Janet L Smith

Jan and "Lucy" working on Charity Quilts for Quilts Beyond Borders!

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My HQ Story… Janet Smith My name is Janet Smith. I live in the suburbs of Chicago. I learned to sew when I was about 8 years old. At the time, my father worked in a clothing store in Michigan. One day, a few weeks before Easter, Dad took us to the store and instructed us to pick a dress from a specific rack of clothes. I drifted to a different rack and found a dress that I fell in love with! I wanted it so badly and I was so disappointed that I could not have it. Dad tried very hard to explain that he just could not afford the dress I wanted and in my eight year old mind I just did not understand it, I cried all the way home. Dad sat me down and he encouraged me to learn to sew. “I’ll buy you all the fabric you want!” he told me. Well before long, my sisters and I were all sewing and Mom no longer could get time to use the one sewing machine we had. So he bought a second machine and we had both of them humming while we made clothes. All the while Dad was keeping his promise and buying fabric for us. As a matter of fact, he carried fabric in his business until the day he died, 33 years later! We have always had access to beautiful fabric! I made all of my clothes for many years. When I married and had my children, I bought a Kenmore domestic machine and made all my children clothes. Dad had by then bought a Ben Franklin’s Dime Store and he added lines of fabric and patterns to his store inventory. We struck up a deal. I would make samples for him to put in the window and hang in his store. He would provide the fabric and patterns in my size and the sizes of my children. Before long these clothes were being worn by my children. Then I owned my own home and began making curtains, pillows and home décor items. I used my Kenmore for 23 years very nearly on a weekly basis! In the 1995, after remarrying and finding myself with three stepdaughters, I decided that It was time to look at a new sewing machine. Not for me but for my stepdaughters! I thought I would purchase a basic machine for the girls to learn to sew on. Since they stayed with us regularly, I thought they might enjoy learning to sew. I discovered that sewing machines had really changed and so had the things that people were sewing on them! That Christmas I bought a basic machine for my stepdaughter and a computerized embroidery machine for me! It was at a local fabric shop where I bought MY sewing machine that I discovered quilting. My interest in sewing once again took off like a speeding bullet train. I dabbled with machine embroidery on my domestic machine and eventually bought an industrial embroidery machine and started a small embroidery company. My day time career was in the computer industry and my evenings were spent learning to digitize. While I enjoyed embroidery, I kept drifting back to my quilting. Before long I was using my embroidery machine to quilt when I wasn’t using it to embroider. A few years ago, the company I was working for was closed and I lost my job. While I was unemployed and looking for work, I began to quilt even more. I found myself paying someone else to quilt my big quilts because it was too cumbersome to use my embroidery machine for anything larger than a lap size so I began to look at quilting machines. I went to several machine quilting shows and test drove machines. I would look at the prices and wonder how I could afford them due to my lack of employment. I would test them at the machine shows and dream about the day that I could afford it. I had been steered to the “big boys” by ladies who already had quilting machines. I looked at them …. the Gammill’, A-1’s, Nolting, Innova , APQS and others but I just could not see how I could afford the price tag. I had all but decided on an A-1 when I went to the 2010 Milwaukee Machine Quilting show. I tried the Handi Quilter and then I went back to the A-1 booth. Back to Handi Quilter and back to A-1. I decided at that time that Handi Quilter was the one for me. I also made another decision that day as well. I decided that I would look at gently used machines because of my background. I repaired computer equipment for years and have maintained and fixed my industrial embroidery machine on the rare occasions that it has needed to be fixed in the 11 years that I have owned it. A properly maintained machine will last for a very long time. SO last October I began my search for a gently used sewing machine, a machine that I hoped to be able to pay cash for. It was also important to me that the machine be local to the Midwest so I would not have to worry about shipping. I would drive to pick up my new baby myself! I found the perfect machine in southern Indiana, an HQ Sixteen owned by Kathy Morrison, who was upgrading to a HQ18 Avante with HQ Pro-Stitcher. She was working with Mike Giloman at “The Machine Shop” in Highland, Illinois. He took her machine in as a trade in and I bought it from him. He checked over the machine and in January brought it to me and installed it in my studio. I have named her Lucy and we have had so much fun getting to know each other. I am still practicing on my own pieces and charity quilts. I have several people who are patiently waiting for me to feel comfortable enough to quilt for them. I hope one day to add HQ Pro-Stitcher to my machine since my background is in computers. But it is important for me to learn how to use my machine manually for now. I have so much to learn! I thank my father everyday for teaching me how this hobby can blossom into a life long passion of learning new things. It is a passion which I depend on no matter what is going on around me. I find that when I am sad, if I sew, I will soon feel better. When I am depressed, if I sew, I feel that my spirit is soon lifted again! If I am anxious, when I sew, I am soon calm again. When I am troubled, if I go sew, I will regain my confidence again. When I am happy there is nothing in life that is more fun to than sewing! With this in mind, I have begun my latest new learning journey and I am so happy that Handi Quilter has come along for the ride! Happy Sewing! Jan

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Karen Lindley

Sunbonnet Sue - Karen and her HQ Fusion

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My HQ Story 2011 by Karen Lindley It came! It finally came! Of course I am talking about my new HQ Fusion. Now all I have to do is figure out how to do this thing called quilting... Several years ago, my mother gave me a suitcase filled with Sunbonnet Sue quilt blocks that her mother had made but never finished. I did not know my grandmother, she died before I was born. I had never quilted before so I dutifully kept the quilt blocks and put them in my "Some Day" pile. The local quilt shop, Erica's Craft and Quilting, advertised a beginning quilt class, "How to Make a Quilt from Start to Finish". I enrolled in the class and a passion was unleashed. The result of the class was a blue 9-patch quilt. The actual quilting was done on my sewing machine and done with straight diagonal lines. Effective, but I knew there was so much more. I needed to learn everything I could and I needed to practice and master this new art. I finally felt comfortable enough to begin working on the Sunbonnet Sue's. There were 20 blocks, measuring 12" by 12". I chose to make 3 versions of this wall hanging. A blue version, that I gave to my Mom for Mother's Day, a green version that I gave to my brother, and a yellow version that I kept for myself. What fun it was to pick out the fabric!! I was brave enough to stitch-in-the-ditch and do some stippling on this quilt with my sewing machine. And to think I began on a 1914 treadle sewing machine. I retired from teaching in the spring of 2010. I taught Mathematics at the High School level for 34 years. That fall my sister-in-law (also my best friend) died suddenly. I turned to sewing and quilting as a means of survival and escape. I needed to figure out who I was going to be in my next life. From a lifelong love of mathematics and geometry it was a logical step to piecing quilts. I started taking more classes at Erica's. One class in particular offered a Show-And-Tell session. I brought the Sunbonnet Sue quilt. I had us all in tears when I talked about sewing that quilt and realizing my grandmother was working on these blocks in hopes of a granddaughter and now her granddaughter had finished her UFO for her! And that night I purchased my HQ24 Fusion. I had done some research on-line. HQ offered the most versatility for the home quilter. I dreaded wrestling a bed-sized quilt through my sewing machine and HQ offered a king-size plus frame. I was impressed with the easy way a quilt is loaded onto the frame. The variety of educational videos on the HQ website offer many techniques to become a better quilter. Since quilters are artistic people, it makes sense to tap into their visual learning styles to explain techniques and applications. The video tour of the company showed their dedication to the quilting enthusiast. I came away from the website inspired to make clouds, and feathers, and wreaths, and... I have been quilting non-stop ever since. The "girls" in HQ Club are inundated with photos of my projects. I'm sure some of them are thinking, "Oh no. Not another one already!" I just tell them I am making up for lost time and keep on quilting. I still have a lot to learn, but I am having a wonderful time learning. My Fusion makes quilting so much fun! I get the quilt loaded and sit for a moment imagining the possibilities of what design to put where. Mom was watching me one time and commented, "I can almost see your grandmother and great-grandmother watching you and smiling." And you know what? I smile back , and send a thank you to them (and HQ) for starting me on my way to this wonderful world of quilting.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ24 Fusion

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

Bettie Johnson

Me with Pat's Quilt on my HQ18 Avante

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My HQ story? I don't have one." I told this to a friend reminded me of the quilt I made for her. It was just two pieces of material hand quilted together, but she still has it. That would have been over 25 years ago.  In 2003 I went to Virginia to help my step-mom Suzy take care of my Dad who was dying from a brain tumor. On Monday afternoons Hospice would send a sitter so we could take a break. Suzy took me to the local quilt shops and I haven't stopped quilting since. While I was in Virginia I pieced several tops, one of which was designed after the blanket on my Dads bed.
 
After my Dad passed away, Suzy showed me a quilt I had made for him years before. It was a simple 9 patch using two fabrics and hand quilted in a simple grid. Again I had forgotten all about it although the material looked familiar. She told me something I had never dreamed of. Dad cherished the quilt so much he took it everywhere with him. First in his work car, which required him to be on the road much of the time, next after he retired he put it in his station wagon, then his boat, than his RV and when he could no longer use the RV he moved it to the trunk of his last car-a yellow sports car.
 
After Dad passed away I went back down to Virginia for a quilt rally. I saw a mid-arm system and from the small inheritance I received, I bought it. For 6 years I used that system but my dream was for a long arm computerized system. I could tell I needed to do some research and see if I could upgrade! I was all over the internet.
 
In 2009 one rainy Saturday morning, out of the blue, I asked my husband to take me to the HQ dealer. I couldn't believe my eyes. They were selling their floor model HQ Sixteen that weekend. I bought it on the spot! A few months later I bought a used HQ Pro-Stitcher for the HQ Sixteen.
 
Over the next few months I stitched up a storm and the storm was me. I just couldn't seem to slow down enough for curves and points. I needed more control and Handi-Quilter again came to the rescue! You introduced the new dual speed regulated Avante with a new tracking system. I tried it and loved it. I knew this was what I needed to make my dreams come true, BUT my husband felt my quilting looked fine the way it was.
 
What is a quilter to do? I took him to the store to show him the improvements but he was not convinced. Then one evening as the Pro-Stitcher was stitching out a design it dawned on me. I called my husband upstairs and said "Look at the computer. See how the HQ Pro-Stitcher slows WAY down to go around corners? If a computer needs that kind of control, so do I!"
 
In August 2010 I received my new Avante, 12 foot studio frame and HQ Pro-Stitcher. I laughed as my husband brought his family and our neighbors up to see my new machine. Then these people would bring their families. Everyone was impressed.
 
I live in Amish country and there are many quilters around, but the long arm machine used by the ones I have met have all been HQ, mostly HQ Sixteen.
 
I did my one and only customer quilt back in 2010 within 3 weeks of getting my HQ18 Avante. She was happy with the results, and I still have her smiling picture holding her granddaughters quilt.
 
I knew  I had a lot to learn, so I took advantage of the teaching tools HQ provides. I wouldn't have the skills I do today if it hadn't been for Handi Quilter. One year later and I just finished a quilt for Pat. It was a "practice" quilt for me and she is so happy she said she wanted me to do all her quilting. I have 9 more "practice quilts" waiting and am hoping to be able to start customer work by October 2011. This would not have been possible without Handi Quilter!
 
Thank you Handi Quilter for all the hard work you have done for quilters like me who started out only knowing to sew two pieces of material together and given us the opportunity to be professional quilters.
 
You provided all the quality equipment and excellent training we needed to see our dreams become a reality! We can't thank you enough. 

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

Chris Poehlman


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I knew when I retired from my job after 34 years; I would need something to do to keep myself busy and my mind active. I decided to take up quilting. I loved it and in the first year made quilts for my husband’s side of our family for Christmas doing stitch in the ditch using my domestic sewing machine. I went to the first International Quilt Show in Long Beach, California and tested all of the manufactures machines and kept coming back to Handiquilter. I talked a lot to my husband about all of the features of the HQ16 machine and how much I wanted it. When I explained the features of the Pro-Stitcher, he knew with my background in computers and computerized sewing this was the the perfect fit for me. He is great at shopping around and was able to find exactly the machine, frame and pro-stitcher, used, that I wanted and made arrangements to buy it for me. I found a great dealer in Long Beach CA, SewVac, Ltd. and Scott managed the change over of the registration for me. Scott treated me as though I had purchased my set up from him new and truly made me feel I was a member of the Handiquilter family. That really impressed me. My husband knew this was the set up for me and was just as excited as I was when he watched me program and stitch out patterns on all of the quilt tops I had been saving to do “someday”. He loves to invite our neighbors to come over when I am quilting so they can see my wonderful machine stitching away “hands free.” I never realized that a computer guided quilting machine was within my reach and when he said “buy it”, I was thrilled. I was fortunate to attend two HQ Retreats in Salt Lake City, the basic and the Pro-stitcher classes and I cannot say enough about the educational opportunities that Handiquilter provides. I feel that everyone is there to support me and help me be successful. Thank you Handiquilter for making HQ Sixteen and HQ Pro-stitcher and helping to make my quilting dreams come true. Sincerely, Chris Poehlman

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