Cindy Hodge

HELP! Can't decide!

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Here I go...I've read just about every post and still can't decide which machine would be best for me, or if I should even buy one. I know that I want to graduate from my DSM and that the only way I'll progress beyond all over meandering is to get into a long arm system. I've spent hours on the internet looking at just about every contraption made and have had myself convinced on several different configurations, but ultimately I keep coming back to APQS. If I were to start with just a frame that can accomodate my DSM, I know that I won't be satisfied. But, at the opposite end of that spectrum, does it make sense to invest so much money in a machine not knowing if I will be able to be successful recouping the money. I'm afraid I won't find customers , so how can I justify spending that kind of money? Even if I go with a less expensive machine, it's still a lot of money and you know that old saying, "You get what you pay for." Would it just be putting off the inevitable of buying a better and more expensive machine? I just don't know what to do. Any help would be very much appreciated. And...if I end up deciding on APQS, do I go for the Mliienium, The Green Millie, the Freedom SR, the Lennie? So many choices out there! Thanks in advance for any and all advice!

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I went with the Green Millennium for the sake of saving $3000 over the new Millennium. The guts are all new and the features were (at that time) the same as that of the Millennium. I am very pleased with my machine. I do not quilt for others, nor do I intend to at anytime in the near future. My decision was based on the fact that I love to quilt, and so do my kids. In order for all of us to have our quilts finished...I needed a longarm . My kids are more excited about finishing larger quilts...and I am saving money everytime I quilt a quilt myself. I was sending quilts out to be finished. Wow, that can add up quickly. Also, I can make quilts for others for gifts and not feel as though my pocketbook has been emptied in doing so.

Hope this helps.

By the way, I had a dsm on a pennywinkle frame. What a pain it was to be limited to 3" of quilting per row. Now, I have 18". I can breathe now and have really expanded my quilting abilities.


Kristina at website http://withakquilting.blogspot.com/ and personal blog http://froggybottomquilting.blogspot.com/

 

Hoppily quilting along with FROGGER - my Green Millennium, and TOAD - my Liberty. Quiltazoid equipped too!

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Cindy

I think alot depends on what you want to do with your machine. are you ready to quilt as a full time business, are you just wanting to do quilting for yourself and maybe a few friends. Here is what I did. I have been quilting for about 14 years. always used a DSM and wanted to get into the frame system, so I got a short arm machine (Juki) and a fairly cheap frame. I used this about 3 or 4 years on a 15 or 20 quilts. I knew I liked the frame system but the machine was too restrictive in how much I could quilt at once. Only really have about 6 inches of quilting space once your rollers have a quilt on them and toward the end of the quilt you might only have 3 or so inches. Anyway I started looking at other systems and found that in order to get something with a stitch regulator and even a medium arm you were looking at at least 8000 dollars. Once i saw the difference in quality between these machines and an APQS there was no question that I would again be wanting to upgrade so why not go ahead and spend the money to get what you need in the first place. For me that was the Lenni. it was only 2000 dollars more and a whole world of difference. Anyway I was lucky enough to find a used Lenni and still ended up only spending the 8000 dollars that I could have spent for a mid arm, which is really not a professional quilting machine but more like a regular sewing machine being used for quilting. So it really boils down to what size you need and can fit into your space. I did not have the space for a 12 or 14 ft table so the Lenni was the right choice for me as far as size goes as well. I am also not in the business of quilting for others as I work full time and won't be ready to retire for at least another 8 or 10 years. which at that point, maybe I would consider a bigger machine if I were to use it for business. there is alot to consider I know, but take your time and really check out alot of machines to see what you like about each. If you want to see all the long arm machines you might want to plan a trip to Manchester NH for the upcoming Machine Quilters Expo in April there is a thread about that show on this forum. It is from the 13th to the 19th of April

there you could test drive all the machines at the same time and get a really good idea of what you like and don't. I can say that no matter what APQS machine you would buy you can't go wrong with the quality or service. Good Luck

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Cindy,

It can be a hard choice! I know when I got mine it was for me. I decided right off that if I got it it was going to be for me and I wasn't going to put pressure on myself for customers. In fact my initial thought was no business at all. I work full-time so this is my fun time. Hubby wanted me to try and now I've been in business about 1 1/2 years. I've done well but haven't been over-loaded until the last month or so. I can only get done 3 - 4 quilts a month, about 1 a week. If it is a panto and small I can do those quicker. I get mostly queens so a panto on that can take 6 - 8 hours depending. If it is custom work I plan on it being on the frame for 2 weeks. I generally only quilt a couple of hours 2 or 3 days during the week and then about 8 hours on the weekend. That being said I have never regretted getting my machine! I went with a milli because it fit my needs. I love it! I did not enjoy using my DSM at all and I knew I wanted to get more quilts done . I first invested in a stretched machine, no SR and the very cheapest you could buy. I learned a lot on that machine but soon out-grew it and wanted something better. I would suggest that you make a list of all the pros and cons and go from there. You should also try to go to one of the big shows, MQX, MQS and others. You can test all the machines and find the one that is best for you! Enjoy the process. For me it was customer service and quality that made me choose APQS.

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Hello Cindy,

This question is raised quite often. You cannot just buy because you saw it on the internet. You have to test drive it. The best thing to do it to go to a trade show and see as many machines as you can, first hand. Try them out, talk to the vendors.

Questions to ask yourself...........The machines are expensive but if you are prolific, how much are you spending on others doing your quilting?

How much does dear Hubby spend on his toys?

Would you be happy with a good, scond hand machine?

What is your budget and will it cause hardship to buy a larger machine? Will you need to pay it off in installments (ie loan)?

I could afford to buy mine outright, but was not prepared to order until Geoff and I had the opportunity to fly to Sydney, NSW to try them out. I wanted him to be happy with the choice I made as well. He had an absolute ball. He never did realise before going to the quilt and craft fair, how much money was actaully changing hands and how popular it actually was (always was the little wife's hobby!!) It took two years of looking, but I am now a happy woman, content with my choice.

I know that APQS do have second hand machines that they sell (refurbished), so that wold be a good option as well. The APQS Reps seem to be very, very nice people as well, ask them what model would suit you best, for the kind of quilting you envision doing. Until you have an idea what you want to achieve with your quilting, it is hard to say what machine would suit you best.

As far as a business is concerend, that is a whole different area to research!!! I want to build mine as a business as well but it takes practice, practice and then some more practice... it requires you to build a customer base, insurance, wholesale supplies, tax laws, local business restrictions and laws and the list goes on. Do you have your husband's support? That is always a biggie!!

I don't want to discourage you, but you also have to walk into this with your eyes wide open.

In short............ get your hands onto whatever machine you can and test drive it ..... that will help you narrow down a lot of choices. And never stop asking questions!!:D


Susanne

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http://community.webshots.com/user/NeedlesNest

"The Essentials to happiness are... something to love, something to do and something to hope for." - William Blake

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Hi Cindy;

I can sympathize with you, I went through a lot of those same thoughts myself a year ago when I seriously decided that I was going to get a longarm machine. Initially I felt I would get one of the cheaper machines that

would cost around $3,000. My husband and I checked it out, and when the girl at the local quilt shop told me I could only do three inches at once, I thought I was better off on my home sewing machine. I agonized over the decision about what to do, then after checking out several machines I thought that I would get the APQS Lenni.

Well that didn't sit well with my husband and he convinced me if we were going to invest in one we would go with the Millenium. I went from highs to lows waiting for my machine and when it came I was ecstatic--for about one week, then I thought "where was my head??? how are we going to pay for this??? what was I thinking???" I talked to my rep and she told me she went through exactly the same thing. The thing is that the machines are a lot of money and it is a huge investment.....but now when I look back I am not sorry, and my quilting has really jumped to the next level. I am amazed at what I have learned in just under a year, and what I can do. I was like you, basically meandering all my quilts on my domestic sewing machine.

One thing that really helped me was my husband's attitude, he told me that the machine was to make my life easier, and that there was no pressure on me to quilt anyone's quilts if I didn't want to. But almost right away people were asking me to quilt their quilts. To be very truthful with you, my husband was after me for 10 years to get a longarm machine!! So don't worry if you don't make up your mind overnight, but don't take ten years either:P:P

I am sure other people on the forum will have great advice for you, one thing I will say, if you love quilting you will love a longarm and I would say, buy the best machine you can afford. I had a friend buy the machine that my husband and I looked at before we ordered the Millenium, and she is sorry.

All the best, Helen

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Originally posted by Cindy Hodge

I'm afraid I won't find customers , so how can I justify spending that kind of money?

Because you want it! Like a lot of quilters, I don't quilt for business. I have a longarm because I love quilting and I wanted it. It is a lot of money and what I would suggest is either paying cash for a machine or if you can't do that, then at least pay for half of it so your payments aren't that bad. And, before making any decisions on any machine, try as many different ones/brands as you can. What someone might like about one machine, another person might not. That's why it is really important you try them all and decide for yourself. Good luck!


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Gable

Nolting PRO 24

 

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Cindy, it sounds like you already know that a frame with a DSM won't give you what you want.

Go for a long arm machine. You deserve the tools that make your quilting easier and better. Like Gable said above --Because you want it.

I've had my mille for 5 or so years. I don't quilt as a business. I quilt because I want to.

When I was waffleing about whether to buy, and which one to buy, it finally occured to my that my husband bought all the tractors and tree chippers he wanted, and that was a big AH-HA moment! I deserve the same consideration, and should be able to buy the equipment and tools I need for my hobby. Of course my husband agreed, since we both sign off on big purchase items - his only question was "Did you get all the features you want? Don't cheap out - get everything you need." He'd been after me for a year or so to buy the machine, because not only did he know that I wanted one, but he could see how much easier quilting could be with a long-arm.

BTW, I did start out with the very first iteration of the Handiquilter frame. It worked, but it was SO not a long-arm (or even a mid-arm) machine. One quilt, and I sold it.

If you can afford one, get it. It's less than a good sports car, and a heckuvalot more useful.

Another BTW - I researched on line and on chat groups about the longarm machines, and bought my Mille sight unseen. Risky? Perhaps, but I've not been sorry. There simply weren't any venues to test machines close enough.


Mary Crossley

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Cindy, welcome to APQS. No matter what your decision, you'll always be welcome here for advise and more. I agree with what the others have said and that you need to "drive" the machines. Try all the models and decide on what feels good to you. We love our APQS machines so we hope you choose us. You are in luck, we have a great rep that will be doing demos (and you can drive the machines) at the Lancaster Quilt Heritage Show 2-5 April. Lorraine will be working the booth. If you can't make the show, she is on the dealer's listing on the main APQS page. She will also do private demos if you can't make the show. Take your time this is a big decision, there's a big show in Philly 17-20 Sept. Lorraine can discuss the LA business in the Lancaster/York area also. I'm in Virginia but if you have any questions feel free to call or email me but Lorraine will know your area best.

Have fun and happy "driving" as you enter this wonderful world of LA.


Connie
Port Huron, MI   48060
APQS Sales Rep and Educator
Millennium with Intelliquilter (IQ)

"Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble" Frank Tygr


sewsweetgator@aol.com
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Cindy your not the first one to wonder these things, nor are you the first one that has come here looking for answers.

Which I can only tell you is one....your own answer. We each can tell you our experuences, but they will be so different from your own. Some of us have/had businesses and have now gone back to just sewing for ourselves. The stress is off from deadlines, and what ifs (like tearing a hole into a quilt or some other boobo that can happen). And I can tell you I fall into the "Been there done that catagory", and loving the freedom of deadlines and worring about machine payments.

You really are the only one who knows your finances, how your area is set up for longarm quilters. It may not seem like it, but an area can get saturated and have to many, and then no one makes any money. You can always rely on the out of area quilters, but then you have to market for those and then they don't always come back because your too far away or they didn't like what they saw. So if you are planning it to be a business, do your homework, I did just as many king sized quilts on my Brother 1300 with a 9 inch arm as I did with my longarm, so having a long arn isn't 100% the answer. You can quilt and be just a good either way.

My only real suggestion is to buy what you can afford and buy the brand that is right for you....you have come to an APQS forum about 95% of us here all have APQS's and we all have a love/hate relationship with them. Me, I wouldn't go anywhere else for another machine, I have been totally spoiled with the kind, warm and friendly staff at APQS...the customer service alone would have me, but the personal service the staff gives is something you will not find any place else. I drive an obsolete dinosaur, but have slicked her up and she runs ever bit as good as the newer cousins. You can find them around for about $4000, and they are still out there, they run just like the big boys....I have a 14 inch sewing bed on a wooden table, but you don't get all the bells and whisles...no one stitch or stitch regulator.

Maybe that's your answer as well buying an older good used machine.... BUT, what ever you do buy the best in your finance range. If you feel your going to be upgrading in a couple of year don't do that, buy it now and then work harder to pay for it....it will work out better. The buying and then upgrading in 6 months is such a hassle.

Good luck in your venture of a new machine...come back to visit us and WE all love pictures.


Bonnie Botts

APQS Sales Rep - Certified Service Technician

APQS Millennium 2006---MJ

APQS Millennium 2004---Lucy

405-533-1025 home

518-935-3832 cell

"Absolute rules are about as useless in making quilts as they are in raising children" Carter Houck---1992

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All good comments above. Most of us have gone through the agony you mention. I am going to add a short note about how I made the plunge. I am an avid piecer. Was sending all my quilts out (hated quilting on my DSM) and the bill for having my quilts finished was adding up. Plus, I decided that I couldn't necessarily afford the price of the true custom I wanted sometimes. Last year, I pieced 24 main quilts plus about 8 - 9 small quilts. That would have cost me anywhere from $2500 & up just for basic quilting - nothing fancy. So at this rate, without going into business, I am already making my money back. I am not in business at this point (& might never be) but I am much happier with my quilts - making money back by not sending the tops out and have make a few quilts on the side which adds just a bit more money - have done 10 tops already this year - more money in the bank by not sending them out!

As to which machine? ........... try them out, talk to your rep of the various brands - and just know that out of the many great machines out there, one will jump out at you........... that will be the one for you. No matter which machine you decide on, remember to stay with us on this site and share you adventures into the LA world.......... all people, all machines welcome!!

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Honestly? I didn't care if I ever got a customer or not. I bought this machine for me. It is just so much darn fun. Customers are just a bonus.

Try them all out. There is one out there for you.

Also, how many men buy boats, seados, motercycles, moterhomes, etc. and don't blink twice. I tell people, this is my motercycle.


Gail

APQS Millennium

http://community.webshots.com/user/QuiltFaerie

"If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible warning -- Catherine Aird"

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Cindy, for me it was a matter of money and space. I had a limited budget and limited space. So, I bought the Lenni. It can never be computerized, so if that is a long-term-goal, select another machine. I don't ever intend to go that route. Do you want it for business or pleasure. I have a small (very small) business but I got mine for enjoyment. If I never get another customer quilt I will love it to do my own quilts. So, there are lots of things to consider and I am sure you are going to make the right one for you. I know this, you are on the right website to find out all the answers.:D:D:D One last note: After having an APQS machine I wouldn't have any other brand!!!


Just Sew Simple Sylvia Blissett APQS Freedom '09 "Stitch" Circle Lord 2010 “"Until one has loved an animal, Part of their soul remains unawakened.”

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Cindy. Don't get too caught up in the purchase price but look at the cost over time. Right now APQS has a 2000 milie (with warranty) for $11,000. I'll bet is was no more than $15,000 new so if it you decide to get out of business the better machine ends up being a better deal than the mid arm. Test drive them all but this forum was the number one reason we chose APQS.

Nigel


Brenda Wells - Green Millie. Sold November 2017
Nigel Wells - Ultimate 1 with Intellistitch & IQ.  Sold January 2019

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Wow. Such great advice and feedback!! I bought my machine for "me" and my own selfish reasons for two reasons: 1) I am worthy and 2) I deserve it. I had a dream to some day get this machine, so I saved my $$ to buy the longarm. I work a full time job outside home so this machine is for my enjoyment. I didn't buy it to provide quilting services for customers. But I do get a few people asking me to quilt for them (I don't advertise). Think about it: a new boat or motorcycle costs the same amount of money.

If you are serious about getting a machine, test drive them all, take your time, ask questions. If you are serious about doing this as a business, you should get advice from your local small business development center. You should write up a business plan and know all the "start up" costs. Those start up costs (which include business license, setting up web site, tools, gadgets, and books and thread) are very expensive. Getting the longarm machine is just part of it.

If you are going to do this as a business, be realistic. Give yourself at least three years to start seeing a profit. It takes time to gain skills, gain a good reputation and a solid customer base.


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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Thanks to all of you for your quick response and great advice. I'm planning to go to the Quilt show in Lancaster next week and "drive" as many machines as I can. I think my biggest issue right now is a mental one. It's a lot of money to spend! I know in the long run it will be well worth it because otherwise I feel like my quilting capabilities are limited using my DSM. I want to progress! I love the feeling of finishing a quilt. I work to finish the top because I can't wait to quilt it. I work to quilt it because I can't wait to bind it! Then, I can't wait to start something new so I can complete each process all over again. Of course, I have more than one thing going on at once, but I do like to get things finished. I think if I have a LA I will have so many more options for how to quilt projects, other than just all over meandering. Don't get me wrong, I like to meander but I feel like I'm very limited as to what I can do with my DSM.

I just registered for a LA class with Linda McCuean at the Lancaster show, so that will be great "hands on" experience and hopefully I will be able to "pick people's brains" about all of these LA questions. At this point, if I take the big plunge, I'm thinking a Millenium with a 12 foot frame. Mind you, I haven't "driven" anything yet, but in the several hours of research I've done, APQS is my top choice at this point feature for feature, customer service, dealer proximity, etc. Is a 12 foot frame a good choice for keeping quilt size options open? Can you do a king size quilt on a 10ft frame?

Before I go too far with the business aspect, I'm going to take your advice quiltmonkey and check out everything I need to know about that. I think I'm mostly wanting to persue the LA for myself, thinking that maybe I'll do other people's quilts to help recoup some of the money. If that happens, great and if not, well, I'll have an awesome machine to use for my own things. I don't want to stress myself out about the business side of it right now because I don't want to have the pressure of having to quilt. That might take the fun out of it and if it's not fun, I may end up not wanting to do it. Although, I can't really see how I wouldn't have fun but....I'm just trying to think of all angles. Besides, I think it will take several months of practice before I am actually ready to take on someone elses work, so the business part is still way in the future, isn't it?. Worst case scenario, I'll have a LA that will really help me to advance my quilting skills. Doesn't sound so bad to me! Now, if I can get myself past the money thing! It's scary!!

Thank you for being here to "hold my hand" while I babble and waffle! I'm really excited to take the class with Linda. I believe the machines are Gammills, so I will get a good feel for that machine, I guess. And that will help me in the process of making a decision. This is such a big step. I want to make sure I'm doing the "right" thing. If anyone has any other insight for me or suggestions for things I should consider, I thank you in advance for your help.

Now, I'm going to get back to my "sweat shop", relax my brain, and work on my quilt in progress. Thanks again everyone and I hope to have more responses from you when I check back again later! I really appreciate the time you have taken to respond to me. You guys are great!

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Cindy, I've had my Green Millie for about a month and love it! I had a Pfaff Grand Quilter (9" machine) on a 10 ft. frame. The first time I used it I knew it was too small. When I started shopping for a larger machine I thought I'd be getting one in the 17 - 20" range, but definitely wanted a longer frame because I do king size quilts and the 10 ft. is too short - at least for me. Due to the size of my studio I opted for an 11 ft frame rather than 12 ft., and this wasn't a problem for APQS. The help and support that I've gotten from my reps, Brad and Margie Wakefield, and also APQS, both during and after the sale, has been great! They have taken care of every little problem or concern that I have had and tell me, "don't hesitate to call." My husband is the one that encouraged me to get the Millie and I said, "well then, I won't yearning for a larger machine!" I am so glad I got the Millie! :)

When you go to the show(s), after you have given a machine a test drive, sit down and write notes on their literature about your expierience, including the machine, frame, and the people doing the demo/working the booth. What did you like or not like about it? I had the opportunity to drive most machines at the quilt show in Nashville last summer and when I left I knew at least which machines I didn't want! If you get a chance to spend more than one day at the show, go back each day that you can and continue to test drive the machines. If you get a chance to print out information from the machine web sites before you get to the show you will have advance knowledge and can formulate some questions. Good luck with your decision, I know it is a big one!


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Carmen in the Ozarks
 

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You have already had fantastic advice (and btw I loved my class with Linda McCuean)

I bought an all-singing-and-dancing Milli with a Hartley Fence in 2007.

I did not know then what sort of a quilter I would turn out to be... I do a lot of tiny stuff so should maybe have gone for a lighter head.

I have not really used the Fence except for circles so I wouldn't say get that straight away. I have taken off the thread cutter and never, ever used the channel locks.

I do like the SR and the long throat space is great

So I reckon I could have gone for a less expensive model like a Freedom or Liberty (whichever one hasn't got the extra gadgets) and it would have done the same job for me BUT I love having a 14ft table;)


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LINZI in Scotland x

APQS Sales Rep and Educator for the UK

Linzi's website is

www.thequiltquine.com

see more pics!...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sewlinzi/

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I would also suggest asking the vendors what threads work best and what threads work worst on their machines. I know a gal with a sorry gals, a gammill, and the only thing she can use on it is King Tut. I think it just needs adjusting, maybe timings, she says not.

Ask what problems crop up the most often, etc.. get them on the defensive and find out what is good or bad about their machines.

RitaR

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Originally posted by sewlinzi

You have already had fantastic advice (and btw I loved my class with Linda McCuean)

I bought an all-singing-and-dancing Milli with a Hartley Fence in 2007.

I did not know then what sort of a quilter I would turn out to be... I do a lot of tiny stuff so should maybe have gone for a lighter head.

I have not really used the Fence except for circles so I wouldn't say get that straight away. I have taken off the thread cutter and never, ever used the channel locks.

I do like the SR and the long throat space is great

So I reckon I could have gone for a less expensive model like a Freedom or Liberty (whichever one hasn't got the extra gadgets) and it would have done the same job for me BUT I love having a 14ft table;)

I totally agree!! I have the Millie with the 14 foot table. I too wish I had a smaller head for more intricate work. The Millie feels a bit bulky to me. It has been fine for doing pantos, but I am really getting into some more intricate things and find the Millie a little big. That being said, I do like the throat space and the area I have to work in, that is hard to give up. I will be removing the thread cutter too so as to lighten my load. Love the channel locks, use them all the time.

You are going to get a zillion different opinions on machines, so the best plan of action is to try them all and YOU decide. It is a big investment. Also, if you will be doing this for business, be sure to check the demand in your area. I know my business had dropped off since the economy went south, as have others. So that is another concern.


Mary Beth 

Powered by 2009 Freedom

Future winner of the Millie Sweepstakes

http://marysnutshell.blogspot.com/




 

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Cindy, sounds like you're on your way to getting a LA. All the advice here is great. Lorraine is anxious to meet you and show you around the APQS machines. I agree, after testing several machines sit down and write notes to yourself. I can help you start: APQS has an 8 year warranty,

we use LED lights so there's no light bar to get in your way or get hot, the LED lights can be white or black light by the flick of a switch, the forum is free and you receive instant help, if you do have a problem with your machine the owner''s on here can walk you through a fix or APQS will do it via telephone. Ok, ok, I know I'm partial to APQS, try out all the brands, have fun driving and don't forget to breath!!! Remember when you talk to reps or other quilters "their machine is the best on the market".


Connie
Port Huron, MI   48060
APQS Sales Rep and Educator
Millennium with Intelliquilter (IQ)

"Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble" Frank Tygr


sewsweetgator@aol.com
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I am just beginning my research into the world of longarms and what my options are out there, and am still struggling with sticker shock! I will be quilting for myself and charity only, but I want to get a setup that works well and dependably, and which won't present me with endless frustrations.

In my area, there are NO longarm dealers and so I will have to depend heavily on online research and chatting via email with experienced users.

I have decided I will attend the Innovations show/convention in the fall in Tacoma WA, at which point I hope to be prepared enough to intelligently evaluate the different machines and be able to make a decision.

Meanwhile, any feedback, advice or wisdom from you experienced owners out there is greatly appreciated! The choices are bewildering.

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Cindy, the only thing I can say, is we have all been there. I used my friends HQ16 for a year. I always felt like she was rushing to get a quilt off for me and I was always rushing to get a quilt off so she could use her machine at her house. My husband got tired of my saying well I'm done with this top, I'm going to start another and put it is a tote.

My husband and son had both just bought new snow machines, not cheap mind you. The deal was you can get new machines, but 3 of you other ones had to go. With the 2 new ones they were up to 11 machines for 2 riders. Sorry, but I'm not going to pay for a storage unit for unused machines.

I was going to take care of stuff in Nevada at my mother's and I stopped at Myna Fickens place and test drove her machine, and visited with her. I had tried various machines, I knew what I liked and didn't like with each machine and I had a wish list. I kept looking and thinking on a Milli.

After hearing me talk about my own quilting machine, he came home one day threw a check at me, as he had just finished working on a portion of his mother's estate and said get one as close to that as you can. Well I spent $2000 over that and bought a used Milli. I don't regret it know. But between the time that I sent the check and I got it I was a wreck. Did I screw up, or what. Had major cleaning to do. Had to empty out the dumping ground (the unfinished family room), doesn't everyone have a room like that. I had 2 friend come over and help. It went like this keep, trash and garage sale. I did have a garage sale girls. I still have a wells cargo full of garage sale stuff. It is outta here this spring (if it ever quits snowing).

I have had my Milli for a year and have just started taking customer quilts on March 1. I still have a number of other committments and don't want more than a couple a month. I still want to do my own stuff so it isn't like going back to work.

My advice from personal experience. Rent time, take time and look at a majority of machines. Pretend you are buying a car. You have done you homework from the sounds of it. Now go test drive, do NOT buy without trying. Everyone likes a different option. When you test drive, take a variety of threads, Signature, YLI, several from the Superior Line up - Lava. Rainbows, Bottom Line. Try the different threads. Not all machines like all threads. I have used all on my Milli, my friend has bought thread that her machine just doesn't like, and I end up with it because mine will use it with only tension adjustments. Decide how big a frame you can go. I thought I had this all measured out. If they say a 14' table, allow yourself cushion room before you figure walk around room and add 2'. They really do seem bigger than the measurements when you get them in the room.

Everyone likes something different, like leather seats or cloth. Same with frames and machines. Find the system you keep going back to and buy the best you can afford comparable to that. If you want a Milli and only can afford a Freedom or a Lenni, then look at buying a used one that you really want. It is called be patient. I just happen to pick a time when they had a bunch of used machines come in as everyone was upgrading to the new Milli. I'm glad I bought a used one with all the toys I wanted, and I had room for a 14' table.

Anyway, everyone believes that theirs is the best. Only you can decide what is best for you. The only other advice I can give is don't get in a hurry.

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All the advice here is wonderful, as usual. I first bought a used Discovery from APQS and loved it except for the SR part. I learned how to control my machine and had fairly even stitches before I upgraded to the Lenni and I am so very happy with it. I do have a small hobby business and the Lenni handles it just great. It's affordable and does all I ask it to do. Best of luck with your search - have fun and relax.

Sharon


Sharon Whittlesey

Sharon@weinmaninsurance.com

Woodburn, Iowa

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