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Need advice on a good cheaper quilting machine

Need advice on a good cheaper quilting machine

Old 12-26-2015, 08:58 PM
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Default Need advice on a good cheaper quilting machine

Ok I am new to quilting. I have a Babylock tempo basic machine. I am looking for a good but yet inexpensive machine for quilting. Preferably one that helps guide me and one that could do a twin to queen (I think that means a larger harp right?) I dont know.

I have been looking online at the following: singer 9960 quantum stylist 600 stitch and Brother hc 1850. I was thinking that one of these computerized machines would be easier. I also would like one that helps me with the steering if that even makes sense. Remember I am new.

I was given a $150 amazon gift card which is the reason why I mentioned the two above. They were on amazon. I know of some more that arent on amazon but in order to use the gift certificate, amazon is what I have.

Please Help. I can spend more money than the $150, perhaps up to $300 but cant spend a lot more than that because my husband just bought a car and our kids our in music lessons.

I was hoping for advice or if someone happens to find something on amazon that would work for me. I would appreciate all the help I can get.

I currently am making corded quilted baskets and have to rent the machine and stay at a quilt shop because the babylock doesn't go high enough for the cording to thread over the cord. So, that has been another problem.

Thank you so much
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:46 AM
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I have a husqvana Viking h100 which I use as my light weight machine to take to classes. It has a list of features which are useful to quilters. The harp and weight are the disadvantages. Cost in UK 200.
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Old 12-27-2015, 01:15 AM
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Welcome to the board! You've given a bit of a tall order, inasmuch you're right that you won't find a large harp in your price bracket. Normally I would suggest you look for a good used machine (it's still unlikely you'd one with a large harp), but that's no good if you want to use your Amazon voucher.

Unfortunately machines at your price point are often made of lightweight plastic and tend to be lighter, ergo not 'sturdy' enough for what you want it to do. I am speaking about here in the UK however, and there's more choice in the US (as well as cheaper), so someone else may come up with a suggestion.

Another suggestion might be to save for a little longer for a machine with better features, if that's an option for you.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by 'steering' - could you explain a little more please? Happy Quilting!
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:38 AM
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Welcome to the world of quilting. You'll be sure to have a great time here. I think you're a little confused about the vocabulary, or maybe I'm the one that's confused😊.
They are 3 basic things we do with our sewing machines, patchwork, applique and quilting.
For patchwork you need a good way to make an accurate 1/4 inch seam, for machine applique you need a machine with an adjustable zig zag stitch, for quilting you need a walking foot and an free motion foot.
As far as "steering " goes, that is practice.
I suggest watching some u tube, or an experienced friend to see how others control their machines.
My advice on a new sewing machine would be a used vintage machine. You'll get a heavier machine that will stand up to the demands of pushing a big quilt through the small harp. There's a board here about those.
Again utube for demos on how to set up your table to make it easier. I've quilted queen size quilts on a regular sewing machine. Takes some doing, but possible.
Good luck.
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:39 AM
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Ps, I love my Baby Lock, I have a Crafters Choice, does everything I need, and never breaks down.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:31 AM
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I would stay away from the Singer. They are just a piece of plastic junk now a days. There are some board members that post about how much they enjoy sewing on their Brothers.

PS Welcome to the board.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:54 AM
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Hi and welcome to the board.

Ok as far as your current machine not sewing over the cording, of which I am assuming you are doing the baskets made out of clothes line where you zig zag the clothesline to form the basket, you may wish to refer to your manual. There is a section that indicates what to do when sewing over really thick fabrics and alludes that the machine is capable of handling thickness up to 1/4". Most cotton clothes line I have seen will compress down to that. Here is a link to the manual http://babylock.com/ftp/whitepapers/...uctionBook.pdf I found the instructions on page 52.

I could not find a price point for the machine you currently have, but based on google reviews of the machines capabilities it appears to be in the same price point you are looking at. So I feel you may just be throwing you money away on a machine that doesn't really have any different features than the one you currently have. Quite honestly your very basic Babylock Tempo appears to be a nice starter machine and should get you going on all of your quilting needs, from peicing the top to finishing your quilt. It takes time and practice. Most machine quilting beginners start with the walking foot and straight line quilting. Many progress from there. Some, like me, never did get any good at FMQ (free motion quilting) my quilts on the machine so I hand quilted my larger quilts and did straight line quilting on smaller quilts. I dabbled in FMQ but never could get the hang of it and I didn't like the results. So I saved up until I could afford my longarm machine which is quilting on a large rack (10 ft long) and takes up an entire room in my home and cost over $10K with no computer guidance.

Computerized machines just mean there are small modules in the machine that can do fancy stitches for you and some embroidery capability, like say lettering for monograms. It appears your current machine has some built in stitches and you can "program" certain features so your machine and the two you mention are in that category.

Nothing in either of these machines, nor any machine in the price range you are looking for is capable of "steering" for you as far as quilting is concerned. They have built in decorative stitches you can use for quilting but they won't stitch out a quilting motif for you. The machines capable of doing that start at thousands of dollars and go up to the price of small car! Yes there are computerized longarm setups that can run $20K to$50K.

I would recommend trying to get your machine to do what you want it to. If you decide it isn't right for you, you will have to visit some dealerships to see what features it is you are really looking for and need and then start your Amazon search from there. Your GC shouldn't expire so that will give you plenty of time to decide if that is what you really want to use it for or maybe something else.
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Old 12-27-2015, 10:17 AM
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I agree with the other posters. For your price point, you probably aren't going to get much more than you currently have. A computerized machine will just have more decorative stitches, not one that will guide or steer you (if I understand you correctly). That would take an embroidery machine or a long arm computerized set up. I would use a small portion of your amazon card & purchase Marti Michell's book: "Machine Quilting in Sections". This explains several quilt as you go (GAYG) techniques that enable you to more easily quilt a large quilt on a small domestic machine.

http://www.amazon.com/Marti-Michell-...=marti+michell

You might also want to invest in some special feet for your current machine. I would get a walking foot and an edge guide foot for 1/4" seams.
I would take some of the additional money that you have and take a couple of quilting classes at your LQS, to get a bit more experience and understanding of what you really want your machine to do. Then you can make a list of needs and get the right one. Those baskets are really nice, but the machine requirements don't have a lot in common with a machine that you want specifically for quilting. You probably want a more generalized machine.
It also sounds like you have a good dealer. I would work with them and investigate getting one of their used trade ins. You might need to save up a bit, but in the long run this will be a better option.
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Old 12-27-2015, 10:56 AM
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Are you wanting a large harp space to piece the quilt together or to do the quilting after you piece it together? I have a very small vintage machine with a small harp (called a Featherweight) that I have pieced king sized quilts on. But I would never consider quilting a king on a small harp machine. It is when you do the quilting where you need a large harp machine.
Since you already have a Babylock, I would suggest looking for a good vintage machine. I use a vintage Singer 15-91 for my quilting. I have done twin and queen sized quilts on it. Try looking for videos on YouTube on quilting with vintage machines if that interests you.
If you want a computerized machine, I would suggest either a Brother or Janome in your price range. I have used both in the past and have been pleased.
Good luck with your decision and let us know what you decide! Welcome to the board!
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:34 AM
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I had the Baby Lock Quilter's Choice Pro and it had a larger harp. I believe the equivalent these days is the Jane. I believe Brother has a very similar or same machine with a different name. The harp is about 9 inches which is a couple of inches larger than regular machines. Also they will stitch 1500 stitches per minute. Mine came with a table and walking foot in addition to the regular accessories. They only straight stitch. I went to a mid arm which has a 14" harp.
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