Let's Talk about SPACE, Baby... So You want to buy a long arm series pt 3
Caught up now? Awesome! So, let's talk about space. This one goes back a ways, too. :) I grew up in the Midwest. Small town, farm country. Literally, all there was was space. Space is everywhere, space is cheap. When I moved to New England, well, that's not really the case here. Space is not as abundant, and there are people everywhere. Houses are smaller, the rooms in those houses are smaller, and for a long time I just could not fit a long arm machine in our house. We are fortunate, my husband and I share our 3-bedroom house with only each other and our two dogs. So we each have a room to call our office or studio. Those rooms, however are SMALL. For the first few years that we lived there, my hubby had the bigger of the two rooms (at a whopping 12½' x 10½' I had the 10' x 10'. Well, fairly quickly both of us outgrew those rooms. We built him a "Mancave" in the basement, and I took the larger of the two bedrooms. We turned my old studio into a guest room. It stayed that way for about a year. Suddenly, we realized that we have guests possibly at the most 3-4 weekends per year. It was silly to be wasting about 20% of our total floor space on the rare house guest. So, we took the whole room apart again for the third time and converted it this time into a recording studio for my hubby. He is beyond thrilled with it, and he spends a good amount of time in there, so I say space and time well spent.
A lot of the pieces we used to furnish his recording studio came from my sewing studio. There was a large wrap around desk that housed my TV and entertainment and also a large dresser and shelving set that housed my fabric stash. When we decided that it was finally time to buy the long arm, I needed to basically get rid of EVERY piece of furniture in there except for my sewing cabinet and a few rolling shelves. Well, I didn't HAVE to, but here's how I thought about it.
If SPACE is your biggest concern (as it was mine) when you are getting your long arm, there are sit-down mid-arm machines, they are a great option, plus, they are sit down machines. The drawbacks for me are the stitch regulation (which can be clunky and expensive to add on), the fact that you are moving the fabric and not the machine (the paper, not the pencil), and the fact that I would still have to baste my quilts. For me, basting is the WORST of all of the quilting parts. I don't mind the hand binding, I don't mind anything else, but the basting is the worst. So I knew I needed a frame.
When I knew I was going with HandiQuilter, they have something called the "Little Foot" frame. It's is 4' x 6' and the quilt clamps on, sort of similarly to a hand quilting frame and you can do any sized quilt by clamping, moving to the next location and re-clamping. This seemed like a great option for me, that is until I found out that I would have to BASTE MY QUILTS before I put them on the frame... Gross, no. So then my options changed to an 8' or a 10' roller frame. We measured them, I measured my room, at least 150 times, I drew floor plans, and I finally decided that I could fit the 10' frame in the space... IF there was nothing else in the room.
Was it worth it. For me, the answer was clearly yes. But here are some questions you might want to consider if you are going to try to put a long arm machine in a small studio space:
Is it worth it to me to take up that much of my room/house? For me, that meant giving up a little more than 10% of my total usable floor space in my ENTIRE house. I had to be sure it was something I was going to use almost daily.
Am I ok with a smaller frame or sit down machine?
How often will I be quilting my quilts?
Is it worth getting rid of other pieces of furniture/stuff (I'm talking 2 big boxes of stuff to Goodwill for me), in order to fit the machine?
I was obviously able to get enough other stuff out, and enough other organization in so that I can have my long arm in my small studio and still be happy and working in my small space. If you have a bigger space, and none of these are things you have to consider or account for, GOOD FOR YOU!
Next time we will take on a conversation about MONEY... It was definitely a huge consideration for me, and I would assume for most people. So hang on, we'll get there! Until then:
Piece, and Long arm!!!!