Saturday, June 29, 2013

APQS George Review

I have been waiting for this day for a month. Last week, I went to the quilt show in Raleigh and tried out a few machines. Today I got to meet APQS' George. My friend Debbie, who also happens be an APQS rep, has gone out of her way to help me with my longarm research and managed to track down a George owner who was willing to let me come to her house and try out her machine. Of course, she lives in Raleigh. Road trip #2 in as many weeks! You can imagine how impressed my husband is with that;)

So Debbie picked me up and drove me to see the George. I have really been hoping that this machine would be the one.

So here's the pros:
- Nice and sleek with a clean, modern look and a long table that will fit nicely in my kitchen
- Height adjustable table
- Easy threading and easy to put the bobbin in
- Smooth
- Simple, no fancy gadgets to worry about
- Not too expensive at $6650, and shipping at around $250
- Friendly local service by my AQPS rep:)
- Lightweight, can be portable
- Option for an L class bobbin

And the cons:
- Seemed a little loud to me, but that is only in comparison with my domestic machine
- Vibrates a bit more than I'm used to at high speeds
- The pedal. For some reason unknown to me, this pedal is powered with the heel, not the toes. It was a very heavy duty looking pedal, and not very easy to depress. It was frustrating for me because I am a barefoot quilter. I am used to using my toes to adjust the speed as minutely as I like. My heel is totally uninterested in quilting. I really had to struggle to get the pedal down and I could feel a difference in my leg immediately. I'm wondering how it would feel after 3 hours at the table. I'm sure I could get used to it, but I don't know that I want to start a new learning curve. That is kind of the whole point of upgrading to a sit down longarm. Stick to what I am used to.

My alternative is the Innova sit down machine. Of all the machines I tried out at the Raleigh show, this was the one I liked the best.

- Very smooth
- Easy to maneuver fabric underneath
- Similar pedal to what I am used to
- Decent price. It was $5900, but that could be a trade show price, I'm not sure.

- Ugly and boxy looking. Hey, I may be shallow, but appearances are important to me.
- High shipping cost: $550! So basically, it almost equals the cost of the George. Not much savings involved for me once the costs are all added up.
- Heavy table that does not adjust. It does have castors, but why would you want to move it? I am short and I would rather bring the table down to me than have to bring myself up to the table. I am very happy with my small stationary stool. I don't like though big office chairs and I would have to buy one to quilt on this. Also, it is a bit wider than the George table and would stick out more into the middle of the kitchen.
- M class bobbin. At this point, I'm leaning toward small bobbins. If Karen McTavish prefers them, it can't be wrong, right?
- No local service. I've been told that their phone service is great. Speak to the owner himself and all that, but if this machine ever needs hands on work by a professional, it has to take a trip to Virginia Beach. Mapquest tells me that this place is 5 hours away. I'm sure my husband would be pleased to know I was driving 5 hours to take my machine to the doctor. Not!

So now I'm stuck. I almost have the money to buy one, but I'm torn. How about a hybrid? Easy of quilting from the Innova in the George body, sans pedal? Hmm. I'm still leaning toward winning the George. Then I can break myself into it without the angst of paying a lot of money for something I'm not sure I can adjust to. Think I'll call APQS up and see if there are any plans for normal pedals in the future.

Anyway, thanks so much Debbie for all your help! Don't think I could handle being a sales rep for all these finicky customers who can't make a decision:)

7/21/13: Update on the George:
I spoke with the sales guy for APQS and he said that I am supposed to use my toes on the pedal, not my heel. Sounds much better to me. I decided to go ahead and take the plunge. I've got a deposit down on the George and Debbie got me a great deal. Waiting for the email telling me it is on its way, woo hoo!


  1. Yes, the decision-making is tough! Could you not turn the pedal around to use your toes? Seems like a design flaw. I am still doing research, it is a tough decision for me as well.

  2. oh, man! so many decision. that is weird about the foot pedal. maybe kelly's suggestion would work. I looked at the pedal in the photo and it might be something you could retrain your foot and leg to do. that was nice of Debbie to help you out.

  3. How are you feeling about your George after two years??? I thought I wanted a long arm, however I am limited in space. The more I research the George I am thinking it may work for me!

  4. Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work.