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

Kimberly Gibson

Me with my HQ18 Avante

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My HQ Story begins with a few things my parents taught me: -Work hard and don’t depend on anyone else to take care of you. -Don’t pay someone to do a job you can do yourself. -Find some time to do the things that make you happy. -Staying busy helps you live longer. I started begging my mother to teach me to sew at age 11. She was a patient woman, and helped me learn the basics. As I became proficient at sewing, as a young adult I developed an interest in quilting. Since Mother didn’t quilt, most of my quilting was trial and error or learning from books, but I loved it, and it didn’t take me long to decide that my hobby would always be sewing and quilting. As I finished a quilt top, I would think back to the ‘do it yourself if you can’ advice and do the quilting by hand. This, over the years, evolved into quilting on my sewing machine. In the beginning, I was satisfied with my machine quilting, but as my skills in piecing advanced, I became obsessed with getting my quilting stitches even. I knew that someday I would want to own a stitch-regulated long arm quilting machine, but my first priority was raising our three kids and putting them through college (as my parents did for me.) I chose to put my dream on hold for awhile, continuing to make quilts and quilt them on my sewing machine, all the while stashing a little money here and there for a long arm, and dreaming of someday starting a long arm quilting business. I am happy to say that all three achieved college degrees, and my husband and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Now it was my turn. I decided it was time to get what I had wanted for years—my own long arm quilter. As I began researching, I saw on the Handi Quilter website that HQ would have a machine set up at a quilt show in Las Cruces, New Mexico, about two hours from me. I went just to look and get ideas, but instantly fell in love with the HQ18 Avante and purchased it on the spot. (There were other brands there, too, but none compared to the HQ!) Within a couple of weeks, my new purchase was set up in my den, ready to go. Since then, I have added the extended base and several other Handi Gadgets. So here I am in my 29th year of teaching, balancing work, being a grand-parent, and learning to quilt on my HQ18 Avante. I love the way it was easy to learn, thanks to the wonderful DVD’s and Customer Support staff! It glides over the quit top and produces the most beautiful stitches. I am in Heaven when I am at my machine, honing my skills, and dreaming of starting my own little business (here’s where the ‘keeping busy in your golden years’ advice kicks in.) When I DO decide to retire from a rewarding career as an educator, I hope to already be quilting for others and supplementing my retirement income. I am thankful for my business-minded husband, who is excited about helping with that side of this endeavor. So, hopefully, the lessons my parents taught me will be fulfilled with my Avante. My goal is to stay active and supplement my retirement income someday by doing what I love. Thanks, Handi Quilter!!! 

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Helen Cooper

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The Long Arm of the Law I am a dinosaur. An alpha female with memories that can only be revealed after the statute of limitations has expired. A woman with a gun who felt as if I had one foot in the 19th century and one in the 20th, or is the 21st now? I was one of the first two female police officers in Chattanooga, TN in 1972 and retired in 1996 as a Captain, then I moved to Nashville and worked for the state managing grants in the Office of Criminal Justice Programs for five years. A co-worker, Jeanne, and I decided that we’d do some quilting after work. I’d made most of my clothes while going to school and managed to alter some men’s police uniforms (there weren’t any female type uniforms then) for work, but that was the extent of my sewing, other than a Cathedral Window wall hanging I did by hand. I decided on a nine-patch. I did all the thinking parts – shopping for fabric, measuring and cutting – on a weekend. I then color-coordinated the little blocks in a wire bound notebook so that all I had to do was pick up the little blocks, sew them together in the order laid out, then flip the page and do it all over again. I ended up with enough blocks for two quilts that I later hand quilted. When I returned home in 2001, thoroughly bitten by the quilting bug, I continued with my handwork and teaching some crazy quilting classes. As I made new quilting friends at home now, my horizons were broadened but I was by then definitely a hand-quilter type snob. My mother-in-law became ill during that time and I needed something that I could accomplish and realize a much quicker product to finger and fondle to soothe my frazzled last nerve while taking care of her. I figured that if I could sew clothing that I could sew quilt blocks. By this time we had a new quilt shop just opening and I found Diana Leone’s The New Sampler Quilt book and I was off and running. With hospital visits to M-I-Law, I could make a block in about three days, one day to fondle and figure out which fabrics to use, one day to actually cut, and the third day to sew. It didn’t occur to me that a quarter inch is not necessarily always a quarter inch but it didn’t take long for that bolt of lightening to strike my brain. By the time I had 29 blocks machine pieced, and one block hand pieced at the hospital (this one has 165 pieces and is “spools” of some of the 85 fabrics used in this quilt) I had only SIX BLOCKS THAT WERE THE CORRECT SIZE! If I’d had time, I’d have been the pitifullest person on my corner of the planet, but there wasn’t time. I was having trouble sleeping and when I’d awaken during the night, I’d think about how I could make these thirty blocks go together squarely. This I did by adding borders to some and calculating to the 1/16 of an inch just how wide the sashing would have to be. As you might guess none of the sashing is the same size on any side. It only took three weeks to get this worked out and by then Mom-in-law was home and I was convinced that I could benefit from some machine piecing classes, which I did. But I was still a snob about the quilting. I’d look at this top, now all squared up and plan how to quilt it – you know how it goes. For two years it went like this, before I considered a long-armer. After I did the 2 hour interview to make sure she knew what would happen if she boogered up my quilt top, I reluctantly surrendered it. Two weeks later – I’m done for. I wish I’d sugar coated all those words of derision regarding “machine quilting,” because they’d surely have gone back down a lot easier when I had to eat them. My quilt is just Beautiful! (Two best of show and two Blue Ribbons) So then I got a real Quilter’s sewing machine and the next year made 13 kids/lap quilts for family for Christmas, pieced and quilted. Then danged if I didn’t get bit by that Long Arm bug! My husband and I talked about the long arms but after calculating how many tops I’d have to make to pay for one, and the fact that I have problems standing now, I just couldn’t make the numbers work, so I gave up on it. Then I went to the Quilt Show in Knoxville in July 2011 where I saw a woman actually sitting down to quilt! Being the shy person that I am, I invited myself to a sit-down and commenced a brief hour long conversation about the HQ Sweet Sixteen. As I sat at the machine with her coaching me, she let the machine sell itself. So now I have my own HQ Sweet Sixteen and using it is more fun than chasing down and catching bank robbers on foot! As we were wrapping up the paperwork on my machine, one of the very nice HQ ladies mentioned that there is now a certified HQ guy in Chattanooga. He just happens to be the very qualified man I’ve been taking my machines to for their annual checkups! And then there was my horoscope that said I’d be hitting a creative spurt as Mars went somewhere ……..

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sweet Sixteen

CecilAnn Spencer

Jimmie & CecilAnn Spencer

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Hi, my name is CecilAnn Spencer. I grew up and still live in a small town, Kerens,in Central Texas that is 60 miles south of Dallas Texas. My love of quilting started at a very young age. My Grandmother hand pieced and hand quilted. Grandmother's sister was a seamstress and made clothes for the public. The scraps of fabric that were left over were given to my Grandmother. Grandmother would sit for hours cutting and hand piecing until she completed a quilt top. Then came the time to hand quilt. Grandmother's quilting frames hung from the ceiling in her dining room. She always used cotton batting, and "brown domestic" (muslin) as the backing. Our family were cotton farmers. Grandmother made beautiful quilts of many different colors that were given to her children and grandchildren. I was always amazed that something so beautiful started out as a piece of cloth that someone was going to throw away. The first quilts I made were machine pieced but hand quilted. It took forever to complete a quilt. I worked, was a wife, and mother of a very active son. This left little time for hobbies. After 31 years in a very stressful law enforcement career my husband retired to take care of our small farm with cows and llamas. I was still working in that same stressful law enforcement career but could see that retirement was not far away. I started looking for a long arm quilting machine. I did extensive research via internet, magazines, quilt shops and any other places where I could find information. I decided to purchase the HQ Sixteen and the Pro Stitcher. My husband and I made a trip to Plano Sewing Center in Plano, Texas. When we walked through the door we were greeted with smiles and such friendliness we felt as if they were family. The shop had just what I wanted and we purchased the machine that day. I still was limited on my time for hobbies, but it was amazing how fast I could get the quilt completed. I only make quilts for the "special people" in my life. My quilts are not the traditional type. If it is different I'm probably going to like it. My passion is creating living memory quilts that include photos, sports, school names or whatever the grandchildren, nieces and nephews are doing at the time. I have an embroidery machine and always embroidery their name on the quilt. I've also made themed baby quilts for family and friends with the new baby's name on them. I have finally retired after 30 years in law enforcement and am looking forward to getting training and lots of practice on my HQ Sixteen and learning to use my HQ Pro-Stitcher. I have done so much with this machine but still have so much more to learn. In closing I would like to recommend the Handi Quilter to anyone wanting to purchase a long arm machine. The machine is easy to use and the support you receive is the BEST!!!! You can not go wrong with Handi Quilter.

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

Sue Fors

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Sue Fors! My HQ Story My story starts in 1998, when my husband had his stroke. I needed to pick up a ‘hobby’ to keep myself not only busy, but close to home. A friend was taking some quilting classes, and shared her new found passion with me. My first quilt was a king size Star of Bethlehem! YOWSER! Did I get bitten by that quilt bug, or what! I had my first granddaughter in November of 1998 and the second one in March of 1999. That gave me two more twin size log cabin quilts to make, and I haven’t stopped since. I love giving the gift of a hand-made (by me) quilt to others. But, my biggest issue was pushing and pulling, tugging and stretching those big quilts inside my old machine that had only a 5” throat! We’ll now fast-forward to 2004, when I bought my first ‘long-arm’. It was a tabletop frame, and the machine had a 9” throat. As big as it was, I knew that wasn’t going to work. So, in 2005, I bought the best I could afford; a frame with a machine that was stretched to a 17” throat. I battled through the tension issues, skipped stitches and thread breaks. I really thought this was all part of the quilting process. Last Spring, my dealer talked to me about the HQ18 Avante’. When I went in to ‘play’ on it, I noticed the HQ24 Fusion. It felt awesome! But, what really convinced me to make this purchase (apart from the excitement), was the service and support that my dealer offers. They are only a phone call away, and have an HQ Support Group every month. We get to show-n-tell, troubleshoot our issues, and there is always an informative lesson planned. I have loved owning this machine during the last year so much; that this year I added the ProStitcher. Having the Handi Quilter has not only made my quilting easier, but it has made me a better quilter!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ24 Fusion