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Quilting machines

Old 07-05-2018, 06:53 AM
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Default Quilting machines


I am sure many of you have had this and seen this question before and I apologize for the repeat for you.

I want to quilt my own quilts, but find that I get very frustrated using my domestic machines.

I have gone and played with some machines, sit downs and long arms.

My query and my conflict with myself is justifying the cost of the purchase.

Have any of you had buyers remorse with your purchases? What did you purchase, ie: long arm, mid arm, sit downs, extended throats?

I want to purchase something more, but am nervous about it.

I am an intermediate piece maker and I would say a beginner quilter, since I don't like or enjoy the quilting process on my domestic machine.

Thank you for any input.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:13 AM
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I bought one (2007 APQS milli) and had the same feelings as you are having right now. I upgraded my machine in 2014 to a newer machine and table. I have not regretted the purchase. I didn't have any experience when I bought mine at all. I just went for it. I quickly decided I was not good at freehanding so I added an IQ computer to the first machine in 2008. I say go for it if you can.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:33 AM
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Thanks intoquilting,
I appreciate your input, especially since I too at this point do not have any experience. APQS is the direction I am thinking I would like to go. My husband says I can go for it if I want it.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:40 AM
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I don't have the space for a long arm, but got a Baby Lock Coronet last summer, after I retired from teaching. Then I was asked in September to long-term sub for the year. I'm looking forward to playing within a week or two, when a friend is bringing me a donation quilt or two for practicing my skills. After trying out several mid arm machines last summer, I decided I was happier with larger quilts moving the machine than the fabric. But I still turn to my dsm for small quilts.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:59 AM
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You can do some beautiful quilting on your smaller machine using the various Quilt As You Go techniques. I learned to fmq on my Juki2010Q. When I decided I wanted a better setup for big quilts I chose the Juki longarm in the table. I am just better with moving the fabric than moving the machine head, probably from the years of fmq practice on the smaller Juki.

Don't just get a longarm because other people are doing it... be sure that is how you like to quilt. Try lots of machine options and find out what you are most comfortable with. I found my best fit was the sit down longarm.

I bought my sit down Juki longarm at a show, where they gave me a great deal and threw in lots of extras. They offered 0% financing for 5 years, so I am paying only $94 a month for my machine. Quite doable. If you wait for sales events, other brands will offer 0% financing too. At the show I looked at the APQS machine too, but they didn't have free financing. It also cost about double what the Juki cost.

I took an fmq class at a local Babylock sales event recently, and they were offering 0% financing and great discounts too. They have fabulous machines. Take your time and look around. Find out what you like and wait for a sales event!
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:14 AM
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Thanks sewbizgirl,

You make very good points. I appreciate all of your input!
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:15 AM
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Thanks pchp,

I like how you described your process, things for me to think about.
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:25 AM
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I also purchased my first long arm when I was an intermediate quilter. A couple of things I didn't know:
-The frame is also pretty important. Make sure you get one with sturdy bars. My first machine had rollers that were slightly flexible. You couldn't rest your arms on them to steady yourself for detailed work, and because they were slightly bowed, it affected the tension on the quilt sandwich. Also, a dead bar makes life much simpler.
- You need a lot of room. Figure on at least 3 feet in front of the frame. If you are planning on doing pantos, you need 2 - 3 feet in back. You also need a couple of feet on the side where you will be advancing the quilt, and if your frame doesn't have a dead bar, you will also need access on the other side. remember too that the carriage the machine rides on takes up about a foot of room, so a 10' frame gives you about 9' of quilting space.

Although my first long arm wasn't my dream machine, I still really enjoyed the stand up long arm process. I eventually traded up to my current model.
I would also advise you to do some research in your area to see if you can rent time on any machines. This will give you a realistic take on the long arm experience.
I would also go to a national show and try all the machines.
Finally, ongoing dealer support is essential.
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:25 AM
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Some things to consider - (if you have not already done so)

How much space to you have available?

How much space are you willing to use for the machine - you also have to allow "working room" for the operator.

Most of them are space hogs - and in my opinion - not all that attractive.

I wonder how many people have let them turn into a "collection spot" - like some exercise equipment has become a clothes rack.

How much are you willing to spend on one? Can you afford "what you really want" or will you need to downgrade to what you can - more or less - easily afford?

Do any other people have input (as to how much space you can use - how much you can spend - etc) on this acquisition?

Will you feel guilty if you only work on your own things? I understand that there is a learning curve for most people.

Would you want to do work for other people? I think it would be quite all right to say "no" if you have no interest in doing so.

How many quilts to you think you might quilt on this?

As others have said - do you want one because "everyone else" seems to have one - or because you would really use one.

Last edited by bearisgray; 07-05-2018 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:12 AM
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Location: Carroll, Iowa
Posts: 2,573

I remember when I bought my 1st quilt machine, the Viking MegaQuilter 9" on a Grace Pro frame 10ft. Wasn't even in the market for a machine but bought it because my friend was buying one. I had just started learning how to make quilts at that time but the one quilt I sent out to be quilted came back oh so wrong. Asked her not to stitch over the embroidery and she did. So with this I decided to quilt my own. At least if I make a mistake, its my mistake and not someone else's. Anyway, then I heard about robotics for the machine so started off with an inexpensive brand called the PCQuilter. Quickly I realized that you couldn't do much on a 9" but PCQ had this add-on that would move the rollers back and forth up to 17" so got that. Continually had issues and the customer service wasn't all that great. Then folks that used to work with them separated for whatever reason and came out with their own robotics using some of the same parts from the PCQuilter so we could transfer over to it, MQR using the same parts saving us money in the long run. I kept that robotic system but by the time I got it I'd changed to a Juki 98Q stretched to 18", same frame. Finally decided since I was making larger quilts I wanted more machine so got the Innova 26" with lots of extras and upgraded the MQR. I tried a bunch of machines before I decided on the Innova but it felt right in my hands. APQS is right here in Carroll, IA too but still went with Innova as I could get more for my bucks and their customer service was 24/7/365. Just changed my robotics to IQ and loving it. I won't say I'm a great quilter but I keep trying and as most all my quilts are gifts to others I'm sure they won't complain. I've spent a bunch of money on what I call a hobby to me but I'm enjoying my retirement. Again, I tried out a lot of machines before I made my decision. Go to quilt shows that offer trying out their machines and find what feels right under your hands, is in your price range, what's their customer service like and can you upgrade easily if you decide to.

Good Luck.
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