Melinda DeGroot

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My mom, who lives in Georgia, has been a quilter for the past 30 years and had a heart attack on Mother's Day of this year. I flew there from my home near Houston that evening. After 10 days of looking through every quilt magazine I could get my hands on and literally drooling over the long arm ads I decided that I would save my money and purchase one. I didn't know which one I wanted and never mind the fact that I am a Realtor and in one of the worst markets EVER!
As soon as they released Mom, we hit just about every quilt shop in northern Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee for fabric, patterns etc. In just about every shop we went in there was a Handi Quilter. Coincidence or were they that good? At first I would just stand there and stare with my mind going 90 miles per hour until I would finally gain control of myself. Eventually, I just started ignoring them. No sense in making myself miserable with a bad case of the "wants". No matter which quilt shop we went to...there one sat...in all of its gleaming white glory. I guess Mom got sick of me always talking about wanting a long arm and told me that she was gonna buy me one. Nope. If I was going to get one, I would buy it myself. She would just look at me and say " Yeah, right". Well, I was coming to the end of my 6 week stay ( for someone who had just had a heart attack, she was wearing me out! ) and we had one more quilt shop on our list to visit. We were oohhing and aahhing over the fabrics and when we turned the corner...you guessed it. There sat an HQ18 Avante with HQ Pro-Stitcher on the Studio table. I just kept walking and Mom grabbed Laurel the shop owner and asked her to show us how it worked. Well, Laurel fired up the Avante and showed us all the things it can do. I thought to myself "OK..enough already. You can get one when you save the money" Thats when Mom said " How much is this exact set-up? She is driving me nuts!" Laurel responded and Mom said " I am gonna buy it for her" I told Laurel to hold on for a bit. I needed to take Mom to get lunch. Maybe her blood sugar was low. We needed to talk about this first. Well, a good meal didn't change her mind. We went back and ordered it. Want to talk about guilt? What if Mom needed the money later? There was no way that I could pay her back all of the money if she needed it in a hurry. On the way home she informed me that it was HER money and she could spend it on whomever, on whatever and however she wanted. She wanted me to have it now, not after she was gone. She knew how badly I wanted one and said it would make her happy too! I have only had my HQ18 Avante that I named "Pooger" ( my Mom's childhood nickname, but don't tell her I told you ) for a month and have had an absoulte ball! I quilt in the morning before anyone gets up. I quilt at night while the Hubs is watching the race car channel. You get the idea. Right now, some of my quilts look great. Others? Oh well..they are my practice quilts and they are just as warm and cuddly as masterpieces.
Mom just mentioned yesterday that she was planning on me doing all of her quilting and will have a couple of tops ready soon. Think I was set up?

I own the following HQ machines:

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