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Thread: Gammill and APQS quilters opinions wanted

  1. #1
    Junior Member acesgame's Avatar
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    I have been researching mid and long arms. My fear with mid arms is that I will wish I spent alittle more and got more room the first time.
    These are my feelings so far:

    I test drove the tin lizzie several times and each time there were issues. If the dealer cannot run it, I don't want to buy it.

    The bernina was a very large and expensive machine with no room to quilt.

    I would like to try the prodigy but there are no dealers anywhere close by and the only one I could really afford is the 18in which would leave a really small work area.

    I have rented time on the Lenni. The 20in throat gives about 12-14in of work space and the controls are easy. It is amazingly light weight. I did accidentally lean on the machine while trying to put in the new bobbin and lifted the back wheels off their tracks more than once. The stitch regulator does beep continuously. Do you get used to that? I didn't have any problems (except user errors) quilting with it but it doesn't have any extra bells or whistles. Would I miss the channel locks, power advance and hydralic lift??
    I am going to rent time on the Millenium next week but I fear I might never get used to/remember the clutch system. Since I cannot afford a new Millie I am alarmed by how many people are trading up fairly new machines because they want upgrades that cannot be retrofitted to their existing machines. Is this a real issue??
    I have heard some not-so-great stuff about the Gammill but I test drove several today and they are up there on my list. The vision 18 -8 was a great light weight machine but the work space was only 9 inches (I had a measuring tape and ran a line from furthest front to back). I think I will not be happy with that. Then I tried a used (1999) unregulated classic 26 - 10. It felt significantly heavier than any other machine I have played with so I worried that I wouldn't be able to use it long before needing to rest my back. I was told that it had original wheels and that an inexpensive update of those would make it like the new classic that was also on that table.(Do you think this is true or just salesman) Test driven side by side of course I liked the new one for the movement and the bells and whistles(flashy but I am not sure they are necessary). They now have a digital camera so you can check the stitching on the back of the quilt. Kind of a cool function but probably a hand mirror and flash light would tell me what I need to know. Suprisingly, I didn't seem to need the stitch regulator. Will I miss having it when I try to do more complicated designs? I also worry that that computer screen(on the new one) is just one more expensive fix should it go out.
    So I welcome any insight you can share about my questions and additional things to think about that flashed through your mind as you read.
    Thanks in advance,
    stacey

  2. #2
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
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    Well I don't know about the machines you mentioned but I have an HQ Avante - has 18" throat space and it is wonderful - easy to use has stitch regulator - which is very nice for me because I am a beginner - it was just a great value for me and I have a local dealer.
    I think you are doing it right by testing the machines - you will know when its right. Good luck...

  3. #3
    Super Member charismah's Avatar
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    Well I can tell you my experience with the machines I tested this last weekend....at Innovations.
    I own an INnova...you can look up their website WWW.ABMInternational.com ( is you have any questions just pm me and I will give you prices and what not..you will find them mroe reasonable)

    I tested the APQS..millenium. The A-1. I have used a gammil several times. I also tested the Bee-line and Juki.....and the HQ 16.
    THe APQS dealer told us that it is runs better when you buy all of the upgrades..and I won't name the instructors that I had at INnovations..but a few of them owned the millenium and would not say anything bad...but said that they were tetsing out other machines....NOne of my instructors ( the instructors are famous quilters ..usually published authors) actually owned a gammil..I found that intersting but they were using them during the classes because Gammil sponsored the show.
    The A-1 was a really nice machine..as far as I was concerned...but the Innova offered more for less money.
    The bee line and JUki were not even on my radar....SO I hope that helps you.

  4. #4
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input Charismah,

  5. #5
    Super Member cjtinkle's Avatar
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    Well here's my input, for whatever it's worth, and please keep in mind I am also an APQS sales rep.

    I have a Millennium. I upgraded from an HQ16. My three choices that I narrowed my search down to were the APQS, the A-1, and the Gammill. Obviously I chose the APQS.

    I don't think you could go wrong with any of the three, I believe they are the best out there.

    I chose the APQS (Millennium) for several reasons.
    1. 8 year warranty.
    2. Absolutely exquisite tensions and stitch regulation. Truly, I don't think any other machine quite matches it.
    3. Service. The APQS community is unlike any other. Both the staff and the group of users you will find online in their forum are incredible. They honestly care. Service after the sale is as good or better than before the sale.

    Something else that helped sway my decision was that it seems to me (no facts to back this up) that most of the quilting stars use Millenniums. There must be a reason for that!

    Whatever you choose, I suggest you try and find a longarmer that will let you try out the machine in their studio. They will be set up better, fully tweaked and adjusted to be running at their best. Sometimes demo models aren't set up well and you won't get a great experience.

    I would not give up my channel locks for anything, and I'd be hard pressed to give up the hydro lift or motorized fabric advance either. Since my first machine didn't have those things, I really appreciate the difference!

    The lift will save your back! The fabric advance allows for precise repositioning that you can't get with a hand crank.

    But longarms aren't any differernt than sewing machines. Only one will feel perfect to you, and that's the one you should get!

    Have fun and enjoy the search, it's pretty exciting!

  6. #6
    Senior Member puck116's Avatar
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    Have you tried the Innova? There is a dealer in Texas http://quiltfrog.com/

    TexasQuiltMachines.com, LLC
    2311 Sciaaca Road
    Spring, Tx 77373
    A Suburb of Houston, Texas.
    Contact Tom and Carrie Dugan
    281-793-1777
    Toll Free 1-877-8-CARRIE

    If I had the money this is what I would buy.

  7. #7
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    Innova rocks-The BEST customer support ever-any time of day or night.I used to have a Handi-quilter-it was ok but not great.tested them all at a show-narrowed down to 3-I did like like oiling a Gammil all the time-I did not like small bobbin on APQS and it was very heavy to move around-went back to Innova-all was great.I have had it a yr now and still love it.most of the time I called tech support it was learning curve issues with tensions-but they are always there to help.I have fibro and ruptured disc in my neck and the Innova was the lightest to move around while quilting and for me that was very important because of pain issues.

  8. #8
    Junior Member acesgame's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the comments thus far. I was thinking I need to drive to spring and try the innova but it is 5 hours away. Considering the money I am going to have to spend it is a probably a no brainer. I was hoping to find the kind of machine I wanted and then wait patiently to find a used one. The problem being you don't know what the used ones will/won't have compared to the new ones and it is usually harder to get someone to service you when you have bought used (unless it was factory resold). Everyone says "it depends on how you are going to use it" and I do agree with that but only to a point. I mean why pay $5K and suffer with the fact that the stitch regulator cannot keep up so if you make a fast turn or your right to left is faster than your left to right you get unregulated stitches or your work space is only 6-10 inches. I can suffer that on the home machine without spending the $$. Do I think I will do this as a business?? Well, if I feel my work is good enough I would love to. I think it is almost more fun than piecing to just get in the groove even when it is not perfect. I don't believe I will ever be good enough for competition and I have no desire to micro stipple but I believe in having the best tool for the job if it is not cost prohibitive. Too many times in life I have bought something because it was cheaper and then been disappointed. I was just so grateful to have it (in the beginning) I didn't see that buying the better one would have been cheaper in the long run. The other problem would be to spend $15K or $20K and not use it enough to get my money's worth. The other problem is SPACE. Will I be dissapointed if I only get the 10 foot table? I just don't know these answers yet.

  9. #9
    Junior Member acesgame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charismah
    Well I can tell you my experience with the machines I tested this last weekend....at Innovations.
    Is innovations a convention for all things longarm or was it specific to something?

  10. #10
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Buying a longarm is an even more personal choice than buying a car. What works for me in my work space may or may not make you happy. You really do need to try out as many machines as you can to find the one that's going to fit you or you'll end up with a machine you're not 100% happy with. BTDT, sold the machine.

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