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Thread: Regretting long arm purchase?

  1. #1
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    Regretting long arm purchase?

    Has anyone on this site, who owns a Long arm have any regrets about buying it? I am in the process of buyers remorse and feel I need to return the machine. There is something just not right with the timing of all this and I wish I could put my finger on it. Making me nuts! JC

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    You might want to join the homequiltingsystems group on groups.yahoo.com . It's very large and very active, and the posters have a wide variety of longarm and midarm setups. One of the topics I have seen talked about there is how some people bought a longarm and then were so intimidated by it they let it sit for a year. I'm sure buyer's remorse would be an interesting topic to bring up there.

    How much research did you do before purchasing? The rule of thumb advice on the group above is to spend a full year doing research and trying out as many setups as possible before making a purchase.

  3. #3
    Senior Member w7sue's Avatar
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    Longarm Purchase

    I hear you ... my husband purchased me a Gammill last summer - great deal! I had fallen at the end of February an broke my arm and was still in the pre-surgery recovery stage. I finally had surgery in December and am really on the mend - long story. I had to wonder about the timing of this purchase and laid awake many nights thinking of the $8000 we had spent on it and how my car would have been almost paid off - lol

    I have used my machine for a total of 10-15 hours since he purchased it for me. I have done a few quilts of my own and several charity quilts. Every time I get a quilt loaded onto it, I get excited. It is the getting the quilt onto the machine that scares the dickens out of me. Every time is easier and every time the results are better.

    I had never really done any of the quilting on my own quilts so this was a scarry prospect for me. I know that I dream of the day when pinning a quilt on doesn't take me so long and when I can do it without even thinking about how to do it and getting the directions out.

    I look at quilts that have been done by other longarm quilters and shudder - I am just positive that I will NEVER be that good. I have to remember that they were all beginners too. And ... I tell myself that they could also be using a computerized machine, whereas mine isn't. I know the lady who used to do all mine had one.

    I just finished a quilt that I wanted to do a pantograph on, but I couldn't figure out how - I have only taken one class - and I ended up doing a meander on it with varigated thread and it turned out great (even if I do say so myself). I want to take more classes because, honestly, the longarm quilters that I have met in this area don't seem to be too anxious to help me learn - it's like they think I will be competition - right ?!?!?!? lol I am sure some of the problem is that I just don't know what questions to ask.

    My best advice would be to ask about the return time frame and use the dickens out of it before it ends - you might find that you become more comfortable with it and want to keep it. I know that I feel less guilty about all that money each time I finish a quilt.

    I am determined to master this beast - if it takes me until my dying day - lol If I can do it, you can too. I will have faith for both of us. I wish you lived close by so we could learn from each other.

    I did learn something the other day when I was doing a small (26 x 26) wall hanging --- I pinned only the back on, laid the batting down, used the machine to stitch placement lines for the top and left side of the quilt. I pinned the top onto it and then let it rest while I stared at it. I finally decided to meander on the outside of the quilt and fussy stitch around the applique in the 10" center block. My goal on the center was to stay close to the applique without actually stitching on the design. I was more succesful than I thought I would be. I meandered on the hourglass blocks that surrounded the center square. I learned that the corner where four blocks came together were difficult to stitch over and if I stitched around them, they looked like small volcanoes. LOL I will do a better job of pressing next time. I showed my quilt to several people this weekend and most of them didn't notice the issues I saw and I even got a few compliments on how well I did - you should see me strut - lol

    You just have to jump in with both feet and know that some quilts will look better than others but you can always spend some time practicing on muslin - I have and I am going to load more on so I can do some more practicing because I want to do that pantograph on a quilt, but I want to mess up on muslin.

    I know this has been long and probably disjointed, but I hope you keep trying and end up falling in love with your machine.

  4. #4
    Super Member luvTooQuilt's Avatar
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    W7sue-- i dont have a long arm (yet) but I thank you for taking the time to write what your thinking.. I love the positive vibe you have given me... Thank you..

    ps- gloat and strut- you deserve it!!

  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    You say "something not right with the timing of all this", but what does that mean? Do you mean that the machine's timing is not right (that can be fixed) or that it's not the right time for you to be making this purchase? If it's the latter, then it's probably something that you have to sort out alone or with your family, because we don't have the information to offer reasonable advice. If you mean that you're having trouble making the machine run as it should, then perhaps you could talk to the service department about your machine, or take classes. It does take time to become proficient on a longarm. I've had mine for just over 2 years and I know I haven't practiced as much as I could and should, but I still enjoy using it. Are your expectations for yourself perhaps too high?

  6. #6
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    well, I do hope that feeling passes. There is a learning curve with using it. Once you get the hang of it, you will wonder why you ever had those feelings. It's a big investment, but if it's what you like to do, you will have spent your money in a good way.
    enjoy your life...it's the only one you have!!!
    Heather

  7. #7
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    great post, w7sue.
    Last edited by DebraK; 04-01-2012 at 05:04 PM.

  8. #8
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    i used Lindas long arm book for the longest time, especially for loading a quilt. It was a lot of help. Linda Taylors book, not sure of spelling, there are probably you tubes on the internet also. It does take time, but it will get better!! Lots of luck!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member 1000projects's Avatar
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    Start with lap sized quilts, not huge ones. Makes loading so much easier!!

    I love my longarm, because i love doing the fmq so much amd the longarms removes the need for basting or spray adhesive. I get into the "zone" and do my fmq thing. Take a class at a quilt conference an maybe you can find the zone too!!
    Long arm quilting in Carmel, Indiana http://quiltcycle.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Junior Member An Arm Long's Avatar
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    I went to a 4 day class that came with my machine. After that, I was able to load my quilts fairly well. I've had my machine for a year now and have done 18 quilts on it as well as some table toppers and runners and quite a few practice quilts with muslin. After each project, I felt that I had learned alot and although not always perfect, I was happy with my results. But the main thing is that after the first few quilts, I was beginning to really have fun. I am proud of the skills I am learning.
    You might want to look into some of the online classes like at Longarm Classroom or Longarm University. There was one on loading your quilt. I have a handout from Cindy Roth at Longarm University called "Putting a Quilt on a Longarm Quilting Machine. Go to her site online.
    I think you need to really use your longarm now that you are physically able to before you give it up. Do several practice quilts using pantographs or other techniques you wish to learn, but don't try to learn everything at once - give yourself time to enjoy what you are learning.
    Beth in Maryland

  11. #11
    Power Poster joyce888's Avatar
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    Boy this is a thread that hits home with me. I've been talking about getting a longarm for several months and my DH was all for it at first. Now he's got me concerned because he thinks I wouldn't quilt enough quilts to justify the cost. I will turn 61 next month and if I did 12 quilts a year I wouldn't do enough in my lifetime to pay for the longarm. I think he's right that I enjoy the piecing more than I would the quilting. So now I'm concerned that I wouldn't learn how to longarm to the skill level that I would be satisfied.
    Joyce

    Four things you can't recover: The stone.....after the throw. The word......after its said. The occasion.....after its missed. The time......after its gone

  12. #12
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    I bought a longarm a few years back and NOW....I LOVE IT....then was a whole different story. I didn't feel it worked properly, it had a hesistation on each start and I couldn't get it to go away. Finally had the tech come out and they set the timing and played around with it and now I love the way it quilts and it is smooth. I also think that 3 years of practice has helped. The more I practice the more I love it.!!!

    Good Luck

  13. #13
    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    I took one short tute on mine when they set it up. I found I didn't like pinning the quilt in, it took to long, so I made zipper leads and from then on I was up and running. I quilted several sheets before I finialy did my first quilt. Still learning after 12 yrs, but I love it.
    http://www.skillpages.com/DonnaValleyquiltermo
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  14. #14
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    Buy second hand. That will reduce your costs significantly. I purchased a HQ 16, a frame and a pc quilter (computerized robot) 2nd hand and love it.

    Like you, I was worried that I would spend big bucks and then not like the quilting. The price of the used set up raised my DHs eyebrows, but compared to buying new it was cheap. It's also not top of the line, but the HQ16 works perfectly, the frame is fine for what I do, and the pc quilter works for me! In fact, without the pcquilter, I wouldn't have bothered getting the HQ16 and frame. My fibromyalgia will not let me do FMQ, but I can handle sandwiching, measuring and loading the quilt on the frame - just not all the same day.

    I've done about 8 quilts so far and have enjoyed it. Mostly I do end to end meanders, but that is my choice. I'm thinking of taking a couple of my meander patterns and leaving an open space in them to let me customize the pattern by the quilt or the recipient. For instance, for a child who likes trucks, put a truck in the open space. For someone who likes fishing, put a fish in it.

    Am I getting my moneys worth? Yes. If you make 5 or 6 quilts a year and had to send them out to longarm at an average of $200 per year, then you've spent $1,000. After a few years, you've made your money back. If you make more quilts, you make it back sooner. Charity quilts are easier to manage, because you don't have to figure out how to get them quilted for next to no cost.

    I've taken no classes, but have done extensive reading and the PC Quilter manual is pretty good at explaining how it works, plus goes into how to load a quilt on the frame. Having said that, I'm very good at figuring things out and absolutely tenacious about it. No darn machine is going to defeat me! And every problem I've had were caused by 'pilot error'.

    One word of warning...there is a reason that FMQ is so costly! It's hard work and it takes a lot of time! So be sure you have the time before investing in a longarm.

  15. #15
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I have no regrets. I have had mine since last June. I get better with each quilt. I have also gotten much faster with loading the quilt. I think you have to dive right in. I did have a couple of concerns after I first got it and I called the tech and they walked me through the solutions. I took a 2 day class which helped take some of the fear out of it.

  16. #16
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    Great feedback from all you ladies. Thanks for sharing so we can make an informed decision.
    Linda

  17. #17
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    long arm

    I too had buyers remorse when I bought my long arm. Had a hard time as I really wanted to be good right now and that didn't happen. Wondered why I had spent soo much money on something I couldn't do.So I took a few classes and got a little more comfortable and had to find my style of quilting and now I have to say I really enjoy it.

    Hang in there, it will get better.

    grammy.mj

  18. #18
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    Please don't give up. I have had mine for about 5 years and have done very little on it but shortly after we go it my husband got very sick and passed away. I just didn't have the desire to even look at it but eventually I did and I love it. Could it be that your more afraid to tackle it than buyers remorse? Good Luck with it.
    Texas raised, Texas Proud

  19. #19
    Super Member SewExtremeSeams's Avatar
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    s7sue, your words are very encouraging! I have had a simple quilt loaded on my frame for 4 months. At first, I just would look at it, now I don't even notice it. Think I better get a move on it before my DGS has a son of his own!!!

  20. #20
    Senior Member Michellesews's Avatar
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    I never had buyers remorse, but I sure have had some frustrations! You have to just keep plugging away and be determined. I quilt for the public so I had to learn, and learn fast. I did a lot of practice pieces, my dogs still sleep wtih them...I purchased my longarm in 2006 and I probably quilt 30-40 quilts a year on it. I have added pattern boards and circle lord, and pantos to my armory, and that helps. I bought the home I am in now because it will accommodate my longarm, and I will buy the next for the same reason. Yepp, guess I love it! I am 61 also...but who's counting?
    Michelle Guadarrama

  21. #21
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    My regret is buying a domestic machine for a long arm table. It is just not working out.
    I cant afford a long arm machine and the 9 inch throat on my machine is to much hassel to use on my table. Constant walking around the table to set up the machine for quilting. The bobbin is to small and runs out of thread fast and you dont know it cause you cant see it.
    Basting the sides of the quilt are impossible with such a small area so need to do it by hand somehow. Right now it just sits taking up room in my sewing room.
    Also no classes or videos for this kind of quilting.
    So be sure you can afford the machine that is meant for a long arm table before you buy.

  22. #22
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    I think someone said they wish it didn't take so long to load-the pinning process? I can't remember who but I think you should consider the "Red Snappers". They are not expensive and you can load a quilt in minutes! Just google red snappers by renae haddadin and should take you to it. I will try and put a link here but not sure if it will work. I (& many others) LOVE them. http://quiltsonthecorner.com/red_snappers

  23. #23
    Super Member icon17's Avatar
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    Hi,Hockey rabbit I'm not sure I have Remorse But This is what has happened to me.
    I Bought a:'B-Line Studio' Quilt frame free standing wood frame
    1- I bought it 1 yr ago Oct have only used it 3 times
    2- my husband is 6ft 4 he set it up and so I was not thinking about how as it rolled up it would be to far for me to reach
    3- Now I've decided to take it part way down and set it up as low as it can go so I can reach!
    4- I have a Viking Mega Quilter it has a 9 inch throat I would Never Do that Again If you Can Do Better!!!!! NOT THE MACHINE ITS FINE!! THE THROAT DO BIGGER THROAT!!!! as soon as I can I'm going to get a bigger/ true long arm
    My Quilt frame Will hold a true long arm machine up to 18 inch thank god so I won't need to buy a new Frame!!

  24. #24
    Super Member oldtnquiltinglady's Avatar
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    May I repeat myself here in that I do LOVE this means of communicating with other sewing and quilting ladies. And the first thing that I agree to is that, once you have a long arm (mine is a Gammill Classic on a 14 foot table that DH gave me for Christmas 2007); asking around won't get you any information from other owners of long arms--I guess they really are afraid that you'll be stealing some of their thunder. It is great seeing all the means that you can go to to learn how to use one. However, mine came with a very good instruction book and CD which my son and I use religiously (?) plus he has attended several sessions at Paducah at the Gammill booth; learns more every year. We have done about 150 quilts on mine--everyone we love wants us to do them a quilt (so we do).....

    The one thing I find with mine (Gammill comes with a 4-year unlimited warranty) and I am nearing my 4-year limit and we need to have something done to the wheel system--my son says they need to replace it for us free because they changed the entire wheel system the year after mine came out (and we have had some kind of trouble with ours from day one; including replacing the wheel system). If they do, they do, if they don't we have to pay something like $1000 to have mine replaced.....

    Anyway, I am still in love with my Gammill; but it is not my first long arm. I fell into long arm quilting by accident in 1990 by going to an auction and buying one from an interior decorator who was down sizing--she said "it is so easy; if you quilt you need this set-up--an OLD sewing machine head set up on a 14 foot table that would run one speed wide open (if you have regulated stitching on your machine you know of which I speak). So I learned how to sew REAL FAST; and I am not a fast sewer..... I was lucky enough to run an ad in a local sales sheet and sold it about six months later when the lady who bought it called me to see if I had sold my quilting machine yet.... For a long time I had it set up in our foyer (we live in an old-timey house) so I sure was glad when she called even though she stayed at me until I let her have it for $800 and counted myself lucky to get that.

    My quilting machine is mostly for pleasure (my sisters, my son, and myself); we have all become quite good at it. Every time we make something we figure out one more thing that we want to try to find to make it better for us. I have seen pictures of the quilting done by ladies on this board that makes me want to try to find the pattern--we mostly do free hand meandering and stippling. We have done some very pretty work; but I don't know how to post pictures--so 'til I can get a kid over here to teach me how I'll just do without the pics.

    Now, my advice to the lady who asked the question about buying a long arm machine, my advice is "go for it" and like some of the other ladies on here say "don't look back"..... If you love quilting, you will LOVE a long arm machine....

  25. #25
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I didn't necessarily regret my long arm purchase but I did sell it in less than a year. The machine had a basic design flaw and no I'm not going to say what machine. But the main reason I sold it was because I have a bad back and because of the table height you'd end up stooping over a bit and it totally killed my back. Plus there was the whole standing up for hours on end to do the quilting. I can't do that either.

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