As I prepared to retire in 2010, I decided to go ahead and buy a Longarm quilting machine and I pretty much just plunged right in. I tried a few, selected one and bought it. It was delivered to my house a couple of months later and much to my surprise I didn't immediately jump on it and start quilting like a pro. Nearly three years later, I am very happy with my machine but boy, that was kind of a numbskull way to go about it. I decided to come up with a list of considerations for a Longarm purchase I wish I had had before I bought my Gammill.
- How wide do you want it?
- How much can you spend?
- Where will this machine go?
- Is the dealership less than an hour away for lessons and maintenance?
- Do you plan to use it to make money and is that realistic?
- Are you planning on sitting or standing while using it?
- Will you ever need to move it in the room?
- Will you ever want to change the height?
- How comfortable are you using big, really big, pieces of machinery?
- Is completing each phase of the quilting process important to you?
- Are you prepared to spend years becoming competent?
- How comfortable are you stretching your arms out and stitching and how far is it comfortable?
- Do you know other longarm quilters who you can visit or get advice from?
- Are you prepared for your friends to think you are slightly crazy?
Here's what I figured out were my answers to these questions.
- I wanted to be able to do King sized quilts so I got mine 12 feet wide. I have never done one but by golly I am prepared.
- I spent a lot, think about that. It's like buying a boat.
- I had a sewing loft but it took 3 men to get it up there. Take a 12 foot two by four and see if yours will fit.
- This was one of my mistakes, I bought at a national show and my dealership, while I love it, is over two hours away. I wish it was closer.
- NO WAY! This was a hobby.
- I thought I would sit but the chair I bought didn't work out. I stand so I had to buy an anti fatigue mat. Think about it.
- Yes, so I am super glad I bought the wheels extra.
- This is one of my biggest regrets, I didn't get the Hydraulics so I could set it to for my sitting height and then change it to standing.
- I was kindof freaked out when it was actually in my house. Be prepared to be intimidated.
- This was my main motivation, I wanted to do every step of my quilts. I didn't want to piece the top and have someone else do the quilting. I love that I do it all!
- No, quite frankly I wasn't prepared. But I did and now I feel competent. But before I felt really incompetent and wondered if I had made a huge mistake.
- I bought an 18 inch throat and sometimes wish I had a 24 for less frequent rolling. But I just realized I couldn't stretch my arms that far. I am very happy with 18 inches.
- I knew no one but I met one at my guild and she was fabulous. I should have talked to more Longarm quilters ahead of time.
- People probably already thought I was crazy, this confirmed it.
I am now very happy with my Gammill, I feel competent but I would never want to do this for money. I have no desire for the customer service, I want to quilt my quilts! I would love to hear your thoughts on Longarm quilting or any questions/ideas you have. Share them on my Facebook page.
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