Linda Christianson

Working at machine

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My desire for a HQ Sixteen started four years ago when the closets became overrun with quilt tops. I had since 1971 finished most of my quilts by hand, until my hands ached from all the effort. So to continue my love of quilt making and bring my quilt tops out of the closet, I had to learn to quilt on a machine. I have hand quilted using a hoop, or frames and poles. With machine quilting, I have used a frame system that hung from the ceiling by chains with wheels running along a track. It all moved through a factory power machine, 11” throat (This type of system was used from the middle 1800’s to about 1980, and needs about a 30 ft. long by 8 ft. wide floor space). The 8” throat bed home machine will work with hours of feeding, and holding the “Bear” that loves to wiggle even if you pin, baste, or use 501 spray. The walking foot does help, but no fancy work there. I also got to try my mom’s Nolting, (purchased 10 years ago) but 900 miles is bit far to go to finish my quilts. Mom did ask to finish some of my quilts. They came back all scribble with loops. One, I asked for curls on the cat, it was still loops. When you can finish your own quilt, you can correct your own mistakes and add the details to make it “sing”. Only now, I was back to finishing over 15 queen size quilts on an 8” throat sewing machine. The other big problem is the wear it brings to the motor. I should know, since my husband has repaired or replace three. I really do love to sew. So since my passion for quilting has not stopped after 30 years of quilting, I felt the investment of a longarm was worth it, but for a hobby? At any rate I still started reading, comparing, and watching “YouTube” on the subject. The HQ Sixteen sure offered the futures that I felt would work. Now all I had to do was find a dealer and test drive some longarms. That was no small matter, since most places wanted an appointment, and they want you to take a class. When the new local quilt store had the HQ Sixteen, I was able to see the machine in person. The owner did let me touch the machine; even though it had the low end frames, it glided with ease. The handles and buttons seemed easy to use. I was sold until I saw the list price and all the shipping were added. I kept dreaming of owning a longarm, so I continued to check out other longarms, and talking online to Longarm owners. This led to hearing about a trade show in Tenn. and the offer to purchase the class’ HQ Sixteen demo. The price was still high for our limited budget, but hubby said, “go for it”. A month later the HQ Sixteen was set up in the unfinished sewing space. With ease, I was off and running with my stitch regulated longarm. I love how easy it is to thread the HQ Sixteen, adjust the tension, keep it oiled, and clean. I ordered the tool table and some tools. I did not want to do just edge to edge quilting or loops. The tool table gives me the creativeness to make my quilts look more hand made with detail work. The laser light has given me the option to follow a pattern for borders, one block area, or even edge to edge. Every quilt I have finished on my HQ Sixteen in the last three years of ownership, has brought me new ideas and continual love for quilting. Oh, by the way, mom traded her Nolting for an HQ18 Avante. I love that model, too! Linda Christianson

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Tami Peterson

Me and my HQ Sixteen

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     I did not get the “quilting bug” until after a trip to Utah to visit my sister.  She had just begun her own journey into the quilting world and told me that she would help me make a “rag quilt” for my husband for a Christmas gift.  We worked on it for what seemed like hours, all the while trying to comfort my 3-month old daughter who was not feeling well and who only wanted to be held by me and no one else.  I kept wondering if all of the hours of cutting out and sewing it all back together would even be worth the hassle, but  I was so happy to see the completed project and could hardly wait to see my husband’s face on Christmas morning.  He did not disappoint me with his reaction…he loved it!  From that moment on, he was sold on giving and getting a “homemade” quilt and supported my new hobby/addiction.   In fact, about 3 years ago, my husband asked me what I thought we should do for our anniversary as far as a gift for each other.  In the past, we had gone on trips or gotten something that we would both enjoy, but on this particular anniversary he said, “I think we should get you a new HQ quilting machine.”  I THOUGHT I WOULD DIE.  While inside I secretly wanted to start jumping around like a crazy woman due to this recent statement made by my dear husband, I did NOT want to appear greedy, so I said, “Well, that wouldn’t be very fun for you, would it?”  To which he replied, “Yeah, right!  A quilt is the best gift you could ever give me or anyone else for that matter!”  Needless to say, it did not take long for this “newbie” to get all of her ducks in a row and start the ball rolling.  The cool thing, too, is that not only was my husband on board with the idea, but his brother who we farm with, wanted to contribute to the cause as well.  I feel like a pretty lucky woman to have two men in my life who are willing to support my “habit”. 
      Since then, I have been able to make countless quilts as gifts or for charitable causes.  I do some quilting for others on occasion for payment, but my greatest joy is when I pull a freshly washed quilt from the dryer and wrap it up to give to someone.    I enjoy making quilts that are not too detailed because I feel like I can get “in and out” quicker and move on to the next project and this method really comes in handy when I am in need of a quilt quickly.  I have literally lost count as to how many quilts I have been able to put together sometimes in just a day’s time that I have given to friends who have lost loved ones unexpectedly.   I try to consciously think of the recipient of each quilt while I am working on it because then it is pure joy.
      I had one experience this past year where early in the day I had been going through my fabric stash trying to “organize” fabrics into colors, when I came across some squares of beautiful flannel that I had previously cut up a few years ago thinking that “someday” I would make them into a quilt.  At the same time, I was listening to a song called, “If Today Was Your Last Day” by Nickelback, when my phone rang and my daughter told me that a good friend of ours had passed away.  I started to cry, thinking of his sweet wife whom he dearly loved, and how she would be alone now and feeling very sad.   I reflected on the words in that song and the wonderful life this good man had lived and immediately ran to the closet, retrieved the flannel squares and started sewing.  I honestly think I cried the entire time I sewed and quilted.  I had my iPod on the entire time, listening to the words of the song over and over, knowing that this dear man had always lived his life in such a manner that it wouldn’t have mattered what day he left this earth because he had made the most of every single day.
     I was able to finish the quilt by the same evening and went with my husband to deliver it.  When I put it in her hands, she literally melted and seemed genuinely touched by the gift.  As we visited with her, I noticed that she kept rubbing her hand over the soft flannel and I knew that although it would never take away the sadness she was feeling over the loss of her best friend, that it would at least offer her some warmth on the lonely nights to come and that she would always know each time she wrapped it around her that it would be like a “hug” from us to her.   Again the reason I had fallen in love with quilting was driven home to me.
     I am 48 years old and want to be found making and giving quilts until the day I die.   I am by no means, an expert on machine quilting, but I am in awe of those who are.  I want to learn more and become braver with the quilts I make.   I know it comes with practice and learning as you go, so I will just have to be patient as I gain more knowledge along the way.  One thing I know for certain is that my HQ16 has been not only a blessing in my life, but to many others as well and I know that it will continue to be as long as I am able to create.
I am forever grateful for a husband who not only works hard enough that I can continue on my quilting journey but also encourages me whenever I create something new… every. single. time.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sixteen

Nancy Bogard

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Hello I am Nancy Bogard from Murray, KY. I have always sewn but my quilting was limited to hand quilting because I traveled for work and had to keep my work portable.

I am a retired car buyer and for years I traveled at least 4 days a week to Chicago and Wisconsin. I would take some hand work with me but never even thought about quilting on the machine until I retired in 2009.  I tried quilting on a regular sewing machine but that just did not work for me. Too much material and too little space.

I was taking a class on piecing right after my retirement and a lady who was taking the class began telling me about her Handi Quilter. She has the Sweet 16 but she made it sound like so much fun and her quilts were beautiful and she was able to do the whole thing herself.

After the class was over I continued to think about that machine. One day my DH and I traveled the 100 or so miles to Jackson TN to see this machine in action. Their floor model was the HQ18 Avante. I talked to them about it and even gave it a test sew and then went home to dream. That was on a Friday, last March. On Monday Larry said why don't you just go back and get the machine it is definately what you want. His encouragement was all I needed. I made the 100 mile drive back by myself, bought the floor model, HQ Pro-Stitcher and all. They delivered it on Tuesday, the very next day.

It is hard for an adult to be that excited and still act like an adult. I put the kitchen table in the garage, next to the car and put the Avante in my kitchen. It was March afterall and I needed to be warm in order to practice.

I was quilting almost immediately. When asked how I learned so fast I have said I think it was because I had been doing it in my mind for so long all I needed was the machine. and I got the machine that could make it so easy for me to learn.

Now my quilting studio is almost finished. It is where the patio once was and I am almost ready to move in.

I have done meandering for several customers and they are thrilled so you see I have the answer to subsidizing my social security check. It is the best of both worlds. I can do my own quilts from start to finish. I can do customer work for money to buy more fabric and batting. All is good.

I love my Avante and I know I made the right decision. Thank you Handi Quilter and thank you for being so much help whenever I have called on you. This is a wonderful company to do business with and my background in the car business allows me to make comparison. This is a good company with good people.  OK...........back to quilting. DH is working on that new room. I think he wants to get that machine moved out there and get the diningroom table back before Thanksgiving. Ha ha............Happy Quilting everyone.   

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

Cheryl A Meadors

Lilee and Cheryl with their first quilts

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I’ll admit it.  I am a fiber-aholic.  I love the color, the texture, even the smell of fiber whether it’s raw fleece, roving, yarn or fabric. 
Several years ago, I started doing a little genealogical research to discover the source of my fiber affliction.  I remember my mother, grandmother and great aunts piecing and quilting.  I have several quilts willed to me from mom’s side of the family.  All of a sudden it struck me that the ‘heritage of fiber’ that I’m passing on to my daughter had yet to include quilting.  So I decided to make it my summer objective to create a quilt with my 12 year old daughter.  We went to the local quilt shop and picked out fabric that appealed to her interests.  We ended up with basketballs, blueberry pie, polar bears, penguins, pandas - lots of bright colors.  I picked out a simple pattern, cut out the pieces then laid them out on the floor assuming my daughter would give her seal of approval.  Instead, she started moving everything around into a random pattern.  So we spent a week with graph paper diagramming out patterns that would look good from close up and farther away.  Eventually, we came to consensus on the layout and my daughter began to sew the shapes into blocks.  As the blocks were done, I laid them out on a bed until we had every block positioned.   At the end of the adventure, my daughter declared that she appreciated the making of a memory but she’d rather play basketball.
By working with her, I rediscovered my love for pattern and color in fabric.  For the next year I worked on a king sized quilt pieced in a bear claw pattern and hand quilted in a lap hoop that I inherited from my great grandmother.  When I was finished, the quilt was too precious to use!  No dog was allowed to curl up on it.  Even my daughter was sternly cautioned about appropriate ways to use the quilt.  I had created an heirloom that everyone was afraid to touch.  At that point, I realized that I needed a faster (and less painful!) way to quilt.
I had seen ads in quilting magazines about long arm machines but I had no idea what they were.   Not far from my home, I noticed a shop that had commercial quilting machines on display.  They signed me up for a class in machine quilting and explained that they offered rental time on the machines.  So I began a 2 year exposure to long arm quilting through rented equipment.  At first it was enough to quilt edge to edge with freehand doodling.  I could knock out a finished quilt in 3 hours and was perfectly content with my technique.  But the quilt tops started piling up as the available time to rent started shrinking.   And I was to the point with my piecing where I wanted the ability to replicate a hand quilted design.  That wouldn’t be possible in a 3 hour window of rental time.  I knew that the machine I was renting was beyond any price that I could justify for an obsession that wasn’t going to yield any financial benefits. 
Years before, I worked for the Viking Sewing Machine Company as a regional sales manager.  Erica’s Sewing Center in South Bend, Indiana, is still in business.  One of my machines needed service, so I packed up the machine and my husband for the hour’s drive to her store, knowing that she had a line of long arm machines.   After we checked in my machine for service, I casually wandered over to the HQ display.  Not only were the machines ‘pretty’ enough to be in my house, they operated the same way as the commercial machines I had rented.  I nearly walked away, assuming that the HQ would be beyond what I would consider spending.  Fortunately, there was a price sheet on each machine.  Every feature I wanted came included on the machine.  Nothing was an ‘add on’.  And the throat space I was accustomed to using was available on the HQ24 Fusion.  Trying not to show too much excitement, I got back into the car and headed home.  My husband was already saying ‘Buy it, you deserve it.  You’ve saved money in your new car fund for years.  Go ahead and use it for something you want!’ 
I consider myself a smart shopper.   I pulled out all my quilting magazines and looked up every competitive brand on the internet.  With the HQ as a ‘comparison’ model, it was easy to eliminate other brands on features, cost, and aesthetics.  Eventually, it came down to only one question – WHICH model HQ did I need?
So I emailed Erica and asked for an hour to talk about the difference between the HQ options. We got together at her shop that Saturday and walked through the features of the machine as well as what she would do to teach me to use the machine.  She also offered me membership in a user group that meets monthly to continue learning and sharing.  All that plus a promotion on the machine and free shipping - I was sold.  We wrote up the deal and I went home to wait.
 The perfect spot for my new machine is a 12 foot expanse looking out over the living room.  10 days later, when the 11 boxes and set of 2x4’s arrived in our driveway, my husband called and said “What did you buy?”  After we finally got it hauled up 3 flights of stairs, he started assembling it in the afternoons before I came home from work.  By the weekend, it was ready for a ‘test drive’.   I couldn’t wait to work on one of my quilt tops so I watched the video then loaded a twin sized quilt.  I came up with a strategy to put some freehand butterflies and flowers into specific spaces, joined by curlicues.  My daughter (now 15) has a talent for art and freehand drawing.  She started showing interest in what I was doing and how the machine was sketching with thread.  All of a sudden, another ‘golden opportunity to create a memory’ flashed into my brain.  I’m going to challenge my daughter to do a freehand whole cloth quilt by sketching with the machine. 
Here we go again!! 

I own the following HQ machine: HQ24 Fusion

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