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

Elaine Schmidt

That's Me Working

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I have having so much fun this summer learning how to quilt on my new HQ Sweet 16. I recently wrote a post on my blog that I would like to share with you:

It tells the story of the "voice" that encouraged me to "say yes" at spring Quilt Market. I make quilts for fun and relaxation, but I also work as a free-lance designer/consultant/author/teacher in the sewing, quilting and craft industry. My clients include manufacturers who sell fabric, ribbon, buttons, etc, and I often make samples for their Quilt Market booths. Because of time constraints (those new fabric samples often come just days before finished quilts have to be shipped to the shows), I've always kept my machine quilting very simple. As my post says, I would limit my quilting to ditching or simple straight lines that I could quickly complete. But those days are over. I am having a ball trying all types of machine quilting techniques and my HQ16 has been a dream to work on. It takes up so little room in my workroom but it sure expands upon the works I can create for myself and my clients.

Just wanted to share my story with you and to thank you for manufacturing such a great product and providing the support and education to really get comfortable using it. Both Debby Brown and Bryne Sewing Connection have been so helpful.

I own the following HQ machines:

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

Hiroko Miyama

myself: Hiroko Miyama

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I was always surprised by my husband. While our second visits of IQA Houston quilt show, He brought me to Handi Quilter’s booth. He asked me to try, however I didn't know how to operate. It was very easy and very smooth to do when I tried with kind HQ staff's instruction. I had thought that longarm sawing machines looked like factory's one and was operated by a powerful person. HQ changed my thought. It was compact enough to fit in even small Japanese house and was able to be operated by even a pinkie. But why he brought me to there? His intention is to present me HQ18 as commemoration of the first finalist of famous quilt show. I was very happy, but I worried how to maintain, because there was no dealer in Japan. He didn't care anything I did. He said that its mechanism looked similar as regular home machine or even much simpler so that it was able to be fixed by mechanics in Japan. He wanted to take maintenance class if available. He has checked several longarm machines while I took classes in quilt show. He almost decided to purchase the latest model, HQ18 Avante. He liked it as an engineer. He is not sawing engineer but IT engineer, though. It was early January that HQ18 Avante was delivered. A lot of question came out while I tried to use my HQ and asked him. He checked manual, internet and/or e-mailed HandiQuilter, whenever I asked. But his response was always to adjust string's tension or to practice more. He might be correct, since no adjustment is required except string's tension. One day, He began to make a quilt. He seemed to know what I asked. He had never done during my 20 years hand quilt and three years machine quilt experience. Five months later, he completed a miniature quilt using my machine. His quilting technique is, of course, very primitive and not smooth. Just like small water drops "drip-drip" way. My HQ helped the beginner to make fine stitches. He never thought to challenge making quilt without HQ. What surprised me was not only he made a quilt but also he entered into local quilt contest. Besides, He won the best of miniature quilt award! His work was also displayed at AQS Paducah show in this spring and will be done at IQA Houston show in this winter. I hesitated to make quilt for contest by using only longarm machine, though I did understand that my HQ was very smooth and productive. His success and my competitive nature made me to practice more. I became to make beautiful quilt line very smoothly even it is tiny pattern. The first quilt for contest with HQ18 was completed one year after He presented. This brought me the first place award of IQA spring show in Cincinnati. Now, He is making the second miniature quilt and I am also making new wall quilt. My HQ became our HQ.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante


Me with my featherweight.

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I first sewed on the HQ Sixteen at the Houston Quilt Market in 2007. It was my first time at market and my first time sewing on the HQ. I couldn't get out of the seat. I let the rest of the girls continue with the show while I drew pumpkins, swirls, my name. I got in a zone and didn't want to leave it. My dreams of purchasing and building a hand guided quilting business were put on hold when early in 2008 my 45 year old husband was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. I put all things aside including my love of quilting to take care of him. He fought valiantly and in March of 2010 he lost his battle with cancer. Through the fog of my grief I have had to find a way to support what's left of my family. I decided to go back to what I loved, and in December of 2010 I went back to the handi quilter dealer in our area sat back down at that HQ Sixteen and decided to part with very precious resources so that I could continue a dream that had started so long ago in Houston.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sweet Sixteen