Flo Verge


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What a life, Just when you think you are  about ready to retire along comes quilting.  After raising a family and selling  a restaurant business I started thinking about learning how to quilt.
There was a local quilt shop about half a mile from home so I decided to take a lesson.  That was it, the rest is history.  Of course you can't just keep making quilts, they then have to be quilted.  After taking a few of them to a local quilter I decided that I would love to try my hand at longarm quilting. (End of retirement) I purchased my first HQ Sixteen in 2007 and started my quilting business. Then in 2009 I purchased a HQ24 Fusion. It is so rewarding to quilt for people and hear there comments when they pick up there quilts.
All I can say is, What a way to retire. Now my husband and I both enjoy the quilting process and I think there will have to be another Fusion in our future.

I own the following HQ machines: HQ24 Fusion, HQ Sixteen

Darlene Cook

Hooked on quilting!

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Hooked! I will admit it; I am hooked! As far back as I can remember (I am 59 years old) I have had a love affair with fabric, thread, and ribbon, etc. Any kind of fabric, but I am especially drawn to cotton that can be made into quilts. When I see a piece of fabric, I immediately think of colors that compliment it and a pattern for a quilt pops in my head. My Mother sewed, from our clothing to costumes to quilts and anything in between. I remember going to bed many nights with that old Singer sewing machine humming in the background lulling me to sleep. I suppose this is where the love affair began. The first quilting class I took was in the back of a hardware store in a small South Georgia town. Our teacher had ink stamps of triangles and squares that we stamped on fabric and cut out with scissors. My, have we come a long way. There have been many more of those classes along the way. Each time we moved to a new town, I searched for the nearest quilt shop and signed up for a class. I also found the public library to check out their supply of quilt books. Several years ago during a December Open House of shops in downtown Moultrie, Georgia, I found Suzanne’s Quilt Shop and thought I had died and gone to heaven. The amount of fabric was overwhelming. I almost cried when we had to leave! I made the 60 mile round trip almost weekly and took several classes. When Suzanne began selling the Handiquilter machines, I knew I had to have one. I began pinching pennies. I decided that when I bought it, I had to pay for it in full. It took a couple of years but I bought it with complete joy and pleasure, a HQ Sixteen. Before I bought the HQ Sixteen, I tried out other machines and constantly researched longarm quilting machines. It was evident that the Handiquilter was the best value, not to mention the excellent training and support that came with it. It was perfect and just the machine I needed. It did it all, or at least that is what I thought until I recently quilted with an HQ18 Avante. Oh my, falling in love again and saving pennies again. I practiced on this machine at the summer workshop at Suzanne’s this past July. I went with all intentions of just learning new techniques for my HQ Sixteen, NOT buying a new machine. I cannot begin to tell you everything I learned at this workshop. I was a sponge soaking up any little bit of information I could use to make another quilt. I went home on Saturday evening and by Sunday afternoon had put a quilt in my machine, quilted it and then quilted five more by Tuesday. This workshop was absolutely the best class I have ever had on the process of machine quilting and the techniques to make the process easier. I was hooked again. By the next Thursday, I had sold my HQ Sixteen and ordered the HQ18 Avante with the HQ Pro-Stitcher! I bought it a great price, and a huge basket of accessories came with it – including micro handles. Suzanne and Ladd set up the machine on a Friday night and then returned for Pro Stitcher training. What a machine – smooth as silk. I have no idea how many quilts I have made in all these years, I stopped counting. I do know that I actually own very few quilts; in fact I only have two quilts that I’ve made. The greatest pleasure I have in making quilts is giving them away. Family members and friends have been recipients of almost all of the quilts; however, four years ago I began making quilts for girls at a local children’s home. I began making them myself but found I could not keep up with the demand. Every summer now, I host a sewing day with 6 -8 quilting friends who help make the tops. I provide fabric and patterns and the group sews the tops together. Voila, – quilts ready to be quilted! I am ready to roll! I quilt them and a friend in my church hems them. It has become a joint effort by family and friends willing to help keep this ministry going. So far, we have furnished 42 quilts for these girls as they come and go at the children’s home. In all this process of making quilts, I’ve found the most important thing is to keep learning. I cannot imagine cutting out shapes with scissors, or life without fusible web, or always quilting by hand. The quilting industry has changed with leaps and bounds during my lifetime. It is a privilege to learn as much as possible about anything that involves quilting. After participating in the recent Handiquilter workshop, I was so inspired that I just about live and breath quilts (my job might begin interfering with my play). I have to have a quilt in the machine! Yes, I am hooked! And it’s a good thing! I happily own the HQ18 Avante and HQ Pro-Stitcher.

I own the following HQ machines: HQ18 Avante, HQ Pro-Stitcher

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

Hiroko Miyama

myself: Hiroko Miyama

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I was always surprised by my husband. While our second visits of IQA Houston quilt show, He brought me to Handi Quilter’s booth. He asked me to try, however I didn't know how to operate. It was very easy and very smooth to do when I tried with kind HQ staff's instruction. I had thought that longarm sawing machines looked like factory's one and was operated by a powerful person. HQ changed my thought. It was compact enough to fit in even small Japanese house and was able to be operated by even a pinkie. But why he brought me to there? His intention is to present me HQ18 as commemoration of the first finalist of famous quilt show. I was very happy, but I worried how to maintain, because there was no dealer in Japan. He didn't care anything I did. He said that its mechanism looked similar as regular home machine or even much simpler so that it was able to be fixed by mechanics in Japan. He wanted to take maintenance class if available. He has checked several longarm machines while I took classes in quilt show. He almost decided to purchase the latest model, HQ18 Avante. He liked it as an engineer. He is not sawing engineer but IT engineer, though. It was early January that HQ18 Avante was delivered. A lot of question came out while I tried to use my HQ and asked him. He checked manual, internet and/or e-mailed HandiQuilter, whenever I asked. But his response was always to adjust string's tension or to practice more. He might be correct, since no adjustment is required except string's tension. One day, He began to make a quilt. He seemed to know what I asked. He had never done during my 20 years hand quilt and three years machine quilt experience. Five months later, he completed a miniature quilt using my machine. His quilting technique is, of course, very primitive and not smooth. Just like small water drops "drip-drip" way. My HQ helped the beginner to make fine stitches. He never thought to challenge making quilt without HQ. What surprised me was not only he made a quilt but also he entered into local quilt contest. Besides, He won the best of miniature quilt award! His work was also displayed at AQS Paducah show in this spring and will be done at IQA Houston show in this winter. I hesitated to make quilt for contest by using only longarm machine, though I did understand that my HQ was very smooth and productive. His success and my competitive nature made me to practice more. I became to make beautiful quilt line very smoothly even it is tiny pattern. The first quilt for contest with HQ18 was completed one year after He presented. This brought me the first place award of IQA spring show in Cincinnati. Now, He is making the second miniature quilt and I am also making new wall quilt. My HQ became our HQ.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante

Bettie Johnson

Me with Pat's Quilt on my HQ18 Avante

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My HQ story? I don't have one." I told this to a friend reminded me of the quilt I made for her. It was just two pieces of material hand quilted together, but she still has it. That would have been over 25 years ago.  In 2003 I went to Virginia to help my step-mom Suzy take care of my Dad who was dying from a brain tumor. On Monday afternoons Hospice would send a sitter so we could take a break. Suzy took me to the local quilt shops and I haven't stopped quilting since. While I was in Virginia I pieced several tops, one of which was designed after the blanket on my Dads bed.
 
After my Dad passed away, Suzy showed me a quilt I had made for him years before. It was a simple 9 patch using two fabrics and hand quilted in a simple grid. Again I had forgotten all about it although the material looked familiar. She told me something I had never dreamed of. Dad cherished the quilt so much he took it everywhere with him. First in his work car, which required him to be on the road much of the time, next after he retired he put it in his station wagon, then his boat, than his RV and when he could no longer use the RV he moved it to the trunk of his last car-a yellow sports car.
 
After Dad passed away I went back down to Virginia for a quilt rally. I saw a mid-arm system and from the small inheritance I received, I bought it. For 6 years I used that system but my dream was for a long arm computerized system. I could tell I needed to do some research and see if I could upgrade! I was all over the internet.
 
In 2009 one rainy Saturday morning, out of the blue, I asked my husband to take me to the HQ dealer. I couldn't believe my eyes. They were selling their floor model HQ Sixteen that weekend. I bought it on the spot! A few months later I bought a used HQ Pro-Stitcher for the HQ Sixteen.
 
Over the next few months I stitched up a storm and the storm was me. I just couldn't seem to slow down enough for curves and points. I needed more control and Handi-Quilter again came to the rescue! You introduced the new dual speed regulated Avante with a new tracking system. I tried it and loved it. I knew this was what I needed to make my dreams come true, BUT my husband felt my quilting looked fine the way it was.
 
What is a quilter to do? I took him to the store to show him the improvements but he was not convinced. Then one evening as the Pro-Stitcher was stitching out a design it dawned on me. I called my husband upstairs and said "Look at the computer. See how the HQ Pro-Stitcher slows WAY down to go around corners? If a computer needs that kind of control, so do I!"
 
In August 2010 I received my new Avante, 12 foot studio frame and HQ Pro-Stitcher. I laughed as my husband brought his family and our neighbors up to see my new machine. Then these people would bring their families. Everyone was impressed.
 
I live in Amish country and there are many quilters around, but the long arm machine used by the ones I have met have all been HQ, mostly HQ Sixteen.
 
I did my one and only customer quilt back in 2010 within 3 weeks of getting my HQ18 Avante. She was happy with the results, and I still have her smiling picture holding her granddaughters quilt.
 
I knew  I had a lot to learn, so I took advantage of the teaching tools HQ provides. I wouldn't have the skills I do today if it hadn't been for Handi Quilter. One year later and I just finished a quilt for Pat. It was a "practice" quilt for me and she is so happy she said she wanted me to do all her quilting. I have 9 more "practice quilts" waiting and am hoping to be able to start customer work by October 2011. This would not have been possible without Handi Quilter!
 
Thank you Handi Quilter for all the hard work you have done for quilters like me who started out only knowing to sew two pieces of material together and given us the opportunity to be professional quilters.
 
You provided all the quality equipment and excellent training we needed to see our dreams become a reality! We can't thank you enough. 

I own the following HQ machines: HQ18 Avante, HQ Pro-Stitcher