Michelle Banton

Just me.

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About 10 years ago I discovered the world of Longarm Machine Quilting. I purchased an old, circa 1983, machine from a friend who had a home decor business. One button made it start and stop. That's it. No stitch regulator, no table height adjustment, no computer, no laser pointer, no pantographs, no bells, no whistles. I played with that monster for a few months and sold it. I knew it wasn't the right machine for me – either for my own use and especially not for going into business. But, I was hooked on the idea of moving the machine to create the quilting pattern, instead of moving the fabric. I started hanging out at Longarm Quilting Shows – getting to know the different dealers, machines and other professional quilters and pretending that I “belonged” to the “club”. I tried using a Juki TL98e on a Grace frame – the concept was the same, but it just wasn't the REAL Longarm experience. Fast forward 10 years to this spring – I realized I needed to work a few more quarters to qualify for Social Security in a few years. Because of the need to sometimes be available in a caregiver role, I knew I couldn't have a “regular” job that required me to work a certain weekly schedule. But I had to find something to earn those Social Security credits. After much consideration I decided to go into business for myself – as a Longarm Quilter. It was time for MQX East. I've attended this show from it's beginning – pretending that I was part of the Longarm Community. I was always the kid standing outside the fence, looking into the playground and wishing I could join in the fun. But this year it was different... I was going to purchase a machine and the show wasn't going to close down until I decided which one to buy! My husband encouraged me to find the right machine for me. He knew that I would thoroughly research my options, and he left the decision entirely up to me. I test drove every single brand of machine there, but it didn't take me long to decide that Handi Quilter was the brand for me. The smooth lines of the machine make it the most attractive one on the market, but pretty doesn't necessarily mean the best machine – except in this case! I had my choice of 2 excellent local dealers – a huge selling point! My dealer (Charlton Sewing Center, Charlton, MA) offers monthly training classes. The owner (Cathy Racine) has been repairing machines of all types for years, so I knew my local dealer & her staff would have the technical knowledge I needed...and they are so close! I also really appreciate all the online support that is available on your website. I bought the HQ24 Fusion with 12' frame. To top it off, my friend Sue Fors, has the same machine and I knew we'd have one another's support, knowledge, and ideas to build on. On my way home from the show, I was still so excited that I called and ordered the HQ Pro-Stitcher too! I know this combination will last me for years – both mechanically and technologically. I've always enjoyed making quilts to give to others (graduations, weddings, babies, Project Linus, ABC Quilts, and other local charities) – it's so much easier now to be able to not only piece the tops, but finish the quilts in so many different ways. I've gotten comfortable with pantographs and some freehand quilting and now I am learning to use the Pro-Stitcher. Finding quilt tops to practice on hasn't been hard – I've had them waiting in my UFO boxes for years. I'm just now launching my business so I can start earning those SS work credits – but it doesn't seem like work. It's great to think that I'm getting paid to do something I enjoy so much! I also recently found out that my Great-Great-Grandma used to machine quilt for others with a precursor to our current longarm machines. Her frame hung from a track on the ceiling in her living room and allowed her to do free motion work. I think of her nearly 100 years ago doing basically the same thing I'm doing today. Wonder what Great-Great-Grandma Minshall would think if she saw my HQ24 Fusion and HQ Pro-Stitcher? I bet she'd want one too! I'm passing my love of quilting down to my 5 year old granddaughter, but she won't have to wonder what things were like back in 2011 – she's right there along side of me “helping” me every step of the way. When my frame arrived, she insisted on helping me assemble it. Sure, I could have put it together faster alone, but what fun we had sorting all those bolts and pieces. She's already learning how to do free motion work with my Fusion. Finishing quilts these days is so much fun with the ease of operation, quilting options, and dealer support that I have with my HQ24 Fusion and HQ Pro-Stitcher. That's MY HQ Story!

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

Susan Cane

Me and "Missy HQ"! This is where we met and fell in love!

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I started making traditional quilts about 17 years ago.  I had a very talented friend who did all of my machine quilting for me. Then I discovered "art" quilts.  But with this discovery came the problem of; how am I going to quilt them.  So I bought books on how to machine quilt on a home sewing machine.  I did several this way and then I discovered the HQ Sixteen sit-down at a quilt show that I was attending.  It was LOVE at first sight!  My quilts are not overly large but I found it very difficult at times to quilt them on my home machine and the HQ Sixteen had so much space for my quilt. And most importantly it would fit in my tiny little studio.
I talked to the HQ representative at the show and, of course, discussed price... it was a little too much for my piggy bank at the time but I vowed that I would save and save until I had enough! The HQ Sixteen sit-down WOULD be mine!!! It took me a little over a year but I saved what I thought would be enough so I contacted Sandy at the Sew Inspired Quilt shop. We discussed the price, my piggy bank wasn't quite full enough, but to my surprise she told me she had a demo that they had only used half a dozen times at different shows and in their showroom and she would happily sell to me for what I did have in my piggy bank.  It was slightly used but to me, it has been a match made in heaven!  I have done a lot quilting using stencils and some free motion stippling but the photos that I've attached are from my very first all over,  free-motion quilted piece. There is no looking back now!!!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen Sit-down

Elizabeth Kretzer

Scott's quilt

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A couple days ago I was in the process of finishing quilting, an over size queen, quilt for a friend his wife started a few years ago. At the very end of the quilt, my HQ24 Fusion with HQ Pro-Stitcher stopped working, computer went dead. I did all the checks and read the manual back to front and front to back. Finally I called the HQ help line and Mark called me back in just a few minutes. Mark walked me through all the different things that could be wrong, then he had me look under the carriage to find the male and female hook that went to the computer, it had worked loose and as soon as I tighten it the machine was back working. This quilt has been a work of love for right after I started working on it, I came down with pneumonia, then had to have lung surgery, and his wife passed away. Now I am back to quilting and enjoying my HQ24 Fusion with HQ Pro-Stitcher. Thank you for all the help lines and online forms.

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

Jada Cuny

The table set up

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Received my HQ Sixteen last week, the store owner I bought through came to set it up and the Cpod on the machine wasn't working correctly so he took it to his store with him fixed it and HQ shipped him the correct part right away. Got the machine back today and it is working great. I tested it out and love the free motion quilting. Thank you HQ

I own the following HQ machines:

Marilyn and Stan Freeman

Stan and I by the HQ18 Avante

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Time for me to start quilting seriously finally arrived two years ago. I was through making clothes, wedding gowns, etc. Now I wanted and needed to use up closets FULL of fabric, mine and my mothers. One night after finishing quilting my third king size quilt on my regular sewing machine, I sat down and picked up the newest quilt magazine that had just arrived. The long arm quilting machines caught my eye. WOW! That is what I needed. I commented such to my husband, Stan. He immediately replied "Go buy one." Next question was "Where would we put it?" We ruled out the basement as it would be a tight fit. Stan then said, "at our garage in Nickerson (a very small town 10 miles a way). He later said he was kidding but the cat was now out of the bag and the plan evolved into a business venture. Both of us being retired this would be a perfect fit for both our interests and talents. This garage was built in 1921 by his great grandfather. It has been a home to various endeavors over the years...a Farmal tractgor dealership, an actual working mechanical garage for large trucks, etc. For the past 30 years it had been used mostly for storage. It had a large office with south windows all along the front for excellent lighting. We immediately went to our local quilt shop, Country Traditions. Being a mechanical engineer, Stan fell in love with the Pro Stitcher and the Avante. He knew AutoCad and knew he could master Quilt Cad. I loved it because it used any type of thread which I had in abundance. We didn't look any farther as it had everything we wanted or needed. Another plus was that the store owners would bring it out, set it up and give us lessons on how to use it. After many months of cleaning and painting the garage, the HQ18 Avante came! The QUILTING GARAGE became a reality. Stan focuses on designing new patterns on Quilt Cad and stitching them. My focus is freehand quilting. We are hoping this new venture will bring new life to a very small town and a great old building besides being a great adventure for us (we're in this together).

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante