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Thread: Machine Quilting Frame - and Machine(?)

  1. #1

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    I've just started looking at machine quilting frames. I bought the handiquilter when it first came out - put it together once and hated it. I had also bought a Juki TL98E to use with the handiquilter - I've never even taken it out of its orginal box. Now I think I want to get into this - I have too many quilt tops ready to quilt, I know in the long run I would save money doing it myself. So......I'm a die hard Viking customer -but I would kind of like to get a frame that I can use the Juki on (9" reach), but be able to later upgrade to an 18" machine without buying a new frame. I must be able to do King Size quilts. I'm thinking I want a metal frame over a wooden frame (unless someone can convice me otherwise). Viking has the Q-Bot - would be nice but out of the budget for now - I think I can get by with free motion and I would like to be able to use pantograms, so will need a stylus. Have looked at QuiltCad software - looks interesting (anyone have it and use it?). Will I be happy with the 9" arm on the Juki or will I become frustrated and wish I had started with an 18" arm? With the 9" does it just mean I will have to roll the quilt more often - what would any other disadvantages be? I've been reading about the Pinnacle (the big one for King size) - and of course my Viking dealers/friends recommend the Imperial frame or the Next Generation Frame (all made by Grace - I believe), but if I understand correctly, the Next Generation wouldn't work with an 18" machine. Budget - I would like to keep it under $2000.00. I've been told I will also want a "stitch regulator" however I go - I don't know if that is even available for the Juki TL98E since that machine has been discontinued. Any advice or recommendations will be greatly appreciated! I'm a bit overwhelmed at this point!!!

  2. #2
    Super Member Janstar's Avatar
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    Welcome CQ from Washington and good luck on your quest. Unfortunately, I don't have any of the big toys. I would love an EZ Quilter but the Bailey is more in my budget. I know the more room in your throat is the best. Let us know what you decide. Show pics too!

  3. #3
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    OK, well, I think you will quickly tire of the shorter throat space..

    Here is why.. If you have a 9 inch throat space, you are really limited to about 4.5 inches of quilting space at a time.. the reason?

    As you advance the quilt on the take up roll, it becomes bigger and bigger, using up the available throat space..I just quilted a 94 inch long quilt and it was about 4.5 or 5 inches wide when it was completely rolled onto the take up pole.

    Does this make sense?


  4. #4

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    Yes, that makes sense. So, if I stick with the 9" throat I might not be able to do a king size, regardless of the frame size - right? So, I might be better off trying to sell my Juki and going with something 18". Any idea on price for something with an 18" space?

  5. #5
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    Well, it isnt that you cant do a king size, its just that you will be limited to quilting it 4.5 inches at a time..so this limits what you can do..there are many 4.5 inch pantographs.. and free motion can be done in 4.5 inch increments.. but not so easy to make them look continuous..

    I have just aquired the Grace Pro and I like the frame. It says that it will take up to 16 inch machine,, but Im wondering about that too. I would like to upgrade to either 16 or 18 inch machine.. so I am right there with you as you seek out this info

    With 16 inches, you should be able to do free motion on a 12 inch block with no problems..

    I dont know anything about the other frames on the market,, hopefully some others will..

  6. #6
    Super Member Pam S's Avatar
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    I have a Grace Next Generation frame. I just checked the instruction booklet and it doesn't say whether you could use it with an 18" machine, but I doubt it. I am using a Pfaff with a 9" throat and after about a year, I wish I had gone with something larger. While the frame will take a quilt up to 110" wide, that small throat area means that with a big quilt (and that includes full size - pretty much anything larger than a baby or lap quilt) the rolled quilt gets too big and you don't have any room left to sew. I have to quilt halfway down the length, then take it off the frame, turn it around, reload the quilt and roll it to where I stopped, then finish the quilting. With a twin size, I can load it sideways and not have to turn it. It's still better than trying to quilt a large quilt on a regular machine without the frame, but it makes me wish I'd really done my homework before I bought it.

  7. #7
    Super Member Pam S's Avatar
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    Another thing. If you get a stitch regulator, I think you will love it. I tried turning mine off to see if I noticed the difference and I sure could. My stitch lengths were all over the place without it.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I have learned a lot about different machine and frame setups from joining the homequiltingsystems group at http://groups.yahoo.com . I would definitely check out any machine/frame combo there before purchasing, as there seem to be many ins and outs. You can buy stitch regulators, for example, but not all machines can take them. Some carriages (the part the machine sits on) work better than others. Some frames, as you noted, cannot handle the deep harp machines.

    Some miscellaneous things I have learned from the group (check there, as I'm far from understanding all of this yet!)..... You need to subtract at least 6" from the harp measurement to determine how much space is available for quilting. This is because the rolled-up portion of the quilt takes space away from the harp. Also, there are frames that eliminate the need for periodic adjustments due to quilt take-up.

    There are quilters on that group who are using every imaginable combination of machine and frame, from very inexpensive set-ups to professional set-ups. Chances are someone there can help you, plus there is a wealth of information in the old posts, files and photos section of the group's website.

    Mary

  9. #9

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    Pam and Judy - thanks for your input. While checking online I also see the Tin Lizzie 18" - more money then I wanted to spend, but the more I read and hear from others I'm thinking I better go with an 18" throat. I have a $250 gift certificate with Viking and they have the new 18" Mega Quilter - same as the new 18" Pfaff machine since they are made by the same company - but I can't find any pricing info on them. Hopefully I can take some time this week to go "play" with the Viking, Pfaff and Tin Lizzie. Guess I'll try to sell my Juki on ebay. Thanks again for your help!

  10. #10
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Welcome from Southern California. I find this information very useful. I hope to someday buy a frame and a machine to quilt, it may be a while but I don't want to make the mistake of buying a machine with too small a throat and be sorry. This is a great question. Thanks for asking it!!!

  11. #11

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    Thanks Mary - I'm heading to groups.yahoo.com right now.

  12. #12
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    I think you'll be sorely disappointed. I bought the Husky Mega Quilter and took it back, got my money back. I would wait for the 18". Once we get settled, I'm seriously thinking about the Bailey.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Stitching4Fun's Avatar
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    I have the HobbyQuilter by Nolting. It is now called the FunQuilter. It is a 17" throat. I have mine on the Hinterburg stretch frame (wood one that you don't want) I have no problems with mine. I don't have a stitch regulator on my machine, but I believe the FunQuilter comes with one. But the price might be out of your range. I don't know what a regulator would feel like using one so I don't miss it, but I am sure it would help out lots. I think my stitches are pretty even when I do a quilt freehand.

    There is the Voyager17 machine also. When they first came out I was on a waiting list for one of them, but I got impatient and checked for a local dealer in the longarms. Local being 2 hours from me. That is how I ended up getting the HobbyQuilter. I read alot on here about people talking about the Bailey, but I am not familiar with that.

    I really commend the women on here that can do their quilting on a home sewing machine. I don't think I could ever attempt to quilt a queen size quilt on one. (let alone a twin one!!) I only use my home sewing machine for the smaller things........potholders, placemats, tote bags..........things like that.

    Good luck with whatever you choose. I am sure you will get lots of information from this board.

    Barb


  14. #14
    deerviewquilting's Avatar
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    Check out the Juki Yahoo Group. I've heard them talking about "stretching" the Juki to a larger throat. I guess there is a company out there that does it. I think it was north of $1000 for the conversion.

    I had the Juki TL98QE on a stretch Hinterberg frame. Got the stretch because I thought I would upgrade to the Voyager later. It lasted 6 months before I got annoyed with the lack of throat space. I did a Queen on it, but it was very frustrating, couldn't do a 6" block at once when it was all rolled up. The largest pantograph I could do was 4" maybe.

    I made the jump to a 24" Prodigy longarm. Don't know how I did without it!

    Also, check out Longarm University. www.longarmuniversity.com. They have a for sale section. There are used longarm as well as used home systems that might fit in your budget.

    Good Luck!

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Here is my 2 cents. Or what I done anyway.

    I started looking a couple months ago for something. I started with about $3000 as a limit. I looked at the Juki/Grace combos. The frames I had it narrowed down to was the Pro and the D-Lite. D-lite fits up to a 17" throat, the Pro a 20". Both are wood. Then I desided that I do more 'big' quilts than little and would easily out grow the Juki.

    The Bailey was the next that I looked at. I only had 2 concerns about it. 1-It does have the 15" throat length, but what's the height? I could never find what it was and the best I could tell from the pics its about 6". Quilts are in roll not flat so that would be a tight fit. 2-Support. Yes, I hear the guy who makes them is very helpful, but what happens when he is no longer there? I am in my 30s and can see quilting into my 90s (fingers crossed).

    While doing research, I stumbled upon a used APQS Discovery. I ended up getting it for under $4000. It was a trade-in and refurbished. It does not have a stitch regulator. I found that it's very nice to have one but it's possible to have great quilts without it. It's all in how you learn to use your machine. At this point I wanted 'workhorse' not 'bells and whistles'. I only plan on quilting for myself. I've had Dizzy for just over a month and LOVE her very much. APQS is terrific on their support. It was suppose to be shipped, at a $350 cost to me, but I was willing to pick it up at the factory in Carroll, Iowa instead of shipping. When they found that I am so close to their Des Moines office, they brought it down from Carroll at no cost to me. Saving me time and money. The guy then came in on a Saturday (their closed) and met me to pick it up. While I was there, another woman from APQS was there working on a personal quilt, she showed me ALOT about it and we talked for over an hour. After getting it set-up at home, I had an issue with the lazer. I sent an email and had the answer to my problem within an hour. They also have a forum that I have found some good tips on. I am FOREVER an APQS customer!!!!

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