Home Machine Quilting Systems
If you are trying to research home machine quilting systems, the alternative to an expensive long arm machine that allows you to use a home sewing machine and a carriage-rail system, here are several resources to help you. This information is based on personal research, and reflects my own knowledge and opinions based on that research. If you would like to add a comment to this page, please E-mail me.
- Your standard home sewing machine with drop feed dog capability and without a slant needle. Click here for an article on quilting with your home sewing machine.
- The Brother PQ-1500 or Juki TL98-E, which have larger throat areas and high speed stitching. (see our comments on the Juki below)
- The Quilting Solution - Another stretched machine. I don't personally care for the design ergonomics, but it is another option out there.
- The WOW Quilter Machine, a long throat machine, modified for use with home systems, with its own rail system. There is also an unmoderated owners list at yahoo groups if you are interested. Note: some owners have complained that they have sent their machines to WOW to be stretched and they were never returned. This problem occurred in 2012 and 2013, and the website is no longer active.
- If you are going to buy a new sewing machine, be sure to test it with your choice of frame before investing any money. Click here for our article on tips on buying a new sewing machine.
Home Quilting Systems:
There are many systems out there to choose from, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. As these systems catch on, there seem to be more and more variations each week, and it is hard to know which is best without spending some time doing research. I have spent months on user groups, reading reviews, and questioning other quilters about their experiences. I have no financial interest in any of the products listed.
Before choosing a home quilting system, determine your own needs for a system that is permanent, or portable; will be used often or occasionally; will do larger or smaller projects; will be easier or harder to load your quilt onto; will be used by a group or guild, or just one owner; will be used with more than one sewing machine; and the amount of time you have to dedicate to learning the quirks of the system you choose will all influence your choice.
One important consideration is whether you can quilt from both sides of the frame/both ends of the machine. I personally prefer to work from the nose or needle end of the machine rather than the flywheel end as it makes it easier to see your work.
The list below is in alphabetical order.
- B-Line Home Quilting System has a support group on Yahoo. E-mails I have received indicate that this system does vibrate quite a bit. Other E-mails say vibrations are not a problem if the recommended sewing machines are used.
- Bailey Home Quilter. These are a great, inexpensive machine made in New York. They come in 13,15 and 17” machines. There is also a Yahoo support group.
- EQ3 Track System - a new system. We have no information yet.
- Easy-Build Machine Quilt Frame by Hinterberg. A sit down to quilt version that works from either side of the frame.
- Easy Quilter - This is an interesting idea. Sort of a flynn frame on wheels. No long poles or big setup space is needed for this one, and it's inexpensive. While it rolls very easily, it's hard to tell where the frame is when you have the quilt on it which makes it easy to bump into your machine without notice. The actual area to quilt is very small.
- Flynn Maximizer MultiFrame Adapter. The "Maximizer" adapter kit is inexpensive upgrade to your Flynn system. The Flynn MultiFrame system now has an adapter kit to allow you to use electrical conduit poles rather than the solid wood 2x2, giving you more room to hold the finished quilt.
- Grace Machine Quilter. Already built version for machines with up to a ten inch throat. (An adapter is available to expand the frame.) The Grace Machine Quilter has limited width of the throat of the machine, but the poles do not require leaders, and it is designed to be used from either side without any additional handles or modifications. Some quilters have told me
they find the method of controlling the foot pedal awkward with this system.
The Grace Pro is a slightly sturdier machine with more extra features which you may or may not find worth the extra cost.
- HandiQuilter (HQ). If you are looking for info other than the company page, you can read the
HQ FAQ at yahoo groups. (You have to join the group to access the FAQ,
but you can then unjoin if you prefer.) Research this one carefully by interviewing users. Users tell me that information provided by company
representatives tends to be incomplete.
The company continues to upgrade the quality of their product in response to quilters needs, but I consider this a 'light duty' option. If you are a quilter who intends to do a lot of quilts, I would consider other options . The Handi-Quilter 16 with its 16 inch throat space is ONLY able to do free motion as there are no feed dogs on it, plus it vibrates a great deal. It can be used with the Handi-Quilter frame or you can also get the model that sits on the table like a regular sewing machine. This is called a push through model.HQ16, table model. Works with a John Flynn frame. About $5,000 for machine and table.
The HQ Fusion is new (2010). No information yet, although the stitching appears to be more stable.
- Hinterberg's Easy-Build Machine Quilt Frame. A sit down to quilt version that works from either side of the frame. (Also listed under Easy Build).
- Innova, made by ABM in Texas. Excellent recommendations
We've had a number of complaints about this machine. One customer said, "I have a Juki TL-98E and they should have named it JUNKY. I have had nothing but trouble with it."
On the flip side of the coin, another customer said, "I have had the 98TL for 4 years and the 2010 for about a year. Both are great machines. I have never had an issue with either one of them when maintained properly. Biggest problem encountered is people don’t clean and oil properly."
I would recommend joining the user group on yahoo and/or talking to someone who owns and uses the machine before making the investment. The newer Juki's with Quilter’s Cruise Control and Hinterberg frames seen to be better.
- New Joy Quilting Products Inc - seems very user friendly with a substantial Brother with large throat space, but definitely a beginner option. Height may need adjustment. The frame system folds up for storage and comes complete - crib to king size for about $1500.00.
- Nolting Hobby Quilter 16" throat depth, with 8" of inside height. Weighs only 31 pounds. Front handles for custom quilting. Rear handles and metal pointer for pantograph quilting. Adjustable speed control, up to 2000 stitches per minute.
- Pennywinkle Valley Ranch Quilting System. Reports are that this machine is quiet and easy to move. You can easily fit a wheelchair under it without any trouble. It also has a nice overhead light built in which gave lots of light
- QE3 by Quilt Easy. The QE3 will handle from a small home sewing machine to a large 16” throat machine like a hobby quilter.
- Quilter's Cruise Control has stitch length regulator for sewing machines used on quilting frames.
- SuperQuilter (SQ). Nicely built, but is very pricey compared to other options. Customer E-mails indicate this is a great system if you don't have any problems with it. Written instructions tend to be confusing and sparse. If you have problems with your dealer, the company requests you call them directly at 1-877-837-5557 x111, Toll Free, Eastern Standard Time. You may also wish to join the users group on Yahoo.
- Swift quilter A new Zealand Company. (link removed at the request of the company)
- TinLizzie - great features but anecdotal evidence is that customer support and service is poor. I have yet to receive a complementary E-mail about this frame.
There are many other related products, including handles to attach to your machine so you can use it from either side, stylus-es, speed controls and foot pedal bypass devices, and a host of other gizmos and gadgets.
- PC Quilter Computerized quilting with your home sewing machine.
There are several user groups on Yahoo's Groups area, including a kind of all-inclusive group called The Home Machine Quilters (THMQ), as well as user groups for the Brother, Juki and WOW machines, such as the PHGQ (Pfaff Hobby Grand Quilter) Group. To find the group that interests you, go to Yahoo Groups and do a search on the product or group name, or on the word 'quilting'.
Help Keep This Page Current
If you have know of a product not listed here, or have comments or information to add to this page, please click here to contact Kris directly via e-mail or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org . I hope you've found some helpful information in your own search for the perfect home quilting system for your particular needs.
Good luck in your quest for the right system for you!