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Thread: Sit-down Sweet 16 Experiences and Thoughts

  1. #1
    Super Member Darcyshannon's Avatar
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    Sit-down Sweet 16 Experiences and Thoughts

    I am testing out a gently-used second-hand Sweet 16 tomorrow. It has the extra leaves to make it a 5 ft work space. It has under 25,000 stitches. I have done FMQ on my domestic and am looking forward to the extra space. I have tried a regular long-arm and I donít think I have the space to set that up at home. Any thoughts, ideas and stories will be appreciated. Even if you have another sit-down long-arm, your experiences in using it and size of quilt you have quilted will be helpful. It will not be computerized and I donít think I will go there. I know my quilting wonít compare with a computer guided one but I am okay with that knowledge.

    Do you own a Sweet 16? If so, do you have the newer one (after 2014) if not have you added the tension set kit? The one I am looking at was bought in 2012.

    Do you have a sit-down long-arm? Do you use it a lot? What do you like about it?

    Do you find it easier to quilt custom designs on a sit-down long arm and change threads as needed?

    Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts.

  2. #2
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    I have a sweet 16 and I am really happy with it. I prefer the sit down to a long arm and really didn't want to give up the space that a long arm would need.
    I am slow at making quilts and only use it on my quilts so not a lot. My DIL also uses it occasionally. She sat down, I gave her a few tips and she stitched away on a quilt and did a beautiful job. I took quite awhile to be able to make anything that looked nice.
    I got the stitch control and never use it. I use the ruler foot. the open toe, the echo feet and the couching foot often.
    I have been working away on my machine without the tension kit, I didn't even know that it was out there. It is something that I always thought they should add to the machines and now that I know about it I will be looking into it. It would be a great help to you when you are new to the machine.
    I love to use different weights of threads and change colours and weights often within the quilt. I enjoy doing free motion and ruler work and I know that my quilting is not precise but I am very comfortable with that.
    I am presently working on a king sized quilt and am just enjoying adding in different designs as I go. you could be generous and call it custom but I just call it playing around.
    You will really appreciate the larger work space of the table extensions when you work on bed sized quilts. I have no problem with the quilt size. I work in a clear nest so there is never any pull.
    The biggest problem most people have when they first get a quilting machine seems to be tension settings. Although the readout will help to give you a number to go to you will still need to get used to changing the tension and changing your bobbin tension for different weights of thread. I think that applies to long arm machines as well.
    I hope you enjoy your test drive. There is a wealth of knowledge on this board and always someone willing to help you so I'm sure you will get more input.

  3. #3
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    I just bought a HQ Sweet 16, sit down used a few months ago. It is 10 years old, it came with the adjustable height table and two drop down leafs to make a 5 foot wide work top. It also included the True Stitch Regulator, lots of prewound bobbins and threads. I paid $2500. dollars for it. The lady who owned it didn't use it much at all, it only had 964,459 stitches on it. I took it in for service because I had no idea when it was serviced and they also set the tensions for me. The C-Pod was outdated so I also updated that to the latest firmware. I'm happy with it but do struggle with the tensions. The lady can't help me because she had a stroke and is in a nursing home. It's a great machine and once I get the hang of it I know I'll love it. It is a heavy machine, I think about 50 pounds, the local quilt shop services them and they will come to the house for a hefty fee. Lucky for me my husband can handle it and took it to the shop with me. You might want to consider how you'll get it to a shop for service or if someone will come to your home.

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    I love my tiara1. It is at least five years old and it is working fine. No stitch regulator but I do have to get the tension adjusted every so often. didnít know about the update. One word of advice make sure there is a place for you to get it serviced. I have broken the needle off into the under side of the mechanism twice and had to have it fixed.

    A word of caution about pre-wound Bobbons: they seem to mess up my tension and my technician at the LQS said that he thinks they often donít work well with tension issues.

    I agree with the other Post completely. Good luck and keep us posted as to what you decide. Oh my new one which was a floor model was about $4000 five years ago not sure what you are planning on spending.

  5. #5
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    I love my Tirara 1, which is (I understand) the same as the older model Sweet 16 Handi Quilter. Mine is a 2014. It had very few stitches on it and came with the regulator which I never use. I got a great deal for it, less than 1/2 price with a bunch of rulers and books.

    To change threads, snip your old thread at the spool but don't take the thread out. Put your new spool on and knot your new thread to the old thread and just pull the old/new thread through all the guides until you get to the needle. That way you don't have to remember how to re-thread it every time you change colours.

    For tension, look at Jamie Wallen's tension video on YouTube. Invaluable.

    You're going to love it.

    Watson

  6. #6
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry in the ADK View Post

    A word of caution about pre-wound Bobbons: they seem to mess up my tension and my technician at the LQS said that he thinks they often don’t work well with tension issues.
    Just want to chime in on this point. It is pretty common knowledge in the longarming circles that Superior prewound bobbins (both superbobs and the ones loaded with so fine) are known tension problem causers. Mostly the last 1/4 of the bobbin. They run just fine until you get to that point then cause tension issues. These are the ones that come on the cardboard core. Longarmers who use them and still love them live with this issue and simply use that last bit of thread to hand sew bindings or give them to their clients to hand sew with.
    I use magnaglide prewound bobbins and have never ever had a tension issue with them, right to the last tiny bit of thread. I have used decobobs as well and I have also experienced tension issues the last 1/4 or so of the bobbin.

    I quilt on a stand up longarm and those that I know who have had issues are also quilting on a stand up. Sounds like the issue is also with sit downs.

  7. #7
    Senior Member kheliwud's Avatar
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    I have a Tiara, bought her in 2013, new in the box. I did not get the stitch regulator, I don’t like them. The only problem I experienced was learning how to get the needle seated correctly. I have moved house twice with her, no problems. I did purchase an extra bobbin case that I keep at the factory tension setting. I also purchased the leaves for both sides since I do make king and queen size quilts often.

    I wind my own bobbins, I like using Aurifil 50 weight in the bobbin. I use a variety of threads in the top and the Aurifil works well. I check and adjust the tension on my own, just takes practice.

    I just came off of an 8 month dry spell where I didn’t quilt. I just put in a new needle, oiled the bobbin case, checked the tension and she purred like a kitten!

    This has been a wonderful investment in my quilting and I do not regret the purchase!
    Living a 1/4" from the edge

  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Just curious, I have not heard of a computerized sit-down longarm. Do they exist?

    I do have friends who have the sit-down machines, and they love them.

  9. #9
    mkc
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    Just curious, I have not heard of a computerized sit-down longarm. Do they exist?
    There are no sit-down machines that automatically move the fabric or the machine. They all require the quilter to control the stitching location, direction, etc. by moving the quilt.

  10. #10
    Super Member QuiltingVagabond's Avatar
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    Handiquilter has some great videos on their website. Here is what I learned about tension... 1) check the bobbin tension first and every time you put a new bobbin in or start having a tension issue. Place the bobbin in the case, lay it flat in the palm of your hand and pull up on the thread. What you want is for the bobbin to stand up in your hand and thread to come off fairly easily. If the bobbin lifts off your palm it is too tight! If the thread comes off the bobbin without making it stand up, it is too loose! Once you get the bobbin right, then you can sew a sample to check top to bottom tension. Do not be afraid to turn that tension dial! Every thread type/brand will likely require a different setting.
    I love quilting on my Sweet 16! The throat space and table space makes a world of difference!
    QuiltingVagabond aka Kathy

  11. #11
    Junior Member MsHeirloom's Avatar
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    I have a Tiara 1 which I bought new in late 2012. My husband had to time it when I forgot to tighten the needle and it fell out jamming the machine. My tension is rarely a problem and easy to adjust. I wind my own bobbins with the included external bobbin winder. I use all kinds of thread including variegated serger threads and Gutterman MARA 100. I bought both extensions and just recently added the ankle for easily changing presser feet. I free motion and use quilting rulers. I have MS and could never complete quilts if I had to stand at a long-arm- and wouldn't have room for one anyway. I absolutely love my Tiara and anticipate many more years of enjoyable quilting with it,. I have never had it upgraded and feel no need to do so. If it's not broken, I am not going to fix (change) it!

  12. #12
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkc View Post
    There are no sit-down machines that automatically move the fabric or the machine. They all require the quilter to control the stitching location, direction, etc. by moving the quilt.
    That's my understanding as well. But then I thought maybe some sit-down machines have been set up like embroidery machines, so the quilting is done in a large hoop.

  13. #13
    Super Member Darcyshannon's Avatar
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    Thank you all, I drove out to test it and the woman selling it would not let me look at the bobbin when it was making clunking noises and laying down a nest of top thread on back of sandwich. Needless to say, I was disappointed but she did save me money because I think I would have wanted it if I had enjoyed the experience.

    I think I am back to quilting on my DSM which I do enjoy but wish I had more space. Sigh!

  14. #14
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    I found mine on Craigslist, so keep looking! The right one will come along.

    Watson

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    Senior Member Nita's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Darcyshannon;8132209]Thank you all, I drove out to test it and the woman selling it would not let me look at the bobbin when it was making clunking noises and laying down a nest of top thread on back of sandwich. Needless to say, I was disappointed but she did save me money because I think I would have wanted it if I had enjoyed the experience.

    I am sad to hear that you had a bad experience with your HQSS test drive. I have owned an HQSS Sit Down machine for several years and absolutely love it. Believe it or not, I previously owned an HQ Long Arm machine and sold it because I never got comfortable with it and was not pleased with the quality of my FMQ. If you already know how to FMQ on a DSM, wherein you move the sandwich to create your designs, then the learning curve is much less than having to adapt to long arm quilting that involves moving the needle rather than the quilt sandwich. Anyways, I am totally in love with my HQSS Sit Down and completely echo the comments made by QB member Coffeecozy. One does need to invest some time in learning how to manage tension .... on any quilting machine. One really nice thing about Handi Quilter is that they provide wonderful customer support. I have called their main headquarters in Utah on more than one occasion and an HQ educator has "walked me through" the problems I was experiencing. Their website is filled with education .... much of which is free, no cost. Though they do have DVDs and classes that you can purchase. i have learned a lot from Angela Walters classes that I purchased from from Craftsy. Her ruler-guided quilting classes are fabulous. I hope that my "pep talk" has encouraged you to keep an open mind about the HQSS Sit Down machine, as I think it is well worth the investment. Happy Quilting!
    Nita

  16. #16
    mkc
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    That's my understanding as well. But then I thought maybe some sit-down machines have been set up like embroidery machines, so the quilting is done in a large hoop.
    The only ones I know of that do this are the very high end domestic machines like a Janome 15000 embroidery machine. Throat size is nowhere near as large as a sit down quilting machine.

  17. #17
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
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    Strange that she would not let you look at the bobbin case. I think anytime a seller doesn't let you thoroughly check something out, that's a red flag.

    It sounds like the top thread may not have been properly flossed into the tension disks. If so, then that would cause the nesting of the top thread under the sample and would also lead to bobbin case clunking as the excess thread could get caught up when the needle goes down.

    I wonder if perhaps the seller just doesn't know enough about the machine and was thinking there was a problem, when it may be easily fixed?

    If you have a chance to go to some shows you can test out an HQ Sweet 16 that is properly set up and working to see if you'd like it. That way you'll know what a properly working one feels like if you run across another used one. Be sure and take lots of sandwiches made of the materials you like to use, and also take some of your own threads.

    The dealers love it when folks who know how to FMQ ask to play with their sit downs at the shows. I spent several years going to the larger shows near me and asking dealers could I play with their sit downs--- every single one was very accommodating, even when I brought my own materials and threads and asked them could we change out to see if my oddball thick/thin sandwiches and multiple different kinds of threads worked well in their machines.

    Good luck with your search. The right machine will turn up.

    Rob
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  18. #18
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    Darcy
    I have a sit down sweet 16. Used. Iím pretty happy with it but Iím not sure I use it enough to warrant buying it. I got it used a year and a half ago. It was vetted by a sewing machine owner and repair guy. who specializes in these machines.

    The previous owner was wonderful. Spending a lot of time with me. Making sure I understood how everything worked. Allowing me play time so I could check out the machine.

    If you ever get down to San Diego you can spend a few days playing with my machine. There is a nice Murphy bed in the room next to the sewing studio.

    Btw The tiara is orientated differently than the sweet 16

  19. #19
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    I LOVE my Juki 2200QVP sit down. Tons of space, great visibility, and the sewing is happening right there in front of your nose... (almost)! No stitch regulator but I do fine without one. And it has an auto thread cutter like the smaller Jukis. I have the two table extensions, left and right. I bought some hoops but find I still prefer to quilt with my hands (with quilting gloves on). I learned to fmq on my domestic Juki, so the switch to the longarm was pretty seamless, technique-wise.
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  20. #20
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    That's too bad she wouldn't let you check out the bobbin area. It sounds like the top thread wasn't threaded properly like rider mentioned. I don't know where you live but if you're ever in Florida you can come visit and play with mine.

  21. #21
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    When I was at AQS in Grand Rapids I checked out the Sweet 16. Show special was $4600. While I was gone I had left my Bernina for a check up with the dealer. He has a Sweet 16 he would sell for 4500. It is very tempting but I'm still thinking. I would feel better buying from a dealer/repair person. Any thoughts? If you buy from a private party do you then have it checked out by a repair person?

  22. #22
    Super Member Darcyshannon's Avatar
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    Thank you for your encouragement. I am still considering for the future. Right now, I am setting goals of doing FMQ on my DSM to learn what I would like in a dedicated quilting machine.

    MJP, I would very much enjoy a trip to San Diego and to experiment with your Sweet 16. I am thinking of heading to the Bay Area later this fall and may just mosey down the coast.

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    We’d love to have you.

  24. #24
    Junior Member Grannies G's Avatar
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    Check out http://Www.longarmuniversity.com that is where I found the one I picked up today. Used, four years old with about 90,000 stitches in a cabinet, with lots of extras. The lady I purchased it from is lovely. A quick test drive was enough for me. She even had all the original boxes. Also the site manager was super helpful because my email and the sellers did not seem to be able to connect. So the site manager helped us get together. Over all a very pleasant experience. Best of luck in your search

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