Back in December, I posted about my quest to learn more about midarm, or sit-down longarm quilting machines. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to learn more about several machines at Quiltcon.
I spoke with the kind folks at the Innova booth for quite a while, and watched a quilter demonstrate some gorgeous free-motion feathers. Several features of the Innova sit down machine appealed to me. First and foremost, if you ever decide to go from a mid-arm to a full-fledged longarm, you can take the Innova machine and put it on a frame. The Innova also has stitch regulation capabilities. Instead of a little doohickey to attach to your quilt (like on the Pfaff and Handiquilter machines), the sensors on the Innova are built into the machine, right under the needle. I’m not a fan of stitch regulation of any sort, but this seemed like a very smart way to go if you want regulation. The quilter also pointed out that the Innova has a tall, narrow shaft holding the needle, to give more visibility behind your needle. For more information and pictures about this machine, check out the Innova website.
Then I had a chance to test drive the Martelli Bella Sedere. This machine had some interesting bells and whistles. The table is designed such that you have a large cutting surface behind the machine, for a kind of “all-in-one” sewing workstation. What’s cool about it is that you can raise and lower the entire table with the push of a button, so you can cut (or quilt) sitting or standing. You can even raise only one side of the table, if you wanted to quilt at an angle (think drafting table). The workstation comes with a huge range of Martelli tools, including their rotary cutter (which I blogged about here). For more information on the machine, check out the Martelli catalog.
I can’t remember either machine’s price exactly, but they were definitely in the $9,000 range.
Finally, I tried out one other midarm machine. . . The saleslady was a hoot and a half. She showed me all kinds of gorgeous quilting on it, and even pulled out a ruler and did some ruler work in the demonstration. Then she sat me down at the machine and walked away so I could play around. It was lovely. When she came back, I wistfully asked her the price on it.
And just about fell out of my chair when she answered.
Compared to everything else I’ve seen on midarms, it was very reasonable. And the show special price was even better. Sooo. . . we bought a midarm! To hear more about it, you’ll just have to check back in a couple of weeks when it arrives I promise, there will be plenty of unboxing pictures, and a full review of how easy/hard it is to set up. I’ll even share my first attempts at quilting on it, no matter how embarrassing they are. Until then, I’ll be rearranging my studio to make room for this lovely.