A New Beginning-Again

Yup, another decision to actually work on my blog.  And to keep up with it, hopefully!

My passion is quilting.  I’ve been quilting for almost 4 decades, and this summer I finally purchased a “long arm” quilting machine.  Long arm is in quotes because technically I bought a mid-arm, but who am I to quibble?  I bought the Handi-Quilter Simply Sixteen with the 16 inch throat and the Little Foot frame.

Simply Sixteen

My new baby!


As you can see, I’m not a photgrapher.  People have asked me why I chose this machine, and here’s why:

  1.  Price Tag.  This machine is the most affordable one out there that comes in a frame…that I found.  Originally I was looking for a sit down machine, but decided that I would still have to manipulate lots of fabric even though it would have been easier than with my domestic machine.
  2.  Foot Print.  The frame is five feet wide, and fits in my sewing space.  I don’t have space available yet for a 12 foot frame!  I will in a couple of years when my grandson starts school (I babysit6 him full time).
  3. Versatile.  I can quilt everything from a wall quilt to a king sized quilt on this baby.  Do you remember the pvc hand quilting frames from years ago?  Well, this is that frame on steroids.  Yes, you have to layer and baste your quilt first (I pin baste), and I don’t love that job, but if I had bought a sit-down machine, I still would have had to baste my quilts.
  4.  Versatile.  Yup, again.  I can start on a quilt, get bored with it, load another one on, and then go back to my original quilt.  Can’t do that with a traditional frame!
  5. Versatile.  See that quilt in the photo?  I will talk about that later, but with this set up, I can do all of my quilting with thread color A, then change to color B, and do all of that.  Again, impossible on a traditional long arm frame.
  6. Stitch Regulator.  I probably should have put this nearer to the top.  You can buy an add-on stitch regulator for the sit-down machine, but then you’ve paid more for the whole set up than you would with this set up.  The regulator is built in, and to use it, you just touch a button on the touch screen.
  7. Upgradable.  Is that a word?  If someday I win the lottery (which I’ll need to start playing), I can upgrade this machine so it is completely computerized.  Hey, a girl can dream.
  8. In Wisconsin, we have a shop that sells long-arms, called The Quilting Connection.  They have two shops, on in Elkhorn, and the other in New London.  Let me tell you, service and knowledge is everything!  I had looked at a Juki mid-arm at a shop, and asked the sales girl some questions.  She didn’t know the answers and had to get back to me.  Not very confidence inspiring!  Sue and Angie from The Quilting Connection know these machines inside to out, backwards and forward and tricks to boot!  They don’t sell fabric or tons of notions.  They sell machines.  They teach on the machines, and will deliver and set the machine up for you.  They are available via phone, text and email for those ‘help’ moments. There was an issue that I had with the ruler quilting inset, and they contacted Handi-Quilter, and a replacement was sent to me asap.
  9. Hercules.  Really, I didn’t know this until after I bought the machine, but the whole set up is strong, secure and reassuring!  There is nothing flimsy about the machine or the frame.  I can lean on the frame and it doesn’t wiggle one little bit.  I needed to have hubby raise it for me, and the tools provided worked like they should, he raised the frame, and it all stayed level.  I know!  They did it right!
  10. Information.  There are tons of videos on how to use and troubleshoot everything on You Tube, and the Handi-Quilter website offers scads of information and help.

Well, in a nutshell, that is why I bought my Simply Sixteen.  I mentioned that I looked at a Juki sit-down.  I had also looked at the Janome sit-down machine at a quilt show.  The lady was determined to impress me with the upgraded version, which I had said I wasn’t interested in, and spent 5 minutes trying to get it to make one stitch. Really?  ugh!

In my next post, I will talk about how I am learning how to actually quilt.  Oh boy, is there a learning curve!



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