Lillian Palko

Showing my quilt at the 30th Anniversary of Napa Quilt Guild that I started in 1981

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Thank Goodness for My Sweet 16 Life certainly wasn’t easy before my HQ Sweet Sixteen. First, hand quilting was frustratingly slow and painful. Painful because I would stick the needle into the same hole on my middle finger under the quilt that I had already stuck earlier. Although I loved the look of hand quilting, I never did develop the desirable quilter’s calluses. I had to search for a better, less painful way to quilt. After many years of painful and tedious hand quilting, I invested in my first domestic machine for machine quilting. While this method was a significant improvement to start with i.e.; no more painful pricks, and faster than hand quilting, the domestic machine also provided me with its own list of short comings. The machine stitching was slow, there wasn’t enough space to quilt a large design, and handling the quilt was like wrestling with dead weight. With no “needle down” function, the quilt would slip and my design would be ruined. Did I mention the joy of picking out stitches? Not! And try to manipulate the safety pinned basted quilt without bumping into all the little buggers was like playing pinball. Only in this case it wasn’t fun. And then an idea came to me. What I needed was a table frame with a machine that had a larger throat that I could guide over the quilt. Brilliant! Domestic machine purchase number two, new frame along with a table to set it on. This gave me a little more throat space with a whopping 4- 5 inches maximum before I had to roll the quilt. At least this time I enjoyed a small taste of what it must feel like to be a machine quilter; even if it was only doing borders or row after row of a narrow, simple quilt design. Once again, more limitations and more wasted dollars and disillusionment. Not so brilliant. In 2003, I learned via the internet about a new machine, the Handi Quilter16. It was being introduced at a quilt show in Chicago. Immediately I contacted Handi Quilter . As they told me about the fantastic features of the machine my eyes grew larger and my heart started pounding. The representative mentioned features that included: programmable needle up or needle down so you didn’t have to lose your place when pantograph quilting, and faster, adjustable speeds, the ability to quilt blocks up to 11 inches square without rolling. Plus, Laurel Barrus requested the US manufacturer (yes, made in the USA) to make the machine run well on even the poorest quality thread , which interpreted into making the machine run on ANY thread. To top it off, she also offered me the quilt show “special” pricing if I was really interested. Was I interested?! I was practically panting. And without another thought, I quickly pulled out the plastic. (I might add this is completely out of character for me who researches every major purchase.) Everything Handi Quilter said about the machine has proven true, and I still have fingerprints! Push button start and stop and speed faster or slower also with the push of a button. I can easily quilt larger spaces and utilize larger pantographs and block sizes. I don’t need to baste the quilt layers together. I am able to use a variety of tools such as plastic templates, rulers and pantograph patterns that give me many options for designs on quilts. There are “how to” videos on quilting from beginner to advanced quilters. Specialty threads such as metallic and thicker threads such as Superior Jean threads and thinner threads such as So Fine, with the right needles and slight tension adjustments run beautifully! Quilting changed from pain and drudgery to happy accomplishments with many UFO’s finally quilted. I turn up my music and do a little jig with each completed quilt. Since then, I’ve added the stitch regulator and micro handles and the Professional table. With every additional purchase from Handi Quilter I have received the same level of support and service that I did with my first call. Customer satisfaction is number one and it shows. I can’t possibly imagine my life before my “HQ Sweet Sixteen.” In fact, when I found a group forming in Yahoo about the Handi Quilter . I was first to upload a message. This was where I later coined the phrase “HQ Sweet Sixteen” My hands, my back and my happiness belong to you. This was my chance to say thank you Handi Quilter. Anyone remember Jackie Gleason and “How Sweet it is!” My sentiment exactly.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sweet Sixteen

Elizabeth Kretzer

Scott's quilt

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A couple days ago I was in the process of finishing quilting, an over size queen, quilt for a friend his wife started a few years ago. At the very end of the quilt, my HQ24 Fusion with HQ Pro-Stitcher stopped working, computer went dead. I did all the checks and read the manual back to front and front to back. Finally I called the HQ help line and Mark called me back in just a few minutes. Mark walked me through all the different things that could be wrong, then he had me look under the carriage to find the male and female hook that went to the computer, it had worked loose and as soon as I tighten it the machine was back working. This quilt has been a work of love for right after I started working on it, I came down with pneumonia, then had to have lung surgery, and his wife passed away. Now I am back to quilting and enjoying my HQ24 Fusion with HQ Pro-Stitcher. Thank you for all the help lines and online forms.

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

Hiroko Miyama

myself: Hiroko Miyama

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I was always surprised by my husband. While our second visits of IQA Houston quilt show, He brought me to Handi Quilter’s booth. He asked me to try, however I didn't know how to operate. It was very easy and very smooth to do when I tried with kind HQ staff's instruction. I had thought that longarm sawing machines looked like factory's one and was operated by a powerful person. HQ changed my thought. It was compact enough to fit in even small Japanese house and was able to be operated by even a pinkie. But why he brought me to there? His intention is to present me HQ18 as commemoration of the first finalist of famous quilt show. I was very happy, but I worried how to maintain, because there was no dealer in Japan. He didn't care anything I did. He said that its mechanism looked similar as regular home machine or even much simpler so that it was able to be fixed by mechanics in Japan. He wanted to take maintenance class if available. He has checked several longarm machines while I took classes in quilt show. He almost decided to purchase the latest model, HQ18 Avante. He liked it as an engineer. He is not sawing engineer but IT engineer, though. It was early January that HQ18 Avante was delivered. A lot of question came out while I tried to use my HQ and asked him. He checked manual, internet and/or e-mailed HandiQuilter, whenever I asked. But his response was always to adjust string's tension or to practice more. He might be correct, since no adjustment is required except string's tension. One day, He began to make a quilt. He seemed to know what I asked. He had never done during my 20 years hand quilt and three years machine quilt experience. Five months later, he completed a miniature quilt using my machine. His quilting technique is, of course, very primitive and not smooth. Just like small water drops "drip-drip" way. My HQ helped the beginner to make fine stitches. He never thought to challenge making quilt without HQ. What surprised me was not only he made a quilt but also he entered into local quilt contest. Besides, He won the best of miniature quilt award! His work was also displayed at AQS Paducah show in this spring and will be done at IQA Houston show in this winter. I hesitated to make quilt for contest by using only longarm machine, though I did understand that my HQ was very smooth and productive. His success and my competitive nature made me to practice more. I became to make beautiful quilt line very smoothly even it is tiny pattern. The first quilt for contest with HQ18 was completed one year after He presented. This brought me the first place award of IQA spring show in Cincinnati. Now, He is making the second miniature quilt and I am also making new wall quilt. My HQ became our HQ.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Marcia L. Bilbrey

At work-- when I play (quilting), I smile a LOT more!

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I go to the Paducah quilt show just about every year. Every year, I wander around the show trying to see what's new and exciting but for some reason, I had never seen the Handi Quilter booth until 2008. I didn't go to the show in 2009 but I went in 2010 and I spoke with a lady in the booth this time-- she explained about how I didn't need to draw anything-- the machine could do it for me. Considering that I can't draw my way out of a bag, this was GOOD NEWS!! I came home from the Paducah AQS show in 2010 and told my husband that I knew which machine I wanted. A Handi Quilter! He said, "That's nice-- when you retire, we'll think about it." Talk about bursting my bubble! Every now and then, I'd bring it up and he'd rage about how expensive it was and we could talk about it when I retire. Harumph! When I went to the AQS show in Paducah this year, I hung out at the Handi Quilter booth and just said "When I retire, I'm buying this machine" or "I'm getting one, that's why I'm hanging out here-- but I can't get it today. My husband says I have to wait." Now that may make him sound like an ogre but we have always pooled our money together to pay bills, buy cars, etc. Being put off a few years (it was only 3 years, 10 months and 13 days until I retired), I ws okay with it-- at least he stopped complaining about the price (because the show package is such a reasonable price!) and started saying "When you retire . . . ". This year was our 13th wedding anniversary. Lace, Fur and Textiles. I'm not a lace and fur person and neither is he but I made him a wall hanging, paying someone else to quilt it for me. He? He gave me my Handi Quilter!!! Definitely a "textile" thing!! I love my machine!! I can't quilt fast enough to make myself happy-- man, I do love to quilt NOW!! Thank you, Marcia Bilbrey

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Frances Rice-Farrand


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Historically, quilting has been romanticized but was often used to ease the separation, as a bedding necessity, protection from the elements or even attacks, and even to help slaves escape. As one visits historical sites, quilting is very evident and often gives folks a sense of connection and helps tell a story. One can see how perhaps they were used to sustain the body and spirit as they faced challenges.
For me and my friends, quilting is a hobby to perfect, an escape from reality, and opportunities to give creative and unique gifts to family and friends. The hobby might be a little extreme when you drive more than 1000 miles on a quilt run with a car full of friends collecting fabric and good memories all the way. The hobby has also taken possession of a 20 x 20 bedroom plus walk-in closet which is now fondly called the studio and everyone hangs out. Lastly, the hobby necessitated the purchase of Handi Quilter long arm.
The story actually begins in the mid 90’s when I was first introduced to quilting by a good friend after being a long-time sewer. I found it a great way to use up all those scrapes and at the same time allow me to play with color, designs, and my creative energy. I soon got involved with a bunch of ladies with the same compassion and we formed the “Friday Friends” since that is when we meet. Rain or shine, tired or energetic most of us would show up every other Friday sometimes to only moan and groan about the week, to gleam ideas from the talented members, or just for the social outlet. Through this common interest, we still meet today although we have lost some members and gained new, it is what brings us together. Our passion for quilting is relentless but has led us to greater horizons and the purchase of many items. One such item is the HQ Pro-Stitcher which makes our lives incredibly easier.
It was when we came to the realization that pinning a quilt to shove under our traditional home machines was creating much back pain and minimal completion of quilts that our desire to find an easier way became a necessity. We looked at several machines, talked with fellow quilters who had quilting machines, and spent hours comparing price and features of the different long-arm machines available. It wasn’t till one Halloween shop hop that we meet Richard and realized that the Handi Quilter was now at the top of our list since it was American made, less temperamental, computerized, and of course came with Richard to answer all of our questions.
Well, the whole drive home the girls and I talked about the sales pitch to my husband. We came up with a wonderful list of positives…. such as he wouldn’t have to rub my back or neck anymore after I pulled and tugged a quilt through my Bernina, psychotherapy at home, no more scooting around on our hands and knees as we tried to pin a quilt, and after all the Handi Quilter would do everything and much, much more. So while we were safe in the car, I called my husband and gave him the first pitch which he agreed that it might be a good idea. How much he asked? Well, I took a deep breath and said just a few 0000’s and it would be coming out of my salary. He asked, “Are you sure about this?” to which I replied, I think so. Richard gave me all the facts and information which I will be glad to share when I get home. Well, we all took a deep breath in the car and said, step 1 accomplished.
My, our dream became a reality that January when we purchased the HQ18 Avante. We had the perfect place for it to go, upstairs in what was now being called my quilting studio. All of the best quilting buds where there for the delivery, set-up. It was as if we were giving birth! The excitement was contagious, it was very difficult to be patient while the machine and table got set-up but somehow we managed to stay out of Richard’s way. That night and the next days that followed, we played, experimented, and literally started rummaging through unfinished projects to see what we could finish the fastest and put on the machine. My family thought I had deserted them since we only came down stairs for bits of nourishment and quickly retreat to the studio and the Handi Quilter. It seemed as if we couldn’t get enough! Indeed that is true, we have completed over 70 plus quilts, we are constantly searching for new digitalized patterns, or creating our own, and just love the sense of accomplishment that we have created a one of a kind memory. In fact, we are so often found in my studio, my family has affectionately named it the ‘sweat shop’ which of course as turned into the “Sweat Shop Friends”. The Handi Quilter has brought together lifelong friendship, an endless supply of unique gifts for every occasion, and a world to escape to when the harsh realities of life are too much.

I own the following HQ machines: HQ18 Avante, HQ Pro-Stitcher