Sewing machine set up
This is my main quilting/sewing machine. In other words, I do not have a long arm. This is not to say that I do not wish I had one - but just that I don't. At this point in my life, it is not an option.
It's a Janome 8900 and, while not a long arm, is no slouch as a work horse. I am not in love with my machine, however. I have not named it, and would not feel pangs of guilt if I sold it for something different.
When I first purchased a Janome in 2010, at the time, here in Poland, it was because it was the only option I had in the price I could afford with a big throat. It was rated like Chicago Cutlery knives - "a good bang for the buck" - not overpriced for what you get.
I have been able to quilt literally hundreds of charity quilts on my Janome as well as dozens of others. I, however, also appreciate other good brands--in other words, I don't consider myself a machine snob.
Previously I had had a Pfaff Hobby. I had no complaints about my Pfaff--they are good machines--but the throat space was just too small and the machine was too light weight--It was like trying to do serious mechanic work with tools that are just too light weight. At some point, mechanics tend to invest in mechanics' tools. (Can you tell that my husband was/is a mechanic as well as a preacher/teacher/pastor?) Pfaff, and all the brands, actually, also have high end/heavy duty machines with large throats.
My motto -- "Do what you can with what you have, and not what you wish you had!"
I'm very thankful for this machine. Its throat space is large - about 11", so you can actually shove quite a bit of quilt in there.
The largest quilt I've done on this type of machine is 113"x113".
Since you really only have to work with 1/2 of the width of the quilt at any one time, it is not impossible to do large quilts. Of course, there is scrunching and pushing, but it is quite do-able with this size of throat.
I did set up a table next to my sewing area, so that the weight of the quilt can also be on it as I work. The table is removable, so when I'm not quilting I can fold it up and it doesn't take much space. It was purchased at my most favorite local store, Lidl. Actually, it came in a set of three - I took one of the three and gave the other two for my husband for this wood working area.
Probably the thing that would help me most would be to get my husband to drill a hole in the kitchen counter we installed for the top of the cabinets and drop my machine down into it. But so far, I've not been able to do that - it just seems so permanent.
The counter top has a high gloss and is nice and slippery.
So there you have it-- my basic machine set up.