Penny Smeby

"Elmer Fudd" & Penny

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After having horses for 30 years and showing in the Arabians circuit the last 18+ years, we sold the horse farm and moved to our dream home in the Chippewa National Forest, in northern Minnesota. My perfect idea of heaven on earth - lots of trails to ride and all the time in the world to do it in.
That world fell apart 6 months later - Jan. 2003. when my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. Not knowing
the outcome of his tennis ball size tumor, we transferred our Arabian show/breeding stallion and my Arabian/Saddlebred pleasure mare back down to the Cities where they would be taken care of without having to worry about them and we could concentrate on the medical issues.
Of course, the people at the training facility fell in love with our horses, so we sold them when we had the chance and not knowing the outcome of my husband's cancer. Fortunately my husband's cancer was contained and has been "cancer free" for 6 years.
Now, this is where my HQ story really begins - after the stress of dealing with the medical issues I found myself with little to do. I had a friend invite me to a quilt guild meeting. Me, why? I don't even sew. (Any sewing done down at the farm was on my husband's mother's old sewing machine and that was just patching. My husband used to call my sewing room the "Twilight Zone" because everything went in there and nothing came out.) The meeting was to be held the last Tuesday in February, 2004 so on Valentine's Day, my husband bought me a little Singer sewing machine to see if maybe I would like it. I ended up going to the quilt guild meeting that fateful February day and seeing all of the beautiful quilt items the gals had shown during Show & Tell. I was sooo intimidated thinking that I would never in a million years be able to do anything remotely like those. (Now those same gals can't believe how far I have come in so few years - like I was born to quilt.) I went out and purchased "Quilting for Dummies" & The Better Homes and Gardens "Complete Guide to Quilting."
I still had to ask my husband some questions (yes, he can sew, too - I spent way too much time mucking out stalls) but I muddled through and now can tell you what a selvage edge is and keep my 1/4" seam allowance correct. Six months later I wore out the little Singer and purchased a new machine. I'm hooked for life!! I loved the idea of taking a piece of fabric and putting it together - sort of like a jig saw puzzle waiting for the finish. My husband asked why didn't I just do big squares and put them together? Me, no way. I couldn't do that - what was the challenge? I had to do the 1/2 square triangles, stars, etc. right a way. I was making so many large (double, queen, king,etc.) quilts that my husband said I couldn't take them to my long arm quilter any more. It was just too expensive to have them done. I said okay, and then buy me a quilting machine.
I wanted an HQ right a way from talking with one of the gals at quilt guild but my husband didn't want to spend the money so he bought me a little, and I mean little, quilting machine. (I wouldn't even say it was a "short arm" because I could maybe get 4" under the throat.) I thanked my husband and went to work trying to quilt my large quilts on this 4" machine. After many, many advances of the rails, my husband gave in and we went to the closest HQ dealer which was three hours away and purchased the HQ Sixteen with a stitch regulator (08/28/07). I finally had the machine I wanted.
I was now really completing my quilts from start to finish. I was satisfied until I saw an ad in the magazine advertising the HQ Pro-Stitcher. I really wanted the computer for my quilting. I guess I didn't really need it, but I wanted it. After much pleading, my husband gave in to purchasing the computer with the idea that I start a business to help pay for it. (Sure, just like the farm, buy a 5 stall barn and end up with 23 stalls! I'm supposed to be retired!) So in May 2008 I started my little quilting business to see if there was any interest in the area before I actually purchased the computer. To my surprise there was interest and I picked up some business. In July, 2008 we purchased the HQ Pro-Stitcher. (Since starting my business, I donate yearly to (5) charities that need to have a quilts quilted for benefit purposes whether it be to hospice, a raffle to help pay off medical bills, church functions, etc.)
I was sooo excited to get started with my new machine and computer programming I could hardly wait to try it out. (I went to go down to the reps for training but she advised me that I knew more about long arm quilting then she did so it would be a waste of time to drive the 6 hours round trip. Okay - I purchased the videos and did practice fabric until I became comfortable with the machine and programs.)
Now, you have to realize that I considered my horses my 4-legged physiatrists and that I could talk to them and my troubles would become small. I wanted to consider my new HQ Pro Stitcher the same way - to be able to go up to my sewing room and stitch my problems away.

I own the following HQ machines:

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