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What to ask vendors at a show this weekend?

What to ask vendors at a show this weekend?

Old 04-16-2009, 04:55 PM
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Hello,

I'm planning on going to a show this weekend to check out the vendors. I am looking to get a sewing/quilting machine. Since I'm new at quilting, I might be overwhelmed.

What would you ask vendors if you were in the market for a new machine?

The quilting show is in (Chicago) Rosemont, IL
http://www.quilts.com/home/

Thank you
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Old 04-16-2009, 05:00 PM
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I'd make sure to get a business card or literature from each and make notes on it about what they offer. What you ask about is the things you consider important to yourself.
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Old 04-16-2009, 05:12 PM
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Before you go, check out the different sewing machine web sites just to get an idea of what you want in a machine. Cruise places like AllBrand and ebay to get an idea of what the machine will cost.

While at the show, don't let anyone pressure you into buying that day unless you are sure that's the machine for you. Most sewing machine vendors will have a "quilt show" special and will honor that special price for a few days after the show -- ask!

Ask about service (where, etc.) and classes (is it free; how many; where)

Test drive the machines that interest you. Take the brochure and write notes on it about what you like and what you dislike.

Go back and test drive again the one you like best.

If you find a machine that you just can't live without -- before you buy -- go take a break, get out of the crowds and look at your notes. Sometimes dealers will sell machines that are in their booths cheaper just so they don't have to take them back with them. Don't be afraid to bargain with them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but it doesn't hurt to ask.

And most important of all -- HAVE FUN :!: :!:

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Old 04-16-2009, 07:46 PM
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Find out about the features of the machine and try to determine how important that feature is to YOU.

By the time I decided to get a new machine, I had a pretty good idea what I liked, what I needed, and what would be nice. I also knew my price range. That set my stage. It is real easy to get caught up in the moment of the show. Take a reasonable (and supportive) friend if possible

When I bought my last machine, I negotiated the price. Dealers that gave me the "we barely make any money on this as is" got a (sym)pathetic smile and I walked away.
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Old 04-17-2009, 01:57 AM
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Chicago is a huge show and will be very busy. Make sure that you test drive all the machines that you are interested in.

Are you interesting in a sewing machine or a quilting machine ? There is a difference. I can quilt on my sewing machine but it's not the optimum way to quilt. I can make a quilt on a longarm, but boy it sure can quilt.

If you are looking for a quilting machine take a look here http://www.quiltingboard.com/posts/list/18992.page It should help you to ask the right questions and give you some things to look for.
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Old 04-17-2009, 02:15 AM
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The only thing I can add to all the wonderful advice you have gotten is to see if you can find out ahead of time which brands the vendors will be carrying. Then you can check out those brands at www.allbrands.com If you find a machine at allbrands that you really like, print out that information and take it with you to the show.
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Old 04-17-2009, 04:33 AM
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Thank you for all the advice. I won't know for sure how much I can spend for the machine until next week, but I know that when I reach a certain number my head starts to hurt. :P I suspect I won't even have that much to spend. So I'll be looking at a wide range of sewing machine with quilting abilities.

I don't have the room for a long arm and since my regular sewing machine is on its last leg, I need a regular machine. I'll probably get to see how these long arm work, too.

One other question :?: I've never been at a show of this kind. What exactly is available for a test drive? What's set out?

Thanks again
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:12 AM
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Make a list of the things you want the machine to do.
Like needle down. Stay stitch. Embroidery or not and size of hoop.
Thread cutter. Feet included in purchase. Straight stitch or zig zag.
Top bobbin or under machine bobbin.
I would love to have a stitch regulator like bernina offers but they are so expensive.
Size of throat is very important if you quilt your own quilts. Mine is a H. Viking Sapphire 830 and I love the 10 in throat.
Watch out for gimmics that look like a great way to go but dont work well. One example is the Flynn Frame a big waste of money unless all you make are baby quilts.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:26 AM
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The Chicago Quilt show is put on by Quilts Inc. They have 3 shows a year, and they are pretty much the biggest shows of the year. Their show in Houston in the fall is pretty much the Super Bowl of the quilting world. Placing a quilt in that show has started many careers. The show in Houston is so large that we stay over night in a hotel just to really see everything.

Anything and everything will be available for you to test drive, you pick the price range and you'll find something that you can't live without. You'll see stuff you didn't even know existed. Many vendors use QI shows to introduce new products.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:39 AM
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Thanks :) I have made my priority vendors with machines and have made a list of what matters to me that I'm aware of... then I'll wander around the exhibit floor and I'm sure will be dazed.
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