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Need advice in buying a longarm!

Need advice in buying a longarm!

Old 01-02-2018, 08:33 AM
  #11  
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Just wanted to add regarding stitch regulator. The reason the lightening stitch is so much more expensive is it requires a different motor (one that can get a digital message as opposed to analog message from the software).

After 7 years of quilting on it with the regular stitch regulator, I just splurged and upgraded my Innova from the regular to the Lightening stitch (LS). I have hemmed and hawed about it for several years, thinking the price wasn't worth the upgrade, especially because I was, for the most part, satisfied with what my regular SR was doing. Boy was I wrong! The responsiveness and stitch quality of the LS is so wonderful. I know I will definitely get my monies worth out of the upgrade.
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:48 AM
  #12  
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First, I know nothing about longarms, just what I've read from quilters on sites like this. However, If I were considering spending $10,000.+ for one, my homework would begin with using several and talking with others who live close to you about their service.

I'm in a large metropolitan area, so there are several quilts shops that offer rentals by the hour. You have to take a class in that machine (usually $75.00) before you can rent time. Some shops sell those machines and some just offer the rental as a source of revenue. You are not too far away from Tampa and Orlando to take those kinds of classes. It not only would give you a chance to use the machine and see how you like it, but to know what to expect when your machine is working correctly.

The other thing I would want to know, is how responsive is the dealer in your area? How long have they been in the long arm business? How many technicians do they have? Can you visit with some of their current clients (both new and old) in your area? How far away is the dealer?

Then, how responsive is the manufacturer? What if your local dealer goes out of business. What if they don't have a local dealer? If they don't have a local dealer, what do you do when you have a serious problem? Do they send a technician? Who actually sets up the machine?

It seems the people who have the most problems are the ones who can't get help when they are initially learning (or setting up) the machine and have problems. There are long arm groups on Facebook (some are specific to brands) and on yahoo groups. I'd join those groups and ask questions.

Be aware that the people demonstrating at the shows are good sales people. If they weren't good at selling, the manufacturer/dealer would not have them there. Participating in trade shows is expensive, so persuasive sales people are a must. Don't be persuaded to buy something you are not sure about. Since you set March as your decision date, beware of making a decision just because it's March.

For me, $10,000 is a lot of money. I'd want to make the best decision possible.

This is just my uninformed opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

bkay
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:01 AM
  #13  
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I have an HQ16, and I love it! My table is 11" long. I have the machine in a room that is 15' 6" by 9'6", and it's a great fit. I have access to all sides with ease.
Hope you try out several different machines to see which are to your liking. I'd suggest making a "want list", and then compare the machines.
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:35 AM
  #14  
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I bought mine used from a dealer it was cheaper and they are in the same area within 50 miles check out the dealers
I would not go with Bernina or Viking I would go with gammil or babylock innova these are all good brands and nolting of course
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:04 AM
  #15  
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Thank you all for all your responses! Paperprincess- thank you for measuring, I called the dealer a couple days ago and at that point I was asking about the Avante...she told me if I had one side against the wall I would have plenty of room. I think the footprint recommended on the website may be even a hair bigger for the Amara- of course it will be deeper due to the throat difference, but I think the width is , too. Just a couple measly feet!!!
There is a local national teacher that moved in my town last year I met and went to her home briefly, that bought an Innova. I don't know her well but am considering calling her to see if she will let me pick her brain. She belongs to my guild. I would like to have the ability to do pantos- I didn't think so at first, but if I'm paying that much money I think I definitely want to have the option. With the Amara just coming out it has confused me on going for the new features (but no laser light for panto) or save and go with Avante if I pick Handiquilter! I'll keep studying!! Thank you all so much- you're awesome!!!
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:08 AM
  #16  
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Things I learned the hard way when purchasing my longarm:
* I can't put it against the wall. I need to be able to check the back, cut threads, or untangle birds nests etc. It happens. You will need more room than you will ever think.

* I didn't purchase new. Longarms are touchy things, and support is a must. Unless you like the frustration of not having lessons, or technical support when things go bad.

* Decent lighting sometimes takes on a world of its own. Lighting....GOOD lighting is a must. And get more than you "think" you will need.

I just went back and reread your post...sorry...you were specifically asking about size.

Get the largest size your "room" will allow....but the other posters are correct.....you won't be able to have a 10'in that space unless it is "open" to another room (i.e. no door....just open space)

Good luck!
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:14 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by petpainter View Post
Thank you all for all your responses! Paperprincess- thank you for measuring, I called the dealer a couple days ago and at that point I was asking about the Avante...she told me if I had one side against the wall I would have plenty of room.
She was wrong. Unless she was talking about the 8' option for the table. There is no way you can put a 10' table for ANY machine into your room and actually access the back of the machine.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:11 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by kristakz View Post
She was wrong. Unless she was talking about the 8' option for the table. There is no way you can put a 10' table for ANY machine into your room and actually access the back of the machine.
Unless she crawls under the rack to do so!
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:23 AM
  #19  
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You might want to consider a sit down machine. Innova has a model that gets good reviews but I do not know anything about a sit down machine. I have an Innova 22/ 12 foot but when I took my new owners class I watched a lady sew on the sit down and she loved it.
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:44 PM
  #20  
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My non-guild quilt group actually started out as a kind of longarmer's support group. We would go around to each other's homes and check out each other's longarms and setups, compare tips, problems, solutions, notes, etc. We had all kinds of machines: Tin Lizzie, Handiquilter, APQS, Gammill, Nolting, Voyager, and Innova. However, most of the group has gradually moved over into Innova machines. We have a couple of HQs and a Gammill holdout, but Innova is the sweet spot, and the Innova owners in our group have no complaints, they all LOVE their machine. I think that's about the best recommendation any machine can get.

I recommend finding someone in your area that rents time on the machine, or will give classes. That is actually the BEST way to test drive a longarm. I took longarm classes at Boersma's, an Innova dealer south of Portland. I had the chance to load the quilt on the frame, I adjusted the tension, worked on different size machines with different features, did a LOT of practice quilting, was able to pick the teacher's brains for 5 hours. Yes I paid for the class, but let me tell you, when you're making such a major purchase, $100-$150 seems like a bargain when you're trying to make the best, most well-informed decision.
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