Learning to quilt wasn't an immediate high fever kind of process and I admit that I whined about the difficulty of the tasks for quite some time before discovering the upbeat accomplishments to be enjoyed. Until the time of my retirement in 2004 I kept pace with the group activities and made a few simple quilts for family and friends. What ultimately changed my quilting song from a low key clumsy tune into a beautiful alto harmony was the discovery of the wonderful world of modern sewing, embroidery machines and the fabulous world of long arm quilting on my HQ Sixteen.
I proceeded cautiously on purchasing my new embroidery machine and then my HQ Sixteen long arm machine. By that I mean that I asked my mentor Shirley about what she had and liked, and then went quickly to that booth at a local sewing convention and bought the perfect embroidery machine on some kind of sale (I’m pretty sure). When she bought a desktop HQ Sixteen and loved all the room to maneuver the quilts, I went immediately to our local HQ store in Colorado called Make It Sew, and started making a plan.
At this point I was having some difficulty with uncooperative hands and feet as well as strength. I had a small sewing room with custom tables and cabinets that would need to be modified. Make It Sew was selling an older demo table that wouldn't fit in my sewing room so I convinced a very handy builder friend of mine (Bob W) that it could work If we carefully chopped the center section of the table in half and modified it to allow the table to fit across the room without need to back into the closet to get to the other side. In a relatively short time, the remodeled furniture, the shortened table, new lighting, and a bright blue wall were in place and Bob Juenemann, owner of Make It Sew, had created a working magical shop where I could begin my long-arm adventure.
After lessons from Cheryl Holliday at Make It Sew and a few practice charity quilts, I began a 2.5 year journey of creating a fully custom history quilt that depicted my husband’s family history in Lincoln Hills, Gilpin County, Colorado. I used every new technique that I learned at the Houston International Quilt Festival in 2008, techniques from my local water color classes, computer graphics techniques from Adobe CS3, and my own unique techniques and ideas to create a quilt that was appraised at about $5,000 and was received with interest and joy by people who knew the stories or were interested in quilts. This quilt is titled Lincoln Hills Colorado: An African American Heartbeat and it has hung in the Colorado 2011 State Capitol Quilt show all summer. I could not have completed this project without my HQ Sixteen and the encouragement of family and friends. Now I lay awake nights and plan for my next custom quilt adventure which could begin any morning now!
I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen