Sign in to follow this  
fgentry1

reviews of users of HQ and Innova Sitdown machines

Recommended Posts

I can't help you with a review of the Handi Quilter or the Innova sit down machines but I can talk about the APQS George machine. Have you had a chance to meet George? You'll find a large group of happy George owners here in the APQS forums! George has a 20" throat and is speed regulated with an unbeatable LIFETIME warranty from APQS. Remember that you are buying your "big-girl" machine and having a company that stand behind their machine for a LIFETIME of use is going to be critical to you. I hope you'll poke around on the forums here and see how much we all adore the customer support and service we enjoy from APQS. The company is based in a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere in Iowa and those small town values are baked into EVERYTHING the company does. 

 

Did I mention that all APQS machines are 100% percent American made? Many other machines are cast overseas and they are brought to the states where the guts are added. They'll say they are made in America but they are, in fact, assembled in America. Again, look at the warranties and you'll see the difference jump out at you. Warranties are super boring but get a copy of each company's warranty and really read it. 

 

George is set in the table much the way your domestic quilting machine is positioned in your table. To me, this makes sense and keeps the machine out of my way. Some of the other brand sit down machines are positioned in the table so as you move the fabric through you are pushing the fabric INTO the throat of the machine. The machine is essentially in your way as you sew. George was deliberately placed off to the side so you have much more room to move the quilt. 

 

Finally, be sure to take a look at the extraordinarily simple thread path on the APQS George. You'll love how incredibly simple it is. That simple path is one of the reasons George owners enjoy running so many different types of threads. Because you aren't asking the top thread to go through too many guides, you can run really low top tension and really low bottom tension. That means George can run all those finicky, funky threads that art quilts LOVE. Don't worry if you aren't an art quilter- just know that if the art quilters of the world turn to George because he can run any thread, the production quilters of the world won't have a thing to worry about with our more pedestrian thread choices. 

 

Are you able to go to a quilt show nearby where APQS will have a booth? If so, laying your hands on a George is the best thing to do. Plus, you'll be able to see the other brands at the show and play on those machines too in order to find the best fit for you. Picking out your longarm machine is a personal thing. Trying out the machines to see how they feel to YOUR body will be important. 

 

There are also APQS George dealers listed here on the APQS website. I'm sure they'd love to have you come by and take him for a spin. It is always helpful to talk to owners and not just dealers so be sure to pop over to the George forum here on the site to talk to all the happy George owners who love any chance they'd get to yak your ear off about little George. He is a popular guy! 

 

Enjoy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ideally, you should make an opportunity to sit down at all the machines to get a feel for them.  It really depends on what you'll be doing with the machine.  I quilted on the APQS George machine for seven years.  Now that I'm entering the major shows, I decided to check out the sit-down models at the Houston show in October.

 

The HQ Sweet 16 is certainly a popular machine.  The visibility is pretty good because the machine is oriented in a different direction from a domestic machine.  Many HQ quilters are experimenting with ruler work so there are tools & videos from the company which are helpful.   I did not have confidence in the machine's durability so I opted not to buy this machine.

 

Because I'm making quilts for competition,  I purchased the Innova sit down machine.  This machine really will run any thread at all (some threads never worked for me on George) but most of all, I chose the Innova because the stitch quality is superior to the other brands.   I added the upgraded stitch regulation (Lightning Stitch) which is probably only worth it if your quilts will be judged.  The company (in Texas) has been building quilting machines for 70 years and 3 generations.  The current sit down machine is very well made & the customer support so far has been good.  There are two drawbacks in my opinion:  #1 the table is simply not big enough (ABM is working on some other table options) and  #2 in manual mode, the machine speed is not controlled by the foot pedal.  Instead, you set a speed and the machine runs constantly at that speed whenever you depress the pedal.  There is a bit of a learning curve with this but it is not too difficult to adjust.  Sewing in regulated mode, however, is a major change.  For my work, I believe it should prove worthwhile in the long run.  I do miss my George, however, and also the support & inspiration I found in this forum.

 

Depending on your needs, I would recommend you consider the  APQS George machine too.  It is sturdy and simple.  The company, the reps and the forum offer great support.  The 20" throat is larger than either of the other machines you are considering.  My George ran problem free for seven years before I sold it…never needed the lifetime warranty but it was a comfort to have.  If you quilt for yourself, if you make large quilts, if your space is too limited for a stand up long arm machine, George is a reliable machine at a very fair price.

 

Hope this helps with your decision.  Nancy in Tucson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HQ Sixteen! I also have a sit down besides my long arm, could not part with the HandiQuilter. Easy to use, only one spot to oil, the bobbin area. Took classes at QuiltCon on Handiquilter. Check out Handquilter websites, and yahoo groups. It's a beautiful machine. I seen many other sit downs at QuiltCon, they all look great. It's a tough decision. Handiquilter now has the low bobbin sensor, regulated stitch and a bunch of other features. Has open toe, and couching feet. Love the table set up.


DF0A70E6A4A93BC21A95B76E2E1835AD.png

 

 I just started blogging:   http://fiddleheadquiltz.blogspot.ca/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You do not say where you live, but make sure you are going to get the support you want and need, where you are. I live in Canada and while companies have no hesitation in selling here, they can sometimes be conspicuously absent when you have a problem. I did have one of the brands you are considering, and I was so unhappy with the lack of any support, that I sold it and bought an APQS last fall. I am much, much happier now and am quite confident that if I had any type of problem that it would be dealt with appropriately and to my satisfaction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a new george owner. Decided on George after much review. I like how it sits on the table, simple ( no computer ), and I prefer no stitch regulation. I have completed 6 quilts since my purchase. The large 20 inch throat is amazing. An entire king size quilt can be to my right, while I'm working on the left side, and I was amazed I had worked my way over there because it was so roomy! Stitches are beautiful. I am so glad I bought it every time I am playing with it. Even just recently purchased the ruler feet and am having a blast learning ruler work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no experience with the sit down machines, but I have owned a Babylock Jewel and an Innova longarm. The Jewel is built by HQ and looks almost identical to an HQ. I don't know what the improvements have been in the last few years, but if I had to choose between the Jewel and the Innova, I would choose the Innova. You really need to try them both and any other sit down machine out there to find out which is best for you. A test drive could change your opinion of a machine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this