Barbara Brightup

Cat, Pam, Barbara, Karen & Natalie

Share with your friends

Sharing a hobby, sharing a dream, sharing a space…Our story Barbara Brightup (mom), Karen Smith (daughter), Pam Quimby (daughter) I taught my girls, Karen and Pam, to sew as young girls, but I didn’t start quilting until sometime in the late 1990’s. Pam started slowly using a pre-cut Block-of-the-Month kit from a local fabric store. But just like with most of her endeavors, she began immersing herself—or to be truthful, jumping in the deep end with both feet—without testing the temperature of the water first!! Soon, she was evangelizing her new hobby to her sister (Karen). They found a cute little quilt shop in the area and started attending a monthly quilt club. Within a few months, they’d captured my interest and I joined them at the enrollment for the next year’s club. Just like most serious quilters do, we each started gathering quite an impressive “stash” and continued to add to it as we trekked to the local annual Sewing and Craft festivals and “Road to California”. We churned out projects, becoming more skilled with each one, and kept our local long-arm quilter gainfully employed. At one of the craft festivals, we stumbled across a Handi Quilter booth. The gal operating the machine was effortlessly creating palm trees, a sandy beach, and beautiful flowers (all freehand of course) and we were entranced. We all tried our hand at it, resulting in oblong circles, squiggly attempts at signing our names, and not-so-impressive stipples. But…that experience initiated a dream that kept us chattering for days after the show. Within a few weeks, we’d decided to equally share the purchase of the HQ Sixteen and placed our order with the dealer we’d encountered at the craft show. We all lived within about 5 or 6 miles of each other so it was easy to work out the details of sharing the machine. Pam had a spare room at her house (lucky her!) so she got the privilege of being the custodian of the HQ Sixteen. At the same time that the gals were becoming quilters, the family (Mom, Dad, Karen and her husband Rich plus two kids, Pam and her husband Bruce plus two kids—yes, 10 of us) had a yearly ritual of migrating to the mountains for a week each year around the Christmas/New Year’s holidays to have “family time”. We rented the same cabin each year and crammed the 10 of us into about 1300 square feet. We were cozy, but oh what fun we had! The girls would bring our sewing machines, the guys would bring laptops, and the kids would bring board games and books. We’d spend the entire time in very close confines, but having a ball. And then one day someone asked the question…”Wouldn’t it be really fun to all live together on the same property? We could have three houses, all very near each other…” and the dialog continued long after we left the mountains. Although it was a fun thing to think about, we didn’t ever really pursue it with gusto until… In January of 2007, the trip to the cabin held some surprises for us. It was during this trip that we suspected that I might have a health issue that needed serious attention. Within a couple weeks, we found out that I had uterine cancer and required surgery. Thanks to our powerful and loving Lord, my surgery was successful and I remain cancer-free today. However, during this period of time—along with the realization that we were retiring soon—it became obvious to us all that if our dreams of sharing a space were to ever become a reality, we needed to act sooner rather than later. A few internet searches and work with a realtor netted a beautiful piece of property equidistant from each of us. It already had two homes on the property and had the possibility of adding on to one of the homes to allow for space for us all. In March of 2007, we purchased the property and began the next phase of the journey. We contracted with an architect and builder. Construction was due to start in the fall and would take about 6 months or so. Our plan was to add onto the bigger home, increasing its square footage to provide for another master bedroom, rooms for the kids, and A SEWING ROOM (!!!!!) that would be big enough to house the HQ Sixteen and all of our sewing gear. We had some very specific requirements for the sewing room, and at times it seemed like we were building the entire rest of the project around the HQ Sixteen! During this period of transition, the HQ Sixteen was setup in the garage of the big house. We hung a few florescent shop lights over the table and continued to quilt like crazy! We really appreciated our ability to level the HQ Adjustable Table! Also during this time, we upgraded our machine with the HQ Pro-Stitcher. Our dealer got to the house for the installation and didn’t bat an eyelash when we told her what we were doing, where the HQ Sixteen was, and that we’d be moving the whole setup in a couple months after construction was completed. Once again, we appreciated the somewhat “portable” nature of the HQ Sixteen setup that allowed us to continue quilting in the middle of all of the chaos around us! To make a very long story much shorter, we started building in November 2007 and moved into the new and renovated space on Memorial Day of 2008. Now there are two master bedrooms, a bedroom for each of the kids, a shared living room, kitchen, and game room, and a wonderfully spacious, well-lit sewing room that houses the HQ Sixteen! (We call the sewing room “The Happy Place”!!!) Sometimes I feel like our family has embarked on some sort of sociological case study, but I simply can’t express the joy that our shared living arrangements bring to the family. We eat dinner together most evenings (all 10 of us around a large square table in the kitchen). Each family member has their well-defined responsibilities within the family unit—it takes all of us working together to successfully handle the upkeep of the property and the management of the family’s shared financial investment. The decision to share this wonderful place we call “OK West” has impacted three generations of my family and I have no doubt that it will positively impact generations to come. So…it started with sharing a hobby and now we’re truly sharing a space. Our HQ Sixteen (and quilting in general) has been instrumental in forging an incredible bond between Pam, Karen and me. Additionally, Karen and Pam have each taught their daughters to quilt and both girls have spent time on the HQ Sixteen. Karen’s daughter has even won awards for her work as a “junior” quilter! Thanks Handi-Quilter for the impact you’ve had on my family!! Our setup: •HQ Sixteen with stitch regulator •HQ Pro-Stitcher •HQ Adjustable Table set to maximum width Barbara, Karen, and Pam volunteer as long-arm-quilters for the local chapter of the “Quilts of Valor” organization and have completed 27 quilts for QOV. Karen is a 3rd grade teacher and has incorporated quilting into her classroom curriculum: •The children each complete a small lap quilt as they read the story “The Keeping Quilt”. She’s done this for several years and it has become an event that incoming students and parents look forward to each year. •In spring of 2010, her students sewed and Karen quilted a quilt that was presented to a classmate’s father who was deployed to Afghanistan.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

HQ Story

HQ Stories

Featured Stories