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Young mom considering LA purchase

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I\'m a 31 yo mom with three young kids (age 5, 2, 10mons)...and yet i find i have enough energy to enter gingerbread house contests and fall behind on getting my tops quilted (4 ready to go!).

I\'ve been reading through your posts about breaking the news to a husband (issue #1- that its time to look into a LA to save us $ in long run!) but i\'m also looking into whether there are other young moms who have one, who use it as a business, whether it confines you to the house that much more, ect.

In a way I\'m a closet quilter...i\'m a very cool person, I just have an old soul (my family says it, usually as a compliment i think ;) ), but its hard to convince other moms/friends to get into this, therefore its sometimes lonely, but the quilting bug is here to stay...

I\'m not sure what i\'m asking, just reaching out for advice/encouragement!


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A first, or second, question should be - are you doing this just for yourself or to also quilt for others and charge money, ie - set up a business, etc.?

If setting up a business and charging money - there will be lots of previous threads about that you can read here - just use the search function. Go to your local quilt shop and ask questions about referrals, backlogs, etc. Find out as much as possible if you are going to rely on that income to make machine payments or to pay yourself back. Take care and good luck!!

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I\'m also a 31 yo mom with a 2 yo son. I don\'t have a LA yet, but hope to buy one in May. Right now I have a Hinterberg stretch frame with a DSM on it (Juki 98L). I had about 12 or more tops unfinished before getting it. Of course after getting that, I really got the "bug" to get a LA.

When I get the LA, I\'ll be doing is as a business, part time. But I don\'t expect to be able to work with my son at home. He goes to preschool 2 days a week, so that\'s when I\'ll be working on customer quilts. I just find it hard to even work on my own quilts when he is home. The distractions from him are too much.

If you want a machine to get your own tops done, then a Hinterberg or Grace frame with a DSM or mid-arm machine would be the most economical. In fact, I\'ll be selling my frame once I get an APQS.

As far as being a closet quilter, Welcome to the Club! Have you checked into local Quilting Guilds in your area? I join one, and although the majority are older, they understand about the "bug". so much FUN!


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Thanks Karen and Pigletaz, nice to "meet\' you both.

I have a feeling I\'ll aim for something from APQS in the next year or so because i bought a simple sewing machine when i first started sewing/quilting (here i thought it would be mostly for baby clothes!)...and i ended up upgrading to something with a few more bells n\' whistles pretty quickly afterall! I cant imagine not LOVING a LA from the start.

A new question: will a machine/table and supplies take up a huge amt of space? Anyone out there working successfully in tight quarters? I do have a craft room that i can easily dedicate to a LA and keep kids out of...

I think it will be a part time job once i get the hang of it.

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Depending on the machine your get and the table you get will determine the amount of room you need. I have a 14\' table which takes up about 16\'-17\' by probably 6\'. I have lots of about and probablies because my studio is my basement...the whole basement, and I need it. If you offer batting for your customers you will need storage. Of course there are templates, rulers, panto patterns, books, thread, bobbins, customer quilt storage, tools for maintaining your machine, oil, WD-40, cleaning rags to clean the machine, oh, is that it. Then there is your sewing machine, your fabric stash, pattern books, design wall, ironing board. If you are running a business chances are you will need a computer, will it be in your studio or in another room?

Does it take up a lot of room...if you let..it will take over your house.

DH had to pack his deer head trophies away. The fish is still on the wall, but it\'s only a matter of time.

I would say if you are going to do this for yourself and you can work at your own pace, it will work. If you are going to do this for business, there are deadlines to keep, so that is something to think about. Customer\'s don\'t like to wait a long, long time for their quilts to be completed. Sometimes with little children it is hard to get anything done in a day. Sometimes they just need attention.

Good luck with whatever you do. You are in a great chat area for support and inspiration. There are some really great people here with lots of information they willingly share.

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I\'m 36, have 4 kids(9 1/2, 7, 5 1/2, and 4 years of age) and I\'ve been LA\'ing as a business for almost 3 years. I have NO support system for childcare--no relatives within several hundred miles, so I\'ve had to just figure it out as I went along.

My biggest advice to you is this: don\'t get yourself into a financial pickle. Life is tough enough when you have a litter of young children. If you end up with the burden of payments and the stress of trying to figure this all out, you might end up really hating everything. A supportive husband is really important too. Don\'t count on really making steady $$$ for several months. The reality is that you will not be physically able to spend the hours you need to get up to snuff for a few weeks or months. You also really have to think about how your children will react to your new toy. Will they resent you when you go into your room? Will you resent them because they will not give you any peace? Also, you will spend lots of time trying to figure stuff out---much of it on forums like this. Also, are you able to get to at least one of the big shows with LA classes(MQX, MQS)? Those classes can be really helpful.

Having young children and your own business can be a challenge. You need to have a strong desire for this to work at this time in your life. Also, consider that you will spend the bulk of your \'me time\' quilting---not piecing, picking out and fondling fabric, etc. Can you juggle the kids and a business?

One of the reasons why I can do this is: my longarm is in my dining room. My kitchen is a few feet away and the the playroom and dining room are one big room with the playroom being sunken in. My longarm is right in the middle of everything. I can be quilting and my kids are feet from me. We can talk to each other, listen to music, etc. while I\'m working. I can also see my front yard while I am quilting. My kids can be outside while I am working and it is all OK. Also, my youngest is now 4 and he plays well with his 5 1/2 year old brother. My two older ones are also very responsible and can be \'in charge\' outside. I can now find chunks of time to get stuff done.

I don\'t plan on quilting for other people in the summer--it\'s just too tough when all four kids are out of school. I also close up shop at the beginning of December. I don\'t have a social life really and frequently date my LA on Friday and Saturday nights. Are you ready for that?

I\'m not trying to discourage you, but I\'d hate to see you overwhelm yourself. I\'ll admit that sometimes I let my 4 year old play on the computer way too much just so that I can get a quilt done before his brother comes home from kindergarten. I also frequently find really big messes because I wasn\'t keeping a close eye on those stinkers because I was quilting. Luckily my kids don\'t really like hot meals :) and they really like fruit and cheese.

Best of luck to you!

Jill Kerekes

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I am 41 and have 5 kids (17 yr old, 13 yr old, 11 yr old and my soon to be 8 yr old twins) I started my business when my twins started kindergarten 3 years ago. Luckily for me I did not have to worry about paying off a loan that I took out in order to purchase my LA. We took out some of our equity from our home to purchase it. So the stress of raising a family and starting a new business was less than if I had took out a loan for it.

Be for warned though getting a business like this up and running successfully requres a lot of hard work and time spent away from your family (to build your skill, to meet other quilters, to basically get your name out there in the quilt world where you live). Some have purchased their machines tried to get a business up and running and had a hard time making it work...and some others have gotten to the point where they\'re sucessful to the point that it took too much time away from their children and husbands that they felt guilty so they ended up throwing in the towel.

There would have been no way I could have done my LA business when my kids were still at home at the ages that yours are (which is why I waited until my youngest were in kindergarten), it would have been extremely difficult for me to meet my dead lines, meet with customers etc..however some moms can make it work.

Oh and BTW you don\'t have to be someones grandmother to be a quilter, lol! Quilters come in all shapes, sizes, races, genders and yes even ages :) so come out of that dreadful closet (so you can make room for your fabric stash!).

Good luck!!

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Hi M!

(Sorry I can\'t tell your name from your posting info!) Other, positive things to remember....if you are living, sleeping, breathing & wanting a long arm ... an APQS machine is awesome.

Have you ordered their catalog? Go to http://www.apqs.com/ordercatalog.php to sign up and APQS will send you an info packet. Yes...their info packet is a sales pitch but it gives you tangible information also...a way to compare all of the machines side by side plus you get to see some of the great divas showing their quilting stuff in a video! Also, there is a pitch to husbands on why this is a good investment for a business.

The reason we (my husband and I) really decided to buy an APQS machine is that if everything does fall apart for some crazy reason, you can always sell your machine and get back a good part of your investment. If you notice, hardly any machines are ever for sale on this site. These machines really hold their value.

Also, read the reviews on the Lenni\'s....what a neat machine for around $9900. The Bank of Iowa near APQS is a great source for a business loan for these machines. They know the product and will give you a very quick turn-around on processing a loan. You don\'t have to fill out a ton of paperwork either. I don\'t remember if my rep forward my information to the Bank of Iowa or if I had to contact them myself. I think my APQS rep contacted them for me.

I am under 40 and have a blast quilting. I started when I was 36 and I\'ve been hooked ever since. Share your quilts with others your age ... with the Moms. Think about creating a time once a week or once a month where you and others your age (or any age) can take time to make the quilt tops. Yes...this is an old fashion quilting bee but you will be surprised at the the friends you will make and how many of us younger ones there are.... Grab a local teen babysitter to keep all of the kids while you and your friends have a blast quilting. It is great stress relief!

Also, look on APQS and look at http://www.apqs.com/demo1.htm This is where you will find dealers that might be in your area. If there is a dealer within a reasonable distance...call them and schedule an appointment to test drive their machines...bring your husband and leave the kids at home....gee...could you handle 6 hours without the kids?

If you want your ears talked off about an APQS machine or want business ideas, feel free to email me and I can call you back! I have not had a single regret in buying my machine. BTW, I work a full time job, raise 4 teenagers (which isn\'t too difficult) and quilt at night and on weekends and love it, love it, love it!!! (No...I don\'t have a life:P)

And remember...if you quilt it, they will come...

Good luck to you and let us know what you decide!!!

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I hate to be the one to put a damper on all this positive energy, but I will say it again. DO NOT go into debt to buy a longarm thinking you can pay it off in a year or two by doing customer quilts. Unless you have thoroughly researched your area, know how much competition you have, how much to charge, have lots of friends at LQS and guilds, DO NOT plan to pay off your machine in a year or two doing customer quilts- no matter what the literature from the machine companies says.

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You did not tell us in your post if you are planning to finance. Everyone is assuming you are because the cost of everything you need to get started. If may be that you have been planning this for a while and are financially able to jump in. We don\'t expect to know that, it is personal. It is good to see that you are getting good advice from both sides. The mom\'s that are there, and those of us who jumped in not really knowing what to expect, even after the homework.

I really wish you the best. I know having a dream is hard to hold in check and you are getting some info here that may be discouraging. You know your own energy level. You know your own buisness sense. You will need to do your homework. Read the other posts in the chat forum of starting your own business. Be open minded, if you read something positive and then something negative, consider both carefully. There are a lot of machine dealers here on the chat too who can answer a lot of your questions, don\'t be afraid to ask, but don\'t be persuaded to buy just because it is a dream.

Teresa is right in that some will tell you that you can pay your machine off in a year....I have not met that person yet, but am excited to, I have lots of questions.

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Hello ALL!!!

What a rollarcoaster ride!!!!!

The best part is you all assume i\'m still intelligent despite the elmo videos being piped in 24/7 :)

Every darn piece of info has been absorbed and i\'ll continue to read and reread it all...

I think i can share that it is possible for me to buy a LA straight out, and I will look into the Lenni, so that does take a load off the worry of making payments (something i was willing to consider if this was a business venture), and keeping deadlines- sheesh i barely get to shower! I also really take to heart the idea of my kids resenting me taking time away from them...so my plan, if it makes sense, is to make a few more quilt tops and have enough of a stack ready of my own to keep me busy for a while when i do get started, and play the rest by ear. Sortof a "if you love something, the opportunities will present themselves" kind of idea? In the meantime, every sister and young cousin who comes to visit me still expecting that they\'ll leave having completed a new quilt for their room ( boy have we done a lot of tying for that reason alone!)are just more practice sessions for me anyways...

anyone else start out that way???

And it is indeed time to come out of the closet!!!

God Bless All Of You!!!


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Hi ladies,

Yes, I agree with Teresa, don\'t expect to pay off the machine with customer quilts reallly soon into the business, I bought it outright, and have not had much business the last 2 months, nor made much money with my initial outlay for thread, batting and such. A person really has to research their area and find out if it saturated. I think mine is....very disappointed.....Denise

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Hi M. I am the Tina that Joanne (yeoldeforest) mentioned. I have emailed you privately with my contact info, and woukd be happy to talk with you.

I am 37 and my two boys are 4 and 1 and a half. My millie arrived when the baby was 3 weeks old. I also have the CQ. I quilt for myself and customers. I was lucky enough to purchase it outright too. I would not have been able to make payments. Business is good, I just can\'t get enough quilting time in with these two little monkeys. As you know, with kids, every day is different.

Also as they go through different phases, it creates different problems. When the little one was smaller, say before he could get around or I could confine him in a play pen, it was easier. Around that time, the older one was content to do his own "art" projects (no painting in the studio!). I could get a lot done then. Lately though, the little one who is quite a daredevil, is into everything and I can barely get into the studio. It is just too stressful. It won\'t be too long until I will be able to say "stay over here", and he\'ll get it. For now, I can really only quilt on the millie late at night when they are asleep and hubby can take over.

I basically stick to the CQ for customer quilts. Until I can get more time in for PPP, my freehanding will have to wait.

I have no regrets getting the machine when I did. It is the perfect fit for me. I quilt when I can, and enjoy my boys like crazy. I will have plenty of time to get better at using it when they are in school. By the way, I have more business than I know what to do with, and I have established a small customer base. They give me plenty of time, and I can manage a rush job now and again. I just never really know what each day will bring.

Good luck with your decision, and please feel free to contact me.

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Hi Mary Beth!

It was great to talk to you, & welcome to "our world" & your coming out of the closet!:P

I started out quilting when my children were quite young & it was a perfect balance for my life.

I am looking forward to seeing you the next time the Beavers play a game! LOL!;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Marybeth,

Sounds like we have lots in common- I\'m also a 31 year old stay at home mom with 3 kids ages 4, 2 and 7 months. I have owned my longarm and been in business for about 15 months now. If you want to chat more I\'d love to share my thoughts with you. Feel free to email me at piecejoyquilting@aol.com

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