On Thursday I went to a class on my HandiQuilter Sweet 16 sit-down long arm. I called the closest real dealer to me, and made an appointment to meet with the educator and tech guy, Chris. I'm very happy I did.
I bought my machine from a different dealer, one I'm not happy with. The top tension on a longarm gets adjusted with big changes to bring about a needed change on the thread. They tell you to try 1/2 turns to start with. It's nothing to twist a couple turns. Big difference from a DSM (domestic sewing machine). The instructor when I bought my Sweetie told me to just make "minute changes" in the tension dial. I had already done enough reading on the Sweetie to know that was wrong. So I just let a lot of what she told me go in one ear and out the other. What else would she get wrong. So I haven't been back to that dealer, and don't plan to be.
I really love my Sweetie. It allows me to quilt bigger quilts without having to wrestle with them so much. I have 16" throat (harp) to play with. The instructor today told me there's actually more room in my 16" machine than there is in a 20" machine on a frame. The bars holding the quilt limit you to about 15". I was surprised.