Seven or eight years ago I was concerned that arthritis would affect my hand quilting so I began to dabble with machine quilting. Shortly before I quit working outside the home, my local quilt store began offering classes to use the HQ Sixteen as a pre-requisite to rent their long arm machine for my own quilts. That was a great way to learn to enjoy the long arm. I was thrilled this past winter to order my own HQ18 Avante.
I decided that since I’ve reached retirement age, I deserved a new sewing machine because I’d been using used Bernina machines (I have a 930 and 1230). After my research I went to my quilt shop intending to get the Bernina 820. Instead I ordered the HQ18 Avante, which has the features I wanted the most, the stitch regulator and the long arm. I’m usually not this spontaneous, but I’ve been very pleased with the decision.
A week after ordering, we had a 24-inch snowstorm. I was counting down the days for my delivery which coincided with another forecasted major storm. Cabin fever wouldn’t be so bad for me, if my new toy came. Tracking deliveries told me my seven boxes were on the truck for delivery, when the second storm began, deliveries were suspended that day; it was another ten days before all of my boxes arrived. I know there were many people who had major hardship related to 44 inches of snow in one week, but my patience was still tested.
I set my long arm up in my sewing room which is the smallest bedroom. It’s on a diagonal and not at full length. The rails extend to the walls so initially I crawled under the machine to thread the machine or plug in the laser and had rug burn on my knees. I can accomplish those tasks now at the end of the machine; if and when I need more length I can move the long arm temporarily to the guest bedroom, sunroom or living room. I threaten to sell my husband’s pool table in the club room since my machine gets much more use than the pool table, but I appreciate that he enables my quilting.
After a few days of practice, I tackled a quilt top I made before ordering the longarm. This was the fourth appliqué quilt I’d made using Mary Sorenson’s pattern, Simple Gifts; I used a McTavishing quilt design with glitter thread.
Since then I’ve tackled a couple dozen projects: UFOs, lots of pillows, cushion covers, wall hangings. I now concentrate more on pieced projects so I can spend more time quilting. Batiks are my current passion. The stitch regulator is wonderful!!! The micro handles will be on my wish list for Christmas so I can do some more micro McTavishing.
Everyone needs a pastime, especially for the good times and bad. I enjoy displaying favorite quilts on quilt racks throughout my house and have given my daughters quilt racks for the quilts I’ve given them. I make quilts for my kids and grandkids, friends and family. I’ve made baby quilts, anniversary quilts, wedding shower quilts, pink ribbon quilts, patriotic quilts and memorial quilts. It’s my way of dealing with emotions good or bad and when words sound trite or cheesy. I hope I’ll still have quilting to comfort me and loved ones for another twenty-five years.
I own the following HQ machines: