I'm a want to be longarm owner. Right now I have a Babylock QCP on a New Joy "Magic" frame. I use the Quilter's Cruise Control with it to help with speed control but it is not a true stitch regulator. I've been shopping around for a bigger machine but I like so many of them that I haven't been able to settle on one yet. I also don't have the funds at the moment.
I like my frame as I am able to sit down and quilt. I roll from side to side with the machine. Pantos are place on a shelf above the machine so I have to stand to do those. All work is done from the front of the frame so I use less space than if I had to work from both sides. I need to find a machine that allows me to keep this frame as I am quite pleased with it.
Nancy, I was watching a free motion demo recently where the gentleman said that stitch regulation is like having training wheels. As you get more practice you'll find you don't really need it. Music is great for finding a rhythm.
I've only been quilting for a couple of years and a year ago was able to purchase a used Janome 1600P and Gracie frame (able to do King) . Had tons of problems getting the stitch regulator to work properly and after taking he entire setup apart three times, I got it to work. Wednesday I finished my second quilt on the frame and then ran quickly to my fabric shop yesterday to ask questions about some of the problems I had. (The shop sold the machine to the original owner and are great about answering my questions). I have two panel quilts that are ready to quilt and hope to have done ASAP as they are gifts for a birthday party on Labor Day. I have done mostly free hand, but have used the pantographs once and have used some patterns from Mary Covey's collections a couple of times.
I have an opportunity to buy a used Pinnacle frame. The store is getting 2 in soon. One has a wooden carriage for approx. $500 and the other will have the metal carriage for $800-900. I am very interested and will need to buy a machine. I'm looking at the Janome 1600P. Since I'm new at this, I don't feel justified spending the money on a true long arm machine yet. I test-drove the one set up in the store and had fun with it. I think that an investment of around $2,000 will pay for itself after I finish my quilt tops rather than sending them out.
Does anyone have an opinion on whether I should buy a stitch regulator or is it easy to learn to get into a rhythm and make consistent stitches?
I just saw Beth's post after I posted my question!
I didn't think the Gracie frame would hold a king size quilt. The brochure says it goes up to queen size.
Sheri - I have the Pinnacle metal frame and 1600P. I also have the stitch regulator and really like the way the stitches turn out, so if you can afford I would purchae.
I bought the Husquevarna MegaQuilter and frame because that was what I could afford at the time from a friend who was upgrading andalmost imediately, my husband and I sold our business and I went shopping for a new setup. I chose the HandiQuilter Fusion and I love it, I would love to have some time to use it. but I have noted a couple of things with this machine and frame. The belly bar for one, i think the frame is set properly for me to use comfortably. I make sure my shoulder don't "hunch" and I haven't had an issue when I actually use the machine for a couple of hours. the belly bar on the other hand is at the right place that when I quilt, I lean against it and give myself a tummy ache.
I haven't had a problem with the tension (yet) and i seems to do what I want it to, I just don't know what it ask it to do yet!! I am learning that slow seems to be best, and with the quilt on the frame, i learned that I will be very careful about deciding to stich around every single stinkin element in the preprinted panel. (two large panels, 8 smaller panels and about 30 teenny tiny preprinted blocks) Huge learning curve on how to keep the machine steady etc. and trace each element like a quilter and not a preschooler.
Jeanine:Everyone was using different kinds of rulers but I am just not sure how to use them. That is something I would like to learn more about!
HandiQuilter has some good information about their rulers, and they are for use with ALL brands of mid & long arms. As you click on each ruler, one or two illustrated PDF's will become available showing the use, and elsewhere on their site (or maybe it was on YouTube), there are videos demonstrating the use of the rulers. I've purchased two of them, but I have not actually used them on a quilt yet.
Here are some of their videos:
On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)
Hi thanks for starting this Jeanine. I just purchased a used APQS Millenium directly from APQS and it arrived in July. it has the Bliss system which was what made me choose that model. I have a long way to go to get acquainted but am hoping to start a business once I'm comfortable that I know more about what I'm doing. So far lots of fun but we've been travelling a bit so I haven't had as much "play" time as I expected. I also just placed an order for a bunch of pantographs after trying out some continuous line quilting designs I got in a book from the library. APQS seems to like Superior Threads so that's what I've been using so far. There are a good number of long arm quilters in my area (northern Delaware) so I'm not sure how successful I'll be or what to expect down the road but I'm excited about it.
MNnancy, I have a Baby Lock Jewel with a Grace Pinnacle frame. I do have a stitch regulator. I turned my machine to manual stitching and found out that if I set the stitch speed to 30 and started to quilt. I found thatI did fine on the straightaways but I could not help but the speed up on curves just like driving a car. Once I concentrated on maintaining the straight away speed my stitches smoothed out.
I hope this make sense
My Ipod station is in my studio!
I get my batting from Quilter's Dream, you have to have a business license and an EIN Number, they will send you a price list and a sample pack of all their battings. Superior Thread does business the same way. Superior has thread cards($3 per card) that are fantastic, the cards have the actual threads on them so you can better choose your thread for a particular quilt. It will cost you half what you pay at your LQS.
Charlotte Casey: I just purchased a used APQS Millenium directly from APQS and it arrived in July. it has the Bliss system which was what made me choose that model.
I have that, too, and it is so smooth. You'll do great. Just be patient with yourself. You will be surprised a year from now how far you've come!
MNnancy:HandiQuilter has some good information about their rulers, and they are for use with ALL brands of mid & long arms.
Thanks. I'll check that out.
Going to wade in here as I may be the newest long armer. I just got the baby lock crown jewel. Was installed just this Wed. Not only is it something I have wanted for a long time but it was purchased with money my mother left me. So it is named Momma's Jewel. I have been doing free motion on a brother for over a year and pretty comfortable with that. So I didn't think I would have a problem with the Jewel. It does have a stitch regulator. (PS I need training wheels) I spent a day just droodling and trying to get comfortable with the machine. So far I have put the bobin in wrong once. (once is enough) I have a hard time with wasting material on practices. So I made a very simple 4 patch lap robe to practice on. I have the 1st row done and will work on again tomorrow. Dummy here did a moif in the squares, so lots of start/stops. I also purchased a tall drafting chair, so I can sit and quilt. The machine is on a Gracie Pinnacle Frame.
I have not tried the pantograph yet. Just haven't done it yet. Here is a question, the shop that I bought this from gave me a pack of needles that are Singer. Can you use just regular needles in these machines? The instruction book says 134 R Needles, whatever that is suppose to mean. Anyone know? where do you all get your needles from.
So glad for this message thread. Thanks Jeannie for getting the ball rolling. Anyone with advice, please give it, I need all the help I can get. I will have to take picture of my first practice, it is like back to square one.
Granny M: Here is a question, the shop that I bought this from gave me a pack of needles that are Singer. Can you use just regular needles in these machines? The instruction book says 134 R Needles, whatever that is suppose to mean. Anyone know? where do you all get your needles from.
You will need to use an industrial needle for your machine which is the 134R.
This is one site that sells them and there are probably many other places that see the type of needle you need. The longarm needle needs to be tougher than a normal sewing machine needle or it would be breaking all the time.