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Houston area looking for a beginning machine

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Peanut:  I can't say for sure, but I think you'll be hard pressed to get a quality stitch regulated machine for under $3000.  It would probably be a challenge to get one for $5000.  In MHO, it's money wasted to buy a second line machine.  You'll probably need to re-set your sights at a higher budget, or look for a quality un-regulated machine.  I hope this helps your search.  Jim

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Peanut:  It would be possible to buy a good unregulated machine in that price range.  Kasa Engineering has sold stitch regulator up grades in the past for APQS, Gammill, and A-1 machines, and I think Nolting still does upgrades on some of their models.  These were all Intellistitch regulators which are great.  I've had both my APQS Ult2, and my Gammill Classic upgraded and am very happy with the set up.  The cost for in home upgrade was $3200 each.  Unfortunately Kasa seems to have scaled back their upgrade service, so I'm not sure if the in home service is still available, or if in fact, they still do it.  You'd have to contact them to make sure.


From an economical stand point, due to the cost of the upgrade, you'd probably be better off upping your budget and looking for a good used  regulated (I'd only consider APQS, A-1, Gammill, Innova, Nolting, or Prodigy) set up.  Occasionally you'll see one offered for less than $6000, but not often.  Move the number to $8000, and the frequency increases quite a bit.


I've heard that there are other stitch regulator firms out there, but do not know for sure.  Also the price I've seen bandied about is more than what Kasa offered the Intellistitch for.  


A stitch regulator is not an absolute necessity.  There are at least a few long armers who do great work with unregulated machines.  The single stitch feature is really more important (it gets tedious turning the hand wheel to pull up the bobbin thread when you're custom quilting).  It really comes down to which is more important; the cost of the machine, or the convenience of stitch regulation.  When I got into longarm quilting I thought the cost was most important, and bought a used APQS for $2000.  Just 10 months later, I spent $3200 to have it up graded with an Intellistitch Turbo regulator, so I guess it really wasn't.  However, that 10 months did allowed me to learn to use the machine, and confirm that I really did like longarm quilting.  I have no real regrets.  Jim

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Yes you can buy an unregulated machine at a good price. Your hunt for the regulator could cost you up to $3000 and as low as $350. It all depends on the quality of the regulator. More expensive, the better the quality. But, not all expensive products are better. You'll just have to get out there and try them out. Good luck. Zeke.

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I know you asked about a longarm but why not try a mid arm machine.  I have a 15" Block Rockit mid arm machine with Stitch Regulator and it is fantastic.  Yes, you will be limited to quilting a 10" block before rolling the quilt but at least with it you can see if you are going to like longarming or not and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.  


I love my Block Rockit and Kathy Quilts and The Grace Company can't be beat for standing behind these machines.  You can check out the Block Rockit on Kathy Quilts website.


Let me add that one day I hope to own an APQS but like you I needed to figure out whether I would like using a longarm type machine...so this is my starter machine.


My wife and I live in Pasadena which is between Houston and Galveston.  I would be glad to show you my machine and let you play with her to see how you like it before you make any purchases.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Are you still looking?  I have a Tin Lizzie 18 for sale with a frame and leaders with the zipper system.  Also have micro handles and extension table for ruler work.


This is a great machine to help you get started in free motion quilting.


It's located in central Texas near Waco.

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