Today’s Topic: Learn to Longarm Quilt
Good Morning, Quilters!
Starting today, I will be adding a new series of posts, Learn to Longarm Quilt with Lori! ( I love alliteration LOL!)
Yes! I did it! After years of thinking about it, I took the plunge and purchased a longarm quilting machine. Please join me as I chronicle each step of the way. This week: Purchasing a Longarm Quilting Machine and Frame and Setting Up a Room for Longarm Quilting
BERNINA–Tried and True
After testing several brands of longarm quilting machines at various quilt shows, I purchased the BERNINA Q24. Faye, Nora and I tried many very good machines, but I decided on the BERNINA first and foremost because I liked the feel and intuitive design. Secondly, because there are several BERNINA dealers near me, I know I can get advice and service. (You are buying a dealer, not just a machine!) And finally, as a life long user of BERNINA sewing machines, I have a general comfort level with the quality of the machines.
Shopping at Quilter’s Haven BERNINA Dealer
After consulting with the lovely owner, Jean Graham, I decided on a few optional accessories:
Hydraulic Lift–Because my daughters and sisters will learn to longarm too, I think the hydraulic lift will be useful to accommodate our different heights. Also, I’m not sure if I will want to sit or stand while quilting, so the hydraulic adjustment will make both options easier.
Frame Casters-Casters allow the frame to be moved more easily. While I’m not sure we will move the frame often, it would be hard to add the casters after the frame is set-up, so I added this option just in case.
Mechanical Channel Locks-This simple device allows you to quilt perfectly straight lines. I imagine these will be useful right away.
Palm Precision Handles–The dealer recommended I purchase these as she thought the hand position is similar to the way I currently quilt.
I did not buy:
The batting roll holder or the extra shelves because I plan to build those into the room itself.
There are many other accessories including pantograph and ruler work accessories which were very tempting. However, I showed a little (very little) restraint and decided I could purchase those in the future. (Funny how we create these little economies and then feel virtuous!?)
The BERNINA long arm frame comes in three sizes. The dealer had a floor mat outlining the available sizes. I was able to take the floor mat home and evaluate how the frame would fit in my room.
I chose the Classic size (12 feet by 3.9 feet). It holds a quilt up to 108″ wide. The larger size would not fit in my new room and the smaller size would not accommodate most of the quilts I want to make.
The Qmatic-Computer Controlled Quilting
After doing online research, my plan was to purchase the Q24 and the frame without the Qmatic computer. I have always enjoyed creating my own designs and creating quilts this way seems the most natural to my current workflow.
However, I brought my husband with me….
He took one look at that computer–and convinced me it was necessary. His argument: even if I didn’t want to use it, my daughters and sisters might, and technology is always the way to go.
He’s probably right, but don’t tell him I said so!
Order to Delivery
I ordered the machine in October and it arrived 8 weeks later via a cartage company.
They wheeled two huge packages up my driveway and into the garage. One long box contained the frame and the other package included several boxes: the machine, the lift, and the computer.
Currently, the boxes are patiently waiting for us to set up the new studio.
Once the studio is ready, a BERNINA technician will set up the whole thing.(This is optional–you can do the set up yourself by following online videos.)
Setting Up the Room
We are reclaiming a room in the basement to use as the quilting studio.
The room is currently the “junk drawer” of the house. Everything that is broken or has no other home, lands in this room.
The hardest part of this whole process will likely be getting the room cleaned!
Next Steps: Drywall, Flooring, Lighting and Electrical
My husband will be doing the drywall and ceiling.
An electrician is coming today to upgrade the electric, install outlets and prepare for the lighting.
With a little luck, the laminate floors will be installed in two weeks.
I will add details and photos as we go!
Do YOU Longarm?
We’d LOVE to hear from YOU, readers!
Do YOU have a longarm quilting machine?
Have YOU ever considered purchasing a longarm?
Any thoughts or comments on our progess so far?
Do YOU have a big project or something to learn in 2021?
We’d LOVE to hear!
As my son always says….
Go BIG or go HOME!
What have I gotten myself into this time!?!*(@#????