Robin May

Thanksgiving, 2004

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I have been a quilter for many years, but having four kids meant little space (or time!) to quilt as much as I wanted. My sewing was relegated to the dining room table or the utility room, and I always had to send my quilts out to be quilted, or struggle to baste, roll and try to quilt on my domestic sewing machine. As the kids have grown and left home, I finally acheived at least a sewing room of my own, but I still felt a quilting machine was out of my reach. In 2005, our daughter moved back in with her three children so that we could help with the kids while she finished nursing school. I packed up my sewing room and compressed two households into one. I had to have a creative outlet of some sort, so I knitted for those years, because setting up a sewing machine was next to impossible. Our daughter earned her BSN late in 2007, and moved out, but by that time my mother was rapidly failing and we moved her in with us. Unfortunately, she broke her hip about 6 weeks after she moved in with us, and had to go to a nursing home. In the meantime, our oldest son needed to move back home in the middle of changing careers, and our second son returned home from his second tour of Iraq. there were no jobs easily available at that time because of the economy, so of course we had him stay with us. Sewing room on hold again! Eventually, jobs were found, careers planned, marriages occured and we are once again empty nesters! I have quite a few friends that sew and quilt, even a couple with quilting machines of their own, so I started looking at their set-ups. One friend in particular had a mid-arm machine and small frame set up in her home. I realized that might be possible for me too. I started looking out for frames, and found one on Craig's List. We took a Saturday and drove to check it out. I ended up buying it thinking I could maybe make my domestic machine work with that particular frame. It took another entire Saturday to re-assemble the frame (thanks to my sweet husband), but what a dissapointment! My domestic machine would probably only allow me to quilt about 2 inches at a time. So, I began looking for a mid-arm machine. I called several sewing machine shops in the area, and most told me they rarely had mid-arm machines for long. I also contacted Pam Barr at the Quilt Depot in Grapevine Texas. She told me she didn't carry used machines, but she sold Handi Quilter machines and also rented time on them. We decided to go there and just look (I still didn't think it was possible for me to have a longarm machine). As soon as I tried just a few stitches on that HQ18 Avante I was hooked! My husband who is in machining and builds prototypes for Bell Helicopter was very impressed with the construction and quality of both the machine and frame. Pam encouraged me to check out every machine brand I could find to make sure I could get the one that "fit" me best. I did do a little more shopping, but the Handi Quilter was just so impressive. I even shopped around on E-Bay a little, but my husband kept telling me "You need to get the "good one"" I haunted the Handi Quilter web site, checking out the videos and all the options. Then I saw the "financing available" button! I was really excited then. We wanted to get all our "toys" ready for retirement while we can. We decided to apply for credit, and the rest as they say is history. I applied, was approved, and ordered the HQ18 Avante as soon as I could. I took off work the day the machine was to arrive. I was so excited! I just kept looking at all the boxes and pinching myself to make sure it wasn't a dream. Pam and Deedee drove to my house (an hour from her studio) on a Thursday, assembled the frame, and set everything up. The following Saturday, Pam trained me, and I went home and got busy. I'm still learning, and I have run out of quilt tops, but I have completed three quilts so far, with the fourth loaded and ready to quilt. I am sold on Handi Quilter's quality, customer support and web site. This has been a great experience from the start, and I am proud to be part of the Handi Quilter family!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Jessica Casady

Denim Shirt Practice with ART and Stitch and Raw Edge Appliqued` and Quilted using my HQ Sixteen wit

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I have been quilting for 4 years and have been sewing for 68 years and have come to appreciate a lot of times, events and persons who have touched my life in many ways, including my Lord and Creator, for who and where I am today.  My passion for sewing and creating began at the age of 3 years old when my older brother Billie blessed me with a little Stitch Mistress Toy Sewing Machine and a little Toy Electric Iron, of which I still have to this day.  From that day on, I just loved anything that had to do with sewing machines, fabrics, threads, needles, patterns, buttons, etc.  BUT NEVER QUILTING.! 
As a child of 5 or 6, I began to “sneak in” to use my Mother’s old Singer, of which she was unaware. My Mom had always informed me that the tensions could get out of balance, so I was very careful NOT to touch that dial.  I did however, eventually get caught in the act of sewing!  I contemplated not having to wear those hand-me-downs from my cousin in Oklahoma so I began to sew and create my own wardrobe.
As I entered into 9th grade, I developed a very loving relationship with my Homemaking Teacher, Miss Cobb, who became my second Mother.  Miss Cobb had so much patience with me and I would go across the street to her apartment after school to sew with her.  She taught me so many wonderful things about sewing and tailoring BUT NO QUILTING!  She helped me tackle my first tailored suit with bound buttonholes and lining.  After graduation from high school, we remained friends until Miss Cobb was elderly and the passed away.  I am so grateful for such dedicated teachers, such as her.
During my life, I have managed my own Couture Custom Clothing and Custom Decorating Business, while attending vocational schools to study clothing design, draping, drafting and custom decorating, but NEVER QUILTING!  In fact, I can remember making a statement several times in my forties, that when I AM OLD I WILL TAKE UP QUILTING. 
I have been employed by Sears as a Sewing Instructor and then full-time commission sales of Kenmore Sewing Machines for 23 years.  I have also worked at 3 different Bernina Shops, all of which closed and when the last one closed for good, in 2006, I went to work for MAKE IT SEW in Broomfield, Colorado.  MAKE IT SEW are HANDI QUILTER Representatives and Janome Dealers.
I took ONE LOOK at that BIG HANDI QUILTER 16 and thought to myself, how am I going to sell this machine?  I’ve been around sewing machines all of my life but NEVER one as big as this one!  So, I began to draw on my sales training from Sears and I thought to myself, I will have to KNOW my product in order to SELL it!  I remembered my statements about when I am old I WILL QUILT and now is the time to start so that I can learn this machine.  I’m now OLD enough!
I appliquéd and pieced my first humble quilt and stitched it IN THE DITCH on my regular machine and then put the binding on.   I started a class at Make it Sew for the appliquéd blocks, which were done on the embroidery machine.  My quilt was hanging in the store as a sample and then a professional quilter came into the store and was admiring it and then gave me some very profound advice!  Your quilt is beautiful, but until you actually QUILT IT, it remains a comforter.   So now, I will practice on this BIG HQ 16 and quilt this comforter and turn it into a quilt.  Since then, I have completed a total of 8 quilts. 
Now, I’m hooked on QUILTING and purchased my very own HQ Sixteen with the HQ Pro-Stitcher and Micro Handles.  Bob Juenemann, the owner of Make it Sew, delivered my HQ 16 and set it up for me.  It took him 6 hours to set it up because of my old crooked floors but he got it done with a few levelers.  I purchased an old 1882 Queen Anne Victorian home by myself back in 1998 and have been fixing it up ever since.  I did not anticipate having a long arm at that time but I have room in this BIG OLD HOUSE.
My process with the last 4 quilts has progressed very very fast.  I used purchased digitized designs to quilt the first one using the HQ Pro-Stitcher.  This quilt, Rhapsody in Ribbons and Roses, took Best of Show and the next quilt, The Keepsake Collection, took 2nd place in the Mancuso National Quilt festival. Then my next quilt, Sparkles and Lace in Folk-art, required a hand guided pattern of my own.  I found it very time consuming to hand guide this intricate pattern so I purchased the Micro-Handles.  The micro handles helped tremendously and I got the job done.  This quilt took 1st place in Estes Park, CO. 
Because of the complexity of hand-guiding these intricate patterns, I started to SHOP AROUND for a quilt digitizing program to make it easier for myself and let the HQ Pro-Stitcher do it for me.  I decided on the ART and STITCH software and purchased the program last September of 2010, before HANDI QUILTER and ART and STITCH got married!  I started digitizing the quilting designs for my Denver Album Applique` Quilt and I found this software so easy to use and so much fun.   I jumped right in and completed my latest and last quilt and it turned out so beautiful!    
 I find the HANDI QUILTER so easy to learn!  It’s very user friendly!  I have used all threads and have even used 2 different threads at the same time, including metallic thread!  My latest project was a jean shirt that I pinned to the leaders and using my own designs created with ART and STITCH software, made raw edge appliqués with use of the HQ Pro-Stitcher.       
The former software package, Quilt Cad, was not user friendly.  I am so happy that HANDI QUILTER and ART and STITCH got married!  This is THE BEST Marriage ever!
MY LIFES MOTTO IS:  Learn Something New Every Day!  And I am doing just that!    

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

Patricia Brockton

My version of Red Onion pattern quilt.

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My long-arm machine is an HQ18 Avante. As a teen and young mother I had done some sewing for myself and kids, sewed draperies and pillows for cheap home decorating and even made simple tied quilts of squares for my toddler’s beds way back in the ’60’s. Later, with 3 children and a full time job as a H.S. art teacher, the sewing got put on the back burner. Later, a few years before I retired I took 3 quilting classes which were offered in our community education program and I was hooked. I started with a queen sized sampler, did a log cabin and then a “Storm at Sea”’ patterned quilt for my daughter and husband’s new home. Again, the new hobby got put on the back burner as we spent the first several years of retirement building our home and other out buildings along with all the inside finishing including cabinets; husband even did all the wiring and me, the plumbing. A new friend introduced me to quilt retreats and I was re-hooked! My first projects were hand quilted (the arthritis progressing in my hands rather limited me) and then I struggled with a big quilt on my regular Elna Quilter’s Dream. I bought a basic handi-quilter table top frame with a Juki machine, took a couple of classes and really enjoyed the process of quilting my own projects. I still was frustrated with the relatively small throat space, being able to only work on about 4 or 5 inches as the quilt was rolled up. And the frame’s poles were not as rigid as I would have liked. In 2010 I noticed a sewing shop in a nearby town was making their HQ18 Avante available to rent by the hour so my friend and I signed up - now I was hooked again. I did a queen sized project but it took most of the day - pure fun just meandering, but so fast! The problem was between working hard to get it done in one trip and driving 1 1/2 hrs each way, I found I ended up with lower back pain. Why? I was used to standing working at my machine at home but realized there I was taking breaks every half hour-45 minutes or so. I guessed I would have to plan to do just smaller projects on the rental machine. While there I took a packet to do a small challenge quilt sponsored by the sewing store for the area quilt show. Was I surprised when I won second place and a new sewing machine. Well, I already had 2 sewing machines plus my Juki so what to do . . . then my hubby suggested I trade that in toward a nice long-arm machine. It didn’t take too long to convince myself that was what I wanted to do. Jay, the store owner made me a good deal and within a couple of weeks he delivered and set up my new machine, the HQ18 Avante. I just love it and am enjoying trying out new free-hand patterns and practicing with templates. I use alot of designs with large blocks and it’s great being able to quilt them in their entirety. Even breaking my wrist this past February I managed to do a queen quilt top and then quilt it on my HQ18 Avante. The only part I couldn’t do one handed was getting it pinned to the leaders but again had an understanding spouse. It sure helped on those long days when I couldn’t do much else! I am not really yearning for a computerized machine - I like to have personal creative control over the designing - ask my quilt friends - they know I dislike strictly following patterns!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Colette Perry

That's me with the four men in my life.

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My story really begins with another brand of quilting machine. I bought it from the quilter who quilted my first king size quilt. She was upgrading to a bigger machine and my wonderful husband knew I would love having her machine. But where to put it? Not HIS garage. I decided to fix up the shed on our property and set it up out there. I had used that machine for almost five years when Hubby and I were shopping at Meissner's in Sacramento. He called me over to see the new HQ Sixteen. WOW! We bought it, sold the old one and I have loved using it ever since. My shed is not fancy enough to be called a studio or even a shop but it's a quiet, peaceful place to do what I love. The only interruptions are when I need a potty break or Hubby comes out to admire and check my progress. I have made quilts for our seven grandchildren, neices and nephews, charity and lots of friends. I always charge my friends for the quilts I do because that way they will bring me more. They wouldn't keep me busy doing what I enjoy so much if they thought they were taking advantage of me. It's also nice to be able to support my quilting habit with a little extra cash.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Talitha Hull


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I began quilting in the mid 1990's as a hobby.  Everything I did at that time was hand quilted.  As my love for quilting grew and I got the "quilting bug" and began to send quilts to others to be macine quilted.  Having a growing family and limited finances kept me from having my own machine, though I REALLY did want one.  After many years of paying others, the time was finally right to pursue purchasing a machine of my own.
Living in the remote Panhandle of Oklahoma, finding a local dealer/representative was an impossibilityl  The nearest local dealer for any quilting machine brand was at least a five hour drive from home.  I began to research brands, cost and qualities on the Internet.  It is difficult to determine specifics based on a picture and a sales pitch, but each new search brought me back to the Avante'.  I determined that this model would best meet my needs, skills, and other requirements.  The next battles was convincing my husband to make a major purchase, online, and sight unseen.  After much discussion, prayer, and nervous anticipation, the purchase was made.  Two weeks later I received the HQ18 Avante, the HQ Studio Frame, and some other promotional perks.  The setup and assembly was either quite simple or somewhat difficult, whether you ask me or my husband.


I viewed the accompanying DVD and a few days later began the machine quilting journey.  Being in a rural community creates its own set of challenges for opportunities to quilt for other people, but soon after getting started with the HQ18 Avante, the teacher of the Texhoma High School Home Economic class heard that I had the new machine and wanted to let the students see the machine as they had been working on quilts as a semester project. I was somewhat nervous but the quality and ease of the machine allowed the demonstration to go with ease and without problems.  For quite some time it had been required that the students send their quilts outside the community to be quilted, but this year I was able to quilt their 12 projects here in the community and as you can see from the enclosed pictures these students are artist and thheir creations works of art.
 
Thanks Handi Quilter, the HQ18 Avante was everything it was advertised to be and more!

 

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante