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« Veteran's Quilts | Main | AQS Lancaster Details, part 2 »

April 01, 2015


shirley bruner

I am so happy you put this post out here. I am now on an APQS millenium...for 10 years now. recently i have not been as thrilled with it. i am thinking i might need new wheels. but, who knows....i might need a new machine. thanks for giving me something to think about.


I'm so glad I started with an Innova; it's nice to hear that my decision was sound. I checked the tension on all the machines at a Houston show one year and Innova was the only one with the tension right.

Tina in NJ

I don't think I'll ever get a long-arm machine, but never say never. I took a couple of quilts to a local long-armer a couple of weeks before our quilt show. Her machine promptly died. It took two weeks to get a part from Japan! From Tuesday to Friday of last week she quilted two twin-sized quilts (pantos) and bound one for me! That one won second place in the large quilt category! But right now, I have neither the money nor the time for a long-arm machine.


sounds like you found the machine for you - I doubt I will ever get a long arm but if I ever do I will make sure to do all the testing you did


Thank you so very much for today's blog post. Very helpful information.

Carole @ From My Carolina Home

I completely agree with what you said. Some machines just are not as well made as others. One of the prime features for me was customer service, something that is lacking in several manufacturers. I ended up with an A1, for many of the same reasons you got the Innova - stitch quality, ease of use, hydraulic legs. I test drove about 7 different machines, made a cut and went back a second time on the two I determined to be the top ones. Service broke the tie!


For those of us who had never used a longarm before we bought one, the choice of a good dealer was important. Hopefully we were going to get good service and advice. However, my dealer only sold them, didn't actually use them so I was on my own to ask other longarm users how to do things. I can tell you have great control on the new machine from what you write about your quilting now. Luckily I only like free motion and relaxed quilting because I don't have the control on mine to do precision work even if I wanted to.


Oh, my. I thought it was just me. Those same issues bug me. Always compensating for the machine. Re-tracing almost impossible. Good tension impossible, etc. huh! Sounds like I'm ready for a different machine.

Beth in AZ

I had a longer windier road than you. I started on a Juki, then to a Handiquilter, on to a Gammill. When I tried the Innova, i walked away and came back twice. Returned the next day and purchased one- even tho I still owned the Gammill! (I have a few gray hairs over owning 2 at once!) I don't regret any of the twist and turns of my journey. I am just happy where I am NOW!

Michelle Eno

Great blog! You nailed it!


Fantastic post! Thank you for sharing all of this detail, and the really good tips for testing.

Mary Bolton

Thank you for this thoughtful post. You give a lot of details that will help all who decide to make this sizable investment.

Pat ferguson

I learned a lot from this post. I have a friend who recently purchased an Innova and it has been on my list of machines to try. My mid arm hasn't been what I thought it would be, but for now it's what I have. I spent hours on a Handiquilter at their headquarters and the process seemed so daunting that I decided not to buy anything, so for years I sent every quilt out. I'm going to print your post and put it with my other machine buying notes, knowing someday i may change my mind, and I may someday get a room done in the basement for me! Thank you for your thoughtfulness in composing this.

Cherie in St Louis

Thank you so much for you analysis. I test drove an Innova at a show and they had it running with metallic thread! On top of that they had a swatch of fabric laying on the quilt that I didn't even notice until they pointed out I'd sewed over it!! I couldn't believe it. I have a hand-me-down longarm from my mother and it's okay but the Innova is on my dream list.


Lots of information here Vicki and I'm sure anyone considering purchasing will find it invaluable. I found it interesting just because I'll be getting 'The Quiltzzzzzz' machine quilted and it's good to know more about the process.


IF (and it is a gigantic IF) I ever purchase a long arm, it will be the Innova. I've tried a lot of machines at the shows, and the Innova always comes out on top (not to mention DH the engineer believes it to be one of the best made machines at the shows - he got bored looking at the quilts so he spent some time talking tech-speak with the quilt machine folks).

Terrific post, Vicki.


It's not just longarms! Trying to buy a domestic machine is just as bad! I was trying out sitdown longarms for several years, and gave up because the one that FMQ'd the best for me was one people told me didn't have a good track record. I gave up and have been looking at domestics, but living in a small state, there aren't any stores that sell multiple brands of machines. Meanwhile I'm still sewing on my trusty old machines...I really appreciate that you put this post out...Thanks!


I always learn something from you. Thanks, Vicki. I have been doing some thinking about machine quilting. I wasn't afraid to try fmqing on my domestic but now I'm beginning to think the quilting is upstaging the quilt and just like a machine it should have a good balance. ;^)

Becky in VA

Excellent post - not only for all the testing information, but also for expressing your opinions!


Thank you for your honesty! Most bloggers are loathe to point out anything negative, so the information that's presented isn't complete. I don't think you were dogging the Millennium at all; just giving your honest opinion. We all see things differently - it's why we go to different restaurants and buy different cars. I appreciate your candor and that you explained why you got to the conclusion you did.

Ann Becker

Bravo. Great post. I had a handy quilter and loved it......until it developed a major problem and had the company stumped. Bottom line it got fixed but it took 2 months. Holy smokes, I have a business to run and commitments to meet. So while they were scratching their heads over the problem with the HQ we looked for another machine. My husband did a lot of research. His only interest was the maintenance. 24/7..365 days a year. Let me say that again. 24/7 365 days a year. I test drove a used Innova and that day packed it up and drove it home in our Jeep. My husbands repairs sewing machines so he was qualified to set up the machine. That night I was back in business. I have never looked back. My quilting has improved and continues to improve. I am doing things with this machine I would never have done before. Innova is the BEST machine in the industry.

Pam H

Great post! I went from an HQ16, to an HQ Fusion24...added the Pro-Stitcher and everything became too heavy to do what I loved the most...that being, free motion work. I saved and debated for about 18 months and kept coming back to Innova. Partly because of the reasons you mentioned, but also because of a few other things. The first being my engineer hubby thought they were very well made. The other biggie was; everything they make in the line of add-ons, can be retrofitted to your current machine. Most other manufacturer's seem to want you to buy a new machine to get their new add-ons or create add-ons that cannot be fitted to your current machine. I still use the one machine for edge 2 edge and it's great for what it does! But it's always now the Innova that sits in the same room, that calls my name and has my heart!

meg Marshall

I went throught exactly the same issues and change..... Best decision for me too and my Millie has a wonderful new home.


Good post!!!

norma v

appreciate the post...i am going with an innova soon as i can find a millie as much as i have tried to love her has not functioned well for me until i bought a compuquilter and they work well together and will prob grow obsolete when apqs let connie go it's all been downhill from there...

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