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Thread: Bernina Q24 Long Arm

  1. #1
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    Bernina Q24 Long Arm

    Just came aboard this forum, as we are seriously considering a Q24 and interested in what owner's experiences have been. The wife is a long-time quilter, but never with a machine. Time to get her into the tech age, and I will be her helper. Have spent the last month investigating long-arm quilters, and the Bernina, albeit more expensive, seems to be the best, at least on paper. The others seems to have added computer control as an afterthought. Don't wish to bore readers with details, but their are a lot of engineering advantages to the Q24.
    Last edited by jemanner; 05-09-2017 at 09:24 AM.

  2. #2
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    Please consider dealer/repair shop support/training. Have you had an opportunity to test drive?

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltMom2 View Post
    Please consider dealer/repair shop support/training. Have you had an opportunity to test drive?
    It was a Bernina dealer, but they were pushing the Handi Quilter. I suspect nothing to do with design or reliability, but the owner was personally involved with the Handi-Quilter development, manufactured (well, at least assembled) in Salt Lake City. This said, I feel he would provide excellent support for the Q24. Test drive, well, for that we will have to travel to SLC. For the expenditure we are considering, absolutely, should make the trip. However, we have no experience with long-arms, hence the reason for the original post, to glean from other's experience with the Q24, and hopefully other makes.
    Last edited by jemanner; 05-09-2017 at 02:49 PM.

  4. #4
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Engineering aside, your wife absolutely MUST test drive longarms and see which one SHE feels most comfortable with. Are you doing the quilting or is she? The UQSM show was just in SLC this past weekend and would have been a prime opportunity to not only test the Q24 but all the other major manufacturers side by side. Most longarmers spend a year researching and test driving machines before purchasing.

    I am a very happy Innova owner and there are many of us out there. Quite a few are regular major show winners and there are several "famous" long armers who have switched from other brands to Innova (like Gina Perkes). I have test drove the Q24 and it is indeed a gorgeous machine. Moves like butter and makes a beautiful stitch. Swiss made Bernina sewing machines have been around for a long time and my domestic is a Bernina (and old enough that it was still manufactured in Switzerland, now they have farmed all but the longarm and high end series out). But Bernina is a relative "newb" to longarms.

    When it comes to longarms you absolutely can not make a decision without test driving as many as possible. Also you must consider how easy the machine you choose is to be maintained and how easy it can be upgraded to robotics if that is what you decide. And the rack is important too. I did love how the Q24 carriage operated on their rack but the rack itself did not seem easily modified or customized.

    Every single accessory is extra with Bernina. Rear handles for pantos, special feet if you want to do ruler work, extra for an open toe foot, etc

    All major brands have on board stitch regulators and there are distinct advantages to them not being part of the internal guts of the machine, like it is with Bernina. If my stitch regulator suddenly went out on me, I could still quilt in manual mode. It would be easy to upgrade.

    There are also advantages to old fashioned "mechanical" movements that allow you to do things like adjust your tension without the computer, retime your machine if it is necessary (without a dealer housecall or having to lug a 70lb machine head off the frame and into the shop), adjust needle bar height, etc. I don't believe the owner can do any of these things with the Q24. You must have it serviced by an authorized Bernina rep. As they are the only ones trained to get at the internal workings of the machine.

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    Thank you SO much for the advice feline fanatic! Wish we had known about the show in SLC! Had never considered Innova, but on first glance it appears to be a well-built machine, and will research and test drive. A test configuration appears to be priced real close to the Q24, but as you mentioned, not a "newb" on the scene. Of course it would depend highly if a dealer/servicer is not far away. Regarding automation, we would get that from the onset. I would be very comfortable with it, and would teach the wife.

  6. #6
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    Feline Fanatic has given you some awesome advice. I'd add to her's by encouraging you AND your wife to spend sometime on a rented long arm--sometimes quilt shops will allow you time on a machine if you take a "certification" class which teaches you the basics of how to load and operate a long arm. I say this because a dear friend's husband bought an APQS for her (another good brand along with Nolting, Gammill, and Innova and all in the long arm business longer than Bernina)and she HATES to quilt--she's an award winning piecer and has absolutely no interest in long arm quilting. Her husband has decided to use it for charity quilts--but a pretty expensive investment for that. Some people love to quilt (me!) and others preferring piecing and quilting by check! I'd also echo Feline that dealer support and ability to do your own adjustments and diagnosis & repair are VERY important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingshorttimer View Post
    Feline Fanatic has given you some awesome advice. I'd add to her's by encouraging you AND your wife to spend sometime on a rented long arm--sometimes quilt shops will allow you time on a machine if you take a "certification" class which teaches you the basics of how to load and operate a long arm. I say this because a dear friend's husband bought an APQS for her (another good brand along with Nolting, Gammill, and Innova and all in the long arm business longer than Bernina)and she HATES to quilt--she's an award winning piecer and has absolutely no interest in long arm quilting. Her husband has decided to use it for charity quilts--but a pretty expensive investment for that. Some people love to quilt (me!) and others preferring piecing and quilting by check! I'd also echo Feline that dealer support and ability to do your own adjustments and diagnosis & repair are VERY important.
    Gosh, some more great advice! Thank you quiltingshorttime. The friend you described sounds exactly like us. I could care less about piecing, but would love to operate the long-arm, in particular the automation package. We are also in the same boat regarding the machine, i.e. just wish it for our own use and to serve others, not for hire or profit. Long winters here, and I think it would be a great husband/wife project. Thanks to Feline Fanatic have been researching the Innova, and I'm impressed so far. It sounds like they have great support, and 24/7 no less. Have already submitted some pre-sales questions, and we will see how fast they respond. AND, they make parts catalogs and a timing tool available. WOW! So far, none of the others have this big plus.

  8. #8
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    The Q20 stitches really nice so the 24 would be nice. I can tell you the threading looked complicated on the Q20 I used for a day compared to other models. I do agree with a test drive machines really are a personal preference
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  9. #9
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I've had the Q24 for about 2 years. I love it. The stitch quality is consistently great. I've had no tension issues at all. After test driving a few at a quilt show, I chose this one. It was the most expensive of the ones I tried. It's set into a beautiful, sturdy Koala table which I'm sure adds to the high price. Another thing I love about it is the stitch regulator. I haven't regretted my decision. Another factor to consider, though, is having a Bernina dealer close by in case you need to take it in for service. Fortunately I haven't had to do that yet. But it only weighs 38 pounds so it's not horribly heavy to get it up from the basement to get it to the dealer.
    Lori

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  10. #10
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    As FelineFanatic mentioned ... test driving long-arms is an absolute must. They're like automobiles, each of them has a different "feel" to it. You don't want to get a machine and find out later there is some weird quirk about it that you absolutely hate - and suck all the joy out of using it.

    If you were willing/able to travel then your best bet would be to get to a large quilt show in the near future. Most of the major machine manufacturers have their long arm setups on hand for folks to test drive - and make deals. The booth is typically manned by a local (to the show) store.

    Unfortunately, most of the major quilt shows have happened already, at least until the fall. Not sure of any that happen in the summer.

    It's a big investment, if I were in your shoes, I would wait until I could attend a large quilt show to test drive multiple machines.

    good luck!!
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  11. #11
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    If you go to http://www.quilterstravelcompanion.com/ and click on quilt shows and the states you are looking for. It looks like you might have some summer shows in your area. If you contact the show, you can probably find out what vendors are going to be there.
    Patrice S

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    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    I have a Gammill and have found that the service has been great--my "local" rep is on my speed dial and never fails to answer questions and get problems (haven't really had many) resolved. They are close enough that I've had them do little maintenance even. The one time that neither of us could figure out an issue, they sent me directly to the factory (West Plains, MO) and Ken walked me through the issue and sent the part and then we talked via phone and got it installed. Point I'm making is that most of us don't haul a long arm into a repair shop like we do our DSM, so excellent service via phone becomes VERY important and also means that you don't have to have a dealer next door.
    Gammill dealers will sell timing tools, parts that typically will wear out with extended use(like switches, bobbin cases & parts, etc). See you are in Rexburg , ID--long way from KS, but there will be a big show, KC Regional Quilt Fest in Overland Park KS (KC suburb) this June 15-17 and I think all the big long arm folks will be there.

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    Well, we decided on the Q24 and love it. Have only done a couple of quilts so far, but no issues. Well, there is one, and possibly a Q24 user can offer a suggestion? Presently it does not seem possible to transfer an entire quilt project from Art and Stitch to Q-Matic and sew the rows incrementally. Q-Matic complains either there is not a pattern queued, or it extends out of the safe area. What I suspect is, since stitching must be applied prior transferring from Art & Stitch to Q-Matic, is the jump stitches are the cause of the issue. Both Bernina and Art & Stitch have been alerted, but no solution, or promise of a solution, have come forth. This said, both programs are amazing, if only they would only correctly talk to each other when it comes to a full quilt, thus enabling use of the Q-Matic Realign function. Not a happy prospect, to get to the end of a quilt and have insufficient or excessive space, especially the former.

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    Did you purchase a longarm yet? I have a Bernina Q24 and love it!!! I tested just so many except for the A1 and Prodigy. I couldn't find any in the central New York area to try out. My first pick was Bernina Q24 and then Gammill. I have not regretted my decision for a moment. I can't believe the stitch quality, the ease of operation and the support from the dealer. The machine just glides along. I have never even had a tension issue nor have I needed to adjust the tension. I have used different battings and still no tension issues. The Q24 is magical!

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