CecilAnn Spencer

Jimmie & CecilAnn Spencer

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Hi, my name is CecilAnn Spencer. I grew up and still live in a small town, Kerens,in Central Texas that is 60 miles south of Dallas Texas. My love of quilting started at a very young age. My Grandmother hand pieced and hand quilted. Grandmother's sister was a seamstress and made clothes for the public. The scraps of fabric that were left over were given to my Grandmother. Grandmother would sit for hours cutting and hand piecing until she completed a quilt top. Then came the time to hand quilt. Grandmother's quilting frames hung from the ceiling in her dining room. She always used cotton batting, and "brown domestic" (muslin) as the backing. Our family were cotton farmers. Grandmother made beautiful quilts of many different colors that were given to her children and grandchildren. I was always amazed that something so beautiful started out as a piece of cloth that someone was going to throw away. The first quilts I made were machine pieced but hand quilted. It took forever to complete a quilt. I worked, was a wife, and mother of a very active son. This left little time for hobbies. After 31 years in a very stressful law enforcement career my husband retired to take care of our small farm with cows and llamas. I was still working in that same stressful law enforcement career but could see that retirement was not far away. I started looking for a long arm quilting machine. I did extensive research via internet, magazines, quilt shops and any other places where I could find information. I decided to purchase the HQ Sixteen and the Pro Stitcher. My husband and I made a trip to Plano Sewing Center in Plano, Texas. When we walked through the door we were greeted with smiles and such friendliness we felt as if they were family. The shop had just what I wanted and we purchased the machine that day. I still was limited on my time for hobbies, but it was amazing how fast I could get the quilt completed. I only make quilts for the "special people" in my life. My quilts are not the traditional type. If it is different I'm probably going to like it. My passion is creating living memory quilts that include photos, sports, school names or whatever the grandchildren, nieces and nephews are doing at the time. I have an embroidery machine and always embroidery their name on the quilt. I've also made themed baby quilts for family and friends with the new baby's name on them. I have finally retired after 30 years in law enforcement and am looking forward to getting training and lots of practice on my HQ Sixteen and learning to use my HQ Pro-Stitcher. I have done so much with this machine but still have so much more to learn. In closing I would like to recommend the Handi Quilter to anyone wanting to purchase a long arm machine. The machine is easy to use and the support you receive is the BEST!!!! You can not go wrong with Handi Quilter.

I own the following HQ machines: HQ Sixteen, HQ Pro-Stitcher

Susan Hoffman

Mark's graduation

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Joey's Quilt I never met Joey, it wasn't until he died that I even knew about him. He was a soldier serving in Afghanistan when he died while saving his fellow soldiers. Making his quilt was more than stitching together fabric, it brought out an awareness in me. A deeper understanding of the sacrifices that have been made and the heartbreak endured by many so that we can be free. His quilt touched me like no other. I bought my Handi Quilter about 4 years ago. But, I had my eye on it long before I could afford one. I remember the first time I saw one. Doug (my wonderful husband) and I had taken my old Phaff in to be repaired at a local shop and there is was. I couldn't take my eyes off it. Oh the things I could do with it! Doug just kind of looked at me and said “I know,..... someday you'll have one.” With 2 kids in collage it was going to be awhile. It came as an anniversary gift from my husband after 31 years of marriage. You got to love a man than understands a woman's need to quilt! I love to sew! It's my drug of choice. Put me in front of a sewing machine and the endorphins flow. I love mine! It really is everything a home quilter could want. Soon I was making baby quilts for co-workers. Each baby gets a special quilt and everyone insists on seeing whatever new creation I come up with. One of my co-worker had a son graduating from High School and wanted a unique gift. Young Mike had been a hockey player and she asked if I could take some of his jerseys and make a quilt. I did and she loved it. Soon I was being asked to make other “memory quilts”. Then one day a co-worker's former son-in-law was killed in Afghanistan. As the news traveled throughout our unit ( I'm a nurse working in Labor and Delivery) it was apparent that Joey and his family had touched many lives in our community. He was a life long friend to the daughter of one co-worker, he attended the same church as several others, his dad was volunteer on the same fire department as someones father, ( Having just retired from a volunteer fire department as a paramedic I can tell you there is a real bond there almost a military like bond) and another co-worker's son was the family's bereavement officer. Everyone that knew him talked about what a nice kid he was and how devastated he family is. So sad. Several months after Joey died his former mother-in-law, Theresa asked me if I could make a quilt for Joey's mom, Teri. Theresa and Teri are still very close along with Theresa daughter, Joey's ex-wife. I said yes but, I wanted to meet Teri and get to know a little about Joey before I started. We set up a meeting and Teri brought me a basket full of Joey's clothes. Everything was in there! T-shirts, pants, socks, even boxer shorts. My heart broke for Teri. She was such a sweet lady. I don't know how she copes with such grace and composure. She kept stroking his clothes and saying she didn't know what to do with them. What do you say to a mother that has lost a child and the only thing left of him is a basket of clothes? Now basically I'm a sane well adjusted person but, not when it comes to fabric. I'm attracted to 100% cotton like a bee is to honey. I don't have a stash I have a bunker full of fabric. I sleep better at night knowing that in my basement is enough fabric to blanket Michigan. Only my most devoted friends will walk into a quilt shop with me because they know it will be hours before they see the light of day. Joey's quilt was going to be especially challenging because I wanted to use as much of “his” stuff as I could but still pay tribute to him. Not even the finest cotton would be as precious as one of his shirts. Like many young guys his wardrobe mostly T-shirts in beige, white, tan, black, and gray. Not very exciting colors. First things first, Joey was a patriot who died in the service of his country, that story definitely needed to be told. He died trying to disarm an IED. The front of the quilt needed to pay tribute to his life in the army and his death. The blocks are fronts of T-shirts he wore while in the service. The red, white, blue, black and eagles body are fabric from my bunker. Everything else is Joey's. In the upper left were the stars would normally go I had to do something different. The beige centers are actually a T-shirt I cut up. It was from his graduation at boot camp. Apparently all the graduates sign each others T-shirt, wishing them well. I cut the shirt up carefully and in the center of each block is a personal message to Joey. The plaid borders are his boxers. Joey had lots of boxers and they are incorporated throughout the quilt! The Eagle is my favorite block. The body was a piece of my fabric but the head, feet, and tail are Joey's T-shirts. The picture doesn't show it well but these are layers of different T-shirts to give color an definition to the tail and face. The bright blue block is from a memorial fund raiser done in Joey's name. On it is his full name, classification, date of birth and date of death. The eagle has a small teardrop shaped crystal in his eye. The back of the quilt is a mosaic of all the t-shirts and boxers I could fit in and Teri loves it! The entire quilt took me almost 6 months to do. I had no pattern only an idea. The only parameters where it had to pay tribute to Joey's life and death, it had to include as much of “his” fabric as possible and it had to give Teri comfort. I often had to walk away from the sadness and go do a fun quilt. At times I was stumped on how to work in another block or piece of fabric. I worked on it on his birthday and the next day which was Mother's day. All I could think of was Teri and the pain and sadness she must be going through that week-end. I didn't play golf on Memorial Day I put this quilt on my Handiquilter and promised my self I would finish it that week-end. I thought of all the men and women that died for the sake of freedom. I cried like hell for Joey and his family. More than anything else I wanted Teri to have this before the 1st anniversary of Joey's death. Finally it was done! Now to give it to Teri. Theresa and I both felt we wanted to do it in a private setting. Theresa invited Teri out to dinner and under the pretext of forgetting something at the hospital was going to stop by to pick it up. I was waiting in an unoccupied patient room with the quilt spread out, it would be the first thing Teri saw when she walked in the room. Of course the entire staff was in on it. I even had a back up scrub nurse standing by so I could stay with Teri. I'll never forget the look on Teri's face. When she walked in the room the first thing she noticed was me and a look of confusion came over her face. Then she saw it and stopped half way across the room. She couldn't move, just stood there stunned and started to cry. Her only words were “Oh my god, Joey's quilt” She couldn't move I had to take her by the hand and lead her the rest of the way into the room, her knees buckled a little and thought she might actually fall. By this time there wasn't a dry eye in the room. I couldn't tell you how long she stood there just stroking the top of the quilt. When she could finally did speak she began to point at each block and tell a story about Joey. Funny stories and sad ones. We all laughed and cried. Over and over she kept saying I never expected anything like this. We quickly turned it over and showed her the back. Like the front every block had a story. A remembrance of Joey when he was alive and carefree. She never stopped stroking the quilt. I remember her saying that she couldn't find the words to thank me. I told her I couldn't find the words to thank her for her sacrifice and that I hoped and prayed that this quilt could give her comfort. We hugged and cried some more. I lamented that it was one of the hottest days so far this summer and she wouldn't be able to use it for awhile. She laughed and said she was going to go home and turn the air conditioning down low. It wasn't the prettiest quilt I've ever made nor the most artistic. The colors were mostly drab and fabric not the top of the line cotton I like to use. It was the most important quilt I've ever made and there is not a doubt in my mind it is the most loved quilt I'll ever make. I watched her and Theresa walk down the hall and out of the hospital. Teri clutching the quilt to her almost like a new mom with her baby. All that is left of a son, a hero, a soldier. She was on her way home to sit with Joey.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Marsha Walper

Marsha Walper at her HQ Sixteen

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Confessions of a Quilter’s Husband What was he talking about? Where could he possibly have gotten this beautifully machine-quilted piece of fabric he held? How did he quilt it? Then, he confessed! Much to my surprise, my husband had ordered me a HQ Sixteen and it was delivered and set it up while I was away! What made it even more amazing, was that when I first walked in the door, my husband greeted me with a wonderful piece of quilted fabric and told me how easy it was to do! I could hardly believe it, a new HQ Sixteen set up in my sewing room and my husband showing me the beautiful machine quilting that he had done on it! After this I was just about ready to believe anything. But, the confessions came. My husband laughed and confessed, he did get the machine, but the nicely quilted fabric was a sample provided by the Handi Quilter Company. After trying a lot of different machines at various stores and exhibits, making the choice about what machine to buy finally came down to my friend Maureen. She is the inspiration behind me wanting a HQ Sixteen. A quick quilting session on Maureen’s HQ Sixteen was all it took and I knew it was the machine for me. I have always admired her fabulous creativity and the amazingly beautiful quilting she does on her HQ Sixteen. As a finalist in the International Quilt Festival in Houston for five years, Maureen has encouraged me to become a quality “artistic” machine quilter and now my HQ Sixteen has made me a believer. Following this wonderful surprise and the ongoing support I receive from my husband for all my quilting activities, a new “artistic” quilting journey for me is now underway. The instructions on the DVD that came with the HQ Sixteen were easy to follow and in no time I was stitching away as though I had been using the machine forever. Customer service for the HQ 16 has been wonderful. An important personal touch was provided by Suzanne Leimer and her husband, Ladd, from Suzanne’s Quilts in Moultrie, Georgia. They drove down to Florida to check the set-up, give me quilting tips, and demonstrate the great bobbin winder provided with the machine. While they were here, my husband enjoyed visiting with Ladd, who is also a teacher. Suzanne invited me to attend a machine-quilting class at her shop. A few weeks later, I drove to Moultrie and participated in an exciting all-day class with a nationally known teacher. For a several years I have been quilting by hand and have won awards for workmanship. But, it takes such a long time to quilt by hand and I feel my creativity has been somewhat limited. My husband jokingly calls me a “topper” because of the many unquilted tops that are piling up. Now with my HQ Sixteen, I am enjoying quilting all those tops and am finally a “quilter” not just a “topper.” Most importantly, I am beginning to explore, like my friend Maureen, the artistic side of quilting that only a quality machine like theHQ Sixteen can provide.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Theresa de Lamerens

Me at the HQ Pro-Stitcher class

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I always wanted a Handi Quilter machine but since I couldn't doodle I only thought I would only be able to quilt by using the HQ Pro-Stitcher.  However due to medical problems I couldn’t justify buying a new model.  Then one of the best days I had happened.  I was at my friend’s house drooling over her machine.  She told me she was thinking about upgrading her machine HQ Sixteen to the HQ24 Fusion.  The first thing out of my mouth was I want first chance on buying her machine.  Later she gave me a price; I paid the penalty and closed out my 401K.  Then the medical problems got worse and I was not able to get down stairs to play on the machine. 
Right before a surgery to remove my knee and replace it with a plastic box I found out a HQ Pro-Stitcher educator (Linda) was going to be at Quilt Trends in Columbus, OH.  I refused to ask the Dr. permission to go because I knew it would be denied. Four days after the removal of my knee and a spacer inserted, I called and begged my friend to take me.  I have a great friend and she agreed to take me and be my chauffer and nursemaid.   
The day came to make the three hour drive. I was loaded in the back seat of the car with pillows, wheel chair, walker and pain pills and off we went.  I spent the next two days soaking in knowledge.
Unfortunately my medical problems took longer than expected and I was not able to get down stairs to use my machine for over a year.  But now I have an actual knee instead of a plastic box and I can finally say I am on the road to recovery.  I am able to go  downstairs to practice.    I am learning the HQ Pro-Stitcher but really want to be able to freehand quilt.   It’s been a long 2 years but the joy I feel when I’m downstairs working on my HQ Sixteen is makes everything worth it. 

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

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