Sunday, October 4, 2009

Welcome to My Insanity

It's official. I am insane.
After moaning and groaning about having to 1) crawl around on hands and knees to pin quilt layers together and 2) force said quilt through my little Pfaff 1471 to quilt, I decided I need a long arm. My very own. No - not going to pay someone else to quilt my quilts for me - too much of a control freak. I want to do every bit of each of my quilts. Of course, a year ago I was saying - nope - not going to get another machine for quilting... Well - another prime example of "never say never" ....
My mission at the Creative Stitches show last week was to research and look at available long arm machines. I learned a lot. Things like: Pfaff, Husqvarna and Tin Lizzie 18 *8 long arms are all made by the same company - only the labels are different and maybe a few minor features. For that matter the regular machines are all made by the same company, too. It also turns out that in Calgary it is a husband/wife team that own all of the Pfaff/Husq retail outlets. So - essentially a monopoly at the wholesale and retail levels.
In any event, I was considering the Tin Lizzie on a wooden frame - it was less money - but Joe was absolutely against the idea of a wooden frame, which meant an upgrade to metal, which would have equalized the cost between TL and Pfaff. The TL distributor is out of Chilliwack, BC, quite a distance from Calgary - there are no TL outlets here that I am aware of. So for the same money, I settled on the Pfaff with its custom Imperial (made by Grace) frame. The "show price" was such that the discount on the machine essentially meant that the frame was "free" - hardly - but that's the way the math works out. As the money was the same at this decision point, I decided to go with the local retail outlet - that way I have "unlimited lessons", which I will undoubtedly need, and service when I need it.
Of course as it turns out, a week later, the store had no Pfaffs in stock, but three Husqvarnas. So I ended up with the Husk (as they are the same!) and the Imperial frame.
Joe, bless his pointed little head, spent the better part of yesterday assembling the brute. I still have to take the cardboard off the needle part and turn the switch!
The thing about this frame is that, as is, it assembles either in the five or ten foot lengths. No in between - unless you spend more money for the kit. At this stage, I think I've spent enough, so we assembled it at the 10' length as a few of my quilts have been a bit wider than 5' and this will give me the option to go up to a King size without having to bug Joe to reassemble the table in the larger size.
We'll be reorganizing the basement furniture - at the moment all is "temporary" until the renos are complete. Eventually I hope the layout will be much more efficient.
Now all I need is more time to learn how to use this baby, which I am naming "Harley" - because my sister got herself a Harley Davidson - she needs this like a hole in the head - just like I "need" my "Harley"!


  1. I have had a Pfaff mid-arm for a few years and have never regretted it for even one second. No more pinning! Mined has a 9 inch harp. Yours is quite a lot bigger. I've seen them at our local store. I am not sorry to have mine set up at 10 feet. Lots of room for everything.
    You might want to check the Pfaff Grand Quilter Newsgroup at
    I think there might also be one dedicated to the machine you have.

  2. My goodness! what can I say......I bet you will have fun with this.

  3. Mary,
    I to brought Harvey home,they may be cousins).
    One thing I did find out is he will never pay for himself. He always needs thigns to keep him happy. Thread, oil, material , batting. So you see he has more up keep then the old car.
    No he will get sick once in awhile so don't worry. Every once in awhile he will eat thread.
    He refused to work for me one day. Found out he need a little oil. I say one thing for old Harv
    you done have to give him a lunch or dinner break.
    Have fun. More power to Harvey and all his cousins.
    Bakersfield, Ca

  4. Nope - don't expect Harley will ever pay for himself; hence the insanity. However, now that winter is upon us (it snowed today) having an absorbing indoor hobby will keep me sane. In the past I have managed to have my sewing addiction pay for itself - maybe that will happen eventually with quilting - but for now I'm learning and having fun experimenting.

  5. Hi Mary, so jealous of the new addition to your family. I'm envious of your style of quilting not that I follow the pattern exactly but I'm not as risky as you;). I love your bird house I know I've told you that before. I love your new machine...10' bed 18" arm opening...all the thread you can handle, no pinning - can you tell I'm drooling over your new purchase!! Enjoy can't wait to see your quilting.