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Looking for new machine- buy "local" or wait for quilt show?

Looking for new machine- buy "local" or wait for quilt show?

Old 06-21-2012, 10:44 PM
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Default Looking for new machine- buy "local" or wait for quilt show?

I have just decided, after wrestling mightily with 2 lap quilts in my Bernina Record, that I need a new sewing machine with a larger work space. I live in a small town and all dealers are at least 85 -145 miles away. I took a research trip 85 miles to one city a couple of days ago to look at Janomes, Elnas, Pfaff's and Babylock. The Janome/Elna dealer was in a tiny sewing shop and the sales people were very nice, but none of them were quilters (they told me quite often). I was interested in seeing an Elna and they had none in stock to show me. I then asked to see the Janome 6600 & 7700 and was able to get an idea of how those machines would work, but the sales people had some problems with some of the functions, which were eventually resolved, but it was a little rough going. All in all, I liked the 7700, but to get their best price I would have to trade in a machine. (Now I have several machines that I could trade in, but all of a sudden I didn't want to part with any of them, just like my quilt fabric!)>

I then went to the Pfaff/Baby lock dealer, who didn't have a full line of Baby lock machines so there were none with the large harp, and the Pfaff machines I was shown I didn't like. Not as many features as the Janome, and noisy.

I hate making a major purchase like this with out being able to really test every model that I want to, but I am limited by what the dealers offer and the distances I have to drive. I decided to go to the Long Beach Quilt Festival where I can obssesively study a bunch of machines and probably the full range put out by each company, have a knowledgeable sales staff, and maybe get a good deal. But then I will not have the service assistance.

At this point I really think I want the Janome 7700. The larger 11" harp space is so important to me. I called another big dealer in my state, 145 miles away, and was quoted the same price as closer dealer (ca. $2000) but this dealer included a bunch of extras, without having to trade in anything. However, we are talking a 3 hour drive, or having it shipped.

So I have the options of buying from not-so-local dealers, or waiting a month to attend the quilt show and maybe purchase something there, schlep it home on the plane, but satisfied that I was able to really research this properly. I will probably attend that quilt festival even if I end up buying a machine locally, so it isn't a wasted trip.

I am on summer vacation so I have time to work on this. None of my options are great but I would be interested in other opinions.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:01 PM
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I would probably wait and purchase at the quilt show, provided you are confident about being able to teach yourself. Show prices (and prices at state fairs) tend to be the best. You are so far from a dealership, it seems to me that buying "locally" doesn't have a lot of value for you. At the show I would bargain for the same extras that the dealer 145 miles away promised.
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:29 AM
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I agree with Prism99. No value in trying to buy locally for you. You're not going to have local support and classes, etc. If you buy a machine at a quilt show, you get really great deals on the demo machines they have, especially on the last day of the show. I think they don't care to lug all those machines back home. Since you already know what you want, another option is to buy and have a machine shipped to you. I attended the Lancaster AQS quilt show in April, and looked at the Janome 6600 and 7700, and I agree that the 7700 looks like a great machine, especially for fmq. The dealer there was Brubakers, and they offered to sell the 7700 to me on the last day of the show for either $1799 or $1899--I can't remember for sure now, and the table for the machine for $350 instead of $400. I have since seen that same table at another dealer's shop for $600, so evidently the non-sale price of $400 is a good price. Brubaker's has a good reputation, and they offer a 15% discount to members of the qb, too, I believe. They also sell on ebay, and offer warranties even on their used machines, so you may want to check them out. You could have the machine you want sooner than waiting for the quilt show, and not have to "schlep" it home. I didn't buy a Janome, (the 7700 is too much machine for me, because I have a longarm), but Janome owners love their machines, pretty universally. Good luck to you!
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Old 06-22-2012, 02:18 AM
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Brubaker's is wonderful! I bought a machine from them and had it shipped, and have full confidence that if I need major service I can ship it back to them. I got my 7700 from a local dealer (about an hour away) and wish I'd gotten it from Brubaker's. It hasn't needed any service in the two years I've had it (just regular cleaning) and to buy local I had to pay top price. It's an excellent machine, as is the 6600.
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Old 06-22-2012, 02:45 AM
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I was in the same boat you are in a while back....I actually just purchased a husvarna viking sapphire 850....very nice machine....we bought it off ebay....it was scary but we did it....we paid 800 for a 2000 machine....only thing I still need to buy a walking foot....but right after I got the machine I have now, there was a machine same thing with all the quilting accessories...oh well... I like my machine and will eventually find the walking foot...I am attempting to learn free motion quilting...good luck finding a machine...hope you find a good one at a good price...bye for now....Dawn
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Old 06-22-2012, 04:47 AM
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I'd say go to the Show and check them all out. I'm betting they'll ship whatever you buy and maybe with free shipping. Did you try calling some of these companies directly or the Show directly to see who is going to be the representative at the show? Find out who's going to rep and give them a call now. See how it works.

Question to the local people though would be "do you have Certified Factory Trained Technicians working for your dealership?" If they don't, you'd still have to find CFTT to work on your machine or ship back to company, IF the machine were still under warranty.

When I purchased my last sewing machine (about $900), I bought from a local dealer thinking that I would be able to go back to him for any training or maintenance I would need. Never went back...never needed help...not even routine servicing. Besides that, now a days, you never know who is going to be in business when you need them. Times are still tough out here.

WHAT ELSE comes with the machine if you buy locally? Training? Routine maintenance? After I bought that $900 sewing machine, I found out I could have purchased the same machine from a distant dealer for a few hundred dollars less...with no further training on the machine...didn't need any as it turned out.

When you make the decision and can sleep better at night, you can feel confident it's the right decision for you.
Good Luck!
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:00 AM
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Normally I would advise buying locally from someone with a good reputation for service, but in your case that doesn't seem to be relevant. I do think you should try out the machines before you buy though, to be confident that you like the one you buy.
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:36 AM
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I think going to the Quilt Show is the best idea, even if you don't buy there. You should have the models and knowledgeable people to assist. I would definitely take with me the type of piecing that you do and maybe even the thread that you like the best so you can really sit down and try it.
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:52 AM
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1) Find out who the authorized dealers are that are the closest to you -- for every machine you are considering. And find out if they're reliable and fast. Go to a LQS and start talking to the other quilters that are there. They'll tell you the best info on the repairmen.

2) go to the show and try out as many machines as you can. If the price is better than elsewhere, buy --- an authorized repairman can repair a machine no matter where you bought it.

3) Don't fall for the "you can send it to the factory" line I've heard......it'll cost you a fortune (maybe) and it takes weeks to get a repair job done.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:34 AM
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I bought a machine at a show - a Pfaff. Delaer who sold it is 2 hours away. Closest Pfaff dealer is about hour or more and very difficult to get from here to there! I have never needed training nor has it needed to go in. I buy attachments from the closer dealer (he also sells on ebay)- just call him up and he ships me what I need. If I needed repairs under warranty I would not hesitate to ship machine to dealer I bought it from. My local LQS will repair any machine (just not for warranty work on my Pfaff).

So go to show and buy if you like.
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