Nancy Bogard

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Hello I am Nancy Bogard from Murray, KY. I have always sewn but my quilting was limited to hand quilting because I traveled for work and had to keep my work portable.

I am a retired car buyer and for years I traveled at least 4 days a week to Chicago and Wisconsin. I would take some hand work with me but never even thought about quilting on the machine until I retired in 2009.  I tried quilting on a regular sewing machine but that just did not work for me. Too much material and too little space.

I was taking a class on piecing right after my retirement and a lady who was taking the class began telling me about her Handi Quilter. She has the Sweet 16 but she made it sound like so much fun and her quilts were beautiful and she was able to do the whole thing herself.

After the class was over I continued to think about that machine. One day my DH and I traveled the 100 or so miles to Jackson TN to see this machine in action. Their floor model was the HQ18 Avante. I talked to them about it and even gave it a test sew and then went home to dream. That was on a Friday, last March. On Monday Larry said why don't you just go back and get the machine it is definately what you want. His encouragement was all I needed. I made the 100 mile drive back by myself, bought the floor model, HQ Pro-Stitcher and all. They delivered it on Tuesday, the very next day.

It is hard for an adult to be that excited and still act like an adult. I put the kitchen table in the garage, next to the car and put the Avante in my kitchen. It was March afterall and I needed to be warm in order to practice.

I was quilting almost immediately. When asked how I learned so fast I have said I think it was because I had been doing it in my mind for so long all I needed was the machine. and I got the machine that could make it so easy for me to learn.

Now my quilting studio is almost finished. It is where the patio once was and I am almost ready to move in.

I have done meandering for several customers and they are thrilled so you see I have the answer to subsidizing my social security check. It is the best of both worlds. I can do my own quilts from start to finish. I can do customer work for money to buy more fabric and batting. All is good.

I love my Avante and I know I made the right decision. Thank you Handi Quilter and thank you for being so much help whenever I have called on you. This is a wonderful company to do business with and my background in the car business allows me to make comparison. This is a good company with good people.  OK...........back to quilting. DH is working on that new room. I think he wants to get that machine moved out there and get the diningroom table back before Thanksgiving. Ha ha............Happy Quilting everyone.   

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

Darlene Cook

Hooked on quilting!

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Hooked! I will admit it; I am hooked! As far back as I can remember (I am 59 years old) I have had a love affair with fabric, thread, and ribbon, etc. Any kind of fabric, but I am especially drawn to cotton that can be made into quilts. When I see a piece of fabric, I immediately think of colors that compliment it and a pattern for a quilt pops in my head. My Mother sewed, from our clothing to costumes to quilts and anything in between. I remember going to bed many nights with that old Singer sewing machine humming in the background lulling me to sleep. I suppose this is where the love affair began. The first quilting class I took was in the back of a hardware store in a small South Georgia town. Our teacher had ink stamps of triangles and squares that we stamped on fabric and cut out with scissors. My, have we come a long way. There have been many more of those classes along the way. Each time we moved to a new town, I searched for the nearest quilt shop and signed up for a class. I also found the public library to check out their supply of quilt books. Several years ago during a December Open House of shops in downtown Moultrie, Georgia, I found Suzanne’s Quilt Shop and thought I had died and gone to heaven. The amount of fabric was overwhelming. I almost cried when we had to leave! I made the 60 mile round trip almost weekly and took several classes. When Suzanne began selling the Handiquilter machines, I knew I had to have one. I began pinching pennies. I decided that when I bought it, I had to pay for it in full. It took a couple of years but I bought it with complete joy and pleasure, a HQ Sixteen. Before I bought the HQ Sixteen, I tried out other machines and constantly researched longarm quilting machines. It was evident that the Handiquilter was the best value, not to mention the excellent training and support that came with it. It was perfect and just the machine I needed. It did it all, or at least that is what I thought until I recently quilted with an HQ18 Avante. Oh my, falling in love again and saving pennies again. I practiced on this machine at the summer workshop at Suzanne’s this past July. I went with all intentions of just learning new techniques for my HQ Sixteen, NOT buying a new machine. I cannot begin to tell you everything I learned at this workshop. I was a sponge soaking up any little bit of information I could use to make another quilt. I went home on Saturday evening and by Sunday afternoon had put a quilt in my machine, quilted it and then quilted five more by Tuesday. This workshop was absolutely the best class I have ever had on the process of machine quilting and the techniques to make the process easier. I was hooked again. By the next Thursday, I had sold my HQ Sixteen and ordered the HQ18 Avante with the HQ Pro-Stitcher! I bought it a great price, and a huge basket of accessories came with it – including micro handles. Suzanne and Ladd set up the machine on a Friday night and then returned for Pro Stitcher training. What a machine – smooth as silk. I have no idea how many quilts I have made in all these years, I stopped counting. I do know that I actually own very few quilts; in fact I only have two quilts that I’ve made. The greatest pleasure I have in making quilts is giving them away. Family members and friends have been recipients of almost all of the quilts; however, four years ago I began making quilts for girls at a local children’s home. I began making them myself but found I could not keep up with the demand. Every summer now, I host a sewing day with 6 -8 quilting friends who help make the tops. I provide fabric and patterns and the group sews the tops together. Voila, – quilts ready to be quilted! I am ready to roll! I quilt them and a friend in my church hems them. It has become a joint effort by family and friends willing to help keep this ministry going. So far, we have furnished 42 quilts for these girls as they come and go at the children’s home. In all this process of making quilts, I’ve found the most important thing is to keep learning. I cannot imagine cutting out shapes with scissors, or life without fusible web, or always quilting by hand. The quilting industry has changed with leaps and bounds during my lifetime. It is a privilege to learn as much as possible about anything that involves quilting. After participating in the recent Handiquilter workshop, I was so inspired that I just about live and breath quilts (my job might begin interfering with my play). I have to have a quilt in the machine! Yes, I am hooked! And it’s a good thing! I happily own the HQ18 Avante and HQ Pro-Stitcher.

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

Michelle Kitto

Practice, Practice, Practice

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My HQ story I have been quilting since 2000 when I accidentally stumbled into the Houston Quilt Show. I had gone to Houston to do a personal “shop hop” of the needlepoint stores in Houston with a friend. Someone mentioned that if we were going to be in Houston that week, we should stop by the show. We allowed ourselves a couple of hours (I know, crazy!) But, we didn’t have any idea what to expect. Well, I left the show 6 hours later with yards of fabric and three quilt kits and I have never looked back! From the very beginning I had no desire for someone else to do the quilting on my projects. I felt like I had designed the quilt, selected the fabric, cut it up and sewn it back together and for it to truly be my quilt, I needed to do the quilting on it. So, I layered the first one up and “shoved” it into the machine and off I went. And for eight years or so, I was content to quilt this way. Whenever I went to quilt shows, I would always stop and play with the long arm machines. But, because I had been quilting so many years by moving the fabric not the machine, the long arm felt awkward and backwards. But, the idea of being able to freely quilt a quilt and not wrestle it under my domestic machine was very appealing. I also faced a space issue with the long arm as my studio did not have the space for one. A couple of years ago while at a quilt show, I saw the HQ Sweet Sixteen sit down unit and immediately sat down to “play”. I was IN LOVE. It was just what I was looking for. However, I just spent a considerable amount of money on a new sewing machine that had a special stitch regulator and just couldn’t justify the expense. But, I continued to think about the amazing quilts I could do if I only had the HQ Sweet Sixteen. And I continued to play with them at every quilt show I found them at. My machine quilting was getting better and better and friends were asking me if I would quilt their quilts. I took a class from David Taylor and he had just purchased his Sweet Sixteen sit down and gave it rave reviews all during the class. This past spring when I attended the Dallas Quilt Show, I stopped by the booth again and played with the machine and just knew that the time was right to make the leap and bring one home with me! I have not regretted that decision for a single moment! The dealer I purchased from (Quilt Mercantile in Celeste) has been a dream to work with. They are so supportive and my training they provided was great! I love the machine and the things I can do with it. It fits so nicely into my studio and I have already quilted a half dozen quilts on it, several for other people in the last three months. It does everything I need it to do and that added throat space is like a dream come true! The visibility I have of my work area is phenomenal. The HQ Sweet Sixteen Sit Down Machine was the perfect solution for me.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sweet 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

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