I’ve talked about wanting a longarm. Yesterday, Don & I spent most of the day in Houston at the quilt festival. We visited with Susan, W Wanda, and Vivien. I’m just sad I didn’t have more time to spend with them. Charlotte, Jan, and Auline stopped by our lunch table to visit for a few minutes and we saw Myrlene as we were shopping.
I had prepared a lengthy, detailed spreadsheet for the machines I was interested in….ABM Innova, A-1 Elite, HandiQuilter Avante & Fusion. The representatives in each booth were very patient as we asked questions, stitched and examined the frames, machines, add-on’s. I was so glad I had taken the time to do some research before I went to the show.
There were positives & negatives about each system. I like the Avante but didn’t like the way the Fusion felt. They were both ruled out because of the pieced track system.
I love the way the A-1 Elite stitches. It made absolutely beautiful stitches and moved very smoothly. Don liked the frame but neither of us liked the toggle switches on the machine. There were some really nice things about the Elite. I loved the totally adjustable handles and the “tensionology” advance system that lets you electrically advance/reverse the quilt sandwich while maintaining the proper tension. It also came with a hydraulic lift for the table which was very nice.
We visited the ABM booth 3 times. Each time we asked different questions and looked at different things. Don liked some of the other frames a little better but he said it will work just fine and that they have the best machine. He isn’t an engineer but he knows about frames, metals, machinery, etc. He was invaluable in this shopping adventure. He watched as I stitched and even watched from underneath. I tried out the Lightning Stitch. I had previously tried it at both JoAnn and Diane’s homes and loved it. I still love it.
We met Neal and his father Michael…the big guys at ABM. We also met Sherry Rogers-Harrison, Heidi Farmer, and Renae Haddadin. We looked those machines over every way you can look at them. I even had Neal turn the machine head to the side so Don could see it. He liked that for maintenance.
ABM has something new called PantoVision. I’m not interested in a computer system that does the stitching for you. I want to do the quilting myself. PantoVision is an app that you use with a tablet on the front of the machine. It allows you to stitch pantographs & designs from the “front” of your machine. It is INCREDIBLE !!!
There’s a crosshair on the tablet screen that is the position of the needle and you just follow the pattern with that cursor. If you’ve ever played one of those car/driver games that you turn a steering wheel and the road meanders and cars move around, that’s what it feels like to me. Instead of turning a wheel and pushing a pedal to drive the car in the game, you move the machine to move the cursor and follow the pattern. The pattern moves as you stitch…if that makes sense. It comes with about 200 pantos and you can add ones you buy or create yourself. I had so much fun testing it.
After spending most of the day with them, we sat down to talk turkey and we ordered my Innova !!!! WooHoo!!!!
Here’s what I’m getting:
Innove 22″ with 12′ frame
Lightning Stitch—you can come out of a point/corner and never have a long stitch
Cross Hatch Ruler System
Laser & Pointer Stylus
2 day training with Teryl Loy in St. George, Utah
I am beyond thrilled. We’re taking delivery in February in order to have time to finish getting the barn ready.
We also visited a few booths to pick up some other things I wanted. I came home with a few new colors of silk thread for applique, 2 cones of different black threads for machine quilting, an open toe darning foot for a FW, a set of star templates for machine quilting, Linda May’s Rays—a template for curved cross-hatching, and a subscription for Machine Quilting Unlimited. Oh, and a pair of Kai curved blade embroidery scissors for cutting threads while machine quilting.
We had an enjoyable trip. We left Houston about 4:30pm, stopped in Henderson, LA at Landry’s Seafood for dinner and got home about
11:45 10:45pm. Not too bad.
I’ll keep you posted on our progress. I carried a camera with me but forgot to take any pictures! 😦