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The most valuble thing I did while looking for a longarm was to ask my guru of a sewing machine service guy " If you were buying a longarm for yourself, what brand would it be?" Now this guy isn't jus

C:  If I were buying a new machine it would be an Innova.  That being said, I'd be pretty happy with an APQS, A-1, Gammill, Nolting, or Prodigy.  There are things I like about each, and things I don't

I'm going to chime in for a moment.  I'm totally partial to APQS.  Our machines are easy to use and have few problems you can't fix yourself.  Customer service is exceptional and second to none.  I've

I have had a Milli and a gammill vision. Both were great machines. However, circumstances dictated that I sell them. My present and final machine is the Innova with Intelliquilter. And the reason I ended up with an Innova are these

1. Only have to oil the bobbin race, don't have to diaper my machine or table to catch oil drips

2 The machine shape, being square at the inside back, allows me to quilt all the way back to the roller as far as the machine head will go. There is no bar to raise as I quilt so my machine fits into the space at the bar.

3. The machine is very user friendly, repairs if any, are easy.

4. I can raise the top bar to see under the quilt top to remove loose threads or straighten the batting.

5. I am short and the frame is able to be set up much lower than the other frames.

6. It has vertical wheels

7. Service is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, even holidays and just a phone call away. The number is on the machine. They want you to call if you have any questions.

8. It has the M size bobbin

9. The frame has a 4 bar system, but you can remove the front lower one if you like to float your tops, to give you more space under the frame.

10. The machine is made from aluminum and easy to move

11. Lots of online videos on how to put it together so you can install it yourself, which I did except for placing the machine onto the frame.

12. The head rotates, so changing the feet is simple. Also, moving the machine off the frame, if you need to do that, is easy because you just rotate the head and don't have to remove a bar from the frame.

13. The stitch quality is great. I have the lightning stitch regulator but the Pro or regular stitch regulator are good ones too. The LS is move expensive but it gives you a screen at the front of the machine. The pro regulator does too, but I am not familiar with it or the regular stitch regulator. The LS is more money  because the motor in the machine is different to allow for faster changes and better response time so you won't get long stitches coming out of a point. If you are thinking of adding a computer system later on, check to see if stitch regulation is needed. IQ does not need your machine to have a stitch regulator.

 

I love the innova, have had it for almost 5 years now and it will be my last machine. If you are ever in Georgia, south of Atlanta, come by and play.

Debbie

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Diane, How did you like the Voyage? What did you not like about It? Still looking. Cannot afford my used dream machine that is close to 14k. It still boggles my mind that buying a long arm is as expensive as a car. Although, there is the potential of the one actually making money. How long would that take?

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  • 1 month later...

I sadly have a Pennywinkle . I have been researching how to modify it to solve the the tension problems. I would never recommend the machine to anyone. I bought it because I didn't want anything computerized . I live where no dealers are close so knew I would be maintaining it myself. The mfr. is absolutely no help if you can get them to answer a question. If WyoCarol would like to give me contact information I would love to know what she did for the problem.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been posting a series of blog posts about how I have modified my Sunshine 16. the fix is easy and requires allen wrenches and screwdrivers. it is all external, you aren't doing anything electrical. it is moving the thread stand and adding thread guides to tame the thread. you have to tame the thread coming off the cone in order to keep tension consistent. my blog is

janicepainedawes.com

hope this helps. it is ridiculous that the manufacturer ignores the problem. it is a good basic machine for people who cannot afford high end ones.

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Thank you Janice. I just read your blog posts. How frustrating! Thank you for sharing. That was the first machine that got me thinking of taking the leap from domestic machine quilting. I still have not taken the plunge. Life keeps throwing financial curve balls. I like your post on quilt being your own or a collaboration.

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C:  If you want an inexpensive entry machine, buy a used APQS Ult 2.  They work great, no design problems with the machine, and even though these are relatively old machines, the customer support is outstanding.  The old tables aren't quite as convenient as newer ones, but they work well.  The machine offers a platform for future upgrades if you decide you want more as you develop quilting skills.  I bought one six years ago, and have absolutely no regrets.  Jim

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  • 3 months later...
On July 6, 2016 at 6:56 PM, CBing said:

How difficult is it to learn on a non stitch regulated machine? I am sure if I went really slow I could eventually get it. I have been told that going slow heats up the motors. Anyone have experience you can share with me on This?

The first 14 years I longarmed quilted (for hire btw) I use a non stitch regulated machine. I quilted hundreds. No problem. With just a little practice it is not hard. I have an APQS Ult I I am looking to sell as I am moving. I also have a 2010 Milli with CQ I will need to sell. We will be moving and I cannot take them with me. :(

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On ‎6‎/‎24‎/‎2016 at 10:38 AM, CBing said:

Iquiltit, you have had many machines. Can I ask why you have had so many? I would really like to have a "One and Done" machine. Something that I could upgrade later with computer if I decide to (right now, I could really care less).

Everyone's input has really opened my eyes to things I have not thought of before. Thank you so much.

I sold my first quilter ,Ultimate II, because I bought a grocery store. When that didn't work I bought a used  Gammill  had a stitch reg put on it he didn't know what he was doing it would never run full speed again. Bought another Ultimate II for a machine to do small things. Then I bought a used Millie because I was dying for stitch reg, which I don't use it.  lol. Sold my ultimate II to someone else because I had health problems. Still have Millie and don't plan on letting her go because I am much better.I have been machine quilting for 22 years. Carol

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Ultimate II, is that 18"

Here's another question I have. I am asking because I have heard 2 different theories. (1 the person has something to gain of it .... a sale. The other has nothing to gain.)

Throat length. I have been told that anything over 18- 20" will cause neck and back pain with extended use. The other says the bigger the better.  Both theories have merit. The only difference that I can tell with my very limited, albeit miniscule knowledge, is under 18" is no bueno, and pantograph size will change with throat size.

For all you pantograph quilters, is a 26- 30" machine worth it? Does it change the depth needed?  My sewing room is roughly 16' × 12 1/2'. I do have my DHM , an ironing board and a small cutting table (kitchen island). Is a 12' table the best option?

Looking at longarms is intimidating! Is a 30" machine like driving a semi? Lol. I truly wish I lived in an area that I could go try out machines without making it a vacation.

As always, your opinions are greatly appreciated! Thanks, ya'll!!

 

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CBing:

I believe Tim Taylor said is best;  Bigger and More Power...UUUEEGGHH.  It think that is why APQS went with the new 30 inch Millie.  I for one believe weight/mass is more important that just throat depth.  I say this, because a Gammill weighs more than an APQS.  Thus a larger APQS machine would be easier to start and stop movement verses a smaller but heavier Gammill.  See if you can rent or test use any machine you are interested in.  

Have fun shopping.

Cagey

 

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IMHO anything smaller than 20" is limiting, and anything over 25 or 26" puts you a long way from some of what you are sewing.  I think the BIG machine (28"-36") is really designed with computers in mind.  You can set up a large area to be quilted and let the machine go to it without having to move or re-calibrate.

The best choice for someone, is something suited for the type quilting you plan to do.  Now for someone just starting out, it's a difficult call because you probably don't know what type quilting you're going to end up wanting to do.  My rule of thumb would be:  If you plan on doing a lot of detailed custom, go with a smaller machine (20"-24").  If you plan on doing mostly pantographs, go with a bigger machine (24"- 28"), and if you plan on doing computer driven stuff, go with the big machines.

It is probably worth your time to carefully look at each manufacturers machines to see exactly how much area (front to back) their machine can quilt.  Not all 26" machines have the same sewing "field".  Some "smaller" machines may give you more "field" than nominally larger ones.  The shape of the machine, and the way the table is configured affects it's sewing "field".  For instance, three roller tables generally give you more "field" than four roller ones. Similarly, square throated machines will give you more "field" (assuming similar outside dimensions), than oval shaped ones.  Carefully checks the specs, and take a tape measure and check for yourself when you look at them.  There may also be convenience issues to consider.

 Unfortunately, there is a trade off with which ever you choose.  In the final analysis, who builds your machine might be the most important consideration.  Not all manufacturers support their products equally.  Go with someone you know you can trust to answer questions, have parts available for both current and past products, and provide prompt reliable service.  Jim

 

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  • 4 months later...

Elizabeth Cook, I started a FB group for Sunshine owners so we could help each other. There is no manufacturer support, a low price machine so we get what we pay for. All mid and long arms have a learning curve but most have some kind  of customer support when the owner has problems. I have completely rebuilt my machine by myself so I am now happy with how it stitches. 

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On ‎6‎/‎24‎/‎2016 at 10:38 AM, CBing said:

Iquiltit, you have had many machines. Can I ask why you have had so many? I would really like to have a "One and Done" machine. Something that I could upgrade later with computer if I decide to (right now, I could really care less).

Everyone's input has really opened my eyes to things I have not thought of before. Thank you so  I

I kept upgrading till I got the machine I wanted. which is a Millie. I bought the first one new, the others, were used. I liked the gammill the least because of being so hard to time. Carol

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On ‎12‎/‎28‎/‎2016 at 6:45 PM, CBing said:

Ultimate II, is that 18"

Here's another question I have. I am asking because I have heard 2 different theories. (1 the person has something to gain of it .... a sale. The other has nothing to gain.)

Throat length. I have been told that anything over 18- 20" will cause neck and back pain with extended use. The other says the bigger the better.  Both theories have merit. The only difference that I can tell with my very limited, albeit miniscule knowledge, is under 18" is no bueno, and pantograph size will change with throat size.

For all you pantograph quilters, is a 26- 30" machine worth it? Does it change the depth needed?  My sewing room is roughly 16' × 12 1/2'. I do have my DHM , an ironing board and a small cutting table (kitchen island). Is a 12' table the best option?

Looking at longarms is intimidating! Is a 30" machine like driving a semi? Lol. I truly wish I lived in an area that I could go try out machines without making it a vacation.

As always, your opinions are greatly appreciated! Thanks, ya'll!!

 

Ultimate II is 20" I made my pantos 1 row wider for the Millie that way I can max my sewing space without rolling the quilt. I use freezer paper to make them bigger. Carol

 

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