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greymom

Help with "location" to test drive & choose my first longarm.

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I am looking to purchase my first longarm and am very confused at this point. I live 45 miles south of Houston, Tx. and would like help with a location to test drive & choose my first longarm machine. I recently attended the International Quilt Show in Houston and tried a few machine but each had issues and I was told that they would perform better once they were permanently set up and tweaked. That's not what I expected to hear so many times at the show. So, I went home with no machine to call my own and very disappointed. Any help??

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Hmm. I don't remember all them saying they needed to be tweaked when I bought my Milli 2 yrs ago. I think I remember only one company that said that. By and large the dealers usually make certain they work really well for the very reason you mentioned: customer not going home with a machine. But that said, I looked at the web sites of the major companies like APQS, Gammill, Innova, Nolting, A1. Looked for a dealer, as near to me as possible and then went to try their machine. One company's dealer that wasn't near me found out there was someone who lived only an hour away and set up for me to visit her in her home to try her machine. I had to go to more than one show too to eliminate some from the list. One company's machine vibrated too much for me at every show so I figured that was the way that machine worked. The rep confirmed that his machine vibrates " a little more" but it "didn't bother him". That machine made my arthritic thumb joint hurt after 10 minutes.

Every brand of machine will need adjusting so that the table is level, wheels adjusted for the encoder, and many more things when they are set up. What was happening to your stitching that all the reps were saying "the machine needed to be tweaked"?


Carol

Always happy when quilting!

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Lisa Renfrow

28607 Benderwood Court

Spring, TX 77386

Ph1: 281-989-6487

This is the dealer listed on the website

Lisa Renfrow

28607 Benderwood Court

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Spring, TX 77386

phone 281-989-6487


Meg

"Do small things with great love." Mother Teresa

"Life's too short to fuss with thread." Meg Fazio

http://theonewiththreadsonherclothes.blogspot.com/

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

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You did the right thing by trying all the macines at the show. The dealers/traders should have their machines set up perfectly at shows as that is where a LOT of people try them out. Think about which machine felt best for you, handles/ergonomics, table height although this can be adjusted, friendliness of the dealers, willingness to back up their product, online support and Warranty.

We might all be biased (towards our own machines) but most of us will say you have come to the right place to continue your search.

Pity you aren't in Australia as I have a second hand machine looking for a good home!


Lyn Crump   Hand Guided 2013 Millenium Blissed and Gliding    APQS Sales Rep SE Qld Australia   www.busyquilting.com.au   On Facebook and Instagram as BusyQuilting


Attitude is everything - So pick a good one!

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Guest Linda S

Depending on what day you went to the Quilt Festival, I can imagine that the machines get a bit messed up after being hauled in, set up, and then used by a whole batch of people who've probably never used a long arm before. Problems are bound to occur from pushing the wrong buttons, moving the machine when the locks are on, etc. While going to a show to test them out is usually the best idea, I think Houston may just be a little too large and busy to really get the gist of what you need. Do follow Meg's lead to the dealer in your area. If you want to try other systems, check their websites to see what other brands have dealers in your area. Texas is Linda V. Taylor country, and she's a Gammill dealer. I'm not sure how far from you she is. We, of course, all think that APQS is the best brand, but you'll have to try them to find out. Going to a dealer's place would be great, because they have their machine set up in a fairly stable environment for you to try!

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You might also want to keep your eye open for an APQS Road Show in your area. It is a good opportunity to learn about the different machines the company makes and have a chance to try them out. The one I attended had about twelve or so people there so it was easy to look and try the machines and ask questions. There were also some good deals to be had too. Good luck with your search and welcome to the forum.

http://www.apqs.com/road-shows


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You might also want to keep your eye open for an APQS Road Show in your area. http://www.apqs.com/road-shows

That is how I got my machine and it is an excellent suggestion. I had test drove the machine at MQX and it as busy and hard to get all questions answered and really try it out. I went to a road show 2 months later and it was the perfect opportunity to get all my questions answered and I got a great deal too.

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Hello Greymom (name?):

Don't give up - takes awhile to make such a large purchase! So many things to consider: Do you like freehanding quilting from the front of the machine or pantograph's/boards from the back of the machine, how much money do you have to spend, how much room do you have, what extra features will you look for? This website recently changed, so I'm not sure where, but there were videos/information on features.

Is there a local quilt shop or quilter(s) you can go to, wish you were closer - my friend recently purchased a machine and these are the questions she kept asking me (even after she test-drove lots of brands): how deep of a throat size do you want/use? do you use the entire 14 ft table often? do you want/use channel locks? what type of machine maintenance/oiling? advancing the quilt after quilting each section? lighting? bar for batting? needle up/ needle down/ needle up-down? size of bobbin/easy to change? winding bobbin? type of handles/on-off buttons, etc? threading easy-horizontal spools? I personally bought "up" and APQS is great for that. Start with a smaller machine, get to know what you like and trade up and/or add the "extras" you think you'll use.

Good luck in your looking, research a little and ask lots of questions - these people are great on this forum!!!

Also, I don't think "tweaking" was the right word - but, there are adjustments (and these are different for everyone) if you bought a machine at the show, it still takes time to deliver, set-up and get to know the machine . . . it's hard to wait when you've spent the money and want to get quilting! So even when you try other people's machines, their "set-up" might not appeal to you even though the machine might actually be a good one for you.

Linda Rech always has GREAT advise!


Cathy

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Another vote here for the Roadshow! But honestly, it helped me only after I had narrowed my search to APQS. I tried out machines by taking basic classes at Road to California, where I was able to experience both an organized project on the machine and the instructor that the company providing the machines had agreed to use. I was convinced not only by the smoothness and ease of use of the APQS machines, but also by comparing the instructors and techs in the classroom. Whether or not the company was customer-friendly was very clear from the competence and attitudes of the techs in the classrooms!

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