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

Roxan Bixler

HQ Sixteen

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I have been interested in crafts most of my life. I still like to color using fabric instead of crayons. I am an avid counted cross stitcher and decorative painter till 10 years ago discovering quilting. Sewing had been part of life, making Barbie clothes and sewing clothes for 4-H and even double knit leisure suits for DH, ugh! The natural progression was to quilting. Working with texture, color and design plus the history quilting brings…………what could be better? Doing puzzles intrigues me so quilting fit right in adding other favorites such as color, texture and the tactile features fabric provides. Soon after completing the struggle of trying to quilt using my machine I thought there had to be an easier way to accomplish this task and the search was on. Researching the gamut of quilting “helpers” I discovered the Handi Quilter rail system and it was just the ticket. Using my machine and quilting finished tops was very gratifying. But as natural progression took over, more power needed!!! While shopping at “Rising Star” quilts in Watertown SD, a demo HQ Sixteen was set up for a “test drive” and the temptation was more than could be ignored. I was hooked but needed to process the info and chat with DH. He was a bit skeptical but not totally against the idea, aha my foot in the door! Daughter and I were attending a quilting retreat and thank you cell phone, DH called and asked me if I was indeed interested in that big sewing machine deal in Watertown, the guy called and a promotion for free shipping was going on and he needed to know today if I wanted one. Discussion with daughter and DH ensued and a resounding YES was the response, thus I am the proud owner of an HQ Sixteen for 5 years now. I love it! It does what I ask of it and never complains. I especially like to use pantographs and templates. I like the way the machine looks too! We recently moved from the farm into town and the prerequisite for purchasing a home was a room large enough for my HQ and we ended up knocking out a wall to accommodate my machine. Now we are adding on a quilting studio for even more space! I am excited to design a quilting studio from scratch. All in all the HQ Sixteen does what the “big girls” do and takes up less space and the price is right. But never be satisfied, always look to improve, so an Avante’ is starting to call my name!! I’ll have to check it out!

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

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

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