A List of Long Arm Machines

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A List of Long Arm Machines
Making full-size quilts takes less time with a long arm machine. (Patchwork as a background 2 image by Lucy Cherniak from Fotolia.com)

During the last 20 years, a revolution in quilting has occurred. Before then, hand-quilting was the accepted technique, and machine quilting was not in favour. With the advent of long arm quilting machines, precise and complicated quilting became possible, requiring only days or weeks to complete a traditional bed quilt rather than years. Machine-quilted items began winning major prizes. Long arm machines are expensive and take up space, but they are becoming increasingly popular. A number of companies now produce them.

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Founder Ken Gammill started his company in 1980 when he had the idea of moving the sewing machine over the fabric instead of moving the fabric under the machine. Gammill offers two long arm models, the Vision 26-10 and the Vision 30-12. The numbers refer to the number of inches in the space available to quilt without rerolling the quilt. The quilting table that supports the machine is 12-feet long. Computerised or stitch regulated quilting is available.

Handi Quilter

This company offers mostly versions of their 16-inch mid-arm machine, the HQ Sixteen. They do have an 18-inch model, the HQ18 Avante and a 24-inch model, the HQ24 Fusion. These sewing machine heads are mounted on the HQ Adjustable Table, the HQ QuilTable or HQ Studio Frame. Computerized quilting is possible via the HQ Pro-Stitcher.

Tin Lizzie

This 18-inch throat long arm machine was introduced in 2006 by Floyd Sewing Machines. Bill Floyd started a sewing machine repair business in 1948, partnered in 1982 by son Ernie, who spearheaded development of the Tin Lizzie. The Shirley Stitcher accessory allows computerised quilting. They also sell Ansley 26 and Queen Quilter Eighteen models.

A-1 Quilting Machines

Plank Manufacturing produces the A-1 Quilting Machines. They offer the A-1 Longarm Model 923 Elite in three different packaging options: Beginnings, Professional Favorite and Professional Dream. A computerised system, the CompuQuilter, can be purchased to attach to the sewing machine, as can a stitch regulator. The 923 Elite is made of cast aluminium. The Ergo-Lift hydraulic lifting system can be fitted to tables to adjust table height.


ABM International, Inc. produces three sizes of long arm machines, differing in the throat size available: the 18-inch by 9-inch machine, the 22-inch by 9-inch machine, and the 26-inch by 11-inch machine. The machine head is made of extruded aluminium. Frames are of extruded aluminium tubing and come in lengths from 6 feet to 14 feet or a custom size. The machine comes with a stitch regulator, and computerised systems can be purchased.


Fred Nolting has designed and built sewing machines since 1955. In the 1980s, he designed a long arm quilting machine, and the company claims to be the original manufacturer of long arm quilting machines. Nolting offers long arm machines with 18-inch reach and 8-inch inside height, 20-inch reach and 10-inch inside height, 24-inch reach and 10-inch inside height, and 30-inch reach with 12-inch inside height. There is also a less expensive 20-inch Fun Quilter. Stitch regulators are available as well as hydraulic lift table legs.

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