Janet Cunningham


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I love quilts. I love the fabric. I love the challenge of the different patterns. I love the process of making the quilt. And now I love quilting on my HQ Sixteen. I do not know where my love for quilts began, but I know I have always wanted to quilt. The only quilt I remember in our home while I was growing up was a quilt on my grandmother’s iron bed. Years later when my Mother gave me that almost-worn-out quilt, I learned that it was a quilt made by a group of church ladies for my great-grandfather who was a circuit rider minister in the 1800’s. Day-to-day life happens and my time was taken by other activities and I did not make quilts. My first completed quilt was for our teenage son’s new waterbed in 1990. I have been addicted to quilting ever since! Or, I should say at that time I was addicted to piecing the tops of quilts. I began tying my quilts to complete them. Then I progressed to trying to quilt on my sewing machine. And then I began taking my quilt tops to a lady who had a long-arm quilting machine. Wow! That was a machine I wanted! We did not have room in our modest home for a machine that size so I continued to take my quilt tops to her to be quilted. Several years ago we moved to a different home that has a basement family room which has became mostly my quilting/sewing room – and there is room for a quilting machine! When the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo Show came to town, I went to try all the quilting machines. After trying all the different brands and sizes of quilting machines, it was the HQ Sixteen that I wanted. I purchased it that day. The Handi Quilter is so easy to use that it wasn’t long before I was quilting! I could stipple anything! And I could “groove” with my groovy boards! But I was timid about free-hand quilting other than the stippling. My husband encouraged me to go to the Handi Quilter retreats to learn all I could about my new machine. I attended both sessions and learned so much --- thank you Kathi, Cheryl, Hatty, and Vicki for sharing your knowledge! You were all so caring and patient. Stippling, groovy boards, pantographs, rulers, free-hand, trapunto! Wedding quilts, baby quilts, charity quilts, scrappy quilts, doll quilts! Table runners! Quilted vests! Quilting fabric for making tote bags! I can do it all! I can quilt day or night! Did my love of quilts come from those long-ago church ladies who made my great- grandfather’s quilt? Wouldn’t they have loved to have been able to quilt with a Handi Quilter?!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

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

Cheryl A Meadors

Lilee and Cheryl with their first quilts

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I’ll admit it.  I am a fiber-aholic.  I love the color, the texture, even the smell of fiber whether it’s raw fleece, roving, yarn or fabric. 
Several years ago, I started doing a little genealogical research to discover the source of my fiber affliction.  I remember my mother, grandmother and great aunts piecing and quilting.  I have several quilts willed to me from mom’s side of the family.  All of a sudden it struck me that the ‘heritage of fiber’ that I’m passing on to my daughter had yet to include quilting.  So I decided to make it my summer objective to create a quilt with my 12 year old daughter.  We went to the local quilt shop and picked out fabric that appealed to her interests.  We ended up with basketballs, blueberry pie, polar bears, penguins, pandas - lots of bright colors.  I picked out a simple pattern, cut out the pieces then laid them out on the floor assuming my daughter would give her seal of approval.  Instead, she started moving everything around into a random pattern.  So we spent a week with graph paper diagramming out patterns that would look good from close up and farther away.  Eventually, we came to consensus on the layout and my daughter began to sew the shapes into blocks.  As the blocks were done, I laid them out on a bed until we had every block positioned.   At the end of the adventure, my daughter declared that she appreciated the making of a memory but she’d rather play basketball.
By working with her, I rediscovered my love for pattern and color in fabric.  For the next year I worked on a king sized quilt pieced in a bear claw pattern and hand quilted in a lap hoop that I inherited from my great grandmother.  When I was finished, the quilt was too precious to use!  No dog was allowed to curl up on it.  Even my daughter was sternly cautioned about appropriate ways to use the quilt.  I had created an heirloom that everyone was afraid to touch.  At that point, I realized that I needed a faster (and less painful!) way to quilt.
I had seen ads in quilting magazines about long arm machines but I had no idea what they were.   Not far from my home, I noticed a shop that had commercial quilting machines on display.  They signed me up for a class in machine quilting and explained that they offered rental time on the machines.  So I began a 2 year exposure to long arm quilting through rented equipment.  At first it was enough to quilt edge to edge with freehand doodling.  I could knock out a finished quilt in 3 hours and was perfectly content with my technique.  But the quilt tops started piling up as the available time to rent started shrinking.   And I was to the point with my piecing where I wanted the ability to replicate a hand quilted design.  That wouldn’t be possible in a 3 hour window of rental time.  I knew that the machine I was renting was beyond any price that I could justify for an obsession that wasn’t going to yield any financial benefits. 
Years before, I worked for the Viking Sewing Machine Company as a regional sales manager.  Erica’s Sewing Center in South Bend, Indiana, is still in business.  One of my machines needed service, so I packed up the machine and my husband for the hour’s drive to her store, knowing that she had a line of long arm machines.   After we checked in my machine for service, I casually wandered over to the HQ display.  Not only were the machines ‘pretty’ enough to be in my house, they operated the same way as the commercial machines I had rented.  I nearly walked away, assuming that the HQ would be beyond what I would consider spending.  Fortunately, there was a price sheet on each machine.  Every feature I wanted came included on the machine.  Nothing was an ‘add on’.  And the throat space I was accustomed to using was available on the HQ24 Fusion.  Trying not to show too much excitement, I got back into the car and headed home.  My husband was already saying ‘Buy it, you deserve it.  You’ve saved money in your new car fund for years.  Go ahead and use it for something you want!’ 
I consider myself a smart shopper.   I pulled out all my quilting magazines and looked up every competitive brand on the internet.  With the HQ as a ‘comparison’ model, it was easy to eliminate other brands on features, cost, and aesthetics.  Eventually, it came down to only one question – WHICH model HQ did I need?
So I emailed Erica and asked for an hour to talk about the difference between the HQ options. We got together at her shop that Saturday and walked through the features of the machine as well as what she would do to teach me to use the machine.  She also offered me membership in a user group that meets monthly to continue learning and sharing.  All that plus a promotion on the machine and free shipping - I was sold.  We wrote up the deal and I went home to wait.
 The perfect spot for my new machine is a 12 foot expanse looking out over the living room.  10 days later, when the 11 boxes and set of 2x4’s arrived in our driveway, my husband called and said “What did you buy?”  After we finally got it hauled up 3 flights of stairs, he started assembling it in the afternoons before I came home from work.  By the weekend, it was ready for a ‘test drive’.   I couldn’t wait to work on one of my quilt tops so I watched the video then loaded a twin sized quilt.  I came up with a strategy to put some freehand butterflies and flowers into specific spaces, joined by curlicues.  My daughter (now 15) has a talent for art and freehand drawing.  She started showing interest in what I was doing and how the machine was sketching with thread.  All of a sudden, another ‘golden opportunity to create a memory’ flashed into my brain.  I’m going to challenge my daughter to do a freehand whole cloth quilt by sketching with the machine. 
Here we go again!! 

I own the following HQ machine: HQ24 Fusion

Valerie Lund

I love this machine!

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Years ago I took a Quilt-In-A-Day class and constructed Eleanor's Log Cabin full-sized quilt top in one day... and I was hooked. After that I constructed eight or ten quilts but then life happened and kids put quilting on the back burner. I worked for a marketing firm for years but never forgot the fun of quilting and three years ago I purchased my HQ Sixteen. I now call my little business Remember Quilts and last month I quit my day job to devote more time to my "retirement job." It was a big and scary step to walk away from a good job but now I'm having so much fun quilting for others and with the Pro Stitcher it's a "piece of cake!" I've probably quilted 50 tops for customers and made T shirt and memory quilts, too. Customers are always pleased and ask how I can get my designs and stitches so perfect. I just say, "I have a great machine!" I shopped for several months before deciding on the HQ. I talked with lots of quilters and compared features and finally decided the HQ Sixteen was the one. Now after three years I'm dreaming about the Fusion but haven't mentioned that to my husband...yet. I love the studio that Mike and our sons built for me. It's half of what used to be the garage. Now it's my domain and you'll find me out there all the time. I realize now that I should have asked for the entire garage. :) The customer service at HQ is exceptional and I'm sure I've spoken with everyone there at some point but Vicki Hoth is my new best friend. Please know that I call her often not due to machine problems but due to operator ignorance. She could not be any more knowlegable or patient! One time I was trying to download an original pattern and she said, "Send it to me and I'll fix it." She did and now that quilt is one of my all-time favorites. Vicki even gave me her cell phone number when I only had weekends to quilt. Like I said, we're BFF now! :) That's my story and now I have to run. I have one customer quilt, one charity quilt and about 300 in my head that I need to get to! Thanks, Handi Quilter! Valerie Lund

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

John M. Kubiniec

I am in front of Polaris, my entry in final round of the 2010 McCall's Design Star Contest

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When I first started quilting about 10 years ago I was fascinated by everything that was out on the market to help me in my quest to become a quilter. I came across pictures of longarm machines and sent away for promo materials and received a few VHS tapes (anyone remember those?) and the pricing information. I choked when I saw the price, but thought some day I am going to have one of those! So, instead of a longarm machine I think I have collected every ruler and gadget that was on the market. Fast forward ahead 8 years - I was going to quilting shows and trying out different machines and was getting to the point where I thought - “I am going to get one, I am going to get one, I am going to get one.” I would go to shows and “test drive” all the machines and compare them. I kept taking them out for test drives and asking more questions and I finally decided Handi Quilter was the one for me. But where would I put it? I live in a 600 square foot apartment in New York City! So, the dream of owning one remained a dream. An opportunity came to buy a demo machine from an HQ dealer (HQ Sixteen with HQ Pro-Stitcher) and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass by. I thought, well I will buy it and store it until I can find a place to set it up. Friends said – “Can’t you rearrange your furniture?” “Can’t you get rid of a few things to make it fit” (Oh – I forgot to say – these were quilting friends who wanted their quilts quilted!) Well, I thought about it, and I did get rid of things (a couch), I did rearrange (my piano ended up in my bedroom) and the HQ was set up at the 8 foot length in my living room. (As the saying goes “Where there’s a will there’s a way!) I truly began to live the quilting life - and my life started to change - all for the better. I finally started to actually finish my own quilts and I was having fun doing that. Then I started quilting quilts for friends. Soon I was taking in quilts and making some money, and more quilts started coming in and I started my business – Big Rig Quilting. Along the way I decided to enter the 2010 McCall’s Design Star Contest. If I didn’t have the HQ Sixteen I probably would not have entered. The final round required a quilt top to be designed, sewn and quilted in a 30 day period – oh – right before Christmas! But I knew that with the HQ in my apartment I could rise to the challenge. And I did! While I didn’t win the contest, I was a runner-up in that contest. Since that time I have been designing quilts for new fabric lines for Windham Fabrics and was able to sew and quilt samples for them for Spring Market 2011 and I am doing that again for Fall Market. And, some of my quilt patterns and quilts will be published in McCall’s Quilting, McCall’s Quick Quilts, and Fons & Porter Love of Quilting in 2012 – all quilted on my HQ Sixteen! And my longarm quilting business continues to grow. Who knew that getting rid of a couch and replacing it with a longarm would change my life in this way.

I own the following HQ machines: HQ Pro-Stitcher, HQ Sixteen