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Long Arm questions

Old 06-28-2013, 09:00 AM
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You are so wise to look at all the different choices!! and try them out!!
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:11 AM
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DogHouse Mom, another item I forgot to mention was when I was looking for a new machine at the quilt show last year, I test drove the Innova just by chance as I hadn't even heard about them till then. As I have hand tremors, doing FMQ was not an option but I was able to quilt my name with no problem. Heck it looked better than with a pen or pencil. Also I have a APQS in my little town so I went ahead and checked out their machines too. But due to the price of the Innova with what I get for that price, they won hands down. I haven't regretted my move.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:21 AM
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You need a 12 foot table else you will not be able to do a king quilt. The larger the throat opening of your quilting head the better. You can do a king quilt on an 18 in or 22 in opening but you will be limited in design especially as you progress on your quilt because the completed part will roll up and start taking up space. For this reason I went with a 26 in. opening so I can do 12 inch blocks on point, about 17 inches, and I will not need to flip, take my quilt off the frame and load it the opposite way, when I am half way done. Also I will not need to roll the quilt and do one half of a block first and then roll and do the second half. I found the number one thing people recommended is to buy the largest opening you can afford. So in your case I would go with the 22. I have heard many people are happy with that throat opening. I could see having a 22 opening but I just know the 18 would be too small for me. Hopefully people can answer more of your questions. Take your time to find the right machine and size for you. I took years but I feel have a machine that I will keep for a long time and it will probably be the only long arm I will ever own.

Like some people before mentioned maybe check out the Innova 22 on a 12 foot frame. It is a great set up and many people seem really happy with it. I also thought the Handi quilters were a good value especially if you wanted a computer on it. I liked the Handi Quilter Avante 18 in. or the Fussion 24 in. but I found these machines heavier to operate if operating by hand.

Last edited by Annaquilts; 06-28-2013 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 06-28-2013, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Snooze2978 View Post
DogHouse Mom, I started out with a MegaQuilter 9" on a Grace Pro 10' frame, added PCQ, then switched over to MQR for my robotics. I then upgraded to a stretched Juki 18" and tried to add a dead bar to my system but didn't do it correctly so always had problems with it. The poles on the Grace Pro were aluminum so I added the conduit poles over them. Better but still had some give to it. Finally moved up to the Innova 26 with lightening stitch, 12' frame. As I have arthritis in both hands the dead bar alleviates the need to move the take up all the time for me. I also added the auto advance for the take up pole which is great.

If you ever think you'll want a larger machine and you decide on the Innova I'd go with the 22" as it uses the same frame as the 26". The 18" uses a smaller frame and you'd have to upgrade that too.

As others have mentioned, put down your priorities, test drive all you can and then sit down and write down all the pros and cons to each machine and see which one comes out with the highest number.

As to the Innova, you have 24/7 customer service with Michael, once you'd figured out your tension with each brand of thread you use, you'll be quilting away. There are so many videos on how to fix things yourself for this machine, you'll rarely have to call Michael for help. But if you do, he will keep with you till its corrected. This machine is such a joy to quilt with for me even if its been a couple of months since I quilted last, only takes a second or two to get your bearings and you're off to the races again with it.

Just my take on the subject.

Suz in Iowa

I also have an Innova 26"LS. I agree with Doghouse Mom and others about what they have said about test driving, Innova service, and the size of the machine.

I have said that I started out on a non-regulated Nolting and a non-regulated Gammill and tried others, but the Innova won my heart. Budget and room space also are considerations for choosing size and brand of machine. After trying different machines, you can search for used machines as well as check with a dealer to see if they have a demo for sale.

Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy it. You might also consider seeing if an LQS has a machine that you can rent to see if you like long arm quilting.
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:55 AM
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Make sure you think long and hard before you purchase a Tin Lizzie. There have been so many problems, a lot of which have been reviewed on this site. I am one of many people who had serious problems with my TL but the real problem is that the company did not live up to their guarantee or in anyway try to resolve my problems. In the end they would not even return my phone calls. Not everyone got a lemon in their TL but a lot of those that did were left high and dry.
Were you able to try out a Nolting,? A Nolting now replaces my TL. I went to the Ohio show last year with the intention of coming home with an Innovia but once I tried the Nolting I knew it was the one. It is truly an unsung hero. It is Priced between the TL and the Innovia but does everything the Innovia does with the same great results. I have done 45 quilts in 6 months with no problems. When I have a question it is handled immediately. I have never waited over an hour for a return call.
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:06 AM
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If price is not a factor, then I would definitely get a dead bar. I first had a 18" Tin Lizzie and the frame did not have a dead bar. I now have a APQS Freedom (26") and the frame is much, much sturdier and I have a dead bar and would never ever go back to not having the dead bar. The convenience of it is definitely worth paying for it. Hve you considered the 18" APQS Lennie? It will have the dead bar on the frame and I think the price would probably be about the same as the Tin Lizzie and in my opionion (having owned both a Tin Lizzie and now a APQS), I would not consider ever buying a Tin Lizzie again but I would definitley buy another APQS machine. APQS machines also have a very good stitch regulator and tension. I have had my APQS for 1 1/2 years and have quilted over 100 quilts on it so far and have had no problems whatsoever. (NOTE: I did have many, many problems with my Tin Lizzie during the time I had it and quilted 70 quilts on it). As far as quilting a King size quilt, make sure you buy a long enough frame--at least a 10 or 12 ft. I have a 12' frame and would not buy anything smaller because I can have a very large quilt on it and still have some room for the extra width on the sides of the backing and then there is still room for my machine to sit off to the side. (I never leave my machine sit over a quilt when I am not actually quilting on the quilt). Good luck in your decision.
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:11 AM
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I have an A-1 Elite, have had it since 2006. The frame is 12 feet and I can easily do King and larger. I have a "larger" on it now because we just bought those adjustable beds which are two ex long twins together...but the A-1 is a professional machine, and I do quilt professionally. I have heard nothing but good things about the Innova, Tin Lizzie seems to be lacking in many areas. Best of luck with your decision. Michelle
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