Flo Verge


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What a life, Just when you think you are  about ready to retire along comes quilting.  After raising a family and selling  a restaurant business I started thinking about learning how to quilt.
There was a local quilt shop about half a mile from home so I decided to take a lesson.  That was it, the rest is history.  Of course you can't just keep making quilts, they then have to be quilted.  After taking a few of them to a local quilter I decided that I would love to try my hand at longarm quilting. (End of retirement) I purchased my first HQ Sixteen in 2007 and started my quilting business. Then in 2009 I purchased a HQ24 Fusion. It is so rewarding to quilt for people and hear there comments when they pick up there quilts.
All I can say is, What a way to retire. Now my husband and I both enjoy the quilting process and I think there will have to be another Fusion in our future.

I own the following HQ machines: HQ24 Fusion, HQ Sixteen

Marsha Blakely


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Hello, I have a HQ Sixteen, I am just learning how to use this great machine, but I can tell you I am in love... I have completed three baby quilts and two king size quilts already. I don't have a lot of time to play, since I work full time, but I do enjoy this machine. I have used several different machines from various friends, but I really like my HQ.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Cheryl A Meadors

Lilee and Cheryl with their first quilts

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I’ll admit it.  I am a fiber-aholic.  I love the color, the texture, even the smell of fiber whether it’s raw fleece, roving, yarn or fabric. 
Several years ago, I started doing a little genealogical research to discover the source of my fiber affliction.  I remember my mother, grandmother and great aunts piecing and quilting.  I have several quilts willed to me from mom’s side of the family.  All of a sudden it struck me that the ‘heritage of fiber’ that I’m passing on to my daughter had yet to include quilting.  So I decided to make it my summer objective to create a quilt with my 12 year old daughter.  We went to the local quilt shop and picked out fabric that appealed to her interests.  We ended up with basketballs, blueberry pie, polar bears, penguins, pandas - lots of bright colors.  I picked out a simple pattern, cut out the pieces then laid them out on the floor assuming my daughter would give her seal of approval.  Instead, she started moving everything around into a random pattern.  So we spent a week with graph paper diagramming out patterns that would look good from close up and farther away.  Eventually, we came to consensus on the layout and my daughter began to sew the shapes into blocks.  As the blocks were done, I laid them out on a bed until we had every block positioned.   At the end of the adventure, my daughter declared that she appreciated the making of a memory but she’d rather play basketball.
By working with her, I rediscovered my love for pattern and color in fabric.  For the next year I worked on a king sized quilt pieced in a bear claw pattern and hand quilted in a lap hoop that I inherited from my great grandmother.  When I was finished, the quilt was too precious to use!  No dog was allowed to curl up on it.  Even my daughter was sternly cautioned about appropriate ways to use the quilt.  I had created an heirloom that everyone was afraid to touch.  At that point, I realized that I needed a faster (and less painful!) way to quilt.
I had seen ads in quilting magazines about long arm machines but I had no idea what they were.   Not far from my home, I noticed a shop that had commercial quilting machines on display.  They signed me up for a class in machine quilting and explained that they offered rental time on the machines.  So I began a 2 year exposure to long arm quilting through rented equipment.  At first it was enough to quilt edge to edge with freehand doodling.  I could knock out a finished quilt in 3 hours and was perfectly content with my technique.  But the quilt tops started piling up as the available time to rent started shrinking.   And I was to the point with my piecing where I wanted the ability to replicate a hand quilted design.  That wouldn’t be possible in a 3 hour window of rental time.  I knew that the machine I was renting was beyond any price that I could justify for an obsession that wasn’t going to yield any financial benefits. 
Years before, I worked for the Viking Sewing Machine Company as a regional sales manager.  Erica’s Sewing Center in South Bend, Indiana, is still in business.  One of my machines needed service, so I packed up the machine and my husband for the hour’s drive to her store, knowing that she had a line of long arm machines.   After we checked in my machine for service, I casually wandered over to the HQ display.  Not only were the machines ‘pretty’ enough to be in my house, they operated the same way as the commercial machines I had rented.  I nearly walked away, assuming that the HQ would be beyond what I would consider spending.  Fortunately, there was a price sheet on each machine.  Every feature I wanted came included on the machine.  Nothing was an ‘add on’.  And the throat space I was accustomed to using was available on the HQ24 Fusion.  Trying not to show too much excitement, I got back into the car and headed home.  My husband was already saying ‘Buy it, you deserve it.  You’ve saved money in your new car fund for years.  Go ahead and use it for something you want!’ 
I consider myself a smart shopper.   I pulled out all my quilting magazines and looked up every competitive brand on the internet.  With the HQ as a ‘comparison’ model, it was easy to eliminate other brands on features, cost, and aesthetics.  Eventually, it came down to only one question – WHICH model HQ did I need?
So I emailed Erica and asked for an hour to talk about the difference between the HQ options. We got together at her shop that Saturday and walked through the features of the machine as well as what she would do to teach me to use the machine.  She also offered me membership in a user group that meets monthly to continue learning and sharing.  All that plus a promotion on the machine and free shipping - I was sold.  We wrote up the deal and I went home to wait.
 The perfect spot for my new machine is a 12 foot expanse looking out over the living room.  10 days later, when the 11 boxes and set of 2x4’s arrived in our driveway, my husband called and said “What did you buy?”  After we finally got it hauled up 3 flights of stairs, he started assembling it in the afternoons before I came home from work.  By the weekend, it was ready for a ‘test drive’.   I couldn’t wait to work on one of my quilt tops so I watched the video then loaded a twin sized quilt.  I came up with a strategy to put some freehand butterflies and flowers into specific spaces, joined by curlicues.  My daughter (now 15) has a talent for art and freehand drawing.  She started showing interest in what I was doing and how the machine was sketching with thread.  All of a sudden, another ‘golden opportunity to create a memory’ flashed into my brain.  I’m going to challenge my daughter to do a freehand whole cloth quilt by sketching with the machine. 
Here we go again!! 

I own the following HQ machine: HQ24 Fusion

Patti Lee

Batik Bag Ladies

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I still remember the feeling of pride and accomplishment I had upon completing my first project when I learned to knit at age 10. For the next 25 years I dabbled in projects including sewing, crochet, cross stitch, basket weaving, tole painting. In 1985, I was introduced to hand quilting; the enthusiasm and passion for quilting remains strong because of ever changing techniques, patterns, tools, and love for fabrics. After concerns that arthritis would change my pastime, I began more machine piecing and then machine quilting on my domestic machine. As much as I loved quilting, I didn’t love the achiness in my shoulders after struggling to move the quilt around limited by the throat size. Once retired, I felt that I deserved a sewing machine that was new for me—a machine with a stitch regulator and perhaps a wider throat. After researching and comparing my options, I went to my local quilt shop prepared to order a new sewing machine. A spur of the moment decision was made to order an HQ18 Avante quilting machine instead of a sewing machine. (I was familiar with the HQ, having taken training at my local shop and then renting time on the HQ Sweet Sixteen at this shop.) With my new HQ18 Avante, I got my stitch regulator—it’s wonderful. No regrets on this spontaneous decision. It is great to have the time to practice and improve without reserving a rental time. Having Fibromyalgia, it is great to be able to work in shorter time increments, shutting the door when I’m fatigued or “achy.” My “studio” is the smallest bedroom in our house, so I ordered the adjustable table. It accommodates the size of quilts I make. I was able to set up the machine myself. (If and when we move, I’ll get the studio space befitting my Avante.) In the meantime, I’m grateful to have this amazing machine. My husband can spend all the time he wants golfing, because I have more quilt time. In the first six months of having the HQ, I quilted everything in sight—UFO’s, re-quilting old pieces, small projects like pillows, table runners, Linus Project, etc. My mantra was practice, practice, practice. I decided no more time-consuming applique quilts for a while because I wanted to focus on the quilting, not making tops. When I wasn’t preparing tops or quilting, I was searching the internet for videos (yea HQ website and QNN’s Quilt It!) and searching for pantographs to add to my repertoire that would work for my freehand style. My new dream is a Pro Stitcher—but I tell myself I can show my true creativity using freehand patterns. There’s a world of information on line. One hint I acted on was to volunteer to longarm charity quilts, specifically Quilts of Valor (QOV). Besides the feeling of accomplishing something worthwhile while quilting for such a deserving cause, I’m challenged to move away from my comfort zone (hearts, flowers and feathers). From the time each (QOV) quilt arrives in the mail, I agonize over what pattern will enhance the tops; not wanting to shortchange the deserving recipients. This stretches my talents and has also improved my confidence. I’m using my new ruler base and S-curve ruler on my current QOV quilt. I look forward to playing with the micro handlebars I’ve just ordered. I’m designing my own QOV top at the moment to give to a friend who retired from the military before the inception of the QOV Foundation; he still suffers periodically from malaria he acquired during the Viet Nam era. I hope my quilt for him will show that people still care and appreciate his sacrifice. In this past year, my HQ 18 Avante has expanded my quilting horizons more than I would have anticipated. I’ve been creating more, marketing patterns for my new designs, selling and donating quilts (QOV, Susan G. Komen, Project Linus), and I’ve been enlisted to teaching quilt classes. What started as a way of practicing new stitches led to making batik tote bags. I gave tote bags for Christmas, birthday and “just because” gifts if someone needs encouragement. People have stopped me on the street (in the fabric store, in waiting rooms, parking lots, etc.) to compliment me on my bag. By keeping business cards handy I have sold enough bags to keep me in more fabric. My friends joke that we don’t need Red Hats for our shopping forays and travels, we all have similar batik totes and we call ourselves the Batik Bag Ladies. (If our husbands weren’t such nice guys, they could derogatorily call us the Batik Old Bags.) I consider my HQ a health positive. I’m staying active (mind and body), staying involved and this keeps my hands away from the nibbles. At any given time I have a number of projects in the works, so I laugh when people ask me if I’m bored in retirement. There aren’t enough hours in the day. While I’m doing activities unrelated to quilting, I’m planning my next quilt project or organizing something to streamline my time. The HQ is more than my ultimate toy; it is bringing me a sense of accomplishment and validation. I can show my appreciation to others by making a tangible, “blankets of love.”

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Valerie Lund

I love this machine!

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Years ago I took a Quilt-In-A-Day class and constructed Eleanor's Log Cabin full-sized quilt top in one day... and I was hooked. After that I constructed eight or ten quilts but then life happened and kids put quilting on the back burner. I worked for a marketing firm for years but never forgot the fun of quilting and three years ago I purchased my HQ Sixteen. I now call my little business Remember Quilts and last month I quit my day job to devote more time to my "retirement job." It was a big and scary step to walk away from a good job but now I'm having so much fun quilting for others and with the Pro Stitcher it's a "piece of cake!" I've probably quilted 50 tops for customers and made T shirt and memory quilts, too. Customers are always pleased and ask how I can get my designs and stitches so perfect. I just say, "I have a great machine!" I shopped for several months before deciding on the HQ. I talked with lots of quilters and compared features and finally decided the HQ Sixteen was the one. Now after three years I'm dreaming about the Fusion but haven't mentioned that to my husband...yet. I love the studio that Mike and our sons built for me. It's half of what used to be the garage. Now it's my domain and you'll find me out there all the time. I realize now that I should have asked for the entire garage. :) The customer service at HQ is exceptional and I'm sure I've spoken with everyone there at some point but Vicki Hoth is my new best friend. Please know that I call her often not due to machine problems but due to operator ignorance. She could not be any more knowlegable or patient! One time I was trying to download an original pattern and she said, "Send it to me and I'll fix it." She did and now that quilt is one of my all-time favorites. Vicki even gave me her cell phone number when I only had weekends to quilt. Like I said, we're BFF now! :) That's my story and now I have to run. I have one customer quilt, one charity quilt and about 300 in my head that I need to get to! Thanks, Handi Quilter! Valerie Lund

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen