Quilts can be made on any Juki machines, although it is undoubtedly easier to make them on machines designed for this task. Instruments like the Juki HZL-F600 make the work easier by offering only those features used in the quilting process. Long arm quilting machines are specialized models created to increase efficienty and convenience for those who work on very large projects.
Long Arm Versus Short Arm
The main difference between a standard, short arm device like the Juki HZL-F600 and long arm quilting machines is the size of the gullet or throat. Short arm units are basically the same as other sewing machines except that they include features important only for quilting and lack the bells and whistles of computerized equipment. Long arm quilting machines are essentially short arm versions made with a larger throat, which makes working with large and bulky projects easier.
Two Types of Long Arm Units
There are two types of long arm quilting machines available: table models and units that stand up and slide on a track. Most people who own long arm versions have tabletop units at home. Some people who make a lot of very large quilts or do this on a professional level may have a stand up long arm version. Stand up units are more expensive than tabletop versions and require a large area to set up the track; however, they do save a great deal of time, making them very efficient.
Machine Head or Throat Size
The size of the gullet or throat on a quilting machine is also known as the machine head size. Long arm versions come in a variety of throat sizes, usually ranging from 18 inches to as large as 26 inches. The larger the throat or head, the more space there is to roll the blanket to keep everything in order during the sewing process. The more room available, the easier it is to create a large blanket without the risk of shifting fabric and the necessity of piling, pushing, and pulling the fabric to maneuver it under the needle.
Stitch Regulators on Long Arm Units
One important difference between regular Juki machines and quilting machines is that it can be a bit more difficult to control stitching speed while moving the fabric under the needle with a quilting unit. Many people use a stitch regulator to assist with this problem. Stitch regulators help to control speed during sewing so that stitches come out even with less effort. Those experienced using this equipment may not use a stitch regulator; however, they are great for people just learning to work on short or long arm versions.
Long arm quilting machines can be considerably more expensive than standard Juki equipment or short arm units like the Juki HZL-F600. Still, these larger versions do make the process of creating larger quilts much easier. To achieve the best results, professionals or anyone who spends the bulk of their time working on larger projects should consider investing in a long arm quilting machine today!