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Thread: Is there such a thing as a vintage long arm machine?

  1. #1
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    Is there such a thing as a vintage long arm machine?

    I am so frustrated! I have spent hours a days for many days trying to find a vintage long arm sewing machine. For now, I just want an older sturdy machine but one that has a really big harp space for quilting. About the longest I have been able to find is 9 inches. I have a 221 Featherweight and a 50s model Riccar that I do my piecing on but the openings are just too small for a large quilt. Please, any help would be greatly appreciated. Any ideas other than a vintage machine without spending thousands of $$$?

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    Senior Member Mom3's Avatar
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    Use the QAYG method (quilt as you go). There are a couple of current discussions going on about this method. http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...s-t213738.html

    Also, Leah Day has a lot of FMQ lessons online and she does not use a mid or long arm machine.
    Last edited by Mom3; 02-15-2013 at 04:03 PM.

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    I can't quilt as you go because I have many quilt tops that are already put together, but thank you, I would like to try making a quilt that way.

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    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Well, we're having some problems with terminology, here. When you say "vintage", do you really mean "used"? And when you say "longarm" do you really mean "midarm"?

    Longarms generally refer to machines that are 16" or longer. Midarms are 9-14", and DSMs are what you've been using. Brother came out last year with a new model that has an 11" harp, but since it's a newer model, I doubt you'll have an easy time finding a used one at a good price. I believe there is another manufacturer that makes an 11" machine but I don't know who it is. Bailey makes machines that are 13", 16", and 17".

    If you're searching online, maybe changing your search terms would help you find what you're looking for.

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    Thank you so much. I have a 7 inch now, so the 11 inch would definitely be a help. If anyone knows the manufacturer, please post.

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    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I know Brother makes an 11", I believe Bernina is the other company I was thinking of. If you have a dealer nearby, it would be worth it to go take a look at the machines in person.

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    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    There are ways to quilt your tops in sections, using a DSM, even if the tops are already finished. You can divide the batting in sections. This is one of the methods described in Machine Quilting in Sections by Marti Michell. Many people also manage to quilt large quilts (without dividing up the batting) in their DSMs, but it does take some practice. You can also put most DSMs on a frame, which makes the task somewhat easier, but again you will want one with a larger throat space.

    This lady claims to have a vintage longarm, and it does indeed look like her machine's throat may be longer than the standard vintage machine, though it's hard to say for sure. http://busyhandsquilts.blogspot.com/...g-machine.html

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    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    There are two sites I know of that sell used quilting frames and machines. You never know what you will find on there. ALOT of them are pricey, but then one will come along that is not. Keep looking! Do you have a Craigslist in your area? I just saw a couple local to me on there.

    www.houseofhanson.com
    ww.longarmuniversity.com
    I know APQS has used machine on their home site under Forums. ALot are APQS brands, but they have other brands there too...good luck!
    Beth in AZ
    www.bzyqltr.blogspot.com
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    Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. Mark Twain

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    Thank you for responding. I just went to the site and sent her a message.

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    I have an older machine that has an 11" throat on a 12 foot table. I think I am the 3rd owner. The brand name is Consew. The lady I bought it from had an ad up in the fabric dept. of the Hobby Lobby store.

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    viking makes an 11 inch and I'm guessing Pfaff does also. For Viking, it's the Saffire series as well as the Tribute 140, which was an anniversary model and probably not too many of them are available used. The Viking Diamond, Ruby and Topaz also have the 11 throat but they are also embroidery machines. There are used ones out there.
    Quote Originally Posted by rhondabailey View Post
    Thank you so much. I have a 7 inch now, so the 11 inch would definitely be a help. If anyone knows the manufacturer, please post.
    Kate

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    I bought a KenQuilt for $1000. I don't know if it is vintage but it sure is old. Only quilts from the back but once you get used to it is OK. Quils very good it is 11.5" by 5" and is very low key..I found it on Craigs list in So. CA. Have had it for 6 months and it has been used quite a lot. I am hoping to upgrade in about a year...I learned on a newer Nolting so using vintage is not very much fun, but it will do until I have more$$$.

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    I'm sorry, I didn't mean to just talk about me, me, me....I told my story because there are different places to put out the work and some LQS or quilt guilds might be a good place to start.

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    Yes there are "vintage longer arm machines" Look for a commercial sewing machine. They have been around for years. I also believe they can be modified to make them run slower since they were set for fast speed. A few years ago I saw a Brother that had about a 14"(?) area. It was new. Consew is one brand for industrial/commercial machines.
    Last edited by Holice; 02-15-2013 at 10:25 PM.

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    Janome New Horizon has an 11 inch harp. i just got through looking at one. They are coming out with a newer machine so you should be able to get a good deal on it right now. My LQS offered me theirs at a 500 dollar lower price. Didn't take them up on it but you might get a better deal that that.

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    Junior Member Mary L Booth's Avatar
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    Bailey Home Quilter are larger and reasonable for quilting. They are made in USA
    Mary in TX

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    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    There are methods of quilting a completed top in sections. The one that pops into my mind is to cut the batting into thirds, lenthwise. You can leave the backing whole, or also do that in sections. basically, you sandwich the middle third, quilt to within about 2 " of the edge, join the next section of batting with a wide zigzag, secure the sandwich and quilt.
    I'd be interested in seeing if you can find vinatage machine with a large harp. Maybe an older commercial Consew?
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