Our family business took my husband and me to Louisiana in 2005 to assist with the Katrina relief effort. We spent five months there, working and living in a fifth wheel. I had my daughter ship my sewing machine out to me in December; even if I had limited space and time, at least I was getting a sewing fix. My best friend was emailing me about the table runners she was piecing and quilting. I couldn’t wait to get home to experience it myself. The day after our return, my friend, Centella and I went to the Sew Expo in Seattle, where we saw our first Handi Quilter.
I started piecing quilts…wall hangings, throws and crib-size…many made on “sew days” with my friend, Centella. But, the quilting part was NOT much fun. Because of a bad back, I could only “push” the fabric through for about 15 minutes a day before the pain would force me to quit. I took a long-arm class at a local quilt shop, and fell back in love with “thread painting”….free motion stitching. When Centella’s husband bought her an HQ Sixteen, I scheduled our “sew days” to coincide with a quilt top being completed, as she let me use “Hannah” to quilt my own.
Every year we do a “quilt / sew” trip. In 2008 we attended Hand iQuilter University (HQU). Calling home during our stay, I negotiated with my husband to let me get an HQ Sixteen …if I moved my sewing studio above the 2 ½ car garage the grandkids wouldn’t have to sleep at the foot of our bed anymore…they could have the old sewing room, not to mention the sewing clutter would be gone; he’d also get a quilt out of the deal (he’s gotten two: Soldier’s Braid throw and Pines and Needles queen, which I found the pattern and fabric for while at HQU); and other negotiations…. I picked out my HQ Sixteen right off the assembly line, autographed the bottom with a butterfly, and it was shipped to me in late November. By Christmas, I had completed two twin quilts (with 159,330 stitches in each), a queen and two Christmas stockings.
Last year I did a floral whole cloth quilt with 307,395 stitches. As you can see, I journal and track all of my quilts. I am making quilts for each of my twelve grandkids (5 to go), among others, and have taught two of my granddaughters to quilt…they love it. To date, I have quilted twenty quilts on my HQ16, using rulers, free motion (love feathers) and pantographs, with 1,842,344 stitches logged. When I’m contemplating a free motion design, or want to practice feathers, I often use the back of my church bulletin….helps stimulate the brain to concentrate on the sermon.
I love the quilting almost more than the piecing. I do the “quilt dance” for hours on end, without the back pain.
Maybe I’ll start negotiating for a Fusion 24.
I own the following HQ machines: