Susan Price

Me with my HQ18 Avante

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I resisted quilting for two years while my close decorative painting friends embarked on their new hobby. I swore I would not start a new hobby—I have a collection of paints, brushes, books and wood to last a lifetime. I remember telling my friends, “Quilts! What do I need a quilt for? I live in South Louisiana! It’s never cold enough for a quilt!” Once I was bitten by the quilting bug, there was no turning back! My first purchase was a new sewing machine. After making a set of blocks that were supposed to be 12 ½ inches unfinished, I convinced my husband that it was the machine… not me. I needed a new machine that would sew a precise ¼ inch seam. Plus, while I was getting a new machine, I would also need one with stitch regulation so I would be able to quilt my own quilts! After making my second quilt, with puckers in the backing, my next purchase was a frame for my new sewing machine to travel on so I could easily quilt without pleats and puckers in the backing. Again, I was not satisfied. I could only quilt about 3 inches of the quilt at a time; the bobbin thread ran out half way through each row; and I could only do meanders and loops! My search for the solution to all my quilting problems began with a trip to the Houston International Quilt Festival. My husband (aka technical advisor) went along with me. As I tried all the brands of long arm machines, my husband checked the nuts and bolts, wires and cables, and thingamajigs and doodads that were the guts of the machine. I wanted a “clean “ look to the machine—one with as few tension dials and thread loops as possible, as well as a computerized system that I did not need to have a separate dedicated laptop attached to in order to run the quilting program. The HQ18 Avante along with the HQ Pro-Stitcher and HQ Studio Frame fit my requirements perfectly! I’ve only had my HQ18 Avante for 18 months. In that time I’ve pieced and quilted 10 quilts for my family along with an additional 8 quilts for my granddaughter. I’ve quilted over 40 quilts for customers as well as 5 charity/raffle quilts for my guild. Eighteen quilts I quilted on my HQ18 Avante were donated to the “Downy Quilts for Kids” program. Did I mention that I have a full time job? The greatest satisfaction from my new hobby is not only the friendships I’ve made with fellow quilters, but knowing that two pieces of fabric, some batting and thread can create something that can not only provide warmth, but security and hope to someone in need.

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

Barbara Budnik

First day! Test quilting!

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I just got my HQ Sweet Sixteen two weeks ago! It was a birthday present to myslef! I am learning to use it quilting tied quilts. When those are finished to my satifaction I am on to the dozen or so quilt tops that I have.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sweet Sixteen

Linda Christianson

Working at machine

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My desire for a HQ Sixteen started four years ago when the closets became overrun with quilt tops. I had since 1971 finished most of my quilts by hand, until my hands ached from all the effort. So to continue my love of quilt making and bring my quilt tops out of the closet, I had to learn to quilt on a machine. I have hand quilted using a hoop, or frames and poles. With machine quilting, I have used a frame system that hung from the ceiling by chains with wheels running along a track. It all moved through a factory power machine, 11” throat (This type of system was used from the middle 1800’s to about 1980, and needs about a 30 ft. long by 8 ft. wide floor space). The 8” throat bed home machine will work with hours of feeding, and holding the “Bear” that loves to wiggle even if you pin, baste, or use 501 spray. The walking foot does help, but no fancy work there. I also got to try my mom’s Nolting, (purchased 10 years ago) but 900 miles is bit far to go to finish my quilts. Mom did ask to finish some of my quilts. They came back all scribble with loops. One, I asked for curls on the cat, it was still loops. When you can finish your own quilt, you can correct your own mistakes and add the details to make it “sing”. Only now, I was back to finishing over 15 queen size quilts on an 8” throat sewing machine. The other big problem is the wear it brings to the motor. I should know, since my husband has repaired or replace three. I really do love to sew. So since my passion for quilting has not stopped after 30 years of quilting, I felt the investment of a longarm was worth it, but for a hobby? At any rate I still started reading, comparing, and watching “YouTube” on the subject. The HQ Sixteen sure offered the futures that I felt would work. Now all I had to do was find a dealer and test drive some longarms. That was no small matter, since most places wanted an appointment, and they want you to take a class. When the new local quilt store had the HQ Sixteen, I was able to see the machine in person. The owner did let me touch the machine; even though it had the low end frames, it glided with ease. The handles and buttons seemed easy to use. I was sold until I saw the list price and all the shipping were added. I kept dreaming of owning a longarm, so I continued to check out other longarms, and talking online to Longarm owners. This led to hearing about a trade show in Tenn. and the offer to purchase the class’ HQ Sixteen demo. The price was still high for our limited budget, but hubby said, “go for it”. A month later the HQ Sixteen was set up in the unfinished sewing space. With ease, I was off and running with my stitch regulated longarm. I love how easy it is to thread the HQ Sixteen, adjust the tension, keep it oiled, and clean. I ordered the tool table and some tools. I did not want to do just edge to edge quilting or loops. The tool table gives me the creativeness to make my quilts look more hand made with detail work. The laser light has given me the option to follow a pattern for borders, one block area, or even edge to edge. Every quilt I have finished on my HQ Sixteen in the last three years of ownership, has brought me new ideas and continual love for quilting. Oh, by the way, mom traded her Nolting for an HQ18 Avante. I love that model, too! Linda Christianson

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Loretta Johnston


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Our HQ Sixteen Quilting Story By Loretta Johnston Sewing was not something that I did a lot. Sure I took HomeEc in school and made a dress by pattern, but that was about the extent of it. And my husband, Bob had never sewn. Our first exposure to quilting was through some friends, husband and wife, who quilted. First it was a couple of quilts they made for us as gifts then, it was taking us to quilt shows. After a couple of years, we saw the beauty and workmanship in them and felt it was a great way of showing our love to family and friends when making them something by hand. Something they not only can use, but also that can be passed on as a memory of ourselves. We asked our friends to teach us the basics of quilting. Dean & Sue were very willing to help and were good teachers. We made a very large queen size scrap quilt for our first one…we chuckled later when watching a video on quilting and being told not to tackle a large quilt at first, because it might be too daunting of a project. So far this is still the largest quilt we have made. In making quilt tops you soon realize that in order to have a finished quilt, one would have to either: 1) send it out to someone else to quilt 2) quilt it by hand 3) quilt it on your sewing machine or 4) buy your own quilting machine. The logical answer to us was to purchase our own quilting machine. Our children had just recently moved out of the house, leaving the back room large enough for a quilting machine. We researched what machine we would like to purchase and saw that the Handi Quilter was a very affordable and easy to learn machine for the first time quilter. After seeing this, we knew which quilting machine we wanted. We were very excited when we found and purchase a used HQ Sixteen. (the former owner had just purchased a new HQ18 Avante) We were given a quick overall of the use of the machine, took lots of pictures, read the manual, and watched the videos that came with the HQ Sixteen. We also use the Handi Quilter website and love watching the educational videos, they give great tips and is a handy resource. Right after we purchased the machine, the downturn in the economy hit my place of employment and I was laid off. So the decision of getting our own HQ Sixteen was extremely beneficial to us in so many ways. Since getting our machine, Bob and I have made several quilts and I have quilted them on the HQ Sixteen. We were able to give our children and family each a quilt for Christmas. We have also made dog quilts and have given them as gifts plus we have sold some of them. What I love most of all with having the HQ Sixteen is that I am able to finish UFOs that have been left by lost loved ones. I have quilted 4 quilts for a co-worker of my husband, her great-grandmother left several quilt tops. These tops are over 50 years old. It is such a privilege for me to be able to make these tops into useable quilts. As the quilt is laid out onto the machine, I look at the craftsmanship in them and I thank the woman who made them and ask her to guide my hands while using the machine. It makes me tear up as I work on them because I think of the time, effort, and love she put into each quilt top that she made. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to finish these. Something I would never have been able to do if we did not own a HQ Sixteen. Included in the pictures I have sent is a log cabin quilt that I was able to make and quilt on my HQ Sixteen. I have been able to turn a hobby into a small money making opportunity, thanks to our HQ Sixteen. Thank you so much for making a machine that can be used in the home. PS..next on my wish list is to purchase an HQ Pro-Sticher….

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Deena McAfee

Deena with her HQ18 Avante

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I have always been fascinated with quilts and quilting. Growing up I always wanted to make a quilt, but neither my mom nor grandmothers were quilters. When I was eight years old, my maternal grandmother came to live with my family a year after my grandfather passed away. My mom and grandmother sewed and made most of my and my sister’s clothes. My mom had a Singer treadle machine in which she and my grandmother sewed. I learned to sew using that machine. Oh what great memories of pumping the foot peddle. When I was in fifth grade, my grandmother got an electric sewing machine for Christmas. I loved to sew, and made craft things, like rag dolls, bears, rabbits and their clothes. I did not know the rules of sewing; I just knew how to sew on those machines. My grandmother is very talented and during my growing up years she was always crocheting or embroidering when she had free time. When I was in seminary, I asked my grandmother to teach me more about sewing and got a pattern to make an apron. I took it to her and she sewed most of it. When I said, I want to learn how, not for you to do it, she said, “You can learn when I'm dead and gone.” Well, this year she turned 96 and still crochets; thank God, I did not wait until she was gone to learn. I made my first quilt with my grandmother and mom. We hand appliquéd the pattern “Belle”. My grandmother and I then quilted it by hand borrowing someone’s quilt frame. We really did not know what we were doing. My grandmother knew how to hand quilt and taught me the basics, but we did not trace a pattern or know what was expected of our quilting. In 2003, my husband and I moved to San Francisco where my husband worked as Chief of Chaplain Services for the VA Medical Center. It was there; I started working with female veterans and wives of veterans. I told one of the women I was taking a quilting class and she encouraged me to learn to machine quilt. Learning to make quilts and machine quilting became my new passion. I started looking for long arm quilting machines on the Internet and I found Handi Quilter. I was so impressed with what I saw, I knew I wanted to own one. I started saving and would put $10.00 or $20.00 in my sock drawer when I had extra money. One of my dreams was to one day own a small retreat center. My husband wanted to have a place in the woods where veterans could come and get away from the stresses of their lives. I wanted a place where their wives or other women could come for quilting retreats. In 2007, my husband and I moved back to Virginia where we had purchased 75 acres of land and started remodeling “Birchleaf Center” for small retreats. I still had my long arm savings in my sock drawer, which was growing. In 2010, I went to the AQS quilt show in Knoxville and met Mark Hyland. I told him of my dreams for our retreat center and how I wanted women to come, make a quilt and finish it using a long arm machine. He showed me the HQ18 Avante and I fell in love with the machine. I went home vowing to save more money. My husband sold an old tractor he had and gave me the money for my sock drawer. I still did not have enough money. In October of that year, I was given a donation for the remaining amount from an individual who had attended a family retreat at Birchleaf Center. We now have this great machine at Birchleaf Center. The first week of August 2011, I had 9 women come for a retreat and we quilted 8 quilts on the HQ18 Avante, which will be donated to Virginia State Police to be given away in emergencies. We completed 10 out of 70 quilt tops to be donated to the Holston Home for Children in Greeneville, TN. I am so grateful for the HQ18 Avante. It has not only given me great pleasure in using it, but it is being used to help others.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante