Isn’t it what every quilter wants, their own longarm and frame? It’s mostly a question of money and space, and I have very little of either but I am a determined little bunny, so here goes…
I was lucky enough to get this Grace Next Generation quilting frame at an absolute bargain price on our Facebook Destash page – UKQU Quilters Classifieds. The lady who was selling it lives close to my Ex-In-Laws so it seemed easy enough to get someone to pick it up too. It wasn’t. First my son went round, his car was too small. Then his dad, my ex-husband went – his car was too small. So my mother tried and managed to collect it, what a hooha. Never send a guy to do a OAP woman’s job. And thank you Jules for being so patient! My mother took it to my ex-in-laws garage for a stay there and then son and his dad managed to get it to my storage unit up here where it has sat for months while I made room for it. In February I made a real effort with the bedroom that my eldest son recently vacated and I retrieved the frame and brought it home. (In my small car, yep my eyes were rolling right around my head for that)
Yes, the guinea pigs are in there too, but that’s food pellets on the floor, not poop, cross my heart. (I was trying to lure them out) There’s not tonnes of room but there’s enough to use it and enough to pull it forward to get behind it if necessary. It’s basically storage for all my crafting stuff and the laundry. And as I use up the fabric also stacked in that room more space will appear. In theory…
I set it up at 60″ wide because I’m not ready to make any queen size quilts yet, not even to wrestle them through my sewing machine, but it has the parts to become 120″ or even 180″ wide! Can you imagine making a 180″ wide quilt? It’d be bigger than the room the frame is in, and that’s the biggest bedroom in the house! It was remarkably simple to build considering Grace like to come round and build it for you and teach you how to use it when you buy a new one. The carriage (the bit the sewing machine goes on) was already put together so it really didn’t take long at all. And it’s all lighter than it looks too.
The only problem now is I don’t have a machine for it! My Pfaff Performance 5.0 is not a machine I’d consider putting on it. Most of all what would I piece with if it was in the Grace frame? And I don’t enjoy freemotioning on it unless I’m using invisible thread, hence I have a pile of tops made and not quilted yet.
So what I’d really love is a dedicated longarm machine. My budget is small, tiny really so I’ll be saving up now for probably a second hand Janome 9900P which has a 9″ throat. I have been looking at two new Necchi machines though, the Artisan 30s and the Pro Series 30 both have 12″ throats which is massive, and then Janome just brought out a HD9 which is an update to the 9900P, which also has a 12″ throat! Ooooo! I want one so bad!
I’d also really like to get a Grace Sure-Stitch Regulator. It keeps all your stitches the same length. I’ve heard longarmers say you don’t need one and you get used to making your stitches even but from my practise so far, I think I could use the help. I don’t know if it would be compatible with the Necchi machines but it would with the Janomes.
If you have any advice, please leave it in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
And just so you know I actually intend to use this frame, I draped some of my made quilt tops over it for a photo, all these and more can finally be quilted when I get a longarm machine, won’t that be amazing? I’ll keep you updated on my progress