Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Don't Even Think About Buying a Longarm Quilting Machine Until You've Read This Book!

Rather than wholeheartedly encouraging or discouraging readers from purchasing these mammoth quilting machines that cost as much as a car, Clayton shares her personal experience and the many potential pitfalls that the longarm dealer won't disclose so that you can make the right decision for your personal situation. She goes over machine basics, the pros and cons of various optional features (I really appreciated her explanation of why the smaller L bobbins might be a better choice than the M class bobbins that hold so much more thread), and gives a much more realistic depiction of the challenges of starting and running a longarm business than what the machine dealers tell you.

For instance: Did you try writing your name on a demo machine, and the salesperson sidled up to you and admiringly commented that you have "a real knack for this?" That's a sales pitch. And just purchasing a longarm machine does not guarantee that you will be able to use it successfully as a business, because a longarm machine is essentially like a paintbrush and paint is the thread. Just because Pablo Picasso and Georgia O'Keefe painted masterpieces with a particular brand of paintbrush and paints, doesn't mean that all of us are capable of creating the same caliber of artwork even if we use the exact same paint brush and paints. The award-winning longarm quilters whose work we admire at shows are exceptionally talented artists, and although practice and work and having the right tools are all important for developing talent, that artistic talent needs to be there initially.

Clayton also points out that longarm quilting, especially as a business, is very physical work. Do you have back, neck, or shoulder problems? How is your upper body strength? If you aren't a physically fit person who exercises regularly, you might find that your body can't handle quilting on a longarm machine for hours at a time, day after day.

There is much more to think about before taking the plunge and ordering a longarm machine, and Clayton covers most of it in this book. The information in this book (as far as pricing, machine options, additional tools etc.) is still very much up-to-date, and there are also a score of links to videos and additional information throughout the text that enable you to learn even more and expand your research further. Highly recommended, definitely worth reading prior to committing to a machine purchase.

1 comment:

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I know of several people who have bought long arms - they just had to have one - one used hers only a couple times, doesn't want to take a class on how to use it and it has been sitting in her studio for about 8 years now basically untouched - in her defense she didn't really want it but her husband who has money said she really needed one to do her quilts. She does a lot with her regular machine. She really needs to sell it but there you go. Others wanted one & got one - like you it is like buying a car! the price - they haven't ever really developed a talent for it and wanted to start a business, they get a little bit of business but can't charge much because all they will do is big swirls and the quilts really do not look all that great.
Yes people think twice before you shell out $20,000+ for something like that.