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Thread: Longarm quilters--best?

  1. #1
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    Yesterday, my husband and I spent a great deal of time looking and test driving longarm quilting machines. In the end, his favorite saying "let's pull the trigger" came out of his mouth. Gasp! So, let's say a person wanted to make the investment (sigh, close eyes, slide the credit card, and sign) which longarm quilting machine would you buy and why?

  2. #2
    Super Member quilttiludrop's Avatar
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    Space available for it is always a big consideration. Also figure out what kind of cash (or not) is available for the expenditure. Are you already familiar with the use of a long arm machine? If not, are you totally infatuated with the idea of quilting? If you are not a quilting fanatic, I would recommend against purchasing a long arm machine.

    We are very happy with our Gammill machine! If you intend to quilt full-time (or close to full-time), buy the largest machine and table that you can afford and have room for!

    Happy Quilting!

  3. #3
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    There is no one best longarm machine anymore than there is one best car. Try out as many as you can. Pick the one that works for you best.

  4. #4
    Junior Member OCQuilts's Avatar
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    Gammill.....no question. That's my choice. Try them all for sure. I did. I think if you try them all, you will get a Gammill. Good luck in what ever you decide!

  5. #5
    Senior Member cedarvalleyquilts's Avatar
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    I love our Nolting. I have a friend who is fanatic about her Innova....it's all personal preference on what fits you best, what features you're looking for, and most definitely consider the space where it will be.

    Also take into consideration maintenance/assistance from whomever you purchase from. Having a local dealer close by was a big part of my decision.

    Have fun deciding :)

    Christine

  6. #6
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cedarvalleyquilts
    Also take into consideration maintenance/assistance from whomever you purchase from. Having a local dealer close by was a big part of my decision.
    ditto on that!

  7. #7
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I love my Gammill.

  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I agree - personal preference, space available, type of quilting to be done - all determine what kind of machine is best for you. I think they are all good, and all probably have their weaknesses too. I bought a 26" Innova with a 12' table and I would do the same again. Of course if money were no object I might get more options, but I would buy the same brand.

  9. #9
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    i would get the largest frame and throat my budget would allow and then i pick some one local who sold that setup so you could have lessons and easy access service/repairs.

  10. #10
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    You said you took a lot of time test driving different machines. Which one did YOU like best? A local dealer is nice. Available space is an issue. Remember that you need enough space to walk around the machine. If you are going to do pantos, they are done from the back on some frames so you would need enough room to also work from the back.

  11. #11
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    Of course, we all think ours is the best - that's why we chose it! I agree with what others have said in that it depends on the amount of space you have and how comfortable YOU are with the machine. I'd definitely recommend getting one with a stitch regulator, and I love my automatic fabric advance, but the bottom line is that you have to feel that the machine is good for you. You want the handle position to be comfortable (or able to be adjusted to it is) and you don't want the machine to be so heavy you feel like you have to manhandle it to get it to move.

    Try to narrow it down to two or three, compare prices, and then spend some more time on each of them. You'll know if it's the right one.

    Incidentally, my dealer isn't close by, so I don't get on-site service, but they often can tell what the problem is from the description and by listening to the machine over the phone. Seldom does the machine have to be sent in for service - they're able to talk you through the repair while you're on the phone!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Jennie and Me's Avatar
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    Go with whatever is good for you. I have an APQS Millinnium with a 14 foot table and love it. Their customer service is great. Do try them all and see which one you fall in love with and congrats, you have a fun time ahead of you..enjoy it.

  13. #13
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I agree with EIQuilter that having a dealer close by doesn't seem to matter much with longarms, and I wouldn't make my decision based on that. I think all the major brands give some free classes when you first buy, and after that there are lots of online classes, quilt show classes, etc. I also recommend getting a stitch regulator. Whether you need some of the other options (fabric advance, automatic channel locks, etc.) depends on the machine you select, what kind of quilting you plan to do, and your physical condition, among other things.

  14. #14
    Super Member whinnytoo's Avatar
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    I love my Nolting,,,, simple and easy to use, Trouble free, and the customer support is awesome.

  15. #15
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I love my handiquilter and would buy again in a heartbeat. Like mentioned above, we each love the one we have:)

  16. #16
    Junior Member simplyme's Avatar
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    I tried them all at quilt fest last year. I went back to Handy Quilter 4 times. It was the one I bought. But it is like a car. you need to get the one that fits you best. Make sure you have enought room for the table they take up a lot of room. I love mine and would buy it again in a minute.

  17. #17
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    I second Handiquilter (although I got the sit down model that is more like an extended sewing machine).....

    But I agree with test driving as many as you can first!

  18. #18
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    My friend has a statler and absolutely loves it!

  19. #19
    Junior Member Sandynorm's Avatar
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    Definately test drive, I also rented some time at a local shop, then fell in love. I chose a handiquilter, love the service from my local shop. I was also able to afford it sooner as I got a basic machine then added a stitch regulator a year later.

  20. #20
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    I test drove a TON, first of all. Then I asked every single longarmer-for-hire in my area that I could get a hold of what they liked, what they didn't like, and whether they'd buy that machine again if presented the opportunity. I was amazed by the consistency of opinions I got in my area - all of them told me that they'd get an APQS Millenium. So after a long chat with the dealer, and trying out every kind of machine I could (Some didn't have dealers in Canada, which was a shame), I went with that one. I love it.

  21. #21
    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    When I test drove long arms this past winter and spring, I had a couple that had me drooling, but, decided on Tin Lizzie because the dealer was approx 1 hr away compared to the 4-10hrs for the rest of them. That being said, it really didn't matter because the dealer never came to give me the 8 hrs of free instruction she promised and has yet to ever return any phone calls I made to her this spring. So don't buy on the basis of the closeness of the dealer. Buy what feels best to you. I do love my Tin Lizzie, she is all I will ever need because I only quilt for myself and a couple of friends that I quilt and they do the bindings on mine for me. Good Luck with your choice.

  22. #22

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    We did the same thing, My husbands choice was a Gammill for me. He researched and for the money and the warranty and the quality. Gammill was the way to go. I have the premier. I am not into the computor generated quilting. I want to quilt myself. I can always add the computor later.
    My hubby is an electrician and mechanic, he can repair anything except the cat. lol So truly trusted his choice! We attended several quilt shows and tried them all. The seller for me was little vibration compared to the others. I have had my machine for three years now. Love it! Happy shopping to you...

  23. #23
    Super Member hudgoddess's Avatar
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    Is there going to be a big quilt show near you soon? They usually have all the machines set up so you can play with them all and get a great show special too!
    Keep in mind they're sometimes glitchy because they set them up quick, so might have some balance issues, but you'll get the general feel of the machines.
    I've narrowed my choice to the innova. I like the removable sew head and the optional cording attachment.

  24. #24
    Super Member grandjan's Avatar
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    When we finally got ready to buy, I got a Gammill. I "test drove" most of the best known brands at quilt shows and it was the one I felt met my needs best. I still love it, although I wish I had bought the stitch regulator. I'm going to have to retrofit and it will be expensive.

  25. #25
    Super Member cmagee84's Avatar
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    I love my purple Nolting Fun Quilter 20". As said before, customer service is the best of any I have heard of. It is made 100% here in the USA in Iowa. Even all the parts are made in USA....very rare these days!!

    Good luck deciding.

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