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Thread: Pros and Cons of Machine Quilting on a Frame

  1. #1
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Pros and Cons of Machine Quilting on a Frame

    I'm trying to decide whether I want a machine quilting frame. I have a Brother PQ1500S, not a longarm. For those of you who have frames, or who have tried them in the past, what do you love about them? What do you not like? I'm concerned that I won't enjoy standing up to quilt. Is that an issue for anyone else? I'd really appreciate your insight!
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  2. #2
    Super Member patski's Avatar
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    I just sold my sit down handi quilter. I just loved it for lap size quilts and smaller but to do the larger quilts I find the long arm better. Yes you stand but you don't have to do the entire quilt at once. I bought the Innova and love it
    Patski
    always learning

  3. #3
    Super Member luvstoquilt301's Avatar
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    I LOVE that I no longer have to baste quilts. You do not have to stand for hours at a time. Do a pass or 2 and then take a break. I would never be as productive if I did not have my Handiquilter 16.

  4. #4
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    My 15" bailey is on a frame and I much prefer that setup. Not having to baste the quilt is a big plus. I have tried quilting on a regular machine and it is a LOT of work. Plus, the frame makes the quilting go so much faster too, and no wrestling the whole quilt under the needle. As luvstoquilt301 points out, you don't have to stand for hours at a time; you can take breaks whenever you like.
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!
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  5. #5
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    I would love a frame and the only cons I can see are that they take up a lot of room (I don't have a spare room until one of the kids move out) and the expense of the frame/machine (I would want a machine with as large a throat as possible)
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

  6. #6
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    if space is the concern... i had a juki tl98q on a hinterberg frame. with the hinty, you buy your own rails/pipes and can have them cut at any length. i had mine cut a 9.5' to fit my available space. i could quilt a queen size on that frame. with a little creativity, i even quilted a king size once.
    Nancy in western NY
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  7. #7
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    I have a longarm and sit down all the time to quilt. I have a chair with wheels that came with my Koala sewing machine table (it's the extra high one) and I use that. I just scoot up and down the length of the frame as I move back and forth.

    DebD

  8. #8
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnNan View Post
    if space is the concern... i had a juki tl98q on a hinterberg frame. with the hinty, you buy your own rails/pipes and can have them cut at any length. i had mine cut a 9.5' to fit my available space. i could quilt a queen size on that frame. with a little creativity, i even quilted a king size once.
    Thank you so much. I hadn't heard of this frame before. I'll check it out!
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  9. #9
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies, everyone. I hadn't thought of the no-basting thing as making such a big difference. You've given me something to consider.

    Space is a concern, but not an insurmountable one. We have a spare bedroom I could use, and my husband said he'd build a Murphy bed in there so we'd still have room for guests. I just worry about spending hundreds of dollars on something that I might not enjoy.
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  10. #10
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    I took the plundge this summer after moving my sewing room to the basement. I debated a long time about the pro and cons. For me, the no basting anymore was the main point. With three little ones, it was almost impossible to find the floor space to do it. I waited for the right deal and got it: a gently used HQ 16 on a frame for 2500$. I had to accept the fact that I would not use it for pantograph: the frame have to be against a wall. Even with this limitation, I'm so glad to have it! I enjoy quilting like I never did before. It's so easy and fun to draw big allover designs on my quilt! I would say the pros are:
    -you don't have to baste your quilt
    -finishing a quilt will take about 1\4 of the time
    -not having to turn your quilt under your sewing machine make you feel free, you will use designs you never dare to think about before
    The cons are:
    -space! unless you have a very large house, the frame will take a space you would use for so many things...
    -accessories: you need specific needles, bobbins, thread, etc. It add to the storage problem
    -cost: it's an expensive toy... but you can shop for a gently used one, there is plenty of it
    -it may not fit all your quilting need. I was thinking about selling my Juki Tl-98 to fund my HQ16, but I end up keeping it because I'm still using it for quilting. I prefer to do small detailed quilting design on it, it's easier. Also, loading a small baby quilt on the frame is not really worth it.
    -learning curve: it was not a very big issue for me, I'm only an advanced beginner, so it was easy to learn new technique for free motion quilting. But I can imagine an advanced quilter not wanting to go back and learn everything again.
    So, good luck to find the right solution for you! I had several months to think about it before we moved my sewing room, it helped to priorise my needs and desire.

  11. #11
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    I did it! Eep. Just ordered a Grace Queen frame. Thanks, everyone!
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  12. #12
    Super Member ScubaK's Avatar
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    I have the 10ft Grace Frame with the Pfaff GQ 1200
    It isn't much throat space but it gets me by. I just do some pantos and stipple/meander
    It was such a great deal
    Kirsten
    I try and be as good of a human as my dogs think I am.

  13. #13
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    The Hinterburg and the Grace look really good! What fun that would be! And they are not so awfully expensive!
    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
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  14. #14
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    I am the odd one out, I know that but I had a machine on a frame and didn't really enjoy it. It was a fuss loading the quilt, I didn't like the restriction of having to quilt across the rows and I prefer the motion of moving the quilt instead of the machine.
    I packed my frame and machine up and got myself a sweet sixteen sit down model and I love it. I am hanging on to the frame for now because everyone seems to consider it the better way to quilt. I figure I'll take my time to be sure that I am keeping the right machine and set up.
    I hope that you love your new toy. Take your time and don't expect perfection right away.

  15. #15
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    Coffecozy, like I said, there is some design and quilt format that I much prefer to do with my Juki. I don't think quilting on a frame is a better way to quilt. Just different. I think it must mainly depend on your quilting style. It's true that having to go row by row is sometimes very restrictive. I love curves and pebble design, and this is more fun for me to do on a frame. But for straight lines design, I prefer my Juki!

  16. #16
    Super Member quilts4charity's Avatar
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    Yes, yes, yes, to the frame. Mine also has the metal conduit for the rails, I have mine at 10 feet. Used it with my Juki until I could afford the 18" Innova, wouldn't go back to the other way, too very hard on my arthritic back. You can stop at any point and just resume where you left off if you get tired!!!

  17. #17
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    OMG!!! I ordered the Grace frame yesterday from eBay (Sew Vac Direct), and it was delivered TODAY!!!! Now I'm feeling pressured... I have to finish the quilt I'm piecing so I can play with my new toy.
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  18. #18
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JenelTX View Post
    OMG!!! I ordered the Grace frame yesterday from eBay (Sew Vac Direct), and it was delivered TODAY!!!! Now I'm feeling pressured... I have to finish the quilt I'm piecing so I can play with my new toy.
    don't rush! Just get several yards of inexpensive Fabric and play! You can always use it as a throw in the car, picnic blanket, etc. I love my long arm and would never go back to quilting on my DSM!

  19. #19
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingshorttimer View Post
    ...I love my long arm and would never go back to quilting on my DSM!
    I still just have the DSM, except now it'll be on the frame. But I'll probably upgrade to a longarm at some point. I seem to be pretty darn hooked. Good idea, playing first before I try the real thing. I definitely wouldn't want to mess up the project I'm piecing now.
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  20. #20
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    I'd like to point out that everyone who said they love quilting on a frame has a long arm, not the 9 inch machine you and I both have. I HAD to have a frame. It now stays folded up behind my couch. I prefer to just set my machine into my desk and quilt sitting down. I still dream of a long arm on a frame, but the 9 inch harp just did not work well for me on a frame. I hope you love your frame way more than I did.

  21. #21
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    I have been long arming for two years now after being an avid free motion quilter on a sit down machine...I would say...

    Pros:
    - No Basting
    - Easier to keep your quilt square, when FMQ we tend to squish our quilts out like a pancake
    - TEN TIMES FASTER and personally once you get the hang of it, a lot easier than sit down quilting
    - Better visibility when quilting
    - Opens up new possibilities for quilting designs

    Cons:
    - Learning curve, it takes practice even if you are great at FMQ
    - Financial investment (though there are economical options available)
    - Standing to quilt/Space

    I think it was worth it a million times over. That does not mean switching to a long arm was easy peasy and without some headaches...but I love it!
    Valerie Smith - pumpkinpatchquilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  22. #22
    Super Member lass's Avatar
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    I like my long arm for all the reasons given and as to the standing part, I too have a chair on wheels - an office chair that I raised to full height that I can scoop along the rails. It enables me to see the quilting up closer.
    Education makes a people easy to lead;difficult to govern; and impossible to enslave

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