Kristi Jons

Ruler work doesn't have to be scary

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                Currently a local radio station is running an ad offering “passionate advice” on a product they are promoting.   That phrase—Passionate advice—always catches me.  Recently while I was working --for probably my 25th hour-- on a charity raffle quilt I was quilting for my quilt guild I thought, that’s what I am, a passionate machine quilter!  If I don’t have a quilt for myself or a customer to quilt, I go looking for stuff to do on my HQ18 Avante.  I quilt charity quilts for the Sioux Falls guild, I work on raffle quilts,  I quilt “recycle bags” which I then sew up and give to friends, families, customers, and new members at guild.  I’ve lost count but since 2008 when I started this recycle project, I’m sure there have been at least 250!  I’m doing my part to eliminate plastic bags in our landfills.  Through all this quilting practice, I have discovered my quilting skills are improving!
                I started a beginning quilting class in 1995 and after quilting my first sampler quilt by hand—I have quilted all my other quilts by machine.  It was a progression from my domestic machine,  to putting my own sewing machine on a Handiquilter carriage,  to a HQ Sixteen in 2004, and finally to my purchase of the HQ18 Avante June of 2010.  I have loved my new machine!   I’ve gone from using the manual controls almost exclusively to using, on the HQ18 Avante, the precision cruise.  It works so well!  I am less and less afraid of ruler work and stitching around appliqué.  Of course I talk to my machine—I say I’m praising you Miss Avante, now don’t let me down.  I have realized that I am very lucky to have a mentor/distributor (Kathy Harrington) and machine mechanic (Chris at Fonders) in my city.  They have both helped my when help was needed, and they give “passionate advice!”
            One day this summer, the phone rang.  From the caller ID I saw it was Maude Daniels (age 86 and quite a character with a passion for life) .  I said Hello, and Maude's first words were, "Kristi, Dee said you could quilt my quilt!"  She was talking about her latest appliqué creation that Dee (her friend from Wisconsin) had prepared and pieced for her on which Maude had done the hand appliqué.  I was a bit taken back because I knew that Maude did beautiful appliqué work and wasn't quite sure I could do justice with my machine quilting.  Maude's rather offhand vote of confidence in me made me decide to take the job.  I knew that the quilting would have to stay in the background but at the same time, really set it off.   I carefully stitched around each appliqué shape and echoed for a couple rows before "McTavishing" in the center areas.  I did the border with a "hooked on feathers" stitch.  I used my embroidery machine to put stars within the pieced stars and did a little stitching within the biggest appliqués.  At this point I was deeply in love with my micro-handlebars.  Maude did a hand quilting stitch around each of the flower centers.  I was very proud of how I had complimented Maude's work and my biggest regret is that I didn't get a picture of Maude and myself at the quilt show standing by the quilt. You see Maude recently passed away after an emergency surgery.  Now instead I need to put Maude's obituary in my scrapbook next to that quilt.  I know the quilt was special to her and an intended wedding gift for her granddaughter .   I am happy I was able to contribute to the quilt’s beauty
                Another thing that I have enjoyed this past year is a machine quilting small group that is an arm of our quilt guild.  When I attend these meetings, I spend time with others that share my passion for machine quilting.  We help each other with quilting dilemmas, we watch quilting DVD’s, we get to try hands on lessons, we dabble with what design to use on various blocks, we also made a “quilt as you go” whole cloth raffle quilt.  I also value a chat group on line where machine quilters ask questions and get helpful answers.
                I still piece quilts and I do general sewing for customers such as curtains, alterations, teddy bears, and t-shirt quilts.  My husband and I make bean bag games.  He does the boards, I do the bags.  They are better money but bean bags aren’t my passion.   I do all these other things but I find I need to get my long arm fix.  Since my machine shares the basement family room with the television and the computer, sometimes she (Miss Avante) has to sit empty—you know football season is coming soon!  I am finding I do love to machine quilt and like the feeling that I am getting better at the skill.  I hope I can continue to spend quality time with my machine for many more years.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Joe Filer

I'm using a pantograph on a charity quilt

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I ordered a HQ24 Fusion at the Paducah quilt show in April of 2009 after comparing it with the competition. I have surpassed 500 quilts since I began logging my work in September, 2009. Most of my work has been dedicated our favorite charities: Project Linus, Quilts of Valor, and several local shelters. I have been especially pleased working with the HQ technical staff to improve the functionality and “personalization” of my machine. I have found that long arm quilting is a great challenge for a man, calling upon my background mechanical and mathematical experiences. The HQ technicians have been very helpful with my general questions and installation of software updates. They even invited me to beta test an update. I am hopeful that my input for product improvement and innovations is helpful and not viewed as too “kooky”. I love to tinker with my setup, looking ways to make my quilting easier and nicer. I really like the ability to using specialty threads that local quilters with other brands of machines don’t want to touch! Metallic threads have worked well on art quilts and glow-in–the-dark thread adds an exciting touch to the Project Linus kid quilts. I have been expanding my experience into denser custom quilting (picture), ruler work with monofilament thread, and trapunto with water soluble thread. Successful use of my Fusion encouraged me to try my hand at piecing my own top. During a short period when my Fusion was in for routine service, my wife gave me instruction to piece a “Sudoku” quilt of my own design. I finished it on the Fusion with a “puzzle” pantograph quilting pattern. It is a functional puzzle quilt that can be placed on the floor and solved with quilted playing pieces. It has been enjoyed by our children, grand children and even our dog. (picture) I’m looking forward to future projects that will include hand painted fabric with whole cloth quilting motifs. Long arm quilting need never get boring!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ24 Fusion

Pam Barman

Pam Barman, Houston, TX

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I began my adventures in quilting in 2009 when my best friends coaxed me into taking a class with them. After a few too many times of rolling and stuffing a queen size quilt into my little domestic machine, and stitching in the ditch, I knew I wanted a long-arm machine. My mother had taught me to sew clothing when I was very young, but I had stopped sewing as an adult. Mom had passed on before I started quilting, but I always feel like she is smiling down on me from heaven when I'm sewing now! And since she had left me a little inheritance...well, I just knew Mom would want me to have a long-arm!! My HQ18 Avante is the perfect machine for me; it is so user friendly, and makes me feel like I am in control of my quilt from start to finish. I love being able to not only quilt my own creations, but having my HandiQuilter also allows me to quilt charity and Quilt of Valor quilts for my guild. I've just donated a quilt to a foundation, to be raffled at a fundraiser. Being able to participate in these types of projects is very fulfilling and I know it wouldn't be possible without my Handi Quilter! So, thanks HQ for making my life so much sweeter!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

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

Judy Clay

Starry Starry Nite

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I am NOT a free-motion quilter. My love of computers starts over 30 years ago when I worked for Digital Computer Company so just naturally wanted to learn computerized quilting but...I am a “self taught quilter” My story starts way way back… Back in the late 70’s early 80’s I was a Stretch and Sew instructor in Rural Colorado. About the time that Eleanor Burns started the “Quilt in a Day” . We tore the fabric , there were no rotary cutters… and there were no quilting machines . At least not any home machines. About the mid 80’s my life changed and I started working in my new husband’s office.. Full time… that meant 8-12 hours a day.. No time for sewing. 18 years later we sold the part of our business that I was primarily responsible for and I told my husband I wanted to start sewing again. And, I wanted to start making quilts. I spend a lot of time researching the internet before I purchase a big product and started looking at quilting frames. I knew with my history of computer work that I had to get into computerize quilting. AT that time there were only a couple of computerized quilting machines. The $18,000 one was not an option and what if I didn’t like to quilt my own quilts. So I knew that if I did go to computerized I had to have the Handi Quilter frame because the company I was researching used that frame. Beside living in Colorado a frame from Utah sounded good to me. So I bought the HQ table top frame and a 9” throat machine. After a year of quilting with that setup I bought the computerized system. HQ did not have a system out at that time. It didn’t take long before I realized I needed the HQ Sixteen machine. I used that machine about 2 years with my side mount computerized system and then when HQ came out with the HQ Pro-Stitcher I knew one day I’d end up with that system. One day our local dealer, knowing I had been eyeing the HQ24 Fusion told me that after the first of the year he’d sell me his demo model. I jumped on that and bought the HQ24 Fusion but quickly realized that my little side mount just didn’t give me the power that my Fusion had . So once again my dealer, Hi Fashion in Grand Junction , CO , made me a deal I could not refuse. I have never been disappointed. My sister-in-law asked me to quilt a snowman quilt for her using metallic thread!!! METALLIC thread I asked.. Are you kidding? But I got to thinking why not… so loaded this queen sized quilt on and used Superior Metallic and set up a design that looked like snowballs.. Not one thread break...Since that quilt I have done about 4 more. Then I thought if the metallic thread works so well what about monopoly? Wow… another 70x70 quilt and not one thread break!! That quilt won Judges Choice in our Western Colorado Quilt show. I can’t say enough about Handi Quilter machines. For me I have stayed with HQ for several reasons. 1) I like the way the machine looks… and yes… looks matter, 2) My local dealer is wonderful, 3) ease of use… tension is or should not be a problem and with HQ it hasn’t been for me 4) HQ Pro-Stitcher is a dream to use.. The difference between it and my 1st system is like a used VW and a BMW. I love laying out the whole quilt at once. I’ve been to lots of quilt shows… I was an in-home rep for the other system so traveled to several national quilt shows to demo their system. So I’ve looked at all the long arm machines out there. I like the looks of the HQ, the sound, the smoothness, the service.. I haven’t found anything I have not been happy with. The day I got to really work on my ProStitcher I could not follow the book and get it to stitch the way I wanted..so after calling my dealer and finding out the person working with HQ Pro-Stitcher was gone for the day I thought ok..I’ll call tech support… Vicki was the one on the other end of the phone and she even called me back to help me out… what service!!She told me that a new book was coming out that day and emailed me the link I downloaded it and printed it out and have never looked back… Give me the book and I can follow anything. The new book for ProStitcher is excellent! I quilt for others and have a nice little business going and love what I’m doing… I’m retired from my office job and have a small group of seasoned quilters that we call ourselves EZ Strippers. We do a lot of strip quilting. I’ll never forget the first “A” word quilt I quilted for a friend/customer… it was a birdhouse quilt with lots of different sized blocks and birds . I was quilting all over the houses and giving the birds feathers and someone said to me… you aren’t suppose to quilt on top of applique… WHAT?!? Are you kidding? I had my good friend come over and make sure it would be ok because I sure didn’t want to take anything out!! It did turn out ok and since then I have done a lot of panels with detail quilting. I really like doing that. I quilted a Wild Bill panel and actually made his leather clothes look like leather. Since that birdhouse quilt I’ve done a lot of quilting on applique and panel work. Giving bears hair and flowers veins is one of my favorites. That’s the extent of my free motion quilting… I do about 90% of my quilting with my HQ Pro-Stitcher. My 22 year old granddaughter has just graduated from Western State College with a degree in FineARts and is really into quilting… what fun that is for grandma… I recently had our nephew’s daughter , 10 years old, come over and use my Fusion to quilt her Fair quilt which she won a blue ribbon on.. I'm not sure she had even seen my Fusion before that day. Love that machine!!! I’m enclosing a picture called “Starry Starry Night. A pattern designed by Debby Krotovil… although I made some changes.. None of the 6” blocks are included in her pattern.. I took them from my EQ7 and put them into the quilt. I also used hand painted fabric from Barb’s Elegant designs. I’ve been getting a yard a month for about 5 years so thought I ought to use it. It is quilted with monopoly and no thread breaks!!! The 2nd quilt is a quilt for a friend using purple metallic which she won a blue ribbon too.NO BREAKS!!! No turning back for me!! It’s a joke around our house when my husband says “What are you doing today… or should I ask?” He knows I'll be in my quilting room. Judy Clay

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