Audrey Crandall


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In March of 2005 we were saying our goodbyes to our grandson, Jeremy, who had been diagnosed with Leukemia.  He was leaving for Seattle, Washington, to have a bone marrow transplant as soon as they could get him there.  A car was a problem, as the old van they had would not make the trip.  We had a decent SUV and a bed and many other things that would be needed for the long stay there, including my grandson’s favorite, handmade, levi quilt that I had made and tied years ago when he was a little boy, were loaded into the Jimmy.  He was in Seattle for six months of intensive cancer treatment.
My name is Audrey and I am the grandmother of Jeremy and at that point of my life, I was making lots of quilts for family and friends and having them quilted by someone else, or I would tie them myself.  One day my husband and I were at a quilt store in Mesa, Arizona, looking at the long arm quilters for sale, and of course, I was always wishing I could learn to quilt on one.  One of the salespeople told me he had an HQ Sixteen with stitch-regulator coming in soon and asked me if I would be interested in it.  You know by now that I was very interested in one, so I left my name and phone number with him so he could call me when it came in.
Day after day, I waited for the call to tell me the machine was in.  The call never came.  So one day my husband and I hopped in the old van with no air conditioning, rolled down the windows and off to Mesa to the quilt store we went.  EUREKA!!!  The machine was there.  Why had they not called me?  Well, they had lost my name and phone number and were delighted to see me.  They gave me one lesson on the machine, we loaded it in the old van and took it home.  My husband and I set the machine up all by ourselves by using the manual that came with the machine.  I threaded the machine, etc., and started practicing.  Hey, I thought,  I was doing pretty good!!!
Then one day my first job came in.  A friend of mine had brought me three old, vintage quilt tops that had been laying around for years, ready to be quilted.   I carefully quilted each of them on my new machine and my customer was delighted with them!  They turned out really cute!
I now make as many quilts as I want because I know I will do the quilting.   If I need one fast, I can finish it in a day.  If I want to spend more time on one, I can do that too.  I love the stitch regulator for the even stitching…it makes my quilting so professional looking.  The machine is so easy to use, it just glides along wherever you want it to do.  One thing I really love about it is the maintenance.  Just give it the oil it needs and it’s always ready to go. 
I must tell you that I am an older lady that loves to quilt and will soon have my 78th birthday!  I’m still going strong and quilting keeps me active and moving. How many quilts have I made since I bought my machine?  I've lost count, but a bunch.  I do charity quilts, and quilts for friends and family. I am now taking some HQ longarm quilting lessons at a local quilt shop in Scottsdale.  Boy, am I learning how to use that machine!  I love everything about my HQ Sixteen and love the look it gives to my quilts.   
Oh, by the way, Jeremy has been cancer free for six years and has since, married and now has a darling little baby boy.  I was able to make a beautiful, stained glass quilt for his wedding and a couple of darling baby quilts for our great grandbaby Andrew using my HQ Sixteen.  We have been so blessed in so many ways!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Echo Oliver

It’s together. Let’s start quilting

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This is the story of tragedy miraculously overcome by quilting and the HQ Sixteen with a Studio frame. In 1963 when I was just 16 years old I spent my entire summer earnings, $485.00, on a top of the line Singer Sewing Machine and entered the Singer International Sewing Contest in the 14 to 17 age group. After winning in my home town,Guelph; I won for my province, Ontario; then for my country, Canada and then for the contest topping 4 other finalist, all from the United States.  I have enclosed a picture of me at 16 wearing my winning entry. I then dreamt of becoming a fashion designer.  At age 19 tragedy struck when a severe trauma left me without any memory.  I got my history back, through family, friends and pictures, but not real memory and I never sewed again.  I could not remember how.  I went on to marriage, two sons, divorce and careers in broadcast and finance, but never took the cover off the sewing machine.  In the fall of 2008, my new husband (who had been my high school sweetheart and who remembered all the details of my sewing and winning) encouraged me to take a beginner's quilting lesson at the Quilting Bee inFonthill,Ontario.  I dusted off the 40 year old Singer and started out.  By the 2nd. lesson I was searching for a new machine with little extras like needle down and a needle threader.  Kelly Corfe, owner of the Quilting Bee sold both domestic sewing machines, and the HQ line of long arm quilting machines. First I purchased a sewing machine and finished my first quilt top.  Then I took a lesson on the HQ Longarm at the shop.  The first 3 quilts I made, I rented time to quilt them myself at the shop.  I wanted to be able to say I had made then from start to finish.  Besides, I was hooked.  By June of 2009 I was making the decision to buy an HQ Sixteen and a studio frame.  The cost seemed a bit extravagant when I only planned to quilt for myself, family friends and charity, but strange things were happening to my memory.  The more I quilted, the more flashes of memory poured into my head. The past 2 years have been a very emotional time for me as I unlocked not only decades old memories, but skills I never knew I had. I have completed about 20 quilts, including 3 that went to theJapanrelief effort.  This has accomplished what years of therapy had never really given me - the ACTUAL MEMORIES of those teen years and my exciting Singer International Sewing Contest win. I am still regaining memory, and I credit it to quilting, the warm, caring and knowledgeable quilting staff at the Quilting Bee, where I continue to take lessons and to my HQ Sixteen.  At age 65, it's a miracle to have my own memories and it's good to have a new dream. Perhaps an HQ24 and HQ Pro-Stitcher.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Karla Petraglia

Free Hand With Winnie

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I’m the proud owner of a HQ18 Avante, but it was my dog, Winnie, who really helped me to learn how to use it! I started sewing around 10 years old, in a home that was rich with the tradition. My grandmother was a tailor from Germany, and taught me a lot about sewing garments. I’m sure I’m the same as many women: periods of time during which I hadn’t sewn for a while, but have actually sewn my whole life long. I went back and forth over the years with sewing and crafts. Then, about 2 years ago, got back into sewing in a big way. My husband said, ‘If you’re going to do this right, you should get yourself a good machine’, so of course I took his advice! I bought a top-of-the-line combination sewing/embroidery machine, and set up shop in a spare room of our house. I found myself a regular visitor at the store where I’d bought my machine, which also specializes in quilting supplies and equipment. To learn my new machine, I started with a ‘Bag of the Month’ Club, and never thought too much about quilting. However, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful quilt-tops others were making there. They encouraged me to try it, and I took my first class in December of 2009. I took more classes, and my sewing room began to fill in with a cutting table and all the associated accessories, and of course, lots of fabric. Before long, I had pieced together four different tops, and had them finished by a local quilter. My husband and I were in awe when I would bring them home and how gorgeous they looked as finished quilts. That’s when I started researching longarms on the internet, taking a few months looking, reading and talking to users. I decided Handi Quilter was the machine for me and found my closest dealer, Elaine Gilmore at the Quilting Machine Shop in Bunnell, Florida. After a ‘test drive’ at her shop, I ordered the HQ18 Avante. At that time, I didn’t order the Pro-Stitcher because I felt I should learn how to free-hand first. Elaine had a show in Paduca, so I agreed to wait a bit for my machine; this gave me plenty of time to go crazy waiting and thinking! By the next week, I called Elaine and added the Pro-Stitcher to the order. Elaine arrived early on a Saturday morning, and they had the machine set up by noon. For the rest of that day, she trained me on the Pro-Stitcher. She was back Sunday morning, we trained some more, then we loaded my latest quilt-top, a day-bed quilt with a dragonfly theme and a hibiscus stitch design. It went well, though I had a few ‘user-errors’ which Elaine helped me with. A thread-break revealed how incredibly easy it is to get back up and running from the same spot! We got about a quarter of that top done, and I was on my own to finish it. I continued to quilt for myself and friends using the HQ Pro-Stitcher, because there’s always something to learn with it, but I did very little free-handing at first. Which brings me back to my dog, Winnie, all Yorkshire Terrier, all 4 pounds of attitude! I knew that if I was to advance as a quilter, I would have to develop my free-handing skills. Several months ago, I began to apply myself to it. It didn’t go well at first. I made the same mistake everyone else does: I was too tense, and tried to ‘muscle’ the machine along. My stitches were not smooth, not artistic, not pretty. The more time I spent at the machine, the more Winnie was at my feet, fussing for attention. At some point, I picked her up to quiet her down, and, while holding her, proceeded to ‘one hand’ the HQ18 Avante with the other. The result was something I would have never expected! This ‘one hand drill’ forced me to relax my grip, and my free-handing skills developed very quickly. Winnie has moved on to other mischief, and while I generally steer the arm with two hands, I ‘solo’ every day just to keep that touch. My HQ18 Avante was a great investment. There are just so many incredibly useful features. I love the ‘move’ function, which lets me see if my quilt is straight on the frame, and the ‘point-to-point’ capability if things aren’t straight on the quilt. ‘Rotation’ and ‘mirror’ are great, too, and returning to the exact spot on a top of any size is a breeze should a thread break. Still, the best feature has to the looks on visitors’ faces when they see come over and see my machine, and I show them what it can do! And of course, Winnie helps!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Deborah Hipple

Allie and I completing my newest Granddaughter's quilt

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My Handi Quilter Story – Deborah Hipple I owe my love and appreciation of fabric and quilting to the skillful guidance I received from my Grandma when I was very young. Like many of my generation I learned to sew simple seams on a treadle machine and the power of controlling a machine to do what I wanted it to, lead me to create many wonderful articles of clothing, home decor and of course beautiful quilts of all sizes and patterns over the years. As I traveled on my fabric journey through costuming and production sewing, my love for quilting didn’t leave me but was shelved for awhile until time and money allowed me to pursue my chosen hobby once again. As my interest returned, my fabric stash grew with leaps and bounds and the stack of finished tops started to crowd out the closets. In 2008 I had to shelve my hobby again. In a span of two weeks we lost my mother-in-law and a sister-in-law, and my own Mom suffered significant heart problems. As I helped nurse Mom during her last year with us I found that when I returned home at the end of the day my sewing room was where I found peace. It wasn’t until after Mom passed away that I discovered just how much working with fabric calmed me, kept me from becoming overly depressed and allowed my grieving process to move forward. You see, my Mom was not a quilter, the kitchen was her thing but she continually supported me and encouraged me to follow my dreams especially where fabric and quilting was concerned. Needless to say I sewed up a storm. My stash shrank as tops were assembled, pressed and stored during that first year. Then reality hit! How could I ever afford to have all these tops quilted? Hand quilting was out of the question due to arthritis in my hands and wrists. Well, one trip to a sewing festival, many questions asked and time spent on a few long arm machines sold me. I had to have one of these machines, but which one? As I wandered around that show I kept coming back to the Quilt Shop display that was a Handi Quilter dealer. The HQ18 Avanté had everything I felt I needed, easy handling, a stitch regulator, large bobbins and especially a dealer within easy driving distance if I should need help, which I must say I have never needed for any problems with my machine but who has continued to answer all of my questions about the quilting process. The first quilt I tried on a friend’s HQ Sixteen was an art quilt of the Titanic which I had decided to enter into a competition in Tennessee. This quilt was to have quite a bit of thread painting as part of its design and I was not looking forward to managing the bulk of it on my domestic machine. As I played with many types of threads, it became really clear that I had made the right choice. The HQ Sixteen glided over that quilt smoothly as we thread painted and it was so rewarding to quilt this top in less time then I could ever imagine. I knew then that Handi Quilter had developed a machine that was up to any quilting adventure I decided to guide it on although I really wanted the Avanté with the larger throat. Oh, and by the way, “Destination: New York City” won the Blue Ribbon in the Non-Traditional competition at, A Mountain Quiltfest 2010, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which is really neat since this was my first quilt competition and an international competition! Two months later, thanks to Mom and Dad, I picked up my Avanté with the Studio table and have never looked back. “Allie”, named for my Mom has been a wonderful addition to my sewing room. Each time I play with her, creating wonderful designs on the quilt tops that helped me through that terrible first year, I think of Mom and how she is still supporting me and my dreams. Just a year ago Allie and I ventured into quilting for others in our area and we have been able to learn so much as we contribute to our family income once again. I know that the easy operation of the Avanté has allowed me to gain confidence in my long arm quilting. The smoothness of the rails allows me to float over those quilt tops as I stitch marvelous pantographs and free hand designs and the low maintenance of this machine is just wonderful as compared to other machines that I had looked at. The adjustments available on the table are also great and my arthritis does not bother me as I use this machine, since such a light touch is needed to control Allie. My dreams for Allie and I are to continue stitching along, learning more from each quilt top as we go. Maybe one day we will be able to add Poppy, the Pro Stitcher to our happy little group and the micro handles will be a welcome addition when the arthritis flares. High on my wish list also is to attend classes offered in long arm quilting, hopefully at U of HQ Retreats to help fine tune our techniques but for now we will practice, practice, practice to our heart’s content as we quilt along. Thank you, Handi Quilter for developing such a wonderful, easy, ready to use machine that truly fits my “quilting lifestyle”.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Jeanie Stellrecht

Me and my baby

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I had the small Husvarna viking quilt machine and the frame for about 3 years I wasn't planing on going in to business quilting so I couldn't;t justify it, but I really wanted the HQ Sixteen I showed it to my husband at a quilt show with no response. Then just before he retirered and told him I would really like to have it and he said I thought you were already going to get it so I did and that was a year and I love it.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen