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A1 quilting machine

A1 quilting machine

Postby Penny2 » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:25 am

Does anyone have an A1 Quilting Machine? I saw it at Houston Festival and liked it. Also looked at Kenquilt and Nolting. Any feedback on any of these?
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Postby SusanH » Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:39 pm

Hi there -
I have a Gammill - and I think you will find that most people will tell you that they love what they own. That is great, but it doesn't help you much in terms of comparisons. I believe that Gammill, Nolting, A-1, Ken-Quilt, and the dozens of other mid- and long-arm machines are all very excellent machines. I recommend choosing one that is 1) within your budget, 2) has the largest quilting space available (because it's difficult, for example, to make a 16" feathered wreath in two halves if your quilting space is only 13"), and 3) it helps if you have a dealer near you (or friends) who can help if you run into problems. Most of the brand names have outstanding help desks if you call them concerning issues. Some of them have outstanding on-line help (e.g., Gammill), but even if they don't, there are several Yahoo Groups for longarm quilters. In any case, once you decide on a machine, go for it, practice like crazy on it, and don't get discouraged! I LOVE having a machine, and I only use it for my own quilts (and a few friends who I often owe big favors to!).
Best wishes -
Sue Garman
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Postby Winnie57 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:52 pm

I have had my A-1 machine since 2001. I love it! It has been a very reliable machine and does everything I need it to do. It is large enough that I can do any size quilt and light enough that i don't feel like I an pushing around a work horse. The ergo lift is really great. Spend the extra money and get that if you decide to purchase one. I bought mine without the stitch regulator and added later. I really like it but you can get along just fine without it. I find it allows me a little more thinking time when I do more intricate designs.

My advice to you is to try out all the different brands of machines and find one that meets your needs. I love my machine and wouldn't trade for anything else.
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Postby Amoret » Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:53 am

You are all so lucky over there!!

I've just made the jump and bought a Grace Pro frame and I hear the call of a bigger throat machine, even a mid arm. We have the Husquvana Mega (9" x 7") or Pffaf Grand Quilter (9" x 7") and that's about it before going to the big boys. The size I would really love is the 13" Bailey Home Quilter but nothing as available here and import is not allowed. Our standards are so tight they have to be virtually rebuilt to pass for resale, even down to the lead content in the solder on the electronic parts apparently!!! :shock:

(If anyone have any ideas about a small mid arm that's in the UK please give me a wink!)
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Postby Lorchen » Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:53 pm

Check it out at FoQ. There may be some companies there who can help.

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Postby lmcfood » Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:36 pm

I bought a Pfaff Grand quilter when I had a frame, BUT, even though it is bigger than standard machines (throat wise!). you were still limited to a 4in depth of quilting, so it limits you design wise. I sold mine and the frame as space was tight and I did not think it was worth the effort. I now would only look at a machine that could quilt at least 6-8in. Don't forget, you have to have the quilt rolled up INSIDE the throat as you quilt and that takes up loads of room, the farther down the quilt, the less space available to quilt. Hope that makes sense!!!
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Various Machines

Postby WandaQuilts » Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:34 am

A-1 is a very good machine, just ask Renae H. or Jamie W. I would certainly make that jump, given the opportunity. Many of us start out with a small frame/domestic machine and realize almost immediately that this is too limiting. Since I did not have a lot in the way of funds, I went with the largest, most economical machine I could find in 2005 (Hinterberg Voyager/stretch frame). Choices were limited then but now there are more than a dozen options aside from the obvious (APQS or Gammil). Nolting is a great company w/a great reputation for customer service and they are now making a machine/frame combo for Hinterberg (released at Paducah/09). HQ16 has upgraded their 16" machine and now have a 24" machine 'Vision'). Most of these new systems come with a built in SR & are upgradable to computer systems. Baby lock now has a longarm; Tin Lizzie has recently made some upgrades and closed out the original systems for $4,995. (a few still available thru dealers). There is a new kid on the block, the home quilting block anyway, ABM Int'l. has been making commercial quilting machines for the textile industry for around 75 yrs and have just jumped into the home market w/2 models.

It really boils down to 2 things (assuming you have the space) and they are: what you can afford and what is most comfortable to you. With all the choices now its like do you want a VW or a Mercedes? Ask yourself some serious questions...are you going to quilt for the public or only for yourself and your BFF? Do you really want a computer to operate the machine or are you an artist who will be happiest doing freehand work? I have lusted after the SLR upgrade ($900.) & now that I have it it really is little help since I love to do SID and have to stop & start about every 5-6". By the time it gets in sync I am stopping! It is great for all over freehand work but I'm better off without it doing SID.

One other bit of prepared to get intimate with your machine - TAKE THE MAINTENANCE COURSE. Even if you buy the top of the line $40,000. system - there is a learning curve & technicians are not usually local. The more you know about your machine the easier it will be. Shop around and weigh your options/price, quality, service.

Once you have a machine look for an online user group - yahoo has about a zillion. home quilting systems is one and almost every brand has their own group. These are great when it's Friday night and something goes wrong - you can ask advice and get answers from users who have been there.

Now, look for a show where all the systems are strutting their stuff and try em out!
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Postby Franceslovesfabric » Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:38 am

I know what BFF means, but what is SLR and SID?
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Postby bar7700 » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:51 pm

Frances.... SID = Stitch in the Ditch

SLR.... I'm clueless on that one!

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Postby snowplow3840 » Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:01 pm

is it stitch length regulator? Just a guess since I am not a long arm user. Ann
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