Deborah Hipple

Allie and I completing my newest Granddaughter's quilt

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My Handi Quilter Story – Deborah Hipple I owe my love and appreciation of fabric and quilting to the skillful guidance I received from my Grandma when I was very young. Like many of my generation I learned to sew simple seams on a treadle machine and the power of controlling a machine to do what I wanted it to, lead me to create many wonderful articles of clothing, home decor and of course beautiful quilts of all sizes and patterns over the years. As I traveled on my fabric journey through costuming and production sewing, my love for quilting didn’t leave me but was shelved for awhile until time and money allowed me to pursue my chosen hobby once again. As my interest returned, my fabric stash grew with leaps and bounds and the stack of finished tops started to crowd out the closets. In 2008 I had to shelve my hobby again. In a span of two weeks we lost my mother-in-law and a sister-in-law, and my own Mom suffered significant heart problems. As I helped nurse Mom during her last year with us I found that when I returned home at the end of the day my sewing room was where I found peace. It wasn’t until after Mom passed away that I discovered just how much working with fabric calmed me, kept me from becoming overly depressed and allowed my grieving process to move forward. You see, my Mom was not a quilter, the kitchen was her thing but she continually supported me and encouraged me to follow my dreams especially where fabric and quilting was concerned. Needless to say I sewed up a storm. My stash shrank as tops were assembled, pressed and stored during that first year. Then reality hit! How could I ever afford to have all these tops quilted? Hand quilting was out of the question due to arthritis in my hands and wrists. Well, one trip to a sewing festival, many questions asked and time spent on a few long arm machines sold me. I had to have one of these machines, but which one? As I wandered around that show I kept coming back to the Quilt Shop display that was a Handi Quilter dealer. The HQ18 Avanté had everything I felt I needed, easy handling, a stitch regulator, large bobbins and especially a dealer within easy driving distance if I should need help, which I must say I have never needed for any problems with my machine but who has continued to answer all of my questions about the quilting process. The first quilt I tried on a friend’s HQ Sixteen was an art quilt of the Titanic which I had decided to enter into a competition in Tennessee. This quilt was to have quite a bit of thread painting as part of its design and I was not looking forward to managing the bulk of it on my domestic machine. As I played with many types of threads, it became really clear that I had made the right choice. The HQ Sixteen glided over that quilt smoothly as we thread painted and it was so rewarding to quilt this top in less time then I could ever imagine. I knew then that Handi Quilter had developed a machine that was up to any quilting adventure I decided to guide it on although I really wanted the Avanté with the larger throat. Oh, and by the way, “Destination: New York City” won the Blue Ribbon in the Non-Traditional competition at, A Mountain Quiltfest 2010, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which is really neat since this was my first quilt competition and an international competition! Two months later, thanks to Mom and Dad, I picked up my Avanté with the Studio table and have never looked back. “Allie”, named for my Mom has been a wonderful addition to my sewing room. Each time I play with her, creating wonderful designs on the quilt tops that helped me through that terrible first year, I think of Mom and how she is still supporting me and my dreams. Just a year ago Allie and I ventured into quilting for others in our area and we have been able to learn so much as we contribute to our family income once again. I know that the easy operation of the Avanté has allowed me to gain confidence in my long arm quilting. The smoothness of the rails allows me to float over those quilt tops as I stitch marvelous pantographs and free hand designs and the low maintenance of this machine is just wonderful as compared to other machines that I had looked at. The adjustments available on the table are also great and my arthritis does not bother me as I use this machine, since such a light touch is needed to control Allie. My dreams for Allie and I are to continue stitching along, learning more from each quilt top as we go. Maybe one day we will be able to add Poppy, the Pro Stitcher to our happy little group and the micro handles will be a welcome addition when the arthritis flares. High on my wish list also is to attend classes offered in long arm quilting, hopefully at U of HQ Retreats to help fine tune our techniques but for now we will practice, practice, practice to our heart’s content as we quilt along. Thank you, Handi Quilter for developing such a wonderful, easy, ready to use machine that truly fits my “quilting lifestyle”.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Carla Gentry

My picture

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As a nurse practitioner, my work day can be quite stressful. Quilting brings me serenity. I became obsessed with quilting five years ago on my 50th birthday. We were visiting Whitefish, MT and wandered into a quilt store that sold McKenna Ryan patterns and kits. Life hasn’t been the same since! From the beginning, though, I have had this personal conviction that in order for a quilt to be “my quilt”, I had to do every bit of it myself. So, every quilt I’ve made, I’ve quilted. After getting bursitis in my shoulders from quilting my son’s queen size quilt (and not very well, at that) on my Bernina, I took classes to learn basic longarming and rented a Gammill long arm in Spokane to finish my projects. But there were problems…my back hurt from standing 3 or more hours at the machine, it was hard to “schedule” creativity, and I found that I really missed the machine quilting style of getting my face down into the quilting. One day, we visited a quilt shop in Moses Lake, WA and I saw the HQ Sixteen Sit-Down and instantly knew it was the long arm for me. A few months later, I ordered mine from a shop in Deer Park, WA and it arrived a few days later. I love my sit down long arm! It’s exactly right for me and my space. The first thing I did when it arrived was make a cover and practice quilting designs on the cover. Before long, I was quilting beautiful feather motifs on a wedding quilt. I would recommend the HQ Sixteen Sit-Down to anyone who loves quilting. If you don't quilt for a living, size does not matter! There is no doubt in my mind that you can achieve beautiful results on everything from art quilts to king size quilts with the HQ Sixteen Sit Down. You are only limited by your imagination.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen Sit-down

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

Beth Wills

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I have not, nor have I ever been able to take classes, travel to seminars or belong to neighborhood quilting clubs or quilds. I worked the night shift and had “days off” during the week. No one wanted to teach me to quilt or give a class at 3:00 AM when I was awake and sewing through my “day off”. So, I read magazines, books and more books. With the advent of the internet and YouTube, learning to quilt on your own would be a more manageable task. When I first started, I was all by myself – making lots of mistakes and making lots and lots of quilts for my family. Getting old is not for the faint of heart! Having old joints before your time is not so much fun either. As it became more painfully clear that crawling around on the floor to baste a quilt was no longer possible I started to look at alternative methods to “keep on quilting”. My first foray into frame quilting was with a popular wooden frame on which I put a great sewing machine with a “huge” 9 inch throat. I also at this time, introduced myself to computer assisted quilting. It didn’t take too long before I figured out that this gorgeous machine with the 9” throat was going to give me approximately 4” of quilting space once the finished quilt roll began to take up some of the space in the throat of that machine. I made a LOT of quilts with that particular set-up. I made lots and lots of those 4” passes of the machine, each and every pass wishing I had a machine with a larger throat. And, because I was having so much fun with the computer assisted end of frame quilting, I knew that I needed a larger machine that had computer guided capabilities. I spent hours dreaming about gorgeous feathers and other elegant edge to edge designs. I also dreamt about the possibility of a stitch regulator! When it became possible for me to start looking for this dream machine, I traveled across the state to try out various machines. I positively KNEW that I had found the machine for me when I got a chance to see a HQ Sixteen with a HQ Pro-Stitcher demonstrated. I was able to make the transition from my old set-up to the HQ Sixteen on a Professional Frame and QuilTable with ease. The ProStitcher, while different from the computer system I had used in the past, was not so different that many of the tasks felt almost intuitive. As per my past history, I have not attended any classes or seminars. I have just about every video that HQ has put out in an attempt to learn the machine. And, due to my recent history of having to spend months in a wheel chair recovering from some orthopedic surgery, I am reacquainting myself with my machine and HQ Pro-Stitcher. I am so happy to be able to be back on my feet, back at my frame and learning something new each and every time I finish a quilt. I love my HQ Sixteen with the HQ Pro-Stitcher!

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

Vicki (Ogelvie) Martin

My wedding shower, in my homemade wedding dress!

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I stumbled and fell into my Handi Quilter Story, literally. Concentrating on my grocerylist, I caught my toe on a step and nearly hit the ground right in front of Howell?s Sewand Vac. Displayed in all its glory in the front window was the first HQ Sixteen I?d ever seen!Naturally, it was Sunday, and the store was closed.Waiting, not so patiently until Monday, to put my hands on that gorgeous white machine,made me reminisce about my sewing roots. Growing up in a sewing family, my sisterand I wore homemade clothes, and were always dressed alike. At Christmas, wheneverwe received dolls, even they were adorned in outfits matching ours.One summer while visiting my aunt on the coast, too foggy for the beach, Aunt Barbaratook me material shopping and taught me how to make a top! We never were trendy orbrand-name oriented, and in high school, I became known for my one-of-a-kinddresses. Being blessed with a young, stylish, slender mother, we?d take turns makingnew dresses after school or work and switch off wearing them. We can thank GrandmaJane for our dressmaking habit. She could turn curtains into a cocktail dress, completewith buttons down the back!Back in the early 80s, Grandma Jane got a new sewing machine with all the bells andwhistles. It had so many stitch choices and was so user-friendly, we jokingly teased herthat she had her machine trained by voice to “just sew” and gorgeous garments werespit out including added bling.Grandma Jane, Aunt Barbara and my mom were my quilting inspiration, my roots. I?dyearned to learn to quilt, but didn?t know where to start. The process seemed sointimidating. After thirty years of dress making dedication, I gave up my Kenmoremachine and bought a new Janome. Instantly my enthusiasm for sewing was renewed.We moved to a wonderful country community in Auburn, CA, where our new neighborsinvited me to join their weekly “Stitch and Bitch” night. They patiently taught me to quiltand make nice points.My first quilt project, a toy quilt, was made for my grandson, Colton. My humbleneighborhood group either quilted using stitch in the ditch or hand quilting. I knew thehandwork was out for me. After 20+ years as a court reporter, those tiny, skilled motormovements weren?t left in my fingers, so I tried stitch in the ditch. It was all right, but Ireally wanted to do more.I signed up for a machine quilting class at our local quilt shop. Now, that was a nervewrackingexperience! One lady in the class said it all, “Anyone have a quilt I can ruin?”The whole concept of moving the material under the needle was daunting andfrustrating. It reminded me of moving paper under a pencil! It truly was not for me at all.I attended a quilt show, my first, and was star-struck by the display of talented artistry.The piecing was incredible and the quilting phenomenal! And there were vendors anddemonstrations!! I saw a gentleman moving a sewing machine across fabric that wasrolled on poles. He let me try it, and I loved the sensation of drawing with thread acrossthe blank canvas. The next day, I went back to the show and bought my first free-motionmachine and table.I had some issues and difficulties, but I was determined to master quilting. The machinewasn?t regulated, and I found out quickly about consistent movement. I also had to keepmy thumb on the power button while moving the machine. I fumbled through a few topsto completion, but not my best work, for sure!Seeing that gleaming white HQ Sixteen at that time wasn?t an accident, and I could hardlywait for Howell?s to open on Monday. I walked into the shop, walking straight up to thatbeautiful machine. When asked if I wanted to try it out, of course, I said, “Yes!”I was hooked the instant I could move the handlebars and the machine came to life. Andhaving light aimed at the needle was a huge plus. The table size flexibility was perfectfor my sewing situation, being able to keep it small for storage and large for big projects.I couldn?t wait to go home, sell my other set-up and become a new Handi Quilter owner.My sewing space doubled as our guest room. Our most frequent guests were thegrands, so I decided a wall bed would be perfect, since the bed was used a lot less thanthe HQ Sixteen. It was the perfect solution! Then my wonderful husband remodeled anotherhouse (around the corner) for us to move into that had a basement studio for me! I cansew or quilt my heart out, and come upstairs and close the door. No one can see mymadness or my mess.Since the HQ Sixteen has come home, I?ve quilted over 70 quilts. I?ve taught myself tomeander, do feathers, loops, leaves, echo and now I?m working with pantographs.Working at the back of the machine and then seeing the design emerge, I feel Grandma Jane smiling down on me and saying “just sew” and I know my hands are being guidedby the master. I?d love to learn and perfect micro-quilting, but that opportunity hasn?tcome to my town, yet.Best of all, I love to teach my friends how to quilt on my HQ. They always leave with ahuge smile and a beautiful quilt. Teaching others is a true gift that keeps on giving.Last year, at my husband?s urging, I joined our local quilt guild. The theme for theannual quilt challenge was something I couldn?t pass up, “Something Old, SomethingNew.” I entered, not realizing the entries were automatically displayed at the annual quiltshow. I never felt “good” enough to enter anything in a show before. My biggest fan, myhusband, encouraged me to enter two other items.At the end of the show, I gathered my quilts and was dumbfounded when I saw aSecond Place ribbon on my challenge quilt! As I was handed my wearable art entry (aquilted vest I?d made for Mom?s 75th birthday) I saw a First Place ribbon dangling fromthe collar. By then I was a blithering idiot, and started walking to my car and out poppeda Third Place ribbon on my quilt honoring our Keeshonden (dogs)! One, two, three formy first show! I don?t think I can top the elation, but I?m ready to master precision andgrace, all thanks to my Handi Quilter!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen