Two years ago at Houston Market I was looking for a long arm quilting machine to buy. Like most first time long arm buyers I knew little about long arm machines. I was use to quilting (on a rental basis) with a Gammill Optimum which is a large machine but I really couldn’t afford the cost of that machine. I had planned to check out all the machines available but being slightly timid at the time I only actually approached one other booth where I was quickly told the price, about financing, and asked if I wanted to buy one. I promptly left, went to the Gammill booth where I talked to a very nice lady, played with the Optimum, checked out the next smaller machine which was still out of my price range, then played a bit with the 18” machine they offer which was closer to what I could more comfortably afford. I planned to “sleep” on the decision and buy one the next morning.
When I got back to the hotel I told my friend that I was going to buy the Premier the next morning but that I was really bummed that I was only getting an 18” machine. It amazes me that I would be bummed about getting a new toy, a toy that was about ten thousand dollars, or even more so now that I was willing to spend that much on something that really wasn’t what I wanted. My friend told me about a new machine that she had come across that day and to please go check it out first. She is a shop owner who had been looking for a machine for which to be a dealer for about fifteen years and had never found one, ‘til that day, that she felt comfortable recommending to her customers.
I went to the ABM International booth with her the next morning and tried out the 18” Innova. It was a really nice, sweet machine but it was still just an 18” machine and I had never heard of ABM International. Well the President of the company happened to be standing near by while I was telling my friend that, and he told me he did have a larger 26” machine and all about his nearly 70 year three generation family owned commercial industrial machine manufacturing business. It was when he told me I could get that machine for under ten thousand dollars that he really got my attention. I played with the 18” machine some more and decided I would take the leap and commit to the 26” Innova. I did have to wait a few months while ABM developed and engineered their really awesome heavy duty pro frame but it was well worth the wait.
I love my Innova, the frame, and the company. My Innova has performed flawlessly. I have never had to time my machine in the nearly two years I have owned it. Maintenance is so simple, just a little oil on the hook. It sews with a multitude of different threads, has awesome tension, and a great stitch regulator with idle speed control. It goes where I want it to go, I don’t get pushed around by it.
The frame/table is sturdy. I have stood on it to install lights on my ceiling. I use the table for my sewing machine and serger, and also as a cutting table when I am not using it to quilt. It is all perfectly straight so my machine glides smoothly in every direction. The frame is made with extruded aluminum so it is very rigid but still lightweight enough to move easily and will not rust. It has a front lifting bar so I can easily check out my batting and remove unwanted loose threads and I love the two bar take up system not to mention the roller brakes.
The company, ABM International is first rate. Their customer service is second to none, seriously, ask any Innova owner. They provide 24 hour tech support via a 1 800 number that they post right on the machine! Customer satisfaction is important to them. ABM International has developed an array of accessories for the frame and machine that quilters have asked for.
Two years ago at Houston Market I was looking for a long arm quilting machine to buy. I was so lucky to have found the Innova and ABM International because knowing now what I have learned about long arm machines in the past two years, all prices aside, I would choose the Innova over every other machine.
ABM International has read my mind and created the machine of my dreams! I have been longarm quilting for near 15 years and have owned many a machine in that time frame. The last one I had I had for 6 years. The time for an upgrade came and my machine was not eligible for any updates so I would have had to sell that and purchase the newest. That was not feasible; the price for the latest and greatest was out of my league. That’s when I found the Innova and knew that this was the machine for me! I could now have everything I wanted on a machine for a price I could actually afford! This is by far the best machine out there AND the best priced machine out there for the money! I would hurry and snag it before they realize what a goldmine they have and raise their prices!
I bought the Innova Pro 26" quilting system. I LOVE it, love, love love it! I hated the horizontal wheels on my former machine, always have, always will. I love everything about the Innova machine. I have such great control now and rarely even have to use rulers to track the lines and stitch in the ditch. I love all the visibility I gained, I love the adjustable lighting, I love the stitch quality and I love, love, LOVE the Idle speed option! I encourage you to check this system out. The price, the quality and the support are spot on! 24/7 tech support, that’s huge!! No more waiting for someone to get back to you at their convenience!! That means if I am in another country and run into a problem, I call them and they answer the phone! If I am quilting at 3 am on a weekend and run into trouble, they answer the phone! Huge, huge benefit!!
I bought the 26” machine and added the Pro stitch regulator, the fabric advance, electronic channel locks, the open toe foot and the micro drive handles. I am back to loving the process that goes along with quilting. The 18” head is just as wonderful, I really did have a hard time deciding! You can also select whatever table length you want. I chose the 10’ frame as I only quilt for myself and didn’t require anything longer than that.
The pivoting light is part of the head so that is included. I personally do not like overhead lights. I have 2 swing arms lights that are attached at each end of my table. I prefer those as added light. The 26" table is allot of table to reach over. Since I sit to quilt I would never utilize all that space but it is nice to have when I will need it. The 18" head should be fine. I guess that depends what type of quilting you will be doing for the most part. If you will be working from the back doing pantographs just make sure you don’t get something that is more than about 16" wide or you won’t be able to use it.
The channel locks are a personal preference. The manual channel locks are standard on either machine. However the manuals pretty much mean I have to get up off my drafting stool and go to the back of the table to lock them down. The electronics are on a remote and mean I press a button to lock them in or release them. Yes, you would use those when you want to stitch a straight line vertically or horizontally. To accomplish diagonal lines, you would use a ruler that is 1/4" think and a base installed to the head for stability. You could also add on the crosshatch ruler but I haven’t had the chance to see how that operates yet.
I owned another system about 6 years ago. Shortly after getting it setup it was not the machine for me. I tried hard to use it to the best of my ability but we never bonded. Here is what I recall not liking. I did not like the stitch regulator at all. I hated starting out with a long stitch! The stitch regulator is a very important feature to me and it has to be responsive to every slight move I make. I also constantly had to re-program the circuit boards as nothing stayed where it was supposed to for some reason. I was sent another head and experienced the same issues with that one as well. I also was not impressed with the stability of the head on the tracks as it kept lifting off the carriage. I also had issues with the fishing line setup on the table that runs the encoders. I disliked the noise level on my previous machine and never bonded with the wheel configuration but I did have a pretty stitch and made that work for me for the past 6 years. I am also very pleased with the wheels on the Innova, no more adjusting to get them just right; they are perfect right out of the gate! I am 100% in love with the Innova and have all the features I could wish for at least $6,000 less than my previous brand!! I highly recommend that you at least give it a test drive.
Innova has some great information on their website and goes over each of the features of the Innova machines. At the bottom of this page there are some videos that I did recently showing how I use the great features on my personal show quilts. innovalongarm.com/customer_gallery
Sherry Rogers-Harrison Quilt artist, instructor and international award winning quilter. Homepage: www.sewfarsewgood.org
I wanted to send a quick note expressing my heartfelt gratitude for Michael in the service depatment.
I have emailed Mike on a number of occasions as I come to grips with the Innova Longarm and accessories and every single time he has responded quickly and professionally and with amazing expertise that has resolved my problem. He does not hesitate to pick up the phone and call me and I am very grateful. He is so patient and kind and understanding and incredibly can explain technical thngs so that I understand. I believe your service department is second to none.
Thank you for providing such a wonderful service for clients like me that are located so far away from your business, especially when I am new to the technology of these wonderful machines - I truly appreciate it.
Thank you for sending someone to check out my machine. Matt arrived in his uniform and was very professional. I learned so much from him and he really made my day when he gave me a grand tour of his rig. I just love that engine. Just listening to it made my blood boil. I sure do miss jamming gears, best job I ever had.
Anyway, I want you to know that I love you for having taken the time to educate me about the industry and helping me to learn to fix my machine. Maybe someday our paths will cross so I can know you are a real person and not a voice overlay.
Thanks for making the best machine in the world. Matt showed me how to add drag so I will play with that.
I just wanted to let you know how happy I am with my Innova. Keith Lowe did a fantastic job of installing my machine. He answered all my questions and he was extremely patient. He arrived promtly and worked non-stop the entire time. He's extremely professional and an all around nice guy. I have a question or two for Michael but the machine runs as smooth as silk.
Thank you for your assistance in getting the install scheduled in spite of everyone's busy schedule. I misplaced Heidi's email, so thank her again for me.
Do not hesitate to call Mr. Wonderful (Michael). When I posted a problem last week, within minutes my phone rang and guess who it was? I tell you, the man doesn't sleep and he loves to help us. I will never buy anythign but an ABM Innova. Their customer service is #1
I know that you are probably away and that you probably don't remember me. I live in Virginia, and I bought the machine factory direct from you over the phone one Saturday morning. i jsut want to tell you that I love my new machine. It is awesome. It's quiet. I love the open toe foot. The stitiches are super. The table is the best. I'm so happy.
Also I want to say thank you for the gift package that you sent. I love the little oil pen gizmo, the SITD ruler, and the Pam Clark book and stencils are wonderful. And the INNOVA pin. I will wear it at my next quilt show.
WOW, thank you for sending Keith over the divide. Other than the tension issue, he got the rails equal distance apart, leveled or lowered the wheels, checked the timing and tuned it up a bit and lowered the back take up rail. The machine is so smooth now. it used to feel like it was trying to jump off the table.
Keith installed the new tension unit and worked great and worked as hard as he could to get it to mess up. It was GREAT! I know why I purchased an Innova and all of the owners are not wrong. ABM is the best. Thank you for your help. Please tell Keith thank you again.