My quilting journey began a long time ago – it was the year of the Platte River Flood in Denver, Colorado. Yes, that was in the summer of 1965. My grandma Anna came to visit us for two weeks that summer. She and I cut out scrap fabrics from the scrap bin-using empty envelopes as the pattern. We joined the pieces together in a random color order. The rows turned out so colorful. I still remember the look alike dresses that my mom and sister and I had out of one of those fabrics. Grandma went on to hand quilt that quilt top using a two inch ruler as the guide to the diagonal rows. That quilt was never used until the year 2006 – the year my dad died. I used that quilt once when I slept over at the house during that time. That quilt was stored for a long time in a plastic bag on the shelf in my dad’s closet. My mom quickly washed the quilt I used one night. This erased the pencil marks made 41 years before by my grandmother. It seemed as if the pencil marks de-valued the quilt in some strange way. That “beloved” quilt hangs in my front room.
Fast forward history – made two quilts in the 1980’s. One of the quilts was from antique quilt blocks that were given to me in the 70’s – from my grandma, Elvira, orphan blocks. The second quilt I attempted was the Star pattern– the eight points – each of the blocks looked different – one of the blocks has a hole in the middle where they are supposed to be joined – can stick my little finger through that area. I remember crying because I could not get those points to look perfect. Since then I have learned a lot about how to put together that particular pattern. In spite of myself, I put together those star blocks in 2009. Whatever. I am so over crying about having perfect blocks. Now, I love how uneven the blocks are and I left that hole in the middle of one of the blocks – just for laughs. The back of the blocks look awful – there is no rhyme or reason why they look the way that they do. Some of the seams are open, some seams go in one direction, some seams are cut off, etc. I could use a class on how to put that pattern block together. I hung that quilt up on the top of the ceiling in my studio – you would have to crank your neck to see my mistakes.
In 2000, in celebration of completing a higher education degree, I purchased an antique quilt which had the same pattern of that quilt that I made in the 1980’s-the orphan block quilt. That quilt has the original pencil markings from the 1930’s!! It also has hand quilting which is much better than the thread tying that I did back in the 1980’s on my quilt. My current challenge is to take apart my first quilt and sew it the right way. The batting on that quilt was pretty awful as well and will need to be replaced. I probably will try to figure out how to use the Pro-Stitcher features and duplicated the quilting pattern.
I have bought several hand quilting frames – I used to be a snob about hand quilting. I took great pride in taking two years to hand quilt a quilt top! Every single one of those frames are now in storage. I even bought one of those frames which you can put your machine on it and quilt. That frame is in storage along with the sewing machine. I probably should take the machine and all those pieces and recycle them in some useful manner.
In 2006, I bought another long arm machine and frame and proceeded to learn free motion and pantograph quilting. I completed a lot of quilts. I spent hours watching the video on how to load a quilt. I purchased several pantographs and thought I was the queen of the quilting world. My neck and shoulder still hurt and I never had enough lighting to see what was being stitched out. My cat used to walk across the ledge that was used to hold the frame together. I rigged up lights to the frame and constantly tripped on the cords. Duh.
In 2007, I was at the local Janome dealership and saw the HQ Sixteen and the Pro-Stitcher machine. I was taken aback by the touch screen of the HQPro-Stitcher. I fell in love with the whole system – frame, machine and the HQ Pro-Stitcher. I wanted the top of the line – no more free motion quilting – I dreamed that all “those” designs would magically appear in front of my eyes. Of course, I went to the internet and searched for information HQ Sixteen. I ordered the sample DVD and the dream began. I began calling dealerships. I found a site that was able to “pre service” my needs. My decision to purchase the entire HQ Sixteen system was made because of the level of pre-service that was given by David Sandritter at Quilt Trends. He eventually came to my house and set up the entire system and gave me the required initial training. While I was putting together funding for the purchase, I had to convert my one car garage into the quilting studio. I had moved from a large home in Littleton, Colorado to a very small home in Lakewood. Sadly and gladly, I purchased my parents home after my mom died suddenly and now I had to paint and carpet the “quilting studio.” During this period of transition, I was able to organize all of my material into small plastic containers. Yep, pretty proud of myself, that I had thirty containers – three rows stacked ten high. However, one night, all of the containers fell over – we thought someone broke into the garage because of the loud noise. After the HQ Sixteen was delivered and set up, I purchased 66 gallon containers and moved the material into them. They fit perfectly under the table.
At the present time, my long arm quilting consists of volunteering to quilt for two guilds – a Quilt of Valor project and local group of individuals who donate their time and services for individuals in my community. This has given me the opportunity to try out new patterns on the Pro-Stitcher. You will see from the attached pictures that I have learned some of the features of the system. It was a bold step to try using a solid color for the back of the quilt for a couple of the more recent quilts that I have been working on. The one quilt with the “on-point’ white squares has designs that I had to rotate and space so that the pattern would fit in the block square. It took me hours to stitch pairs of flowers at a 45 degree angle in the tiny borders. The back of that quilt turned out so nice. Another of the quilts has a sea theme pattern – turtles, fish, sea weed, etc.
Pictures of the teal blue quilt is a sample of a quilt done over a year ago – triangles. It took me about 55 hours of machine quilting to finish that quilt for my niece. My original goal was to have a different triangle in each of the little pieces of the star block.
My skill level continues to improve – as well as my thread tension. My goal is to learn more about the features of the HQ Pro-Stitcher. I would like to teach others about the HQ Sixteen and HQ Pro-Stitcher.
Thank you for taking your time to read about my journey.
1420 S. Wolcott Way
Denver, Colorado 80219
I own the following HQ machines: