Gail Tozier

Gail and her "16"

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Growing up, my mom made lots of my school clothes, and taught me to sew when I was in the 4th grade. When I went off to college, I made her a hand tied crazy quilt from the scraps of the clothes she had made me all those years before, with a machine I’d bought myself. For my 21st birthday, Mom said I could have whatever I wanted….set of dishes, pots and pans, whatever….I chose a sewing machine. The shop offered a thread painting class (they called it free motion machine embroidery back then) and I found a new passion. And, when she passed away, I upgraded to an embroidery machine with my inheritance. I did mostly garment construction for myself and my two daughters.
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:

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