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Lemon Tree Tami

Newbie starting research on machine

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Hi everyone!

 

I've been FMQ on a Bernina 440 Aurora (love it) but have recently begun wanting to get a LA for both personal work and some quilting for others. (It'd be purely for a little supplemental income to the household.) A few weekends ago I went to the Denver Quilt Festival and tried out some machines: Nolting, HQ Avante', Tin LIzzie, Innova and all of the APQS LAs. I'm really leaning towards the Millennium even though it's the priciest of the bunch. I wouldn't want to compromise and then later wish that I had a larger machine etc. Since it'll probably take me at least a year to save up the money for this I'll most likely get a used Millie.

 

In the meantime I'm hoping that I can talk my husband into driving to the MQS show this Saturday so that I can test out the machines again. Any words of wisdom on what to do while I save money?

 

Cheers,

Tami Levin

Cheyenne, WY

http://www.lemontreetales.com


Cheers,

Tami Levin

Sunnyvale, CA

http://www.lemontreetales.com

http://www.thequiltedlemon.com

APQS Freddie with IntelliQuilter

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Draw and draw some more. If you can draw it you can quilt it. I think APQS is getting a lot of trades in have you looked at their financing. If you start a business it depreciates etc giving you a possible tax deduction. Talk to a CPA and the small business development center for your area and find out what licenses and sales tax information as well as tax implications. You might be surprised how soon you could do it. If not save and draw.

Shirley

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Be careful to note the show hours on Saturday if you make the drive.

After large shows, there are often demonstrator machines on sale which are more affordable. Also, there may be machines on sale by individuals who have upgraded to newer models.

When you do your comparisons, make sure you are comparing like items. In other words, just because another brand machine is cheaper, it doesn't necessarily end up cheaper when you add on all the extras you want. It may be a better deal to get the more pricey machine from the get-go, with additional bells and whistles offered as show specials. Have each dealer price everything out for you. Decide how important things are to you, and what you are willing to sacrifice. But mostly, you have to find the machine that is most comfortable for you. I've seen beautiful things produced on lower-end machines, and junk produced on high priced machines.

Make sure you get good, even stitches, going quickly into and out of sharp points, since that is a test of the stitch regulation.

Check whether the machine you want can use accessories such as Circle Lord, or others you may want to add in the future. Check the sturdiness of the table and rollers, especially if you plan to quilt for customers. The smaller poles on some machines can warp, then you have to spend $$ to replace them in a couple years. Only quilting for yourself, you may never have a problem with the smaller poles, but doing a hundred quilts a year can put a lot of stress on them that they were not intended to handle.

All that said, I chose a Millenium in 2009, and have never been sorry. And, it was NOT the machine I had always envisioned owning. The price, the show specials, and the attentiveness of the APQS representatives, plus the ability to use attachments from the front of the machine were all factors in my decision. Its a great machine, and was the right choice for me.


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Welcome to the forum.  In addition to the shows check out the APQS Road Show, there are some great deals.  They are held in various parts of the country and it is an opportunity to try out the machines and get your questions answered without all the noise and chaos of a quilt show.  You can find the Road Show details on the main APQS page.  If you sign up for e-mails you will be notified if there is going to be an event in your area.  


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find a dealer or shop near you that will let you rent time on a machine.  there will normally be a training class which you will pay for which is a good thing.  then you will be allowed to rent the machine to quilt your quilts or comfort quilts or whatever.  you'll be able to practice quilting for a nominal charge while you're saving $ for the machine you choose.  i researched for 3 yrs before deciding on a used millie.  i never used a LA before buying, but i'm very satisfied with my choice.  this forum is exceptional for help as is apqs. just my humble opinion :D  good luck!


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Besides checking at the big shows, do go to a road show (or more!)  When I went to one there were two things that I really remember as wow information.  They had the breakdown of how much you needed to make a month in quilt terms for the different machines to pay off in X amount of time.  I was surprised at how reasonable the figure was.

 

the other item is to be aware on any brand machine the difference of the height of the handles for working from the front or working from the back of the machine.  When I saw that, it really reinforced that I would want the hydrolic lift since there was quite a difference in the height of the two handle sets.

 

Enjoy the looking.


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Tami:  As Lynn says, make sure you're comparing "apples to apples" when you shop price.  Also start to develop a "must have" list.  Some features can be added after purchase, some things must be on the machine originally.  Look at the table.  The table pretty much divides the first line machines from the "also rans".  I would only consider the following list:  APQS, Gammill, Nolting, Innova, A-1 Elite, KenQuilt, and Prodigy.  Then look at features.  My "must have" list includes good batting access system, M size bobbin, two channel locks, power lift system, along with a stitch regulator.  You don't have to worry about the stitch regulators on any of these machines.  They are all good.  Next would be the ergonomics.  How do the handles feel?  Are they adjustable?

 

You'll probably have to compromise on some items.  You can add power lift after purchase, but channel locks aren't so easy.  The same with the table.  You could replace one, but that gets expensive so you'd be well served buying one you like in the first place.  You can add a stitch regulator to these machines if they don't already have one, but it's expensive, and you would probably be better served buying a machine with stitch regulation to begin with. Consider buying a used machine.  They represent really good value.  You don't get to choose features as easily as on new, but you can buy for about half the cost of new.   Older unregulated machines can be purchased quite reasonably (there's an APQS Ult2 on the forum for sale listing right now for only $1900) that can be upgraded at a later date.  The upgrades can be a little difficult to get done, but you can begin your longarm work sooner.  That's what I did.  I bought an APQS Ult2 3 years ago.  It was a bare bones machine, but since I bought it, I've added an Intellistitch stitch regulator, rebuilt the table adding the leveling roller, and a really good batting access system, built a power lift system, modified to use the M bobbin, and built channel locks for her.  Make sure you buy at least a 12' table if you can fit it in any way.  The smaller ones limit how easily you can quilt big quilts.  Good luck on your search.  Jim

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As the owner of a 1994 (yep, not a typo! almost 20 years old!) machine, I want to say not to be afraid to go with a used machine.  Most all the brands are made to be workhorses and last for ages.  House of Hanson is a good place to start looking for used machines, even Craigslist & Ebay have some now and then!

 

Like the others said, test driving, researching and taking your time will help you get the "right" machine for you. Have fun, it's a grea adventure!!


kat in indiana

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This is all great advice. I bought new from a road show, and got a lot of extras. I misunderstood how much it was to add Bliss at the time, and didn't do it and now regret it. Be sure to get all your questions answered, and certainly look at used machines. It can save a lot of money, and like those before have said, these machines are made super sturdy and will last a long time. Consider the weight of the machine, too. I purchased a Freedom because it was lighter than the Millie. Only thing is there, you give up the channel locks. There is a LOT to consider. Good luck in your search.

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Ooh, this is all wonderful advice. I'm going to get a white board so that I can do as Shirley suggested and draw, draw, draw. Also I've found out that there's a shop about three hours away in Colorado Springs, CO that will rent out time on their Millie after a three day class. I'll definitely be doing that this summer to get more of a feel for the machine than the few minutes I played on her at the show. I have a few charity quilt tops that can use the quilting practice.

 

Thank you for all the help.  :)


Cheers,

Tami Levin

Sunnyvale, CA

http://www.lemontreetales.com

http://www.thequiltedlemon.com

APQS Freddie with IntelliQuilter

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Dry erase boards are great but take pictures or redraw on paper on good ideas. Buy a kids Doodle pad at the dollar store and use those. My grandkids like to Colorado my rejected drawings.

Shirley

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Dry erase boards are great but take pictures or redraw on paper on good ideas. Buy a kids Doodle pad at the dollar store and use those. My grandkids like to Colorado my rejected drawings.

Shirley

Don't you just love auto-correct! LOL


FFE992D1FB7A16BDBE9FDE1627DBA781.png ? Chris Landis

2001 APQS Millennium

Quiltizoid

www.facebook.com/pages/Feathercreek Quilting by Chris Landis

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Woohoo! I just found out that my dad is willing to loan me the money to get a machine. I still don't want to rush into anything so I think that I'll sign up for the beginner class this summer on the Millie (which is the one I'm leaning towards). It'll still be a used one but newer than the Ult2 (sorry Teresa) because I do know that I liked the stitch regulator when I tested them out at the Denver Quilt Festival. And it turns out that Linda V. Taylor is lecturing at August's Rocky Mountain Quilt Show about some beginner info that sounds like it'll be useful.


Cheers,

Tami Levin

Sunnyvale, CA

http://www.lemontreetales.com

http://www.thequiltedlemon.com

APQS Freddie with IntelliQuilter

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Be SURE to ask others at the show or near you, about the quality of customer Service.  APQS is the best of all the bests.. Can't go wrong

and with AMY behind the phone, she can listen and tell you what needs to be fixed.  Terrific Brain on that Gal, and ears I must add.

 

So GLad your Dad offered to loan you money..  He's the best too.

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I bought used and don't regret it. Get the biggest table that will fit and you wont regret it. A beginner class and rental time firstly is a good idea before such a big investment.

Shirley and I bate autocorrect by the way.

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I too am looking at the Millie, and can I ask, I have the room for the 14 foot table, but does it have the stability in the middle? I have a New Joy table and a Juki that I have been using for the last 5 years, and as we get older our beds get bigger (go figure) so I need a longer table than the 10 foot. I would like to get the 14 foot table so that in the future I won't be sorry. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You,

Diane


Diane

 

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APQS 14' frame is well made and you wont be disappointed in it. I know why you are asking as some frames will sag over time. We only have to relevel periodically and it is a floor or seasonal change issue not a frame issue. Hubby is a pipeline welder and he approved the frame. He overbuilds things.

Shirley

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Thank you all so much for all of the information on this thread!  I am very interested in purchasing a LA machine and have been researching since July.  Ten days ago my husband and I went to an APQS Roadshow in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (about 2 hours south of where I live).  I was so glad we went and so was he!!!  We both learned so much!!  Even before we went my research was always leading to APQS, and I dream of a Millie!!!  Just dreams for now as it is probably a few years yet in my future but I'm here soaking up all the wisdom you ladies have to offer!!!  So glad to be a part of your group!!  Good luck and congratulations, Tami!!!  I wish you many fun and happy hours with your new machine!

 

Coral


Coral 

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The size and weight is a consideration IMHO.  Some of us bought 26" or larger and found that "our age"  and the machines weight did nasty things to our neck and shoulders.  

If that is not a consideration for you then try out as many as you can, before you buy, try it with stich regulator and without.  

If you're not willing to learn how to fix it yourself, then dealer availability is invaluable.  When I got my first machine in 1995 it was a 26" Gam and no one in BC had heard of one, or worked on one.  Hubby and I got it out of the box and put it all together.  I actually took it off the table and hauled it 3 hours away to a "sewing machine repair place"  and the guy came out to look and threw up his hands and said,  I've never worked on something like this.   After that I learned how to Do it Myself.  Later on another machine, my husband and I installed an IQ ourselves.  (living north of the 49th) 

Good luck with whatever you choose,  just realize you don't need all the bells and whistles.  Some are very nice to have.  Just choose which ones are going to be important to you.  I personally like the large sized bobbin, and see no reason why you need a bobbin thread cutter. Love the ability to raise and lower the whole table.  Happy stitching.  

PS  get on every yahoo group etc and read, read, read,  as well as Practice, practice, practice.  LOL 

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Coral, I am a newbie, too, and I just got a 1 year old baby lock Tiara sit down long arm. I don't quilt for money, just for me and my family and gifts. I love this machine and got a good price on it. I drove from MO to Arkansas to pick it up. I have neck pain issues and found the sit down machine better for me. I am learning a lot from this forum, too. It is great to have all this skill and wisdom in one place! I wish you much luck and keep posting! Tami, what did you end of buying?


Peggy

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Tami, what did you end of buying?

 

I haven't bought one yet because we're still in our rental house that doesn't have a basement. But I'm really leaning very heavily in the direction of a Gammill Statler. Our local dealer is awesome and has lots of classes and in-person support, plus she's only 45 minutes away. I still haven't tried the computer yet but am renting time with a Gammill Vision hand-guided. I did try out an Innova at Let's Quilt in St. George, UT on the way home from a trip to Cali. It was nice too. I'll probably make an appointment to try out the Millie before any actual purchasing happens. At this point that looks to be a bit in the future. In the meantime I'm having a lot of fun practicing. 


Cheers,

Tami Levin

Sunnyvale, CA

http://www.lemontreetales.com

http://www.thequiltedlemon.com

APQS Freddie with IntelliQuilter

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