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Thread: Houston International Quilt Festival - Mid-Arm Vendors

  1. #1
    Senior Member laurlync's Avatar
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    I am looking at purchasing a mid-arm quilting machine in the next few months. I have not had an opportunity to try out any machines yet as there is no LQS or LA vendors in Texarkana. I am planning to go to Shreveport soon to try out a Handi Quilter.

    I have thought about going to the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November so I can try out a variety of machines in one location. However, I have read the posts here and am concerned that with so many people at the show, my opportunities to try out the machines will be almost non-existant. I am over 5 hours (one way) from Houston. While I'm sure I would enjoy the festival, if I am going with the intention of checking out the machines and do not get the opportunity to do so, I'm afraid I would be extremely frustrated.

    For those who have been, have you ever gotten the opportunity to use the various machines? Or did you spend more time waiting than actually using them? Do you have any advice to offer or know of a better venue for shopping for quilting machines?

  2. #2
    MTS
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    I've tried out every machine multiple times.

    Gammill, for instance, must have at least 8 machines set up....and there could be multiple heads on a frame so more people get to try it.

    But do a lot of your homework before hand.
    Make your own comparison list from the information on all the vendor websites.
    Make a list of the features that are important or deal breakers for YOU.

    Go with your a firm $$$ number in your head - it should include tax/delivery/all extras/instructions and things like leaders/lighting/etc.
    Then you have a chance - just a chance - of staying within budget :mrgreen: and not getting distracted by all the pretty shiny add-ons.
    Your highest $$$ should include some rulers/pantos/software, depending on your machine.

    If you're really serious, the salesmen will sense it, and make sure you get machine time.

    Mind you, I don't have longarm, but that's the exact route I would take if I were in the market for one.

    And, please, if you're going, take time to enjoy the show.
    At least the quilts.
    You'll see the vendors anyway because the LA booths are spread all over the floor for the show.

  3. #3
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    i went to the houston show a few years ago and tried a few machines, a couple that i was interested in i walked away from because they were all into someone else (3 sales people) and nobody even acknowledged me but most booths were very attentive and it did not take very long to get to try it out

  4. #4
    Senior Member laurlync's Avatar
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    Thank you, MTS. I have been studying the machines quite a bit and have read oodles of reviews. I first thought of getting a Bailey and building a frame because of price, but have pretty much decided to spend a little more to get more features and an "original build" machine (not a stretched machine). My "short list" at the moment includes the HQ 16, Tin Lizzie 18 and Innova 18. I actually have a tendency to "over study" everything before making a decision. It's a really exhausting trait sometimes...LOL!

  5. #5
    Senior Member laurlync's Avatar
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    Thank, Kathy! That makes me feel better, too.

    Also, does anyone know if they sometimes have the systems at special pricing or do they sell for the same prices as ordering from their websites or dealers? Should I maybe go prepared to buy on the spot?

  6. #6
    MTS
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    Quote Originally Posted by laurlync
    Also, does anyone know if they sometimes have the systems at special pricing or do they sell for the same prices as ordering from their websites or dealers? Should I maybe go prepared to buy on the spot?
    I was just going to mention show-specials.
    And the specials get better the closer to Sunday you get. ;-)

    They might have special pricing on new machines, but then they will also be selling the ones they're using for demos.
    You can usually swing free shipping sometimes on the big times like LA and Koalas etc.

    You never know until you ask if there is a payment plan or financing or layaway or gently used machines.
    A little scratch might not bother you if it's worth X of the price.

    And definitely negotiate the price or the extras.
    But you're in the best position to do that if you've done your homework.
    Knowledge is power.

    Have a great time and I hope you find your machine!

    eta: I mention the Koala cabinet because I was with two friends in Houston a few years that were in the market for one.
    The ladies kept circling the cabinets, and the salesmen kept their eyes on them.
    This went on for two days.
    It was like watching a Discovery special. It was hysterical.
    At 3PM on Sunday, before we had to leave for the airport, they made their moves.
    Quite the deal they got.
    They even got me an insert for my Bernina out of it - and I didn't even have one of the cabinets yet (I was inheriting one from a friend who passed).

  7. #7
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    They do usually have "show" prices. I just bought the Gammill Vision 18/8 in June and they are running specials on it so it was in the same price range as the others you mentioned. I love it. It seems all longarm quilters love their machines, so just try them all and go with your favorite.
    Good luck.

  8. #8
    Super Member lynnsim's Avatar
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    I've never tried out the machines at the Int'l Quilt Festival, but I have attended numerous time (I only live 2 hours away & have a place to stay while there.) There are numerous machines set up; lots of vendors/sales persons. I have seen "special pricing"; there're called show prices. So, yes, you might want to go prepared to buy. Have fun! Oh, I hope you know you have to stay more than one day, lol.

  9. #9
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    If you can, going to Houston, esp if you've never been , is well worth it.

    I was able to buy a gently used HQ 16 and love it. Then when the Pro-Stitcher came out I bought that on sale. Love that, too.

    A lot of quilters are upgrading to the Avante or the Fusion. So be sure to ask and do some searches on the net in your area.

    A friend here is trying to sell her New Joy frame with the Babylock quilter's Choice Professional sewing machine.

    Personally, I went into this with a fixed budget and a fixed price in mind. I only bought 2 small rulers after talking with the person from Quilter's Rule. He said when starting out go slow and then you'll save $$$ when you buy what you really will use. Too many buy a lot and never use them. I did get the little plastic platform for use with rulers.

    I also didn't buy any pantos when I first got my HQ. Other LA'ers gave me their old ones:)) I found I could make my own if needed.

    Have fun.

    ali

  10. #10
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    I have the HQ 16 - longarm with the pro-stitcher. I love it!!! The best part for me was the dealer came and set it up in my home and trained me. Also, they have such a strong support system if you have a question or a problem. They are as close as the phone. Good luck!! Enjoy shopping..

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