Judy Clay

Starry Starry Nite

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I am NOT a free-motion quilter. My love of computers starts over 30 years ago when I worked for Digital Computer Company so just naturally wanted to learn computerized quilting but...I am a “self taught quilter” My story starts way way back… Back in the late 70’s early 80’s I was a Stretch and Sew instructor in Rural Colorado. About the time that Eleanor Burns started the “Quilt in a Day” . We tore the fabric , there were no rotary cutters… and there were no quilting machines . At least not any home machines. About the mid 80’s my life changed and I started working in my new husband’s office.. Full time… that meant 8-12 hours a day.. No time for sewing. 18 years later we sold the part of our business that I was primarily responsible for and I told my husband I wanted to start sewing again. And, I wanted to start making quilts. I spend a lot of time researching the internet before I purchase a big product and started looking at quilting frames. I knew with my history of computer work that I had to get into computerize quilting. AT that time there were only a couple of computerized quilting machines. The $18,000 one was not an option and what if I didn’t like to quilt my own quilts. So I knew that if I did go to computerized I had to have the Handi Quilter frame because the company I was researching used that frame. Beside living in Colorado a frame from Utah sounded good to me. So I bought the HQ table top frame and a 9” throat machine. After a year of quilting with that setup I bought the computerized system. HQ did not have a system out at that time. It didn’t take long before I realized I needed the HQ Sixteen machine. I used that machine about 2 years with my side mount computerized system and then when HQ came out with the HQ Pro-Stitcher I knew one day I’d end up with that system. One day our local dealer, knowing I had been eyeing the HQ24 Fusion told me that after the first of the year he’d sell me his demo model. I jumped on that and bought the HQ24 Fusion but quickly realized that my little side mount just didn’t give me the power that my Fusion had . So once again my dealer, Hi Fashion in Grand Junction , CO , made me a deal I could not refuse. I have never been disappointed. My sister-in-law asked me to quilt a snowman quilt for her using metallic thread!!! METALLIC thread I asked.. Are you kidding? But I got to thinking why not… so loaded this queen sized quilt on and used Superior Metallic and set up a design that looked like snowballs.. Not one thread break...Since that quilt I have done about 4 more. Then I thought if the metallic thread works so well what about monopoly? Wow… another 70x70 quilt and not one thread break!! That quilt won Judges Choice in our Western Colorado Quilt show. I can’t say enough about Handi Quilter machines. For me I have stayed with HQ for several reasons. 1) I like the way the machine looks… and yes… looks matter, 2) My local dealer is wonderful, 3) ease of use… tension is or should not be a problem and with HQ it hasn’t been for me 4) HQ Pro-Stitcher is a dream to use.. The difference between it and my 1st system is like a used VW and a BMW. I love laying out the whole quilt at once. I’ve been to lots of quilt shows… I was an in-home rep for the other system so traveled to several national quilt shows to demo their system. So I’ve looked at all the long arm machines out there. I like the looks of the HQ, the sound, the smoothness, the service.. I haven’t found anything I have not been happy with. The day I got to really work on my ProStitcher I could not follow the book and get it to stitch the way I wanted..so after calling my dealer and finding out the person working with HQ Pro-Stitcher was gone for the day I thought ok..I’ll call tech support… Vicki was the one on the other end of the phone and she even called me back to help me out… what service!!She told me that a new book was coming out that day and emailed me the link I downloaded it and printed it out and have never looked back… Give me the book and I can follow anything. The new book for ProStitcher is excellent! I quilt for others and have a nice little business going and love what I’m doing… I’m retired from my office job and have a small group of seasoned quilters that we call ourselves EZ Strippers. We do a lot of strip quilting. I’ll never forget the first “A” word quilt I quilted for a friend/customer… it was a birdhouse quilt with lots of different sized blocks and birds . I was quilting all over the houses and giving the birds feathers and someone said to me… you aren’t suppose to quilt on top of applique… WHAT?!? Are you kidding? I had my good friend come over and make sure it would be ok because I sure didn’t want to take anything out!! It did turn out ok and since then I have done a lot of panels with detail quilting. I really like doing that. I quilted a Wild Bill panel and actually made his leather clothes look like leather. Since that birdhouse quilt I’ve done a lot of quilting on applique and panel work. Giving bears hair and flowers veins is one of my favorites. That’s the extent of my free motion quilting… I do about 90% of my quilting with my HQ Pro-Stitcher. My 22 year old granddaughter has just graduated from Western State College with a degree in FineARts and is really into quilting… what fun that is for grandma… I recently had our nephew’s daughter , 10 years old, come over and use my Fusion to quilt her Fair quilt which she won a blue ribbon on.. I'm not sure she had even seen my Fusion before that day. Love that machine!!! I’m enclosing a picture called “Starry Starry Night. A pattern designed by Debby Krotovil… although I made some changes.. None of the 6” blocks are included in her pattern.. I took them from my EQ7 and put them into the quilt. I also used hand painted fabric from Barb’s Elegant designs. I’ve been getting a yard a month for about 5 years so thought I ought to use it. It is quilted with monopoly and no thread breaks!!! The 2nd quilt is a quilt for a friend using purple metallic which she won a blue ribbon too.NO BREAKS!!! No turning back for me!! It’s a joke around our house when my husband says “What are you doing today… or should I ask?” He knows I'll be in my quilting room. Judy Clay

I own the following HQ machines: HQ24 Fusion, HQ Pro-Stitcher