This is my story of how I came to own two HQ machines. In April of this year I found myself without a job after 29 years in the banking industry and too young to retire. I have always enjoyed sewing and even owned a lace and ribbon shop years ago. I knew I was going to start a 2nd career, but wanted it to be something I enjoyed and where I could use my creative skills. I had already given some thought into purchasing a long-arm machine and had even looked into several different types. However it wasn’t until the loss of my job that pushed me in the quilting direction.
We lived in Northern California for about 15 years and became friends with Mark and Marsha. About 5 years ago Marsha left her nursing career and opened a quilt shop in Paradise, CA, called Morning Star Quilts. Well this started the bug to quilt again in me and one of my daughters caught on also. In fact she worked for Marsha up until she got married and moved to Texas. This also prompted me to look into owning a long-arm machine.
After the loss of my job we decided to step out on a limb and purchase a long-arm machine. During our research on the machines we actually looked at another brand and were in negotiations with the dealer when we were visited by Marsha’s daughter, Jennifer. Jennifer told us they had recently purchased an HQ24 Fusion and that we should look at it before we purchased anything. Having known Jennifer and her family for years we trusted their judgment and put the negotiations on hold. We made the 7 hour trip to Northern California and got to actually run the HQ machine. We were very impressed with the handling and quality of the machine. Marsha is a sales rep for HQ and spent several hours with us going over all the features and helped us decide on which machines. Well before leaving the store we purchased two machines. We ordered the HQ24 Fusion with HQ Pro-Stitcher (24”) and the HQ18 Avante (18”). The Avante was not computerized, and now we are considering upgrading it with a computer.
Now that we ordered the machines we had to find a place to put them. We have a large workshop on our property that has an office on one end of it. The office was basically being used as a storage area. We had a limited amount of time as the machines were scheduled for delivery in about 10 days from purchase. We cleaned out the office and realized it needed a lot of updating. So we remodeled it with new wallboard, paint and flooring, all in two weeks. I owe my husband a big kiss for that one.
When the machines were delivered we had a few problems. Not with HQ, but with the trucking company. We live on a ranch and the road is very narrow, especially for a semi-truck. He got up the road fine, but there was no place for him to turn around. My husband offered to help the driver, but he thought he could do it. A short time later we heard the sound of his engine and knew he was stuck. Sure enough, he had tried to back down the hill and took out about 30 ft of our barbed wire fence. We had to get one of our larger trucks to help pull him out. Thankfully nobody was injured and the fence was easy to fix (Well, at least that is what my husband said). Of course nothing is easy, one piece of the machine was missing. The trucking company checked and it was in their warehouse scheduled for delivery the following day. We didn’t need a repeat performance and more fence to fix, so we met the truck in town the following day to pick-up the other piece.
Mark and Marsha came down to San Luis Obispo and helped us put the machines together. They were time-consuming since we had 2 of machines to put together but very simple to actually put together and operate.
We have a neighbor who has quilted for over 40 years and was becoming frustrated because of some health issues. When we got the machines up and running she seemed to get a new lease on life. She comes up 2 to 3 times a week now and has finished at least a half dozen quilt tops she had sitting around. In fact she brought up one that my husband thought was beautiful. It was a courthouse steps pattern in a variety of dark fabrics that she had completed some 20 yrs ago. My husband had been helping her learn the computerized machine, so our neighbor said she would give him the quilt top if he would select the backing, pattern and do the machine work himself. To get the full scope of this you have to know my husband. He is a 6’-4”, 290 lbs retired law enforcement officer who now works on the ranch. So to see him running the machine is quite something.
With these machines we have started what I call my retirement job. We have partnered with a local fabric store that allows me to display some of my finished products and to use them as a pick-up and drop-off point. I am making some quilts to put on consignment at our local farm and ranch supply store. They have a home furnishings section that emphasizes the western motif. We are in the process of putting together a website and have already started our customer base. It is simply amazing to see some of the quilt tops people have put together and to be a part of their project by helping them pick their pattern and thread color. Everybody that comes into our shop is amazed at the machines and has been very pleased with the finished product. HQ has been very helpful from the start and later when we had some technical questions about the computer.
Craig & Lori Gill
I own the following HQ machines: