Many years later after my kids left home I decided that I needed some hand projects to work on in the evenings. Thus, my evolution into the quilting world began anew. Piecing wall hanging and quilts by hand or machine kept me busy for several years but although I was finishing the small projects I found that I was accumulating a lot of unfinished bed size quilts. Recognizing that hand tied quilts were no longer the norm I wanted to try my hand at hand quilting. I found the process of sandwiching the quilt in preparation for quilting to be very challenging and something I really did not enjoy. I was able to master the 10 stitches per inch but found quilting by hand left my fingers punctured and sore, and I also came to the realization that there just wasn't enough time in the day to complete all the projects I had in mind. I decided that there had to be an easier way. Of course I was aware of quilting machines but thought they were just for the professionals.
In 2005 I won the viewers choice award for a top I completed at our local shop's $5 block of the month club. Of course I was very pleased and decided that I owed it to myself to have it quilted. I took it to a local quilter and was awed by her machine and the quilting she was able to do on it. She did a beautiful custom job on my king size quilt, but the charge was $325. Showing my husband the quilt I mentioned that I had 11 unfinished tops hanging in my closet and that I sure wished I could have a quilt machine.
I started taking notice of the quilting machine ads in the different quilt magazines and sent for demo DVD's. I made visits to shops to check out the setups that they had on the floor. Most were to large for the area I had and I really didn't need a commercial set up. One system that's price was attractive to me was to small to quilt a 12 inch block without advancing the quilt to I ruled it out. Then one day I told my husband that my sewing machine dealer was also a Handi Quilter dealer and although they were an hour away I thought that was a machine that offered the things I wanted and was affordable.
My husband unbeknown to me called them the next morning. He found out that they were running a special and he suggested that they call me direct and tell me about it. Receiving the call, that I thought was out of the blue, I relayed all the information to him and asked him what he thought --- he of course told me that I should go ahead and place an order.
My machine is a HQ Sixteen with Stitch Regulation and HQ Micro Handles.
I own the following HQ machines: