Recommended Posts

HI.  I am dreaming of longarming.  My question is...  Do I buy a machine and then learn or take lessons somewhere and then buy a machine?   It would be for just myself doing charity stuff .. Any tips for a dreamer?  Thanks. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

APQS has Road Trips all the time, they travel all over. Check their website and see where the nearest Trip is to your location. I would go to one of these Road Trips and test drive one or all of longarm models they offer.


8EA3F8AB67CAE9B4618443BDC6588E06.pngsignature.png.1b0eddf5a8f9b785ff18723ff6665887.png

Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken.



 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say buy a machine first and then take lessons. You can't apply what you learn in classes if you don't have something to practice on. You can always look at videos and tutorials in the meantime to get your brain ready. :P Good luck!


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had never used a long arm but I knew I wanted one. I just bought one with out any classes and never using one. I could only afford a Lenni so that is what I bought. I have only had it since October 2015 and I am have to say it is not as easy as I thought it would be. I have the basic machine and do not have the bliss table so not sure if the bliss table would help make using the Lenni. I still love this machine and would have bought it even if I had known it was not as easy as I thought it would be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought mine first, then learned to quilt. This forum is a great place to bounce ideas off of others and get pointers. Since I started quilting, so many years ago, they now have the hands on classes you can take, then quilt your quilts in a store or a studio. This might be a good option too. I have seen some people buy machines, then decide quilting is not for them, they love the piecing part of the process. If you know someone that has a longarm, and will let you play, that might help too.


Mary Beth 

Powered by 2009 Freedom

Future winner of the Millie Sweepstakes

http://marysnutshell.blogspot.com/




 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If there is the opportunity close by,  I would definitely take a class and rent some time on the machines if they have the option.  I bought mine first because no one was offering rental time close by.  And honestly, I don't know if I would buy or rent time now.  It would depend on how many quilts I think I might make...rental may be the $ way to go and then the folks at the shop would be doing the maintenance on the machine giving you time to quilt away.  downside would be having to take your quilt off at the end of your time period whether or not you are done.  I make mainly bed quilts for myself and family so don't need to do a lot of fancy quilting to them useful.  I am in my 60's don't know how much longer I will be long arming...I am not a natural at it and between my trifocals and having to limit time standing and losing some fine muscle control.  I don't think I will ever be a show quality quilter.  That all being said....I am glad I got my Lucey and have already done a fair number of quilts on her.  I did pay for her outright...so...I don't need to make money to finish paying her off....I would think that within a short period of time....you really would be able to make a good decision for yourself and any money you spend on the rental and lesson times would be well worth it as you would now have the basics and some practice while someone is there to guide you....Have fun!!!!!   Lin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took an intro class before buying my longarm, and it was kind of a waste of money for me.  We were shown how to load the quilt backing and top, how to thread the machine, learned all about thread, then at the very end of the class we were able to quilt on the longarms.  Since the longarm was a totally new piece of machinery to me, all that time showing me how to load etc. with no time to practice it, it just did not stick in my brain at all.  I didn't buy that brand of machine so it didn't apply to what I do now anyway.  I would recommend either an APQS Road Show or going to a big quilt show where you can try out different machines.  Buy now, figure it out later is my motto.  

 

Carol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Two sides- I began by doing some research and diving in with a Millie purchase; I had barely touched a longarm. No rentals in my area and only one machine dealer. So I had some basic loading/doodling under my belt on my own machine before attending an MQX for a concentrated set of lessons. I got more out of the lessons having a beginner understanding.

 

However, by having the opportunity to take in-depth lessons on 3 or 4 different longarms, I was really able to define which ones I liked working on and why, and realized how lucky I was to own an APQS machine!! I can't imagine how I would have felt if I'd bought something else and THEN driven an APQS. It worked for me to buy first and I'm thankful every day that I made this choice.

Anne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought my first longarm in 1994 sight unseen without laying hands one, ever.  Back then there just wasn't the wealth of info that there is now.  My manufacturer knew me on a first name basis, that is how often I called.  If I had known that Pam Clark, Dawn Cavanaugh, Linda Taylor, and Marcia Stevens were out there doing the same thing, I would have hunted them down!!  LOLOL 

 

Buy first I say!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought a Freedom, never having used one.  I took classes from Jamie Wallen and Deloa Jones.  The best classes I have ever had.  No other classes have helped me in comparison.  They were, pretty much, lectures and drawing, but we  did have a little hands on.  I came home and  practiced, practiced, practiced.  I do a lot of custom.  I, also, do pantographs but I love the custom.  The feeling of having accomplished good custom quilting on a quilt is so great.  .  I don't have a computer and at this point in my life I probably won't buy one. So many of my  quilting friends think the design work comes naturally to me.  It may for some but for me I practiced a lot.  Just drawing on paper or anything that you can draw on is an immense help.  The folks on this Forum have been a great help when I get stuck or have a question.  I bought the longarm before I had ever made a quilt.  I say go for it.  But be sure to practice.  If you can draw it you can quilt it and the quilting is easier!  Good Luck.  janice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is sound advice to buy first. Linda Rech is correct when she says you can't put class time into practice without one. Buy the best machine you can afford; even if it means getting a higher end machine used versus a new low end. Happy Hunting!


c7bae4be5138b5e1d1f267e209f5b9f6.png

APQS Millenium in

Spring Creek, NV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have purchased three longarms in the past 10 years. I never touched a longarm prior to purchasing my first longarm. My first longarm was an Ult 2 non stitch regulated. I purchased it from a woman who only did one quilt on it and hated it; she used the frame for displaying her quilts for years before I purchased it. My current longarm  (a millie) I purchased from a woman who only did a few quilts on it and just hated it. So my advice would be to test drive one atleast before purchasing one if you can.  Oh BTW I purchased two of the three longarms I have had right off the forum here.


8EA3F8AB67CAE9B4618443BDC6588E06.pngsignature.png.1b0eddf5a8f9b785ff18723ff6665887.png

Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken.



 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's my 2 cents.  I love quilting  and when both of my long arm quilters retired and I realized how much $$ I was spending on sending out my quilts or looking at the pile of quilts that kept getting bigger  because I just couldn't afford to send so many quilts out, I decided I could do it.  I bought a Millie.  I think where there is a desire to do something, then there is the will and you will find the way.  Take the beginners class, practice, practice, practice and take classes whenever you can.  You will be a success at it if that is really what you want to do.  There are YouTube videos for ideas, there are friends, there are quilt shows to attend and look at the different quilting techniques.  The world is open to you to learn as much as you want.  Of course, you have to decide just how much you think you will like doing your own quilts from start to "finish".  It is very satisfying.  Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to all who responded!  It's a big expensive decision and I am not sure I would have the coordination or the discipline to "practice, practice, practice" as several of you have suggested.  I was hoping it would be something that you plugged in and could create fun things without practicing too much....  You know that instant gratification thing! ...Just wish I had a crystal ball to tell me if I would enjoy it or not before shelling out the money.   Having admitted that, I am still dreaming of longarming!  Hope to win the contest for the Millie!   In the meantime I will get on YouTube and watch some videos and try to get to a show or event to research this some more.   Thank you for all the advice.  It is very helpful!  I am open to any other tips you may have as I look into this expansion of my sewing hobby.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aline:

 

How much do you enjoy free-motion quilting on your DSM?  I would think that if you enjoy it you would enjoy your longarm.  I might suggest you see if anyone in your local guild has an ABQS longarm, and see if they would let you play on their machine.  I took a class on a Gammill, and thought it was a lot of mass to overcome and move around.  Later in the same day, I got a chance to play with an APQS machine at the same show.  I found the APQS to be much lighter and more responsive.  The fact the APQS had Bliss may have helped, but I also know the same size machines are much different in weight.  Best of luck to you.

 

Cagey


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cagey,

 I have never done any free motion.  I sew a lot and do machine embroidery and like it. You can quilt on the embroidery machine but end up rehooping all the time and I do not like that idea.  I have sewn some quilt tops and enjoy that part of the process. This is a new venture for me.  I have played on a Crown Jewel at a local quilt shop for 15 minutes and liked that.  It was a new item for them to sell so I was hesitant about it.  I need to try some others before making a decision one way or the other.  APQS seems like they have a good machine since they offer lifetime warranty.  I see May 18th they have a Roadshow in Des Moines so I am going to try to go there. You mentioned weight of the machine... Do I want lighter or heavier?  I have a big room so space isn't an issue but it is in the basement.  I am in my 60's so getting a machine down there and set up would be a problem for me.  

 I don't belong to a guild... always working but will be retiring soon so that is something to think about. Thanks for your input.

Aline

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aline:

 

As you have to make the machine change directions, so lighter is better.  Less mass to slow down, stop, and then start moving in another direction.

 

If you can go to the road show in Des Moines, I would definitely suggest going.  That way you can get a half hour hands on demonstration.  Depending on the size of the area you live in, you may have more than one guild.  My area has numerous since there are so many retirees and "snowbirds".  The different guilds meet on different days of the month and different times of the day.  With some in the evening for those that work during the day.  See what you have in your area. Quilters are a helpful group, so you may be surprised who will let you try out their machines.  Plus you meet a lot of great people.

 

Cagey


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aline:  Seriously consider buying a used machine.  A much smaller investment, and easier to get most of what you paid for it back if you decide long arming isn't for you.  But not just any used machine.  Stick with the six first line machines:  APQS, A-1, Gammill, Innova, Nolting or Prodigy.  They're all good, have great tables, and will hold value better than the lesser brands, and most of all, they all have great product support.

 

I bought my machine, an APQS Ultimate 2, here on the forum, sight unseen.  Now I had experience with two earlier machines, so I knew I liked long arming, so I wasn't exactly in your situation.  The only regrets I have is that I didn't buy one of these six to begin with.  Wasted a lot of money on inferior equipment.  Do some more demo tests.  If you continue to enjoy sewing with a long arm, take the plunge.  Good luck.  Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aline, you can pay to have your machine set up for you in your basement.  Not a huge cost, and well worth it if you are concerned about being able to do it yourself.  I did that just for my own peace of mind, and am glad I did.  Of course, I watched the whole set up process, too.

 

Jim is right about buying a quality used machine.  Substantial savings over brand new, and you still get an excellent product.  Machines are posted for sale on this forum all the time, and APQS also sells used machines taken as trade-ins.  There are also very good deals on new machines at APQS road shows.  Naturally, I am partial to APQS, but if you can go to a show where there are a variety of machines available to try, it really helps to compare.  Doing that is what confirmed APQS as the brand for me.

 

Best of luck to you in your decision making process!


Betsy

quilting with Emmeline, a 2011 Freedom SR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am selling my Pfaff Grand 18.8 long arm with frame, Quilt Assist 3.0, dead bar, zippered leaders, CDs with patterns, and other extras. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the machine I just do not have the time. It is barely used. Priced to sell and is a steal. Im not sure where you are located. If interested send me a message. PMeek

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't know if I would like long arm quilting or not. I could manage a lap quilt on my DSM, but I didn't like struggling with getting the quilt through the throat space. I don't quilt for a business and I couldn't justify spending so much money on an expensive machine. I bought a Voyager 17, which is a machine that is cut and stretched. I got the machine and it sat in the basement for about 5 years in the boxes, because I went to work and didn't have time to quilt. I retired and set up my machine. It was not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I watched a lot of videos on YouTube and practiced drawing on paper and quilting sheets I bought at the thrift store. I was having problems with thread breaking and shredding. This forum is invaluable. I have learned so much and I have minimal thread breakage now.

The other day day I was a bit stressed about something. I had a practice sheet on the machine and I just went in and played and I felt better. Even tho I'm not great, I enjoy long arm quilting and I'm improving.

I still can't really justify spending the money on a more expensive machine, but my husband said go for it. So, I put a down payment on a Millenium at a roadshow. I have till September to decide if I'm really going to get it. If I don't win it I will be getting it. I don't really have to decide. Haha

Deb.


 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...