I live in Delaware and purchased my Innova in 2011 at the Lancaster AQS Show after trying every longarm machine in the place several times over a few days.
As part of my purchase I was offered a 3-day class from Teryl and I went out to St. George and took advantage of this. Great class and I highly recommend you take her classes. Obviously being in Delaware I couldn't turn to Let's Quilt for service and Michael and alll the folks at Innova have been there whenever I have needed help. This help has been 24/7, and yes, I have even used it at 2am on a Sunday morning. When I purchased I was told about Innova's 24/7 customer service and it was the icing on the cake so to speak that sealed the deal. Amazing knowledgeable help.
But what attracted me to step into the Innova booth was its solid construction---I'm an engineer. The frame is solid. As I tried other machines I couldn't get over their vibration and the flimsy frame construction. Innova's frame is solid. I found the machine itself to be light-weight and easy to move. I have a 26" and even with the larger machine, it's easy to move.
The Innova permits me to any use thread I want, and I could quilt in any direction while maintaining great thread tension. At two competitor booths the sales folks *yelled* at me to 'GO SLOW in that CURVE' so that the thread tension would be OK. I was *yelled* at to slow down as I moved from right-to-left too. I was also advised as to what threads worked best in *their* machine. I don't need to do that with my Innova, I just quilt in any direction I want, with any thread I want.
And Innova requires us to oil only the bobbin so there isn't any fear of oil dripping onto our lovely quilt top.
I also purchased the autopilot because I quilt for others. It does what I need it to do. I didn't look at other computer systems so I don't know if there are features present or missing that other systems have.
My only regret is that I didn't purchase an Innova years ago.
I bought my Innova from Val at Virginia Longarm and I am in love with my 26" with AutoPilot and Lightning Stitch. I have a 12 foot frame. I have had my machine for a little over a year. While I like to do free motion quilting, I find that my autopilot is super for pantos and I love to be able to design my custom quilting "on screen" before I start quilting. I "audition" designs and try out different looks so I get the best quilting on my quilts. Auto pilot has a learning curve but I don't think its steep. You just have to spend some time playing and being comfortable with it. Every time I do another quilt I learn something. I am a hobbyist and do not quilt for others so I get to play without worry. Innova is the best machine as far as I am concerned. Michael is absolutely super to deal with -- no problem is too small or too big -- and he always either answers the phone (any time -- day or night) or gets back to me in minutes. I had another machine (actually two) before I bought my innova and I could not be happier now. Hope you end up with an Innova!
I bought my Innova from Teryl after learning on 2 different machines and trying many others. I love how easy it is to care for (it doesn't need as much oil as the Gammill I had rented at a LQS-therefore no "diaper" for oil) as well as how light in comparison to some others like the Gammill. I had a class at Road 2 California last year and we used Gammills in class. It felt like I really had to muscle it in comparison to my Innova. I bought a 26" with LS, since I tend to make large quilts and like to be able to quilt a larger area. I will be able to quilt my large (~18 ") on point blocks without having to roll the quilt.
I prefer to do pantos and freehand rather than computer, so I can't give you any personal opinion on the AutoPilot, since the LS is the only computerized part of my Innova. Teryl and John are wonderful and very helpful. Jason is also great.
I am in Ontario Canada. I did a lot of research but I'm so thankful I chose an Innova. I purchased my Innova18 - 10 ft basic model from Peter Smith Trading in Toronto. Peter personally delivered it to my home and was only a phone call away while I did my set up. I was impressed by his no pressure, informative sales process. From the time I ordered to having it delivered to my home was less than 2 weeks. I was totally amazed to hear about the excellent customer service. I can't explain exactly why I chose it initially but I definitely know I made the BEST purchase of my life. I just love my Innova and enjoy every moment I spend trying out new skills and techniques.
Wow did Michael ever come to my rescue this week. I've been quilting for others now for a full year adn when I took in a lap quilt from a new customer on Monday I thought I would have a nice easy job. She picked a simple pantograph and I thought I'd have it all finished in an evening.
The first pass went easy as could be, but mid-way through the second pass I was having spots where gobs of thread were being laid down. The machine quilted about 15" of width before I discovered the problem. I thought that the machine didn't sound right and the top looked great so I looked underneath. After I picked this thread out, I tried sewing on a scrap piece adn sure enough I was getting rats nest spots.
It was now after 11pm on Monday night but I called Michael anyway. He suggested a few different things which I was going to try. A few minutes later he called me back asking for pictures of the needle to see if the timing was ok and the postion of the finger. Sure enought the position finger was way too far in . It was now 2am EST and Micheal was still there for me!
In the morning, I got my hubby to loosen the postion finger and together we got it set so that it was barely in the little slot. The gobs of thread were now gone but I now had some long thread loops unerneath. I only discovered the long thread loops after quilting the second half of the second row too. UGH! The fabric in this quilt is flannel on the back side and a top that I don't belive is 100% cotton. It is heavier and denser than 100% cotton. I realized this after picking out so many miles of thread.
Another few calls to Michael (again rather late in the eveing) and a few more adjustments to the tension knobs and the quilting looks wonderful. the quilt came off the frame tonight. Finally.
Just wanted to say hellop and to let you knowI'm having a blast. I have on the frame my mom's applique quilt that has 1/2" round circles that are stuffed. I put on my trapunto foot and am able to stictch around those little circles very easily. Thanks for making a machine that makes me happy and I can have so much fun while quiltnig! Hope all is well.
My wife LOVES her Innova longarm machine! For two years or more we researched longarm quilting machines: Tin Lizzie, APQS, Handi-Quilter, Nolting, Gammill (briefly - VERY pricey!), and others. Being the computer person in the family, I did a lot of the researxch on the Internet, reading the reviews of many of the brands. I recommmended that Linda take a good look at the Innova, which seemed the best machine, and the best "bang for her buck". Then we saw the Innova at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show and immediately were attracted to it. The quality of the machine, the top-notch customer support, even the friendliness of the dealers were attractive to us. Linda tried it out at the MA Quilt Show two years in a row, and enjoyed talking to the traveling rep, Heidi Farmer. When last year Valerie Schlake, a quilting friend of my daughter in Richmond, Va, switched from being a Gammill dealer to Innova, we checked it out again, and with some inheritance money, bought the 18" Innova and 10-foot frame and installed it in Linda's newly-redesigned sewing room. She has done numerous baby quilts and a couple of full-size quilts, my daughter has used it, and my wife's sister has done two full quilts and a baby quilt on it. (Now she too wants an Innova.)
Linda does not have the Lightning Stitch, and hasn't needed it thus far (she's had the innova about six months, since Feb. 2013).