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Thread: What brands of Long Arm machines would you recommend?

  1. #1
    Super Member Christine-'s Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    Raleigh, NC

    What brands of Long Arm machines would you recommend?

    Is there a source that gives a comparison of each brand of LA? I'm hoping I can find an honest comparison, someone who's actually used different brands as opposed to someone well-meaning but is passing along information she's only heard. :~)

    I was at the Mid-Atlantic quilt festival last month and saw every brand of LA there is. I was able to test drive 2 of them, the Tin Lizzie and the Gammill. I wish I could have tested more though. The vibration in the handles of the Gammill was very noticeable on high speed, the Tin Lizzie felt soooo smooth, and I was going as fast as it could go. I'm thinking no one in their right mind could possibly quilt that fast, but it does have me wondering what the differences are between machines.

    Anyone care to give their experience with a brand? I'm very interested in the Tin Lizzie.
    Bernina 640, Singer 201-3, Singer Centennial 15-91, Tin Lizzie 26" long arm

  2. #2
    Super Member Ripped on Scotch's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Ontario Canada
    I have a gammill... I never go a full Speed and i have no issues with it. Do you know what kind of wheels were on the table that you test drove? I know that there is an upgraded wheel package and they make a difference. I did use a different brand at a conference and I didn't like itit. can't remember the brand though.

  3. #3
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Northern Michigan
    Blog Entries
    check out the machine quilters society- or forum---you will find all kinds of comparison charts- views & recommendations- my recommendation is--to visit and test drive as many as you possible can and ask as many questions as you can think of- like space requirements, set up, delivery, customer service, maintenance, tech support, owners classes/training, upgrading, ... the list really goes on and on- as you try out different ones you will think of other questions that pertain to you & your situation- but training, and customer support/service should be a large part of any decision- it is a big (investment) so you should be as informed as possible before making it.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  4. #4
    Junior Member An Arm Long's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Maryland's Eastern Shore
    I went to the Cincinnati Quilt Show last year and tried every one there - about 8 or 10. I shook every frame and tried each machine on both days of the show. I realized that the frame is important too.
    I ended up getting a Baby lock Crown Jewel with a Grace Majestic frame. I am very happy with both. The Jewel was very smooth. One of the best things was the 4 day class in St. Louis that was included in the deal and the 0% interest loan which I have already partially paid off now. The HQ Avante is the same 18" arm machine as the jewel but the frame they give you is different. I have a friend who has that but I don't like her frame as well. She also did not get much help in using it although they did spend a day with her setting it up and teaching her some.
    The big issue is the space that you may have. Mine is a 10 foot frame and fits well in my 15 foot wide sewing room. I can do a large queen or a small king on it but not a large king as you cannot quilt all the way to the edges of the frame. The 12 foot frame would not fit well in the room.
    I have had no problems with the 18 inch arm length. Have been able to do everything I needed on it easilly.

    Good luck in your looking. Hope you find something that is as much fun as I have had.
    Beth in Maryland

  5. #5
    Super Member quilter1's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    Ayr, Ontario
    Blog Entries
    I have a Tin Lizzie 18LS and just love it. No problems at all.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jennie and Me's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    N.W. Missouri
    Definitely an APQS(American Professional Quilting System). Great service and they are made in the good ol' US of A. Seldom ever have a problem with tension...if I do it's usually something that I am doing wrong...not the machine. I love my Millennium. They do have smaller machines with smaller tables. Great company to work with. Can you tell that I am a happy customer??

  7. #7
    Senior Member almond's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Fort Dodge, Iowa
    I have the Viking 18" mega quilter. Have had some issues with it. Is in the shop now, but all that aside to love the way it handles. It just glides so easy. I do not care for the frames as it puts the quilt top down the front so I cannot look at how it is sewing underneath. The Viking and the Tin Lizzie are very simular.

  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I have an Innova, love it, but there are lots of good machines out there and you will find people who recommend each of them. Most people only have experience on one or two. Comparison charts don't exist as far as I know, and even if they did they wouldn't be unbiased. The other thing to remember is that most longarms can be purchased with different options, and some of those options are important to some people and not to others, so configuring a longarm is a very individual experience. Here is a link to an excellent article about purchasing a longarm. (You have to go to the bottom of the page, put it in your shopping cart, but it is free.)


  9. #9
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    The best machine for you is .... whatever fits your budget and space and that you can bond with. this is highly individual like what shade of lipstick or lip gloss you like.

    Are you up for a used machine? or do you only want a new one?

    I have a HandiQuilter and love it. I got the HQ16 used and upgraded it. HQ has great tech support. I can phone them anytime and they will walk me through whatever I might need free of charge! HQ has lots of classes locally and nationally, even a HQ University in Salt Lake City, Utah. They also have great DVD's available and net groups.

    The most basic thing to know is that if you don't bond with it you probably won't use it. I have a few friends in that position.

    I do like the Statler Stitcher but am not ready to 'buy another house.' They are waayyy to expensive for me. Great machines but pricey.

    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.

  10. #10
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    I have a Gammill and there's not enough money in the US to get me to give it up...I love, love, love it!
    If you feel like you're special...it's 'cause you are!

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