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Thread: Table Top or Long Arm Quilting Machines.

  1. #1
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    Hello Everyone,

    I am in looking around for a quilting machine. Of course I have looked at so many videos online that talk about different machines, but something for me is missing. I would love to hear from many of you about your experience with your machine. Do you thnk for a beginner it would be better to get a table top or go ahead and get the long arm.

    I just need some feedback on how your machines are working. I guess I am looking for some with a stitch regulator on the machine and one that glides real easy if it is a long arm.

    Hope I hear from many of you!

    Quiltbaby

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    If you're a beginner, I wouldn't invest in a longarm yet. It's a huge monetary (and space) investment and, from what I've read on the homequiltingsystems group at http://groups.yahoo.com, it's a good idea to spend a whole year researching longarms before deciding on the one for you.

    When you talk about a tabletop, do you mean the George?

    Most of us quilt on our regular domestic sewing machines. It's best for most people to start there.

  3. #3
    Pam
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    Super Member Pam's Avatar
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    I agree, I encourage people to get used machines from yard sales, they are better than the new "affordable" machines.

    I have a short arm machine, and the large frame. My frame is 12 feet long and 3 feet away from the wall! Not counting the width of the frame itself. I do most of my sewing on an older Bernina model, and a 45 year old Singer. I only use the short arm for the quilting.

  4. #4
    a regular here hazeljane's Avatar
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    I bought a extra cheap Brother a couple of years ago, because it came with a quilting foot. And I practiced free arm quilting on it. I am proficient, sort of, but it was always kind of a hassle for me, I have seen some of the things people on this board do and I am blown away.

    That for me was the first step to see if I was going to want to quilt my quilts myself. And I was hooked, even if not great at it. I just got a Juki mid-arm (98Q) and a GMQ frame with the stitch regulator. People kept telling me I wouldn't want or need the regulator, but I like it. And I am so much better on the frame.

    I would start small, because the big frames and machines are only more and more expensive. I think some people find that they really like piecing, but are happy to leave the quilting to someone else. Make sure what you want before you lay out the money.

  5. #5
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I started with a frame (stand alone vs table top), and put on my 1500 Brother. One quilt (granted it was a baby quilt) was all it took for me to decide that was not going to work for. 9" harp = 6 inchs of quilting space. I spent more time rolling and clamping than I did quilting. I had about 9 quilts and 9 months for a exhibit so I invested in the HQ 16. LOVE it

  6. #6
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    I want to thank all of you for your wisdom because it has helped me. I have a Bernia 155 which is old and I am going to buy the quilting foot and the walking foot for that machine.

    I have made three quilts and they were okay. Right now I am trying to decide if this is what I really want to do. I will follow the instructions and try to learn to quilt on the small machine and then look for a good long arm if that is what I am lead to do.

    By the way, what is the HQ 16?
    Quiltbaby

  7. #7
    Pam
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltbaby
    I want to thank all of you for your wisdom because it has helped me. I have a Bernia 155 which is old and I am going to buy the quilting foot and the walking foot for that machine.

    I have made three quilts and they were okay. Right now I am trying to decide if this is what I really want to do. I will follow the instructions and try to learn to quilt on the small machine and then look for a good long arm if that is what I am lead to do.

    By the way, what is the HQ 16?
    Quiltbaby
    We are NOT trying to discourage you, but the really, really nice long arms cost upwards of $20,000. I do what I think is pretty nice quilting on my domestic machine on smaller quilts.

  8. #8
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltbaby
    By the way, what is the HQ 16?
    Quiltbaby
    The HQ =HandiQuilter is a midarm 16 to 18 inches (Avente), WAY under $20,000- used HQ 16 now selling for $5,000 - $6,000. Excellent machine and customer service. They also have the Fusion, computerizered or not, I chose not, cost being only one factor.
    Another option to the DM machine or the expensive long arms.

  9. #9
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    I looked at the HQ with the stitch regulator and wow, that is about $20,000 together not including the table.

    I love the features. Right now the cost is a concern. I guess I have to go to a shop and see these machines in action.

    Do you know who sells the used machines?

  10. #10
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    You might want to take a look at the Bailey mid-arm. I own a 15", and found it to be quite reasonably priced (I got mine used, which made it even more affordable). It's basically a stretched machine, so it works pretty much like a normal sewing machine, but it has the throat space to allow you to get much more range on your quilting frame.

  11. #11
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    Tin Lizzie is reasonably priced and comes with lots of bells & whistles: stitch length regulator, frame, light, shelf for pantos, needle up & down, big bobbins and lots more, just about everything you need. I bought mine used and love it. The new models are cheaper than many other brands.

  12. #12
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    Look around at your local Joann's & quilt shops for short arm setups and go play with some. Even better if you can attend a large quilt show with vendors that have the mid-arm & true long arms. Some quilt shops let you rent time on their long arm machines. That is really the way to decide if you want to invest money into quilting yourself or whether you just like to piece and pay a longarmer.

    Join http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homequiltingsystems/ and/or http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MQSG/ to just lurk and learn about the different brands & sizes.

    You may even decide that you like to sit & quilt rather than frame quilt. There are several options if you go that route also and more seem to be coming out every year.

    You can get a new 9" machine with frame for under $2,000. The prices go up with larger machines, metal frames, stitch regulators, robotics, etc.

  13. #13
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I started with a cheap Brother. I loved sewing on it and after a year got a Juki so I could try FMQ. I used that for a number of years and this year bought a frame to put it on. I say start with a regular sewing machine and see where you go from there.

  14. #14
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I would advise joining the homequiltingsystems group at http://groups.yahoo.com . This is a very active group with lots of information about different machine/frame setups. There is a listing area in their "files" section where people can describe the used systems they have for sale. Also check the websites of machines (such as Gammill, etc.); they often have an area listing used setups for sale. If you are interested in a specific machine, also Google -- e.g., used HQ16 for sale; you can find lots of pricing info that way.

  15. #15
    Super Member Janetlmt's Avatar
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    I have a Tin Lizzie longarm and I love it. It is a heavy machine..like Mary stated, it has lots of bells and whistles. I have a Bernina sewing machine with the walking foot and stitch regulator but haven't tried quilting large quilts on it..just bow tucks bags and baby quilts. There is a yahoo group for Tin Lizzie, and I have seen a few on there for sale. As far as any problems with her, I have had none..she works great.
    Blessings

  16. #16
    Senior Member Nita's Avatar
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    Please, please please, please please ...... DO NOT make the mistake that I made. I bought an HQ-16 on impulse a few years back and ended up selling it. First of all, let me just comment that it takes a good deal of practice to become proficient with those machines. If you cannot make that type of time investment, then your money investment will be wasted. Also, the machine set up required alot of space and occupied most of my craft room. What a pain ......
    Sewing and quilting is only one of my many passions, since I enjoy rubber stamping, basket weaving, and knitting too. I could not even get to my rubber stamping and basket making stuff because it all had to be packed away to make room for the HQ-16. I finally sold the HQ-16 ...... and, let me tell you that it was not easy to get rid of it. I ended up losing a ton of money because I had to let it go cheap. So, my advice is that you just take your time in making this decision. Long arm machine quilting is not for all of us....... I'm perfectly content quilting on my Bernina QE 440 with stitch regulator. Cheaper machine, takes up no space, and I'm happy with the end product. I will admit that I send out large bed sized quilts to a professional long arm quilter, but it's worth it to me. Doing the math, I'd have to make an awful lot of large bed quilts before the LA quilting fees would even begin to total $20, 000 ...... never gonna happen, since most of my quilts are lap sized or smaller. In the end, if you decide you do want a long arm, then you should definitely do your research and try out as many machines as you can. In retrospect, I think I would have spent a tad more money and gotten a better quality machine than the HQ-16;I did not think it was all that it was cracked up to be.

  17. #17
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    I would never recommend going from never quilting on a frame to buying any setup that cost more than $2,000 unless you have all ready tested several setups and know exactly what you're getting. Playing for hours on one setup at a local quilt shop or renting time on one. The learning curve is too steep for most people to go from stuffing a quilt through a regular sewing machine to real longarm frame quilting to make a large investment unless you know exactly what is involved. Even if you have practiced on someone else's system alot, did you also spend time loading a quilt, trouble-shooting tension problems, re-threading & maintenance? That is all a large part of frame quilting and can be very frustrating if you're not prepared to deal with it.

  18. #18
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltbaby
    I looked at the HQ with the stitch regulator and wow, that is about $20,000 together not including the table.
    That would be with the computer, I do not have. The computer runs about $10,000.

  19. #19
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    I'm a new quilter and am researching the pros/cons of LA tabletop vs LA frame quilting. I love your input and advice. I have old but good dsm's but throat areas are not meant for quilting.I have a friend who does laq for me when I need it. The tabletop looks like it would fit my needs but not sure since I have not done laq.

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