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Topic: Longarming...  (Read 798 times)
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anaximander
« on: August 11, 2011 11:03:16 AM »

So, I'm curious of y'all's opinions of longarming in general. It's something I've started getting into, but there doesn't seem much discussion here other than the cost. Is it something you wish you could do but can't afford, something that you don't care for because of this/that/the other thing, or is it anti-diy-ethic? Smiley
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Homerof2
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2011 01:24:43 PM »

I would love to have someone long arm quilt for me but it's just too expensive.  I was at a trade show a few years ago and talking to a lady that was just starting to do it for others and I gave her the dimensions of a baby quilt I was working on and she said it would be $75.00 to quilt.  I can't imagine what she would want for a queen sized quilt.

My fabric costs for a baby quilt aren't that much and I just can't justify spending that for something I'm giving away.  Maybe when my grandchildren start coming I might consider it but not now.
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Eamea
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2011 07:24:48 AM »

I don't think it's anti-diy any more than using a regular sewing machine to quilt.  I'm not crazy about the quilting when an all-over motif is done regardless of the top's pattern.  I realize this is more due to the the quilter, though, and not the machine.  Wink  The cost is what keeps me from having my tops sent out.  Given the time it takes to load the quilt and do the work I'm sure it's fair, but I just don't have the money to spend.  If I had the money and/or space I would definitely get my own long or midarm machine.

I am getting tired of wrestling with large quilts in my regular machine.  The way they have to be squished or pulled to get them in there sometime affects the stitching.  Some of the wonk is definitely me, but sometimes the quilt is just too bulky for the machine to work properly.  One of my LQS will rent their longarm.  You have to take a class on how to use it, and then you can schedule the machine.  I've forgotten all the details, but I think it ended up being about half the cost of what it would be if they did the quilting for you.  I'm planning on looking back into it for the next large quilt I make.
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SimplySandy
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011 06:57:11 AM »

I was at a quilt show and there were a couple of distributors of the long arms.  I tried them out and loved them.  I just couldn't wrap my brain around spending $15,000 dollars for one.  They are really awesome and you really need a special room for one because they take up so much space.  In order to justify owning one, I think I would need to quilt for other people and I'm just not comfortable doing that. 
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anaximander
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2011 11:44:30 AM »

Yeah, the machines are indeed crazy expensive, and depending on the area, getting it machine quilted can be costly depending on the design. I got my wedding quilt basted by a longarmer, and it was $50 (granted, it was worth every penny - I'm probably going to post photos of it in the next few days), which, for something I'd basically rip out, was a bit of a shock.
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anaximander
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2011 09:06:23 AM »

I was thinking about what Eamea said with regards to design.

I was initially really biased against pantograph quilting. I'm astonishingly specific about how I want my quilts done, and a lot of time they're very specifically related to the quilt pattern itself - be it shadowing, echoing, free motion or SID. Because my mom does some amazing hand quilting herself, I've always viewed it as an inherent part of the design, and not merely a functional element. And I think that is a kind of subconscious bias that I've been carrying around with me.

I've been playing around, and I've finally found some pantographs (all over designs) that I really love. They're not traditional in the slightest (and again, if I can get out tomorrow, photos will be forthcoming), and allow me to have "finished" quilts that much faster. I think of my cousins who attempt quilting and who get the top done, then struggle with fighting it through the machine and who find that part utterly painful, and so it sits there, unfinished, practically forever. They've done the part they like best, but can't really take joy in it, because it's not "finished." Custom quilting by a longarmer is out of this world expensive ($400 for a queen sized and *up* - way up) and isn't really necessary just to have something "finished" and I think a pantograph would work well in this scenario, even if it's not quite as unique as, say, outlining each block.
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threadworks
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011 05:37:25 AM »

I make a living quilting tops for other people (with a longarm). You may think it's expensive, but consider how much time & trouble it would be to do it yourself. You're also paying for the quilter's creativity & experience (plus overhead, etc.) It's the same as hiring a plumber or car mechanic - sure, you could do it yourself, but it would take five times as long, you'd have to buy tools & materials & you still might not get the job done to your satisfaction. And remember, just because somebody buys a machine, they aren't suddenly an "expert." Expertise takes time, learning & experience. Once you DO find a longarm quilter who will work with you on design, price, etc., it's a relationship that can be very worthwhile. My clients get a beautiful (finished!) quilt while they work on something else, while I get to have creative input on a project without having to piece it! And let's face it: some longarmers do really substandard work. Check them out just like you would any other hired professional - ask for references & samples. Good luck!
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Eamea
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2011 10:10:37 PM »

... I've always viewed it as an inherent part of the design, and not merely a functional element. And I think that is a kind of subconscious bias that I've been carrying around with me.
Me, too.  I'm not completely anti-panto, but I hate when it's used inappropriately.  For example, I've seen it done on a top that was made from embroidered squares.  The blue quilting marks were ignored, and they looked strange just sitting there on the completed top.  On the other hand, I've seen some lovely quilts made with a panto.  They add to the design of the quilt rather than detract from it, and it's usually in something I never would have thought of.  Judicious use is all I'm asking.  Wink

Threadworks, I completely agree.  It's not that I think that longarmers are overpaid, it's that I just can't afford it.  I would love to piece all day and let a qualified professional do the quilting!
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