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Thread: WHEN did you decide to purchase Long Arm?

  1. #26
    Member petersdk's Avatar
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    I loved piecing tops and hated hand quilting. It just took too long and the one top I'd started hand quilitng and HAD to get finished I finally sent to someone else for completion. It cost me a almost $400 just for that.
    After reading about long arm quilting and watching countless online videos for over a year, I decided to check out the machines at various quilt shows. It definitely pays to actually "drive" one just to see if it feels right for you.
    I also checked out the financing packages each company offered. I got mine at no interest and payments spread out over several years.
    That said, I also had first purchased a mid arm and after a couple of quilts quickly decided I wanted more throat space. I felt very frustrated at the lack of "play" area with the mid arm. My Tin Lizzie 18LS has 18" throat space and that's just right for me. I don't quilt for money but I do help out some friends and do few charity quilts but mostly I do my own stuff. Haven't regretted it once. Just love owning my own long arm and practice, practice, practice so I get better all the time.
    Good luck in your search.

  2. #27
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    I have been piecing quilts for over 30 yrs.many yrs of tying and hand quilting.that resulted in 2 carpal tunnel surgeries.my boyfriend and I bought an old farmhouse with 5 bedrooms about 4 yrs ago.my daughter and I split a long arm then-no regrets.we both love quilting-this was the 1st house big enough to have a long arm.I have fibro,ruptured discs in my neck so a longarm is great.when I hurt I don't quilt.when I feel better I can quilt easily.I do not miss sitting on the floor and pinning binding,etc that was too hard on my neck and I have a hard time getting up from the floor.

  3. #28
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltinghere
    WHEN did you decide to buy a LA?
    Like HOW LONG were you involved in making quilts before you decided you NEEDED a LA?
    Did you get tired of paying to have someone else quilt your quilts?
    Did you want to start up a business to make money at it?
    How long did it actually take to make the purchase? months? years?

    Thanks
    Started looking and researching 6 months after I learned to piece.
    I ordered my LA 9 months after I learned to piece a quilt and had it a month later.

    Had a quilt ruined by a LA quilter and decided I wanted more control (she had tension issues and rather than stop, she forged on).

    Had my first customer quilt on the frame 1 week after I got my LA. I love to quilt and can't make quilts fast enough to keep my LA busy...plus the $ from LA quilting for others gives me $ to buy more thread and material! I would rather do the quilting then any other part of the process!

  4. #29
    Senior Member Nikki and Co.'s Avatar
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    When I discovered that it cost as much to have them quilted as it did to buy the supplies to make one I knew I'd be purchasing a LA....LOL! My mother was an avid quilter (in her day it was the old fashioned way with scissors and cardboard templates and hand tieing or hand quillting) and when she passed I used some of my inheritance to buy my HQ 16 because I wanted something that I would have forever and I knew that she would be smiling from above whenever I used it.

  5. #30
    Super Member quilter1's Avatar
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    I learned to quilt on a longarm that was in my local quilt shop. A year later, I needed to rent time on the machine and was informed that I had to go through the classes again, no way was that happening. I bought a used Grace frame with a Janome 1600P. That turned out to be too small a quilting area for me so I bought a Tin Lizzie 18LS. Now I can quilt whatever I want in my own home. My DH gave up his study so I could keep 'Liz' set up at 10 ' length. Bless him. I couldn't afford to buy the Gammill, but the Tin Lizzie is very reliable and well built. This is all I will ever need. Of course my Bernina 440QE, 830, and several Featherweights keep Liz company so she doesn't get lonely when I am at work.

  6. #31
    Senior Member Landers's Avatar
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    I decided after 4 years and many, many quilts done by LAs that I had actually brought a LA twice! I now have one (Jewel-BabyLock) and am happy with my purchase (although I have not used it). I feel kinda scared to use it. I have it setup and ready to go & I just dust it off every week. I went with Jewel BabyLock because of the service I could get in the area where I am living and the area where I will be retiring. That was a factor. I don't want to send it off to be maintained or repair. In both areas, I have at least 2.3 service places. Kay sold it to me at the Houston Show and she is offers classes in St Louis at least 5/6 times this year. Another +!!! This September I will be going there for classes. Don't get me wrong I have taken numerous classes but still do not feel comfortable. Classes and repair/maintenance schedules were very important to me!

  7. #32
    Senior Member violetsfarm's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for all the information. I would love to have a Long Arm. The final sinch being the "greenfairy" Dear Jane quilt. Have you see that? I have never seen anything so beautiful. I showed it to my DH and he said, you should have a long arm. (Of course he has no idea what he is saying $$$$$) But I do think I will start the research process using the tips from this thread.

  8. #33
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    Thanks, for the info, I'm looking for one but just don't know.

  9. #34
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    I had been quilting for about 6 years, and I would either hand quilt (which I love, but it takes FOREVER) or wrestle the quilt in my DSM, which I absolutely HATED. I really wanted a LA but couldn't justify the cost for my hobby. Sadly, my mom passed away and I inherited some money. I decided to purchase a LA and did my research online and test drove several machines at a quilt show. Within about 3 months I purchased my APQS Lenni at a quilt show, which was offering a great deal. I love my Lenni, and I am glad I went for an 18" machine right away. That was 2 years ago, I am quilting up a storm (everyone got a quilt for Christmas). I can do Pantographs and ruler work, some stencils, but freehand is not happening for me. I am going to the MQX show in RI and taking some classes to help me learn more. I only quilt my own quilts so far, except for some charity quilts. Good luck!

  10. #35
    Senior Member JoyVoltenburg's Avatar
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    I decided I NEEDED a longarm when no matter how hard I tried I couldn't keep the puckers out of the back of the quilt when quilting on my DSM. (Never sent one to a longarm to get it finished.) That was about 5 years after I started quilting. Then it took me over a year to figure out how I could afford one and to convince my husband that it was OK to put it in the formal living room. I wish I'd done it sooner - I love it!! I'm ready to upgrade to a larger machine and will probably do that at the end of this year.

  11. #36
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    Great information - thanks ladies

  12. #37
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    When you go hunting for a longarm, check out Renae Haddadin's article on Shopping for a Longarm at http://www.quiltsonthecorner.com/inc/sdetail/1349

    You "buy" it (it is free) and it will give you answers to questions you never knew to ask - at least I didn't! It is not slanted to any particular brand name, but gives you things to ask about every machine out there.

    I love my Innova and wouldn't switch brands for anything, but that doesn't mean it would be just as perfect for you. Drive every longarm you can get your hands on...and drive it for a while, not just a couple of minutes. I have found many other longarm machines really stress my shoulders or drive like a truck, but others have no problem with them. Find what is right for you and make sure you have 24/7/365 tech service - nice to be able to call at 3 am when you are having a problem!

  13. #38
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farm Quilter
    http://www.quiltsonthecorner.com/inc/sdetail/1349

    You "buy" it (it is free) and it will give you answers to questions you never knew to ask -
    How do I "buy" it? I click on the link you provided and read a small article.

  14. #39
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltinghere
    Quote Originally Posted by Farm Quilter
    http://www.quiltsonthecorner.com/inc/sdetail/1349

    You "buy" it (it is free) and it will give you answers to questions you never knew to ask -
    How do I "buy" it? I click on the link you provided and read a small article.
    Try going to www.quiltsonthecorner.com and put Shopping for a Longarm Article in the little search box on the top right. It will bring up a page that has a "buy" button, cost is $0.00. Sorry for the confusion!

  15. #40
    Junior Member auntjo's Avatar
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    WHEN did you decide to buy a LA?

    I made the decision to invest in a mid-arm early last year after I did my 1st couple free motion projects on my little White Jeans Machine which I have been using for all my sewing needs for many many years. Before that I spent the Winter doing a lot of internet reading, watching you-tube videos, information boards, and looking at used prices compared to new & definitely bought used as it seemed like a lot of $$ to spend on my hobby. But my hand quilting days are coming to an end w/arthritis setting in enough to make it not so much fun to hand quilt anymore without lots of pain and I refuse to pay someone else to do quilting for me so I know machine quilting is something I need to teach myself to do. But I do bed quilts, not a lot of wall hangings & little quilts. I ended up w/a Juki w/a 9"throat to drop into my sewing table for my piecing machine and any future attempts at free motion quilting at my sewing table... ; and a Brother 1500 9"throat on a New Joy Gold Frame. After getting comfortable w/the Brother on the frame doing lots of charity quilts for our guild, I kept my eyes open for any bargains on a 15"-20" LA as it seemed to be in my future - but I still balked at the spending that kind of money. About two months ago I found an excellent deal on a Tin Lizzie Eighteen w/a solid 12' frame & I am now a happy camper for quite a long time I think. At 18" it still seems quite large to me, & I haven't quite gotten to the point of feeling comfortable doing much free motion, but I love working w/pantographs.

    Like HOW LONG were you involved in making quilts before you decided you NEEDED a LA?

    I have been working away at making quilts since I was a pre-teen - self taught - so I'm one of those going on well over 40 years. No one in my family did it, I just got myself into sewing, knitting & crocheting doll clothes, my own clothes, then making quilts. Long before all the tools available these days, which took me a long time to even start using. I used cardboard templates, scissors and hand cut individual pieces -(tho rotary cutters & the 24" mats have been around for many years for strip cutting :); hand pieced & appliqued a lot of my quilts tho simple patchwork was done on my current domestic machine; and always hand quilted them myself either in a lap hoop in front of the fireplace & TV or rolled onto a floor frame my Dad found at an estate sale about 10 yrs ago. SO it's not like I've turned out hundreds of quilts, but lots of them have been in local & state shows & are all still around.


    Did you get tired of paying to have someone else quilt your quilts?
    Did you want to start up a business to make money at it?
    How long did it actually take to make the purchase? months? years?

    Personally I have a problem paying someone else to do my quilting, to me that is just part of the process & I do enjoy each part of the process. Of course quilting has never been something I spent major $$ on either. My stash began as leftovers from clothing projects, etc...& I don't tend to pay quilt shop prices for any of my fabrics. I don't intend to start up a business, but I've had quite a few of our guild ladies ask me to let them know when I'm ready to do some quilting for them, they'll gladly pay me the going rate to take care of their closets full of quilt tops as they don't like the quilting part of the process themselves and we are pretty far removed from a lot of LA'ers. So I think I will be taking in some outside quilts to do as I don't turn out that many quilts myself and it will give me something to always be working on on the frame, but will keep the numbers severely limited so that I continue to enjoy the process - not get bogged into rushes & timelines, etc....If I want I cay justify the expense that way also, it wouldn't take that long to basically cover the cost of my investment - and at this point it isn't necessary anyway. This is something I enjoy doing, I have the room, I'm making the time these days, I've raised my kids, it's my turn to spend my time doing what I enjoy doing while I still can!

  16. #41

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    I had been quilting for there years when I first learned about LA,s. I purchased a super quilted, used it with my brother. I was not happy with the frame. The track was not long enough. I switched to a grace frame. Loved it. But I wanted to quilt for customers. So i got a Gammill. Yeah.... Best decision I ever made, I paid the machine off in the first two years. I was renting space in a quilt shop, when it closed I had a building built on my property. I am a sales rep. For Gammill. The most important thing when researching is support and training.... Don't get a machine that is just shipped to you... You will not be happy. You need someone to help you and with Gammill you get training and someone at the end of the phone when you are need help.

  17. #42
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    I pretty much decided the first time I went to the AQS Paducah Show which was about 7 years ago. I bought my Milleneum Oct 2008 and haven't regretted it one minute. Some people buy boats or new cars. I call my Milli my boat in the basement. I really enjoy my LA.

  18. #43
    Super Member needles3thread's Avatar
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    I bought a long arm when husband said he had found the
    one he liked best for the price at the Paducah Quilt show.
    And my 2 daughters said they thought I should get one.
    Just quilt for myself & few charity quilts.

  19. #44
    Super Member greaterexp's Avatar
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    I bought mine when I stumbled upon one on Craigslist. I need to home with our farm, but hoped to be able to earn enough to pay for this and have the option to machine quilt large quilts for myself and family who quilt. I'm a hand quilter at heart, but am amazed at the beautiful, skillful machine quilting that can be done. I'm paying off my quilter next month! It's an old one, but if I master this one, I can upgrade later.

  20. #45
    Senior Member JSNOMORE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spring
    I decided I wanted one before I learned to quilt. I have been sewing for years and always wanted to learn to quilt. Any sewing machine that is so big that it needs its own apartment is freaking AWESOME!
    Im tired of fighting the quilts with my machine and have thought many times that my husband could build me some kind of table that would turn my machine into a long arm.....lol
    I will buy one when my youngest graduates college.....she is only 6, so I will be saving for a very long time.
    You can turn your machine into a somewhat long arm. My father built mine from plans I found on ebay. Bought a janome 1600 with a 10 inch throat and used it for years. you are limited by the smaller throat space. I am now selling that one because I just got a Tin Lizzie 18.

  21. #46
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by auntjo
    This is something I enjoy doing, I have the room, I'm making the time these days, I've raised my kids, it's my turn to spend my time doing what I enjoy doing while I still can!
    I LOVE you way of thinking!

  22. #47
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    I've never paid anyone to do my quilting. I started by hand quilting, but when I quit work and started getting serious about quilts I bought my first MidArm Quilting machine. I've bought a LAM since that. I've been using the quilting machine for about 10 years. I don't know how to quilt on regular machine.

  23. #48
    Super Member IrishNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltinghere

    WHEN did you decide to buy a LA?
    Like HOW LONG were you involved in making quilts before you decided you NEEDED a LA?
    Did you get tired of paying to have someone else quilt your quilts?
    Did you want to start up a business to make money at it?
    How long did it actually take to make the purchase? months? years?

    Thanks
    I blame you people! :wink:

    I've been quilting for 20 years, off and on. More when I was home with my kids, less when I went back to work in the last '90s. Then I stumbled on this board and it got me back to quilting with a vengeance. I had been taking my infrequent finished tops into a LAQ but decided if I was going to make lots more tops, I might as well buy a LA with the money instead of paying someone else.

    Once I decided, I started watching for a good deal and found one in about 6 weeks. It's just for me; no plans to make money with it.

  24. #49
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    What does lqs stand for? I figured it must be a store but had no luck searching that. Pauline

  25. #50
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dooneygone
    What does lqs stand for? I figured it must be a store but had no luck searching that. Pauline
    Local Quilt Store

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