Before we went to Missouri, I bought a used Grace Machine Quilter frame. I finally put it together this weekend and tried it out. It's definitely not as smooth as a long arm but much cheaper. Much, much cheaper. It came with the basic frame, a queen/king extension kit, and a pattern perfect setup.
With the basic frame, free motion quilting is done by standing on the far side and holding the handles like with a long arm. But the sewing machine's foot pedal is mounted on top of the sewing machine and the handle to press the pedal is at the top of those grips, and I find it very uncomfortable. But it can also be used from the other side when using a printed design. There is a wood stylus that can be attached to the side of the sewing machine carriage to trace the design. This is my first attempt using the stylus. Not to bad with a wandering pattern, but would look pretty bad if it was something with a recognizable pattern, like circles.
This is one of the wood pattern perfect pieces. They attach outside the frame but I want to enlarge the slots that are used to adjust side to side for a better offset.
The instructions on assembling the table were good, but really lacking in everything else. I found a video that showed the frame with the pieces on it, so between that and the instructions, I managed to get it on. I used the previous owner's leader cloths, but I need to make some that work better.
Now the bad part. I don't have anywhere to put it. It's in the living room now, which is also my sewing room, but it can't stay out except when it's being used. So now I have to figure out how to take the legs off to store it, or something else besides taking it completely apart every time. It took hours to put it together this time and it already had some of the pieces together. I'm sure it would get easier with time, but spending the better part of a day assembling is just not something I want to do every time I want to use it.
See the towels on the floor under the frame? I need to get a rug to protect the floor from scratches before I trip over a towel.