Grace Co. Info

I've officially signed on to be a Brand Ambassador for The Grace Company!

I'm currently doing my final quilting on a Q'Nique 16x Elite with Quilters Creative Touch automation. I am setup on an 8' Continuum II frame with an Idle bar.

This machine/frame combo has been great in my little sewing room and the Grace Company has many more machine and frame sizes to meet everyone's needs...

I know it can be a little confusing when you're shopping for a longarm for the first time. Generally, there are 3 parts to a longarm setup:

  • The Machine itself
    • I would recommend looking for a machine that fits your budget, but also look for something that can possibly be upgraded later
    • The throat space is the measurement from the needle to the back of the throat. I have a 16" machine, but that does not mean I can quilt a full 16" space. You lose many inches from the bars of the machine and as the quilt is rolled up on the back bar. This is something to consider when shopping, I personally don't mind the smaller throat, but If I wanted to custom quilt larger blocks I would look for a larger throat. 
    • A few features that for me are a "must have" are a good stitch regulator and an automatic needle up/down. These are pretty common on most machines these days. 
  • The Frame
    • There are a few styles of frame, I personally wanted a "rolling" style where you load the layers and then roll them up onto the take-up bar as you progress down the quilt. The limitation is you can only quilt a quilt for as long as your frame is (I have an 8' frame, so I am limited to quilting quilts that are about 80" or less in width)
    • There are also "hoop" style frames, the benefit with a hoop style is that you are not limited to the size of quilt you can quilt, but you do still need to baste your quilt somewhat to load it onto the frame. (I personally hate basting quilts, that's the main reason I bought a longarm I the first place)
    • When shopping for a frame, the space you can dedicate to it is a big consideration. You need several feet on all sides of the frame, so even an 8' frame needs about 10'x5' of space. (My poor frame is squeezed into a very tight area and it can be challenging at times)
    • I'd also evaluate the size of quilts you generally complete, if you mostly make lap size to twin size quilts and only make a queen or king once every few years, you can probably get away with a smaller frame and address the few larger quilts as they happen. Some frame also have optional add-on kits to make them larger, so you can have it setup as an 8' frame 99% of the time and then add a 2' extension on the rare occasion you need it
  • Automation / Robotics
    • The 3rd item is automation. This is the computerized piece that can stitch out the designs for you so that you don't have to manually guide the machine. With most machines this is an optional add-on package and can be quilt a costly addition to your setup. 
    • The automation/robotics is more than just a piece of software, there is generally a motor plate that attaches to your machine and frame to automatically move the machine. And then either a laptop of tablet, some include a tablet and other you need to provide your own. 
    • Since adding the automation to my setup, I've had a lot of fun shopping for the digital pantograph or "Edge to Edge" designs. There are many resources online to get these in many different styles. (urbanelementz.com, mycreativestitches.net, thepantoshop.net, or many small independent designers on ETSY)
    • If you don't want to make the investment up-front when purchasing your machine, I would confirm the machine you select is compatible with automation so it can potentially be added later. 

The Grace Company also make the TrueCut Rotary Cutting system to help you with accurate, and safe, cutting. 

Below are some links to some popular products, and if you use my coupon code Chris20 you'll save 20% at checkout on selected items. (excluding machines and frames) 

(Please note, that if you make a purchase through any of these affiliate links, I will get a small commission from The Grace Co)

 

The Comfort Cutter - Can be used Right Handed or Left Handed, and is available in 28mm, 45mm & 60mm:  https://graceframe.com/en/product/my-comfort-cutter?ref_id=RoseCity

The 16x Elite is the machine I quilt with, and I love it! Great for beginner longarming: https://graceframe.com/en/product/q-nique-16x-elite-quilting-machine?ref_id=RoseCity

 

 More information for the Quilters Creative Touch (Automation), I currently use the PRO version. https://graceframe.com/en/automation/qct?ref_id=RoseCity

For smaller spaces, or those that don't want to dedicate so much of their space to a Longarm frame full-time, I recommend the Cutie tabletop frame. An added bonus is that it can work with most modern (and even some vintage) sewing machines!:  https://graceframe.com/en/product/cutie-tabletop-fabric-frame?ref_id=RoseCity

 

 You can now pre-order the Cutie Breeze frame! (this is the frame I've been using to quilt the king-sized tiny houses / goth neighborhood quilt) https ://graceframe.com/en/product/cutie-breeze-tabletop-fabric-frame?ref_id=RoseCity