by Barbara Campbell
My story begins with the frustration I had experienced trying to quilt under the small bed of my home sewing machine. I saw the HQ Sixteen in a sit-down table at a quilt show and fell in love. I ordered the set-up and used it that way for over a year, appreciating the extra space, ease of use and stitching speed. When I was able to claim an extra bedroom for my system, I ordered the frame, handles, and some accessories. My hubby set me up on a six foot table. Nirvana! As time went on, I wanted to quilt larger quilts, so we upgraded to the Professional Table and added the stitch regulator. I was in heaven now, quilting all my own tops and not having to send any out to professional long arm quilters.
Enter the HQ Pro-Stitcher - when I saw the computerized system at MQX, I ordered it on the spot and have never looked back. I now have the best of all worlds – being able to use so many wonderful digitized designs, but also reverting to hand-guided quilting when I want. It was nice to be able to upgrade and "grow" my system in stages as I was ready for the next step.
My only unfulfilled wish is to find another affordable head to replace the one I took from my sit-down table. There are occasions when I could use that sit-down machine for quilting smaller projects while the HQ Pro-Stitcher is working on my computerized designs.
As for my projects, in addition to quilting my finished tops, I spent some time designing a unique fabric that was printed by Spoonflower to highlight a few digitized designs that I purchased. I used the HQ Pro-Stitcher to place, resize and rotate the patterns to fit. It was fun to quilt on fabric that I had created.
I have used the HQ to create a sweatshirt jacket (photo enclosed), cutting the sweatshirt open and layering it on lining fabric. I did some raw edge applique to decorate and quilt it at the same time. Once finished, I cut out the sweatshirt and lining, stitched the seams back together, added cuffs and then the bottom trim.
Another thing I enjoy doing is loading backing, batting and decorator fabric to quilt wholecloth placemats and table runners all at once. It is a quick and easy project that makes a wonderful gift.
I've also used the HQ Pro-Stitcherand its horizontal and vertical locks to stitch fabric to Texture Magic. Once stitched, the Texture Magic shrinks when exposed to steam creating some wonderful textured fabric that I've used in making totes, American Girl doll clothes, scarves, purses, etc.
When reupholstering my kitchen chairs, I loaded the damask home decor fabric with a layer of batting and muslin, used the horizontal locks and stitched accent lines in the fabric before cutting it up for the chair backs. I love exploring all the different ways to use this remarkable machine.
The highlight of this journey has been introducing my granddaughters to my passion. Two out of three have been bitten by the bug and have pieced, fused and quilted their own projects. My twelve-year-old granddaughter has been using the HandiQuilter since she was nine. After fusing her pieces to the background on an underwater scene, we loaded it onto the HQ and she did raw edge applique and all the quilting by herself. I offered lessons and advice, but every stitch was done by her. She was so proud, especially after we entered it into two shows and she won ribbons.
More recently, my six-year-old granddaughter helped me piece a twin size jungle quilt for her bed. After I loaded it onto the HQ, she had fun steering it to quilt some of the borders. Every time they visit the request is to sew something so they can put it onto Nana's "big machine" to finish it. I am so happy and proud to be able to share what I love so much with a younger generation. Hopefully they will keep their interest in sewing and quilting. I enjoy sharing my skills and love seeing their creations. All three of my granddaughters have sewn with me, but one is not as interested - preferring to play sports. Give me time - I'll convert her yet!
I own the following HQ machines: