Stephanie Snodgrass

Having a ball

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A war, a deployment, and five teenagers-that's what lead me to my first quilting class. It was a an escape for me, where I could find paeace and friendship while my husband was deployed. As I finished my quilt tops, I would quilt the small ones but sent the larger ones out to be quilted. I had the oppourtunity to see a long-arm quilting machine when I took one of my larger quilts to a woman who was going to quilt it for me. After alot of questions about long-arm quilting, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I invested into an inexpensive mid-arm machine and was very frustrated with it. One day while in the local quilt shop, the owner told me he was going to carry the Handi Quilter quilting machine.I went on-line to see the machine he was talking about and was excited to see not only the features of the HQ Sixteen, but all the education and training you could get, which was very important to me. I was hooked! I ordered my HQ Sixteen and started turning out, in my opionion, beautiful quilts! About a year later I sold my HQ Sixteen and bought the HQ18 Avante. I have been quilting on HQ for about 3 years now. I have since gotten a job at the local quilt store and have the priveledge to demonstrate and teach others how to use the Handi Quilter quilting machine.In my spare time my family usually finds me in my sewing room happily quilting away on my HQ18 Avante8. Now I quilt for fun, for friends, and who knows, maybe one day I'll quilt for a living!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Jolene Mershon

Jolene quilting with Sweet-Sixteen

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I've been quilting for about 20 years, but seriously quilting ever since I retired in 2000. I sew almost every day and am totally emersed in making quilts. I started as a hand quilter and still hand quilt some of my wall hangings. But, there are so many quilts I want to make and so little time. I knew I needed to learn to machine quilt. I took a machine quilting class for domestic machines from a local quilter. That got me started and I practiced a lot. In 2003 our guild started making quilts for soldiers wounded in the Iraq war. Those donation quilts gave me a great avenue for practicing my quilting. Then I bought a new machine with a stitch regulator, thinking that would keep my stitches perfect. But, I've found that nothing can replace practice, practice, and more practice. After taking a class with Harriet Hargrove I began to venture out with free form quilting. However, I felt limited to smaller size quilts. The largest quilt I ever quilted on my domestic machine was a queen-size T-shirt quilt that I made for my son. It was like wrestling a bear. That was when I began to play with the idea of getting a larger machine. I have a large quilting room but it's pretty much packed with other quilting needs such as cutting table, etc. I just don't have room for a long-arm machine and my husband refuses to give up his hobby room for my quilting. He already grouses that I sew "all over the house". The HQ Sweet Sixteen is just the right size to fit into my sewing room with the added bonus of allowing me to sit while I quilt. I bought my HQ Sweet Sixteen in May of this year at the quilt show in Arlington, Texas. I first heard about the machine while taking a David Taylor workshop three years ago. David really loves his machine and makes beautiful award winning quilts on it. After that class I searched for information on Handi Quilter and began to seriously consider purchasing one. I tried the machine at the Dallas quilt show in March of this year and also at the Paducah AQS show. I took measurements of the machine and measured where I thought a it might fit in my sewing room. I found I didn't have to give up any of my other quilting furniture or an antique table that belonged to my Grandmother, who was also a quilter, to accomodate it. That really helped me finalize my decision. I really liked the way it stitched and it had so much room under the arm. I felt I could quilt larger quilts without having to push and pull so much. When a vendor brought the machine to my guild's quilt show I tried it again and decided to buy it during the show. I've taken the class on my Sweet Sixteen and learned so much. I've been using a variety of threads so am trying to master the tension. I love thread just about as much as I love fabric. I'm working on increasing my thread stash and expect I'll be using all of it on some project at some point in time. Right now I'm quilting on an entry for a quilt show in September. The last few years I've paid a long-arm quilter to quilt most of my show entries. She does a beautiful job and I've won quite a few ribbons with that strategy. But, I'd like to totally own the work on my quilts. I'm hoping that I can successfully master the Sweet-Sixteen so that I can make it happen.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sweet 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

Wenda Nichols

My daughter and myself at her bridal tea.

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Hi! My name is Wenda Nichols. I recently purchased the HQ18 Avante from my local quilt shop here in Trussville, Alabama, so let me tell you how that came about. I have recently begun quilting again about a year and a half ago and frequent the "Heart to Heart Quilt Shop" near my home to purchase fabric and supplies. My husband is in the military and spends 7-9 months of the year over seas, so I had been spending much of my time alone and being a couch potato. After digging out an old box of some pieced squares that I had started at least 18 years ago, I thought "Hey! I could get back into quilting and do something I really wanted to learn to do years ago, but never had the time!" So, my journey began. I purchased a domestic sewing machine that I could learn to machine piece on. I started taking classes at "Heart to Heart". I took every class I could afford. I was hooked! So, I go in one day and see the Sweet Sixteen Sit down demo machine, which set off bells in my brain. I came back day after day trying it out, looking at it, trying to decide if I could pay for it, and how much better it would be than trying to stitch in the ditch on my home machine. Wow, what a decision! Then on the day they were having a special deal on the sit down machine, ( which was a sale price plus a free accuqilt go baby) and had the girl was here from Alabama who was chosen as one of the people who turned in her "MY HQ Story", I decided that I needed to weigh all of my options before I made a large purchase. I almost had my mind made up to get the sit down machine and thought I might be able to talk my husband into letting me splurge for it. So, as I said , I wanted to be totally sure of my decision. I asked Cindy, one of the owners of the shop, to demo the HQ18 Avante that they have in the store also, just so I could see the difference. After her demo, I knew I wouldn't be happy with anything less than the HQ18 Avante. Now, the big hurdle comes. Talking to my husband about it. He didn't even know I was shopping for a quilting machine! Well, I brought it up, he asked many questions, and what it boiled down to was that he was getting ready to go to Iraq for yet another 9 month deployment, my daughter was just going to get married and move to Hawaii with her husband who was also in the military, and I was going to be spending and awful lot of time alone with just my little toy fox terrier. I needed something to do to stay busy. So, even though it was a large and very unplanned purchase, he said, 'You go get you one, Girl!!" And he meant it! So I did!! What a wonderful and understanding man I have in my life! (Now I just have to figure out how to get the Prostitcher!) Ha! Well, needless to say, I am not too great at free motion yet, having only had it a few months, but I am practicing. I love it and I am now finishing my tops even if I am mostly feeling the highest level of comfort using the Panographs. I will continue to practice my free motion until I feel comfortable enough to do an entire quilt top free motion. I would also like to try the groove boards. Now I have someone to keep me company. I have named her Ava. For now, she is my only companion. Now I am just hoping to one day be able to add the HQ Pro-Stitcher!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Laural

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