Marsha Blakely


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Hello, I have a HQ Sixteen, I am just learning how to use this great machine, but I can tell you I am in love... I have completed three baby quilts and two king size quilts already. I don't have a lot of time to play, since I work full time, but I do enjoy this machine. I have used several different machines from various friends, but I really like my HQ.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Janneke Van der Ree

Jasper(9) with his charity quilts

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I started quilting to get to know people when I moved to the States 16 years ago. I loved and still love it. All my first quilts were handquilted, there was no way I could fit all that fabric under my then sewing machine.My first machine was from England so I had to log a huge adaptor (to convert the 220 to 110 volt) with me whenever I went to classes.Then I bought a machine from a friend.This machine only sewed backwards after a while. Time to get serious.I bought my first machine with all the bells and whistles. My productivity increased, and since I made hundreds of baby/child size quilts for Quilts for Kids, I managed quilting on my machine. When I started making custom quilts and big school projects I needed something bigger.And I fell in love with the HQ Sweet Sixteen. Perfect fit,sit down sewing and affordable. My 10 year old started practicing on it and is ready to quilt his self pieced quilts.I had to laugh about the name; Sweet sixteen. My daughter (now 18) commented: why did you get a big sweet sixteen present, and I did not. My next adventure will be working with the HQ Sixteen quilting machine as an instructor. I can not wait.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sweet Sixteen

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

Beryl Anderson

Ted and me in our garden

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Little did I know when I casually mentioned to my husband, Ted, “Honey, I
think I would like to get a small quilting machine so I can machine quilt
my own tops”, that I would one day have a thriving quilting business.

I bought my HQ16 about five years ago with no place to put it. We did
have an extra guest room and a huge living room that we never used. But,
we might need those some day. Ted said, “what about your garden shed?”
My part of the garden shed was 12 by 8 feet. My HQ would fit but I
wouldn’t be able to use it. The other part of the garden shed housed the
lawn mower and tractor, various tools, and even had been home to two
litters of puppies. When Ted came home the next day and said he would be
willing to knock down the wall between the two sections and that I could
have the whole shed – 12 by 20 feet. I knew my HQ had a home.

We remodeled, painted, carpeted, installed surround sound, and finally set
up my machine. I ordered thread, batting, and a few pantographs.
Thinking I would quilt for a few customers just until I paid for my
machine, I held an open house and advertised the first 30 customers would
receive 30% off. Within a month, I had my first 30 orders and I haven’t
looked back or stopped since. I really didn’t know what I was doing back
then, but it didn’t matter because the HQ was so easy to use, everything
looked better when quilted.

My business is called Garden Shed Quilting, for obvious reasons. I love
to make garden-themed and landscape quilts, but rarely have time to quilt
for myself. I typically have 20 to 30 customer quilts in line to do at
any given time.

Last year I decided to start looking for a bigger machine. I had narrowed
my search down to two, one of which was an HQ18 Avante. The Avante won the
toss. As I was discussing the purchase with the salesman, I just thought
I would ask how much more room I would need for a HQ24 Fusion. I went out to
the Garden Shed, measured and discovered if I moved a few things around I
would have just enough room.

It was a surprising spur of the moment decision to order theHQ24 Fusion
instead of the HQ18 Avante because I had always thought a 24” machine was too
big for my short arms. I’ve had my new HQ24 Fusion for a month now, and I’m
thrilled. I have a faster turn-around time, and the quality of the
stitching is remarkable. And, I have no trouble with the extra reach.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ24 Fusion

Ebony Love

Me with one of Mr. Darcy's Quilts

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Finally... A Machine I Won't Outgrow... I used to buy a new sewing machine every time I got a project that was too big for me to handle with the current machine. I'd bought three machines and a 10' frame through that process, but still I was finding my creativity and productivity limited by what I felt the machine could do. It was frustrating to feel like the quilt was fighting me for control, and our daily battles exhausted me and sapped my creativity. I started to hate working on anything bigger than lap sized, and it's a bad sign when you start to dislike the one thing you are most passionate about. There had to be a better way. A quilting friend of mine came over one day to help me through a particularly tough quilting problem, and she remarked, "That machine is not right for you; I think you've outgrown it." So I decided that September, once and for all, I was going to buy a machine that I would not outgrow, and the search for "Mr. Darcy" began. (Mr. Darcy is the love interest of my favorite character in my favorite book, "Pride and Prejudice.") I went to the Madison Quilt Expo in Wisconsin, and tried a number of different machines. Not knowing what I was looking for, I was soon confused by all the options and features, but after a while it started to become more clear. I found myself visiting the same booth over and over again; I liked the clean design, the all-inclusive features, and there was a certain machine that just "felt" better than others. But I couldn't make a $10K decision based on a feeling! So I didn't make a purchase then and there, but I started to take the idea more seriously. I was very lucky to meet an AWESOME local dealer (Sue Schmeiden) who offered to let me come to her shop and try out a machine for the day. That was much better than using a machine for 5 minutes at a show! During my time in her shop, I learned how to load a quilt, advance it, run out a bobbin, and get to know the machine and how easy it was to use. It seemed to fit me like a glove, and I started to have visions of all the beautiful quilts we could make together. If I wasn't sure whether I was in love at the show, I certainly was in love then! But you can't make a $10K purchase based on love! (Okay, maybe you can if you're buying a ring...) As an engineer, I relish facts and analysis, so I created a list of what I thought Mr. Darcy should have, and started comparing all the machines I tried at the show. At the end of that objective analysis, the HQ24 Fusion carried the day! All in all, I compared 7 machines, but I was secretly pleased at the final result, because it was at the intersection of my heart and brain; all along, I loved Mr. Darcy, and now my spreadsheet told me that he was the perfect machine for me. Once I made the decision to purchase, I figured that I would need lots of quilts to practice on, so I put an offer out on my blog to quilt for free anything that hit my doorstep by December 1. (One of the criteria for sending me a quilt was letting me have absolute say in what I quilted - what brave people!) I ended up getting quilts from all over the country, and it has been a true pleasure to work on those quilts, practice my skills, solve problems, try out new things and let the creativity flow from my brain to my fingertips! Based on the work that Darcy and I have done so far, I've been fortunate to be able to take in customer quilts, and just a couple of weeks ago, Darcy & I were awarded 6 ribbons at the county fair, including four 1st Place ribbons. It feels fantastic to know that instead of outgrowing Mr. Darcy, he and I can grow together. I never would have imagined a year ago being at this point in my quilting, but I love it, I love my HQ24 Fusion, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we do in year 2. Right now, the only thing stopping us is time!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ24 Fusion