Judy L's UFO Challenge

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Quilt Arm

I got a call from my boyfriend, who is working on an out of town job, the other day.  He told me about a lady selling fabric for $3 a yard and then he told me about a lady selling her quilt arm (he can’t remember long arm) for $6,500.  He encouraged me to call both gals and find out what the deal was as I would be visiting him soon and in these ladies vicinity.

I called the $3 fabric gal and got her story and made arrangements to go see her wares.  I did make a buy there.  Of course after I stopped myself she told me there was more fabric in the back.  Of course I had to look and found a little piece that I liked and added that to my stack.  If she had shown me these treasures first I am sure I would have bought lots of that and less of the other.  I told her when pay day rolled around I would probably be back to see her.  We will see.

I called the long arm owner to find out what she had and what was included in her offer.  Handiquilter Avante 18.  Once I had those answers I began researching the value of her machine, etc.  My biggest concerns were first moving a 12’ table and then placing a 12’ table in my home.  I didn’t value the thought of setting up the machine on my own only to struggle with getting everything to work properly.  I marked off a tape outline of how big the footprint of the setup was in my dining room.  After my mind calmed down at the thought of this monstrosity I measured out the height of the table and then the machine on top of that.  I have even begun thinking about where else I could put this thing.  In the process of my research I had a sales rep offer me her Avante for $900 more and she would set it up in my home and train me on it.  I think my issue is size.  Too big.
Let’s assume I can put this machine in my home and get it setup and can get past its size there is the issue that I really do not free motion quilt on my little domestic machine.  I have done some.  It isn’t that I don’t want to learn it is just that I hate mushing my quilt through the little throat space.  I have thought I need to do some small art pieces to get more practice.  I just have not.  Do I want to spend this much in hopes that I might learn one day?

I subscribe to a newsletter for estate sales.  Just this morning I found an estate sale titled “A Quilters Dream”.  Of course I had to investigate.  A room dedicated to fabric.  Bins of fabrics throughout the house.  Quilts. Quilt tops. Quilt Books.  You name it, they have it.  Then I spotted a frame quilting setup.  The pictures are not good enough to tell what exactly she has but based on some of the descriptions it looks like a Janome 1600 on a Little Grace II frame with a stitch regulator.  I have an idea of the value and I am planning to go have a look when the sale first opens.  It is a smaller setup and based on a new frame I saw online it can be setup as a crib or a Queen.  In the picture it looks like  crib size but even as a Queen it isn’t quite as big as that 12’ table.  On the newer tables the frame can be folded down.  Not sure I can do that with this one but it may be an option.  My thinking is that with this setup it takes up a lot less room and the investment will be a lot smaller.   When I think about having this setup I do not think of it as a monstrosity. 

Stay tuned.  I may be a quilt arm owner tomorrow.


Rhonda said...

My fingers are crossed that you will find a machine that works for you!!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

the problem with the big tables and frames is that you have to have a place in the house to put them - you say living room so I assume you do not have a basement or extra bedroom to use - you will be walking around it all the time remember. I was lucky to have the long narrow bedroom that my girls had moved out of some years before I got my hand quilting frame. I never move it it has been in the same place all these years and at times I wish I could move it and reorganize my room - can't. Keep that in mind even for a smaller set up than mine is. Don't want to talk you out of it or anything but just remember how much space they take up.

Krista said...

I have an Avante 18" in my basement. I LOVE it - but you would be best to have a dealer, or at least a service person, nearby who could take care of it for you. It doesn't have to be on a 12' table. The table comes in 3 sections, and you can set up either 4', 8', or the full 12' run. So, if you rarely do quilts larger than 90", the 8' setup might be good enough, and save you some of that "monstrosity" fear. It does take room - but I LOVE not ever having to crawl around on the floor basting my quilts. Feel free to email if you want more opinions (I have lots :) )

QuiltSwissy said...

Oh yeah, I shoul have said to you that you can set the frame up in a shorter length. There are 4 foot and 2 foot poles that can be set in any configuration. Like 4 feet, 6 feet, 8 feet.

If that is an issue, add that to your consideration. And I would be cautious with that last machine. It is difficult to work with. Go for the Avante.....JMHO......

Handiquilter has a sit down table that fits Avante. Not to confuse things, but two people I work closely with have that. Combines the larger throat with the freedom to quilt with a machine designed to move right, left, up and down......you just move the fabric rather than the machine

Bonnie said...

I love my Nolting long arm and have had it for 7 years or so. The first location I had one side against a wall -- I could only walk around it in one direction. It really wasn't a big deal. I like the frame concept as I don't have to baste a quilt to finish it. I load the backing, the batt and then the top. I started working with pantographs and some free motion and ruler work. I liked it but the end results were...questionable. I have decided that I don't have "rhythm" and it shows in my quilting. ( can't dance worth a hoot either.) I recently added a computerized set up and I'm in L. O. V. E. I do a small amount of quilting for hire and feel pretty comfortable now doing it.

Check around with your friends who own long arms. More and more people do. Find out which brands they have and like. Our first choice was the Nolting because it is self-serviceable for the most part and very sturdy. Our second choice was the HandiQuilter. Good luck. Let me know if you need to contact some HQ owners. I have two friends who own them. One has the sit down she bought in the last year or two. The other has a frame set up and pretty decent business going. Good luck with the decision.

ShinyNewThing said...

Did you get it? My two cents worth would be that it's better to have a bigger frame that you can store when you're not using it, as you will find it's not worth setting up for cot size quilts. And also given a choice between a frame that takes a domestic throat size, even a bigger one, versus a proper mid or long arm, then take the mid/long every time. My home frame takes my Pfaff which has a longer throat (9"? can't remember) but I am still limited to pantos of four inches or less due to the size of the quilt roll as it builds up under the throat. Very limiting plus I can't stitch around a whole block except in four inch strips. So I end up doing stippling a lot of the time which is boring to do and to look at. I would love to have a Handiquilter and I would do what I do now, which is to save up my tops and set the frame up once a year for a marathon quilting session and just live around it in my living room for those weeks. The beauty of having grown children is you can do that. I don't like machine quilting at a table at all, but I love steering around my Pfaff on the frame, it's completely different.

Anonymous said...

I have an Avante and absolutely love it. I have the 12 foot table. I have it set up in my dining room.....cuz who needs a formal dining room anyway! I love it!