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Thinking about a Long Arm

Thinking about a Long Arm

Old 05-18-2013, 08:00 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Northwest Indiana
Posts: 14
Default Thinking about a Long Arm

I am finally breaking down and looking at long arm machines. Once I recovered from the sticker shock my head starting swimming from all the brands, models, features and accessories out there. Any suggestions from anyone who already has a long arm, happy or not, both sides of the issue would be greatly appreciated.
On a side not, my 79 year young mother wants to learn how to use it too
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:08 PM
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I have changed set ups 3 times. Glad I did all 3...ended up with an Innova. Its light weight, digital stitch regulator (upgrade) is awesome. Only have to oil it one place and the take up bar never has to be adjusted. Try out as many as you can. Here are two sites that show used machines for sale. If they remove the links, PM me and I will give them to you directly. I have no affiliation with either site.

Formerly Owned Machines (house of hanson)
machines_for_sale (Long arm university)
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:13 PM
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Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 9,374

One of the more important things you will have to make a decision on - and probably need to make it early on in your search - is whether you want a computerized setup or not. It will make stitching quilting designs much easier, but will also increase the cost significantly. Or, if you're comfortable with FMQ on a long arm, maybe you'd rather not have a computerized system.

You might check to see if there are any quilters or quilt shops in your area that rent time on a longarm. This would be a great way for you to test drive a machine or two.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:35 PM
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Location: Western Wisconsin
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If I had $15,000 or so I would get an Innova with lightning stitch. However, what I have started with is a used Voyager 17/Stretch Hinterberg setup that I purchased from a local quilt guild member for $3,000 (she upgraded to a used $7,500 Nolting setup). My Voyager/Hinty is a wonderful entry-level frame quilting setup.

There are advantages to purchasing used, especially if you can buy locally. Aside from lower cost, a lot of the things you need are already in place -- such as leaders. Often the seller can offer you help getting started. Also, a used system at lower cost is simply not as intimidating to a beginner. On the homequiltingsystems group (a great group to join at groups.yahoo.com ) I have seen a number of posts from people who bought an expensive new quilting frame setup and then let it sit for a year trying to work up the courage to get started!

The rule-of-thumb at the homequiltingsystems group is to research and test machines for a year before making a purchase.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:38 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: 1000 miles from nowwhere
Posts: 671

have to agree love my innova ....bought it 550 quilts ago
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:43 PM
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Location: West Coast
Posts: 9,267

well, aren't you a busy beaver ;-)
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Old 05-19-2013, 01:44 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 35


I have ended up with an APQS Lenni on a 10 foot table. I love my new system I did have a Nolting Hobby Quilter but it did not have a stitch regulator, this is a must have so I sold my Nolting and bought a second hand Lenni from APQS.

Another thing that I bought were hydraulics this enables me to adjust the height of the machine depending on what I am doing, wouldn't be without them. When I had the Nolting I had a custom table but it was fixed height and I got a terrible back ache. I was told about the hydraulics and now I can quilt all day with no back ache.

APQS also have their own computer called Quilt Path I have just ordered this to help me.

Go and have a look on the APQS website as they do have second hand machines all nicely serviced, website is
apqs.com I had the first second hand machine sold here in the UK direct from APQS, they are now doing very well over here.

Good luck but please go and try as many machines that you can as they all feel different.

Jenny in the UK
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:30 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Maryland
Posts: 539

I bought a new long arm in January. I have a Pfaff PowerQuilter P3 with computer. I chose this machine after a great deal of research because it came with unlimited training classes. I have to be honest, I'm still struggling. I'm not sure why piecing, cutting, pressing etc came easily to me but long arming is such a challenge.

If I'd purchased a used machine or one that didn't come with classes, I would be sunk. It amazes me how many people here can just figure out these machines but for some reason it's a struggle for me.

My best advice is to take your time and do your research. If you can, go to a big quilt show where there will be vendors for multiple brands of long arms. Try as many as possible. Take a notebook and jot down what you did and didn't like about each. Sometimes, using one machine will make you realize you need to go back and look at another to see if it had a particular feature you like. Often you can get a sale price if you purchase at a show.

If you can rent time on a machine, that's great. It not only gives you experience, but it gives you time to see what features are must haves for you and which aren't so important to you.

Good luck and keep us updated!
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:51 AM
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Location: NY
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I also have an innova. I don't have the lightening stitch but sure wish I did. I bought my dealers demo machine. I have absolutely ZERO regrets. I love my Innova (even with plain vanilla stitch regulator)
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:55 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Vermont, USA
Posts: 1,346

Three things hold me back on long arms. I don't have room for that honkin' big thing, I don't like standing up for hours, and feel way too detached quilting with handlebars. Oh, and the money, too. So I'm going HQ Sweet Sixteen which is way better on all those. Test drove at three quilt shows and just fell in love with it. JMHO
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