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Thread: Short arm quilting???

  1. #1
    Super Member JNCT14's Avatar
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    Just read an article in one of the quilt magazines about how many quilters are using the 'short arm' approach to quilting (instead of a long arm). Apparently there are some machines (they showed a Janome and Baby Lok Quilter's Pro) that will accomodate a stitch regulator and then supposedly you can hook everything up to a quilt frame and use the machine like a long arm. I can't fathom this and the article had no real detail. Has anyone heard of this?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Happy Treadler's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I've seen this setup before, too, and it looked to me like the machine is just put on some sort of 'dolly' with wheels while the quilt is put on a frame.

    I actually prefer to baste my quilts (I use safety pins) and use my old-fashioned treadle which is a 'normal size' machine.

    I drop the feed dogs (you can also cover them with a card), and I found one of those 'slide sheets' to help the quilt slide easier. I also use those plastic rings in my bobbin case to help prefer the backlash of the bobbin.

    I work on one section at a time, and I think it works great. Beats having a HUGE frame set up, plus it's a lot of fun. You can do the same thing with any electric machine, I'm sure.

    Trina

  3. #3
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    you can put these machines on a frame-it works but if you are doing a queen sized quilt when you get to the end you only have about 2" of travel space front to back

  4. #4
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    The only difference is the amount of area available to quilt in... With a domestic machine it can be 4" or so :D:D:D

  5. #5
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    Yes, you can do this. I originally bought a 9" Juki (very similar to the Janome) along with a Little Gracie II frame. Grace Frame Company offers a stitch regulator that can work with a whole bunch of small machines (read about it here: http://www.graceframe.com/site/machi...itch-regulator) I will say that the stitch regulator worked very well.

    Personally, I found stitching with a short-arm FAR too limiting. The throat space on the machine is really quite small, and if you're doing a large quilt, by the time you get to the end of the quilt, the amount of space you have to quilt in is very small. Some people can make it work and are happy with it, but I was not -- so I bought a 15" Bailey instead, and am much happier with that :)

  6. #6
    Senior Member Happy Treadler's Avatar
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    I actually just acquired a vintage industrial 31-15 specifically for fm quilting. A Juki 'hopping foot' fits the machine (it's a high-shank), and the harp space is probably like 11" - much larger than the typical machine.

    I fm quilted a queen-sized quilt on a normal-sized Singer 15-88, and although it was certainly a challenge, it did work. Kinda like wrestling an alligator, but I actually won in this challenge. ;)

  7. #7
    Super Member Theresa's Avatar
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    My SIL got a Grace frame and uses her (Brother) QC 1000 to quilt. It sits on a "tray with ball barrings" and literally floats. The distance to quilt is not nearly as deep as a long arm, but it sure gets the job done. She has no interest in trying to do a full size or larger quilt...at least for now!

  8. #8
    Super Member plainjane's Avatar
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    I have the Babylock Q Pro on a hinterburg frame-set up and ready to go, but just dragging my feet. The machine sets on a platform that just GLIDES with the touch of a finger. I got a stitch regulator to go with it. DH had to put on the stitch regulator (it was beyond me)-modified to fit the frame AND machine. As soon as I learn to add the quilt top, batting and backing-I'm off! I have about 6 tops to do-one is for DH, a boondogle (Google this to see), in Woolies (a heaver flannel that looks like the older mens suiting) AND a Christmas quilt an older Thimbleberries fabrics. If I weren't so lazy (maybe a BIG procrastonator).....

  9. #9
    Senior Member DebbyT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theresa
    My SIL got a Grace frame and uses her (Brother) QC 1000 to quilt. It sits on a "tray with ball barrings" and literally floats. The distance to quilt is not nearly as deep as a long arm, but it sure gets the job done. She has no interest in trying to do a full size or larger quilt...at least for now!
    I have a similar set-up. Gracy ll with a Brother 1500s -9" throat. When I start the quilt, I have about a 6" playing field. When it is nearly finished, I have about a 4 - 4 1/2" playing field. I have not had it long, but it does the job.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Super Member natalieg's Avatar
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    Here is my short arm. It is a Brother 1500 on a New Joy Frame. I have about the same starting area, so it is a little limiting, but it is better than nothing right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by DebbyT
    Quote Originally Posted by Theresa
    My SIL got a Grace frame and uses her (Brother) QC 1000 to quilt. It sits on a "tray with ball barrings" and literally floats. The distance to quilt is not nearly as deep as a long arm, but it sure gets the job done. She has no interest in trying to do a full size or larger quilt...at least for now!
    I have a similar set-up. Gracy ll with a Brother 1500s -9" throat. When I start the quilt, I have about a 6" playing field. When it is nearly finished, I have about a 4 - 4 1/2" playing field. I have not had it long, but it does the job.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    I started with a 9" machine (Elna 7200) on a B-Line Studio quilt frame and was very happy with it for 5 years. I added a PC Quilter & Max Throat to it and had lots of fun digitizing my own designs. Max Throat partially automates the take up roller making a 9" machine into a 16" machine.

    While surfing ebay one day, I found a super bargain on a Voyager 17 with a ProFlex frame so that's what I use now but I still have everything from my original setup. I have dreams about building my own studio where I can set both systems up and have PC Quilter doing one while I do the other.

    B-Line Studio w/PCQ & Max
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    Voyager 17 SLR on SuperQuilter ProFlex frame
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  12. #12
    Junior Member Tsanchez's Avatar
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    I have a Brother QC1000. What type of a frame did your friend use? I just finished quilting a king size Denver Broncos quilt (it's pictured on this board under "finished my custom Denver Broncos King quilt). It was really hard to me to quilt but I can't afford a longarm.

  13. #13
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention that you can do about a 4" design with a 9" machine. When you get the to the middle--put water soluble thread in the bobbin & top or by hand--baste the rest of the quilt. Then take it off the frame, turn it 180 degrees (top to bottom or vice versa) and roll it up to where you left off. You'll be using your payout & takeup rollers opposite of the way you started. It's hard to explain but once you see it done--it makes sense and it gets the maximum amount of travel out of the little machines.

    You can also just do puzzle pieces, loop-d-loops, little squiggles, etc. all over the quilt and not worry about basting & turning. Many block designs can be broken down into smaller sections so you quilt an entire block like the big machines do but you do it 3-4" at a time instead of the 9-12" swath the bigger machines can do.

    The little machines can do most of the things the big boys can--it just takes some creative thinking.

  14. #14
    Member Tabatha's Avatar
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    I know this is an old(ish) thread but shortarm set-ups are becoming more popular because they are *affordable*!! long arm set-ups cost at least $7K second hand whereas a shortarm set-up NEW is $1,500.00 WITH Juki sewing machine. Although this may *seem* limiting to some, it is much better than cramming your queen size quilt into a 7.5" Bernina quilting space.

  15. #15
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    I've tried both the short and the long arm. I find that the short arm is so limiting. I wouldn't have fun trying to quilt 4-6 inch sections at a time. I know some people like it just fine, but it is a personal choice.
    enjoy your life...it's the only one you have!!!
    Heather

  16. #16
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    For a while I was contemplating getting a frame for my singer because I was getting tired of basting and trying to wrestle a large quilt under a short arm space. Then I read many posts about shortcomings of such set up. And let's face it we have gotten pretty spoiled over the years with all the LA available. If this is what you can afford, I say go for it. It is still going to be easier than wrestling a quilt without a frame. If you can aford a bit more talk to Chuck at Baileys. I got my 17" and majestic frame for a very, VERY decent price. Good luck!

  17. #17
    Senior Member mshollysd's Avatar
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    I started, by buying a Juki 2010 for about $900 and then a quilting frame from a quilter here. I also got a stitch regulator and kept my cost below $2000 for all. I used that for about a year. The 9 inch harp worked well especially for my own quilts and the quilts I quilted for my church. I recommend if money is a consideration and you are unsure if you want to dive into a long arm expense, try a juki and frame. Even if you decide that quilting isn't for you, the Juki 2010 is a work horse sewing machine.....

  18. #18
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    I have a Viking mega quilter with original inspira frame and SR. It was too good of a deal to pass up. I got the whole set up for 1000.00. I actually had been using the Viking as my primary machine. I have a singer 7426 and hate it! Too loud! So I sewed on the Viking for a year till I recently purchase a Juki F400 as my new primary machine. Finally I have the Viking loaded up on the frame. Last night was my first time to ever quilt on the frame. The first couple of hours were very very frustrating. Finally I adjusted the tension on the bobbin and it worked like a charm! So now I can finally quilt those tops that have been building up. While I would certainly rather have an 18" to quilt with this is far better than wrestling the quilt on the table. I would be so worn out after quilting for a short time. This is much much better! The way I see it, I could probably sell the set up today for more than I paid for it in the first place so it was a very good investment and I certainly am getting my money's worth out of it.

  19. #19
    Super Member charsuewilson's Avatar
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    I have a Flynn frame which i've used with my Singer and my Pfaff, both of which have larger spaces to quilt than many other machines. I had trouble with needles breaking. There's about 4-5" of space. The frame is moved in the machine, rather than the machine moving in the frame. I've done better just stuffing the quilt in to the machine. I'm looking into quilt as you go methods.

  20. #20
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    I started out withh a short arm (Juki 98TE or TL, don't remember) on a SuperQuilter frame which was set up on a 8-foot office table. I found I could do more than 4 inches until I got to the end of a queen sized top. I made sure the design was no more than 4 inches and I never had to turn the quilt around. The electronic part went kaput after 6 years or so. It was actually cheaper to replace it a Babylock Q. Pro. At that time I decided to get a Grace Stitch Regulator installed on the machine. I replaced this set up with a Bailey Pro17E and Grace Majestic frame last September. There were a few initial hiccups, but it is working like a charm now....love it! I just ordered a set of micro handles (especially made for the Bailey machine) for it. Can't wait.

  21. #21
    Member Tabatha's Avatar
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    I REGRET PURCHASING THE GRACIE QUEEN QUILT FRAME!!! It took MONTHS to set it up, the joint between the crib and queen size made the carriage fall of the tracks. When I contacted the company, they acted as though it had never happened before but after talking to other people, it happens all the time!! I had to get my Dad, a master carpenter, to fix the problem. My first choice was a steel frame but they wouldn't ship to Canada. Kathy Quilts recommended this wooden frame for my basement! I told them it would be in my basement!!! SERIOUS BUYER'S REMORSE! ANYONE WANT TO BUY THIS FRAME FROM ME??

  22. #22
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    I have a New Joy Gold Standard frame with a Janome 1600p and stitch regulater/ I'm quilted several quilts on it. As others have mentioned, you don't have much room, but it can be done. for me, it is much easier that sandwiching the quilt and pushing, pulling it through the same amount of space.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sewplease's Avatar
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    Those of you with short arm machines on frames, how essential do you think it is to have the Sure-stitch or Grace stitch regulator, especially when getting started? I have a frame, but no machine for it yet. I know some people say to get as big a machine as you can, but I really want to get good at this and I've also heard that the stitch regulator can be very helpful. A nine inch machine with stitch regulator is comparable in price to a 13 inch Bailey without a stitch regulator. What do you think?
    Laura

  24. #24
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewplease View Post
    Those of you with short arm machines on frames, how essential do you think it is to have the Sure-stitch or Grace stitch regulator, especially when getting started? I have a frame, but no machine for it yet. I know some people say to get as big a machine as you can, but I really want to get good at this and I've also heard that the stitch regulator can be very helpful. A nine inch machine with stitch regulator is comparable in price to a 13 inch Bailey without a stitch regulator. What do you think?
    I would go for the longer arm and see if you can get a speed adjuster. I started my freemotion journey with a 9 inch arm. As you quilt, the take up roller takes more and more of your quilting area. Pretty soon you have about 3-4 inches a pass. See if you can find a Bailey user group on Yahoo or Google. They will be able to tell you what works. You might find one used on there with all the bells and whistles you were eyeing. I never regretted that 1st set up tho, it taught me that yes, i AM a freemotion quilter and yes, I CAN do it to my satifaction. I like my stitch regulator, but after quilting awhile and finding my comfortable speed and rhythm, I don't HAVE to have it.
    Beth in AZ
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  25. #25
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I have the Baby Lock Jane with a stitch regulator on my frame. My frame has very large rods so that takes up even more room. So it just sits taking up room in my sewing room until I can afford a long arm machine.
    Do love the stitch regulator though.
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    Last edited by Rose Marie; 02-16-2013 at 05:52 AM.

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