2010 My HQ Story: Deborah Higgins

Standing in front of my Best of Show quilt, the very first one quilted on my HQ Sixteen

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In 2004, I went to the Quilter's Heritage quilt show in Lancaster, PA, and was mesmerized by a competitor’s longarm machine. I came home considering selling my car to pay for it! Then I came to my senses and decided waiting at the bus stop in a foot of snow in NY wasn’t worth a longarm machine.
My online quilting group, the Underground Playground, has been meeting once a year for 10 years. In October 2005, we met in NY and visited the Quilt Basket in Wappingers Falls. While the rest of the group shopped, our usual activity upon entering any quilt shop, I became entranced by the HQ Sixteen. Allan Anderson answered my questions patiently, even going so far as to show me how the quilt gets pinned to the leaders. I LOVED this machine. My group finally forced me out of the shop so we could visit the next one, but I couldn’t forget the feeling of quilting on that machine. And the Quilt Basket made sure I didn’t forget. After a few weeks, when the shop sample was removed from the frame, they mailed me the portion I quilted! That stayed pinned on my sewing room wall for a while, calling my name (well, I did write my name on it!). When my birthday rolled around in March, I decided I had suffered long enough and gave myself a present—a brand new HQ Sixteen and the QuilTABLE. AND I didn’t even have to sell my car to pay for it!
I requested the day off from work when I was notified it would be arriving. The UPS driver from my job is the same one for my home and when he saw the name, he drove around with it all day making sure I’d be home from work when he arrived! How could I be mad at him when he finally showed up at 7 pm? Oh sure, it’s funny now, but it wasn’t funny when I was anxiously staring out the window all day waiting for it!
I assembled the table and loaded that machine on there myself. As you can tell from my photo, it’s not like I’m 18 and in great shape! But nothing was going to stop me from quilting on my new machine.
After practicing different designs feverishly on 5 yards of muslin for a few weeks, I began taking my finished quilts into my local shop, Pieceful Quilting, showing off what I’d quilted on my HQ Sixteen. The staff told me that a couple longarm quilters for hire had moved away recently and that customers were always asking for someone to quilt their tops. I started by quilting shop samples and gradually took on a few customers with small quilts as my courage and confidence grew. Now I have a waiting list. I still have a full time day job, but quilting for others gives me some extra income and the chance to see some gorgeous quilts.
After hearing me rave about my machine, two members of my online group now own the HQ Sixteen. Recently I test drove the HQ24 Fusion being demonstrated by the Quilt Basket at the Eastern Long Island Quilters Guild annual quilt show. I think the piece I quilted might show up in the mail one day soon . . . . .
Well, that was last year's story. I'm so happy to say I have more to add! The Quilt Basket held a Handi Quilter retreat in April on Long Island with Handi Quilter educator Debby Brown, and I made sure to call dibs on using the HQ24 Fusion they brought with them. What a sweet piece of machinery! And the HQ Studio Frame? HEAVEN! Demonstrating remarkable restraint, I left the retreat without purchasing the Fusion. The Quilt Basket vends at the Eastern Long Island Quilters Guild quilt show every year, so in June, I had yet another chance to be tempted. Oh, and did I mention that the VERY FIRST QUILT I ever quilted on my HQ Sixteen won first place in the group quilt category, a Vendor’s Choice ribbon from the Quilt Basket, AND BEST IN SHOW!!!!! How exciting is THAT?????
At the end of July, I was doing custom work on a customer’s quilt. As I was nearing the end of the quilt, I was starting and stopping continuously, muttering to myself the entire time, “I could do this in half the time on the Fusion”. By the end of the quilt, I’d talked myself into it. I emailed Allan Anderson of the Quilt Basket, who was vending at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA that weekend. He answered me from his hotel room that night (Does that man ever stop working??), with all the information, including letting me know about the free AccuQuilt Studio Fabric Cutter!
There were three local women who, knowing that I’d been lusting after the Fusion for over a year, had asked to be notified when I upgraded so they could discuss purchasing my HQ Sixteen set up. Alice was the first one to jump at the chance and she now has an HQ Sixteen in her basement! Allan drove several hours, from the OTHER SIDE of New York City, to personally assemble my HQ Fusion Frame, set up my Fusion, and make sure everything was running smoothly. On a SUNDAY, no less. THEN, he went to Alice’s house and set HERS up! I can’t say enough about the Quilt Basket as a Handi Quilter dealer and as educators to make sure their customers know how to fully use the machines they represent. And the same goes for Handi Quilter. You know they’ve been listening to their customers when they come up with tilt screens, adjustable lighting, thread sensors, a larger quilting space, and a new track system, just to name a few things!
I’ve only had time to quilt five tops on the Fusion, but I’ve done pantographs, free hand, and ruler work. I used the black light feature for the first time last night. I love the HQ24 Fusion and the Fusion Frame (I haven’t stopped having fun long enough to take the AccuQuilt Cutter out of the box yet). I guess I’ll start lusting after the HQ Pro-Stitcher. Did you hear that, Allan?? : )
Deb (www.DivineQuilting.blogspot.com)
Ecstatic Owner of an HQ24 Fusion

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