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Thread: What is your home quilting machine set up?!

  1. #1

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    I think the average quilter has to sit and take a breath at all the 'we got what you need' s! I quilt on my 6600 as is....I'd so like to add a frame to make it moving easier on my shoulders and back. Yet, when you shop for other set ups, by the time you spend the money....you might as well sell your car to do it!! And, when you think you've done your homework enough, then someone else will say what a 'nightmare'...Share what you do or have to help give the rest of us an understanding of what actually works...and, how much (estimate) of cost for you! I just want to quilt my quilts...not spend $30,000 to do it myself! How about the rest of you?! You'd think these quilting frame/machine people would get smart and learn to bring the prices to reasonable ranges and sell a dozen instead of 1!Thanks ahead of the time-Skeat
    *Oh, and did you have to go to the hardware store to make any adjustments to make it work right?

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I found that machine quilting standing up is much easier on my neck and shoulders. I highly recommend trying it! My cutting table is fairly high, so I put my machine on that to machine quilt.

    Here's my plan if my dh and I ever get time together to work on it.

    I'd buy a table from Ikea (inexpensive with a wood top, and good-looking) and have my husband cut a hole for my sewing machine -- probably somewhere near the right of the table so quilt would be supported on the left. The cutout would be dropped down and fastened to the table with metal pieces and bolts; the tricky part would be getting it the exact depth so the bed of my machine is even with the table top. Some strips of formica edging would neaten up the hole edges.

    This whole setup would probably be too low for machine quilting. If so, I'd raise the table to the correct height with lengths of PVC, or bricks. I'd also probably buy the largest sheet of teflon (baking or applique sheet) I can find and tape it down over the machine bed and table -- similar to the Supreme Slider.

    I personally don't think a frame would be much help with a home sewing machine. The problem comes in with the harp size -- area between the needle and the right side of the machine. Large quilts take up so much of that area, you end up with very little width in which to maneuver while machine quilting.

    The homequiltingsystems group at http://groups.yahoo.com is a very active list of home quilters, and I've been learning a lot about frame quilting there. (A frame quilting setup is on my list of things to get when I win the lottery. Suppose it would help if I would actually buy lottery tickets once in awhile! :lol: ) Many of the people there have less expensive frame quilting systems. I think some of them even use home sewing machines. Some have purchased mid-size machines (larger harps), and I think it's the Wow! that is actually an old Singer cut in two and extended to make a mid-arm; some of the posters use that machine with a frame.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention that some quilters find it easier to free-motion quilt on a home machine by sitting facing the left side of the machine. You know how you normally sit? If you think of your machine as a rectangle, you move your chair to the adjacent side on the left. Place ironing boards to the left and right to help support your quilt. The huge advantage of this setup is that you are not limited by harp size. You can be quilting down the middle of a queen-size quilt and the right side of the quilt will be as free-hanging as the left instead of rolled up or scrunched up inside the harp area. (Edit: Just realized you are still limited by harp size in terms of the bottom and top of the quilt!) I wasn't able to easily adjust to this setup but, before making the table described above, I might try practicing to see if I could get used to it. If I could, I'd place the hole in the table in the middle of the table and turn it for machine placement. That way I could quilt standing up and not have the harp limitation.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Quilting G's Avatar
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    ok mine is a dinning table and a Brother SE-270D.. Hahahahahah!
    I have yet to do any thing more adventurous then Straight lines including diagnols.....
    I am about to start venture in to the free motion.
    I agree with you, I was shocked at the cost of some of these set ups... You almost have to do it for a living or rent out time on one. Share cost and time or something unless you are vary fortunate and have the money along with the space for these things...

    Can't wait to see what others have set up.

    G

  4. #4
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I bought a table with a lift for my machine and it makes a lot of difference. Having the machine even with the table and the extra leafs on the side to hold the quilt up makes a big difference. Just wish I had a stitch regulator but the Bernina costs as much as a quilting set up.
    So I do the walking foot for the inside of my quilts and do stencils on the borders. Good practice. The simple leaf or heart continuous stencil is a nice beginner pattern.

  5. #5
    Super Member Barbm's Avatar
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    I have a student desk from the 1950s, bought for $15 at an estate sale, including the chair. Works fine for me, used to be the kitchen table but I was asked politely to take my stuff and leave- we couldn't use it anymore. :)

    When I'm working on something bigger I move to a 9 foot folding banquet table. I have a frame in the box but I am still moving around the room so I haven't set that up yet. I have plans I bought from Keepsake Quilting for a huge table but don't have the room for it- yet. Must clean the basement and "take over" it.

    Barb

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kara's Avatar
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    If I'm piecing blocks, I'm at the small desk in our bedroom (bought it when I was in college umpteen years ago). When it's bigger work, I kick the family off the dining/kitchen table (this means "picnics" in the living room for the kids).

    Ironing - in the kitchen where there's a counter to sit the hot iron so it's not taking up precious ironing board space.

    Layering - back to the kitchen table.

    My kitchen table is fantastic. Almost 7 feet long and 42" wide. Hubby made it to fit our brood around. It's been nicked and scratched and has two small gouges from him dropping the power drill on it - twice.

    We live around that table.

  7. #7
    Ladyhawke520's Avatar
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    Right now I use my dining room table to cut and I have my Singer 401 in its cabinet in my sewing room. Once my tax refund gets here, I will buy the Grace Pro/Juki setup from Kathyquilts.com along with a table for cutting from Walmart or see if I can find a used one.

    I am blessed, I live (altho, 5 cats, a dog and an african gray parrot do demand their space) in a smaller 1918 three bedroom house that I bought in September. The room that was advertised as the master bedroom is so big that I couldn't see using it for a bedroom and instead, use it for my office and sewing/craft room. It is big enough for the larger quilting setups but I like the look and feel of the grace pro and its not too much more than I need.
    There are three closets at the end of the room and one is all shelves, I'm still trying to work out the organization there.

  8. #8
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    Skeat, I did not like rolling up the quilt and tugging and pulling it through the arm of my 20 yr old New Home machine. I did some research, joined 5 quilting forums, asked lots of questions, printed out much information and then, when my sewing room was completed (we were finishing the basement of a new condo) I ordered my Bailey 13" Home Quilter and a GMQ Pro. I have not regretted the day I did this.

    I will admit I was intimidated by the speed and the fact I had to know where I was going and how to move it, but in time I got the hang of it and enjoy free motion more than anything.

    I did not spend more than $2500 and I felt that was reasonable. I am almost 75 and had I been 40 I would have bought the 15" arm, but this has worked fine for me. In free motion I have learned I do not need 15 inches. There are times when I use about 6 or 8 inches. Or, I can do a pantograph that is 12 inches. I am perfectly happy with this size machine, and rarely do I ever run it on full throttle. It gets my quilting done just fine.

    Doing business with the Bailey family is something a person cannot duplicate with some big box company in Texas or California. They are home town people and proud of the machine they developed.

    I would never want to go back to lugging a quilt through the arm of my machine. My joints just can't take it.

    As they say "to each his own" and mine is Bailey. I love it.

    June

  9. #9
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    Right now it's me and my Juki sitting at a sewing desk. I would love a frame, but there is no room in my house. The larger throat does make it easier though. A Bailey 13 and a frame ( and the room to set it up) is my dream.

  10. #10

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    These are all super ideas! You all are such a great help! I can't wait to hear from more of us-how about you?:) We are a very smart group w/smart ideas! Skeat

  11. #11
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    One thing to keep in mind is that you might find, after spending the money, that you don't even enjoy quilting!

    A friend, who is fortunate enough to have the money to puchase one, was seriously looking into a longarm unit that was shown at a quilt show. She had used it for a few minutes and thought it was for her.

    She found a LQS locally (well, an hour or so away) that allows customers to "rent" time on their machine. They help you get it all set up, get you started, etc. She found out that she really didn't enjoy the process at all!

    Imagine if that purchase had been made! For her, it wouldn't have been a HUGE deal, as financially they are well off. But for many of us, it would have been a disaster.

    I'd recommend looking around to see if there are any machines you can rent time on that are w/in a reasonable drive so that you can do a top or two and see if you really want to invest in the equipment.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Roben's Avatar
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    Skeat, we've been looking at long arm set-ups for a little over 6 months now - and it'll make you go cross-eyed, that's for sure. The one thing I found the most helpful, without a doubt, is that we went to the AQS show in Des Moines last year. Most of the long arm companies were there - with machines all set up to play on :lol: We got to go straight from a Gammill to an HQ to an A1 to a Tin Lizzie. That was fantastic, because I could remember what I liked/didn't like between the machines, which is next to impossible for me if it is months between trying one and then another. They all feel different, have different frames, etc. All the dealers there had show specials, too. After quilting a queen size on the little 400 last year, I'm collecting big tops until I get my long arm or am having them done for me.

    Right now I have my D1 on a computer table, with the companion table in the garage having a shelf put under it and DH cut out an acrylic piece for me so she'll sit flush. (Bonus: he's putting a light under there for me too, which will be invaluable for paper piecing!) That will continue to be my general sewing and piecing setup. Hubby uses the 400 with the acrylic quilting table for the piecing he's doing, on the kitchen table until he gets my table done :D

  13. #13
    Senior Member dojo36's Avatar
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    well, yall think u got it bad? take a look at my setup. i took out my kitchen table and built my own sewing table - a piece of plywood 20" wide and 8 ft. long, bolted it to the wall and this is my sewing space. i cut out on the dining room table. i piece and such on this setup, but take my janome 6600 to the dining room table to do the free motion quilting. and i agree it is hard on ones shoulders and such but a person has gotta do what they gotta do to get by. my kids are grown and my husband passed away so i can pretty much do what i want anywhere i want. i don't cook much and if i do, i eat on a tv tray at the computer, lol. i'm a mess but nobody has to put up with it but me. i couldn't afford a big setup for quilting even if i did have the room and i'm too old (72) to invest lots of money in it anyhow, it would have to be put on a charge card and i don't want any debts either. so i'm kinda stuck with the setup that i have and it works for me.

    cheap but works
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  14. #14

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    dojo-I love your set up and really love the no cooking idea!:))Thanks so much for allowing us into your quilting space!! I want to peek in those drawers!!LOL Skeat

  15. #15
    Super Member Barbm's Avatar
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    dojo- your work space works for me- Everything within reach- nice wall decorations. The wall shelves. Yep, move over, I want to sew with you. And cooking- hey, you must have pizza delivery, right?

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