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Thread: Buying a Long Arm Machine

  1. #1
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    I am thinking of purchasing a long arm machine. If you own one, please tell me what brand, and what features you like the best. I am so very confused about what to look for in these machines.

    Any feedback would be appreciated, as I am attending a quilt show this weekend that will have vendor's hall.
    k :-D

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaykwilts
    I am thinking of purchasing a long arm machine. If you own one, please tell me what brand, and what features you like the best. I am so very confused about what to look for in these machines.

    Any feedback would be appreciated, as I am attending a quilt show this weekend that will have vendor's hall.
    k :-D
    Glad to hear you are attending a quilt show. It's a great place to test drive ALL the longarm machines. Talk to the reps and ask lots of questions.

    I have a Nolting and love it. The things I like are the stitch regulator, the computer system I have with mine is the Side Saddle which is wonderful. It is easy to thread, change bobbins, adjust tensions.
    You can usually get a deal when at the show (show price) but know what you can afford.
    What size frame do you want? and if you want the frame to be adjustable so you can quilt standing up or sitting. Metal frame, wood frame.
    Do they come set it up for you and train you? or just ship it to you?
    They came and set mine up and gave me some training!

    Have fun at the show!

  3. #3
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Hi K.

    I have an ABM Innova 26" throat on a 10' frame. If I had the room I would have gone with a 12' frame. I do not have a computer set up nor do I want one. I do have a stitch regulator on mine and I wouldn't be without it. Getting an even stitch length that looked good was my biggest problem with FMQ on a domestic machine. So much so that I never attempted to quilt anything bigger then a 60" square quilt on my Bernina. I couldn't imagine wrestling with a bigger quilt while trying to maintain even stitches.
    I adore my Innova. The price was less then many of the bigger names like Gammel, APQS, etc. but the machine is heavy duty.
    My frame is made by ABM and is constructed of airplane grade aluminum. It is solid as a rock and has an extra roller before the take up so I never need to adjust the height of the take up roller as the quilt built up on the take up bar. To me that was a big advantage. I also have start/stop and needle up/down control buttons right on my handle bars. I like that a lot.
    Set yourself a budget of how much you are willing to spend and then test drive as many machines as you can in your price range to see what works for you.

  4. #4
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    I have a Nolting Fun Quilter. It is a mid arm with a 17 quilt area. I love it. The tension is always right on and it glides like silk.

    I agree with the others, test drive, test drive. Read thru other posts and threads here on the board and make your list of questions to go along with you.

    Have Fun!

  5. #5
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    I have a Gammill Classic Plus (the plus means it has a stitch regulator). Yep...agree with them all...try out as MANY machines as you can get your hands one. Don't be pressured to buy at the show, but be aware they may have show specials. You will be surprised that one till stand out and become your favorite! I have had 2 different frame/machine set ups. One fit me better than the other. I'm glad to say its the one I have now! You might also be interested in a used machine. Try looking at www.houseofhanson.com on the left side there is a link that has used machines. Also on the APQS site. You do not have to be a member or have an APQS machine. They also have different machine brands. Good luck and happy hunting!

  6. #6
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    The stitch regulator was a big thing for me (I have an APQS Millenium on a 12' table), as was the automatic fabric advance. I don't have a computer and don't plan to get one.

    One thing you might do in advance of attending the show is to go to the various Web sites of the machine manufacturers and look at the machines in your price range. See what is standard and what add-ons are available. Learn as much as you can about the machines, including pricing. The more information you know in advance, the less overwhelming it will all seem when you're at the show.

  7. #7
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    Feline's setup sounds like what i want! I don't have the needle up/down option which would be a BIG help and i would LOVE to have the bar in front of the take up roller, it's amazing how much time i spend adjusting the height of my quilt.
    I have a Bailey Home Quilter 15" on a GMQ Pro frame, which was perfect for starting out (around $3000) but now that I know more and have improved i want to upgrade, hopefully by the end of the year!

  8. #8
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    Hi, I have a HandiQuilter with the Pro Stitcher. Mine has most of the bells and whistles. But the main reason I liked this machine was quality, customer service (they came to my home and set up the machine and trainer me) and the head was easier to move than some of the heavier machines. Also did not have to change my electrical system in the room I was using. I did go to a show and tried out many of the machines. It is like a car we all look for different things convertible or a Big Daddy Truck!! They are out there - have a great time looking and test driving.

  9. #9
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Oops, Yes, I forgot to add that dealer delivery and setup as well as initial training was included and in hindsight that was a must have. Didn't think so initially but so glad I had it.

  10. #10
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by memepat
    Hi, I have a HandiQuilter with the Pro Stitcher. Mine has most of the bells and whistles. But the main reason I liked this machine was quality, customer service (they came to my home and set up the machine and trainer me) and the head was easier to move than some of the heavier machines. Also did not have to change my electrical system in the room I was using. I did go to a show and tried out many of the machines. It is like a car we all look for different things convertible or a Big Daddy Truck!! They are out there - have a great time looking and test driving.
    I have the HQ with the Pro Stitcher too. It was the most affordable for me. I got the HQ gently used and then added the PS when it came out.

    The best questions to ask are:
    -what is your budget
    -how much room do you have
    -and how much will you really be using it
    then the last question of all:
    -can you bind to it

    ali

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