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Thread: Gammill Owners - Questions and Thoughts

  1. #1
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    Gammill Owners - Questions and Thoughts

    I have a quilting pal who is a Gammill owner (bought hers about 10 years ago) - also a rep - who was kind enough to invite me to her home last evening to share with me her setup and talk to me all about her Gammill. I have a few questions for you Gammill owners and really would love to have some honest feedback (while I'm not standing in front of the machine and under it's spell!)


    - Did you purchase your Gammill with the intentions of opening a long arm business?

    - If you have other long armers in your area and given the economy, do you think it's unrealistic to purchase a machine like this hoping to quilt enough quilts to make the monthly payments?

    - How soon after purchasing did you feel comfortable charging others for your quilting?

    - How do you feel about Gammill versus other setups, namely the Handiquilter, APQS, or A1 machines?

    - I'm interested in the Vision 22, what kind of monthly payments am I looking at if I finance something like that, and what does that mean in terms of how many quilts am I going to need to quilt to make that payment?

    I am really conflicted as to if I'd like to purchase one of these and open a business. I would definitely like to do some quilting for others but I'm just not sure if I could drum up the business or not to pay for a new machine. We have several long armers who literally live just up the road from me and have really great reputations and solid foundations in our local quilting community. When I started looking at these I didn't know what I wanted to do with my quilting but the more I think about it - long arming seems like something I'd really love and could get good at. But I don't want to regret jumping into something too quickly.
    Last edited by pumpkinpatchquilter; 12-10-2012 at 04:26 AM.
    Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  2. #2
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    I have a Gammill, love it and bought it used, which is what I'd recommend for you. You will pay alot less, and that will resolve alot of your worries about monthly payments. I believe Gammill only finances new machines, so you'd have to make financial arrangements on your own. I know some buyers got home equity loans in the past, not sure if that's an available option now, what with today's economy and how banks are loaning right now. You can call Gammill and ask them about their financing program. ALso, when looking at used machines, get the serial number and Gammill can tell you the manufacture date.
    As far as other machines go, I can't tell you anything about the Handiquilter, but I didn't care for the APQS machines because the ones I tried/saw always stitched a few more stitches after stitching was "stopped". I tried an A-1 machine this past spring at a quilt show because it has a good reputation and I know many quilters consider that machine and the Gammill to be the two best machines out there, and I liked it alot. I found it to be very smooth running and very quiet, a machine I think I'd like.

  3. #3
    Junior Member homebody323's Avatar
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    I've had a Gammill Classic since '96. It's a real work horse. My only problems with it are tension, tension, tension. I struggle with it if I change threads. I looked at APQS when I bought mine, was at a show, saw that they weren't interested in answering questions from people who already had them- just potential buyers. That turned me OFF big time. That could have been a singular event. I was told by an onlooker that it was the owners mother that made the statement, don't know if that was true.
    I have long since paid for my machine but didn't do it with the money earned from the machine, because I didn't want the pressure. I bought because we had an "at Home" business and I thought I could use it if my husband got hurt and needed care. It is a "bear" to move so plan carefully. There are many longarmers nearby and we each have our special niche. It took me 4 months of heavy practice before I was confindent enough to charge.
    Sally Dolin -The Lazy Quilter
    Gammill Classic+
    Rock Island, IL

  4. #4
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    Thank you I really appreciate your insight!

    I live in a small town and I have some time to research before I buy but the reality is, where I'm located, I doubt I'll get to test drive too many machines before purchasing so I'm relying heavily on the feedback of others and my own research. I really liked the solid feel of the Gammill and it has really lured me away from some of the machines I had been looking at previously.
    Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  5. #5
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I bought my Gammill Vision 18/8 about a year and a half ago. I purchased it from savings so I did not have to finance it. I did buy it with the intent to quilt for others. I previously had a mid-arm from Wow without a stitch regulator and had gotten okay at overall quilting. I did quilt for a few friends at that time per their insistence but was very nervous about it. I took a 2 day class that came with my Gammill purchase and I would highly recommend that. I am slowly building up my business thanks to the afore-mentioned friends. Showing my quilting at guild Show & Tells has brought me more business. I do not want to get too busy, but would like extra money for my quilting hobby and retreats. I have found that at this point, it is either feast or famine. I will have too much work for several months in a row and then nothing for a couple of months. There are a lot of good longarmers in my area, but most are just doing it for extra money not their livelihood so there does seem enough work for all. Gammill has tremendous support. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Super Member PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I think what you really need to ask yourself is do you want to open ANY type of home-based business? I would talk to an accountant who specializes in small businesses to see what the ramifications are. How comfortable are you with debt in general? Your friend/rep should be able to give you a ballpark idea of the monthly payments. on a new machine. You can then determine if you can still make the payments during your learning curve, or in slow months.
    Sounds like there's lots of quilting going on in your area. I would contact the other Long Arm quilters and your rep and see if someone would rent you time on their machine (after Christmas of course!). I'd try to see if I could do an entire small quilt. This should give you an idea of how long your learning curve will be.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  7. #7
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    I wouldn't buy something that had the pressure of having to sell my work to pay for it. Especially quilting. I can't stand pressure.LOL I never could. I quilt when I want to and have the time. If I Had to, it wouldn't be fun. What if you can't make the payments? Would you have the help to make them?

  8. #8
    Junior Member OCQuilts's Avatar
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    We have been renting Gammill's for 6 years in our shop. We have been selling them for 2 years. We have 5 machines to rent. We quilt for others and have sold many machines....as far as I can see there is still a demand for long arm quilters. I think the demand is still growing. Styles of quilting may be the change that some quilters may have to make to keep busy.
    One of the country's largest yet unknown quilt shops! http://www.oldecityquilts.com

  9. #9
    Super Member PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I had an additional thought. if you notice, a lot of the regular posters who have LA businesses on this board are not giving their opinions here, or actually posting on any threads. It's not because they don't care I'm guessing it's probably because they are sooooo busy getting gift quilts out the door they don't have time for anything else. Is this something you want to add to an already busy time of the year?
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  10. #10
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    Those are true and valid thoughts!! Thank you all so much for your insight, I truly am listening (er, reading) all of your thoughts and taking them to heart.

    About running a business from home - this is a biggie. To be honest, I'm in the middle on it. That's part of why I'm asking here. If I finance something, then without a doubt that means I'm going to be going into a full blown business. Where as, if I buy something used and have no loan, then I can move things at my own pace, but I will likely have to settle for what I can find rather than what I want. We have worked really hard to be smart with our money and if I buy something new - more expensive than my car - this will be the riskiest purchase I have ever made.

    Can we afford the payments? Yes, but we don't want to. We paid off both of our cars so if there's a month that I can't make the payment from business then we can swing it, but it will be a strain, like having car payments again. Ideally I'd like to not have to take from our regular budget if I can swing it, but I am realistic that things rarely go as planned.

    Also, with the business, I may be ready and willing to have a home based business, but I'm not sure if my family is. This is something to ponder.
    Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

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