Mid-arm quilting machines are the mid-size option between long-arm quilting machines and sewing machines. These smaller sisters of the long-arm quilting machine are growing in popularity due to their affordability and efficiency.
Mid-Arm Quilting Machines
The difference in size between the mid-arm quilting machine and the long-arm quilting machine is found in the throat space (the area between the needle and body of the machine); the mid-arm machine offers from 12-17 inches of space while the long-arm offers around 18-24 inches of space.
The advantage of having two to three times more throat space than the average sewing machine is the freedom to sit parallel or perpendicular to your quilting project. The additional room also allows for larger quilting projects, so you can make larger size quilts or use fluffier batting, if you invest in a mid-arm quilting machine.
What Is a Mid-Arm Quilting Machine?
These machines are also described as semi-industrial or lockstitch sewing machines. The mid-arm quilting machine is a hybrid of the classic sewing machine and the larger long-arm quilting machines. We love this mid-sized machine because it allows the quilter to be extremely specific to their needs when it comes to choosing a machine for their home. Because a mid-arm is a hybrid, it holds some of the advantages & disadvantages of both the classic and long-arm quilting machine.
The mid-arm machine does require that the quilting project be basted before you can begin your work. This type of machine is also significantly more expensive than the classic sewing machine, but still significantly less expensive than its long-arm quilting machine (It really is the perfect middle ground between the three options). The mid-arm machines offer perks like greater control over your project with features like stitch regulation and a powerful motor that boasts up to 1,500 stitches per minute. Some models even come equipped with touchscreen capabilities and handle grips for easy free form quilting.
Am I Ready For a Mid-Arm?
When choosing the best quilting machine for yourself, it is important to consider the amount of money that you’re willing to invest on a machine. Another good question to ask yourself is when choosing a machine: How many quilts am I looking to make per month or per year? If the answer is more than one quilt every six months, you may want to consider a larger machine that will afford you comfort, convenience, and ease while you work.
Now, let’s dive into some of the finer details of why you should or shouldn’t choose a mid-arm quilting machine. Space is the leading factor in choosing a mid-arm or long-arm quilting machine. A mid-arm quilting machine allows you to stay seated while you work on your project. The advantage of orienting yourself to the front or side of the quilting machine is ideal when working with larger projects and gives you full visibility of the quilt. The bobbins on a mid-arm quilting machine are placed conveniently under the table and hold considerably more thread which reduces the need to change them as often. Stitch regulation is an optional feature on many mid-arm quilting machines, but well worth choosing for the precision and convenience.
Here is some information gathered from mid-arm machine quilting reviews. Our top three noteworthy mid-arm quilting machines for sale to consider:
Q’nique 15 Pro
Pros: Free queen or hoop frame, quick access controls, smooth motion tracks and wheels, large M-class bobbin, easy bobbin access, built-in bobbin winder, LED lights, four stitch modes, full size touch screen can be adjusted or locked, and a user-friendly menu. ($4,999.95)
Cons: none found
Q’nique 15 R
Pros: Free queen or hoop frame, quick access controls, smooth motion tracks and wheels, large M-class bobbin, easy bobbin access, built-in bobbin winder, LED lights, four stitch modes, and full OLED screen. ($4,599.95)
Cons: Subtle tension issues, if left unchecked.
Q’nique 15 M
Pros: Free queen or hoop frame, LCD number readout, quick access controls, large M-class bobbin, easy bobbin access, and built-in bobbin winder. ($3,999.95)
Cons: none found
What’s Better: Mid-Arm Quilting Machines or Long-Arm Machines?
If you’re struggling to choose between a mid-arm and long-arm quilting machine, ask yourself some of the questions which were covered earlier in this post. Do you prefer to stand or sit while you quilt? How much space do you require, and for what type of quilting project? Do you have space for a long-arm or mid-arm quilting machine? How often will you be quilting throughout the year?
An enormous factor in choosing between these two options is the price. A long-arm quilting machine can cost upwards of $1,000-$30,000 more than a mid-arm quilting machine. The price of either type of machine will depend on the bells and whistles included. So, take some time to define which features will work best for you. Do you need stitch regulation? Are grip handles for free motion quilting a game-changer for you? Is a touchscreen essential to your ease in operation?
According to industry experts, we’ve found that the mid-arm machine is best for those that work on quilts at the hobbyist or enthusiast level. If your workload requires that you produce quilts monthly, a long-arm machine may be best for your quilting needs. If you’re a quilter who enjoys creating larger projects while having the comfort and convenience of greater precision: choose a mid-arm quilting machine. We hope this helped in your search to invest in a new quilting machine. Have more questions? Contact us today at +1(800) 264-0644 and one of our customer service representatives will be happy to answer any question you may have.
Learn more about the Grace Q’nique Machines HERE