“Learn to dance with your machine,” were the words that someone told me when I first got my HQ Sixteen. I took this poetic expression to heart and have been “dancing” with Arthur, as in Murray, for the past four years…..and this is my story.
I first met Arthur when I attended the Beginning HQ retreat in September 2006. I was the only quilter in a class of 15 that did not own a Handi Quilter machine. My feelings of intimidation diminished quickly when I was so warmly greeted by the HQ staff at the introductory dinner and at the first morning of instruction. I enrolled in the class to answer two questions. First, would I enjoy quilting on a long-arm machine? Second, would I be able to learn the technique and become a competent machine quilter? By the end of the second day of training, I felt that my questions had been answered and I became the proud owner of Arthur, an HQ Sixteen.
Arthur arrived at my home shortly after my return from Salt Lake City. I compare Arthur’s arrival at my home to the birth of a baby. All my “quilty” friends came over to hold him, touch him, and listen to him. They also danced with him. We quickly fell into step and our dance lessons began in earnest. The University of HQ gave me the confidence and all of the tools, both mental and physical, that I needed to begin the quilting journey that changed my life. I had samples that I completed in class, pages full of my personal notes, and a nicely prepared HQ binder that I still use as a reference.
Arthur and I practiced and quilted many quilts together for about eight months, and then I enrolled in the Intermediate class in May 2007. Upon my arrival at the retreat, I genuinely felt part of the HQ family with the friendly reception I again received from the staff. I was sad to leave after completion of the course, yet anxious to apply all the knowledge I’d gained and immediately started quilting for my friends when I returned home.
I retired from my position as a Geographic Information Systems Analyst at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in March 2008 and began working in a quilt shop, In Between Stitches, one day a week in my hometown of Livermore, California. I found myself consulting with customers on how to quilt their quilts. I also started a quilting blog. I started designing my own quilts in 2009 under the name of Sew’n Wild Oaks. The ability to machine quilt my own quilts has enhanced my own design style. I felt free. Free of the long waiting list to have my quilts quilted by others. Free to quilt whatever my heart desired. Free to show creativity and spontaneity. Free to say that the quilt was all mine from beginning to end.
Arthur and I are a great team. He always lets me lead the dance. He never steps on my toes and my dance card is always full. Together we strive for the perfect “10”. LET'S GET READY TO RUMBA!! Thank you Handi Quilter.
I own the following HQ machines: