I didn’t go to that quilting show in Duluth, MN - June 2009 with the intention of buying my HQ Sixteen Sit-Down machine. But, it came home with me!
Here’s how it happened.
I was on the Minnesota Quilters show committee that year, working on the Special Exhibits. We had brought in some glorious collections including the Alzheimer’s Exhibit. So, I was busy hanging quilts for about three days. On the way to our exhibit space, the Handi Quilter people were setting up their machines. I noticed in the front corner of the booth a funky looking machine – it appeared to be the long arm version of the HQ Sixteen - but it was mounted on a table. Clever, I thought.
Now, you need to know, I had been increasingly frustrated with the whole notion of machine quilting. I have a wonderful 12 year old domestic machine that does everything I need and no more – simple, reliable and small! I was resigned to probably spending the rest of my quilting life piecing quilt tops and them putting them in the closet because I was overwhelmed by the idea of quilting them on my own and reluctant to give them over to someone with a long arm for quilting, because I really wanted to claim I had completely created these quilts. The tops were piling up. Not an emergency, but I could see it coming…
So, I tried the HQ Sixteen Sit-Down machine. This was a humbling experience because at that point in my quilting career my machine quilting was mostly stitch in the ditch with a walking foot. So, you can imagine the ugly stitches I produced. But, within those ugly stitches I felt hope. I could see my stitching and I had room to move my fabric. At that moment it occurred to me that I could master this free motion quilting process with some instruction and lots of practice.
Well, now for the big decision. Of course, I sent all my quilting friends over to try the machine. They saw the possibilities, but encouraged me to consider the new Bernina in the booth across the way. I went to look at it – and began hyperventilating! I would have to learn so much and the cost!! It was double the price of the very simple HQ Sixteen Sit-Down machine and most of the features I would never use. So, back I came and bought the floor model at a good price. The staff kindly helped me load it in the back seat of my car (along with a lot of other stuff I had purchased) and it came home with me.
So, where to put it. I had been quilting in a pretty small space in our pretty small house. But, I got to thinking…who needs a dining room in this day and age? We rarely used that space for eating. So, I set up my new machine along with all my other quilting gear in the dining room – smack dab in the center of the house. And I love it! I have been practicing my free motion quilting and believe it or not, I am getting better and better. Having this machine has unleashed my creativity and I am having the time of my quilting life!
I’m Rose Allen in St. Paul, MN and I quilt on an HQ Sixteen Sit-Down Machine.
I own the following HQ machines: