Laura Martin

My Hubby and Teens

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My mother told me for years that I should learn to quilt and that quilting is something I’d be good at, but what 35 year-old finds it necessary and wise to listen to her mother? When she would come visit me in the Dallas area and ask about quilt shops, I always responded with the same answer: “We don’t have quilt shops here.” I simply wasn’t interested. A few years later, when my mother-in-law took up quilting and was trying to teach herself paper-piecing, I made a call to my mother for advice (gasp!). Imagine her shock when I called wanting to know something about quilting! It was then that something inside clicked. It was challenging, and together, we figured it out. It was only six years ago that I walked through the entire process with her of pulling the fabric from the local quilt-shop shopping bag, prepping the fabric (by the way, I’m a fabric fondler!), making our paper-piecing copies, cutting, sewing, trimming and pressing. I bought my own local quilt-shop fabric later that same day and began paper-piecing my very first quilt! Yes, my very first quilt was paper-pieced. Within six months, I had the stash to end all stashes, had made several baby quilts for a local charity, and I had purchased a short-arm machine and a Next Generation quilting frame. In the beginning, I was piecing and quilting about eight quilts per month. I loved the custom quilting I’d see on other quilts, but my 7 inch throat space was not very conducive to much more than a simple meander …and my simple meander was very good but not very challenging! Wanting to broaden my horizons and my business, I purchased an embroidery machine three years ago. I was instantly busy doing things for friends and family. That machine hummed from sun-up to sun-down, but I was so limited with the 5x7 hoop I thought I needed a commercial-sized machine. I spent months researching commercial embroidery machines and was actually about to purchase one when it occurred to me one morning about 10:00 that if quilting is my first true love and I was going to spend that much money, why not spend the money on my first true love?! I did no test-driving of any long-arm quilting machines (including HQ), and the only research that I did was look for consumer complaints…I couldn’t find any! By 5:00 that same afternoon I had ordered my HQ18 Avante. It was in March, 2011, that Maude came to live with me. Her name is Maude because it means “mighty battler,” and she definitely lives up to her name. There isn’t anything she can’t do and there is very little she hasn’t tried. She battles mightily and she is my true love. In just a few short months, I’ve seen my income grow exponentially because Maude is so efficient. After all, time is money. With my HQ18 Avante, I have been able to try lots of different techniques and designs. This is definitely not my mother’s quilting…it’s a whole lot more!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Judy Haslee Scott

Lincoln Hills Colorado Quilt

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I come from a long line of sewing family members.  Grandma made flannel baby clothes, Mom made dresses for me as a young girl, and Dad could sew a mighty fine custom seat cushion for your truck on his industrial machine he kept in the garage.  Surprisingly none of them ever made quilts.  For most of my life I made clothing for me, my children, my grandchildren, and tons of costumes for church plays.  The Addictive Quilting Fever (AQF) began to kick in about 15 years ago when I joined the Charitable Quilting group at my church taught by Shirley Wegert, a close family friend and professional quilter for Quilter’s Newsletter.
Learning to quilt wasn't an immediate high fever kind of process and I admit that I whined about the difficulty of the tasks for quite some time before discovering the upbeat accomplishments to be enjoyed.  Until the time of my retirement in 2004 I kept pace with the group activities and made a few simple quilts for family and friends.  What ultimately changed my quilting song from a low key clumsy tune into a beautiful alto harmony was the discovery of the wonderful world of modern sewing, embroidery machines and the fabulous world of long arm quilting on my HQ Sixteen.  
I proceeded cautiously on purchasing my new embroidery machine and then my HQ Sixteen long arm machine.  By that I mean that I asked my mentor Shirley about what she had and liked, and then went quickly to that booth at a local sewing convention and bought the perfect embroidery machine on some kind of sale (I’m pretty sure).  When she bought a desktop HQ Sixteen and loved all the room to maneuver the quilts, I went immediately to our local HQ store in Colorado called Make It Sew, and started making a plan.
At this point I was having some difficulty with uncooperative hands and feet as well as strength.  I had a small sewing room with custom tables and cabinets that would need to be modified.  Make It Sew was selling an older demo table that wouldn't fit in my sewing room so I convinced a very handy builder friend of mine (Bob W) that it could work If we carefully chopped the center section of the table in half and modified it to allow the table to fit across the room without need to back into the closet to get to the other side.  In a relatively short time, the remodeled furniture, the shortened table, new lighting, and a bright blue wall were in place and Bob Juenemann, owner of Make It Sew, had created a working magical shop where I could begin my long-arm adventure.
After lessons from Cheryl Holliday at Make It Sew and a few practice charity quilts, I began a 2.5 year journey of creating a fully custom history quilt that depicted my husband’s family history in Lincoln Hills, Gilpin County, Colorado.  I used every new technique that I learned at the Houston International Quilt Festival in 2008, techniques from my local water color classes, computer graphics techniques from Adobe CS3, and my own unique techniques and ideas to create a quilt that was appraised at about $5,000 and was received with interest and joy by people who knew the stories or were interested in quilts.  This quilt is titled Lincoln Hills Colorado: An African American Heartbeat and it has hung in the Colorado 2011 State Capitol Quilt show all summer. I could not have completed this project without my HQ Sixteen and the encouragement of family and friends.  Now I lay awake nights and plan for my next custom quilt adventure which could begin any morning now!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Mara Mesa

Quilting on my HQ Sixteen

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I am an accidental quilter. I had sewn all my life, first from necessity when I could not afford the clothes in “tall girl shops,” and then later, even when I could afford them, I found I could make more of them and better than what I found in the stores. But I had never made a quilt. I didn’t know anyone who quilted. In fact, I had never even seen a quilt until I moved from New York City to northwestern Pennsylvania in my 20’s. That all changed when my trusty domestic sewing machine died and no longer had parts available for repairs. I bought a new machine with all the “bells and whistles,” and then had to take classes to learn how to use it. One of the classes I took was taught by an inspirational teacher (who now also owns an HQ Sixteen) who encouraged me to try quilting. It was love at first sight. To paraphrase a Texas expression, “I was not born to quilting, but I got here as fast as I could.” I have been quilting for nine years. As my skills progressed I was invited to teach quilting classes at the shop where I had learned to quilt. One day the shop owner showed me a new machine they were now carrying – it was the HQ Sixteen. It was a manageable size, glided effortlessly across the fabric, and looked like it could handle any size project. But I reasoned that it was meant for serious quilters, not for someone like me who quilted only for pleasure. I had no reason to buy such an awesome machine. So I just kept on admiring it. My admiration changed to necessity while I was working on a quilt top of elaborately appliquéd chickens, each composed of many, many pieces of fabric. It had been a huge undertaking and I was finally close to the end. I finished quilting it on my home sewing machine when, to my dismay, I discovered that I had pulled the backing fabric too tight making the chickens mound and bulge on the top! It took me hours and hours to take out all of that quilting and re-do it again. I had had enough; I had found my compelling reason to buy the HQ Sixteen! I brought my HQ Sixteen home and expected to dive right into my next project. But a surprising thing happened – I was afraid to get started, afraid to make a mistake, afraid I would not master the machine. I inspected it daily, moved it around, practiced on muslin, but could not begin a quilt. Christmas was approaching, there were gifts to be made, but I was still paralyzed for fear that my first HQ Sixteen quilt would not be perfect. I finally decided to take “the plunge” on a T-shirt quilt for my brother. If it was a disaster, it was only T-shirts. I finished the quilt in time. It was NOT a disaster, and it was NOT perfect, but my HQ Sixteen and I had become friends. The quilting process had been a pleasure not a chore. There were no aching shoulders from pushing the quilt through my domestic machine, and no more puckered backings or bulging tops. I gave the T-shirt quilt to my brother at Christmas and was overjoyed to see his eyes light up at the sight of it. His admiring gaze made me think, “He’s admiring my quilting!” until he softly and wistfully said “Oh, how I remember that T-shirt! It was from my first marathon.” The moral of the story here is that though we are all made happy by the same quilt, it is not for the same reason.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Valerie Lee Funk

This is me quilting Dr. Seuss for my grandson

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My name is Valerie Funk and this my HQ Story. Several years back in 1998 I was accidentally shot while serving as an officer for the state of Indiana. I knew my recovery would be long and hard so began looking for hobbies to keep myself busy. Eventually I stumbled onto quilting and I was instantly hooked. I am a self taught quilter having learned mostly by way of YouTube videos and magazines. About a year ago I finally joined my local quilt guild in Osceola Iowa. The ladies there were an absolute wealth of knowledge. The long arm quilters within our guild were all very reasonably priced but because I was piecing quilts at the rate of 2-3 a month I decided that I really wanted to look into buying my own long arm machine. I had absolutely no knowledge regarding long arm machines so I got on line and researched the different kinds of machines and all the different options. After many weeks of research I decided that what I really wanted was an HQ18 Avante. It was just the right size for me and very reasonably priced. After finding my closest HQ rep I made the long drive up to her shop so I could test out her machine. I knew as soon as I tried the HQ18 Avante that was the machine I wanted. It was so smooth and the stitches were flawless! It was so easy to use. And since I had very little long arm knowledge, easy is what I needed. I received my Avante in early May and I have never been happier. I have quilted over a dozen quilts since then and I just love it! Quilting is very therapeutic for me. When I am finished making my quilts I like to give them all away. It makes me so happy to see others get enjoyment from something that I have created with my own two hands. I like to think of myself as an artist with fabric as my medium. If I would have know that long arm quilting could be so easy and fun I’m sure I would have made this purchase a long time ago!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Jada Cuny

The table set up

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Received my HQ Sixteen last week, the store owner I bought through came to set it up and the Cpod on the machine wasn't working correctly so he took it to his store with him fixed it and HQ shipped him the correct part right away. Got the machine back today and it is working great. I tested it out and love the free motion quilting. Thank you HQ

I own the following HQ machines: