Ashley Malinowski

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My HQ adventure started in 2008, when I was sixteen years old. I was working on the HQ Sixteen at the time. Now I am 18 and I use my own HQ18 Avante with an HQ Pro-Stitcher. 18 on an 18!!! (By the time you read this, I will officially be 19…but I am really looking forward to being 24…I’m dreaming of the Handi Quilter Fusion!)         Backing up, I began sewing when I was 6 and quilting at the age of 8, all thanks to my mom who was, and still is, a quilter. She let me attend weekly summer camps at the Loder’s Sewing Center in Wilmington, DE.  At first, I started out making clothes, bags and pillows. With my success, I was then allowed to begin the quilting camp early, and soon cut with a rotary cutter. Quickly, I cut a whole full sized bed quilt, and pieced it at the young age of 9. Always the first to finish my quilts, I had the chance to help other students while working on additional projects that had to be created for me because of the speed with which I finished the weeks’ project. The summers after that, I continued to sew and quilt which eventually developed into my passion for quilting.  In my lifetime of quilting I have accomplished the following: worked at Quilt Shops, taught quilting classes, developed a longarm quilting program from scratch and taught longarm quilting classes, designed patterns using Electric Quilt, written up my own pattern designs, organized charity events and served as librarian at a quilt guild in Maryland. My very latest position is Vice President/Program Chair for Ladybug Quilt Guild in Newark, Delaware for the next two years. My first experience using the Handi Quilter Sixteen was through a rental program at Sew n’ Save Quilt Shop in Aberdeen, MD. The reason I wanted to take the rental classes and learn the longarm is so that I could quilt my quilts rather than tying and stitching in the ditch. I completed five quilts from renting at that shop. Four of the quilts were first place winners in the Children’s Department at the Delaware State Fair. The fifth quilt was my own quilt design which I also wrote up into a quilt pattern and sold. From age 16 to 17, I developed and ran a rental program at a quilt shop in Middletown, DE where I worked. I taught the rental classes as well as helped the customers quilt their own quilts from start to finish. It was a wonderful and rewarding experience since I got to learn the machine in and out firsthand, and it had me wondering “WHEN AM I GOING TO HAVE MY OWN?” Then, in December of 2009, my parents gave me a graduation gift of a trip to the Machine Quilting Expo in Providence, Rhode Island. I was stunned! My classes were booked on New Years day, and I got an excused absence from school since it was my senior year in high school. In April of 2010, I finally attended the show with a fellow longarm quilter. There never was a second thought about which brand of a longarm to buy. I already knew how well the machine performed, but it was just biting the bullet. I debated, debated, and debated some more driving my parents, as well as the lady I traveled with, crazy. Finally, at the last minute of the Machine Quilting Expo, literally 5 p.m. on Saturday when the show closed, I signed the sales agreement. When I called my parents back to say I bought it, they said “I hope it fits”. Before I had left for Rhode Island, we were supposed to measure the room. As you can tell, we hadn't done so! When it was time to assemble the machine, my parents helped me put it up in our basement. WOW! I had been around the machine and the studio frame for over 2 years at this point, but putting it in the basement made it seem as if the machine had grown. We added more lights in the ceiling, ordered thread, and yet I didn’t get to work on the machine for a few weeks. Number one, it wasn’t completely built yet. And number two, I had to graduate high school. Since graduation, the machine has been running nonstop because I started my very own longarm quilting business called Midnight Quilter. This is an appropriate name because I started college in the Fall of 2010. My time is limited, so can you guess when I quilt? I could not be any happier where I currently am: A sophomore in college, with a successful longarm quilting business. As a little girl, I always dreamed of owning my own business, and to start it at age 17 was something I couldn’t be more proud of. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I know that I will be longarming for many years to come. I love my HQ Pro-Stitcher because the results are magnificent, and all of the designs for the machine that I can download from the internet are fabulous. In addition, it allows me to personalize my quilts as well as the quilts of my customers. With all of the features on the HQ Pro-Stitcher and the ease of usage, custom quilting is much more enjoyable. I do a little bit of everything with my Handi Quilter: free motion, computerized edge to edge and computerized custom. The format of switching from free motion to the computerized couldn’t be simpler with the Handi Quilter. I am just so thankful that such a sturdy, reliable machine with such a computer system was in my price range. The number of quilts I can quilt thanks to having the HQ Pro-Stitcher has been greater than I could have ever imagined. I am confident that I can support my hobby of quilting and pay for college all at the same time. Thanks, Handi Quilter!!!

I own the following HQ machines: HQ18 Avante, HQ Pro-Stitcher

Linda Christianson

Working at machine

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My desire for a HQ Sixteen started four years ago when the closets became overrun with quilt tops. I had since 1971 finished most of my quilts by hand, until my hands ached from all the effort. So to continue my love of quilt making and bring my quilt tops out of the closet, I had to learn to quilt on a machine. I have hand quilted using a hoop, or frames and poles. With machine quilting, I have used a frame system that hung from the ceiling by chains with wheels running along a track. It all moved through a factory power machine, 11” throat (This type of system was used from the middle 1800’s to about 1980, and needs about a 30 ft. long by 8 ft. wide floor space). The 8” throat bed home machine will work with hours of feeding, and holding the “Bear” that loves to wiggle even if you pin, baste, or use 501 spray. The walking foot does help, but no fancy work there. I also got to try my mom’s Nolting, (purchased 10 years ago) but 900 miles is bit far to go to finish my quilts. Mom did ask to finish some of my quilts. They came back all scribble with loops. One, I asked for curls on the cat, it was still loops. When you can finish your own quilt, you can correct your own mistakes and add the details to make it “sing”. Only now, I was back to finishing over 15 queen size quilts on an 8” throat sewing machine. The other big problem is the wear it brings to the motor. I should know, since my husband has repaired or replace three. I really do love to sew. So since my passion for quilting has not stopped after 30 years of quilting, I felt the investment of a longarm was worth it, but for a hobby? At any rate I still started reading, comparing, and watching “YouTube” on the subject. The HQ Sixteen sure offered the futures that I felt would work. Now all I had to do was find a dealer and test drive some longarms. That was no small matter, since most places wanted an appointment, and they want you to take a class. When the new local quilt store had the HQ Sixteen, I was able to see the machine in person. The owner did let me touch the machine; even though it had the low end frames, it glided with ease. The handles and buttons seemed easy to use. I was sold until I saw the list price and all the shipping were added. I kept dreaming of owning a longarm, so I continued to check out other longarms, and talking online to Longarm owners. This led to hearing about a trade show in Tenn. and the offer to purchase the class’ HQ Sixteen demo. The price was still high for our limited budget, but hubby said, “go for it”. A month later the HQ Sixteen was set up in the unfinished sewing space. With ease, I was off and running with my stitch regulated longarm. I love how easy it is to thread the HQ Sixteen, adjust the tension, keep it oiled, and clean. I ordered the tool table and some tools. I did not want to do just edge to edge quilting or loops. The tool table gives me the creativeness to make my quilts look more hand made with detail work. The laser light has given me the option to follow a pattern for borders, one block area, or even edge to edge. Every quilt I have finished on my HQ Sixteen in the last three years of ownership, has brought me new ideas and continual love for quilting. Oh, by the way, mom traded her Nolting for an HQ18 Avante. I love that model, too! Linda Christianson

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

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

Tina Muller

Tina and My HQ Sixteen

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My Handi Quilter Story It all started for me in 2000, when I saw the Handi Quilter at a local quilt store. I knew then that I wanted a quilting machine, but with two teenagers and a small house, the machine would have to wait. I love to piece and as I continued to quilt with my sewing machine, all the while suffering with pain in my shoulders and back, my quilts kept growing. As my collection reached 20 tops , I stopped counting. I began researching all the quilting machines available, my quest was to find the best machine. I went to shows, talked to anyone and everyone that I could, Hubby and I even went on vacations from Florida to Tennessee to test machines. However, I was always drawn to the Handi Quilter. That was the machine for me! I wanted a Handi Quilter so badly, so in 2008, when my kids had graduated from high school and move out, I knew I could now carve out a little space for my dream machine. And thus began the journey to achieve my goal of owning a Handi Quilter. I began saving, worked two jobs and put away all the extra money I could. In 2010, I even began collecting aluminum cans, driving up and down streets in my neighborhood on recycling day, filling the back of my truck with garbage bags full of cans. My Husband and I would take the cans to our local aluminum recycling facility and that money world go into my “machine fund”. My desire to own a Handi Quilter was sometimes all consuming. Since I attended every quilt show that came to my area, I had made friends with one of the dealers. She would allow me to play on the machine at the show, demonstrating to people, helping them to overcome their fears of the machine and give it a try. I shared with her how much I wanted a Handi Quilter and what I was doing to save for one. After one of the shows, she called me on the phone to tell me of a fabulous deal that she had come up with that might possibly allow me to realize my dream of owning a HQ. She believed in me and believed that it was the right thing to do. I was beside myself with excitement, “Wow, after all these years, it’s finally going to happen!” I was getting my HQ Sixteen. I was sharing my exciting news about getting the machine with some friends, everyone’s only question was “where are you going to put it?” Of course for me, the only plausible answer was “right in the middle of the living room”. However, when it arrived, my husband didn’t quite agree with my fabulous idea, so the machine now sits in it’s honorable position on the back living room wall. It does stick out into the hall a little, but it is still a “perfect” fit. I call the HQ Sixteen, “My Toy”. early one morning I was happily quilting when my daughter came out of her bedroom calling “Mom, mom”. I turned off the machine and she said, with a big smile on her face, “You Win, you have the biggest and the noisiest toy of them all”. That’s how it got the name “My Toy” I have spent many hours practicing on my machine so I had decided to donate my practice pieces to the local animal shelter, but first I took them to a hand quilting group that I belong to, to show them what I could do with my machine. One of the ladies from the group asked me what I was going to do with the pieces and I told her my idea. She asked if it would be possible for her to have them; so she took them home, bound them and gave the quilts to children that were in need. Now, that is what I do with all of my practice pieces. Children have a special place in my heart and it gives me such joy to be able to help a child in need, even in a small way. Researching for the perfect machine was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the time I spent talking with people and learning along the way. The work that I had to put into saving for my dream machine and the generosity of someone that believed in me has made owning the HQ16 even more special to me. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Handi Quilter is made in America, a wonderful value and full of fabulous features with a great support system. I guess there is only one thing left to say, “The Handi Quilter 16 is a spectacular choice for me!”

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