Joanne L. Gardner

Me with my brother's wedding quilt

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About two years ago, I started making quilts for my children to fulfill a life long dream of mine. One practice quilt later, I went to my local quilt shop to find a quilter.There were three people recommended. I chose the middle priced quilter and waited the four weeks. Upon completion of a pantograph design, I realized the quilter did not do a great job and I was so disappointed.
A few months later, I completed a quilt for our oldest daughter who was graduating from college. I went once again to my quilt shop and viewed the most expensive quilters work and decided she was the one for my special daughter's quilt. Four to six weeks pased before I got the phone call that the quilt was done. I could not wait to see the masterpiece. But what I saw was a terrible mess on top of my beauftiful fabrics. I took it to the quilt shop where they agreed it was a horrible job. They said to ask the quilter to remove all the stitching and have her redo it. Five weeks passed before the quilter called, and I picked up the quilt to find 62 squares out of 154 had been destroyed, plus the entire backing was ruined.
I was totally broken at that point in time. I had lost all desire to quilt because what use was it to quilt if i could not get them quilted. Six months passed, and I decided that I would teach myself to quilt. I bought a Gracie frame and Juki machine, but I truly did not enjoy quilting because I could not get the quality stitching I desired for the heirloom quilts I was determined to make. Once again, I felt defeated.
But one day in the mail, I received an advertising card from a sewing shop where I had bought a Brother machine many years ago. They were selling a Babylock made by Handi Quilter. I went to a demonstration, and I thought if I got a quilting machine, it would have to be computerized, like the HandiQuilter, as I wanted great stitches. That's when my husband went into action, checking out all the brands. We went to sewing expos and other shops, and he searched the internet daily, printing literature about all the machines available to the home quilter.
One day, he said we were going to a HandiQuilter dealer, Alko Sewing Center, in Mentor, Ohio, located about one and a half hours from our house. I kept saying we could not afford such an expensive machine. Once he saw the quality of the machine and all it could do, he was hooked and so was I.
I can't describe to you how blessed I feel to own one of your machines. The HQ18 Avante is truly one of the greatest machines I have ever owned. I still marvel at it each and every time I use it. I reconstructed my daughter's quilt, quilting it square by square, my first heirloom quilt. I have since quilted two others, a gift for my niece and a wedding gift for my brother. I have our son's and other daughter's quilt tops ready to go. One of the best parts is that I didn't have to wait four to six weeks to get my quilts quilted because I own my own Handi Quilter. Plus, I get to choose if I want overall design or special quilting at no extra charge.
The best part is when our oldest daughter cried when I gave her the reconstructed quilt on her brithday. She said, "It is so much more special because you quilted it, Mom." I would truly love to learn more about what the Avante is capable of. I know I have only scratched the surface of its capabilities, and I look forward to discovering more of what I can do with my very own Handi Quilter.
Joanne L. Gardner

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