Long Arm Quilting Machine

loisflanDecember 12, 2011

I just got into quilting, but I am trying to decide if a long arm machine is somewhere in my distant future. I guess a lot depends on how big it is and if I can get a used one at a good price.

What size machine makes sense for someone who loves to quilt, but probably won't be making anything bigger than lap quilts or single bed quilts? How much room does it need? What are some good brands? Anything else I should consider?

Thanks. Lois

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Lois, I have a Juki TL98Q with a 9" throat on an original Hinterberg frame. I have quilted queen & king size quilts (though it's not easy). If you don't think you'll make anything bigger than a single quilt a 9" throat machine would probably be sufficient for you, and that type of setup will be the most cost effective.

I think my setup cost about $1,600 around 5 years ago.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 10:16PM
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Hi Lois,

I have a TL98E (same size as the Q) without the frame. You'd have no problem quilting lap and twin size quilts and I'd guess even full size quilts on that type of machine alone--without even needing a frame.

Best of luck with your quilting!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 10:01PM
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I started getting serious this past year about what type of long arm or mid arm machine would be best for my quilting. Although I love the idea of having a big frame and all, I realized a sit down machine, with a decent sized table, would always be accessible and would fit just about all my needs. I could do all the attempts at fancy free motion that I want to do and most of the larger stuff too. I've free motioned a queen size on my regular machine so a long arm sit down should make that (almost!) easy.

I haven't purchased one yet but I'm on the look out for a good deal and expect it will happen in 2012.

I'm writing all this because I think we all WANT a long arm on a frame, but the sit down machines will do just fine for most non-professional quilters. And because they take up less room and much less preparation, we'll actually use them more. Just wanted to toss that idea out there for consideration.

Google 'sit down quilting machine' and you'll find some interesting options!


    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 8:14AM
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Kate, that sounds like good advice! Like you say, we all think we want a frame setup, but the learning curve is something else to consider.

It takes a lot of time and a lot of practice to feel like you really know what you're doing with the frame setup. (At least it took me a while.) It's very different from regular sewing, even from sit-down FMQ.

Another thing to consider is that you are on your feet a LOT. There are people who sit on a rolling stool to quilt on a frame, but I think most people stand, as I do. And it's a lot of bending and stretching, too.

If you can go to a quilt show where they are selling different types of machines, you can try them out and see what you think.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 8:41AM
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Thanks for that post, Donna. I hadn't even considered the standing, bending, reaching that's required for frame quilting but that would be an issue!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 12:31PM
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Thanks for all the information. It appears that there are quite a few choices - mid-arm, long-arm, standing, sitting. Well, I've got plenty of time to investigate and plenty of time to see just what I can do with my existing sewing machine in the way of FMQ.

I have only one week to go before I gift my first two quilts. I'm really excited. I just know I would be happier if I could do the whole quilt, not just the piecing and binding.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 5:53PM
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Lois, I want to respond....but after I get my next quilt finished (gift)....okay? I have a short arm on a frame, and I am right where you are when I started thinking about it.

I'm excited for you giving your quilts. Be prepared for missing them - it's likes sending your 1st kid to kindergarten ~lol.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 8:56AM
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