To Longarm or not…

For many years I’ve been keeping my eye on the longarm machine market. I’ve had a 10 foot mid-arm machine frame for many years, and a 5 foot hand quilting frame. I’ve attended demo/training classes as well, but never really had the opportunity to put the time into really learning a machine, until now.

In the shop we have 2 different frame options. The first is the one that I have currently at home. When I purchased my Pfaff Creative Icon, I also purchased the Creative Fabric Frame, stitch regulator, and LED light set. This is a great set up for smaller quilt sizes, since the frame is only about 5 foot by 3 foot in size. The footprint it takes up in the studio is quite ideal because I’m able to leave it out at all times, but not feel like it’s the big elephant in the room. You can actually quilt any size quilt on the frame, the only limits placed upon you is the size accessible at one time. For larger than 4 1/2 foot quilts, You’ll need to shift the remaining quilt over and continue.

The second option, and my most favorite now, is the Juki Miyabi 350QVP longarm with robotics system that is currently being showcased on a 5 foot frame. What I love about this machine is that not only can this same Miyabi be sat on a frame, but it also sits in the table for a sit-down machine. While at the AQS Quilt Week show in Lancaster, PA, I demoed the awesome abilities of this machine as a sit down. It generated a lot of interest, but we had also debuted the previously mentioned Creative Fabric Fame, and ended up selling 9 of the 10 frames we had ordered, the final sold this week. The plans are currently that we will be showcasing the Juki Miyabi for Quilt Odyssey at Hershey, PA in July.

The challenge has been given to me learn this machine inside and out, and become quite proficient in the robotics mechanism. Challenge accepted. Today, I took the opportunity to test out what little I remembered from the prior Juki training event I attended. Surprisingly I recalled quite a bit. Were mistakes made, absolutely! But mistakes are how we learn. I’m thrilled to say that everything I wanted it to do today happened, even if they were a little crooked. However, it was exciting to be working on this machine, and most thrilling to know that I’ll be spending so much time learning and perfecting the longarm craft.

This machine is beautiful. It’s throat space is huge, the frame is very easy to maneuver, and it’s just generally pretty, yet doesn’t even hold a candle to how beautifully it stitches. Every stitch was consistent, without thread breaks, and tensions were perfect. What a thrill it is to know that I’ll be putting so much of my time, passion, and work under this big needle!

Juki Miyabi 350QVP

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