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Thread: When will you consider a Long Arm?

  1. #51
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    I bought a long arm after getting stuff ready for taxes one year, and hubby pointing out with 17 more quilts, you can have a long arm for the price that you paid for LA services. That is how I got him on board. I took him to a class at the LQS so he could see what it was all about. He also uses the machine that we picked out.

  2. #52
    Junior Member catsnchina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by liont View Post
    Here, I am assuming you are a hobbyist quilter, that is, you do not make quilts to sell.

    When will you consider taking the plunge and investing in a Long Arm?
    Has anyone done a cost analysis - include the one time price, material cost (thread, etc), and maintenance cost? How many quilts does it take to break-even compared to sending the tops out for professional long arm quilting? (This is an important question because husbands need to be convinced. LOL!)
    I know many times it is more than just costs, it is the enjoyment of doing it, freedom to choose patterns, etc. But here I am looking at costs alone.

    Anyone care to share? Thanks
    I've really thought about purchasing one as I do all my own quilting on my Bernina 440QE and make a number of large quilts.
    However, I just took a LA certification training class at one of the LQS which rents time on their HandiQuilter and Gammill long arm machines. It was fun and very informative. They have staff to help us when we rent time on their LAs.

    In a couple of weeks I'm going to take a LA certification class on a Tin Lizzie at another LQS. Their hourly rental is more and the staff may not be as helpful or knowledgable, but I'll have choices.

    Given the prices of even used LAs, this is my current solution.
    CMC

  3. #53
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    Do we really think men make a cost analysis of golf clubs and greens fees, fishing boats and tackle or guns and ammo? We enjoys this, it's creative and therapeutic, and in 100 years , there will be evidence that we were here - score cards will be long gone. If you can afford it - great! If not, then you don't get it. But I don't think we have to justify it! ( hope you get one!!)

  4. #54
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    LA quilting is getting more expensive to get done all the time.... $.015/sq inch for just pantos and that figures out to around $200 per queen quilt....so I have been doing my own on my Janome 6600. I am not even close to being good at it, but I keep plugging away at it. My brain simply cannot make the conversion from moving the "pencil on paper" to moving the "paper under the pencil". So one day I will have the space and $$$ for a LA.

    To be able to justify the cost, you would have to take the cost of a LA monthly payments and determine if you spend more than that to outsource your quilting. So if you regularly spend $250 monthly for LA quilting and the monthly payments are $200 then I would say yes, the cost is justified. If you only send out a quilt every couple months or so, then you probably can't justify the cost.

    Bottom line - if you have to be able to justify the cost to feel good about buying one, you probably shouldn't as you will always feel obligated to hurry. Then it becomes more of a job and less of a hobby to enjoy.

  5. #55
    Super Member Fraew's Avatar
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    As soon as I have the space! Quilting is my thing so...if I had the space, I would save and get it ASAP.

    So maybe I should start saving now and be ready when I have the space.
    Fraew

    "I don't buy vintage quilts. By the time I finish the quilts I've started they've already become antiques." ~ Mark Lipinski
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  6. #56
    Power Poster Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I am actively shopping but still undecided. I am looking at a Handi Quilter Fusion prostitch (computerized). (24 inch throat opening on 12 foot frame)It appears one of the more affordable long arms with a computer. I have been quilting for about ten years. I do some very large quilts (10x10 foot) on my Janome 6500. I feel I can't handle it and do not enjoy it. I feel physical limited not having a longarm. I like another brand better but when I add their computer option it is way out of reach $ wise. Also I live right next door to a Handi Quilter dealer while I live out of state for the other option. I do think I will feel obligated to do quilts for others if I buy such expensive machine. I also hope that some of my children might use it to earn some money and that has been one of the motivators to look for a machine with a computer.

    Here is a picture of the last big Calking quilt118x118 in. I finnished. Now it is washed and you look from further away it looks nice but the quilting is so so. The only good part about finnishing the quilting on this one is getting done. It is just too much to spray baste and quilt. The long arm would also help with the basting and binding of the quilt.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Annaquilts; 06-10-2012 at 10:38 AM.
    Anna Quilts

  7. #57
    Super Member kydeb's Avatar
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    I took the long arm plunge after I went back to work. I retired in 2007 and went back to work full time last year. I decided that it was one of the reasons I wanted to work - to pay for things other then necessities! I make QFK quilts - most of the time as many as 4 to 6 a month. I know I never could make that many if I didn't have the long arm so that takes of any guilt I may have had!
    Debbie in Kentucky
    kydeb.wordpress.com

  8. #58
    Junior Member An Arm Long's Avatar
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    I have had my longarm for 15 months and have done 17 quilts on it . At an average of about $75 per quilt (a few were baby quilts), I have saved about $1275 or more which covers over 10% of the cost. I have not done any for other people yet, but may in the future. It would be paid off in about 9 years at this rate.
    I absolutely love using it and can't wait to finish piecing the next quilt so that I can quilt it!
    Beth in Maryland

  9. #59
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    Just remember one thing. Husbands have their golfing gear (and membership fees), their fishing boat and gear, their hunting guns and gear, and their 4-wheelers, etc. How do they ever plan to "break even" with their "toys?" Just a thought. Quilting to us is a hobby, just like their hunting, fishing, and golfing is their hobby. It's not about breaking even--it's about our hobby.

  10. #60
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I have a mid arm and love it. The push to purchase was when I was asked to do a month long exhibit. The ONLY way I was going to get those tops finished was to take the plunge, otherwise I don't think I ever would have. Never regretted it for a moment.
    After 2 years with the same signature I have been requested to remove it. Bye

  11. #61
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    I'll never get a LA. I'm a piecer not an artist. I see some of the quilts posted here in the pic section and I never visioin any beautiful quilting like THAT coming from this little brain.

    IMHO, Artists have a different brain than I have. Sometimes I can put color together for a quilt and be very happy but can never see how to quilt the darn thing. That's why it's so much fun to send a quilt out. They see quilting in spaces I would just leave blank! And put pretty stuff where I would just do a boring meander.

    I can rarely send a quilt out now...saving up for another queen to go out...but so worth the money.

    No room for one in this house anyway....and no...not sour grapes
    If you don't work on it you'll never finish it.

  12. #62
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    Right now I don't foresee the need for a LA machine. Most of the quilts I've made recently are smaller size ones, so I can either hand quilt them or do them on my Featherweight. I do have access to a commercial upholstery machine with a large throat that I could learn to use, but haven't taken the time to do so yet. It goes too fast!!!

    Also the designing and piecing is the part I love. Once I get the top done, the rest is a chore. So if I get rich, I'll get someone to do the quilting for me, not buy a LA machine.
    legendarycandles.com
    Just discovered I qualify for FABLE (Fabric Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy)

  13. #63
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    I never realized so many people had long arms for personal use. I always just assumed there were a lot of professional or (semiprofessional) quilters on the boards. I'm trying to learn FMQ on my domestic machine. Between that and hand quilting I should be able to do everything I want. Of course I don't have dozens of children and grandchildren to quilt for. If I finish 10 bed size quilts in my lifetime, I will exhaust all of the quilt-worthy members of my family and have several left for myself.

  14. #64
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    I have just the opposite problem ... my husband keeps telling me "You need a Long Arm" and I keep telling him all the reasons I don't want a long arm!!

    As for cost justification, Dunster laid it out pretty well and a lot will depend on how much the setup you are looking at will cost and the number and size of quilts that you make. And like Lori stated there is the additional intangible cost of learning to use it properly (and all the thread, muslin, and batting you will go through).

    For me there is one more pretty magnificent that I'm not willing to spend. Space. The long arm itself doesn't take up much room but the frame does ... and if I'm going to invest in a frame I wouldn't waste money on a frame that couldn't manage a King size so we're talking 12' long by 5' wide (minimum). My house is an ample size, but it's filled

    I would however consider a mid arm machine that I can drop into a table, preferably my cutting table. When we are done redecorating the family room (almost done!), I'm moving my sewing room from one room into another and I want a cutting table made-to-order. I think I'll look into having it made with a hole for a mid arm, and a cover that will sit flush then my large cutting mat sitting on top. My "cost justification" ... mid-arm $4,000, made to order table $600, shutting husband up ... priceless!!
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  15. #65
    Power Poster Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I just tried a HQ Sweet 16 and loved doing sit down quilting. You might want to take a look at that. I think it is about $5000

    Quote Originally Posted by DogHouseMom View Post
    I have just the opposite problem ... my husband keeps telling me "You need a Long Arm" and I keep telling him all the reasons I don't want a long arm!!

    As for cost justification, Dunster laid it out pretty well and a lot will depend on how much the setup you are looking at will cost and the number and size of quilts that you make. And like Lori stated there is the additional intangible cost of learning to use it properly (and all the thread, muslin, and batting you will go through).

    For me there is one more pretty magnificent that I'm not willing to spend. Space. The long arm itself doesn't take up much room but the frame does ... and if I'm going to invest in a frame I wouldn't waste money on a frame that couldn't manage a King size so we're talking 12' long by 5' wide (minimum). My house is an ample size, but it's filled

    I would however consider a mid arm machine that I can drop into a table, preferably my cutting table. When we are done redecorating the family room (almost done!), I'm moving my sewing room from one room into another and I want a cutting table made-to-order. I think I'll look into having it made with a hole for a mid arm, and a cover that will sit flush then my large cutting mat sitting on top. My "cost justification" ... mid-arm $4,000, made to order table $600, shutting husband up ... priceless!!
    Anna Quilts

  16. #66
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    I'm with ontheriver. It has been on my wish list for quite awhile but with the economy as it is it's not going to happen for quite awhile yet. I have a Juki on a frame which i enjoy but again the quilting area is so limited. I can do about a 4" row at a time.

  17. #67
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    I would like to have a long arm or even a mid arm. Mine will come when I have a home big enough to have one. Since I don't plan on moving, I guess I will never have one. I can dream though!

  18. #68
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    This is been a great discussion, thanks for starting the topic! I still want a long arm for personal use. I think I would get more projects done. Crazy as it seems I very seldom send a big quilt out; I'm too cheap as I think I can quilt it on my DSM, so I have a pile of quilts to finish. Again, thanks for the topic and the wonderful input folks!
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  19. #69
    Super Member moonwork42029's Avatar
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    My DH purchased one for me in May. We've practiced some but not much as my Dad had a stroke the weekend we picked up the machine & frame (not from us buying it, lol).

    He said he wanted any quilts from us to be from just "us". We ended up getting rid of the couch in the front room and that's where it's set up at (only room big enough).
    Lisa L.
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  20. #70
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    It is something that I have been thinking about for a while. I would love to have one. Someday, if I can save the funds, I would love to get one. My thing is I keep looking at the huge ones on huge frames but for the most part you stand to work with those. I know you can get stools. I have had 4 knee and 1 foot surgery in the last 4 years and my friends all say I should get a Sit down model if and when I decide to get one. I don't send my quilts out, I would rather buy more fabric than spend $3-400 on quilting from someone else. I quilt all my own quilts on my DSM. They are not fancily quilted, by any means.
    Someday........


    My newest Grandson, Caleb Austin, was born May 29th. I am now Grandma to 4 precious babies. I am so blessed!!!!

  21. #71
    Senior Member pineneedles4's Avatar
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    I was the same way...trying to figure out if I could justify buying a long arm machine. I used to hand quilt my quilts but when it takes me an entire winter to quilt a quilt, my tops were getting backed up so I machine quilted a queen size quilt on my home Bernina....and that convinced me I needed something bigger. I don't have the space for the long rails so I settled for the Tin Lizzie 18 with the sit-down table. It was affordable (certainly not the Gammil machine that I consider the desirable Cadillac of machines) and it would fit into my home. So far I love it but I've only quilted three quilts on it so far. I like the option of being able to convert it to the long rails when I get a larger place. Quilting is my hobby so for me it's more about the creative process and less about the money. If I didn't quilt I'd spend the money on something else.
    Vanessa in Oklahoma

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  22. #72
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    I bought the Crown Jewel for several reasons. Local (50 miles local) support from my QS I purchased it from. I have Lupus, RA, AS and IBM (all auto immune disease) and after a long battle, I am now bale to get back to sewing embroidering and quilting. I used to play fiddle and train/ride/show horses also. But the two later ones I am no longer able to do. So I am so excited I am able to do the quilting/embroidery/sewing thing again. After a long chat with my doctor I decided (my DH also) to get a longarm. It is very hard on my shoulders/wrist/elbows to quilt on my sewing machine. I know I have bad days so it was very important to me to get the Quiltmotion software. Babylock had just what I needed at a price that was with in reason and I got an awesome deal for the whole setup I wanted. After being a person that used to go 150% it is hard not to be able to do things you used to do. So getting back this one thing is the biggest thing ever for me. I compared cost of sending my quilts out to be quilted and decided to buy. So, getting a LA also opened up doors for me in just a very big way. I am hoping it will be here by the end of the week or first part of next week as they are going to deliver and set up for me. Every one has their reasons for getting or not getting a LA. I just so excited!

  23. #73
    Super Member DonnaC's Avatar
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    Not unless I win the lottery and am able to buy a BIG house. I live in a small condo... no room for a longarm! Although I am certainly pining after the Sweet Sixteen sit-down machine, and have been for years...would love to have one of those.

  24. #74
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    probably never, no room, and no inclination to spend big $$. Saw one on Craigs list last week for $1500. Still too much!
    pat design

  25. #75
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    I kind of did the same thing only on getting a sewing/quilting machine w/a larger throat space. I figure I can make about 40 quilts FM or stitch in the ditch and have this machine pd off for about the same price I would have to pay for a LA. Then I don't have to take up all that space for it either. Just my thoughts. I DID buy one w/11" throat space. Works great

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