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Gammill or APQS?


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My first machine was a Gammill Optimum Plus, it was too heavy a machine for me (I am 5'2"). I had problems with tension and getting good customer service (others may have a different experience). I had problems with stitches flat lining and never could get it straightened out. Would I buy another Gammill?...no Do I like the Statler System?...yes Would I base my purchase because of the Statler system?...no because others are just as good.

I have had a Millie and traded it for a Freedom Sr (I think it moves more easily) and my second machine was a Liberty (when I was in business). I really like APQS machines, I love the customer service and all the help provided. I considered buying an A-1 because they really move the best on rails, but I wanted more throat space, my friend has more problems with different threads types on her A-1 and I didn't like the stitch quality compared to an APQS.

I have a CQ because at the time it was really the only option with an APQS machine. If I were to buy a different computerized system I would definitely consider an IQ. You can have a statler system put in an APQS machine, but they have to strip out the insides and then it is no longer an APQS machine.

IF YOU are really serious about purchasing a machine...YOU NEED to attend a MQX or MQS....YOU NEED to try every machine available and these shows are the place to do this. This is a lot of money you will be spending, do it with knowledge on your side. I know you can go to the APQS booth and play for hours, testing the machines. They are very helpful and don't be afraid to come back and come back to ask and play.

Every one is different, every machine feels different, everyone fits one machine better than another and every one has their own opinion as to the best machine. For me, APQS has been the BEST.

Take all the opinions, go to a show and learn. Then make a decision on which machine to purchase.

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I had a used Ult II before I traded it in for an APQS Millennium. I just love it. I've never tried a Gammill so I wouldn't know the difference. I have the 12 foot table with it. The Millennium has so many great features. I am adding Intelliquilter to it. I checked out the different sites and the Intelliquilter is the best, in my opinion. They come out and install it on your machine and the price is a lot better too. There are no cables to mess with and can take it off your machine and work on it planning quilts. I can't wait to get mine. You can check out their videos on www. intelliquiltertraining.com to see what it can do. Maybe some of the other have videos so that you can see all the features and compare them.

Since I don't have a business, I don't have a computer program that I use. But there is a lot of others on this list that can give you a lot of advice on that.

Have fun trying out the machines and getting the feel of each one.

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Guest Linda S

Test drive, test drive, test drive!! Quilting machines are like cars -- you have to get the one that fits you best. I was incredibly lucky that I only tried the Millennium before ordering my Liberty. I knew it was too big for me, so the Liberty was what I wanted, having done my research on customer service, features, price, etc. I have always been very happy with my Liberty. I tried all the machines over the years at shows and was still very happy with my machine. I have to admit I tried a Gammill Classic last summer and it blew me away. Still not crazy about the roller configuration and the quilt advance, but it was really nice. Now that they've upgraded them even more, I'll bet they are fabulous machines. Buy the one that makes you happy!

Linda

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One thing I also did as part of my "research" on machines, was to go to a large show and take longarm classes. I was very close to deciding on a Gammill after taking 3 half day classses on them at Paducah. I really liked them!

I had trouble calling around getting good info about the Gammil's. A shop in Maryland replied to me and was very willing to keep sending me all their store info about classes, fabric sales, and yes, we sell machines, too. I still get their e-mails, but really no info of substance.

I went to two APQS road shows over a 3 year period. During that time I also joined this chat and read everything each day. As time got closer to having the money for a machine, I also went to visit a friend and quilted a twin bed size quilt on her Millenium. I really liked it, but it just didn't feel right.

Well, back to Gammill? Nope. I decided on a Liberty. It is perfect for me. It is smaller than a Millie, but I love its size. A Liberty is the same size as the newer Lenni. So, within the companies you also have to decide which model fits your needs, too.

Sometimes bigger is better ;) but not always. LOL

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Both are nice machines. I'm partial to the APQS, of course! One thing worthy of mentioning is the fabric advance. I think it's a real time saver when you're in business. I was at a Gammill dealer (I teach at a Gammill dealership) about a month ago and was surprised that they don't have one for their machines. I thought they must have one, but was told by the dealer that they did not. I wouldn't be without mine, and everyone who tries my machine absolutely loves the fabric advance as well as the machine. I'm soooooo glad I favored the APQS machines when I purchased. I had narrowed my choice to The APQS or Gammill also.

Please do find a dealer and spend a couple of hours on the machines. You just can't tell when you push them around for 5-10 minutes at a show. Really spend some time. That's the best way to see which is the best fit.

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I was ready to buy a Gammill (there was no APQS rep nearby 3 years ago, but I had seen Gammills at shows) and called a friend who had a Gammill. She loved having a longarm, but was very disappointed in the "pokies" - she couldn't get the thread to not show on the other side. The Gammill user manual stated that the solution to this was to use the same thread top and bottom.

Gammill's also can't use more delicate threads like Rainbows or metallics, which is why Superior Thread came out with Lava - a really strong thread that will withstand the pressure the Gammills put on. I took 2 days of classes using a Gammill recently, and found the pokies and thread to still be an issue.

Julia

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Stephanie,

Test drive, test drive then test drive some more. Everyone loves the machine they have. Both are great machines. I chose APQS because of the customer service, the forum (APQS is open to everyone, nothing to hide), the machine glides like silk on silk, little to no maintenance and if there's a problem 99% of the time you can fix it, even the timing if you get a rag in the bobbin case!!! Anyway, I had a great rep, which I met at a quilt show. I had two really bad experiences with Quilt Show Gammill reps. I also liked the fact that APQS did not talk trash about their competitors. Where do you live? There's a show in Lancaster PA on 24-27 APR, Providence RI in April etc. Check for your local rep, they will be happy to let you drive their machine anytime. I have an IQ on my APQS machine and love it. The IQ and Computquilter can be added onto your machine after you get it. I recommend that you learn to do freemotion and get to know whatever machine you chose to buy before getting a computer. I use Machine Quilter's Business Softerware but Quick Books is great also. I'm in Virginia Beach and an APQS rep, contact me if you're close by. Welcome to the forum and the adventure!!!!:cool:

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I have a milli and love it. I think everyone on this forum loves their machine of any brand. I concur with those that say test drive. I admit I did very little research but I did test drive and look at the features. Even though I told the Gammill people that I was going to buy that day (I was at a major quilt show), they didn't take me seriously and I didn't like the stitch quality or the feel on the machine I tried. The APQS people were very polite, encouraging, and didn't talk trash about other machine brands. Everyone has their own preferences and requirements so try all the brands and models before making your choice. Whatever you buy your are still a part of the forum family.

Pamela

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thank you all for your help, you guys are awesome. my biggies are 1. customer service 2. made in USA and 3. warranty. i have test driven some and narrowed it down to these 2 companies. i'm a researcher so i don't have a problem taking my time in deciding. being a navy vet that worked with helocopters i'm also impressed that the apqs is made of aircraft alluminum.

thanks again for all your responses.

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Stephanie,

I'm a Navy Vet also!!! I did 27 years in the Engineering fields, retired in 2007. Let me talk in Navy terms. APQS uses aircraft grade aluminium and hand welds (mig/tig) the joints. This makes our machines very light and durable. There's very little PMS which includes oiling and cleaning the wheels. Parts are readily available and easy to procure. The machines are a beautiful shade of "gray". Controls are in your hands at all times. If you computerize the machine, no watch required. Seriously, welcome and have fun test driving all the machines. Let us know what you choose, no matter which brand.

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I'm with Sharon, I also have a Nolting PRO 24 and love it. You really gotta try them all and decide which one feels the best for you. Take into consideration the tables, too. I love Nolting tables and they have a bar on the bottom that I can fit two rolls of batting on them. And the customer service is awesome.

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Ditto to all the advice to try different machines. I have yet to talk to someone who is unhappy with whatever their choice was. I think that there are several reasons for that is both machines in question are very good machines and both have great things about them. After we pay for them of course we are going to think our choice is the best choice! I think we also almost bond with our machines! Oh no this is getting too sappy...

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Gee. they've said it all - Take your time - we visited many machines - both in showrooms and in private homes before we decided on APQS. I have health problems so was looking for a machine that was light weight and very smooth. Millie Rose is as easy to sew on as my DSM. If you are anywhere close and would like to bring a top - you could play all afternoon..just be sure whatever machine you choose has a stitch regulator. I don't know how I got along with my first machine which didn't have one. The only gripe I've ever had was that the cheaper machines were within weeks of coming out - the Lenni, etc., and no one would tell me, so I went big machine/alot of money. Take it slow on the business angle. My health was worse instead of recovering, so I never got to do the 'quilt for hire' part of my plans, but I certainly enjoy my machine..have never had to time it, have had 2 needle breakages, only had to adjust the tension once or twice per quilt - I'd say TROUBLE FREE... We live near Gammill, but they acted like it was just 'too much' to get to their feet and show us around the show room. Didn't like that.

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I'm the rebel living in a town of Gammills... I love my Millie. Several years ago as a new owner, I sucked a rag into the bobbin case during cleaning. APQS was wonderful with their customer service to get me diagnosed and back up and running. I never felt rushed. (Scared and a little sick because of my stupidity, yes...) The other women have their own reasons for their choices, but I just smile when I hear one complain about tension, timing, lack of service or not being able to use a certain thread. I can't think of anything that could get me to switch to any other brand. But, go try machines from both companies and choose what's right for you.

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My suggestion is to actually rent some time on any type of longarm and actually quilt a quilt on it. Have someone show you how to use a template as well. For me, test driving is not the same as actually working on a real quilt. By then you will better be able to judge how each machine handles and decide which features may or may not be important to you. For me, quilting on a longarm is much different (but much easier) that using a regular machine. Better to be sure on a new purchase than to second guess yourself. I'm happy with my Millie. The motorized advance is definitely worth the $ what ever model you are looking at. I especially like the ease with which you can move the quilt forwards and backwards on the MIllie.;

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Look at is as buying a new car. Test drive each one you can get to. Make a list of what you like and don't like from each machine. Don't get in a hurry. After you have drove a few machines narrow it down to 2 or 3, sounds like you already have. Attend a show over several days and keep test driving. The one you keep going back to the most is the one you want. Some people like Chevy, Dodge, Toyota or whatever, just like APQS, Gammil, HQ, etc. It is all a personal preference and it is a large and nerve ending experience. I got more jitters of this purchase than a new car. Everyone will tell you theirs is the best, because it is a personal preference.

One you keep going back to that one, quiz them on their service and who is nearest to you!!! This is really helpful if you like two equally. If you like them equally go for customer service and support.

Personal opinion here folks.

Shirley

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I had a gammill optimum plus and now I have an APQS Millennium. I LOVE the customer service with APQS. Customer service at gammill was non-existent. Also there was alot of oil on the table top from the gammill, never had that happen with the APQS.

Gammill worked great for pantos and thicker thread, APQS excellent with finer threads and micro stippling.

Anyway, test drive all of them, do some more research and make the decision that is best for you.

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I plan to get another machine in the near future. I have had my DH look into the Innova for me.

I have a Liberty as it is the best size for me. I am only 5". I did try the larger ones of both brands.

I do like the Liberty except I wish it ran more like an industrial machine. I hate changing bobbins. Take this with a grain of salt. I am one of those who is never really happy. Just go with what feels good to you and what you are comfortable paying for. If you really want to know, the machine is incidental, but more of what you as a quilter (artist) can do with it. Enjoy the hunt. Don't look at Consumer Reports,:D:D, just look right here in this forum at what all of these quilters do with the machines they have. I am amazed every day. The motivation that I feel to continue and to improve is because of the help I receive here and you will too.

Carmen

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I am lucky - I have 2 machines and think both are great ......... the Millie and the 26" Innova. Both companies offer outstanding service. Personally, I find the Innova easier to handle than the Millie (I do have the ER wheels on my Millie). No matter which way you go, I would try to test personal machines and not just those in shows. Personal machines are generally set up better than those in shows and will really give you an idea as to what feels best for you and what the stitch quality is. When I purchased my Millie, I spent time (paid for) with 2 different women - one had the Millie and the other the Gammill. I was able to handle the Gammill a bit better at that time, but I much preferred the stitch quality and ease of maintenance of the Millie - therefore, I purchased the Millie. I was also swayed by the openness of this forum. When I purchased my Innova - it came about because I tried a friend's Innova and was wowed. Each machine will have pros and cons according to what you are looking for. Make a very careful list of your needs and wants and then go from there. It is a big investment.

Long story short - try everything you can & look very carefully at the after-sales service (company and rep/dealer). These machines are workhorses, but things do happen and you want to know that someone will always be there to get you up and running again - it is not like the normal item where you just call the service man out to your house. You will work on your machine at some point and it is worth everything to have someone guide you through and hold your hand over the phone. I have found both APQS & ABM International (Innova) provide this type of service. I can only vouch for these 2 companies - have not dealt with other companies but there are other excellent machines on the market.

Good luck!!!!!

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