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Looking for sit down mid arm

Looking for sit down mid arm

Old 05-22-2019, 07:46 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Charleston SC
Posts: 11
Default Looking for sit down mid arm

Looking for suggestions for purchasing a mid arm quilting machine. Iím currently quilting on a Janome 8900 with an eleven inch harp space. I donít have either the space or budget for a longarm. I would like a harp space of at least 15 inches but preferably larger. I would like to set it up like my domestic machine. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:02 AM
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Location: Reno, Nevada
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Both Baby Lock and HandiQuilter (HQ) Sweet 16 have a sit-down machine. On those, you move the fabric as with the smaller domestic machines. However, the stitch regulator (extra cost on both) to me was rather cumbersome. For that reason I opted for the Baby Lock Coronet which is like a long-arm, but shorter (7-8'). I purchased a padded drafting chair from WalMart ($70) and have the advantage of sitting as well as standing at my Baby Lock that operates just like the big girls. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:27 AM
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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I have a BabyLock Tiara sit down and I love it. It is oriented so that you face the machine, rather than like a regular domestic and I thought I would have a break in period to get used to that, but it was no different at all. In fact, I like it better because there is nothing to your right to stop the fabric from moving.

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Old 05-22-2019, 08:39 AM
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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My Bailey sits in a tabletop for sit down sewing. My husband made the tabletop for me out of Melamine. I love the machine it is so easy to use, but it sits there, even though I don't use the machine regularly I do clean it oil it and run in a bit to get the lubrication up in the gears.. Oneday I might get back into machine quilting, so far the bug hasn't bit me again.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:55 AM
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Suggest you attend a large quilt show where you can try several brands.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:20 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Va.
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There are a number of good sit-down mid arms and also long arms out there now that you can try if you go to a large quilt show. Before I got my used Sweet Sixteen I tried just about all of them out and they all seemed good to me-- but I tend to get along well with just about any sewing machine out there. I would have gladly bought an Innova, APQS George, BabyLock Tiara (made by HQ and essentially identical to the Sweet Sixteen), Bernina sit down, etc. if there had been a used one for sale in my price range. As it was, I lucked into a used Sweet Sixteen with very little use and the extras I wanted so that's what I've got. I have to say that I did not like the stitch regulator on any of them, but you should try out the ones that are available on each machine if you feel the need to have a stitch regulator.

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Old 05-23-2019, 03:02 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: NW Kansas
Posts: 597

I have a Janome Artistic Sit Down 18. I love it. It does not have a stitch regulator, and I have no problem with. I started free motion on a Janome 8400 MQ. I really like it also, but only an 11 inch throat. The Artistic 18 has been discontinued, but that did not make any difference to me, and it made it so that I could afford it.
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Old 05-23-2019, 03:17 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 4,362

Love my sit-down Sweet 16 (bought used). I don't have or desire to use the stitch regulator. Tip: LongArm University is a source for finding used machines.
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:54 AM
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I bought a used sweet 16 a few years ago. I thought I would use it more than I do and if I had to do it over again I’m not sure I’d buy it. If I had a domestic machine with a large throat I’d think carefully about the purchase. I just used it on a large lap quilt and I was glad I had it. I make a lot of smaller art quilts and there’s not a big advantage with them.

I always do custom FMQ and I would never use pantographs like you’d use on a long arm so a sit down seemed like a good solution. The big disadvantage being you still have to pin the three layers together with a sit down.

I went to Road to CA. Quilt show. Spent 45 minutes trying out the sweet sixteen and another 30 minutes trying out the George. I liked both machines. I liked the George a little better but it was too expensive. The sweet 16 uses a larger bobbin size and I do prefer that. Haven’t had the problems with a larger bobbin that the George salesman mentioned. None of the sales people were pushy and I liked that. The George is more like a domestic machine the sweet sixteen faces differently. I think I would’ve preferred the way the George faces but it’s an easy transition to the way the sweet 16 faces.

I then took a full day class on quilting landscape quilts using a sweet 16. By the time the class was over I was confident on the machine. There was the instructor and another sweet 16 expert there to help us. I can highly recommend taking a class on a sit down if you haven’t already spent a lot of time on one. As an added bonus I’m now knowledgeable about how to FMQ landscape quilts.

I bought a used Sweet 16 from someone a dealer at the show led me too. The machine had been checked out by him. The woman had graduated to a long arm. That was a good experience. $3000.

I did not buy the stitch regulator. I tried it out when trying out the machine at the booth and didn’t care for it. I also spoke with all the quilters in the class who owned sweet 16. Many didnt own or didn’t use the stitch regulator. I decided as many quilters do, that I would get better at this with practice.

there was not much of a learning curve. I was already proficient at FMQ on my Janome 6600 and this transferred over. It’s a bit challenging getting the tension correct on the mid arm. I was already proficient at changing the bobbin tension so this helped. I never took any classes on the machine. It’s not that much different than a domestic and I had the 6 hour class with two experts there to help the class. I used a YouTube video to help with the separate bobbin winder.

Hope this helps

Last edited by mjpEncinitas; 05-23-2019 at 07:06 AM.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:04 AM
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I bought a used George a couple of years ago, got a steal..I love it...had to learn all over again..i was doing the longarm quilting for my friend that had a fabric shop, and did quilts..she closed her shop and I needed something to do my quilts on..for longarming her customer's quilts, I got to do mine free...a win win situation..I'm getting better each time I use it..I drew several pantos for the quilt shop, so I have those I can trace on to the yellow paper and pin to the quilt and follow...works pretty well..I'm doing me a DWR right now, it will be a kingsize..but I have done a kingsize on the George with no problems...I have the clamps at the back to keep the drag down..bungee cords hanging from eye hooks in ceiling, and clamps on the end..works great...
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