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Long Arm Suggestions

Long Arm Suggestions

Old 05-02-2012, 08:50 PM
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Location: Mechanicsville, IA
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I like my Millenium and APQS service is great. DH and I took their classes and plan on taking their maintenance class this year. I think the advice on checking out the frame is a good idea. I had room enough for 14' and have been glad because I can work on any size. I also enjoy using the Intelliquilter computerized system. I do not find it boring because if I am doing an E2E while keeping an eye on it I can work on my own piecing etc. I find it very artistic, just in a different way. Like the difference between painting with watercolors vs painting with oils, both can produce beautiful results.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Jean54 View Post
I am wanting to purchase a long arm quilting machine but really don't know which machine will offer me the most bang for my buck. Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

When I was looking for one a couple of years ago, my DH did alot of research on the various machines. He has several mechanics licenses, so, you can imagine how he picked apart the various machines. "We" finally settled on the Tin Lizzie18 DLS, simplicity of design, steel bearings for wheels instead of plastic, the quietness of the motor, etc.
We also decided that since it was also the best bang for our buck. Now as far as a local dealer, we had one, approx 50 mins from us, and they turned out to be useless. Definitely a take your money and run. I haven't had any real issues with the machine since I bought her, except I dropped the bobbin racer a few times and DH had to bend it back for me. I also have the Falcon frame with mine, which is a very sturdy wooden frame. I would have to say, ""I love my Tin Lizzie""
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:25 AM
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I am hearing lots of good things about the Innova, but like others have told you, it would be helpful to go to a machine show and test drive all of them. I researched for a long time them got a gammill classic plus, I like it but did not realize I had to be a mechanic, it is a love hate relationship, as I think it would be with all of them. It is a big investment so do shop around.
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:31 AM
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I agree with all these posts. I just got my LA in March. But, I researched & test drove machines for over a year. Every chance I got to go to a show where there were LA's I went. I also became certified on a couple of different machines before I made my choice. That way I could get the "feel" of the machines & how I interacted with them. From that I made a list of features that I definitely wanted, could live without or could put on the back burner for later after I gained more experience. I found that having a stitch regulator in the beginning was an absolute must. After that it's bells & whistles. I chose a Tin Lizzie 18. (Actually I got the Queen Quilter 18, which IS a Tin Lizzie 18). I don't have computerized, but can add it at any time. Through my research & talking to other LA's, learning free motion to start with is more rewarding. Yes, I practice a lot, I mark my tops & take my time to do the quilting, but I see improvements with each & every quilt. Like when we first started quilting, it's a learning curve & the more we do it, the better we get.
Everyone has opinions on different machines, both sewing & LA's. Ultimately, the choice will be yours. Let us know what you decide.
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:52 AM
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You may want to go over and join the homequitingsystem group on Yahoo. I've belonged for many years now and they have in their files, a checklist on what to look for. You do need to make a wish list and decide what you need and what you don't need. The list of stuff they have now is endless. One more factor - just how deep are your pockets? Take your time and do go to shows and test drive them. Take your wish list and go and play.
I too, just got back from Paducah quilt show, there were so many frames and longarms, it was mind blowing. I have a homestretched machine on a homemade frame. I know I won't be buying one of those beauties, so I walked right by them. I would love to play on one, but then, I would want one - and that isn't going to happen. I do get many quilts done on my system.
Good luck on your search.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:49 AM
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Location: Smyrna, GA
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Check out the HandiQuilter website for the schedule of when they are having their truck sales. The truck travels around the US and you can get some good deals when it is at your local dealer. I love my HQ Avante.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:01 AM
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I started with a Tin Lizzy 18LS and 10' Grace Wooden Frame. I did not like the frame and wanted a different one, longer one. Husband said if I was going to trade in my frame I might as well get a bigger machine too. So I traded the set up for an Ansley 26 DSL and Phoenix 14' frame. I love them both. My local dealer is about 60 miles away, but Tin Lizzy support is very good over the phone. I choose these machines mostly for price, but has been worth it. Expensive does not always mean better. A friend has a Gammill and seems to have problems all the time.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:25 AM
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Are you going to stand or need to sit while quilting? This is a biggie! If your legs, knees, feet are okay, then it's open to what works best for you--and you must try them. But if you cannot stand for long periods, then shopping is a different matter. HandiQuilter has an option to sit at a LA. Then they have their Sweet 16 that is a machine on a table that you sit at.
Personally, I found the long 26 inch throat to deep for me, as my arms are shorter. So I would choose an 18" reach.

It all comes down to what floats your boat considering, money, physical needs and how the machine works. Let us know what you choose.
Good luck.

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Old 05-03-2012, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Overland Park, KS
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Jean, to me the hardest part of longarming is choosing which machine. Like so many of the others who replied, I tried every machine I could find at shows and went to a few local dealers. I eliminated some by what did not appeal to me: one needs oil in so many places I figured it would drip on my quilt at some point. One didn't have a "quality" feel when moving it over the fabric etc. Then I joined two yahoo groups of the two I was most interested in. People who use their machines are very vocal about ongoing problems that don't seem to have a resolution. That helped me make my decision. I chose the Innova 18" on a 12' frame. The frame itself is incredible, very stable and you can add things to it ie light bar, we added our own "batting cage" to keep the batting clean and off the floor. I have only called Michael one time and he took care of the problem over the phone in a few minutes time. He (the owner) wants people to love their machines. I don't have a dealer since I bought it from the company at a show but wouldn't hesitate to do that again.
I don't want a computer or auto program as I enjoy doing free hand designs. But if you are a person who wants an auto program, that and other features can be added to your machine whenever you are ready. Some brands cannot be adapted and you have to upgrade to another machine. The only thing I would do differently if I were to buy again is get the 22" instead of the 18.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:06 PM
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Location: Monterey Bay, California
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I'm another happy Tin Lizzie 18 owner! Bought new 4.5 years ago, with a stitch regulator, not computerized. I quilt for me and local charities. I started in a small sewing room with it set up at 5 feet for baby/lap quilts. Now have it at 10 feet and can quilt a queen if I needed to. Never needed service, no problems I can't figure out (operator errors!), and very well-spent $6000!
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