Should I upgrade my Ult I to a Millie?

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I've been toying with the idea of selling my Ult I and getting a new Millie, but don't know if it's worth it.  I know the Millie has a few bells and whistles that I would like, but my Ult I does everything I need right now. 


Millie Pros

1.  LED lighting system with black light on board

2.  Can change the hopping foot

3.  Bobbin winder looks solid and better than the one I currently use  (ok, yes, I'm justifying a little)

4.  Channel locks, speed control, part of the factory machine (not after market installs)

5.  Controls on the front and rear of the machine activate with a simple touch of a button  

6.  Lifetime warranty!

7.  Can add Quilt Glide and Hydraulic lift


Ult I Pros

1.  Already own it, it's paid for, and it works great.  It's a true work horse. makes me wonder, how long will it last?????

2.  Have IQ on it and LOVE it.  I know I could have it taken off and put on the Millie if I decide to go that route.

3.  Speed control with IS installed

4.  I'm comfortable with this machine.  When I test drove a Millie, it seemed very stiff to me.  Do you have to re-learn a new machine?  You should have seen my feathers on the practice piece.  Ugh!  Looked like a 3 year old got a hold of the machine.  Terrible.  I was embarrassed by how bad they turned out.  I can do feathers all day long on my current machine and they are smooth and pretty. 

5.  Easy to service and maintain myself (although, I'm sure the Millie would be as well).


Millie Cons

1.  COST

2.  Have to sell my Ult I before I can get the Millie set up and running.

3.  Seemed stiff and difficult to handle.  Was it just me?  What did you think of your machine when you took it out of the box and started working on it?


Ult I Cons

1.  Not upgradeable.  Don't know how long it will last.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with the machine, but I've had it for 10 years and use it all the time and it still works great.  Just wondering though, do they wear out? -- Like a car that all of a sudden drops dead after 200,000 miles.

2.  No warranty at all.

3.  Experience sagging on one side regardless of how carefully I square up the back and top of the quilt.  By the time I get one or two rolls on the takeup roller, one side starts to droop.  It does this on every single quilt that is larger than a lap or twin. 


Okay, so if you were in my position, what would you do?  I'm so torn and keep going back and forth, I'm about to get whiplash!


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On a dollars and cents basis I don't think you can justify the new machine, the new Millie won't make you any more money. I don't think there is anything on the U1 that you can't fix yourself for very little money. The stiffness you felt with the new machine could be how the wheels were adjusted or the difference in how the two stitch regulators work. Now if you have the money and want a new machine then go for it. Having good tools will make the job more enjoyable.

Your table sounds like one of the rollers is out of parallel.


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You mentioned twice that you don't know how long your machine will last. That would be a good reason to upgrade, since you have had your machine for 10 years. The Millie has lots of great upgrades from your machine. Have you tried one? Wow!! If you have a great business, I would upgrade. If you think you are staying in business for several more years, I would upgrade. Now, there is a learning curve to use bliss, I think. I love it and it so stinking smooth it is crazy. But it will take a little getting use to. The cost is something to consider, but you can apply the money you get from your machine toward the purchase price. And if your business is good, it won't take long to pay it off. You already have the tools you need, it is not like you are just starting out and have to buy everything.

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Lora:  There is very little you'll get from the upgrade.  As Nigel says, anything that goes wrong with your Ult 1 can be fixed.  IMHO, the I/S stitch regulator is at least more trouble free, if not better than APQS's.  I frequently read here of problems, boards needing replacement, and other "hic-ups" with Millie's regulator.  I rarely ever see anything about problems with the I/S.  The Gorschopp motor that came with the I/S requires much less service than APQS's. (I have two machines with I/S, and after 5 years have done nothing with the motors-no brush replacement, not even any brush dust)  Except for replacing the odd control switch-easily and inexpensively bought at Radio Shack, no problems at all.  As far as durability goes, these machines just don't wear out. That's one of the reasons I recommend APQS products to my friends.  So, my recommendation, save your money, and use it for something that will help you earn more.  Jim

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Denise:  The I/S is Kasa Engineering's Intellistitch stitch regulator.  There is some question about getting one retrofitted to machines today as the service is declining in demand.  Also, they may have never made a kit for the XX, because there were so few of them made.  I've heard that Nolting does the installation on machines other than their own.  I don't know this for a fact, so it may not be true.  Nolting has a big machine like the XX, and perhaps they convert them, and maybe that conversion kit would fit an XX.  At any rate, I suggest you contact them and find out for sure.  I've also heard that Dave Jones also does installations, so that might also be a possibility as well.  BTW, the Intellistitch is an excellent full feature stitch regulator.  Jim

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I would go for the Millie.  How can you go wrong with a lifetime warranty?on a great machine?  Parts, labor and electronics.  The only things you would have to repair/replace on your own are those things that finally wear out like wheels, etc.    If the Millie that you tried didn't have Bliss on it, then I can understand the "stiffness" that you encountered, but with Bliss, it is smooth sailing in all directions.  Of course, I am biased.  

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Wow, thank so much for all the input and insight.  I think I'll hold off for now (and hopefully win the giveaway :P).  My current machine is fine and I've had no problems with it.  I did measure the rollers and did not find much difference (end, middle, and other end) -- the variance was less than an eighth of an inch.  Guess I'll work on that a little more.

The Millie that I test drove did have the Bliss system, but it also had Quilt Path and maybe the motors were engaged and moving the machine around caused drag?  I know if I try to run the U1 with the IQ motors engaged it is not as smooth as if I put it in manual mode.  Then it glides like skates on fresh ice (okay, not that I could do that, but you know what I mean).


Anyway, thanks again!


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You have IQ and I have found that is better than my Millie by itself. When you buy a Millie you pay for the cutter, about $500 which most of us never use, Quilt Guide was about $1300 and I have never used mine in six years. You have channel locks on the IQ. I have never used the rear controls since I got the IQ. Not everyone at AOQS knows how to adjust wheels (at least the M&M wheels), so my thought is keep your present machine and enjoy your IQ.

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I have a Mille what is 11 years old.  I don't worry about it wearing out.  It seems to run just as fine as when it was new.  If you are worried, consider sending it for a spa day.  I did that a few years ago.  A few things were tweaked and updated and much cheaper than even considering a new machine.



As for the sagging, that is an easy fix.  Call ApQS and order new leaders.  Replaced mine earlier this summer and no more sagging.





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So I spent several hours adjusting my leaders -- zipping backing leader to take up leader, rolling all the way back and forth several times, ran horizontal channel locks on both leaders, etc. etc. etc. etc. ...... it was quite a job.  Took off the zipper on the take up leader because it was off by almost an inch from one end to the other.  Reattached the zipper to the take up leader.


The sagging on the left side of the machine is gone.  Now I have a little dip in the fabric on the right side of the machine, but not enough to make me go through that whole process again.  :P


Thanks for the tips!  Someday, I'll probably just put new leaders on, but that will have to wait until I get my Christmas work done. 


Speaking of new leaders, I have a bolt of 60" wide heavy canvas (almost like duck cloth, but not that heavy).  Do you think I could make leaders out of this or would it be better to just buy new leaders from APQS when I get to that point? 

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