Are You Ready to Become a Longarmer?

May 8, 2023

Are You Ready to Become a Longarmer?

The decision to purchase a longarm machine is no small thing. After researching longarm quilting machines to write the article “10 Things to Consider When Buying a Longarm Quilting Machine,” I decided it was time to get the rest of my key questions answered in person.

I went to test drive a few machines and check all models and sizes of the Q Series machines. I needed help figuring out what kind of table would be best for my space. Did I want to sit or stand while quilting? How easy would it be to get the machine serviced? And I wanted to understand how the built-in BERNINA Stitch Regulator (BSR) works.

So after checking out the BERNINA Q Series brochure, I headed to my local BERNINA dealer, Nuttall’s Sewing Center in Murray, Utah. I sat down with shop owner Denise Lopez with my list of questions.

“We love taking the time to get to know what someone wants and needs in a longarm,” said Denise. “We can customize the machine to your needs and consider how much space you have and affordability. Everyone’s needs are different.”

I had her demonstrate and give an overview of all the machines and features. She explained the difference between a sit-down table and a machine on a frame. I was impressed with the quality and stability of the frame.

Like most BERNINA dealers, Denise Lopez will help you pick the features you need in a Q Series longarm quilting machine.

I got to play with the BERNINA Q-matic Longarm Quilting Automation System that directs the longarm to quilt for you–no hands needed! I think the Q-matic is a must, especially if you plan on longarm quilting as a business. Plus, you can sew your next project while the Q-matic quilts your last project.

Here is a summary of the key things I learned:

Frame or Table

Find the right system to fit your needs and your room. The machine frame is available in three sizes: the Large is 13’ in length, the Classic is 12’, and the Small is 9”. The frame is 3’9” wide and is adjustable in height. If you don’t have room for a frame model, a basic sit-down table is only 36” x 45” but can expand to 36”x 77”. There are a variety of colors and sizes to pick from. I love the available options to get what works best in my space.


What the heck is a BSR? The BERNINA Stitch Regulator is available on both the sit-down and frame models. The BSR keeps the stitch length consistent regardless of how simple or complex the quilt design is, and it senses the speed of movement of the fabric or the machine to keep the stitches perfect. The sensors are located on each side of the stitch hole in the needle plate area.

The BERNINA Stitch Regulator (BSR) is located near the throat plate.

“The BERNINA Stitch Regulator is state of the art. You get perfect stitches every time,” said Denise as she demonstrated the feature.

Needles and Accessories

The BERNINA Q Series machines use the same standard needle and feet as the standard sewing machines. “You can use your stash of accessories from your regular BERNINA machine,” said Denise.

Q-matic Longarm Automation System

Let the computer do the work! Use Q-matic to make quilting easier and faster as you set up the quilting design on the computer program and let the longarm machine automatically quilt across your fabric, all hands-free! “You can digitize your own patterns or purchase them online and add to the collection of patterns already loaded,” said Denise. I recommend stopping by your local dealer to “play” with the Q-matic. It is so fun, and the possibilities are endless with the thousands of digitized quilting patterns available. (Also note you can add the Q-matic to several models of Q Series later.)

Training and Service

There are many BERNINA-certified Q Series dealers throughout the country to help you determine the best Q Series machine for you and your needs. To find a Longarm Certified BERNINA dealer near you, visit the BERNINA Store Locator and check the ‘Longarm Certified’ option when performing your search!

“At many dealerships, you can stop by anytime for a demo, but it doesn’t hurt to make an appointment to test drive a longarm,” said Denise, a co-owner of four sewing centers in Utah. “We also set up machines, train new machine owners, and are happy to assist and answer questions in person or over the phone. For example, BERNINA just had a free software upgrade on the Q-matic, and we have classes for owners on what is new and improved with the software. We want you to learn and use your Q Series, and we are here to help you be successful.”

I also love that there are tutorials and educational videos available for support as well. In BERNINA Expert, Amanda Murphy’s Fast Forward Quilt Along, she will guide you through piecing and quilting a project on a longarm.

Having a BERNINA dealer nearby willing to train, service, offer parts and accessories, and help you with the “big purchase” is comforting.

Are you ready for a new “BBFF”’ (BERNINA Best Friend Forever) longarm in your life? A BBFF who can always be ready for action, always does what is asked, loves to be creative with you, and can be “sew” productive?

I don’t want to TWIST your arm–or longarm, for that matter, but if you have been considering purchasing a longarm quilting machine and bringing home a new “BBFF” into your life, now is the time to do it!

Are you ready to play? Are you ready for a new BBFF?