The decision of which longarm to get, however, is a confusing one. What brand? What size throat? Does it matter if there is a local dealer? Do I want to pay for extra features? Do I want a computer?
The advice I always hear is to test drive as many machines as possible, and to talk to as many brands as possible. So, I visited dealers with a blogger friend and went to a quilt show, and I played with tons of machines between Gammill, Bernina, Handi Quilter, A1, APQS, Q'nique, and Innova.
From all of the machines I drove, there are some I can rule out immediately because I had a hard time controlling them. Some were nice. Some were really nice. And then ...
Love at first stitch. It's real.
When I tried the APQS Lenni on Bliss for the first time, I fell in love. With every other machine I've tried, I had to manage the resistance and momentum to some degree, and I just thought it was something I have to learn to live with. But with Lenni, it just felt perfect, and it felt right. Lenni moved so easily and beautifully that I felt like I was quilting on air. It truly was a blissful feeling.
The only other machine that came close to feeling like Lenni did was the Handi Quilter Avante. But ... Lenni wins!