for as alittle or as much help as the quilter needs. Every quilter has then, after the class, quilted a quilt and been amazed at how simple and how much fun it is to meander their own quilts. Most are now regular customers and use pantos and stencils too. My class is $40 with all fabrics for the sample sandwich supplied and my hourly rate is $15. First hour is $25 though to cover the extra time for loading as i always help with that to ensure it is done as evenly as possible.

  24. #24
    Junior Member linynp's Avatar
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    Hahaha! I too went to pq in east Northport and took the class. I've now rented the machine a few times and love it! Easy and staff friendly and helpful. Now I make the dash to finish a quilt to play in it more. Meander on a full took only about a bit more than 2 hours! Sewtime is doing a similar thing with the new pfaff la. Hmmm might just try it. I would recommend doing a quilt soon after the class so it's fresh. Have fun!

  25. #25
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    Give it a shot and let us know how it turns out. Our LQS does the same thing (except no free hours) and I've been thinking about trying it.

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