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TOPIC: Mid Arm Machines

Re: Mid Arm Machines 15 Aug 2014 14:22 #120794

  • ajclapp
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I know someone who has a Juki and is not happy with it. She is looking to replace it with a Handi-Quilter. If you plan on quilting for others you need to get the largest frame that will fit in your space. And if you plan on doing a lot of quilting for others you should go with one of the "big guys". I went with Innova because I liked the stitch regulator and was planning on doing mostly computerized quilting. My space would only comfortably hold a 10' frame and I chose the 22" depth. Now I'm wishing I had the space for a 12' or larger frame and at least 26" depth. There are many great machines out there so try as many as you can before making a decision.
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Re: Mid Arm Machines 14 Aug 2014 22:20 #120783

  • suehenyon
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Who needs a dining room? If I had a husband (choke) who offered to buy me a long-arm, I'd have one on order already! If you are making several king & queen quilts, go for the stand-up, as big as you can possibly squeeze in. You don't need to walk all the way around. Talk to the dealer about this. One end can be up against a wall. I have an HQ Avante with a 12 foot table. I don't think it will hold a king-sized quilt, but will a queen.

I can load a large quilt on my frame in half an hour & I'm slow. How long does it take you to layer & baste a quilt sandwich? How are your knees? This won't change if you get a sit-down machine. I will say that I've a few months of practice ahead of me to do the fine free-motion work that I can achieve on my domestic machine, or my sit-down, but I've been working on those for years.

The thought of a wooden table would make me nervous. These machines are heavy.

Don't be intimidated by "the big guys." Look at all the thousands of people that own long-arms. Everyone had to start learning at the beginning. There are tremendous educational opportunities across the brands, and all the education works for all the brands. Youtube runneth over.

I knew I wanted the computerized system, so Handiquilter gave me the most bang for my buck, and I also have a fabulous dealer close by. Dealer support and reputation is, IMHO, very important, as with purchasing high-end domestic machines.

Go for it!
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Re: Mid Arm Machines 14 Aug 2014 21:27 #120781

Sharons440,
Susan doesn't have a lock on funny - you're pretty amusing too! I can identify with the space problem; it's either use two small bedrooms (this means I'll have to kick out our resident guests, but you know what they say about dead fish and company [that after three days, they begin to stink], and these folks have been here four MONTHS), or take over the dining room! My DH has offered to buy me a longarm to celebrate his upcoming retirement. Says get it now, or forever wish I had. (Can't argue with that!) So, I just spent several hours down at a quilting machine showroom, trying out all the machines. I didn't know if a sit-down model, such as the Sweet Sixteen, or a stand-up behemoth would be the better choice for me. They can be pretty close in price, by time you factor in stitch regulators and extra surface "wings." I am a bit intimidated by the "big guys," but could probably get over it. I am making several king and queen quilts for family and friends, so ease of quilting LARGE projects is a factor, too. After trying them, I've decided that if I can create the room SOMEHOW, stand-up is the way to go. As for standing up, I'd get one of those rolling, adjustable saddle stools and sit down, anyhow. Now all I have to decide is WHICH brand and model! I need help on that, or at least another opinion.

I'm looking at a Tin Lizzy model with a wooden table, or the Juki with a steel table. The Juki is made in Japan, not China-assembled-in-America. It has stitch regulation, start/stop and needle up/down on the handlebars, 2300SPM, and is only $900 more than the Handi-Quilter Sweet Sixteen and $200 more than the Tin Lizzy RAM. Arm length is 18" with vertical clearance of 10", and has the option of being able to be controlled from the rear for using pantograms. (You have to move the handlebars and the controller screen, but that's no big deal.) I'm figuring on quilting for others, to help justify the expense. Any opinions? All are welcome!
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Re: Mid Arm Machines 16 Jul 2014 16:49 #119915

  • Sharons440
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Susan, you're funny.............but actually I kicked out two kids so I could have their bedrooms. One ended up as a dedicated sewing "studio". So, no I don't really have the need for a big frame. Most of what I make is lap size or smaller. I just get so frustrated trying to see around the head of my DSM that I figured a mid arm would be nice. Besides I will never get the quality using my DSM due to size limitations should I want to even think about trying to enter into any shows once I retire.
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Re: Mid Arm Machines 16 Jul 2014 16:28 #119913

  • suehenyon
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I don't have a stitch regulator on my HQ SS. I learned to use the machine at about 15 to 20% of the motor speed so I just step the foot pedal all the way to the floor & move the fabric in a controlled manor. I didn't like the BSR on the Bernina, but I've been "pushing fabric" for years.

I did get a long-arm, though, and love stitch regulation. I had to move a lot of stuff to Goodwill to do it! My kids laugh at me because my entire little house is a sewing room now.
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Re: Mid Arm Machines 16 Jul 2014 16:00 #119908

  • NanaPie
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Susan, have you liked using the stitch regulator? I feel I do better not using it - but I've only had my machine a few months. I've found that Handi Quilter has wonderful tutorials available on line, although I bought a Platinum 16, which I am told is also the same as Handi Quilter and Babylock Tiara.
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Re: Mid Arm Machines 16 Jul 2014 15:39 #119901

  • suehenyon
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Sharons440 wrote:
I am unable to determine if there is a difference between the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen and the Babylock Tiara.


Yes, they are the same machine, manufactured by Handi-Quilter. It's a great machine. Watch David Taylor's show (I think he was using his sweet 16). It takes a bit of practice. I had to learn to slow way down. I also do lots of samples to get the tension right. It's not as instant as a Bernina tension, but with practice you will get really good at it. The visibility is so much better than with a DSM.

A side-note of interest: at the awards ceremony at Paducah this year, all of the long-arms were called mid-arms...long arm being a definition reserved for the really really big machines.

Are you SURE you don't have room for a long-arm??? Some people have been known to get rid of their living room furniture :) , put one end in a closet, use the garage, build a new room,

Enabling here....
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Mid Arm Machines 16 Jul 2014 14:42 #119892

  • Sharons440
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Hi All,

I am wanting to purchase a long arm but do not have the room or really the need for a full long arm on a frame. So, I decided that a mid arm (I think that's what they are called) would work perfectly. I have been doing some research and have also decided that a machine where I sit facing it head on (like the Sweet Sixteen or Tiara) is best for me as opposed to the George or the likes.

With that said, I am unable to determine if there is a difference between the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen and the Babylock Tiara. So figured I would turn to the experienced and experts. Does anyone have a mid arm machine and if so what do you like vs not like about it. Any info or guidance you can give is greatly appreciated. My current machine for piecing etc. is a Bernina 750qe but I would really like the ability to be able to see what I am quilting instead of staring at the head of my machine which is always in the way.

Thanks for any input you can provide.
Sharon
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