Kelly Hanson

dads memory quilt, the inspiration for my HQ Avante

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My quilt story begins with a machine that was inherited, and fabric that needed to be made into treasures. In February of 2000, my aunt passed away leaving behind all of her quilting supplies and fabrics. My uncle, naive to quilting, ordered a dumpster and was in the process of throwing out all of it when I arrived shortly after her passing. I asked if I could have them and he promptly and happily placed the items into my van... I brought them home, set up the machine, folded the fabric and made it a shrine to my Aunt Rosemary. Jump ahead to September 2003, my son was expecting his first child. As we awaited the arrival of my first grandchild, I became so anxious that I needed to fill my time. I took out the fabric and began piecing a quilt for the unborn future grandson. It was the sun bonnet boy appliqued quilt. I was so comforted by the therapy piecing gave, I continued to piece and started taking classes (every day for 2 years).
I began working at a local quilt shop and invested in an inexpensive quilt frame so I could complete my quilts from fabric selection through the actual quilting. It didn't take long before I threw out my shoulder and was in need of rotator cuff repair from using this flimsy frame with my TL98 Juki. I put my frame up for sale and decided this was not for me. I made the decision that I would piece, but never quilt a large quilt again. I did many smaller pieces on my Bernina, but I did not have the strength with my shoulder to push the quilt around to completion. Shortly after my surgery, my best friend, Sandy, invested in a long arm with the Statler System. Sandy lives 140 miles from me so it always gave me a great chance to see her, and her work was perfect. So I began bringing my quilts to her and gave her a great start on her business. Her first year she quilted 17 quilts for me, none of which were smaller than full size. As I watched her quilt I became sure that I was not capable of doing this part of the craft. It seemed to be so complicated and I was not very confident in my abilities.
Fast forward to March 1, 2009, the day my father passed away. While everyone else was busy looking at keepsakes to remember him by, I asked my mother what her plans were for his clothing. She willingly gave them to me. On February 14, 2010 I presented her with a beautiful quilt made from his clothing. My one last gift of love from dad to mom. On July 19 2010 I presented my husband with a similar quilt for our wedding anniversary. My husband was touched, my dad had been a loving father to him for 30 years. He missed him terribly. I knew he would respond like this, so it saddened me greatly when I picked the quilt up from my friend that I had not been able to quilt this special gift myself.
As I left her home in June of 2010, after picking up this quilt, I saw a sign on St Cloud Sewing Center " TRUCK LOAD SALE ". I hung a U turn, freaked my son out, called my husband, and told him my plans.
My wonderful husband told me to go in and get what I needed. I walked through the door, still on the phone, and walked right up to the HQ Avante 18 with the computerized unit attached. I asked how much the package was and what was included and with my husband still on the line he said,
"Just do it, get the best frame and whatever you need." Janelle, the sales woman was as excited as I was. My 18 year old son, by my side, was telling me I deserved this. He said quilting is a gift, a passion. And then he told me that he thought I was gifted in my craft, I wanted to cry. I bought everything that I would need, and it was installed and set up within a week.
I had researched machines for quite a while, tried many at various quilt shows, but it was the ease of the machine that gave me the confidence to say I can and I will do this. I have not been disappointed, I finished my first quilt and it turned out so beautifully. I am proud to own such an exceptional machine and am embarking on starting a long arm quilting business. I am thrilled with the tech support I receive through
Janelle, and her willingness to give instruction on the machine. Thank you HQ for making my dream complete. I have a beautiful sewing studio, a gem of a long arm and a loving family. What more could a girl want?

I own the following HQ machines:

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