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Doing your own LongArm Quilting at your local quilt store

Doing your own LongArm Quilting at your local quilt store

Old 08-05-2012, 08:12 AM
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Question Doing your own LongArm Quilting at your local quilt store

There has been so much said of late about the wonderful Longarm Quilters, I was wondering how many of you have gone to your local quilt shop and taken lessons on how to longarm quilt and then rented time on the quilt shop machines and done your long arm quilting your self. Because I do not have the space for a longarm machine and not the money either for that matter.....was wondering IF you can learn enough from the 'quilt shop longarm teachers" to be able to do a decent job on your own quilt.....my other thought of course was if I ran into problems, there would be someone there to help with a machine problem and/or a quilt problem.....My additional question also is...in the long run was it really any less costly than having it done ???? Otherthan of course you would have the satisfaction on doing it your self....
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:34 AM
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I don't know of any longarms for rent in my area. Most of the shops don't have longarms at all, and the one that I know of that has one does not rent it out.

When I bought my longarm, however, it was from a shop that did rent time on their longarm. (It was about 6 hours away from my home, so using their longarm on a regular basis was not an option.) I learned enough in the lessons that came with the longarm that I could do a decent job on a quilt, as long as I kept it simple. But comparing their price for renting the longarm, and the time it took me to finish something, I don't think it would have been cheaper than paying a longarmer to do the same job.
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:47 AM
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When I took my first tentative steps to LA I found a shop that was about an hour and a half away. In order to rent time you had to take their class. It was a 2 hour class to learn the machine basics, on, off, how to load a quilt, follow a panto or design with laser light and they also let you do a little free form doodling and "groovy boards". I was extremely lucky that when I scheduled my class there was only one other student so we moved along pretty quickly.

I learned two invaluable to me lessons in that class.
1. I absolutely LOVED longarming
2. I would never get the practice in that I needed to get as good as I WANTED to get by renting time on a machine over an hour away from me.

So I started saving like a demon for my LA. I then found the dealer for my Innova. They were about an hour and a half away in the opposite direction of my home. They also offered rental after a hands on learn the machine course but by this time I had already made up my mind to buy. About a year later I took delivery of their demo model. They came to my home, set it up and went over the basics with me.

I went to town drawing and doodling with the LA. I refused to do a meander because I didn't want to get stuck only doing meanders. I wanted to do feathers, and flowers and leaves and beautiful swirly free form fills, pebbling, crosshatching all the gorgeous things we see pictured here on the QB.

The class I took at the LQS just covered the basics of the machine. The rest was up to me to learn. 9 months after I took delivery, I enrolled in the class to learn McTavishing from Karen McTavish. Loved the class and learned the technique and use it a lot. So you can learn stuff in classes but really, it takes practice, time and dedication and then more practice. I started my LA journey because I was passionate about it. I don't know why. I just am. I do hope to make it my full time job after I retire but in the mean time I will squeeze in quilting whenever I can. For both myself and others. Would I have saved money renting time on the LA as opposed to sending out... I doubt it. But the joy I get from LAQ is priceless to me.

Last edited by feline fanatic; 08-05-2012 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:53 AM
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Oh how I wish there was a long arm to rent in my area!
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:58 AM
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there is a shop near(15 miles)me that does offer lessons/rentals. You get an hour of training the an hour to practice. you can practice on your own quilts or the charity ones they have at the shop. After that, the rental is $18/hr., two hour minimum. Haven't done it yet but want to try it someday. My friend in another state has been doing this for quite a while. the only drawback she has found-when the shop she trained at overbooked, she needed to go to another and take THEIR training before she could rent their machine. Understandable, because shop #2 doesn't know if she knows what she's doing, but was an added expense for her.
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:06 AM
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I would love to take classes, but the only local place that offers classes is outrageously priced. Then, I just can't see how I'd get a large quilt done on a rented longarm. If a pantogram is all one needs, that would be doable, but for custom quilting a quilt that may need weeks of work...I don't think so.
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:13 AM
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I agree with all that has been said above. I rent time on the HQ Avante at my LQS, having taken the class first. I've done three fairly large quilts on it, with reasonably good results and varying amounts of frustration (two of the experiences went smoothly. the third did not). Smaller quilts I do at home on my Janome 6600, due to cost of renting, convenience, and the ability to quilt for smaller periods of time (and therefore maybe do some special designs).

Typically it takes me a day at the LA to do a quilt, start to finish. Not being experienced it takes me quite a while to load the machine, even though I purchased a set of leaders so that I could do at least that part at home. I doubt if I really have saved much over using a professional longarmer, but there is certainly a lot of satisfaction in having done it myself.

The biggest negative for me is that I feel constrained by time...must do the whole quilt in one day. It's exhausting, probably because I'm not very relaxed. I would love to try more intricate designs (have stuck to overall designs...loops (with a few extras here and there), mostly swirls (my circles look more like rounded squares). Nevertheless, I think the quilts are pretty, and in one case I actually turn the quilt over on my bed so that I can see the quilt pattern, done in variegated thread, rather than the busy pieced side.

BTW the rental cost is $15/hour. Oh, and yes there is typically someone there to help out when I get into trouble (which happens!). However, you might have to wait for the help, and the clock is ticking.

I'm sure it would be better if I did it more often so that I'd remember the things like how to wind a bobbin, thread the machine (neither is obvious), and so on.

Last edited by newestnana; 08-05-2012 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:32 PM
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I have done it .I toke the class in the morning and quilted an XL twin in 4 to 5 hours my son loved it . It was a book shelf quilt
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Old 08-05-2012, 01:39 PM
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I greatly enjoy quilting on my domestic, so I haven't, but friends speak so highly of renting the long arm at the LQS. They use a zipper system so it isn't necessary to get it done all at once.

You have to take a seperate class if you want to use pantagraphs. The store only recently started allowing those.
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:40 PM
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What part of Virginia are your in? There is one in Williamsburg right by Busch Gardens. Don't know of any others though. This one teaches and rents.
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