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Will you talk (long arm ... mid arm) quilting with me?

Will you talk (long arm ... mid arm) quilting with me?

Old 06-24-2014, 05:06 PM
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Default Will you talk (long arm ... mid arm) quilting with me?

So, I'm sort of new to this.
Took a quilting class many years ago ... close to 30.
Didn't really stick with it.
Didn't know anybody then who was doing it.

Today I have a good Viking Designer 1 machine,
and I'm piecing up a storm.
When it comes time to quilt, I'm sending it out.
Have only done this a few times now, but it is frustrating me.
I'd like to do my own!

Now, I do NOT have a budget of thousands to be looking at long arms or mid arms. Even sit downs.
But if I'd find one used .... And that is what I am thinking.
I know of several used machines right now, and all of them could be ok.

Let me start with the first.
I THOUGHT I wanted a Handi Quilter Sweet 16 (sit down).
I'd tried it out at the local quilt shop more than once.
Thought this would just be perfect for me.
I LOVED the fact that it is sit-down, and I like the long throat space.
Would fit just fine in my sewing room.

Well, I attended the Chicago quilt show over the wknd.
Had the time of my life!!!
Tried out ALL the quilting machines.
I very quickly decided that I liked the "feel" of using the handles on the machine, rather than guiding my quilt around on a table top.
So ... now I am looking at the mid arms, or long arms.

I am disappointed that I'll probably have to "move" my sewing room to the basement if I get anything other than a sit-down machine. But, at least I have the option.

The machine that I seemed to love the best from the quilt show was the Block Rockit.
I could even buy new, although the price is my upper limit of what I want to spend.

I have an opportunity to buy a used APQS, but the frame is really a whole lot larger than what I want to get into. I have NO desire whatsoever to begin a business (I've never "quilted" anything large). This machine does not have the stitch regulator which I have taken a liking to. It does have a beautifully large throat area. I am told the machine is "older," but expected to last many years to come.

There is another opportunity to buy a Husqvarna Mega Quilter with a 10' frame, stitch regulator, cruise control .... and I like that fact that this is quite a lot less than I thought I might be spending. I am leaning toward this machine, actually. I am told it is not very old and that it is in good condition. My hesitation is that it has a 9' throat, so not a lot of stitching area. I LOVE the idea that I can also use the machine for piecing, especially if I would travel some. Would be a good machine to take with me. And I am a fan of Viking.

Can you all help me?
I think I can quilt a queen sized project on the Husqvarna.
Because I do not want a larger frame, I'm ok with this (even though my bed is a king size).
In all likelihood, I'd probably quilt a lot of runners, baby blankets, and twin size or double size quilts.

I still LOVE the idea of a sit-down, but since I've felt the difference in using a machine that I've guided using the handles, that really felt so much more comfortable.

But then again .... the idea of keeping the quilter in my PRESENT sewing room is a real plus for me.
But it'd require the sit down machine (that I thought I wanted).
Why do those HQ Sweet Sixteens have to be so expensive. Grrrrrrr.
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:10 PM
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You might be able to find a gently used Sweet 16. After a while some quilters want to trade up.
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:14 PM
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AliKat, right now I have the opportunity to buy two gently used (or so I am told) Sweet Sixteen's. One lady wants $2500 and the other wants $4000.

See, it's after I used the machines at the show with the handles that I thought I may not want a machine where I'm guiding the fabric, not the needle, after all. Which is why I would like the opinions of y'all here. I'm new at this, and not really sure of what I don't know about quilting machines.

Do most quilters prefer a stand up using handles?
If so, why?
What would be a drawback of buying a sit down machine where I guide the fabric?
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:34 PM
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It's a challenge to move the heavy quilt around under the needle; you wouldn't face that problem with a stand-up (though I'm sure a stand-up presents plenty of challenges, too). People do beautiful work with both options.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:12 PM
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Jackie, my preference is a mid/long arm. I attempted to quilt a lap size on my domestic machine a few years ago, and decided that trying to maneuver the quilt was not for me. I tried out different machines at quilt shows, and loved moving the machine instead of the quilt. I purchased a Pfaff Grandquilter at a special show price. The Grandquilter is similar to the Husqvarna, with a 10 ft frame (all I have room for). I quilted a lot of quilts in the 8 yrs I owned it, from baby to queen size. It didn't have a stitch regulator, and the 9" throat was very limiting. Last fall I upgraded to a Pfaff P3 with an 18" throat and a stitch regulator, and love it!
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:16 PM
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Why don't you check out the Bailey(http://www.baileyssewingcenter.com/test.html)? It's very reasonably priced, has a good reputation, good customer service and you can either get it with a frame or a sit down model. Quite often they even offer free shipping to the lower 48 states.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:36 PM
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Decisions, decisions. If I had a space for a long arm I surely would get one. Not having the space in my townhome, and wanting to save some money I purchased my Sunshine 16 at the Minnesota Quilt Show a couple years back. Very comparable to the Sweet 16 sit down, made in the USA by the man and wife that designed the Sweet 16 ( so I'm told). Since I'm mainly doing quilts for me and family, and gifts, it fills my needs, and when it sits for a month or so between uses while I'm making quilt tops, it doesn't bother me as much as having a expensive long arm may. Good luck on finding the right setup, and have fun!
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:36 PM
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I was in the same boat you are in last year, and I too went to the big quilt show in Chicago and tried all the long arms (I had previously tried a few of the sit down machines and liked those too).

I decided on a long arm as opposed to a sit down for one reason ... I HATE to baste quilt sandwiches!!

The long arm I fell in love with (Innova with lightning stitch) is pricey. Like you, I do not want to go into a long arm business, I just want to quilt my own quilts. As a neophyte to long arms, I could not justify spending that much on a machine without knowing that I would like it, use it, and become good at it.

So I scoured all of the various internet sites for used machines for sale that were local to me (within a 200-300 mile radius). I began my search in June, and found a machine and frame at a great price in October only 50 miles from me. I found my machine on Craig's List.

So ... if you think a good used machine is the route you want to go, just be patient and keep checkin all of the internet sites!!
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:41 PM
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The Block Rockit is new, so you're probably not going to be able to find gently used ones any time soon.

Keep your eyes open for a good used machine and keep stashing money aside. Let your local dealers, guilds, and LQS's know you're on the lookout. Check websites such as houseofhanson.com, longarmuniversity.com, and Yahoo's Sew It's For Sale group for good deals. In the meantime, see if there is a place near you where you can rent time on a machine. Spending a few hours on one will give you the best idea what YOU want and need in a machine/frame setup. It's all well and good to ask others what they think, but in the long run, only you know what's best for you.

Good luck!!
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:35 PM
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Hi Jackie,

That Block Rockit is a pretty sweet little machine! And more affordable than most. It's only available through Lynn and Kathy of KathyQuilts. They're really good with customer care, and make lots of videos to help you -- loading the quilt onto the frame to cross-hatching a quilt. Here's their website... http://www.kathyquilts.com Of course, you'd have to get a frame, too. Most Block Rockits go on a Grace Frame.
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