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I promised myself when I reached my 5th birthday cancer free, I would add a computer system. Today is four years and I have a year to now to make up my mind. I would like to hear from everyone and anyone, their good, bad, and ugly experiences with their systems.  I think I have it down to Quilt Path and Inteliquiter (but am keeping an open mind). I'd also like to hear how much you use the system? I've been quilting a long time doing- free hand and pantos and wonder if the investment will be worth it.

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I was down to the same two systems when I purchased mine.  I really wanted to go with Quilt Path because of the wonderful customer service from APQS.  I did choose the Intelliquilter because of the features available.  I do like my system but find that the dealer I purchased from is very far away. I received very little instruction on how to work it and had to figure most of it out myself.  THank goodness for the great online videos out there.  She has never contacted me after purchase to see if I had questions.  I did contact her with a question and she told me to ask the forum.  My hydraulic lift was damaged in installation and no longer works.  I wouldn't be afraid to purchase the same system but would look for better support after purchase. 

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I have had both systems (and I also used to own a CompuQuilter) and hands down I would go with the IntelliQuilter. I feel it is much more intuitive and easier to use. It also is much faster in many ways but especially the way it calculates designs for the sewing sequence and the speed at which it will stitch out. Customer service with the IQ is top notch. There is a great Yahoo Group and wonderful online support from the company. Also, the life long warranty seems to be better (when I was trying to sell my QP, no one could give me a definitive answer as to what would happen with the warranty with the new owner - I was told what they thought but since no one had ever sold one before, it was all speculation on the part of the Grace Company; APQS warrantied the hardware, not the software). Also, the BasiQ system is the same $$ as the QP but you can upgrade to the ClassiQ at any time for just the difference in price. There is no upgraded system that offers more features with the QP.

 

Cherylannie, have you gone to the IQ website and sent in a Support request? I have found everyone to be extremely helpful and they get back to you very quickly. Zoltan and his staff is great! I have always wondered why no one answers questions here but sends you to the QuiltPath Facebook group. I wish I had known about that group prior to purchasing my QP because I would have thought longer and harder before getting it.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love my APQS Millie, but I think Grace Company has a long way to go to improve their QuiltPath before it can compete with the IQ. 

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Well, I guess I'm just an old relic. I've had the CQ since I started about 5 years ago. Though, CQ is longer in business, I still can find parts for the old thing. But then again, having your tower goes kaputs on you can be a bad thing. Other things can be repaired easily. So far I have run into no problems with my system and I'm thankful for that, but others haven't been so lucky. If I had to do it all over again, I probably choose the IQ as well. I've just run into tech problems with IQ in the past. They seem to not want to believe in a non IQ techs opinion on service matters. Anyways, I believe that your best with IQ system at this time. Maybe the future holds for the Quilt Path. It's logistics may improve with time & patients. zeke.

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When I was shopping around I too had it down to a Freddie with either the Quilt Path or the Intelliquilter. Ultimately while I thought that the UI (user interface) on the Quilt Path was outstanding and extremely intuitive, I really really wanted to have a no-sew zone type of feature. My husband told me that when it comes to tech that you can't always count on a feature coming out in a timely fashion and if something is important to you to get the product that already has that feature. Thank goodness because I've already used the no-sew zone on the IQ and it was fantastic! The videos, articles and online forum group are wonderful sources of information. As for support, Zoltan and my dealer bent over backwards to make sure that my IQ was installed properly and that I received a full day of instruction. The wrong part was sent to my house so the first bit of installation wasn't completed. Zoltan flew out my dealer again on IQ's dime to make sure that it was done right once the correct part was shipped out. Excellent customer service!

 

Bottom line is that you have to test both systems out and find out what's important to you. As more people use Quilt Path there will be more how-to articles and videos. I haven't been able to go, but there are IQ classes at the longarm quilting shows back east. For me I've been switching back and forth between manual and IQ mode. At the push of a button the drive wheels lift up/lower in seconds as opposed to having to walk around to the back of the machine and unclip belts. I love that feature!

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Cherylannie, 

I know that I'm still quite a ways from you, located in northern Wisconsin and while not your dealer, I am an IQ dealer, &  I'd be willing to answer any training type questions you might have, now or in the future. Feel free to email me directly if you like, jessica@digitechpatterns.com  

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Both IQ & QP have good features. I've had, CQ, two IQ's, and QP.   I think that QP can do more than a lot of people give it credit for, but personally I did find that for more advanced features QP took longer and was more fiddly to set up than IQ. I do think that a big part of what a person is happy with is ultimately what they get use to and what they are willing to put into learning a system.  I love both my IQ BasiQ+ and my IQ ClassiQ.  If you are into doing a lot of manipulation and like all kinds of features then I'd say go with the IQ ClassiQ.  If you primarily do more traditional quilting, such as pantos, and filling a block or triangle or other standard shape, then an IQ BasiQ+ might be a good choice.  Some of the features that you will find on the ClassiQ are tasks that you can use some work-arounds that might take a extra step or two in order complete when using the BasiQ+ .  of

 

I've found the support for both systems to be good. Marie & Nathan at Grace & Dawn at APQS have both answered questions whenever I had questions about the QP.  Everyone at IQ  has been great whenever we have questions.  We liked the IQ so much that I became a dealer for them, just as I like APQS so much that I became a dealer for them. 

 

Overall, I used my IQ more for my own quilts because I tend to like to do more artsy type quilts and IQ allows me a lot of flexibility when it comes to artistic needs that I have for a computerized quilting system. But I'd have to say that IQ thinks more similar to the way that I do naturally.  I could  make QP do a lot of things also, but I did have to stretch a few more mental muscles in terms of planning ahead vs. being able to change my mind on the fly.

 

Personally, I think that it's really important for all prospective computerized system customers to do the following:

1) Try out the system - longer than the 5 minutes you might spend in a booth at a show.  Spend at least a good 30 minutes - 1 hour minimum wherever you try them out.  I don't care if you are at a show, spend the time. Most people wouldn't walk into a car dealer and drop $9-12K after spending 5 minutes just looking.  

2) I will probably get in trouble with dealers for saying this, but ask the dealer to at least show you all the features that you think are important. Not just tell you, show you when you are trying out the system. Then you can see how much it takes to perform certain tasks personally by an expert.  If the expert struggles, then how will they help you when you need help.  That's not to say that they'd be a bad dealer to go with, it just means that maybe they aren't very familiar with the system and could make it tough for them to help you from a distance, say on the phone, etc. I can say that I would consider myself somewhat of an expert with computerized systems and even with that it is tough to try to help over the phone sometimes.  It really helps if the system is fairly intuitive, meaning intuitive to that particular customer.  I've helped people with almost every system on the market, but for the purpose of this discussion, let's just say I've helped both QP & IQ users that were easy to help, as well as those that were really a challenge to help via email, phone, & even in person.  A lot of what determines whether the helping & training goes well depends on whether the system is a good fit for that particular person. If they don't think somewhat similarly to the way the system operates, it's going to be an uphill battle no matter what system they have.

3) Make sure that you are good with the amount of support & the type of support & training that you will be receiving.  You might need very little. You might need a lot. You might love working from videos, you might not.  It doesn't matter. What matters is that you understand what's available and that you are comfortable with that for the system, that you choose. 

4) I can not stress enough how important it is to have a good relationship with your dealer and feel comfortable with whether they will go to bat for your needs. If possible, pick a dealer that you want to "deal" with for more than the time it takes to try out the system and have them deliver & set it up. Working with a customer on getting use to a computerized system is a lot more of a relationship than buying the longarm it will go on, but that's just my opinion. Let's face it, the longarm itself is a large sewing machine with some extras. Hopefully, everyone looking at a computerized system will have at least some sewing experience, so learning to sew with their longarm is relatively easy, compared to the time you need to invest in learning a computerized system - any computerized system. 

5) DO NOT BE DAZZLED BY THE SMOKE & MIRRORS / DOG & PONY SHOW!!!!!!  I mean, just because a system is advertised to have a bazillion patterns doesn't mean it's the best one.  Should I repeat that?  :)  First, you are always going to end up needing patterns you don't have included.  Second, there are several systems on the market that have tons of patterns that you will NEVER use.  I have never had a call to use Wilber the Weiner Dog Pantograph that consisted of the dog, a straight line from front foot of one dog repeat to the back leg of the next repeat.  I will take 50 basic, super useful patterns all day long over 1000 patterns that I will rarely, if ever use and I'm a pattern designer, who wouldn't mind if everyone bought every pattern that I ever made. But the reality is that some patterns are just not as useful as others, so the number of patterns included in a system means nothing. Look for & compare the number of useful patterns.  Third, most dealers are good salespeople. It's their job! Most get paid on commission. They have a vested interested in closing the deal!  They can make things look easy, convince you that you need all kinds of things.  Now, you might need or want those things. That's great if you do! I'm just saying know what's important to you as far as features that you want & why they are important to you.  That way you are less likely to get caught up in the excitement and choose something that you either don't need or don't really want, sometimes even regret.

5) Make sure that you somewhat understand the following before heading into any computerized system.  Know what a folder is, know what a file is, know the difference between the two. Know what a format / file extension is.  Know how to attach a file or picture to an email (this will help your support person figure out what is going on if you run  into trouble.  Know what a zip file is.  Your dealer will/should show you how to work with these things, but it will help a lot if you know some of the terminology ahead of time. It will also help me and my staff, since at some point you might want to buy patterns from my company, but that's besides the point. It will make the learning curve a lot easier if you know a little bit of the terminology because it will make it much easier to communicate with anyone and much easier for you to learn whatever system you choose. 

 

In summary,  make a list of features that you want,  have the dealer or a friend who has the system show you how the most important features to you work so you can tell if you like how that works, get a little terminology under your belt if you don't have it already and pick a system that is a good fit FOR YOU, not your friends, not just because it's popular, because it's right for you. 

 

Best of luck & if you have any questions feel free to email me, jessica@digitechpatterns.com  :D

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Well said Jessica. To me, one of the most important things you said was make sure it is intuitive to you - "It really helps if the system is fairly intuitive, meaning intuitive to that particular customer." I believe this was a big problem I had with the QP - it just did not think the way I think and what I knew from using the CQ for about 10 years. You MUST do your homework!

 

Also, be sure you are happy with the speed the computer program is capable of doing all its calculations - some systems are more robust than others because they have bigger/faster chips/memory, etc. To me the QP was using a "home" type tablet while the IQ definitely has an "industrial" type tablet. I was never happy with the computing speed of the QP (people on the Facebook group said, "tell the QP to calculate the sewing and then you go get a cup of coffee"). I don't have all day to wait while my computer/tablet does its thing! 

 

Also, when testing/trying out the different systems, be sure to check out the stitch quality and the speed at which the system can stitch. Once you are using the computerized system, you sort of lose control of the speed - the computer is in charge. You can set certain things but the computer is doing the sewing - not you. I found that the QP was just too slow for me although I did get good stitches. Compared to both of the other systems I have had, I found the fastest speed on the QP to be equal to a slow crawl on both other systems where I also got/get very good stitches.

 

Again, this is just just me and my feelings. Please check out each system thoroughly before you spend a lot of money and find out the system is not the right one for you. I almost gave up quilting (and put my Millie up for sale)  because I was so unhappy with the QP. I am now once again quilting and feeling good about my choices. Everyone is different and has different needs but you HAVE to do your homework. Don't just rely on what one person says. And remember, if someone offers you a "deal to good to be true", it probably is and run in the other direction as fast as you can!

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