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Machine Quilting Frame - and Machine(?)

Machine Quilting Frame - and Machine(?)

Old 01-01-2009, 12:41 PM
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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!!!
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:58 PM
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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!
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:03 PM
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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?

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Old 01-01-2009, 01:08 PM
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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?
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:14 PM
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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..
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:22 PM
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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.
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:27 PM
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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.
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:35 PM
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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
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:35 PM
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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!
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:46 PM
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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!!!
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