Sharon Hansen

Me and my Russian Quilt

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I was in California visiting my daughter and we decided to visit the local quilt shop. We looked at fabrics, selected some and then I spied a quilting machine - an HQ16. I examined it closely and examined the quilting even more closely! A sales person in the shop noticed my interest and explained the features of the machine, gave me a demonstration and let me try quilting! Now I hadn't thought of buying a quilting machine. I had hand quilted one quilt (and decided I would have to live to 200 to finish all the quilts I wanted to do), quilted a few on my domestic machine, and had a couple professionally quilted but I was intriqued with the HQ Sixteen. The gentleman thought he might have a sale and he finished with the statement that if I bought a machine from him he would come to my house and set it up for me. I laughed and said "Great! But you should know that I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania." He looked at me and asked "Is that anywhere near Philadelphia? I have a brother that lives there." "No", I said, "that is five hours away on the other side of the state." We both laughed, chatted for a few more minutes and then my daughter and I paid for our purchases of material and we left. I kept thinking about that machine. On the flight home visions of swirls and feathers danced in my head. After arriving home, I looked on the internet and found a local dealer about an hour away. I called and found out that they offered a class to become familiar with the machine and that you could rent it by the hour to quilt your own quilts. I took the class with the thought that I would rent time on the machine. I changed my mind quickly and purchased the HQ16. It arrived just before Christmas in 2006. I have had such fun with my HQ Sixteen. I started out with charity quilts to give me experience. Then I graduated to more challenging tops. I love to watch the quilt tops turn into quilts. The swirls and feathers are no longer just in my head, but are scattered across the quilts. Over the last four years I have quilted over 100 quilts and have won ribbons at our local quilt show. My husband and I like to travel and I have made quilts that remind me of our travels. Last December I sold my HQ16 and became the proud owner of an Avante. I am still quilting and still having fun!

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

Stephanie Snodgrass

Having a ball

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A war, a deployment, and five teenagers-that's what lead me to my first quilting class. It was a an escape for me, where I could find paeace and friendship while my husband was deployed. As I finished my quilt tops, I would quilt the small ones but sent the larger ones out to be quilted. I had the oppourtunity to see a long-arm quilting machine when I took one of my larger quilts to a woman who was going to quilt it for me. After alot of questions about long-arm quilting, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I invested into an inexpensive mid-arm machine and was very frustrated with it. One day while in the local quilt shop, the owner told me he was going to carry the Handi Quilter quilting machine.I went on-line to see the machine he was talking about and was excited to see not only the features of the HQ Sixteen, but all the education and training you could get, which was very important to me. I was hooked! I ordered my HQ Sixteen and started turning out, in my opionion, beautiful quilts! About a year later I sold my HQ Sixteen and bought the HQ18 Avante. I have been quilting on HQ for about 3 years now. I have since gotten a job at the local quilt store and have the priveledge to demonstrate and teach others how to use the Handi Quilter quilting machine.In my spare time my family usually finds me in my sewing room happily quilting away on my HQ18 Avante8. Now I quilt for fun, for friends, and who knows, maybe one day I'll quilt for a living!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Carolyn Kerpchar


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My HQ Sweet Sixteen story begins with a Friendship Quilt made for my maternal grandmother back in the mid-1930's.  I came by that old quilt when the family gathered after Mother's death to settle her estate.  As I now recall, china, silver, paintings, furniture and all manner of items were requested and distributed among the family members but when it came time for the quilt there were no takers.  Up to that time I had never quilted and never even thought of quilting.  But as I ran my hands over that quilt and read the names of those who made each block I began to realize that here was a story with a touch of love and admiration for one woman written with needles and thread on pieces of soft cotton cloth by her daughters, nieces and friends.  I asked and the quilt was mine.
Grandmother's Friendship Quilt graced the bed in our guest room for several years where I also kept my modest little sewing machine.  The more I saw and touched that quilt the more I thought I would love to do one myself but the task seemed overwhelming.  "Where would I even start?"  Well, I started by getting a few popular quilting magazines.  As I read through the articles the process seemed simple enough but the quilting machines looked to be outside my budget.  I set aside the idea of quilting and instead became interested in machine embroidery.  Over time I became quite good at embroidery and even did small projects for friends and clubs. My husband laughingly will say he helped with these projects as he has T-shirts and the seat in pairs of underwear with someone else's initials or club logo on them.  True, but that's another story.
One day I received a call asking if I would consider embroidering a large number of patches for a local club.  If I accepted the job, I knew that my current machine would not be up to the challenge so I began to look at other machines.  Thumbing through magazines and searching the web for a new embroidery machine I came across my old loves, those quilting machines.  That feeling I originally had when first I touched Grandmother's Friendship Quilt came back to me.  For the next several days the thought of making a quilt myself kept coming back like a song you just can't get out of your mind.  I turned down the request to make those club patches and focused on making a quilt.
Wiser and more confident after several years of machine embroidery, I eagerly jumped into researching what I needed to begin making quilts.  My husband was elated when I told him I would not be practicing on his T-shirts.  Early projects included table runners and baby quilts that I could handle with my embroidery machine but when I tackled that first full bed quilt I learned the potential value of a dedicated quilting machine.  I asked my husband to be a sounding-board while I read aloud the specifications and cost for various quilting machines.  After going through the list he wrote something down on a piece of paper and then asked me what I thought was the best overall value, I replied that it was the HQ Sweet Sixteen.  He gave me the piece of paper and on it was written, "HQ Sweet Sixteen."  That was about six months ago and my HQ Sweet Sixteen and I are on our fourth quilt.  And into each goes a little love, just like with Grandmother's Friendship Quilt.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sweet Sixteen

Cindy Pack


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My HandiQuilter story begins a few years ago.  In, November 2004 after 21 years owning and operating a Christening apparel manufacturing business called “Little Things Mean a Lot” and raising 5 children, my husband and I sold the company. He continued being a 5th generation fruit farmer and much to my teenagers dismay, I became a stay at home mom.  For a couple of years when people would ask what I did with all my time I simply said  “Anything I darn well please.”  (not exactly true)
In 2006, a few months prior to the arrival of my 4th grandchild, my daughter insisted that now that I was retired I should make her baby a handmade, hand quilted baby quilt.  I told her that she had me mixed up with my sisters as I had no interest in quilting.  She guilted me into starting a quilt for her daughter which also forced me into making one for my son’s one-year-old daughter since I couldn’t do one without the other.
My daughter chose the pattern and the ladies at my local quilt shop helped me pick out the fabrics (no quilt color sense yet as I had spent my career creating white apparel).  I made two almost identical quilts with the binding and backs being the only difference.  My daughter insisted that the quilt be hand quilted.  In response to my moaning and groaning about the whole project my cousin and a friend both offered to help me quilt them.  By the time the first one was finished my arthritic hands were so sore that I could hardly move them.  So I called my sister who is an avid quilter and she clued me in to machine quilting sending me to one of the quilters she frequented.  I took the 2nd quilt to her and asked her if she would mind my watching her quilt it as I was fascinated by the huge machine  (coming from my sewing factory background) and I was very interested in seeing it work.  It was a Gammill.  She agreed, calling me before she started on mine.  I was especially appreciative of her artistic ability to hand guide the machine knowing I didn’t have that talent.  I was thrilled with the results. 
When I showed my daughter the two quilts side by side and she told me she liked the machine quilted one better than the hand quilted one, I told her “Sorry, your daughter will have the only hand quilted quilt I will ever make”.  (being that the quilter had just stitched the one-year-old’s name into her quilt.
I looked at the machine quilted one for weeks prior to giving it to my granddaughter as a Christmas Gift and the thrill I felt each time I looked at it was indescribable.  I had not felt that since I had retired.
I decided right then that I would make each of my grandchildren a quilt and it would be worth every dime to have someone else quilt it.
After completing quilts for 7 grandchildren, I decided I wanted to get a little more ambitious so started looking at block of the month clubs.  I fell in love with a “Civil War” quilt club being offered locally so I jumped in with both feet.
Shortly after starting this club I started having extreme lower back pain.  Though sitting was the worst position,  I survived the next 18 months by immersing myself in this quilt and subsequently others to take my brain away from the pain.  By the time this quilt was finished, I had so much of myself invested in it that I couldn’t imagine turning it over to someone else,  so I put it away hoping someday to be able to do it myself.
I attended the HMQS in SLC in May of 2010 and started looking at quilting machines.  I knew that to afford the one I wanted, I would have to quilt for others and I wasn’t convinced that I was physically capable of doing that.  By this time I had been informed by the best neurosurgeon I could find that the only solution to the pain was surgery so I put the idea on the back burner. 
In January of 2011 after having recovered from a successful spinal fusion I realized that my days of sitting at my sewing machine for hours on end were over. So I started thinking again about a quilting machine because I could stand up to use it. One day my husband walked in while I was looking at machines online.  I told him that I thought I could get into a basic model for less than $7000.00 and I gave him all the reasons why I should get one. (after all, I was going to have to pay someone at least $400.00 to quilt my Civil War quilt and that would almost make a payment.)   Since we had had major medical expenses over the past year between high deductibles and 3 surgeries within our family, I did not expect him to even be willing to think about it so when he said he would If this was truly the one I wanted, having fully researched the market and I was sure I could make the payments on it he would support the purchase, I just about fell off my chair. 
Then I had to make sure I was REALLY willing to commit to this both financially and physically. 
First, I started visiting quilt shops asking if there was enough business in our area to support another quilter.  I started going back through all the brochures I had collected last year at the HMQS studying the features that I would want on the machine.  I soon realized that with my sewing background and desire for quality I was not going to be satisfied with a $6000.00 machine.  I figured that the features I would want on this machine would put me closer to the $30,000 - $40,000 price point as I would definitely need a computerized machine with the physical limitations I had. And at this point there was no way I could justify that expense.
One day I walked into my local Bernina/Handi Quilter Dealer to drop off a sewing machine for servicing and said to the manager, “I am not ready to buy yet, but since I am here, give me your best sales pitch.”   He blew me away when all the features I wanted were available on a HandiQuilter machine at half the price I expected AND he was willing to give me 12 months interest free financing.  I left with a lot to think about.  I went home and immediately started searching online for reviews on quilting machines.  With many of the machines there were more negative reviews than positive until I got to the Handi Quilter web site.  I started watching the videos titled  “My HQ Story”.  Every single one I listened over the next few days told how pleased the quilter was with their machine.  I realized that this WAS the company website, so ever the skeptic, I started googling “negative reviews on HandiQuilter” and honestly couldn’t find even one. I decided that this “My HQ Story” section was either the greatest marketing ploy ever or there was truly some truth in what these people were saying.  
When it was time to pick up the sewing machine I had dropped off for servicing I asked my husband to go with me.  He hates shopping, let alone sales pitches, with a passion, so when I saw the manager I asked him to “just give us a quick demo (no sales pitch) so my husband could see what I had been talking about”.  The more he saw, the more questions HE asked and the more sold on the machine HE became.  By the time we walked out I had committed to purchasing the HQ24 Fusion with my husband’s blessing.
3 weeks later we had cleaned out, painted and set up a quilting studio in what used to be a large storage room, the machine was set up and ready to go.  I got instruction from the dealer, bought videos and started practicing my heart out. I had about 2 weeks practice under my belt when my church group started a project for the girls who were graduating from high school.  Each mother and daughter were supposed to make a quilt which would then be tied or bound in a group activity with all the women in the church.  I let it be known that I would give a “new machine quilter discount” if they would let me practice on their quilts.  Many of the mothers were thrilled to get this discount and I got great advertising at the group event after quilting 5 of the quilts.
I have been asked to display, discuss and show my quilting at an annual local quilt show as the “only machine quilting vendor” they have ever invited and been asked by a quilt shop out of state to quilt for their customers as well. 
I just finished my 29th customer quilt and I am having so much fun that I have to admit, I like the machine quilting even better than piecing the quilt tops.  I think the reason for this is that the turnaround is so much quicker and I still get the creative energy rush that comes with completing something beautiful.  I just get it more often now. 
The best payback of all though, comes with finishing a quilt that I have personally pieced AND done the machine quilting on.  It doesn’t get any better than this. 

I own the following HQ machines: HQ24 Fusion, HQ Pro-Stitcher