This is what my homemade mid arm machine looks like. It is not fancy, there are no buttons and the only control is to adjust the tension. What makes this work as a free motion quilting machine is that is has no feed dogs and the fabric floats.
I got this machine for free. The $20.00 I spent was for a bobbin winder since my original idea rotated the machine and wouldn’t allow space for the winder than came with the machine.
My original idea was to rotate the machine replicating the Handi-Quilter Sweet 16 design. I had to cut a hole in an old table because the darning machine has a cylinder base and this needed to sit flat to quilt. That was easy enough to do and it worked great except doing that required replacing the industrial motor with a home sewing machine motor, which did not work great. I burned the motor out within 4 hours. An industrial machine needs an industrial motor. Therefore I had to put the industrial motor back on the machine which required it being on the industrial table and back in normal position. I couldn’t lower this machine because of the motor and belt and as it sat, it was useless as a quilting machine.
Woe was me as I fretted that my repurposing wasn’t working. I had done some pretty samples in my four hours of working machine time and I finished a new sewing machine cover. It is just so pretty and I was so sure I could do this and do this well if only I had the right equipment. If it didn’t work, I didn’t have an extra $6000.00 sitting around to buy the Sweet 16 machine, my home machine just wasn’t doing it well and was frustrating to use for free-motion quilting, and I was afraid my free motion quilting adventure was already over.
Next time, I’ll show you how something literally fell in front of me as my inspiration and how I am now the happiest little free-motion quilter around.