Saturday, September 12, 2009

APQS owners/users

If you have or use an APQS long arm machine...I'd love to hear from you. I am going to a seminar today hosted by APQS, with the hopes of being able to select which LA I will purchase afterwards. It is down to the HQ16 or one of the APQS's (may depend too on any road show discounts). Things I am interested in...reliability, ease of use and learning curve, how frequently and where must machine be oiled, how often do you service the machine (my dealer is NOT close), and your personal thoughts that the agents today might not give.



Happy Cottage Quilter said...

I would certainly love to hear your comments concerning the HQ. I've considered that machine for a while, but at present have no room for a LA. Please let me know what you find out and your thoughts.

SandyQuilts said...

This might be a duplicate ... computer problems.

I own a Nolting PRO 24" longarm machine .... LOVE LOVE it.

If you're only consider these two machines .. APQS and HQ ... my opinion is APQS. You'll outgrow the HQ before you know it ... really you will.

I'm on several longarm groups that have people with all types of machines ... HQ users sell faster for bigger/better machines 10 to 1.

JMO. Good Luck.

Colene said...

I have the hq and love it. If you are going to la for others for income I would get the larger machine, but for my use the hq is awesome. easy to maintain, one oil spot. Maintenance has been basically zero for the 3 years I've owned it. I haven't had any problems with it. I do have the stitch regulator with mine.

KyTriplets said...

I absolutely LOVE my APQS machine. There is a huge difference between the two machines you are looking at. (Also, let me preface this by saying I am an APQS dealer.)

A few of the major differences:

Vibration levels
Stitching Direction Possibilities
Bobbin Size
Thread Choices

Vibration, vibration, vibration. When you are test driving, make sure you really pay attention to how the vibrations of the machine are being translated into your body. Believe me, after 3+ hours of sewing, the levels of vibration take a tremendous toll on your body. Pay particular attention to the build of the table. You'll notice the differences in construction right away. One last thing- The APQS Millennium and the Freedom have horizontal wheels. This one thing cuts down DRAMATICALLY on the vibration that enters your body from the machine.

Sewing Direction: Also machines are happiest when you sew from left to right (from the front of the machine). This is due to the hook rotation and it's relationship with the needle scarf. Some machines simply won't sew from right to left without massive amounts of thread breakage. This becomes a problem when you are quilting flowing motifs that change directions. APQS machines will absolutely stitch from right to left. Make sure you try it and ask the dealers about this issue. You want a machine that won't limit you.

Bobbin Size- APQS uses the same size bobbin you have in your domestic machine, an "L". Other machines use an "M". This is a huge deal because it effects the types of threads you can run. A bigger bobbin means a heavier bobbin. The law of inertia dictates that heavier items in motion will take longer to stop than lighter items in motion. Your bobbin rotates 2 times for every one bounce of your hopping foot. So it is COOKIN' down there. Every time you change direction the bobbin speed has to adjust. A smaller, lighter weight bobbin will adjust more rapidly than a heavier bobbin. This has a huge influence on your points. Many machines will tell you to pause in a point or take a breath in the point before you switch directions. This is to give that heavy bobbin a chance to catch up before you switch directions. If you don't you'll get a blunt point or a pulled stitch in those areas. Not good.

Thread Choice: The tension on your upper thread and your bobbin thread must be balanced to make a proper stitch. A bigger, heavier bobbin also means you have to put more tension on your upper thread to achieve that tension balance between the two threads. This need to greater tension on "M" bobbin machines means there are many types of threads you simply can't run because they will break under that much tension. Ask APQS owners what thread they run and they will tell you the choices are unlimited. That is because an "L" bobbin is lighter which means less tension on the top thread. The sky is the limit on thread choices with an APQS machine.

Finally, value. APQS machines hold their value. My very first machine was a used APQS Millennium. I sold it two years later for $500 less than what I paid for it! Just know that you are buying something that won't depreciate drastically. If something happens in two years and you want to sell it, you won't take a huge hit.

Okay, I'll shut up now. :) Feel free to call me if you have any questions. I can yak about longarm machine all day! 502- 718-7148 :) Have fun with your shopping!

Handi Brenda said...

Both APQS and Handi Quilter make quality machines that hold their value in the marketplace and you should be sure to try them both and purchase the one that feels best to you.

I'd like to address some misinformation about Handi Quilter quilting machines offered by previous posters.

Vibration levels:
Vibration is dependent upon having your machine and table level. When set up properly, HQ machines do not have vibration issues. Handi Quilter has two different types of track systems and four different table/frame choices, so be sure to look at all of your options.

Stitching Direction Possibilities
Bobbin Size
Thread Choices

The M class bobbin used in Handi Quilter machines does not affect stitching directions or thread choices. While I can't speak to other brands of machines that use the M class bobbin, I can tell you that the HQ bobbin is lightweight and that the machine was engineered to take that bobbin size into account. HQ machine quilters can choose from ANY thread choices available. There are NO thread limitations with Handi Quilter machines. We also welcome the use of pre-wound bobbins. The only difference between using the HQ M-class bobbin and the L-class bobbin in your domestic machine is that the M-class holds more thread and requires fewer bobbin changes. It does not affect thread choices or quilting stitch quality. It is a mistake to lump Handi Quilter with all M-class bobbin machines with the broad statement that Ky presented.

With reference to machine-quilting teachers' admonitions to pause when changing directions, I can tell you that this same trick has been taught for free-motion quilting with domestic machines (which use L-class bobbins) and is not relevant to Handi Quilter's bobbin size.

SandyQuilts mentioned HQ users selling faster for bigger/better machines on other chat lists. Be careful not to get confused with quilters who own the original Handi Quilter, which was a frame system for use with a domestic machine. Our current products are the HQ Sixteen and the HQ Fusion.

With regard to "outgrowing" the Handi Quilter, please note that we have both the HQ Sixteen (a 16"-throat machine) and the HQ Fusion (a 24"-throat machine on the Precision-glide extruded aluminum track system mentioned earlier). Handi Quilter meets the needs of quilters in both sizes.

Try finding a used Handi Quilter machine online. They are snapped up as quickly as they're offered, and at good prices. Lately, some used HQ Sixteens have been sold by quilters who are upsizing to the HQ 24" Fusion. But most of our HQ Sixteen owners are very happy with the size of their machines. Handi Quilter machines are value-priced to begin with. You get a lot of bang for your buck.

Colene mentioned the easy user maintenance of the HQ machines. Keeping the bobbin area clean of lint, and placing one drop of oil in the bobbin race every other bobbin change is all you have to do. Simple.

You need to make the right choice for YOU, but I encourage you to try all the machines you can, check what you're getting for the price and ultimately choose what makes you happy. Don't trust what one competitor says about another (including me). Check it out for yourself. I don't normally jump onto people's blogs to give a sales pitch, but felt it was necessary to correct some misinformation that you've been offered here.

Best regards,
Brenda Groelz
Director of Marketing & Education
Handi Quilter, Inc.