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I am thinking of purchasing a used Ultimate I quilting machine, can anyone tell me how old this machine might be? Also, how do I find out if this machine has a stitch regulator and speed control on it? I went on APQS page and could not find any information on it. Does anyone know if you can still get parts for it or if it can be upgraded with any new options?



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I also purchased an Ultimate 1. I bought mine from APQS, so it came completely reconditioned and with a new Millenium table. The Ult does not have a stitch regulator. Some of the later models do have a thread cutter and a stitch positioner, single stitch. Mine does. I think I was told that mine is a late '90s machine.

My personal opinion is that it is a great machine at a modest price if you can do without any bells and whistles. I had not used any long arm before I purchased my Ult !, so I didn't really have anything to compare it with. If I were doing it again, and if I could afford it, I'd get a used Millenium because of the stitch regulator. I have done many years of free motion quilting on my dsm, and figured that my experience quilting on my Bernina without a stitch regulator would make it pretty easy to learn how to use the Ult ! without a SR. However, I have discovered that quilting with a LA is quite different from quilting with a dsm, and I think a SR would be really useful if you can afford the more than double price for a used Millie.

I haven't had my machine for long, and haven't had a lot of time to use it, but I can already see that I am improving in moving at a steady speed, which is what you need with no SR. You also have to remember to just hit the stop button if you get into a difficult place. Breath, relax, and go again. There are a number of people on this chat that use Ult 1s very successfully, and with practice, you can too. But it definitely takes a little work.

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  • 2 weeks later...


I just purchased an used Ultimate 1 yesterday from a private party. When I tried it out, it seemed to be working well - the wicks are dry, so didn't want to run it much until I have a chance to read the manual and oil it. Am in the process of cleaning out a corner of the basement for it to live in.

The previous owner had serger thread in it, and the tension appears to be a bit off. I want to get it set up and threaded with decent thread before I get too worried about any tension issues.

Do any of you current Ultimate 1 owners have any words of advice for me? I have quilted for a long time, but this is my first experience with a real live longarm! I am very excited, it seems like I have waited for this day forever! ;)


Brand new owner of Ultimate 1 - as yet not named!

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dvinson, try following this link. *If it works right, it should take you right to the comparison page..


sorry, when I checked the link out, I see it doesn't list the Ultimates.. Did the Freedom replace the Ultimate 2? It does give you a lot of info though, about the various machines.

I think I'd try fining the serial Number and call APQS to ask if they could possibly find the date of manufacture.


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I have just finished my second quilt on my Ult 1. I'm getting reasonably good at moving the machine at a constant speed. I think my stitches look pretty even. Both the "real" quilts I've done have been done using pantographs. I wanted to learn how to do them, but my real goal is to do free motion from the front.

I've done a number of practice pieces on muslin from the front. It is quite a different experience from free motion with your dsm. If you get to a place where you need to slow your hands down, you have to stop the machine and dial the speed down, then start again. I find it hard to do that, but I'm not competent enough to do things like backtracking at the same speed I use for most things. I'm thinking that micro drive handles may be a good investment, but want to practice more first.

Here are a couple of things I've learned: My machine didn't come with a bobbin winder, so I've been winding bobbins on my Brother 1500, which uses the same bobbin as the Ult. If I fill the bobbin to the point where the Brother shuts it off, it seems to be too full for the Ult. I have had considerable problems with thread breaking and backlash in the bobbin. As soon as I started filling bobbins only 3/4 full, the problems went away.

Another thing that can cause thread breaking is to run the machine for several seconds in one place. When you begin moving again, the bobbin thread usually breaks. Dawn recommends thinking ahead when you are about to stop, turn the machine off and let it coast. Don't linger too long on points or you'll get thread pile-up.

I also had problems with tension. Again, I had VERY frequent thread breaking. Dawn gave excellent advice about how to adjust tension. Loosen the top tension until the stitches are very sloppy, but it still sews. You may also need to loosen the bobbin tension as well. When you get sloppy stitches, start tightening the top tension 1/4 turn at a time. If you are still not getting a perfect stitch, tighten the bobbin tension a little. On my Ult, using Aurofil (a fine 50 wt cotton), the tension is right when the bobbin just slides down the tread into your hand. Not too fast, but it definitely slides. With heavier weight thread it drops a few inches and stops.

If you didn't get the APQS DVD with your Ultimate, you might ask then to send you one. It has VERY good instructions on maintenance - more than the manual. It also has a very good introductory lesson on getting your machine ready to quilt (how to thread, cleaning the hook, cleaning the rails and wheels, changing needles, etc.) followed by Dawn giving a good demo of how to load a quilt.

I also bught Kim Brunner's Machine Quilting for Beginners and Myrna Ficken's Beginning Long Arm Quilting. Each of them teaches a slightly different method for loading the quilt, but I've learned from all of them.

I'm becoming more comfortable with my machine, but I still have LOTS to learn. However, I think I am learning faster by doing real quilts than just hacking away on muslin practice pieces.

Good luck! This forum is a fabulous resource. I've had every question answered in very helpful ways - and very quickly.

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Love my Ultimate I also! Sparkle had added an "after-market" stitch regulator to hers, kinda pricey but other seem to LOVE it (I do o.k. without one). I think APQS might have a SR you can add? I have the 14 ft table, my husband added the "raised-sides" hopping foot (my model had the older "spoon" type foot). And of course I finally added the edgerider wheels (wonderful!), but I hear the M&M ones are even better (hard to believe!). I have added some extras: circle lord, extended base, laser. If you want to send me your email address, I would be happy to send you all of the "info/photos/notes" etc that I have collected for the last few years about the Ultimate I.

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Thank you Bonnie and Cathy!

The machine came with a video - all of the dates on the machine are 2003, so I am assuming that is the manufacture date.

The machine has only a little use - the first owner did maybe 2 quilts on it and the second never had the time to play with it, but due to moving had to get rid of it. It was my lucky day!

I am still cleaning out the basement corner for the machine, and haven't had the chance yet to watch the video. I will certainly contact APQS for the dvd if the video doesn't have the instructions that you mentioned, Bonnie.

Cathy, I would love to see the info/photos/notes that you have accumulated; how do I send you my email privately?

Thanks again - this forum is wonderful!


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