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Second guessing myself on getting a long arm.

Second guessing myself on getting a long arm.

Old 07-28-2019, 02:09 PM
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Default Second guessing myself on getting a long arm.

Ok folks, maybe I'm venting or maybe I'm looking at my mortality or whatever the case may be, I'd like your input or thoughts on this vexing thing I'm looking at. My husband and I will be selling our home and downsizing to a point. When we do, there will be enough money for a new home and toys. My new toy will be a longarm. That's been the plan, however, well meaning friends and family think I've gone off the deep end wanting a longarm. Comments have been, look at your age, will you be able to learn how to use it. Another one I've heard is "my friend got one and she never used it" on and on they go with why it is not a wise decision on my part. But a motorhome is ok, we have an old one, a boat is ok.
I am 73, through the years I've taught myself to quilt, I have a embroidery machine that I also learned how to use by myself, I've had 3 separate careers in my working life, tax accountant for the state, case worker for the state and a donor tissue specialist in the medical field. I really welcome your comments and I value your opinions. I feel better now.
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:18 PM
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I think these folks that are cautioning against your potential purchase are well meaning but it’s really your choice. I don’t have a long arm but it’s clear to me through reading on this board that most of the people that have them seem to enjoy using them. Your description of yourself reads to me like you wouldn’t have any problems learning to use one. At that point, the question I would ask is: Am I going to make enough quilts for the purchase to be worth it? If the answer is yes, nothing should stop you!
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:19 PM
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I’m 70 and was just gifted a long arm, I know it wasn’t the same step as a purchase but I sure don’t feel to old to learn how to use it! Your money, your choice!
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:22 PM
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​I think I would rent some time to do a couple of full size quilts to see how your body feels. If everything goes well, then go for it!
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:31 PM
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Ask yourself this: If not now, when? I'm 70 now, but I bought a used long arm set up when I was 60. Like you, self taught. I have a lifelong inherited medical condition that is basically slowly killing my peripheral nerves. So what? It has never stopped me from doing what I want to do, although it has influenced how I do what I want to do - and, looking back, probably my choices of what to do. In fact, my long arm purchase was made because my arms and hands will NOT allow me to quilt on a sit down machine of any size. (I can piece, but do simpler projects and love doing it.) Replaced my now former system with a Grace Q'nique 21 with Quilters Creative Touch Beginnings. I am working hard to learn how to use the new software. My 75 year old sister has my old system.

Looking forward, I expect that in 5 or so years I will not be able to stand at the long arm anymore. But it's 5 more years of doing what I like to do. And, with luck, I will find a way to continue quilting.

Yes, you will be able to learn it. Yes, you will use it. Your friend who said her friend bought one and never used it. ...ask her if her friend will sell it to you!

Your life, your money. Do what you want!
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:40 PM
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I know some very active 85 year olds - I know a 90 year old woman that still bowls - every week!

If you went on a trip - would these same people be saying "don't spend the money"?
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:40 PM
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Hi, I bought a demo APQS Lucey which has a 26 inch neck when I was 61....I am glad I did.....I have done 47 quilts on it...all for myself....what I have discovered is...that I am a utility quilt maker....love making quilts that can be thrown on the floor, have a dog lay on it, be picked up, thrown in the washer and dryer...and be wrapped around a person again.....no fancy quilting...but I love being able to finish my quilts myself....I do wear trifocals...got my eye doc to give me a prescription for "longarm glasses" which corrects the near and mid-range vision...works great...no longer can quilt all day...but three hours is good...and I can do that...cuz my longarm lives in my house.....I also got a 5/8 inch thick 12 foot by 3 foot mat which really helps out my legs and feet....I would suggest like someone else has...taking a class and renting time on a longarm if it is available in your area...or trying out a friend's machine if they are willing....just to make sure you like it....I sure do...much better than trying to find someone to the quilting and much better than basting a queen sized quilt and wrestling with it under my little machine....
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Old 07-28-2019, 02:44 PM
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Your life your decision. You may live into your 90s and get good use out of it. It really doesnt matter your lifespan. If you want it and can afford it. Why not. Thats what retirement is for, enjoying the years you have left
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Old 07-28-2019, 03:04 PM
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I agree with Tartan, take a hands on class where you have to load the quilt on the rack and actually manipulate the machine. Some have found they don't like it after just that brief introduction to longarming and that would be your best bet and time and money well spent.

Longarming does take a toll on the body. I am 59 and don't have near the stamina to stand at the machine like I used to, even just a few years ago. I am completely wiped out after about 4 or 5 hours at it and hurt all over so I take Aleve and sit. That said, most of my work is intense with lots of ruler work, dense fills and unforgiving precision in many of the designs I come up with. I am usually recuperated by the next day. I don't have robotics, all of my work is hand guided and my art, not a design developed by someone else. But I do pantos as well and those are designed by someone else. If all I wanted to do was pantos, I would never have gotten one, I would send my quilts out. My passion is coming up with unique designs for custom quilts and I have very specific ideas of how I want my quilts done and I have clients that love my work or can't envision how to quilt a quilt so they pay me to do it. But I have scaled way back on quilting for others.

When I first started my LA journey, I took a certification class at a quilt shop so I could rent time on their machine. This class assured me I wanted to pursue longarming. I then tried several out at shows. I researched and compared prices, made a list of must haves and can live without, compared ease of movement, visibility, customer support, ease of upgrading the machine, ease of self maintenance (and make no mistake, there is self maintenance!) There is a lot more to learn than just how to operate the machine unless you are blessed with a dealer close by who will make house calls whenever there is a technical problem and also knows what they are doing. I have read some horror stories.

Once all said and done it was over a year from first laying hands on one to actually getting one. If you are considering a computer driven setup think long and hard and research all your options, don't fall for the slick sales pitch. The good ones are very expensive and the amount of $$ you would spend on one you could send a lot of quilts out to a professional longarmer who also has CG LA to do the computer guided quilting for you.
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Old 07-28-2019, 03:05 PM
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Rhonda Lee, when my Mom's hearing started to go I encouraged her to get hearing aids. She balked saying "I'm so old". I said yes, but you are alive and I want you to hear better for the rest of your life. She got them and it all worked out.
Moral of my story is you're alive now, right? Get what you want. Nobody has a crystal ball and frankly, I can't believe people in your life are even giving you opinions. It's your business only.
Let us know what you get!
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