Sunday, September 13, 2009

Long Arm update

I so appreciate all of the comments which have been left, even those from the sales persons. I know that you are biased towards your machine, but the information has been exactly what I was looking for. I had hoped to hear more from actual users to see what led them to select the machine they chose, and why they love it as well.

A little background...I am not approaching this naively. I have tested all of the major manufacturers for which there is a sales rep near me. Perhaps if I lived closer to a large metropolitan area, this might be simpler, but where I live does limit the choices. I tested four machines at the Maine Quilt Show in July, three of which I'd truly consider. The one I liked the best (Gammill) has a rep either 2 states (4-5 hours away) or instate and nearly 3 hours away. I do believe that these are highly reliable and sourcing your rep is not an everyday occurrance, but I also know that I want it available should it be needed, whether this is for a problem or to take a class. I took a 2 hour class on the HQ16, and then spent 2 hours quilting 2 quilts on my own. I was able to get a good feel for the machine's vibration, tendency to break thread, use of groovy boards, stitch regulator, etc. It was mostly smooth, and I could visualize the "kinks" inmy quilting disappearing in a short period of use. This machine made the transition from free motion quilting on a home machine to a LA seem natural.

I cannot say the same for the APQS. Now, I took the same aproach for these machines as well. They were tested at the show too, and were my least favorite ones. It had a stiff, jerkier feeling. I could not make smooth curves, just "rounded" off squares. But everyone I heard from said they loved this machine, and that it comes with practice. Again, it didn't have a rep within an hour of me like the HQ, so it was not a high contender. Yesterday I went to the Road Show, with a very open mind, hoping to come away with a great bargain of a machine. And it was a good deal - $2000 off the Millinium, free motorized rollers and free quilt glide. But even after 45 minutes of playing and testing, I still hated how it quilted. I am not interested in a LA that takes me 6 months of practising before I am qualified to make something for someone else. I cannot afford that from the perspective of paying for the machine or the scrap fabric. I also ruled out the Lenni yesterday, as it has the same stiffness and jerkiness, and has no channel locks whatsoever.

I am struggling over this purchase more so than I would if I were buying a car three times the cost. It's very personal to me, and I know there's likely no "swapping" it or "trading up" three years from now. It's still a shock that my husband said yes to the thing in the first place. So, what do I say to all of you faithful Millinium users, Love what you have. I personally do not share that feeling from my experience, but it is your decision, and this is mine. I feel as though I have done my homework and am not making an uninformed choice.



Kathy said...

Margaret, I think you have done wonderful checking out all the different machines, using them, and YES, having a dealer within a reasonable distance from you is IMPORTANT.

It is so true the machine is much more personal than a vehicle. I am excited for you!

Dawn-Marie said...

It is your machine so the choice has to lie in what you like best. Everyone loves the machine that they have that is why they buy it. The reason so many companies exist is because different people prefer different machines. I think it is great that you are going to be able to get the machine that you will love! Happy Quilting. Can't wait to hear all about it once you get it.

Handi Brenda said...

Since you're looking for comments from actual users, I'd like to invite you to go to and click on My HQ Story to read stories from actual HQ owners.

Hope you find a choice you're comfortable with.

Best regards,

P.S. Don't feel you have to post this to your blog. It's FYI.

KyTriplets said...

I'm so glad you've been able to lay your hands on all the brands you are interested in. You are absolutely right, it is a personal choice and by test driving each one you get what you need- information. Everyone is different and it sounds like you've found the best fit for you. Have fun sitchin', it is a wonderfully fun journey! I can't wait to see photos of your new "baby" as you set her up and get started!

Becky said...

I am dying to try out the new Babylock Jewel...but when I drove the 45 min to the nearest store carrying it...they were closed. I haven't gotten to see if it is smooth or not...It was featured on the back of a quilt magazine and they won't even give you a ballpark figure over the I have no idea how much it even costs. Ugh. I want something super user friendly too...that doesn't take me forever to feel confident sewing for others. Can't wait to see what you decide on and hear all about it.