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Sit-down Sweet 16 Experiences and Thoughts

Sit-down Sweet 16 Experiences and Thoughts

Old 09-23-2018, 12:46 AM
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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.
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Old 09-23-2018, 02:54 AM
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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.
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Old 09-23-2018, 03:55 AM
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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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Old 09-23-2018, 04:23 AM
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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.
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Old 09-23-2018, 04:52 AM
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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.

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Old 09-23-2018, 05:37 AM
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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.
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:05 AM
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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!
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Old 09-23-2018, 02:41 PM
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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.
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Old 09-23-2018, 02:48 PM
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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.
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Old 09-23-2018, 02:56 PM
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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!
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