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Long Arm Sewing machines

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Granny M posted on Wed, Aug 3 2011 6:53 PM

I have been saving and saving for a long arm which is almost within my reach.  At least I am at the research stage of the types of machines.  I know several of you have gotten long arms in the past year.  Would you share your experiece.  The good, bad and ugly.  This is a big investment for anyone, for me it will be a one time purchase so I want to be really sure when I buy.   So tell me about the features, cost, ease of use, problems anything else you can think of.  Really appreciate the help.  Also if anyone bought on line.   I am also wondering if there is a handiquilter discount through QCA

Granny M

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I don't personally own a machine, but rent time on a BabyLock Jewel at my LQS.  I really like the machine, but would have to wonder about the service should I ever need any. I don't think the LQS owner is that knowledgeable.  I have also tried the APQS machines at shows and am REALLY impressed with them.  I also hang out alot on the APQS forum page and have never seen any complaints about their service.

Rose

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I would love to join a group about longarms & thread, tips, etc.  I am also "shopping" for a longarm and would welcome some input from a group.  Count me in.

Lillian

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Great Lillian, maybe we will hear from some others tonight. Thread is one topic I would love to discuss with experienced longarmers.

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Oh, and Lilian, welcome to qca.

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Mz M replied on Thu, Aug 4 2011 2:29 PM

Custom Quilt Kits:

I don't personally own a machine, but rent time on a BabyLock Jewel at my LQS.  I really like the machine, but would have to wonder about the service should I ever need any. I don't think the LQS owner is that knowledgeable.  I have also tried the APQS machines at shows and am REALLY impressed with them.  I also hang out alot on the APQS forum page and have never seen any complaints about their service.

Rose

 

I don't yet have a long arm machine but when I do get one it will most likely be the BabyLock Jewel.  It's my understanding this machine is manufactured by HandiQuilter for BabyLock. I personally have several BabyLock machines, a serger and a couple of embroidery machines, and one Brother EQ. I prefer the BL over Brother and the service has been outstanding in whatever state I live in. It seems there is a dealer within 25 miles of where ever I have lived. You are lucky to have a LQS that has the BL Jewel. Have fun shopping!

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I have a Handi Quilter Avante and I love it.  I went to several shows and tried all the ones available and kept coming back to the Avante (18").  It is well made, has good support from the company and has a sturdy durable frame, good tracks and little maintenance - all the things I was looking for.   A dealer will do the set up for you and give you a start on how to use it.  The company has techs on call to answer questions when you need help.  It is EU compliant which means it has to stand up to their usually stricter standards than the US.  It is very easy to use.  Tension is always an issue with any long arm - that's just something you have to work out for yourself and your machine and of course if you don't use a robot, there is a learning curve. 

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my gammill dealer but I have found they can work miracles over the phone.

I agree.. I have never had any issues that i would need to drag it to the dealer for service... You clean and oil your own Gammill.... any issues with tension they can talk you through it over the phone..

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Everyone, thanks for the response.  You all are so lucky to live where there are dealers.   No gammill dealer in KY.   NO Handiquilter within 400 miles.  No Tin Lizzie.  The only one I found was a baby lock dealer about 50 miles from me.  They also work on all types of machines.  They only sell Jerome and baby lock machines. I tried out the crown jewel at the store today.  I was able to do a passable feather on it.  (feathers are hard for me so I picked that to demo the machine)  I really don't have anything to compare this to.  But my choices seem to be this dealer, (no they do not set up for me) or an on-line purchase.  I am kind of leary of the on-line as I have visions of having to ship the machine if problems arise.  They have a floor model on a Gracie Pinnacle frame for under 10,000.  Comes with new warnenty because they are a dealer.  I am kind of leaning toward this because it is "local"

Sure sounds like everyone gets a whole lot more in the way of service than I will be able to.  Maybe the time is not right for me.   I am going to sleep on it and try to decide.  As for space, I have a rental house that we are not going to rent out any more.  It is a big old farm house and the living room and kitchen would hold a 10 to 12 foot fram with no problems.  I just did not want to have to drive a mile to my "sewing room"   upside, I would have a whole house for nothing but quilting, can't get much better than that. 

Granny M

 

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Hi Rose,

I have found that as long as you keep your machine clean and use one drop of oil every 2 bobbin, and replace your needle with the needles made for your machine, there really is no other maintainence needed. My friend found out there is no such thing as a universal needle for your longarm regardless of the type of machine you own.  A friend of student of mine took her Baby Lock Jewel to our LQS, which was a joke.  She had broken a needle, all it needed was a proper needle replacement.  He charged her for setting the timing as if it were a used car with a bad timing chain.  I won't take my machine there for sure. Most of the small shops do not have a frame to test your machine on so you really need a knowledgeable tech that you can call.

Judylee

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Hi Granny M,

That price is rather high, Since you are not going to get the home assistance that you need, maybe you should try to get lots more perks!  Laser lights, Pantographs, and maybe a few books on longarming! 

Just a suggestion,

Judylee

P.S. If you can use your dishwasher and stove, you can run a longarm just as well!

 

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I have a lot more experience on my stove and diswasher than my longarm. LOL

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BelleF:
A dealer will do the set up for you and give you a start on how to use it.

 yes, they will unless you live two hours away and you don't want to pay them.  They'll train you if you come into the shop.  the service and maint is good however.  the rest I can learn and i put the machine togeather myself so how hard can it be?

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Vivian :

BelleF:
A dealer will do the set up for you and give you a start on how to use it.

 yes, they will unless you live two hours away and you don't want to pay them.  They'll train you if you come into the shop.  the service and maint is good however.  the rest I can learn and i put the machine togeather myself so how hard can it be?

Actually my dealer was several hours away (I want to say about 5 hours but would have to check to be sure) and the setup was included in the price of the machine.   If there is a problem, I can ship the machine in its original packaging to be fixed or serviced.  We have been through the set up and take down of another long arm so we could have done it if needed. 

 

 

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Joan L.:

Great Lillian, maybe we will hear from some others tonight. Thread is one topic I would love to discuss with experienced longarmers.

Joan,

I'm in the research phase for a longarm also.  Right now I'm leaning toward the Tin Lizzie 18 because of the local dealer and their support.  The price of the machine is very reasonable ($7500 including frame) and the dealer includes 6 in-store lessons with a professional longarmer.  I tried a Homesteader 22" at a show last year and really liked that machine, but there are no dealers -  it is on-line purchasing only.  Being a total newbie with LA, I will need support near by,

I think there is sufficient interest here for a group.  Just contact Admin or send a friend message to QCA Liz and she can set it up.

 

  

Southwest Florida

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Hello Sandy, Thanks for the feedback. I agree it is very important to have support when you make a big purchase like a longarm. I spent some time making up my mind because of the cost. I don't sell quilts.. Just wanted it for my own pass time. It made me feel kind of selfish. ( but I got over it LOL ) I have been wanting to pose the question about a group for a while now, guess I'm a little shy. But I will now that I see we have several interested.

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