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Thread: need help choosing long arm machine

  1. #1
    Member chereth's Avatar
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    need help choosing long arm machine

    I am looking at two different used long arm machines and just can't figure out how to choose. One is a Gammill classic, the other is a PFAFF POWER QUILTER p3 QUILTING MACHINE w/QUILT ARTIST II. They both come with very nice tables and lots of extras.
    I want it to learn how to long arm quilt and quilt my own tops for now, an maybe if I get good enough, take on other peoples quilts. Any ideas or advice out there??
    Cheryl

  2. #2
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    I cannot speak to the Pfaff..altho I sewed on a Pfaff my 1st sewing machine. I quilt on a Gammill Classic Plus (plus=stitch regulator). Gammill has an excellent reputation in the machine quilting world and mine is a workhorse. I have had it serviced, but not for problem. I would suggest asking to see both set ups, and if possible, quilt some on each. I looked at the Pfaff online and it has more computer type features. Depends on what you want to do with it..and what your budget is. take into consideration moving, taking lessons etc. If you cannot quilt on them , call or go to a local dealer and try theirs out. Ask if they know of any local quilters who would let you test drive one. One will feel better to you ...
    Beth in AZ
    www.bzyqltr.blogspot.com
    Innova 22' with Lightning Stitch and Pantovision
    Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. Mark Twain

  3. #3
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    I have an innova 22 inch with lightning stitch. I bought it in November and it is so fun to use. Innova has great customer service and their machines have very few issues. You get much more machine for the money than you do with a gammill. I test drove just about all the brands, and took classes on both handiquilter and gammill. I preferred the handiquilter over the gamill after my classes, but loved the innova from the first use!

    Good luck in choosing! It is a big purchase so make sure you try the machine out before you buy. You might find that you prefer a brand you haven't even considered once you test drive them. All have a steep learning curve, some more then others.

    Karen
    Southeast Texas

  4. #4
    Member chereth's Avatar
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    That is great advice. They are both a long road trip from me, but at least in the
    same direction. I should maybe plan a road trip.
    Cheryl

  5. #5
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    I have a Nolting 30 PRO and now that I'm getting to know her, I am enjoying her. I'm sorry but I don't know a thing about those other machines. I don't know how used they are or what kind of price you are paying. But, you might want to just check into the Nolting line. They have financing available. The Fun Machine is a really good price if you want a smaller one. Good luck on whatever you choose.
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  6. #6
    Super Member
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    I have an APQS Millenium with Intelliquilter computerized quilting. I wouldn't trade them for anything else. APQS's service is wonderful.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  7. #7
    Super Member TexasSunshine's Avatar
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    We traded in a used Voyager we bought (and always had trouble with it) for the Nolting Fun Quilter and really like it. They have great customer service, local and the manufacturer. I would consider them reasonably priced for a LA.
    Texas Sunshine, piney woods of NE Texas

  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    There's an Innova dealer in Ephrata, WA at Fabric Patch quilt shop. That's where I bought my Innova, and I love it.

  9. #9
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I do not have the Innova, I have the Viking 18x8. My wish is to get an Innova, they are really a nice machine, smooth!!!!!!

  10. #10
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    I have a Nolting 24" PRO on a 12ft steel table .... love it. Nolting is USA and has excellent customer service. Only quilt for myself. Sorry I don't know a thing about either one of those machines. Good Luck.

    May I ask why you are making a choice between those 2 machines? Have you tried any others?

  11. #11
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    I have a Pfaff PowerQuilter P3 with Quilt Artist 2. I have used a Gammill as well. I can't remember it's name, but it was quite large (the lady I rented from also had a smaller Gammill that was 18 inches). Both were effective machines, but there are a few things I like better about my Pfaff. First, I like that the computer is part of the machine. With the Gammill, there was a lap top sitting near by and that's where the computer layout of a design was tweeked. This may not be an issue for some, but I like everything as efficient and stream lined as possible. Second, the Gammill had tension issues regularly, but in fairness, I've only done a handful of quilts on my Pfaff whereas the Gammill was probably used every day all day. That may have been a factor in the tension issues. Second and most important to me, I purchased my Pfaff from my favorite LQS. They provide excellent customer service. I've been receiving weekly lessons to make sure I know all the things I can do with my machine. I can call them when I run into a problem and they will talk me through how to resolve it. This may or may not be important to you however.

    To sum it up, if you are getting a good deal and you are able to learn on your own (something I don't do as well), either machine, if well cared for prior to your purchase, would most likely make you happy. How exciting for you!

  12. #12
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I have a Gammill Vision 18/8 and love it. I am not familiar with the Pfaff so unfortunately, I can't help you with that. There is a learning curve with any longarm, but the few problems that I have had, the technicians at Linda's Electric Quilters have walked me through the solutions by phone. I have been very pleased with the support. Gammill has been around for a long time and has a very good reputation.

  13. #13
    Super Member jgriinke's Avatar
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    There are as many different long arm machines as regular sewing machines. Figure out your wants and needs. Take your time, and test drive as many as you can.
    I would really suggest that you join the yahoo group - homequiltingsystems. There is a wealth of information on that list. There are many files to read and check out. I think there is even a shopping list of things to look for, or options that are out there.
    Just remember - when you do get one - There is a learning curve.

  14. #14
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Another Innova lover here. I think a good dealer makes a huge difference. A LA is not a purchase to be taken lightly, they are expensive and can be intimidating. If something goes wrong, it is very comforting to have a dealer to turn to.

    I love my Innova.

  15. #15
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    Definitely go try each one out. Find out who has the best service contract (included) and who has the best training. Does anyone in your town have one and would they be available and willing to answer easy questions of let you drop by and learn from them? And which one fits your budget best? No one can give you advice, you need to do your own research and search your heart for the one that you want.

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