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Greenmtn

What to think about in deciding between machines?

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I am deciding on my first longarm and could really use some advice :)  I plan to do this mostly for me, but perhaps for a few others down the road if I can get proficient (but not huge quilts, not too many others).  I am 5'3" and I'm concerned about the 26" size machines.  I'm thinking that size is wonderful, but probably overkill for me.  However, I do love the electronic channel locks on the Millie.  I do a lot of modern quilts and love the look of "matchstick" straightline quilting.

 

I am thinking of either the Lenni or the Millie.  If the Lenni had the features of the Millie, just smaller, then I think that would be the one I would get.  Also, as a new longarm quilter I think the price of the Lenni makes it easier to step into this world of quilting.  I just don't want to regret my purchase down the road, but I also don't want to go too big, too expensive and find I get too tired with the larger machine.  I have tested MANY machines, become certified at my local shop on the Bernina longarm (able to rent there)  but still desire a machine at home.  The closest APQS rental is hours away so not a feasible choice for me.

 

A few facts to help with some guidance:

 

- 5'3" woman, good health but some carpal tunnel issues

- do both traditional and modern quilts

- currently do lots of straightline, cross hatching, circular quilting on modern quilts

- do mostly throw size quilts (only 1 full size bed quilt), do not see myself doing king size quilts; do I need a 12' table if I never do large quilts?

- would like the option of adding the computer down the road

 

How do you handle straightline quilting without the electronic channel locks?  A ruler?  But what about if it is a LONG line, like in matchstick quilting?  I think if I can overcome this hurdle then the Lenni might be the one for me???? Should I do the Lenni with the thought of maybe trading up in the future, or go with the Millie right from the start???

 

THANKS for any advice you can give this newbie.  I am going again soon to test out the APQS machines.

 

 

 


Karen

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I'm 5"3.5" on a good day and I have a 2009 Millennium and absolutely love it.  On carpeted floor... 14' table.  I have never ever regretted this decision. I have no difficulty doing whatever I want to do with this machine.  I'm doing a lot of custom right now ... and have no difficulty with the large throat space.  In fact, glad to have it so I can start and finish most blocks within the space  without having to move the quilt back and forth. Go for the Millie!


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Sylvia Smith
www.dancingbearquiltingstudio.blogspot.com
APQS Sales Rep
Max Millennium - with Quilt Path  ... just me and Max, dancing as we quilt!

dancingbear@dancingbearquiltingstudio.com

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I am thinking if the Millie has the features that you want and it is within your budget, go for it.  Trade-in is always good for these machines, so if you wanted to start with the Lenni,  you really wouldn't go wrong.  It's a big decision, but it's one that you have to make.  Sounds like you have done your homework.  Good luck!

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I haven't tried the latest machines with Bliss but the non Bliss machines will want to go in a north/south east/west direction with just a two finger imput from you. That is why everyone has trouble with square circles in the beginning. Try guiding the next machine you have access to and see what I mean.

Nigel


Brenda Wells - Green Millie. Sold November 2017
Nigel Wells - Ultimate 1 with |Intellistitch & IQ

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Green:  Get the Millie.  If you think you'd like the electronic channel locks, you really will, and they're not offered on any other APQS model.  These machines, when properly adjusted, move so easily that there's no issue from the weight side.  You'll also probably come to really appreciate the extra six inches of reach the bigger machine offers.  Get the M bobbin system as well.  You'll love that too.  Jim

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Something else to think about is the configuration of the handles.  The upright handles on the Lenni won't change position if you want to hold your hands/shoulders in a different position.  The curved handles of the Millie will adjust up and down easily and they give a nice few inches of space on the quilt field when you need to finish the design on the farther points.  I have a Lucey that I am getting used to.  I like the curved handles.  I'm just 5'0".    When you check out the APQS see what the options are for the handles that you are interested in.


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Have you compared the two machines to see what the differences are? That helps me. It may come down to just what you want on the machine. If you have enough money for the Millie, I would not hesitate to purchase that machine. I have known a lot of quilts who have had Millies who were tiny little girls, no problem. You can adjust the height of the table, so I don't think that would be a problem. 


Mary Beth 

Powered by 2009 Freedom

Future winner of the Millie Sweepstakes

http://marysnutshell.blogspot.com/




 

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You all are so helpful!!

I'm torn because of the price. I'm trying to justify getting a machine, period. I tell myself that I can get the Lennie and Quilt Path for close to the price of the Millie. I do CAD drawing as a business, so I know I would probably love the Quilt Path. However, if I buy the Millie it would be quite a long time before I could swing buying Quilt Path.

Having never even owned one it s so hard to really know what features or add ons are worth it.

Good point you all made about the handles. I hadn't remembered that.


Karen

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You could always check out a used Millie. I purchased a used Millie that was 4 years old at the time I purchased it. I absolutely love my Millie!! I have never had any problems with my machine at all. In fact I have owned 3 APQS Machines, all purchased used and never had any issues with them. My first was a non-stitch regulated Ultimate 2 (same throat size as the Lenni), I upgraded to a Ultimate 1 (same throat size of the Millie) with an add on stitch regulator and finally up graded to a Millie. After having my Millie it would be really hard to down grade to anything else.


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Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken.



 

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In Sept I bought a used 2005 Mille from Dave Jones with compuquilter.  I have had no issues and have completed about 15 quilts of mine.

He sells lots of used machines on forum, check to see if he has any used machine with computer..

 

His number- Call text 24/7 268-767-279


2005 Mille with CompuQuilter

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I have a Lucey which I love....it was a used one off this website....I got her because she was what I could more easily afford...that being said....I would love a Millie...then could sell my Lucey and get Quilt Path....that is why I make sure I get my entry in every day for the drawing!  I am 5 4 and have some carpal tunnel and other muscle issues and find I am more comfortable working more toward me...and I just don't have to fully advance every time when I want to do that...easy peasy...on the other hand....if I am doing stitch in the ditch on a large diagonal square...it sure is nice to have the extra room that the 26 inch throat would allow...if I were rich...I would get the Millie and the computer system...just saying....I do mostly free motion now...no pantos so far....Lin

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If you have the room get the biggest table you can. That's my only regret is I can only fit a 10' table and so many times run into issues of could have/would have. If I had to make a choice between the computer and Bliss, I'd go with Bliss. I am thrilled that I upgraded to it and have never been sorry about the money spent. One of the deciding factors for me when I got my Millie was the reposition able handles. Being able to adjust my grip has been a huge help with my hand issues. Best of luck in making your decision and happy quilting! Sally

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I went today and tested the Millie and Lucey.  The Lenni was not set up but will be at a show in a few weeks (I played on it at another show a few weeks back).  Right now I'm leaning towards the Lenni with Bliss, due to the cost difference.  Not ever having a longarm I am afraid of overspending with my first machine.  I probably could swing the cost difference to a Lucey, but I'm not sure I want to go up to a 26" to start???  I found it a bit hard to really control things way up to the rails. The dealer said the newer Lenni now has the same handles as the Lucey.  I was told the Larry now has the upright handles.

 

So with the Lenni I am giving up:

- space

- ability to upgrade to deluxe table (and fabric advance, lights)

- no electronic channel locks (vs Millie)

- no bobbin cutter (vs Millie)

- no option for Quilt Glide

 

I hope to do ruler work, so I hope the smaller space does not hamper that too much?

 

I do think I would want to add Inteliquilter (or other computer package) in the future. Once again, hope the smaller space does not hamper that? 

 

I hope to put down a deposit soon.  Such a tough decision when I am so new at this!!


Karen

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Greenmtn:

 

You should try shopping for a used machine.  That way you might be able to find the larger machine that fits into your cost window.  That way you can get the best and largest machine your budget can afford.  I went used, and have not regretted it one bit.  Best of luck to you.

 

Cagey


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

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I think the smaller throat space is going to limit you by some of the tools or designs you use, however, there are a lot of people who have the Lenni and love it. That being said, how many of them would trade for a larger space if the money were not an issue, maybe that is the question to ask. I had a Millie years ago and sold it. When I was ready to buy again, I knew I wanted another Millie, or something with a larger work space because I didn't want to be rolling my quilt to work on a larger block, or whatever. I actually ordered a new Millie last year in November, but then I decided I didn't want to spend that much money to quilt for just me. If I were going to quilt for customers, there is no question in my mind, Millie it is. I found a used Freedom/Freddie, same throat space, only lacking vertical channel locks, no thread cutter. I had no problem losing those features as long as I had the throat space. You seem to be sold on the Lenni, and it seems to suite your needs, so if that is the one, then go for it. It is all a personal preference. Really, no one can tell you which one to get, we can only give your our opinions, and like they say....we all have one  :) I will be waiting to see which machine you finally settle on. I know this is not an easy process. 


Mary Beth 

Powered by 2009 Freedom

Future winner of the Millie Sweepstakes

http://marysnutshell.blogspot.com/




 

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I took what you all said to heart and really thought about the size.  Right now I am leaning towards the Lucey.  My only concern is doing small scale work like micro stippling.  It felt a little jerky with the regulator on but I'm sure there are techniques to improve this if I play with the stitch knob?  My other choice would be to wait for a used Millie with Quilt Glide.  For those with this feature: Do you used it often?  Does it make a big difference?


Karen

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I still consider myself a newbie....The two things that I know work when doing things like micro stippling on Lucey are to shorten the stitch length if doing it with the regulator....the other thing that smooths out how Lucey moves is to use manual and take the stitch regulator off.  Yep ....a definite learning curve.  I took a class from Karen McTavish and she had me do some McTavishing without the regulator and also I had tried some feathers.  She often works in unregulated mode.  I know on my domestic machine that I got with a stitch regulator....a lot of folks look at the stitch regulator as training wheels and those who were already good free motion folks...actually thought the regulator interfered with the smooth movement.  I think it is a matter of how much you want to practice .....Try somethings without the regulator and on and with it on.   For me....I mainly make quilts that folks use and quilt for myself.  I never have done show quilts and do art quilts only rarely....so Lucey works just fine for what I do.....at my current level of talent  :rolleyes:.  Oh, I think for stitch in the ditch and ruler work....the regulator is a good tool for that kind of stitching.  Lin

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Green:  I think you may be over valuing the Quilt Glide feature.  A lot of folks do micro work with the regulators turned off.  I even do that sometimes.  That said, I think you might be missing the value of the electronic channel locks, and I haven't heard you even mention the M bobbin system.  These were musts for me.  I have an Ultimate 2 that came without any bells and whistles.  These two features were so important to me that I fabricated them.  Once you use an M bobbin equipped machine, you'll never want to go back to the L's.  Only half the bobbin changes!  The thread cutter seems to be a wash, not many folks who have them actually use them.

 

My Ult 2 is a 20" machine like the Lenni (in my configuration I actually have about two inches more sewing field than the Lenni), and I'm satisfied, but if I were buying another machine, it would be bigger.  I find myself struggling to SID around blocks larger than 14", and there are a significant number of quilt patterns with blocks larger than 14".  That's when I wish Zelda (my Ult 2) was a bit bigger.  Moving the quilt back and forth to do that job gets old.  Doing piano key borders without both channel locks requires more effort.  Just some more things to think about .  Regards.  Jim

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My humble opinion is to go as big as you can afford and add computerized later.  If you are going to quilt for a business, time is money and the less time you spend advancing the quilt the more time you save.  Just my 2 cents!


Robin

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After re-reading your first post I see you are "probably" going to quilt just for yourself mainly.  Still you will enjoy not being limited by the amount of quilting space you have with a larger throat machine. 


Robin

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Yes, I agree and will probably be going with a 26".  I'm trying to reconcile my budget with my wish list at the moment :)  I'm trying to be diligent in my research and take my time to get the right machine for the long haul.  I am heavily leaning toward APQS due to a wonderful dealer in my state.  If money were no object I would have a brand new Millie in a second!  


Karen

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Congratulations.  Don't be surprised if you Lucey comes earlier than you expected.  I ordered mine in June with deliver after Aug. 15 written on the order.  The next week I got a call asking if I was ready for Lucey to be delivered!  My room still hasn't gotten organized yet.  Enjoy her.


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