Polly Monica

Me and Yogi!

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I've been a sewer for over 40 years, but have only been quilting for the last 15.  Like all home quilters, I started off slowly by just stitching in the ditch.  Lots of practice and projects later, I figured out free-motion quilting.  While I enjoyed doing it, it was often a struggle fitting the bulk under the short arm on my sewing machine. I love moving the fabric myself to create the quilting design, so when considering a long arm machine, I was unhappy to have to learn how to quilt all over again, as your process would change to quilting in rows. So, when I learned that HandiQuilter made a sit down machine that would allow me to continue to quilt MY way, I was thrilled!! Christmas was coming up....so I started leaving my quilting magazines open to the HQ Sixteen Sit-Down ads all over the house... grinning evilly!!  :-)  And sure enough, Christmas morning after all the gifts were open and I was making breakfast, my two sons and hubby disappeared down into the basement (I thought to play a new video game) but much to my surprise, they caried up a new HQ Sixteen Sit-Down machine for me!!  The heck with breakfast, I thought- "Let's get this puppy goin'!!"  Woo hoo!!  I LOVE it!!  And if sometime down the road, I change my mind and want a real long arm type set-up, I can just buy the rails, table and handles and I'd have it!  Thank you, Handi Quilter, for thinking of me!!  Good job, YOU!!  :-)  

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen Sit-down

Heide Mulberger

It barely fits in my room, but I make it work!

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I am not supposed to be here. Three years ago I had a very sudden illness, and almost died. I spent a year and two months at my brother's home in Texas, seeing a specialist while I was recovering. Quilting was my mental rehabilitation, making tops and keeping my hands busy. I spent many hours in bed, appliqueing, reading magazines and books and surfing the web learning lots of new techniques. While doing this, I completed a pile of quilt tops, but my body was too weak to quilt them all. Manhandling the layers through my regular machine was not an option. So, I kept on piecing tops and hoping that someday I would become strong enough to once again wrangle the fabric. The quilt shop I was going to in Texas had a longarm machine, and after watching them use it, I thought that would be a great way to finish my quilts! I looked at several longarm machines, and always walked away because I just couldn't afford one,especially with all the medical bills that had piled up while I was sick. Then about a year and a half ago my mom passed away. All my life she always encouraged me to make my own way, and to be creative. After much debate and with my family's encouragement, I decided to spend my "inheritance" on a Handi Quilter. I haven't looked back since! I have finished a large number of quilts that I have donated to various charities (particularly Quilts of Valor). Now I am dreaming of starting my own longarm business. I guess you could say that my quilting has been my lifeline! I have named my machine "Nessie"... the quilting monster!

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

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