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Quilted my first quilt on a rental


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As part of my machine research I was able to rent time on a Gammill Vision 22" longarm on Thursday. I didn't have to take a class before renting time as the dealer has quite a few LAers working who all help you out as you need it. I learned how to load the backing and then floated the top. The only work from the front of the machine was to baste the quilt and then I opted to use a very large abstract pantograph to quilt it.

 

I really liked it and loved the dealer who is only 45 minutes away and offers lots of training to all her customers. But I'm still not ready to make such a huge decision without doing more research. Next on my list is to make the 3 hour drive to take a class on a Millennium. At least now I have more of an idea of what to look for. The one thing I do know is that I'm excited about this and can't wait to do some more quilting now. Also I know that I want a larger machine than the 22" and I may really want a computerized system. (I was impressed by all the things you can do with designing on the computer system.)

 

I just had to share my excitement.  :-)

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Tami that's excellent, your first quilt quilted!! They'll be no stopping you now. :)

That's good your trialling machines to see what you feel comfortable with, but I have to warn you, you are going to be seriously impressed with the Millennium! Don't be deterred purely over distance from the Dealer, if the Millennium makes your heart beat faster. The support you receive from your Dealer, will make you think they live right next door, (ask me how I know this) and APQS in Iowa, are an amazing company to deal with.

All the best with the research. :)

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I'm in Rock Springs and there are some gals in Jackson. If you are going to the Wyoming State Quilt Show in Casper in July I will be in the My Lazy Daisy booth stop by and say hi.

I found shopping for a long arm like shopping for a car. Use all of them you can and keep a list of likes and dislikes of each one. Then narrow down to your top ones and use them again. You will find what you like best. Service is another thing to consider. Apqs doesn't have a lot close but they are wonderful for diagnosing over the phone.

Being in Wyoming you know nothing is close.

Shirley

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If you are going to the Wyoming State Quilt Show in Casper in July I will be in the My Lazy Daisy booth stop by and say hi.

 

Oh yes Shirley I'll try to make it to the Wyoming State Quilt Show next week. If so I'll definitely drop by your booth and say hello.  :-)

 

I'm starting to come to the conclusion that with all the top tier brands of longarms that they all are great machines and that it is all a matter of personal preference which one you decide upon. I have a call for an appointment to rent more time. I have a few charity tops that I owe to my sewing bee in CA.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Tami:  Have you had a chance to use another machine yet?  Keep us posted.  BTW, I share your view that all the top tier machines (APQS, Gammill, A-1, Innova, Nolting, Prodgy and KenQuilt) are great.  They're just all a little different.  I have an APQS, and a Gammill, and I like both machines -I also can find fault with both machines-  Look carefully at the tables and consider how they work.  I have an APQS Ult2 who's table I completely rebuilt because it wasn't convienent enough for me, and I don't really like Gammill's roller configuration -actually their batting access system more than the rollers.  The A-1 Elite is probably the most user friendly (at least for me) but I don't like that you have to adjust the take up roller as you advance the quilt.  The A-1 I think is the only table that has a power reverse as well power advance.  The Prodgy has a nice manual height adjustment that relieves you of the high cost of power lift, if you don't mind manually adjusting it.  The Innova has electrical power lift which is much less complicated and neater than the other hydroulic powered lifts.  It also have a gas spring assisted batting access system that looks great.  Look at the table support systems and trusses.  You want something that rock solid.  Look at the controls switches.  I found -I'll probably get hate mail for this, LOL- APQS Millie controls a bit confusing.  I'm sure I'd get used to them with use, and look at how easy and necessary, machine and carriage wheel adjustment is.  You really don't want to have to be adjusting the wheel often.  Also check and see if the adjustment lets you control how stiff the movement is.  I know on some machines you can adjust that.  Good luck in your search.  Jim

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Hi Jim,

No, I haven't been able to test another machine yet, just the two times quilting on the Gammill. (Both times the quilts were floated so we bypassed the P.I.T.A. batting access bar.) The second weekend of August I'm going to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Show and will try out all the longarms there. I do know that I won't test the HQ again because for me, the last time I tested one the thread kept breaking and also I'm not keen on the bars coming in 6 ft sections and not all one piece. (Others may have good luck with them but it's not the right one for me.) I'll post my findings after that show. I'm looking forward to testing out the Millie and the Innova again.

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hi Tami,

Let us know if we can help you at all as you do your research!

Just to clarify something Jim mentioned in his machine comparison, the Millennium machine has been completely redesigned to make it even easier to use. It defaults to your favorite stitch length when you turn it on, and every handle only has two buttons...needle up/down and "go"! It is super simple. Check out the Millie page to learn more:

http://forum.apqs.com/index.php?/topic/33183-auto-mode-start-blue-button/

Since not all of our dealers do not yet have the new Millie in their studios, I wanted to alert you to the differences. Have a great week!

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You can't beat the APQS guarantee and service. A wire came loose on my Quilt Glide on Friday. A replacement is on its way with the Monday mail pickup. My call to APQS was returned by Dawn within an hour of my leaving a message, and Amy got back to me later that afternoon with the solution.

I personally love the controls on the handles, and was sorry to see them go on the new Milleniums. It took less than a day to get used to them. As Dawn said, its touch screen now, so may be even easier. If you choose an APQS you will not be sorry. Be sure to try out the Bliss option.

Be sure to look at the ease of using something like Circle Lord or Quiltazoid attachments if that's something that you might consider in the future.

I agree, look at the sturdiness of the frame and poles. There is a big difference, even among the industry leaders. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. In other words, just because some other machine has a cheaper base price, it doesn't mean its the cheapest machine. The "options" that you must pay for on one system may be standard on another one. In the end, the one with more features included may be the better deal.

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Price wise. It may be better to compare all machines with all their options then take off the ones you do not need.  The top of the line in most brands is aimed at the longarmer quilting for others, it comes with all the bells and whistles.

 

This is an APQS forum so we may be biased, but by the time you  add some of the options to some of the big brand machines the cost is far greater than what a fully optioned Millenium is.

I love the new Millenium, add the hydraulic lift, fabric advance, Bliss table and quilt glide.  The only other option is then the computer system.

 

Way up the weights of the machines, and definitely look at the table construction.  Good idea to actually quilt on each one then you have a sample to compare the stitch quality too.

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Tami:  Don't consider any machine other than the 7 I've listed.  The others just aren't in the same class.  If you get a chance, test out the A-1.  It seems to have a good user friendly table.  I've looked at all seven of them and can find fault with every one.  That being said, I like some things each machine has and would probably be satisfied with any of them.  I agree with Lynn about the CL, QZ fitment.  I have a QZ for my Ult2.  Since the roller configuration for it is something like that of the Gammills, I had to make special modifications to get the QZ to fit.  BTW, I love the QZ.  A first rate tool.  I find that the channel locks are very helpful when placing designs.  Take a look at channel locks.  I haven't really studied them, but I think Gammill's system is probably the best, at least their's is the one I modeled mine after.  Keep looking.  Regards.  Jim

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Jim has given very good advice. The top machines are all great machines and it's really a matter of finding the right match for you. When you test a machine make sure you look at everything about it. Once you get past seeing if it moves easily on the frame consider all of the other factors. Ease of advancing the quilt was a big factor for me. The new Millie controls I think are a big improvement over what I have in my older Millie. Much more user friendly. For me the Bliss table was the deciding factor. The only other machine that came close was the A-1 but I didn't like their advancing method. Noltings are great machines and like APQS have wonderful customer service, but again their table didn't have the advancing features that I wanted. Innovas are also very nice and again very responsive customer service. Without Bliss I would have had a hard time choosing between the APQS and Innova. I personally never felt comfortable with the Gammill. I can't really put my finger on why but it just wasn't my machine. It's a lot like buying a car. You just need to find the right fit for you.

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