Ashley Malinowski

Me and My Machine

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I started working with a Handi Quilter Sixteen when I was sixteen years old. Now, I am 18, and I own my own HQ18 Avante with a HQ Pro-Stitcher. 18 on an 18!!!
Backing up, I began sewing when I was 6, and quilting at the age of 8 all thanks to my mom who was and is still a quilter. She let me take weekly summer camps at a sewing machine dealer. I started out making clothes, bags and pillows. I was then allowed to start the quilting camp early, and soon cut with a rotary cutter. Quickly, I cut a whole double size bed quilt, and pieced it at age 9. The summers after I kept sewing and quilting.
I used the Handi Quilter Sixteen as a rental program at a local quilt shop. The reason I wanted to take the rental classes and learn the longarm is so that I could quilt my quilts other than tying and stitching in the ditch. I completed five quilts from renting at that shop. Four of the quilts were first place winners in the Children’s Department at the Delaware State Fair. The fifth quilt was my own quilt design which I also wrote up into a quilt pattern and sold.
From age 16 to 17, I developed and ran a rental program at a quilt shop (A Handi Quilter Dealer) where I worked. I taught the rental classes as well as helping the customers quilt their own quilts. It was a wonderful rewarding experience since I got to learn the machine in and out firsthand, and it had me wondering “WHEN I AM I GOING TO HAVE MY OWN?”.
Then, in December of 2009, my parents gave me a graduation gift to go to the Machine Quilting Expo in Providence, Rhode Island. I was stunned! I booked my classes New Year day, and in April of 2010 I attended the Machine Quilting Expo in Providence, Rhode Island. Got an excused absence from school since it was my senior year in high school, and headed up to the show with another local longarmer. I didn’t think twice about which brand of a longarm to buy. I already knew how well the machine performed, but it was just biting the bullet. I debated, debated, debated some more and drove my parents as well as the lady I traveled with crazy. Finally, at the last minute of the Machine Quilting Expo, literally 5 p.m. on Saturday when the show closed, I signed the contract. When I called my parents back to say I bought it, they said “I hope it fits”. Haha because before I had left for Rhode Island we were supposed to measure the room, as you can tell we didn’t.
When it was time to put up the machine, my parents helped put it up in our basement. WOW! I had been around the machine and the studio frame for over 2 years at this point, but putting it in the basement seems like the machine had grown. We added more lights in the ceiling, ordered thread and I didn’t get to work on the machine for few weeks because number one it wasn’t complete built yet, and number two I had to graduate high school.
Since graduation, the machine has been running nonstop, because I started my very own longarm quilting business called Midnight Quilter. Appropriately named because I am starting college in the Fall and time is limited, so can you guess when I quilt?
I love my HQ Pro-Stitcher because the results are wonderful, and all the designs for the machine I can download from the internet are fabulous. In addition, it allows me to personalize my quilts as well as my customer’s quilts. With the features on the HQ Pro-Stitcher and the ease of usage, custom quilting is much more enjoyable. I do a little bit of everything with my Handi Quilter: free motion, computerized edge to edge and computerized custom. The format from switching from free motion to the computerized couldn’t be any easier with the Handi Quilter. I am just so thankful that such a sturdy, reliable machine with the computer system was in my price range. I know I can support my hobby of quilting and paying for college all at the same time. Thanks, Handi Quilter!!!

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