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goosefeathers

Starting Over

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About a year and a half ago, I purchased my first LA machine. (Not an APQS) And now. . . I'm VERY INTERESTED in hearing if there's anyone who's first machine experience was a bust and how things changed for them and their business after switching over to an APQS machine.

If my quilting business must continue with the machine I have now, I'd rather bail out and work at McDonald's flippin' burgers.

I'd like to hear a few "HAPPILY EVER AFTERS". Doesn't matter what your first machine(s) was(were). What is it about your APQS that you LOVE! What is it about THIS machine that makes you WANT to go to work every day.

Thanks,

Goose

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Goose, you don't have to tell us the brand but what is it about your first machine that makes it so impossible to use.

This story is kinda long but here's my first machine story. I wanted a longarm. We had moved halfway across the country and I couldn't find anyone to do my tops. I was no longer working and was cranking out way too many tops!) So, I talked to DH about it. He's an engineer and can pinch a penny til it screams! (Sorry Jim K. but I think you're all the same!):o

So, I got up the nerve to ask him and went through my whole speech about how much money I could save. He said "Sure. . find out which one you want." I almost dropped my teeth! Of course, not being wise to the longarm world, we called the big "G" and got the video. We sat down together to watch it and DH was horrified. He couldn't believe they cost that much money. He must've been thinking in the $1,000 range but I never asked. Anyway, we watched the video and one of us decided we'd find something cheaper and that he did!:mad:

We searched and searched and finally called a local sewing machine guru who happens to sell yet another brand of longarms. But, as luck would have it, he had this "old machine in his warehouse" that we could have for $500. DH was thrilled! We chased the critters out of the old '86 Ford pickup that we never use and drove down to get it. I thought I would cry (in fact, when we got home, I did cry). I don't know why I have it on this page in an old web page but here's pictures of it: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Valley/7684/mom.htm

The guy who sold it to us said it would only do pantos. I'm standing there saying "I don't want to do pantos" but DH was determined this was the machine for us. When we bought it, there were no front handles, no speed control, and just this bowl foot that you couldn't do any SID with . . unless you used a chunk of a 2 x 4 for a ruler. DH added the front handle contraption (Hope the AQPS design team doesn't get any ideas!)

But the moral of this long story is . . I used it. I quilted for two years with this baby. One of the quilts I did is on the cover of one of Beth Ferrier's book and another quilt I did with this machine won a blue ribbon at the MD State Fair one year.

I just couldn't keep up and I couldn't do anything larger than a 10" block so one night as I was crawling into bed about 2 a.m., exhausted from quilting, and getting ready to leave to go to the Quilt Odyssey show which was in Gettysburg at the time, I told DH "I QUIT!" I can't keep up with that machine. He said . . what do you want?

I had never touched a real longarm and at that time had only seen the "G" that my former longarmer had used. I had talked to everyone I knew, everyone I could find who would talk to me on the longarm lists and I knew that the most reliable machine that I could determine was the APQS so I told him I want an APQS . . I don't care which one . . just get me an APQS. So, while I was gone to Gettysburg, he called Carla (poor Carla!) and made a deal for a slightly used Ult. I.

There's my first longarm story. Now I'm on my 3rd one (Freedom) and one of these days, I'll get a Millennium maybe.


Judy Laquidara

Brownwood, TX

APQS Millennium

Blog: http://www.patchworktimes.com

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Thanks for your post, Judy. I feel almost ashamed for fussing after reading YOUR tales. <G> And you just kept on keepin' on with the one you had. <sigh> Call me a weenie but, I just can't. Like I said before, I'd rather flip burgers. (that's really sayin' something comin' from a vegetarian!)

What is it about this machine that makes it so impossible for me to continue? Good question. And it's one I've been asking myself for months.

I guess the bottom line is that I'm completely and totally freaked out. I HATE going to work because I know I'm going to have to fight with my machine. Fight to get good stitches, fight to make it GO where I want it to go (it has a mind of it's own, it seems. And while it's better now that my techie spent *8 hours* working it over (more on that in a second), it's still difficult, at best.

When I had a chance to borrow a *G* LA, back in 2001, I was SO excited because I KNOW this is the POND that this goose has been searching for all my life. That first time on a LA, I KNEW! (having been raised in the "desert", it's pretty astonishing when ya finally meet WATER and find out that you absolutely LOVE water! <BG> )

I know there is a learning time. I realize that I'm still on that learning curve. I don't expect perfection right now, I AM still a LA baby. BUT I really can't believe that it has to be so hard.

In the time that I've had this machine, there have been FEW times when it was fun. When I felt that "Goose in the water" feeling again. When the machine is "dancing" with me, when it IS running well, I am in GooseHeaven. But. . . this is more the exception then the rule.

Anytime there's been a problem, it's always (no! That's not right. It should be ALWAYS) been "operator error" until proven otherwise. And a few times, it was my problem. More often than not, it wasn't. Once I was completely undone. I'm not a crier but I was bawling (And I've done that an awful lot over this machine, come to think about it. Didn't cry over the "Passion of Christ" which broke my heart but. . . ) finally I was asked what I wanted done. (It WAS my fault afterall, that the machine wasn't TURNING OFF when I pushed the OFF button!) I told the person on the other end of the phone that I wanted someone to COME and SEE what I was dealing with. "You don't believe me when I tell you that this thing is sick and I want you to COME AND SEE." That someone came, to their credit, and it took them 8 hours to make the machine run properly. It was seriously ill. And it was NOT me! It was NOT my fault. There was an apology (again, to their credit)

That story is the worst that happened but it's a good picture of what's happened. The rest would be little versions of the same.

There are other things but. . . this is long enough. Ethics and bad mouthing others (machines, companies and quilters), being condescenced to. . . well, anyway. . . Enough already.

So, here I am. I'm pretty bruised and battered but I STILL believe that there IS a machine out there that will let this Goose fly and dance and swim. There is a Quilting Heaven. I believe it. But. . . I'd just like to hear if there's anyone else that's come out of a bad experience with a "first" machine and go on to HappyQuilting.

I'm looking for hope.

:(

Goose

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Goose, I'm so sorry. Even though that first old clunker I had wasn't easy to work with, it did work properly but I was asking more of it than it could possibly give. It wasn't that it wasn't working properly. So, if you have a machine that isn't working properly, it has to be a miserable situation.

I will tell you this. When I got that first machine, even though we had only paid $500 for it, the first probably 2 months, every time I'd walk by that machine, I would think "What on earth have I done?" I sat down in the floor one day when DH was at work and DS was at school and cried. I looked at that monstrosity of a machine (it was fairly small compared to the Freedom but it weighed a ton) and wondered if there was any way I could haul it to the dump before anyone got home. I just wanted it out of my sight but I mastered it so, I kinda know how you feel with the disappointment.

If ever you get the machine working, here's some advice someone once told me. Commit to yourself to go work on the longarm for at least one hour. Once you start, you will not want to stop. That's so true. Even now, I LOVE my machine but I also love to cook and bake and garden and piece tops. Sometimes I tell myself . . just quilt one hour and rarely, if ever, can I walk away after one hour.

I wish there was something I could say to make things better but surely someone can get that machine running correctly for you.

Good luck!


Judy Laquidara

Brownwood, TX

APQS Millennium

Blog: http://www.patchworktimes.com

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Dear Goosefeathers:

I am so sorry to hear about your ordeal. I haven't had a problem with my machine, my issue is with the lack of service and support I got.

I bought my machine in 1999. My husband set it up (thank goodness he is handy). I watched the instructional video which looked like it was made for someone making comforters. They actually showed you in the video to staple your fabric and batting to the leaders. I was thinking to myself, that doesn't seem like any way to handle a quilt top. And the pantos they sent were so plain and boring. They told me about someone in my area that had a machine like mine. I called and they were not very helpful. They were also not being paid, although I don't think they were into the art aspects of quilting either. Anyway, it has been a struggle teaching myself how to use my machine. There are so many tips that make ones experience so much easier. I am so grateful for these chat sites and people that have put their knowledge into print, video and DVD.

Enough about me. Do they have lemon laws for Longarms?

I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Ema

Enough

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Ema: I believe your response was to a post that is almost a year old. I don't know if Goosefeathers is still around or not.

I got my first machine in 1998 and the entire industry has come a very long way in the last few years.

I suppose this is like most any other adventure. Some take to it like a duck to water; other struggle more. I got my first APQS machine in 2001 (I think) and if it came with a video, I never watched it (but don't tell APQS!):P I'm sure I made every stupid mistake that could be made and had I watched the video or taken classes, I could have saved myself much struggle.

I don't doubt that some have problems with their machines but almost 100% of the APQS owners with whom I speak are fully and completely satisfied with their machines. I just don't know what APQS could do to make things easier for new owners. My experience has been that most of us want to go home and spend some alone time with the machine . . punch all the buttons, listen to all the beeps and buzzes and just get acquainted.

I'm surely not putting down anyone who is struggling and needing help but my opinion is that these machines are really easy to use and if you practice and are determined, you can do it on your own and exceed your expectations. But, it takes commitment and lots and lots of practice. Again, had I taken classes or had instructions, I'm sure I would be doing better than I am but I am proof that you can learn it all on your own.

As far as lemon laws, I think the lemon laws are meant to help consumers who can't get satisfaction from the dealer/manufacturer. Want to hear about my Maxima??:( I think not! But, speaking from experience, if someone ends up with an APQS machine that is a lemon (not sure that could happen), and it truly is a defective machine, they will bend over backwards to make things right. If all manufacturers did business in the way I have experienced with APQS, there would be no need for lemon laws at all!

Now . . aren't you all glad I'm too busy to post!;)


Judy Laquidara

Brownwood, TX

APQS Millennium

Blog: http://www.patchworktimes.com

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