Just back from a wonderful trip to the Minnesota Quilt Show. I looked at (drooled over) many beautiful long and mid-arm machines and frames, but just couldn't bring myself to spend thousands of dollars when I don't know if I even have the coordination to run one of these.There was a small booth with a woman from Oklahoma pitching her "Easy Quilter" table top mini-frame. I thought it might be a way to get my feet wet. I realize it will be quite limiting as to size of quilts and it costs more than the Flynn tubular system, but I'm still intrigued. I didn't get to take advantage of the show special because I wanted to ask you all for opinions before I committed. Full price is $450 plus shipping (plus I have to buy a small table). Here are a couple of pictures, and the web site is http://easyquilter.com if you'd like to more know.
Does anyone have experience with this?
On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)
Never heard of it Nancy. Do you know if it can be expanded?
Handi Quilter has a tabletop frame similar to this that work well. They had one set up at the local machine shop when I first started shopping.
I just looked at the website for this. It is adjustable. It is less than four feet but the site says it can do queen and king sized quilts. So my guess is that you still have the sandwich the quilt as usual then use the frame to support the weight of the quilt while you move the machine, which sits on a wheeled platform, back and forth.
Looks interesting and should be good for someone with a small space and limited budget.
Kris:Looks interesting and should be good for someone with a small space and limited budget.
Oh, I have space for the full-sized real deal! Budget....well, since I'm not retired yet, I could afford a bigger one, but my husband isn't convinced that I quilt enough to justify it. I'm a bit conservative with money, too, and can think of lots of other things I could also spend those thousands of dollars on.
Thanks for the feedback, Kris. Anyone else know if these smaller systems work at all?
Nancy - this looks intriguing. Am I seeing things or in the picture of the woman quilting does the quilt already have the binding on it?
Ha, now that you mention it, it does look that way! I guess it's a staged picture.
You do have to do your normal basting of layers before you can quilt on this frame - so you'd either be basting with thread or safety pins just as if you were going to quilt on your DSM. I don't think I'd recommend binding it until the quilting was done though.
I followed your link and studied the set up and realistic possibilities. Having just stuffed and manipulated a queen size quilt under my machine that has a 7.5 inch throat from needle to back. IMO although it seems pricey compared to Flynn's system, you are actually moving your machine like a long arm and not your quilt as in Flynn's and FMQ. I think that's a plus if you're considering a long arm purchase. If you log into the directions part of the site and scroll down you'll see a picture of a larger quilt rolled up under a HSM and you'll get a more realistic picture of exactly how much room your going to have if you want to quilt a large size quilt. Note that the sides are clamped down so I doubt the back would still roll freely as they claim to give you increased space in these circumstances. However, I definitely see advantages because even if you only have a few inches to work front to back, your side to side motion would be greatly increased over the constant readjusting I had to go thru every 4 to six inches especially if you increased your table and "roll poles" to accomodate the size of your quilt.
Overall, IMO, I might give this a shot. Even if you did small quilts and table runners it would definitely give you a feel for what it would be like to manipulate a long arm and see if the "down the road purchase" is going to be what you really want. When the time comes, you could always list this one on EBay or Craigs List and make some of your investment back. Have your DH check it out, as talented as he is he may be able to rig you up your own system. Keep us posted on what you decide and how it works out for you.
For my money... I don't think I'd do it. Why? Well..I have a little Gracie frame. It's great! BUT my reach is so limited with my domestic machine that I hardly ever use it. More often then not, it just collects dust. Without the reach of a mid or long arm machine, you're limited to designs no bigger then about 3"-4" wide on a full sized quilt. I'm sure that the table top frames all have the same problem.
If you're thinking of going this route, I'd recommend talking to LQSs and sewing machine dealers. Get practice on their machines - a lot of them rent out space on their long arms, so you can quilt your own top and get the feel of the machine in doing so. In the end that'll be cheaper then the $450 you'll spend on a unit like this, and you'll have someone there to guide you. Think about practicing without the stitch-length regulator on if you plan to use a domestic machine at home (unless you're machine is equipped with one). I imagine that it makes a big difference in the "feel" of the machine and final stitching results. As a bonus, they might even tip you off if they take one in on trade or consignment.
As for the Flynn Frame... Well, my only experience with it was when a friend bought it. She ended up spending 2ce the purcahse price buying the nessacery poles and hardware that didn't come with it, and then she couldn't figure out how to put it together or use it! She cussed the thing at all of our guild meetings. So... go into that investment with caution as well.
Quilters are people who strip so they won't go topless.
this comment with regard to their refund policy would may me leery
track or wheels are
damaged, there is no refund
"Friendship is like a rose...opening one petal at a time only as it unfolds...day by day does it reveal its true beauty"
I have this quilting frame. First saw it at Houston Int'l Quilt Show. I have had it for several years. It works real good for me, but with any system, requires some patience. I use a Juki with 8.5" throat, can work quite a bit of space then have to adjust and roll and ré-clamp. I mostly meander and do some simple all over patterns to get them done quickly...don't have much patience to do custom work.
you can do larger quilts, but you do them a quarter at a time readjusting the "dowels" between each quarter....the rest of the quilt hangs over edge.
i cannot quilt by moving the quilt...just can't get it, but this works for me and within my budget. I still take some of my quilts to be done...especially if I want custom work.
hope this helps.
I have watched on youtube where they demonstrate that any sewing machine can be used to quit. Some frames come with a place for pattern boards. Those patterns can be followed with a "pen" and the machine sews the followed pattern. I could do that. Freehand quilting isn't for me. Nothing I tried has smooth curves.