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Long Arm sewing machine

Long Arm sewing machine

Old 01-16-2015, 04:37 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Western New York
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Default Long Arm sewing machine

I would like a long arm for my own use at home. Any suggestions as to the least expensive kind that would be better than trying to shove a queen size quilt through my regular sewing machine? Thanks!!
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Old 01-16-2015, 04:45 AM
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Location: Southern California
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You really have to go to a quilt show to test drive them and see what works for your space. I use to quilt queen size quilts on my Bernina 1530 but I had a table I designed so the quilt was supported. Good Luck. It is almost the same as shopping for a car.
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Old 01-16-2015, 05:02 AM
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Location: Pennsylvania
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Test drive the different machines....I have a HandiQuilter Avante 18 ....it is a great machine, I am so glad that I purchased this.
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Old 01-16-2015, 05:15 AM
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Location: NY
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Hi and welcome to the board. Maniac hit the nail on the head when she said it was almost like shopping for a car. First thing you need to do is test drive a few to make sure you may even like Longarm quilting. Plenty of people have posted on this board in the past that once they tried it they realized right away it wasn't for them. Others realized the cost did not justify the amount of quilting they might possibly do or realized they could literally send hundreds of quilts to a LA pro for the cost of the machine.

Most people research and weigh their options for a year or more when making such an expensive purchase. They range in price from as little as a a couple thousand dollars for bare bones, no stitch regulated smaller sit down models like a 13" Bailey to tens of thousands of dollars for the computerized models and every price point in between. In addition to the cost of the machine head you will need either a special table or a rack. So you need to add at least $600 to your machine price for purchasing a table or rack (and some are quite a bit more than that). You can always make a table too There are also used machines out there but if you go that route you most likely will not get any training or support if something goes wrong. Believe me you definitely want training and support.

First you need to set yourself a budget. Then based on that, you need to decide if you want a sit down machine or a rack set up. Then you need to make a list of what features you may want, such as stitch regulation, computer guided, etc. Then you need to start researching and going to major quilt shows to see them in action. Check your area LQS to see if any of them offer training and rental time on a LA. A sure fire way to find out if you can manage working on a rack set up physically (long hours of standing and loading quilts, backing and batting). If sit down is the way you want to go, again, go to the big shows and try out a demo model or better yet find a local dealer. You don't say where in Western NY you are but Bailey's home quilters are in western NY. You may be close enough to them to stop in.

My best advice to you is don't rush into anything. Weigh all your options and don't forget these types of machine also have a long learning curve for many. Take your time so you don't regret your purchase.
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Old 01-16-2015, 05:59 AM
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Location: Michigan
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I agree with all the other posters. You need hands on testing to make an informed decision. A large quilt show will have multiple vendors. It's worth the trip, even if you have to spend the night. Another pre-purchase idea is to check with your LQS to see if they know of anyone who rents time on their machine or teaches long arm lessons.
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Old 01-16-2015, 06:33 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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I would love one too but can't justify the cost.......for the cost I could send more quilts to a LA then I could imagine.
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Old 01-16-2015, 06:43 AM
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Location: Sonoma County, CA
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You may also be able to find a store near you with a LA machine that you can rent time on. You can use that as both a way to thoroughly learn your way around one machine at least (they usually require a class before you can use the machine on your own) and you may find it's easier to rent time on someone else's (and let THEM deal with repair headaches) than to have your own. And I know for ME, I have some back problems and the longer I stand there the more I ache, and that's important to know too - if you'll be comfortable quilting standing up for long stretches. You might not be able to tell that just from a test drive.
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Old 01-16-2015, 06:51 AM
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I purchased a used 15" Bailey, and have used it to quilt at least 20 quilts, so I consider that it has paid for itself because I haven't had to pay someone else to do my quilts. THe Bailey doesn't have all the fancy bells and whistles that some of the other quilting machines have, but it does the job, and was in my price range.
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:59 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Kilgore Tx
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Nolting is a good machine without a lot of bells and whistles also. Look at their website, they often have trade-ins for a reasonable price. I have the FunQuilter and it does a good job for what I do.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:07 AM
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A Bailey is what I'll be getting when I have the room and the money, but will be getting a frame instead of a sit down model.
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