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Thread: What's the largest harp/throat space out there?

  1. #1
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    What's the largest harp/throat space out there?

    Hi everyone,

    I've been trying to figure out a solution to my dilemma. I want to sell my long arm. I never really connected with it, but I don't want to go back to shoving a giant quilt under my regular sewing machine harp. I tried out a sit down quilting machine yesterday and unfortunately they are like the worst of both worlds for me. Without the feed dogs I can't stitch in the ditch very well (and I don't like using rulers), and since you're moving the fabric rather than the needle my free motion quilting doesn't look very good (it looks lovely when I do it on the long arm though).

    Is there such a thing as a regular sewing machine with a large (16"ish) harp space out there?

    Does anyone have any other ideas to help me with this dilemma? I keep reminding myself that this sort of problem is truly a blessing in the big picture of life, nonetheless, it's got me stuck....

    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    The largest harp on a 'regular' sewing machine currently on the market, I believe, is the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic. It's 12.2" from needle to arm and 5.5" high...and retails for $15K.

    Personally, I'd go into counseling in order to make a better connection with a longarm if I had one just sitting around here...but that's just me. Good luck with your dilemma.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  3. #3
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    I think you'll be happiest with a longarm. Try to make friends with yours, and if that doesn't work, research to find one you'll love, sell the one you have and buy the new choice. Any longarm takes practice, practice, practice. None of them are magic wands.

  4. #4
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I had no problem quilting under my Bernina small harp. I just carefully managed quilting from the center out on each side. I had a real nice set up with an insert for support on my left side and support for the quilt behind my machine. Probably would be a good idea to get to a major quilt show with a small practice sandwich to test drive the machines there and see if there is anything that will suit your requirements.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ManiacQuilter2 View Post
    I had no problem quilting under my Bernina small harp. I just carefully managed quilting from the center out on each side. I had a real nice set up with an insert for support on my left side and support for the quilt behind my machine. Probably would be a good idea to get to a major quilt show with a small practice sandwich to test drive the machines there and see if there is anything that will suit your requirements.
    I can quilt a large quilt on my regular machine also, but I don't enjoy it. I also have a large table with plenty of space to the left and back. It's really not a matter of test driving machines. I'm happy with my sewing machine. I'd really just love to have a quilting machine with feed dogs that can raise and lower, along with a large harp space. My current machine is 10" I believe, while a quilting machine could easily be 16".

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    Personally, I'd go into counseling in order to make a better connection with a longarm if I had one just sitting around here...but that's just me. Good luck with your dilemma.[/QUOTE]

    Haha! I tried for about 3 years. I had very good support from my dealer. They talked me through many issues, gave me additional lessons when I asked and came out to my house to adjust the machine when I couldn't get it right. I just get so stressed out when I think of facing all that work. Yes, for me it feels like work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nilla View Post
    Yes, for me it feels like work.
    That's the kiss of death. I hope you find a machine that works for you. Have you considered an industrial?

  8. #8
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Don't forget that the height of the throat can make a huge difference in the ease of use when quilting, so consider that when you look at domestics. Look at the entire area, not just the needle to arm length.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  9. #9
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    It sounds like you just don't enjoy the quilting part of quilting, and that's perfectly okay. Many people enjoy making tops. Have you considered sending your tops out to be quilted? You could get a lot of tops quilted for what you'll get for your longarm.

    My other thought is that perhaps your longarm isn't the right one for you. What about it don't you like?

  10. #10
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    Once you have the ease of "drawing" with the longarm, it's going to be hard to go back to guiding the quilt under a sewing machine. Hope you find a machine that will work for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manalto View Post
    That's the kiss of death. I hope you find a machine that works for you. Have you considered an industrial?
    How is an industrial different from a typical machine?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    It sounds like you just don't enjoy the quilting part of quilting, and that's perfectly okay. Many people enjoy making tops. Have you considered sending your tops out to be quilted? You could get a lot of tops quilted for what you'll get for your longarm.

    My other thought is that perhaps your longarm isn't the right one for you. What about it don't you like?
    i never minded quilting a smaller quilt, such as a crib size or maybe even a smallish lap size on my regular sewing machine, so it's not the actual process of quilting, and when my long arm just turned on and ran without having to adjust tension constantly etc, I could even enjoy that type of quilting, but I don't have the patience for constantly being in the lookout for something going wrong. I just want to turn it on and go, and apparently long arms don't work that way. I don't think I've ever adjusted tension on my regular sewing machine, but that does make me wonder; do you have to adjust tension constantly in the sit down machines?

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    WOW!!! It is tough to believe you don't like your longarm!! I purchased one brought it home with never even touching one - love the flexibility of quilting on it. I tried - very unsuccessfully to quilt on a domestic machine and was never able to get the hang of it. I have a HandiQuilter Avante and love to put a quilt in it and complete the quilt. When I brought it home - I loaded several yards of muslin and practiced doing about everything I could - meandering, stippling - ruler practice - free hand motion. It takes a while to get the feel of the machine. Have you given pantographs a chance.... they are a great tool and give you beautiful results. So sorry to hear that you are not pleased - but it does take a bit of practice and the learning curve never ends....Give it another chance....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nilla View Post
    How is an industrial different from a typical machine?
    Industrials are made for production work, so they're often designed for one task or material only so they're not versatile like a domestic, and they go super fast (you don't want one of these). However, there are some industrial models that are great for general sewing (straight stitch and zigzag) with a roomy throat space. I'm on the lookout for a reasonably-priced Pfaff 138, a machine that fits this description. You might want to talk to a tailor or someone in the costume shop at a theater or college with a dramatic arts department if there's one near where you live. Both typically use larger machines. The cost of a good used one varies a lot, so if you decide to go this route, I suggest shopping patiently around.
    Last edited by Manalto; 11-29-2015 at 09:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cenpaqltr View Post
    WOW!!! It is tough to believe you don't like your longarm!! I purchased one brought it home with never even touching one - love the flexibility of quilting on it. I tried - very unsuccessfully to quilt on a domestic machine and was never able to get the hang of it. I have a HandiQuilter Avante and love to put a quilt in it and complete the quilt. When I brought it home - I loaded several yards of muslin and practiced doing about everything I could - meandering, stippling - ruler practice - free hand motion. It takes a while to get the feel of the machine. Have you given pantographs a chance.... they are a great tool and give you beautiful results. So sorry to hear that you are not pleased - but it does take a bit of practice and the learning curve never ends....Give it another chance....
    I've had this long arm for about three years. I've quilted many quilts on it. It's not a matter of needing time and practice. It's a matter of not enjoying it. Mine is computerized. Sometimes I use the computer, sometimes I do free hand. Pantographs are not the issue. I do not like adjusting the tension, I don't like realizing my thread is eyelash in underneath and having to rip out stitches. I don't like stopping every so many inches to check underneath. I don't like the steps involved in getting a quilt ready to be quilted. I simply do not like using my long arm.

    On my sewing machine, I just change the needle every so often, clean around the bobbin case when I change it and otherwise sew. That's what I want in a quilting machine. Ease of use so I can spend my energy making pretty things.

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    I agree maybe it's the quilting you don't enjoy. The maneuvering or all the fabric. If it stresses you, it's no good for you. Send it out.
    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    It sounds like you just don't enjoy the quilting part of quilting, and that's perfectly okay. Many people enjoy making tops. Have you considered sending your tops out to be quilted? You could get a lot of tops quilted for what you'll get for your longarm.

    My other thought is that perhaps your longarm isn't the right one for you. What about it don't you like?

  17. #17
    Super Member LyndaOH's Avatar
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    What about one of the Jukis? The 2010Q might work for you. It's a high speed straight stitch machine. Here's a page with info on it: http://www.jukihome.com/products/quilt_tl2010q.html

    I think you might like it because it has a large harp and feed dogs. You can search here on QB for more posts about it.

    I don't have this machine (I have a Sweet Sixteen sitdown) but I do have a Juki sewing machine and I love it. I've never had to adjust anything on the machine, including tension, and it sews like a dream.

    Hope this helps!

    Lynda

  18. #18
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nilla View Post
    i never minded quilting a smaller quilt, such as a crib size or maybe even a smallish lap size on my regular sewing machine, so it's not the actual process of quilting, and when my long arm just turned on and ran without having to adjust tension constantly etc, I could even enjoy that type of quilting, but I don't have the patience for constantly being in the lookout for something going wrong. I just want to turn it on and go, and apparently long arms don't work that way. I don't think I've ever adjusted tension on my regular sewing machine, but that does make me wonder; do you have to adjust tension constantly in the sit down machines?
    I do think you have the wrong longarm, or maybe it's a lemon. Yes, you do have to occasionally adjust tension, but that's true on any machine. You shouldn't have to fight with it constantly, but you do have to do some maintenance. I have a 26" Innova. I very seldom have to adjust the tension, mostly because I tend to quilt with the same thread and batting most of the time. It requires oil in only one spot, I clean and oil after almost every bobbin change, and I wipe the rails and clean the wheels after each quilt. This is quick maintenance. I took the whole thing apart last December in preparation for a move to another state, and when I put it back together in July I was up and running again in no time. I really love mounting the quilt on the frame, rather than having to sandwich it. That was my least favorite part of quilting, and you still have to do it with a sit-down longarm or a DSM with a large throat.

  19. #19
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    I also believe its the new epic

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    Truthfully, I had a longarm for 3 years before I really got into it. I guess I was a little afraid of it. In the beginning I got eyelashes too. Drove me crazy. I don't have a stitch regulator so I found I was speeding up too much on the long sweeps and such. So I got eyelashes. About 2 years ago I tried Glide thread. It is a trilobal (?) polyester. I have not had to adjust my tension since then!! (Occasionally I get eyelashes when I forget and go too fast, but I'm getting better at being relaxed and smooth.) That's all I use. I know some will say it should be cotton, but I'm happy with it, and it has survived many washings. Good luck!! Ann

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    I appreciate everyone's input, but I really wanted to know if there is a sewing machine out there that has a large harp/throat space. I know how to quilt on my long arm, but I don't want to quilt on my long arm. I'm so glad so many of you enjoy it. I want to quilt on a sewing machine with a large harp/throat space. I wondered if anyone knew about a machine such as that. I'd love input on that.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ro View Post
    I also believe its the new epic
    I looked this up. It's got 12.2 inches and 5.5 inches in height, but ouch, it's 15,000$! I'll definitely have to give this more thought and do more research.

    Thank you everyone!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nilla View Post
    I appreciate everyone's input, but I really wanted to know if there is a sewing machine out there that has a large harp/throat space. I know how to quilt on my long arm, but I don't want to quilt on my long arm. I'm so glad so many of you enjoy it. I want to quilt on a sewing machine with a large harp/throat space. I wondered if anyone knew about a machine such as that. I'd love input on that.
    But you did ask if anyone had any other ideas...

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    I guess if your free motion quilting looks lovely with your long arm, it will take some practice to like it on a smaller machine. Even if you find a machine with a huge harp space, you will still be moving the fabric, rather than the needle or machine. Those two movements seem so different to me that at this point I think I would have a hard time switching to a long arm. (or so I tell myself What is it that you don't like about your long arm?

    Sorry, I didn't see your last posts while I was typing my response. Please disregard.
    Last edited by suern3; 11-29-2015 at 03:44 PM.

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    I hope you find the machine that will make you happy! I, too, had problems making friends with my midarm machine for years. Froze up every time I put a quilt on there, thinking I'd just make a mess of it. That is, until I started putting quilt tops on it this last year and just playing. Yep, that's what it took. I did everything on those tops, every design I could find, everything I ever wanted to try. At first, it looked horrible. I just took a deep breath and kept on playing with the design over and over until I was happy with the way it looked. Truly, just playing and not giving a dang what it looked like was the best thing I ever did. Laverne and Shirley (my frame and midarm) are now two of my best friends! And I'll probably never give those "play" quilts away, because they all show my before-and-after progress.

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