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Welcome to Chinook Fabrics  Long Arm page. Lucie and I were looking to offer to our customers the possibility of buying a long arm machine from us since Lucie bought the store August 24th 2012. We became official distributors for Innova Quilting machines last May 24th (2013). Lucie observed it took her as long to gestate a  single (long) arm as it did a complete baby, and both were joyful events. During the gestation period, I, as most expectant fathers are wont to, did some research so that I could deal better with what was coming. We are now in early 2017. Our “child” is now nearly 4 years old. Revisiting this page after four years, I am surprised at how little I “got wrong”.

For latest pricing click here, then click on tab “Configure a Machine” then select Area 7; then, the details of your dream, this will give you a ball park estimate of your  cost  in USD, not including shipping, brokerage and money exchange fees, and installation (if desired). ABM will forward your request to us, we will get back to you usually within one working day with a preliminary quote in CDN dollars and to request more information, such as if you want us to install it for you, et cetera

New: Innova’s latest innovations are a new hook system which is said to improve thread breakage especially when going from right to left and is retrofit-able to any Innova machine. They have also developed a new timing tool which makes timing your Innova a walk in the park. The only trouble with this tool is that Innova’s are so sturdy you will hardly ever have to use it.

If you have talked with Lucie  or me in the  store or at a show you know that we strongly recommend not buying the 18” throat Innova with or without Lightning Stitch. The reasons are that we feel that most serious quilters will come to regret not having 22” throat space very quickly when they realize the limitations of 18” (which understandably if you are used to the length of a mid arm machine seems huge at first). 


INNOVA™  is manufactured by ABM INTERNATIONAL, a three generation family owned and operated business near Houston Texas. The Innova has been engineered to meet the needs of the most discerning quilters. Based on a long term commitment to excellence, ABM International offers a full array of high quality quilting machinery. The Innova; ABM’s home quilting system, provides the best possible results whether you are a professional, competitive, or home quilter. Nearly a century of innovative industrial quilting machine design, engineering and manufacturing experience have culminated in producing the Innova, the highest quality long arm quilting machine available on the market today. The Innova is engineered to operate smoothly and freely for accurate design implementation, it has superior stitch quality, legendary stitch regulation, and the ability to use a wide variety of threads. It’s the only machine that’s “Built to Quilt!”

INNOVA™ . Is one of the five  brands which most consider to constitute the Premium Home Long Arm quilting machine.  The other four are APQS, Gammill, Nolting and Statler in alphabetical order. (Handi Quilter, in case you were wondering, is  usually not considered a member of this elite group. It doesn't mean to say its a bad machine, It may very well be the best of its category.)


    All INNOVA™ machines are constructed of a high quality, extremely rigid aircraft grade aluminum profile and include the highest quality digital electronic components. The innovative design is engineered to house top rated sealed ball bearings and Teflon hard coated components to minimize routine maintenance and eliminate messy oiling.


    The commercial quality INNOVA™ Pro-Frame is designed to maximize efficiency and ease of use. It comes with rigid 2" diameter stainless steel fabric poles, Innova’s unique infinitely adjusting EZ Lock brake system, laminated table tops, and two side clamps with tensioning bands. The gas-assisted top fabric pole lifting system provides easy access to straighten and inspect batting. This feature is critical to the discerning quilter. The Pro-Frame has Innova’s unique (now widely copied) fabric take-up compensator that eliminates the need for raising and lowering as the quilt take up roll increases in diameter. The Pro-Frame is available up to a width of 14’.


    Innova’s Patented swivel sew head is unique and exclusive to the Innova. This convenient feature included on all Innova quilting machines makes it possible to add outstanding innovative accessories such as the couching attachment as wells making it very convenient for changing of feet, removal of broken needles, or removal of machine from the frame.


    Bobbin Winder Leaders Acrylic Ruler Plate Bobbin Case Starter Kit which includes needles, bobbins, thread, dust cover, and tool kit


    MICROHANDLES Innova’s head mount or clip on microhandles provide the micro quilter the extra control needed for precision work.

    CROSSHATCH RULER SYSTEM Innova’s exclusive Crosshatch ruler can be added to the Pro-frame for multiple angle crosshatching. This unique system replaces the bypass roller with a special quarter round slotted guide rail. The crosshatch ruler attaches to this new by-pass bar and provides stability for better control and accuracy.

    SIDE SPOOL HOLDER The Innova is capable of running many specialty threads including metallics, silks, cottons, and MonoPoly. Feel confident running specialty threads that are purchased on spools using Innova’s Side Spool.

    ELECTRIC LIFT Innova’s ergonomically friendly electric powerlift system is free of messy hydraulic oil, and an excellent enhancement to the superior quality Pro-frame. If you rent time on your machine, have multiple quilters, or just like to switch between sitting and standing, the Innova’s Powerlift system is a welcome upgrade. Equipped with compact motorized linear actuators, the Innova power lift sytem is quite unique.


    The Innova motorized advance is available for the quilter looking to save some time or partake in some well deserved convenience. Easily wind and unwind the take up roller by adding this industrial hypoid motor with inverter drive.


    Light Bar Magnifying Glass Upper Laser Mount Open toe, Ruler, and Trapunto feet Electric Channel Locks Crank Handles Casters Black Light Spectre LED Light


    If you have limited space or prefer free motion quilting on a compact portable desk, there are three options.

    Firstly, an economical very well built industrial style sewing table.

    Secondly, extremely high end solid wood desk with varying finishes, including three drawers and a folding leaf.

    Thirdly A Sit-Down model with a sturdy all metal table. Click here for picture. The small return table is an option that can be positioned in many different ways; even attached to another return table; so that you can customize the table to your needs, preferences  and available space. Call us for more details.

    All are equipped with casters, an 18” Innova longarm, plexiglass drop in filler plate, bobbin case, bobbin, needles, starter kit, manual, foot pedal, and adjustable speed control. Stitch regulation is optional but available. The industrial table size is 30” x 40”, and the wood desk is 48” x 60” inches wide when the leaf is extended.


    ABM’s commitment to leadership through innovation and a dedication to excellence has resulted in many patented and exclusive options for the Innova customer.



  • INNOVA™’S remote operator touch screen LCD interface is attached to the front of the head. This allows the quilter to change stitches per inch, min sew speed, SR on/ off, tachometer, needle up/dn, manual mode speed, jog needle, bobbin yardage counter, and input diagnostics.

    The first of its kind! The most innovative feature revolutionizing the way we quilt includes a pc touchpad microcomputer with a brushless digital servo motor, servo amplifier, digital motion controller and software. Lightning Stitch replaces the standard motor with an industrial digital brushless sercos based servo motor and control system. This motor and control combination can accelerate at a maximum of 600 r/s/s (Revolutions per second per second). For the quilter, this means amazingly perfect stitch regulation. Lightning Stitch’s extra features include pick up, tie off, sensitivity adjustment, basting stitch and automated motor/needle sync.


    An Innova exclusive; this innovative patented add-on tool allows you to automatically couch decorative threads, yarns, ribbons, or cords while you quilt. You no longer need to hold the threads with one hand while guiding the machine in a zigzag fashion with the other. This innovation allows the stitching thread and couching material to feed simultaneously and the quilter to have both hands on the machine for better guidance and control. With the right tools, Innova helps the creative quilt artist make a statement!


    Another ABM patented innovative design

    and the industry’s only digitized pantograph guidance system for longarm quilters. Enjoy quilting pantographs from the front of your machine. PantoVision™ digitized pantograph guidance system for longarm quilters makes lining up patterns when advancing your quilt a breeze. PantoVision™ allows the quilter to produce limitless patterns and designs by providing a fully digitized pantograph system. Then those designs can be attached, nested and resized to create your very own pantograph patterns in limitless sizes. Increase your productivity and release your creativity with a PantoVision™ Guidance System


  • Surround your Innova with their new LED light. Lights fully surround the needle bar for shadow free quilting vision. Toggle switch to Black Light illumination easily.


    In 1985, ABM was awarded the first United States Patent #4,505,212, confirming ABM as the original inventor of the computerized quilting machine. Now you can increase your productivity and release your creativity with an ABM Computerized Quilting System for Innova. Utilize the easy Edge to Edge feature or implement the many tools available to create a truly original masterpiece. The AutoPilot Mach 3, has a plethora of convenience features designed for the serious custom quilter, as well as the increased productivity needed to make this great pastime a profitable business. Navigator is Innova’s more cost effective solution for those home quilters who crave the tools to maximize their creativity and who plan to migrate into occasional custom work. All the necessary editing tools are located on one convenient screen and boast hover titles to assist in learning the system. The pattern library comes preloaded with many patterns that can be tagged for easy search and retrieval for special projects. Create your own tags for further customization of your system.

    Thousands of patterns from renowned designers are available for download from the internet. ABM robotics systems accept .pat and .dxf which are industry standard and readily available. Building on the Innova’s ability to sew 3000 stitches per minute, the maximum travel speed can reach 15 inches per second. The proprietary robotics system operates under true servo control, the same as found on our large format industrial quilting machines. Our robotics system controls the speed of the sew-head and carriage with accuracy and dependability. ABM’s advanced technology actually looks ahead at the stitching path, calculates its position and maximizes its speed to maintain accurate stitches per inch and pattern quality. ABM robotics systems are proven to be both reliable and efficient. The AutoPilot and Navigator are an excellent addition to the INNOVA longarm quilting system.



Chinook Fabrics now has three  INNOVA™ Quilting long arm machines for you to try out in our new show room on Macleod Trail SW.

Classes and Rentals now available

 Call 403 652-3145 to register or for further info.

Should you assemble your own Innova quilt frame?

On Choosing a Long Arm from a Short List

One Unabashed Quilter’s Opinion

How to finance your purchase

Upcoming Quilt Shows where you can see and try out  the  INNOVA™ Long Arm Quilting machine

Festival of Quilts,Calgary May 2017

Creative Stitches,Edmonton mid-September, 2017

Creative Stitches,Calgary  end-September 2017

Renting an Innova at Chinook Fabrics

Classes are a prerequisite to renting Innova long arm machine

Cost: $200  light lunch included. Call 403-652-3145 for availability.

Duration: about 5 hours

Rental rates: $25 / hour, first hour free, $125 / day, “standard” thread included.

Call 403 652-3145 for details and to reserve Return to top of page

Pros and cons of assembling your Innova Proframe yourself:

If you are handy with nuts and bolts and are not pressed for time, then you should probably not hesitate to pick up your Innova Long Arm Package at the store, bring it home and assemble your Innova Pro frame yourself. Doing so is like playing with a man/woman size meccano set. The instructions are clear, and if you make a mistake, (it would be unusual not to make at least one) you can correct it easily by disassembling and then reassembling the part(s) incorrectly assembled. You wont break anything and you will enjoy it. It will take you time, likely 12 hours or more. Both men and women are equally capable for the tasks involved. You will save money, at least $600. But, if you are pressed for time, or you don’t think you will have at least some fun doing it, or it is difficult for you to transport your   package to your home, then by all means let us do the work.

If we do set up your package for you, we usually assemble as much as  possible in the store so that we don’t have to spend too much time in your home.

However, if you bought a package which included a computerized head such as Auto Pilot Mach 3 that is another story. There are things involved in assembly that while not extremely difficult in and of themselves, are hard to accomplish correctly without having seen it done before. And, some mistakes can damage (ruin) expensive components. So, not for the faint of heart.

If you are not sure what is best for you, discuss it with us. We will help you decide what is right for you. Top of Page


On Choosing a Long Arm from a Short List!

Buying a long arm quilting machine is a major purchase.  If Innova is on your short list, here are some facts about Innova that should help you decide which machine is right for you.

Reliability and Sturdiness: Innova long arm quilting machines are made by ABM International in Houston, Texas. ABM has been making industrial quilting machines since 1947. Innova’s have a unique look as they are the only longarm quilting machine designed with modular components they share with their industrial cousins. Innova’s are built to quilt and will last a life time.  Their 32” throat space model attests to that.

Service: Call Innova’s 800 number, any day, anytime. Within 20 minutes you will be talking to a knowledgeable technician who will guide you and will resolve whatever problem you are having quickly and easily, over the phone. And, of course, in Alberta, there is also Chinook Fabrics your local friendly support center and Innova factory trained dealer.

Stitch Regulation: Innova offers a stitch regulator, called “standard” which may be all you need. But, if you want the best, you can opt for “Lightning Stitch” (LS). LS will give you complete control of stitching parameters and let you select a stitch length from an amazing 2 to 22 stitches per inch, all perfectly regulated even in points at speeds up to 3000 stitches per minute. The choice is yours, but you should know, with LS, Innova will gladly accept any challenge concerning stitch regulation from any competitor.

Sewing Speed: Innova has set (i.e. limited) the maximum sewing speed of LS at 3000 stitches per minute (SPM) to make it virtually impossible to outrun your stitch regulator.  The Innova LS is the only quilting machine in our market that uses an AC brushless digital servo motor.  This motor could allow a maximum sewing speed up to 6000 SPM if desired. Unfortunately, that would greatly exceed the limits of most quilting threads which can’t tolerate much more than 2000 SPM before they start failing. Bottom line, 3000 SPM gives you all the speed you will ever need with minimal stress to Innova’s hardware. This is one time when...Less is more: Something to consider when you evaluate the validity of claims that a Long Arm machine has a Maximum SPM of 3500 it is therefore the best machine in the industry.

Frame & Carriage: Innova has been renowned, over the years to have the smoothest, most delicate, “touch” of any quilting machine out there. Others have tried to copy the “Innova’s ice skate like feel”, but Innova’s rail and carriage system is still the simplest and best, and has the advantage of being extremely customizable. All those holes in the frame mean its modular and you can select any length frame you want between 5' to 12' in 1.5 inch increments. Moreover, you can take an existing frame and downsize (or upsize) it at minimal expense if ever you have to. That’s a very good thing if you ever have to move or sell your machine. You can also modify the “depth” of the frame to suit your needs or add any Innova option such as power feed, light bar, crosshatch ruler, or Autopilot without the need for drilling, welding or repainting.  No other manufacturer offers a modular system like this.

Pivoting head: Patented, unique and  standard to all Innovas, this makes (amongst other things), changing pressure foot from ”standard “ to “open”,  “trapunto” or “ruler” and back, a breeze.

Dropped down, lift-able “top” roller: Standard to all Innovas, the dropped down “top” roller provides you with an wide open, uncluttered, quilting surface especially convenient for ruler work , while its lift-able aspect gives you easy access  to the batten if you need to smooth  out wrinkles etc.

Pantovision, E-Chorder, Crosshatch Bar style Roller Bar and Sequins Stitcher:  all patented accessories available only from Innova for Innova machines with no equivalents in other brands.

Height Adjustment System: Innova, in keeping with Murphy’s Law, use electrical motors instead of a hydraulic system eliminating any risk of an oil spill in your quilting room.

Oiling: No oiling needed, anytime, anywhere, and for ever (although a little oil around the bobbin case will make the machine run quieter).

Assembly: If you are a tinkerer (you know if you are) you can choose to have the fun of assembling your Innova Long Arm frame yourself. If not, we will be happy to do it for you in your home.

Table Width:A unique benefit of the Innova frame is that its width can be customized to the nearest foot i.e. you can tailor your frame to be 14, 13, 12,  11,10, 9, 8, 7, 6 feet wide.  Figure on requiring a space of at least 2.5 to 3 feet more than the nominal width of your frame. So, if your available room is only 13.5 feet wide you don’t have to cut down your frame width to 10’ but you can go with 11’. Remember that you are always better off with the widest table you have space for. You don't have to use the maximum width, but it's always nice to have. When figuring out maximum quilt size your frame can handle deduct about 18” from the frame width. So for a frame width of 144” (12 feet), the maximum  quilt width you could handle is 126”    (10.5 feet) The  other dimension has virtually no limit. Another advantage of having more width capacity is that you can mount more of your “smaller” quilts on the frame with the longer side along the rollers. This allows you to have to ”roll” the quilt fewer times when you quilt it.


Feel free to contact us for clarification of any of the above points or if you have any other questions. 403 652-3145 Return to top of page