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Thread: Mid arm quilting

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Blog Entries

    Exclamation Mid arm quilting

    I need advise from quilters who use a mid arm machine on a quilting frame . I am thinking about buying a quilting frame for my Brother 1500S - I am concerned about the smaller quilting space due to the smaller throat. I need to hear opinions before I decide a frame is worth it . I have back problems and thought a frame is the way to go without spending big $$ on a longarm .

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    I have the Bernina frame with a Bernina 820 on it. The Bernina has a 12" throat and has the BSR. I am happy. My long range plan is to buy a long arm and still have a very nice machine to sew on. In the meantime, it serves my purpose.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Western Wisconsin
    Blog Entries
    I have a midarm on a frame, but mine is a Voyager with a 17" throat. The 17" is really nice to have. I would categorize the Brother 1500S as a shortarm machine rather than a midarm. Midarms start at about a 13" harp. In my opinion, anything less than 13" (or maybe the 12" that Suzie mentions) is going to be very limiting.

    A lot depends too on what frame you are considering. The Ken Lund frame is very inexpensive compared to others and could certainly be worth a try. Here is his website (you can buy a kit from him).

    He has quite a few videos on Youtube also showing how he builds and uses his frame. If you use the "search" feature in the upper righthand corner of the Quilting Board, you will find some very informative threads about the Ken Lund frame from people who are using it.

    I do not think investing in a more expensive frame is worth it unless you have a machine with a bigger harp than the Brother 1500.

    My setup (Voyager 17 with Hinterberg frame) was still available from the Hinterberg website for about $4,000 last time I looked. The Voyager is no longer made (it is a stretched industrial Singer) but they still refurbish Voyagers for resale. I bought my setup for less than that from a quilter in my guild who wanted to upgrade. There are websites that list used setups too. Another QB member found one listed in her area that way.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    I think that machine would be too small to o do much of anything with. I have a short arm in a frame. I can only quilt rows of about 5 inches. Good for really easy free hand work or very dense quilting. I'd love something bigger but until I have a better place to keep it I will stick with what I have.
    Buy the biggest machine you can afford.
    Cindy B from MA

  5. #5
    Senior Member luvstoquilt301's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Phoenix AZ
    I have a friend with a machine and frame similar to what you mention. She does pantos only and they really look wonderful. She does NOT do any quilts bigger than a large lap---not even a twin. she is mainly a quilter of kids charity quilts. She says it is alot of rolling.

  6. #6
    Senior Member SlightlyOffQuilter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Somewhere Out There
    I have a PQ1500s and I just took it OFF my Grace frame a month or so ago because I was VERY frustrated at the lack of quilting space. If you are only doing a small baby quilt, it would not be bad, but once you start rolling up a larger quilt your actual work area becomes about 4 inches wide ! This makes doing anything detailed extremely difficult. Also it is worth mentioning that I started getting back pain WITH the frame that I never had before, because I was having to stand up all the time to quilt. Since returning to my table and sitting down I have had no more back pain. I just got a table that was the proper height for me to not have to hunch over.
    If you ever see a quilt without any flaws, rest assured that I did not make it ! http://slightlyoffquilter.com

  7. #7
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    New England, USA
    I too , like Prism99, have a voyager with a 17"harp. Most of my quilting is done on bed size quilts. I can comfortably quilt a queen side to side but when I get to the bottom the quilting space is diminished by the size of the roll.

    I just looked at the link that Prism99 listed - looks like a nicely made frame. If you are not working on bed size quilts it may work nicely for you. Good luck with your decision.

    A quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul.


  8. #8
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    I have a frame and have been using a Bernina 440 on it - and it does have a very limited space of approx. 5" quilting space. However, it's a lot easier than trying to maneuver a full size quilt on my sewing table. I did get a machine with a 10" harp for Christmas but due to illness have not had a chance to try it out on my frame.
    Shop around and see if you can pick up a "gently used" frame from someone and go for it. You may hate it or you may love it - I loved it the very first time I tried it and knew this was for me. Eventually you may graduate to a machine with a wider harp space or you may be satisfied with what you have. There is a posting on this board today about a couple who got a set up very economically. It's titled "Introducing my new baby to the board." Check it out.

  9. #9
    Super Member ontheriver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Selma Alabama
    I use the 1500s on a frame and like it but all I do is pantos due to small quilting area. I do up to double size quilts on it, it is a lot of rolling but to me is better than a lot of basting or wrestling it around on a table top. Since there is no way I could afford a long arm, this works for me. BTW, I use my machine on a home made frame a gentleman made for me, so even my frames not fancy, but it works.

    Theres nothing wrong with me a little chocolate won't fix.

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