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

Sharyn Drollinger

Soo cool

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Created lots of tops while taking care of my father-in-law but didn't have time to quilt. When he passed away i needed to get ahead of the game so decided to get a long arm. In the month since standing I have quilted 25 quilts now just need to bind. My grandson is fasinated with the machine if only he was tall enough to work independently. I was determined to find somewhere to set up the machine even if it meant giving up our living room

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Candy Crandall

Me quilting my first large quilt with my HQ Sixteen machine for my friends wedding

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My quilting journey began over 40 years ago at the feet of my mother who was, putting it lightly, an avid quilter.  I spent many hours by her side as she hand quilted heirlooms for family and friends.  My favorite place to play was under the quilts as she sewed and visited with her friends.  I’ve found that as I work on my own quilts the warm memories of my mother are kept alive, though she has been gone a little over 11 years.
                My quilting career started when I was very young, by the time I was 9 years old I had pieced and quilted my first quilt with my mother at my side giving me help and encouragement along the way. Over the years my passion for quilting grew and I spent many wonderful hours with my mother searching for the perfect fabrics to use for our textile masterpieces.  As time passed I enjoyed making quilts for my own children and friends. But hand quilting took so long that I often went the easy rout and tied them. My tied blankets never seemed to reach their full potential aesthetically, but what could I do?  With four kids, a full time job, not to mention church and other social obligations there was no way I was going to hand quilt my quilt tops fast enough to keep my ever growing collection of them from becoming a mountain of to do’s. I love to design and put together my own quilt tops and they were stacking up quicker than I could even tie them, I needed a solution.
                The answer came six years ago when my mother-in-law, Audrey, bought an HQ Sixteen machine. When we went to visit I didn’t think one way or the other about the HQ Sixteen, but when my mother-in-law fired it and started zigging and zagging and looping and swirling I immediately decided that I could take my quilting up to the next level. The quilts she made were beautiful; they looked so professional and nice that I knew I had to try it out. I became more excited about sewing and kept piecing quilt tops and sent them to her to quilt. Then about a year ago she was talking to my husband about wanting to upgrade her machine and he asked her if she wanted to sell us hers.  I was excited at the prospect and we made a trip down to Arizona so I could try it out on a quilt I had put together for my oldest sons college graduation.  As fate would have it her machine was in the shop and I wasn’t able to play with it. But we went to her HQ dealer and tried out several machines, I was hooked.  The HQ machines were so easy to use and the quality level produced was so precise that I had to have one for myself.
 We returned home to Washington State from Arizona. Even though I wanted one desperately I was unsure about purchasing a machine because of the limited space in our house. Then my husband started checking out all of the machines on the internet and with input from his mother he found a machine for me a lot closer to home for a good price.
                We bought my HQ Sixteen from an individual about 250 miles from our home. The machine had been set up by an HQ dealer but never used by the woman who bought the machine. The woman who bought it passed away suddenly of an unexpected illness before she was able to enjoy the machine.  The fact that she had been loved by her husband was apparent as he took us to through the back yard to a cute little log craft house he had built for her to do her quilting and crafting. It was heart wrenching to watch my husband and hers take apart the machine that she never got a chance to use and load it into the car. Though the machine had begun with a tragic history, it was bound for great things.
                We returned home with the machine and though I was very excited to start it up and use it the poor thing sat in my living room for almost a month. I was trying to decide where it would fit in my house...something I should have thought about before buying the thing I guess. I decided to set it up at the end of our family room so we did some very creative space planning and it ended up on the end of my living room. I was still a little intimidated by the machine, what would happen if I did something wrong? Would I break it before I got a chance to finish a quilt? So I did the only thing I could think of, I flew Audrey up to Washington from Arizona to teach me how to use it. A few months later and I have used it almost every day. The local HQ dealer has become my best friend as she gave me tip after tip of how to make a great quilt. When I bought it I knew I would love it, what I didn’t expect was to love it as much as I do, I am very glad that my husband insisted on getting me my HQ Sixteen in May of 2011. The boxes of fabric I’ve been collecting and quilt tops I’ve been making are quickly turning into quilted masterpieces.
                When I am quilting on my HQ Sixteen I feel a little closer to my mother who passed away 11 years ago. She shared with me her love of quilting, and in turn I have been able to keep her memory alive in my heart and share our love of craft and quilting with my own children. The man who lost his wife couldn’t have sold the machine to a more grateful person. The experience of buying the HQ Sixteen has made me even more grateful for all that I have in my life and allows me to better pursue something that I have always enjoyed.

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

Lindalee Lambert

Me and My HQ18 Avante!

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I believe that we are put on this earth to carry on the previous generations’ traditions. My Mother taught me to embroider, Grandma Duvall, gardening and Grandma Gauthier knitting—all of which I still do today. I feel it is my duty to instill, nuture and pass the love of these handicrafts to others . I learned to sew on my mother’s treadle machine and my first electric machine moved with me many times in my early adult-hood, but was always used for clothing, curtains, etc. My journey to become a quilter began at the local public library. Quilting classes were offered and a friend and I went. We had a wonderful teacher who said “there isn’t anything we can’t fix” and I have used that phrase many times while teaching my own quilting classes. I started tying my quilts, but soon wanted a more finished look. “Graduated” to machine quilting on my domestic machine, but I found maneuvering the quilt through the small throat difficult. I began looking at long-arm machines at quilt shows, and though tempted, not ready to make a real commitment. But, I knew that I could do that kind of work. I “test-drove” more machines over the next couple years and made a list of all the different features to compare. Armed with that information, I went to a MQX show in Manchester, NH to make a final decision. It wasn’t very difficult after taking my final test-drive on a HQ Sixteen. Of course, once I made my decision, I wanted my machine immediately! Meanwhile, I had moved my sewing machine out of the spare bedroom into our attached two-car garage that had been converted into studio space for myself and office space for my husband. In the beginning, I did a lot of “charity quilts” for practice, and found that my real love is freehand work. I find myself humming and smiling while meandering. It’s relaxing—especially while I’m still in my pajamas! I am very fortunate to have a HQ representative relatively near to our home. I would stop in to see Gerri at Sanford Sewing often, just to see “what’s new.” And there it was—something even better than my HQ Sixteen! An HQ18 Avante!!! Violins played, the clouds parted—I was in love! That machine had it all—stitch-length regulator or cruise, upgraded lighting, a great table, and limited time free financing—and they would take my HQ-16 in on trade! I couldn’t order it fast enough! It is set up in my studio and almost always has a quilt loaded or one waiting to go on. I continue my “charity quilts” along with an occasional “Quilt of Valor,” and work for friends and myself. Having a great space to work in—and my wonderful HQ18 Avante to create with, I know what I lucky woman I am. As fate would have it, I am now the grandmother passing the crafts of my foremothers on to my grandchildren. My oldest granddaughter is rapidly approaching the age when she will be able to handle scissors and a sewing machine—I can’t wait! But if we ever make mistakes, we won’t worry, because as I learned so long ago—there isn’t anything we can’t fix!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante