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What to do? Keep SD Longarm or upgrade to standing Longarm?

What to do? Keep SD Longarm or upgrade to standing Longarm?

Old 06-26-2018, 12:34 PM
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Default What to do? Keep SD Longarm or upgrade to standing Longarm?

I'm in a bit of a quandry and hoping some long armers will provide advice on my next quilting dilemma!

I currently own - bought and paid for - a Janome SD Longarm 18" machine. I've owned it for almost 4 years and have quilted about 30 quilts, 20 lap quilts, numerous table runners and other projects. I like that I sit down at it. I still don't have consistent stitching down but it's not awful either. I use the Martelli quilting rings in lieu of gloves and can stand solidly by that product. I'm pleased with this machine but am wondering if it is the time to upgrade!

I was at a quilt show in Reno NV last weekend and happened upon a new longarm machine! The Eclipse. It has ram horns and for the table that I'd need, and it would be a stand up quilting machine. This machine seems to be the cat's meow! The gentleman manning the booth is the same man who invented this machine. It is all US patented and it has some really, really nice features. It made its debut in 2014 so its new to the quilting world. All the electronic components are on the outside of this machine, it comes with white lights and UV lights, very nice to operate. He was of course offering a decent sale price and I have to admit - it caught my fancy!

So longarmers - what am I getting into by standing up versus sitting down? My hands fall asleep (a condition I just live with) but I'm able to take breaks, shake them out, keep going. Is it easy to forget good posture while standing up? What is the learning curve going from Martelli rings to ram horns?What other things come to mind when someone is contemplating getting a stand up quilting machine versus sit down machine. All advice/suggestions/comments welcome!!
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:50 PM
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I find that stand up quilting on a frame is *much* easier on my body than sitdown quilting. Posture at the quilting frame is not a problem for me; it was a bigger problem when I was sitting. There are a few concerns I have about your post.

Your hands fall asleep? Only when quilting, or at other times as well?

Have you looked at other standup longarm setups? A good rule-of-thumb is to spend a year researching and trying out different setups to find "the one" that is best for you. It is an individual decision. If this is the only standup longarm setup you have tried out, I would definitely recommend spending time shopping around before making a decision. My personal standup "dream machine" is the Innova.

I found this website for the Eclipse: http://www.eclipsequilter.com/#reasons/ . My problem with its being new is (1) you will find very few actual user reviews of this setup, and (2) newcomers to the longarm market often have flaws, whereas setups that have been on the market for a long time typically have been able to correct major flaws. There are other choices available in this price range, so I would strongly recommend that you check all of them out before making a purchase decision.

One thing I noticed on the Eclipse website is the Grace frame. Some of the Grace frames have had a problem of the rollers being too weak, so that they bow in the middle. It seems to me in the photo on the website that the belly roller is bowed in the center. It's not enough to have a good machine; you need a sturdy frame as well. I would definitely research the specific Grace frame being sold in the package you choose. At least the frames have been around long enough to have user reviews online.

Personally, I knew as soon as I tried out a standup package at a quilt show that I wanted one. This was because it was instantly more fun for me, whereas sitdown quilting always made me tense. There is a learning curve involved with using a standup frame, but it was worth it for me.
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:54 PM
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Good points, good information. Thank you for taking the time. I'm definitely guilty for getting caught up in the moment. Thank you very much! I will definitely take your advice! Thank you!
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Old 06-26-2018, 01:34 PM
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Really good advice! Also, I would add that the dealer (at least for me) makes a Huge difference. Is there one close enough to teach you how to use it? To come fix, adjust, troubleshoot for you? How about add ons, accessories & parts? Will you be able to order what you want? Or are you close enough to go and look at new features as they come up?
The dealer who sold mine to me is incredible. She has come to my home, free of charge (over 100 miles round trip) twice to troubleshoot a problem, and she comes (at a cost) on 'spa day' every year or so for cleaning/oiling/maintenance. (I've only had it long enough for one spa day). She also offered free lessons, which I took full advantage of. And she continues holding monthly classes to groups in her shop. Lots of inspiration and help there.
Just a thought....

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 06-26-2018 at 05:39 PM. Reason: remove shouting/all caps
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Old 06-26-2018, 03:52 PM
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I also prefer a stand up machine. After having 2, I have found that the frame is also very important. My first frame did not have a dead bar. I found it awkward to advance the quilt, also the frame had aluminum rails which flexed. The tension on the sandwich was affected by the bowing, and if I tried to do any detailed quilting, I couldn't lean on the bars to steady myself. Find out how the sandwich is advanced. Make sure you have room on both sides to accomplish this.
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Old 06-26-2018, 03:58 PM
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I agree with the advice about test driving as many as you can before you make a decision. Going from a sit down to a stand up machine is a big change. I tried several and went with my second choice for several reasons but the two biggest were local service and price. After using my HQ machine for a few years I'm totally happy with it. The biggest thing I see about the Eclipse that I don't like is the frame. After having the HQ frame no way I would use a Grace frame.

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Old 06-26-2018, 04:05 PM
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The stand up machine is the only way for me. It doesn't mean my stitches are even because I am moving the machine, but moving the machine is far better than having to try to handle the weight of the quilt pulling and catching on everything. I thought quilting small things would be hard on the larger machine, but a friend makes 4 placemats, then lines them up across a single piece of fabric and quilts all of them at once. It's quick.

I agree with the others. Before you invest in another machine, research them carefully. Find out what you want in a machine. My big thing is a stitch regulator. Throat depth is another very important feature. My older Nolting has a 24" throat and I love it. When I do a king size quilt, that roll gets really big. I use mostly pantos and can go up to a 15" panto easily. But when that king roll gets so big, I can still run out of space.

A sturdy frame is a must. If you lean on the frame and it gives a lot, I just don't believe it will hold up well. Mine are metal rollers and they will hold a lot of weight. Go look at the machine you are testing and without it being on, pretend you are quilting from one end to the other. Does the machine hang up on anything? Does it move freely? If you are using pantos, you will need the lazer light. Is it easy to adjust?

What size bobbins does it use? Do you have to have a separate bobbin winder? How easy is it to adjust tension? And, yes, almost all machines have to have the tensions adjusted from time to time. Having lessons is good, but a good manual is a must. Because mine was an older version, I had no manual. I didn't think to ask Nolting for one. I just went to the Nolting website and printed all the pertinent info about my machine and put it together in a binder.

I have only had to contact Nolting once for a problem in the 5 years I have owned my machine. I am so lucky that my husband understands and can set the timing if it jumps time. My older machine has to be oiled almost every time I use it and I keep it really clean. So no service calls so far.
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Old 06-26-2018, 05:36 PM
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What you are considering is not just an upgrade, it's a complete change in the way you quilt. It's very different to move a big machine around on a carriage, versus moving a quilt under a stationary needle. You should find a friend with a longarm or rent one that you can quilt one of your quilts on. Or go to a class, to see if you actually like long arm quilting in a frame. The difference is much more than sitting versus standing.
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Old 06-27-2018, 03:55 AM
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Service Service Service. I bought a simple inexpensive standing longarm from an independent almost 10 years ago. His service was excellent for a few years and then because of family issues he's gone. Kaput! My machine is working beautifully still, but........
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Old 06-27-2018, 04:04 AM
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I found that the older I became, I developed some hip issues. So standing and rocking back and forth, is becoming a painful issue. I do not want a hip replacement, ever! So the answer is to put a computer on the stand-up.
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