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Thread: Thinking of buying a longarm

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Thinking of buying a longarm

    I am thinking about buying a long arm/mid arm quilter. I would like some input about some of the machines and the software (quilt cad etc.) I need a machine that will glide on the rails as I have Lupus, RA, As and such. I do want a machine that is dependable and so far the HD Avante and the Babylock Crown Jewel are looking pretty good to me price and so forth. Although no one will put the price of the Crown Jewel and the say the can not ship them as Babylock will not allow it. When I get on Babylocks web site contacting them does not look easy where as HD the phone # and such is right there. So could some of you give me some input on this.


  2. #2
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    When you say HD, I assume you mean HQ (Handiquilter). It is definitely HQ that makes the Avante model. With your issues of RA and Lupus will you be capable of standing for several hours at a LA? Because you want a computer guided module I would not consider any purchase of any LA if I did not have dealer support to come to my home, set the machine up, guide me through initial operation with loading of quilt, lining up machine head for CG quilting, digitizing designs, threading, tension issues etc. This becomes even more critical with your health issues, especially with assembling the rack and ensuring the stitch regulator is making good contact with rails, etc. You avoid massive amounts of frustration with the support of a dealer (IMHO).

    So perhaps more than bargain basement price you should consider the after purchase support, especially the hands on support a dealer offers. This may be why baby lock doesn't ship?? Have you even test driven any model of LA at all? Or tried taking a class to make sure you even like LAQ? It is a large investment to make, especially with the added computer guided setup, you are getting into the tens of thousands of dollars.
    Last edited by feline fanatic; 05-31-2012 at 06:33 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member luvstoquilt301's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Phoenix AZ
    Handi quilter makes the Jewel.

  4. #4
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    I'm currently in the market too. As someone else said, my number one priority is location. I want a local service option, and someone who will setup the machine and offer training and classes/support for me. That unfortunately limits my options (looks like I'll get a Tin Lizzie probably). But I think those things are critical for a long-arm purchase, unless you are already familiar with all the ins and outs.

  5. #5
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    My Sewing Room
    Blog Entries
    I have a 15" Bailey with stitch regulator. It glides easily on the rails of the Little Gracie II frame. Because of my fibromyalgia, I often sit to quilt, although I am thinking I want to modify the handles to make it easier. I would love a computer guided system, if I could afford it. Right now, it isn't in the budget.

    If your budget allows, go for it, but make sure you have plenty of dealer support.
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!

  6. #6
    Junior Member Xtgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Northern VA
    I have RA too and I bought the Innova...it moves effortlessly...the other one that was in the running for me because of ease of movement was the a-1...I do have a computer guided machine but I also bought a drafting chair that allows me to sit up high if I need to be at the machine for long periods of time.

    You will have a hard time finding pricing information unless you contact a local dealer for Babylock...they only really work through their dealers.

    With your health issues I personally would not recommend the sit down machines in which you move the quilt to quilt...that is so hard on the hands...you didn't mention them but I wanted to just mention that as they would not work for me with my hand issues.
    Last edited by Xtgirl; 05-31-2012 at 09:50 AM.
    The Potomac Quilter
    Innova 26 with Lightning Stitch and Autopilot

  7. #7
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have arthritis too. I have an older HQ - the HQ16. If I could do it again I'd definitely get the HQ Avante. I have 2 local dealers [I do prefer one over the other though.

    I upgraded my HQ16 a while ago and a friend had no trouble setting it up for me. I just 'borrow' friends and barter as much as I can.

    HQ support via phone is awesome and easily available.

    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.

  8. #8
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Festus, Missouri, USA
    It might help if we know the general area in which you live. Someone near you may know of an exceptional dealer nearby. For example, I live near St. Louis, MO and the best dealer I know of is Mike's Machine Shop in Highland, IL.

  9. #9
    Senior Member qwkslver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    I just got a Sweet 16. It is my best purchase. I don't get to use it everyday but I really love it. I am sure you will find the machine you love and is just perfect for you. Enjoy!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Muncie, IN
    I just joined today. I have a Grace frame and have been using my Janome 1600P. I am finding the throat to be too small. I have a little sewing business, using lots of embroidery. I have a Brother PR620. I need to come up with a machine to use on the Grace that quilts well and has the bigger throat (I'm thinking about 16-18".) I'd like to stay under $2000. I read about the Bailey 17 today. It sounds good. Does anyone have a better suggestion? Has anyone used the Grace with the Bailey? or something else? Thanks for the help! I've just retired from teaching (OH--I will miss it!) so need to add to my sewing fun so that I don't cry when the busses roll in Aug! Thanks

  11. #11
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Northern Michigan
    Blog Entries
    You should travel to quilt shows & dealers and try out as many machines as you can locate --- it is an investment & alot like buying a car- you want to make sure the one you get has the features that meet your needs best-you should also take into consideration customer/tech support, maintenance, delivery/set-up & owners classes.
    where are you going to have it serviced? there are a number of good companies that have been around for a long-time & have good track-records- like Gammil, HandiQuilter, APQS, Nolting- there are also newer companies-
    but you really should (test-drive) try out as many as you can before making that decision- & make sure you can get help when you need it- there is a learning curve- owner's classes really help and are normally free from the dealer when you buy locally. you don't want to spend such a large amount to get it home, set up & never be able to figure out how to use it....and just like buying a car= some people prefer one over another- you need to find what YOU like.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

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