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

Pam Barman

Pam Barman, Houston, TX

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I began my adventures in quilting in 2009 when my best friends coaxed me into taking a class with them. After a few too many times of rolling and stuffing a queen size quilt into my little domestic machine, and stitching in the ditch, I knew I wanted a long-arm machine. My mother had taught me to sew clothing when I was very young, but I had stopped sewing as an adult. Mom had passed on before I started quilting, but I always feel like she is smiling down on me from heaven when I'm sewing now! And since she had left me a little inheritance...well, I just knew Mom would want me to have a long-arm!! My HQ18 Avante is the perfect machine for me; it is so user friendly, and makes me feel like I am in control of my quilt from start to finish. I love being able to not only quilt my own creations, but having my HandiQuilter also allows me to quilt charity and Quilt of Valor quilts for my guild. I've just donated a quilt to a foundation, to be raffled at a fundraiser. Being able to participate in these types of projects is very fulfilling and I know it wouldn't be possible without my Handi Quilter! So, thanks HQ for making my life so much sweeter!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Mary Botsford

TIm & I on a cruise 2 years ago

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I have been quilting about 10 years now. Mostly self taught. I have gone to a few local classes. I wanted to quilt so I could take the T shirts I had saved from my children growing up & make a memory quilt. Not knowing a thing about it I forged ahead & made little things. I tried a double sized one for my parents & machine quilted as I didi not like hand quilting. It's not fast enough for me. Then I made my daughters. My own design. T shirts & photo's using the photo cloth you run through the copier. I then bought a WOW long arm quilter. I had that for 5 years & gave up trying to keep stitches equal or thread from nesting. So I stopped quilting,only about 6 months. I didi wall hangings. My husband said to me one day that he had been on line looking at quilting machines. That I needed to see what was out there. He kept mentioning Handiquilter. I went on line & was so excited! I watched every video that was on the site & then some. I looked at other ones ,too. I was sold on this one because of the thread versatility. The engineering. THe fact it was made in the USA was a huge selling point. We decided our tax return from 2011 was going to buy me the Sweet Sixteen. There wasn't a dealer real close,swo I couldn't try one out. The other ones I could find near here. SO, I signed up for the AQS Lancaster 2011 conference.We both went. WOW! what aa great time . Seminars using the HQ machine's were on my list! The exhibitor area where I tried all the machines,just sold me more on HQ.The I saw it was above my budget & nearly cried. That night my husband said he didn't care if we had to come up with more money. He wanted me to have the HQ. Next day there I was ordering my machine. So excited I was near tears! Mary beth & Debi the educators were hugging me & near tears of joy right along with me. I(I puddle up thinking about it) The sales person was terrific! SHe even gave me the scissors on the clip! (I had bought two of the clips the day before,not HQ), I couldn't wait for my machine to come in. I have the HQ18 Avante'! I named her "Dorothy" in honor of my favorite movie charector.I'm aw"wizard of Oz:"fan. I live in the town where the author of the stories was born. My dealer (2 1/2/hours from me) came a few day after my husband & I put it together. She showed me how to load it & the straight pins that can be used. I bought the entire video series from her. She is just fabulous,(Jackie) My first quilt on the rack I just finished today,was for my friend's daughter for college. She picked out the pattern,the material I did the rest. WOW! I can't wait to start another one! I am in love with quilting again!Now there are so many quilts & not enough hours in the day!! I love the machine & know I made the exactly right choice for me! My husband is thrilled to see me enjoy myself. He loves the result! I am in love with my "Dorothy" & what we can do together.! .

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Cindy Pack


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My HandiQuilter story begins a few years ago.  In, November 2004 after 21 years owning and operating a Christening apparel manufacturing business called “Little Things Mean a Lot” and raising 5 children, my husband and I sold the company. He continued being a 5th generation fruit farmer and much to my teenagers dismay, I became a stay at home mom.  For a couple of years when people would ask what I did with all my time I simply said  “Anything I darn well please.”  (not exactly true)
In 2006, a few months prior to the arrival of my 4th grandchild, my daughter insisted that now that I was retired I should make her baby a handmade, hand quilted baby quilt.  I told her that she had me mixed up with my sisters as I had no interest in quilting.  She guilted me into starting a quilt for her daughter which also forced me into making one for my son’s one-year-old daughter since I couldn’t do one without the other.
My daughter chose the pattern and the ladies at my local quilt shop helped me pick out the fabrics (no quilt color sense yet as I had spent my career creating white apparel).  I made two almost identical quilts with the binding and backs being the only difference.  My daughter insisted that the quilt be hand quilted.  In response to my moaning and groaning about the whole project my cousin and a friend both offered to help me quilt them.  By the time the first one was finished my arthritic hands were so sore that I could hardly move them.  So I called my sister who is an avid quilter and she clued me in to machine quilting sending me to one of the quilters she frequented.  I took the 2nd quilt to her and asked her if she would mind my watching her quilt it as I was fascinated by the huge machine  (coming from my sewing factory background) and I was very interested in seeing it work.  It was a Gammill.  She agreed, calling me before she started on mine.  I was especially appreciative of her artistic ability to hand guide the machine knowing I didn’t have that talent.  I was thrilled with the results. 
When I showed my daughter the two quilts side by side and she told me she liked the machine quilted one better than the hand quilted one, I told her “Sorry, your daughter will have the only hand quilted quilt I will ever make”.  (being that the quilter had just stitched the one-year-old’s name into her quilt.
I looked at the machine quilted one for weeks prior to giving it to my granddaughter as a Christmas Gift and the thrill I felt each time I looked at it was indescribable.  I had not felt that since I had retired.
I decided right then that I would make each of my grandchildren a quilt and it would be worth every dime to have someone else quilt it.
After completing quilts for 7 grandchildren, I decided I wanted to get a little more ambitious so started looking at block of the month clubs.  I fell in love with a “Civil War” quilt club being offered locally so I jumped in with both feet.
Shortly after starting this club I started having extreme lower back pain.  Though sitting was the worst position,  I survived the next 18 months by immersing myself in this quilt and subsequently others to take my brain away from the pain.  By the time this quilt was finished, I had so much of myself invested in it that I couldn’t imagine turning it over to someone else,  so I put it away hoping someday to be able to do it myself.
I attended the HMQS in SLC in May of 2010 and started looking at quilting machines.  I knew that to afford the one I wanted, I would have to quilt for others and I wasn’t convinced that I was physically capable of doing that.  By this time I had been informed by the best neurosurgeon I could find that the only solution to the pain was surgery so I put the idea on the back burner. 
In January of 2011 after having recovered from a successful spinal fusion I realized that my days of sitting at my sewing machine for hours on end were over. So I started thinking again about a quilting machine because I could stand up to use it. One day my husband walked in while I was looking at machines online.  I told him that I thought I could get into a basic model for less than $7000.00 and I gave him all the reasons why I should get one. (after all, I was going to have to pay someone at least $400.00 to quilt my Civil War quilt and that would almost make a payment.)   Since we had had major medical expenses over the past year between high deductibles and 3 surgeries within our family, I did not expect him to even be willing to think about it so when he said he would If this was truly the one I wanted, having fully researched the market and I was sure I could make the payments on it he would support the purchase, I just about fell off my chair. 
Then I had to make sure I was REALLY willing to commit to this both financially and physically. 
First, I started visiting quilt shops asking if there was enough business in our area to support another quilter.  I started going back through all the brochures I had collected last year at the HMQS studying the features that I would want on the machine.  I soon realized that with my sewing background and desire for quality I was not going to be satisfied with a $6000.00 machine.  I figured that the features I would want on this machine would put me closer to the $30,000 - $40,000 price point as I would definitely need a computerized machine with the physical limitations I had. And at this point there was no way I could justify that expense.
One day I walked into my local Bernina/Handi Quilter Dealer to drop off a sewing machine for servicing and said to the manager, “I am not ready to buy yet, but since I am here, give me your best sales pitch.”   He blew me away when all the features I wanted were available on a HandiQuilter machine at half the price I expected AND he was willing to give me 12 months interest free financing.  I left with a lot to think about.  I went home and immediately started searching online for reviews on quilting machines.  With many of the machines there were more negative reviews than positive until I got to the Handi Quilter web site.  I started watching the videos titled  “My HQ Story”.  Every single one I listened over the next few days told how pleased the quilter was with their machine.  I realized that this WAS the company website, so ever the skeptic, I started googling “negative reviews on HandiQuilter” and honestly couldn’t find even one. I decided that this “My HQ Story” section was either the greatest marketing ploy ever or there was truly some truth in what these people were saying.  
When it was time to pick up the sewing machine I had dropped off for servicing I asked my husband to go with me.  He hates shopping, let alone sales pitches, with a passion, so when I saw the manager I asked him to “just give us a quick demo (no sales pitch) so my husband could see what I had been talking about”.  The more he saw, the more questions HE asked and the more sold on the machine HE became.  By the time we walked out I had committed to purchasing the HQ24 Fusion with my husband’s blessing.
3 weeks later we had cleaned out, painted and set up a quilting studio in what used to be a large storage room, the machine was set up and ready to go.  I got instruction from the dealer, bought videos and started practicing my heart out. I had about 2 weeks practice under my belt when my church group started a project for the girls who were graduating from high school.  Each mother and daughter were supposed to make a quilt which would then be tied or bound in a group activity with all the women in the church.  I let it be known that I would give a “new machine quilter discount” if they would let me practice on their quilts.  Many of the mothers were thrilled to get this discount and I got great advertising at the group event after quilting 5 of the quilts.
I have been asked to display, discuss and show my quilting at an annual local quilt show as the “only machine quilting vendor” they have ever invited and been asked by a quilt shop out of state to quilt for their customers as well. 
I just finished my 29th customer quilt and I am having so much fun that I have to admit, I like the machine quilting even better than piecing the quilt tops.  I think the reason for this is that the turnaround is so much quicker and I still get the creative energy rush that comes with completing something beautiful.  I just get it more often now. 
The best payback of all though, comes with finishing a quilt that I have personally pieced AND done the machine quilting on.  It doesn’t get any better than this. 

I own the following HQ machines: HQ24 Fusion, HQ Pro-Stitcher

Carla Gentry

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As a nurse practitioner, my work day can be quite stressful. Quilting brings me serenity. I became obsessed with quilting five years ago on my 50th birthday. We were visiting Whitefish, MT and wandered into a quilt store that sold McKenna Ryan patterns and kits. Life hasn’t been the same since! From the beginning, though, I have had this personal conviction that in order for a quilt to be “my quilt”, I had to do every bit of it myself. So, every quilt I’ve made, I’ve quilted. After getting bursitis in my shoulders from quilting my son’s queen size quilt (and not very well, at that) on my Bernina, I took classes to learn basic longarming and rented a Gammill long arm in Spokane to finish my projects. But there were problems…my back hurt from standing 3 or more hours at the machine, it was hard to “schedule” creativity, and I found that I really missed the machine quilting style of getting my face down into the quilting. One day, we visited a quilt shop in Moses Lake, WA and I saw the HQ Sixteen Sit-Down and instantly knew it was the long arm for me. A few months later, I ordered mine from a shop in Deer Park, WA and it arrived a few days later. I love my sit down long arm! It’s exactly right for me and my space. The first thing I did when it arrived was make a cover and practice quilting designs on the cover. Before long, I was quilting beautiful feather motifs on a wedding quilt. I would recommend the HQ Sixteen Sit-Down to anyone who loves quilting. If you don't quilt for a living, size does not matter! There is no doubt in my mind that you can achieve beautiful results on everything from art quilts to king size quilts with the HQ Sixteen Sit Down. You are only limited by your imagination.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen Sit-down