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Did You Know How To Quilt Before?

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If you get tired of my questions please let me know.  Even though I have several more tops to quilt, I'm waiting on a groovy board to arrive before I put my Pink Butterfly quilt on the frame.  It should arrive by mid-week and then I won't have as much time to bug all of you with my questions.

 

I know purchasing a long arm is really expensive and I was wondering how many of you already had experience using some type of machine on a frame whether long arm, mid arm or short arm.  OR did you just jump in and buy your APQS and then learn how to quilt using it?

 

I know that those of you that do it for a business pay for your machine that way but for those of us that just do it for ourselves...well....you can't really put a price on enjoyment.  It's the same way with my bass boat and motorcycle....my wife says each fish I catch is worth about $1500.00.  LOL.  I told her I can't take it with me and I'm sure not leaving what I have for some other man to use after I'm gone.  (Of course she liked that statement)

 

David


David

 

 

 

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David

   I did not know how to quilt on anything before I bought my APQS machine.  I tried to quilt on my domestic machine and I had done a few baby quilts by hand as a teenager in college but not anything like what you are thinking.  I only did the one quilt on my domestic and then I bought my Millie.  I started surfing the internet and the APQS is the one that sounded like the one for me.  I have had it for 4 years and I am still a beginner but I would not go back.  I have an IQ computer on it as of last October which has helped me with the things that I can offer my customers and I am always asking questions on this forum.  The people on here are so good to answer questions and give advice and also if you just read what everyone is talking about you can learn in advance about things that will come up in your quilting life.

  Good luck and happy quilting.

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Well David I quilted twin and smaller on my domestic machine for a few years bought a wide throat domestic machine then when my husband was talking about buying another tractor I said if you buy another tractor I am buying another sewing machine.

:) I now own a 2005 Millennium and I love it...I think he likes his Tractor  also :D


 

Terry

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I started out quilting on my domestic machine and even taught classes. It is amazing what you can accomplish on a domestic machine and nowadays machines come with larger throat spaces to make it even easier. I just had a regular Pfaff with a small throat space and was still able to quilt queen size quilts with it. Eventually, I graduated to a short arm - a Pfaff Grand Quilter and Inspira frame. It was about $4.500 at the time and I had that for 3 years and quilted over 150 quilts on it. I ended up quilting for a small customer base which started with my friends, then their friends, etc. etc.  So finally, I decided to get my Millie after some research. It was the best decision I have ever made. In retrospect, I should have bought the Millie straight away and bypassed the Grand Quilter, but like you, I only planned to quilt for myself and couldn't justify the huge expense at the time.

 

You're absolutely right!  You can't take it with you! I'm now looking at buying a computer system for my Millie. Been hymning and humming about that for over a year now and think that soon I will take the plunge.


Caroline

2009 Green Millennium with Quilt Path

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I had quilted on a viking mega quilter on a 10 foot frame which I had gotten when they first came out because I could not stand to think of the idea of getting down on the floor to pin baste and then shove my quilt through my DSM anymore....it was a relatively low cost option and I learned it was much better on a frame then down on the floor on my knees....I also was having some problems finding long armers in my area at the time and I also was tired of the long waiting time..I did about 30 quilts on that first set up.....I bought my Lucey as a retirement present to myself and gave up the cruise or visit to Europe....I am not much of a traveler anyway....I am going slower than I thought...but I am still glad I did it and hope to pick up the pace...I find I don't nearly have as much free time in retirement as I thought I would...tee hee!  Lucey is so much better to quilt on!  Actually the quilting space is a bit too much!  I am shorter so don't try and roll the maximum anymore and I still get lost in all that space sometimes!  Lin

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I started out using my DSM, then I saw a Handi Quilter frame that you used with your DSM..........used that for a while, then moved up to the mid size Handi Quilter machine...........used that for about 5 years and decided I was ready to move up to a bigger machine.   That's when I went with the Millennium...........I'm only 1 hour from the Des Moines showroom, so that was a big reason I went with the APQS.   I got lucky the day we went to look at the machines in Des Moines and they were having a special on the Millennium.  I really hadn't intended to go right to the top of the line, but it was a no brainer on the price that day.  Hubby was also very impressed with the quality and workmanship of the frame and everything.  Never regretted my decision.   I know some and read about some on here that start out with top of the line and all the bells and whistles and then "now what do I do with it?"   :D  I'm glad I eased into it gradually.   I don't quilt for others as a business.........just a few friends now and then, but I figure I've saved enough $$ just doing my own quilts instead of paying someone else to do them, that I have covered the cost of the machine.........


Linda B.       :rolleyes: 

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I didn't do any quilting before getting Madelyn, my Millie. I tried hand quilting but knew it wasn't for me. There are several great longarmers in my area but I'd always had an interest in quilting my own quilts. Bought her 2 years ago and still feel like a beginner. I learn so much from everyone on this Forum. Don't be afraid to ask. And Welcome to the world of APQS.


Ann

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Hi David,

 

I just bought my Millie in October 2014.  Had done very minimal FMQ on my DSM, but had been "thinking about a long arm" for about 10 years.  Very big learning curve for me, but mostly fun!  Good luck.


Joan

Houston, TX

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David, I love your questions.

 

I had pieced for years and years, but had only actually quilted three or four quilts by using the straight lines and my DSM.   When I went the Paducah quilt show for the first time and tried out various longarms I knew I just had to have one. I immedidately came home and started looking for one. I found my Ultimate II on Ebay a few months later.  After 5 years with that one I moved up to the Lenni I now have.


8259635bf834a637a7febcce54170daf.png Sweet T's Custom Quilting Finley, TN  (731)-445-6411 sweet_t_quilting@yahoo.com

 

http://sweettsquilting.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/SweetTsQuilting

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David, I started our quilting on my DSM (a 1984 Bernina 950 with very little throat space), and even got a John Flynn quilting frame to work with it.  (You move the frame on tubes under the needle.)  Did several quilts on that, including a queen, and boy was that a process!  Eventually decided I was done quilting on my DSM, and would send out future quilts, although I never quite got around to doing that.

 

For our 25th anniversary, my DH and I were supposed to go on a walking tour of New England in the fall.  However, by the time he found out when all his fall golf and fishing outings were scheduled, it was too late to book that year.  OK, next year.  Oops, same thing.  At that point, he said, "I'm really sorry this isn't working out.  Would you like a longarm quilting machine as compensation?"  Talk about a no brainer!

 

I started doing research, went to a road show and a machine quilting show, and fell in love with APQS.  I only quilt for "myself," which in my case also means gifts and charity quilts, and felt the Freedom was the right choice for me.  I have been very happy with Emmeline, and don't regret losing out on the walking tour, especially since I developed plantar fasciitis in both feet, and couldn't have gone on the trip anyway!! :D


Betsy

quilting with Emmeline, a 2011 Freedom SR

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I quilted a flannel baby quilt on my DSM and it was a disaster.  I decided I wouldn't quilt anything again unless it was on a longarm.  I read this forum for 3-4 years and eventually gave up telling my husband I wanted one.  When he suggested longarming as a side business, I couldn't refuse.  I don't do custom work much yet, but that's ok.

Joan

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I quilted baby quilts on my DSM for myself and figured I was getting tired of waiting to get the $$ to sent out my larger quilts and then waiting for them to boot, so I bought my LA  so that I could do my own quilts from start to finish.  I do plan on taking in customers (I have had a couple). The learning process is  pretty quick....it's just practice, practice, practice.

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I had been making tops for years, some I quilted on my DSM and hated that experience, and some I sent out for the professionals to handle. I had been dreaming and wishing to own my own longarm for several years just to have the pleasure of knowing I had made the entire quilt. I attended many quilt shows with vendor malls and test drove several brands of long arms. I really hadn't made a decision which one to buy when I happened into a super great deal on a green Millenium. Besides being a terrific machine, I liked the idea of reusing/recycling. I've had Ivy (named her this as she is a "green"machine) for over 5 years now and have been very happy with her. I've done some upgrades to her adding overhead and led lights ,the Bliss system and hydraulics. I will probably keep her the rest of my life and pass her on to one of my daughters when my quilting days are over. Hey, then they can quilt for me!!

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I was a horrible but enthusiastic DSM quilter. I tried a frame for my DSM the first year they came out and was horrible at that too! Four years into quilting, I used the "I'll start a business to pay off the machine" plan and bought a Millie at a Roadshow. That good decision has made me a happy woman.

 

There's a tipping-point that's reached when a decision is made for a big purchase like this.

Everybody who loves piecing wants those quilts finished. Some want to control the entire process. Some are so prolific they're tired of spending $$$ to have their quilts finished. Some are fascinated by the ease and intricacy of longarm quilting. Some are talented DSM quilters and want to up their game. Some are at home for various reasons and want a home-based business. In any case, almost every quilter I know is fascinated by the process and probably would love a longarm if they had space, time, and $$$. If you have all three, it's a wonderful ride! 


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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David:  I started on a friend's KenQuilt 622.  I hadn't sewn, and really got started because I enjoy building machines.  If you ever worked on an old 622, they left a lot of room for improvement.  She was having all sorts of problems getting it to work satisfactorily.  I ended up rebuilding the entire table.  Since I was then the "expert" it fell to me to quilt while the others pieced.  Because the 622 was a stretched class 96 Singer and built from cast iron, it was quite heavy and slow to respond.  We decided that a different machine might be an improvement.  We went together and bought another system built by a man we knew.  It was based on stretched Singer 201.  It worked OK for simple edge to edge, but anything more involve than that wasn't easily done. What's more the bobbin system on the 201 really didn't work that well for quilting.  We sew in a group at my friend's studio.  Well about a year after we bought the P17 (the 201 based machine) a lady joined our group who owned a Gammill Classic.  She had been seriously injured in an industrial accident, and because of her health, didn't use it.  She volunteered that machine.  We sold the P17, and I started using the Gammill.  I began to get requests from others to quilt their quilts, and I didn't think it was fair to use her machine for my profit.  Besides it was at the studio, and if I were to do commissions, I wanted a machine at my house.  So I found this forum, and bought a used Ult 2 off it.

 

That was almost 5 years ago.  I've been using both machines since.  I decided I wanted to do more artful things than I was doing at the time, so I had Intellistitch stitch regulators put on both.  I have up-graded wheels and other components since, and am happy with the results.  I've quilted nearly 500 quilts on the 2 of them.  Most for the studio sewing group, but some commissions as well. 

 

Now after having used 4 different long arms, I have some advise.  If you decide you want to quilt, buy a good first line machine( APQS, A-1 Elite, Gammill, Innova, Nolting, or Prodigy) to begin with.  It will save you lots of money.  It's not necessary to buy a new machine if you don't want to make that kind of an investment.  These are industrial machines that just don't wear out, and used ones are generally readily available.  They are easily repaired and maintained, so you don't need to worry about them being used.  I think all of them are well supported by their manufacturers.  (I can't say that for some of the lesser brands on the market)  

 

I can't imagine quilting on a DSM, or even a big sit down machine for that matter, but lots of people do, and produce outstanding results.  Maybe it's just how you start out.  Anyway, if you like quilting, make the plunge to a bigger machine.  After all quilting is quite a reasonable cost hobby.  (just compare the annual maintenance cost of a long arm to that of your boat)  Hope my thoughts helps you out.  Regards.  Jim

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I pieced quilts for four years and sent them out to be quilted.  I had a "revelation" in a class with Gloria Loughman in 2004 and have quilted all my own quilts since.  Three years on a 6" throat domestic, researching longarm constantly, before my husband said I could buy a longarm with some redundancy money he had coming to him.

 

Best decision we both have made.


Lyn Crump   Hand Guided 2013 Millenium Blissed and Gliding    APQS Sales Rep SE Qld Australia   www.busyquilting.com.au   On Facebook and Instagram as BusyQuilting


Attitude is everything - So pick a good one!

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I quilted with a Janome 6500 and 10' metal frame Magic by New Joy.  It only had a 9" throat, so I was very limited in sewing field.  I did a LOT of research and test drove many manufacturers but was not content with any of them.  I test drove APQS machines at a Road Show and knew immediately that was the machine for me.  I am so sold on the APQS company, it's warranty and incredible customer service reputation that my goal is to be a representative for the company this year.  I urge you to get out there and try as many machines as you can get your hands on and talk to lots of owners. This forum was confirmation I was making  the right decision.  Back to "have you quilted before" question... My husband who is an accountant was able to write his name with my machine (and it was legible) and he has never touched a sewing machine or artist tool in his life!!! The bliss system is absolutely incredible.


Betty Reid

The Quilted Petal

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I started out hand quilting wall hangings. I tried a domestic machine on the first Handi quilter table mounted frame and broke the machine. I never have finished quilting that top! I quilted baby quilts and 2 full sized quilts on my domestic machine and ended up with lots of tops. I never did send any tops to another quilter. I thought it was too expensive! (Ha! a long arm solves that problem???)

Then as my youngest daughter finished high school, I wanted to be done with the mind blowing stress teaching high school special education had become. I started researching long arms and wanted an Iowa product so APQS won. We went to Des Moines to see what they were all about. I fell in love with Millie and she was a show classroom machine so she was discounted. She also became mine!

I had her for 1 month and our basement flooded! After the clean up and repair, I started the learning curve! I made some jackets of course during my last year of teaching.

Then I learned about Machine Quilters Showcase. At my first MQS I won an education grant......took lots of classes and was awe struck......won a ribbon for a jacket....quilted my quilts.....quilted for clients! Just what I love to do! Create in fabric and share my passion with others!


Jennifer Bernard

My quilted jackets are on a competition journey around the country

gathering pretty ribbons (sometimes)!

Quilting with my Millennium and playing with my Quiltazoid!

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David like many I had no long arm experience. I tried stippling on DSM well that baby quilt was thrown away. I decided to buy a Millie and only after I found out all the neat toys you may need to go with her I decided to do a few customer quilts. Well that was over 4 years ago and still doing customers quilts and buying lots of new toys for machine lol. My opinion for what its worth if it gives you happiness and you can afford it go for it you only live once and you my as well enjoy it! For what it would cost you to have a few quilts long armed it might pay you to invest in one. Let us know. I remember after I got mine being I didn't know a thing about using it I stood and cried for days wondering what I had done now I love being able to create designs on all these quilts. Good luck.


DC12129C0D6E29AFDA0FA104B0862144.png

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Thanks everyone for your replies.  Very interesting to see where everyone came from. 

 

Like many of you I started out on my Bernina machine...then since I was a woodworker I made my own frame and quilted a couple of quilts on it..but could only stipple or meander with it.  When I retired last year I decided I wanted a larger throat machine...didn't have room for a regular longarm long frame but found a mid-arm 15" machine with a 8' Grace SR2 frame...I can do up to a queen size on it....I've thoroughly enjoyed learning about it.  There were times during the learning process (still learning) that I could have thrown it away, but I've done several quilts now on it.

 

My last quilt was a queen size memory quilt I made for my wife 10 years ago....she had planned all the designs she wanted on it so I never would do it until I had a machine where I could do the designs.  On that quilt I did my first actual ruler work, groovy boards and free hand feathers.  I had practiced a lot on practice quilts.

 

I'm gradually getting comfortable enough where I branch out and try different designs....whether I ever quilt for anyone else or not for money..well..we'll see.

 

I have to say though that after reading all the posts on this forum for the past several months if I was to upgrade to a longarm it would be APQS.  You folks have convinced me.  For now I'm happy with my mid arm and learning how to quilt the different beautiful designs you folks are doing.

 

Thanks for welcoming me to the forum.

 

David

 

 


David

 

 

 

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DSM for small quilts at first, then rented a stitch-regulated LA at a store to finish a couple more quilts.  I LOVED the quilting more than the piecing. Hubby found my Ultimate 1 in the little 'thrifty' newspaper!  I'm still a newbie when one counts the actual number of quilts I've done myself...I don't piece fast enough to keep myself in tops.  

 

Sammi in frozen MT!

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I tried to quilt on my domestic machine and literally hated it. I also disliked having to pay someone else to quilt my quilts when I wanted so desperately to make the quilt totally myself. Then 2 friends and I decided to take lessons on a Gammill long arm machine over an hour away to see if we even liked using a long arm and to see what it was all about. Needless-to-say, I was hooked and neither of my friends were. It was then that I was on the hunt for a LA machine and before this one lady was selling the machines, she had nothing but PRAISE for APQS and their machines so that's when I decided to get one when I went to my first MQS show. At the time I was working full time plus and had NO intentions on quilting for others or as a business. Well, times and things change, and 4 years later my business of long arm quilting for others started and I haven't looked back. :)


Cindy Thompson

(My perfect quilting combo...Milli and Quiltazoid)

Chrome Top Quilts

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David,

 

I had always been a hand quilter but time wasn't my friend and getting one quilt done a year wasn't really satisfying my creativity. I started out on a DSM and hated it. It was too hard to move the quilt around and I rarely do a quilt smaller than a queen.  I started to do some research of machines on frames.  I really had no idea what was out there.  I found a old stretch rotary machine that cost about $2,000 with a frame.  It wasn't so much that I was worried about wasting too much money and figured I could always sell it for 1/2 of that to get back some of my money.  It didn't have a stitch regulator and was controlled by a motor that ran a router.  LOL  Ironically it was the same exact machine that I learned to sew on.  In fact it was a White Rotary Machine and I still have my grandmothers machine.  It stitched great and I had fun learning the ins and outs of it.  Rita R. on this forum was a huge help helping me learn how to load a quilt and figuring out how to use it.  I had a friend that invited me to go to MQX and I guess you could say the rest was history.  The first class I took was with Kimmy Brunner and my love of feathers was born.  I looked at all the machines but loved the milli the most.  It was way more than I ever dreamed of spending.  About 3 or 4 months later there was a road show near our house and I asked hubby if he wanted to go.  I told him we could spend the night and just have a nice day out.  Deloa Jones was the rep showing the machines.  We got into about the first 5 min. and hubby leaned over and said, "Why do I feel like a sucker all of a sudden?"  LOL Well I bought that machine and have never regretted it.  I do have a business although the last year has been very bad, mostly because I just haven't had time to quilt for others with all the curves life keeps throwing my way.  I was invited to Camp Mowana by Deloa and that was the single best classes I've ever had.  It is a 4 day retreat and you have machines available 24/7.  Oh what fun we had.  I went 3 years in a row until they ended.  I've also hosted a camp in my area.  If you can ever have Deloa come teach or attend one of her classes do it.  She is such a good teacher.  My machine was extravagant but it brings me lots of joy so well worth it.  I'm blessed to be able to have it!  

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Other than testing out a friend's long arm - I had ZERO experience with them when I bought mine.  It was a little risky!  I read everything I could and watched every YouTube video I could find on them though before I bought.  Then I practiced night and day for several months before I started on client quilts.  :)


Valerie Smith

Pumpkin Patch Quilter

http://www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

http://www.pumpkinpatchquilter.etsy.com

Pantograph Co-Designer for Urban Elementz

https://www.urbanelementz.com/shop/category/quilting-designs-by-designer/valerie-smith/

 

**As of March 2015 I will be Quilting on a 2000 APQS Certified Used Millennium!**

Quilting from January 2013 to February 2015 on a non-stitch regulated 1999 Ultimate 1

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