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Thread: Longarm Machines

  1. #1
    Super Member TexasSunshine's Avatar
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    Longarm Machines

    Is there a website or somewhere that lists all the LA machines and compares them? I know everyone has their favs just like sewing machines. But unless you are experienced on everyone of them it is hard to know which is the best. How do they rank by price, which are low end, but still very good machines compared to the top of the price range. We bought a used Voyager 17 (very good price) and have had nothing but trouble. We have had it adjusted, DH has talked to tech support but still can't sew more than a little till we have problems. We have the Hinterberg frame with it. We could trade it in, keep the frame but I really don't want to do that right now. Any advice?
    Texas Sunshine, piney woods of NE Texas

  2. #2
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    Before I purchased my longarm machine I had researched all the machine brands for over 2 years. I test drove all of them anytime I could find them in shows or on display. I talked with lots of people, dealers and customers to get the pros and cons of each machine. When I encountered a fellow longarmer I would ask about their machine. I was surprised at how many of those gals invited me to their shops to "test drive" their machines. I called the sales departments of all the companies as well. I didn't do these things just once I did them SEVERAL times over a 2 year period. When sales would answer I would tell them that I wasn't ready to purchase a machine but needed some questions answered. Then I would sort of "judge" them by how the sales person would respond.
    Purchasing the machine is a personal choice for you, but I do know how important feedback from others can be. I will be happy to pm you some of my research notes if you would like. I'm always happy to help fellow sewists.
    Crashnquilt


    Wouldn't you like to live with my mind just for a moment? I wish you would, I think I need to get OUT OF IT!

  3. #3
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Nope, there is no such site to my knowledge, and I did try to find one. The best I found is an article written by Renae Haddadin of Quilts On The Corner. Look near the bottom right on this page to find it: http://quiltsonthecorner.com/

    I think the options on quilting machines are too many, changing too rapidly, and too diverse for anyone to actually list and compare them comprehensively. And who would be able to do that objectively? An option that one person thinks is silly is a necessity to someone else.

    In many cases, it's not an option that's important, but how the machine is built. For instance, the frame on the Innova Pro Frame is designed with a 4-pole system so that you don't ever have to adjust any poles as you roll your quilt. I didn't even realize that was a benefit until I watched someone with a Gammil using a measuring device to change the height of the poles as she rolled her quilt. I think there are probably many more examples.

    Prices also are all over the place, depending on the set of options. I think the only way is to go to shows, try out as many machines as you can, talk to other owners, and join yahoo groups that discuss each machine. (I've heard that some groups won't let you join unless you are an owner, but others welcome people who just want to learn about the machine.) No matter which machine it is, there will be some people with bad experiences, and hopefully many more with good ones. The real test is how the people who are having a bad experience are being treated by the company supporting the machine.

    Just for the record, I own an Innova and am very glad I bought it, but I realize it's not the only machine out there, and many people are very happy with other brands.

  4. #4
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i think yahoo has a forum called home quilting systems. there would be a variety of machines discussed there
    Nancy in western NY

  5. #5
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    Since you live in Texas, I would go to the Houston International Quilt Show this year. I'm not sure of the exact dates but it is always the end of October or the 1st of November. Most longarm machines will be there. When I researched mine, I was interested in the APQS and Gammill. I ended up with the Gammill because of the features available and at the time they were having a very good sale. Also, several of my friends have Gammills and that has proven invaluable whenever I have questions. I am very pleased with my purchase. I have had my machine since June of 2011. I believe there are a lot of good machines out there at the present time and you just need to try each one to see what fits you. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Super Member TexasSunshine's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for you input. I will check out some of the info. We can't go to Houston this year because of a scheduling conflict.
    Texas Sunshine, piney woods of NE Texas

  7. #7
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    Hi. I recently purchased a Gammill and even tho I LOVE it, I have alot of questions and my local rep is not very helpful. My current problem is the threads on the bottom of the quilt occassionally has loops. I'm unsure whether to adjust the top tension or the bottom. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

  8. #8
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    I'm a newbie to the forum and have been looking at longarm systems for about 3 months now. I've decided no "jumping" into any system for at least one year. The article by Renae Haddadin is outstanding. I may need an extra year!!

    I was in Madison, WI at the Quilt Expo last week and tried 7 different machines. All of the vendors knew I was no where near buying, yet all were patient and eager to answer my questions. It was a great way to get a feel for the machines, frames and accessories I might need.
    Last edited by NorseWoman; 09-15-2012 at 01:52 PM.

  9. #9
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kauailover View Post
    Hi. I recently purchased a Gammill and even tho I LOVE it, I have alot of questions and my local rep is not very helpful. My current problem is the threads on the bottom of the quilt occassionally has loops. I'm unsure whether to adjust the top tension or the bottom. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

    Superior threads website is an outstanding resource for tension issues. This link will help you troubleshoot: http://www.superiorthreads.com/educa...-tension-works

    To TexasSunshine: Dunster and crash both gave you excellent advice. I made a wish list of what I wanted and set a budget. I ended up getting my dealer's demo model Innova. One thing I would stress: I found having a dealer an invaluable asset. They set my machine up for me in my home, spent a great deal of time with me to ensure I felt comfortable with the machine, and I feel I can turn to them if anything goes wrong. I would not buy a LA second hand from an individual. I feel I would have no place to turn to for support and a LA is a very expensive investment to have that kind of frustration. But I think you have learned this the hard way with your Voyager 17. A good dealer and good corporate support are both worth their weight in gold! So keep that in mind when you do your evaluations. PS I am a very happy Innova user and they are manufactured right in your great state of Texas! You would probably save a bundle in shipping costs!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kauailover View Post
    Hi. I recently purchased a Gammill and even tho I LOVE it, I have alot of questions and my local rep is not very helpful. My current problem is the threads on the bottom of the quilt occassionally has loops. I'm unsure whether to adjust the top tension or the bottom. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
    You need to tighten the top tension if you have loops on the bottom. Think of it as "If I tighten the top tension --it will pull more on the bottom threads--which will help eliminate loops on the bottom. Now it you tighten it and then your thread starts breaking--then you need to loosen the top tension again and then also loosen the bottom tension. You need to keep doing this and playing with the tension until you get it balanced. Hope this helps you.

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