Patricia Brockton

My version of Red Onion pattern quilt.

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My long-arm machine is an HQ18 Avante. As a teen and young mother I had done some sewing for myself and kids, sewed draperies and pillows for cheap home decorating and even made simple tied quilts of squares for my toddler’s beds way back in the ’60’s. Later, with 3 children and a full time job as a H.S. art teacher, the sewing got put on the back burner. Later, a few years before I retired I took 3 quilting classes which were offered in our community education program and I was hooked. I started with a queen sized sampler, did a log cabin and then a “Storm at Sea”’ patterned quilt for my daughter and husband’s new home. Again, the new hobby got put on the back burner as we spent the first several years of retirement building our home and other out buildings along with all the inside finishing including cabinets; husband even did all the wiring and me, the plumbing. A new friend introduced me to quilt retreats and I was re-hooked! My first projects were hand quilted (the arthritis progressing in my hands rather limited me) and then I struggled with a big quilt on my regular Elna Quilter’s Dream. I bought a basic handi-quilter table top frame with a Juki machine, took a couple of classes and really enjoyed the process of quilting my own projects. I still was frustrated with the relatively small throat space, being able to only work on about 4 or 5 inches as the quilt was rolled up. And the frame’s poles were not as rigid as I would have liked. In 2010 I noticed a sewing shop in a nearby town was making their HQ18 Avante available to rent by the hour so my friend and I signed up - now I was hooked again. I did a queen sized project but it took most of the day - pure fun just meandering, but so fast! The problem was between working hard to get it done in one trip and driving 1 1/2 hrs each way, I found I ended up with lower back pain. Why? I was used to standing working at my machine at home but realized there I was taking breaks every half hour-45 minutes or so. I guessed I would have to plan to do just smaller projects on the rental machine. While there I took a packet to do a small challenge quilt sponsored by the sewing store for the area quilt show. Was I surprised when I won second place and a new sewing machine. Well, I already had 2 sewing machines plus my Juki so what to do . . . then my hubby suggested I trade that in toward a nice long-arm machine. It didn’t take too long to convince myself that was what I wanted to do. Jay, the store owner made me a good deal and within a couple of weeks he delivered and set up my new machine, the HQ18 Avante. I just love it and am enjoying trying out new free-hand patterns and practicing with templates. I use alot of designs with large blocks and it’s great being able to quilt them in their entirety. Even breaking my wrist this past February I managed to do a queen quilt top and then quilt it on my HQ18 Avante. The only part I couldn’t do one handed was getting it pinned to the leaders but again had an understanding spouse. It sure helped on those long days when I couldn’t do much else! I am not really yearning for a computerized machine - I like to have personal creative control over the designing - ask my quilt friends - they know I dislike strictly following patterns!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante