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Thread: Should I, or shouldn't I?

  1. #1
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    Should I, or shouldn't I?

    A year ago, my husband and I were at a quilt show when he saw a top of the line LAQ machine and asked me if I wanted it. I was flabbergasted, as it cost $23,000 and my husband is a notorious pennypincher. Over the year, I have thought long and hard about it, and am finally getting excited about the possibilities. I am signed up for a LAQ demo in a couple of weeks at a shop that has a machine for sale for $15,000. My husband told me the other day that only I can decide whether it is economically worthwhile to buy a LAQ. If I only quilt for myself, of course it isn't. But I don't want to work on other people's quilts. A used machine won't come with free lessons/set-up help. And I could improve my own quilting, learn new skills, and have fun. I don't want to send my quilts to someone else to have them quilted. I am in a complete quandary. Help! (BTW, the actual money is not the issue; just if I can get my money's worth out of the machine.)

  2. #2
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    If you're looking to "get your money's worth", you'll probably have to buy a used machine (nothing wrong with that---I did) and quilt for others. but, understand when you quilt for others you have much less time to make quilts of your own, and it is a job. Since money is really not the issue, and you don't want to quilt for others, don't. Do a lot of research first (I can't get this off of BOLD, sorry, ----How do I get back to "NORMAL"?), test drive every machine you can get your hands on, get recommendations from other longarmers, and get yourself a machine. We only live once. Can't "take it with you". Sounds like you won't regret the purchase. But if you do, you can always sell it. Go, girl!

  3. #3
    Super Member Knitette's Avatar
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    A dilemma indeed!

    Are you a prolific quilter? Have you used one before?

    What you need to figure out is how many quilts you're actually going to quilt on it before it/you expire. Try and work out how many you do a year - say 10 - times the number of years you think you'll be able to quilt - say 20. That means you will quilt 200 on it. Divide the cost by this $15,000 by 200, means that each quilt will cost you only $75.

    However you will need to factor in maintenance, repairs, running costs etc. and consider the amount of room it will take up.

    I'm lucky to be able to hire the Gammill at my LQS for my bigger quilts - the rest I do on my DSM.

    Good luck!
    Lang may yer lum reek. (I'm a knitter - hence - 'Knit-ette'. Confuses a lot of people!)

  4. #4
    Super Member bjchad's Avatar
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    If you don't want to quilt for others perhaps you can either rent out time or offer the local quilt guild time on it for their charity quilts or even their own quilts. That would make you feel like you were getting your money's worth from it.

  5. #5
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I would check with the dealer about used machines. Some dealers will offer lessons and a warranty if you buy your machine thru them. Nothing is free so you will pay a bit more going thru a dealer than buying from a private party, but I would ask. A couple of years ago I got a long arm, strictly for personal use. If you pro rate the cost out, each of my quilts is worth about $3,000 . I'm not very good, but LOVE the process! Also, I don't quilt for $$$, but do charity quilts for a local group. You could check with your local quilt shop or guild to see if there is a group who makes charity quilts near you.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  6. #6
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    My opinion.....if you enjoy doing the quilting and enjoy working on a long arm, then you got your money's worth out of the machine. If money is not the issue, then you need to decide if it is something you enjoy doing. I recently went through this same quandry. And to be honest, getting value out of a purchase for me is more "do I enjoy doing this/seeing this/working with this" than "can I say it saves money in the long run"

    Now with that being said, one of the main reasons I decided that it was worth the cost to me is that I can position myself to support myself if I get laid off from work again. I wanted to make sure that I had a means and/or method to support myself. If I never get laid off, then I have a very expensive toy that I enjoy very much. If I do get laid off, then I have a means to support myself.

    But in the end, I bought a machine because I enjoy using it, I enjoy pushing myself to learn new things, I enjoy making pretty things. I want to go into making whole cloth quilts to show, I want to push my artistic skills in that direction. And I hate trying to wrestle a quilt on my DSM. So for me I will get my money's worth out, regardless if I get the financial money's worth out.

    I also stress trying out all the machines. I bought a new 22" innova for less than you listed for the used machine above. Do your research, go to a show and test all machines. In the end, putting my hands on the Innova felt like going home.

  7. #7
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    If it makes you happy that is the number 1 thing to consider. Quilt your own, make quilts as gifts, learn to quilt fabric to make clothing, quilt charity quilts. The list can go on. If it is part of your bucket list, it is worth it. I have my HQ Avante upgraded from the HQ16 and love it. I have done a few for friends and they have even given me some money for doing it knowing I'm not a professional but they were happy and I have thread money. There is nothing wrong with having something special for "yourself". Guys do it all the time, motorcycles, golf, tennis, etc. so treat yourself but get what you want and that will fit your wish list.

  8. #8
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    I just did a quick check on E-Bay and found 18" Juki for $8995, 16" Handi-Quilter for $5500, 18" Inspira for $6999, 18" Innova for $7995. So if you want a long arm and don't want to quilt for others, shop around for the best price. Knowing that there are long arms for less than $10,000 is giving me hope of one day owning one!

    Also, the idea of "renting" time on it for others to use is a good idea to help defray the cost. I'll keep that in mind if I ever get one.

    The quilting process is the part of this that I enjoy the most. I mostly do meander as I haven't perfected any particular designs yet. I do my LA quilting on a domestic machine so my area is limited to approx. 4"-5". Lots of rolling goes on when I put a quilt on my frame!!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lstew2212's Avatar
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    If I had the opportunity, I would get one, Even if it is for myself. you go girl. And enjoy.
    Happy Sewing, Lisa E.
    Don't Cry Because It Is Over, Smile Because it Happened, Dr. Seuss

  10. #10
    Senior Member frenchfryqueen's Avatar
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    First off---- I hope you are covering your hubby in kisses for pushing you to make such a big purchase!

    It sounds like you know what you want. And if money isn't a problem, and it's something you'll enjoy, I say go for it. Like someone said above, you can always resell it if you decide it's not for you.
    The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.

    Boomerangs and BOM Blocks: http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...19-albums.html

  11. #11
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Please, I cannot emphasize this enough, do not jump into this without first doing your research. The top of the line may not be the right machine to you. What the dealier touts as top of the line may not be what you consider top of the line. Everyone has different opinions on LA machines. The prices you are talking is a large throat machine and at $25K sounds like you may be looking at a computer operated setup as well.

    I urge you to go to a major machine quilting show like one of the MQX shows or Houston or any of the biggies where there will be many vendors of the LA machines so you can try them all. You may find you prefer the lighter weight of a mid arm (18") machine or a different brand. Also take into consideration the frame setup. Some LA have rollers you have to adjust constantly to allow for the growing quilt sandwich. Others, like mine, has a dead bar so I don't have to ever adjust. Also do not think you can set it up and take off. LA machines have a huge learning curve, even the computer guided setups. Please do your homework so you will have absolutely NO regrets on the decision you make.

  12. #12
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    If you can afford the machine and would get enjoyment from it, then I wouldn't worry about whether or not it was economically worthwhile. I bought a Gammill 18/8 a couple of years ago and love it. Although I do quilt some for the public, I don't take that many quilts so I will have some time for my own stuff. Having a longarm in your home rather than renting one at a shop has definite advantages. I need the quiet so I can concentrate. I noticed at our local quilt shop, when people are using the longarm they are constantly interrupted by people wanting to see what they are doing. I hope you get it for yourself. Remember life is short. Enjoy it while you can.

  13. #13
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    If you can afford to buy L AQ the go for it!!!! I would love to have one but can 't afford even a used one!!!!! Make But wait to make the final decision after you take the LAQ classes to make sure you really like LAQ( and remember it takes a while to get good at LAQ). Of course you will get your money's worth out of the machine in the form of "personal pleasure" which you DESERVE!!!!(What a great husband you have to suggest you buy a LAQ) DO NOT feel quilty if you decided to buy one! YOU DESERVE IT!!!!!
    Last edited by bigsister63; 05-03-2013 at 05:28 AM.
    "In the crazy quilt of life, I'm glad you are in my block of friends."

  14. #14
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    You REALLY do want one and your husband WANTS you to have one. There are no losers here. What an opportunity and one I would jump at. Get the best one for the money and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. You both will get pleasure from your creations and don't do any for anyone else if that doesn't float your boat. IMHO.

  15. #15
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    If money is not this issue, I would definitly get one. However, the price of this used one sounds very high--which leads me to believe it must be a computerized one. Is that what you want? Are you "techy" in that area? Are they going to show you how to use it? I would not buy a computerized machine unless I was shown how to run the computer part of it. I fyou want anon-computer machine, you can easily find a good usd one for $10,000. Sounds like you want a machine, but are concerned about the price, even though money is not an issue. Therefore, you might feel better about buying one that is a lesser price than $15,000. I bought a new APQS Freedom for $16,000. And it is NEW. There is also a APQS Lucey and an APQS Lenny which are considerably less $ than the Freedom that I bought. And you would have NEW and you would get lessons on how to run your machine. The Handi Quilter 18" Avante was my next choice and they are around $12,000 NEW. Like others have said, go to a big quit show and test drive teh different brands and find which brand you like. Then you can look at the price they are NEW or look for a used one. YOu can also look at if you want to buy a computerized one or not. Good luck and let us know what you decide. I'm sure if you get one, you will totally enjoy it. I totally enjoy mine--there is satisfaction in quilting your own quilts.

  16. #16
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I understand your issue. When I first saw a longarm machine all I could think about was getting oine. Then the practical side of me did some thinking... and I soon figured out that even if I made 6 queen size or larger quilts per year , the cost with all the upkeep it was better for me to send them out. Even though I would have loved that every stitch was mine on all the quilts, it was not worth it. The learning curve and practice to keep my skills at there best was not going to match the reality. I also evaluated that by using a pro I could pick the pro whose skills/style best matched the quilt. I also figured out that if I used a pro , I could spent more time making some of the more complicated quilt tops. I know I will always have quilters envy of those who can do the beautiful longarm work, but figure it balances with the piecing envy they( long arm pro's) have of some of the great piecers there are.
    So figure out what you like best . If you do think you want to go forward with a long arm ... do as the others suggested spend the $$ to get to a show where the machines are being shown and spend time test driving and talking to the dealers. That will be the best $$ spent.

  17. #17
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    I have a Tin Lizzy I paid under $6,000 for it new, I do only my own quilts. Is it cost effective? No. Do I enjoy it? Yes. When I got mine the closest dealer was 6hr's and two mountain passes away. I spent a lot of time on the phone with questions. A member of our guild gives LA lessons. A LQS gives lessons too. I'm sure if you look around you will find some one willing and eager to help you learn. I look at it this way, Do I really need a lot of things I have? No. It is cheaper and would save time if I just went to Wal-Mart and bought a placemat, dress, or blanket. Save room too, no stash, machines, gadgets, etc. I would have two empty rooms in my house that I wouldn't have to keep clean. But I would not be as happy. LOL It is just $ and if you won't miss it when it is gone go for it. You can't take it with you! LOL

  18. #18
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    If you only want to quilt YOUR quilts and not for hire, then I would check into the Bailey machines, much more reasonably priced for your hobby, and from everyone that I've talked to, they have a good reputation, this is one reason that I'll be getting a Bailey when we have the room and the money, unfortunately that probably won't be for awhile.

  19. #19
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I see a lot of female guilt coming out on this thread. If a man pays $20,000 for a TOL bass boat he uses less than half the year and doesn't make a cent off, he doesn't feel guilty or have to justify the cost. A woman that spends $15,000 on a longarm quilting machine seems to have to make money off of it and justify the cost.

    If you can afford it and want it, just do it and don't feel guilty about it. Keep in mind that it's a lot like buying a car. There are a wide variety of machines to choose from and you need to find the one that suits you best.

  20. #20
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    I see a lot of female guilt coming out on this thread. If a man pays $20,000 for a TOL bass boat he uses less than half the year and doesn't make a cent off, he doesn't feel guilty or have to justify the cost. A woman that spends $15,000 on a longarm quilting machine seems to have to make money off of it and justify the cost.

    If you can afford it and want it, just do it and don't feel guilty about it. Keep in mind that it's a lot like buying a car. There are a wide variety of machines to choose from and you need to find the one that suits you best.

    Wow. Very true!

  21. #21
    Senior Member Diannia's Avatar
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    If it brings you enjoyment to do your own quilting and you have the funds then buy it...don't worry about whether you are "getting your money's worth" or not because you are because you enjoy it! Let others worry about how much it's worth to THEM when you are gone and they sell it! Diannia
    I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed!

  22. #22
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I was in a similar position and ended up shopping for years and checking out machines. We had some money coming in a DH took me to a show and we shopped for long arms. At the end we decided which machine was right based on my needs. I now own a Innova 26, lightening stitch and pantovision. If you live to quilt and you can afford it go for it. I would get the machine you really want. I also feel guilt and feel like I should eventually take on quilts to quilt for others but I made sure to tell DH I was getting it just for me. I do quilts for others for free but it is so I can get practice on my machine. I quilt donation quilts that go to Vietnam vets and to hospice. I realy enjoy that.

    I do think for many of us with long arms the machine is a luxury item that depreciates and not a business investment that pays off for itself. Kind of like a car. Lets just say I won't be getting another car for a long time and plan to drive the one I have till it is done. I thought that was a good trade off. I'd rather be driving my new long arm.
    Last edited by Annaquilts; 05-03-2013 at 08:13 AM.
    Anna Quilts

  23. #23
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    Have after following the advise of others, have it and begin by improving and enjoying yourself on yours and friends quilts. Then start to look around at where you can enter the income market.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  24. #24
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    If money is no problem and you love it and want it why not buy the one you like best. You never know what you may want to do with it in the future. Think of all the beautiful gifts you can make. There may come a time you can use a little extra cash and might want to do a few for others.

  25. #25
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    if you love quilting get it.You do not have to justify if your hubby says you can get it.Nothing wrong with getting a well loved used machine.it is great to have a machine at home to use anytime of day or night that you want.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

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