John M. Kubiniec

I am in front of Polaris, my entry in final round of the 2010 McCall's Design Star Contest

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When I first started quilting about 10 years ago I was fascinated by everything that was out on the market to help me in my quest to become a quilter. I came across pictures of longarm machines and sent away for promo materials and received a few VHS tapes (anyone remember those?) and the pricing information. I choked when I saw the price, but thought some day I am going to have one of those! So, instead of a longarm machine I think I have collected every ruler and gadget that was on the market. Fast forward ahead 8 years - I was going to quilting shows and trying out different machines and was getting to the point where I thought - “I am going to get one, I am going to get one, I am going to get one.” I would go to shows and “test drive” all the machines and compare them. I kept taking them out for test drives and asking more questions and I finally decided Handi Quilter was the one for me. But where would I put it? I live in a 600 square foot apartment in New York City! So, the dream of owning one remained a dream. An opportunity came to buy a demo machine from an HQ dealer (HQ Sixteen with HQ Pro-Stitcher) and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass by. I thought, well I will buy it and store it until I can find a place to set it up. Friends said – “Can’t you rearrange your furniture?” “Can’t you get rid of a few things to make it fit” (Oh – I forgot to say – these were quilting friends who wanted their quilts quilted!) Well, I thought about it, and I did get rid of things (a couch), I did rearrange (my piano ended up in my bedroom) and the HQ was set up at the 8 foot length in my living room. (As the saying goes “Where there’s a will there’s a way!) I truly began to live the quilting life - and my life started to change - all for the better. I finally started to actually finish my own quilts and I was having fun doing that. Then I started quilting quilts for friends. Soon I was taking in quilts and making some money, and more quilts started coming in and I started my business – Big Rig Quilting. Along the way I decided to enter the 2010 McCall’s Design Star Contest. If I didn’t have the HQ Sixteen I probably would not have entered. The final round required a quilt top to be designed, sewn and quilted in a 30 day period – oh – right before Christmas! But I knew that with the HQ in my apartment I could rise to the challenge. And I did! While I didn’t win the contest, I was a runner-up in that contest. Since that time I have been designing quilts for new fabric lines for Windham Fabrics and was able to sew and quilt samples for them for Spring Market 2011 and I am doing that again for Fall Market. And, some of my quilt patterns and quilts will be published in McCall’s Quilting, McCall’s Quick Quilts, and Fons & Porter Love of Quilting in 2012 – all quilted on my HQ Sixteen! And my longarm quilting business continues to grow. Who knew that getting rid of a couch and replacing it with a longarm would change my life in this way.

I own the following HQ machines: HQ Pro-Stitcher, HQ Sixteen

Cindy Pack


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My HandiQuilter story begins a few years ago.  In, November 2004 after 21 years owning and operating a Christening apparel manufacturing business called “Little Things Mean a Lot” and raising 5 children, my husband and I sold the company. He continued being a 5th generation fruit farmer and much to my teenagers dismay, I became a stay at home mom.  For a couple of years when people would ask what I did with all my time I simply said  “Anything I darn well please.”  (not exactly true)
In 2006, a few months prior to the arrival of my 4th grandchild, my daughter insisted that now that I was retired I should make her baby a handmade, hand quilted baby quilt.  I told her that she had me mixed up with my sisters as I had no interest in quilting.  She guilted me into starting a quilt for her daughter which also forced me into making one for my son’s one-year-old daughter since I couldn’t do one without the other.
My daughter chose the pattern and the ladies at my local quilt shop helped me pick out the fabrics (no quilt color sense yet as I had spent my career creating white apparel).  I made two almost identical quilts with the binding and backs being the only difference.  My daughter insisted that the quilt be hand quilted.  In response to my moaning and groaning about the whole project my cousin and a friend both offered to help me quilt them.  By the time the first one was finished my arthritic hands were so sore that I could hardly move them.  So I called my sister who is an avid quilter and she clued me in to machine quilting sending me to one of the quilters she frequented.  I took the 2nd quilt to her and asked her if she would mind my watching her quilt it as I was fascinated by the huge machine  (coming from my sewing factory background) and I was very interested in seeing it work.  It was a Gammill.  She agreed, calling me before she started on mine.  I was especially appreciative of her artistic ability to hand guide the machine knowing I didn’t have that talent.  I was thrilled with the results. 
When I showed my daughter the two quilts side by side and she told me she liked the machine quilted one better than the hand quilted one, I told her “Sorry, your daughter will have the only hand quilted quilt I will ever make”.  (being that the quilter had just stitched the one-year-old’s name into her quilt.
I looked at the machine quilted one for weeks prior to giving it to my granddaughter as a Christmas Gift and the thrill I felt each time I looked at it was indescribable.  I had not felt that since I had retired.
I decided right then that I would make each of my grandchildren a quilt and it would be worth every dime to have someone else quilt it.
After completing quilts for 7 grandchildren, I decided I wanted to get a little more ambitious so started looking at block of the month clubs.  I fell in love with a “Civil War” quilt club being offered locally so I jumped in with both feet.
Shortly after starting this club I started having extreme lower back pain.  Though sitting was the worst position,  I survived the next 18 months by immersing myself in this quilt and subsequently others to take my brain away from the pain.  By the time this quilt was finished, I had so much of myself invested in it that I couldn’t imagine turning it over to someone else,  so I put it away hoping someday to be able to do it myself.
I attended the HMQS in SLC in May of 2010 and started looking at quilting machines.  I knew that to afford the one I wanted, I would have to quilt for others and I wasn’t convinced that I was physically capable of doing that.  By this time I had been informed by the best neurosurgeon I could find that the only solution to the pain was surgery so I put the idea on the back burner. 
In January of 2011 after having recovered from a successful spinal fusion I realized that my days of sitting at my sewing machine for hours on end were over. So I started thinking again about a quilting machine because I could stand up to use it. One day my husband walked in while I was looking at machines online.  I told him that I thought I could get into a basic model for less than $7000.00 and I gave him all the reasons why I should get one. (after all, I was going to have to pay someone at least $400.00 to quilt my Civil War quilt and that would almost make a payment.)   Since we had had major medical expenses over the past year between high deductibles and 3 surgeries within our family, I did not expect him to even be willing to think about it so when he said he would If this was truly the one I wanted, having fully researched the market and I was sure I could make the payments on it he would support the purchase, I just about fell off my chair. 
Then I had to make sure I was REALLY willing to commit to this both financially and physically. 
First, I started visiting quilt shops asking if there was enough business in our area to support another quilter.  I started going back through all the brochures I had collected last year at the HMQS studying the features that I would want on the machine.  I soon realized that with my sewing background and desire for quality I was not going to be satisfied with a $6000.00 machine.  I figured that the features I would want on this machine would put me closer to the $30,000 - $40,000 price point as I would definitely need a computerized machine with the physical limitations I had. And at this point there was no way I could justify that expense.
One day I walked into my local Bernina/Handi Quilter Dealer to drop off a sewing machine for servicing and said to the manager, “I am not ready to buy yet, but since I am here, give me your best sales pitch.”   He blew me away when all the features I wanted were available on a HandiQuilter machine at half the price I expected AND he was willing to give me 12 months interest free financing.  I left with a lot to think about.  I went home and immediately started searching online for reviews on quilting machines.  With many of the machines there were more negative reviews than positive until I got to the Handi Quilter web site.  I started watching the videos titled  “My HQ Story”.  Every single one I listened over the next few days told how pleased the quilter was with their machine.  I realized that this WAS the company website, so ever the skeptic, I started googling “negative reviews on HandiQuilter” and honestly couldn’t find even one. I decided that this “My HQ Story” section was either the greatest marketing ploy ever or there was truly some truth in what these people were saying.  
When it was time to pick up the sewing machine I had dropped off for servicing I asked my husband to go with me.  He hates shopping, let alone sales pitches, with a passion, so when I saw the manager I asked him to “just give us a quick demo (no sales pitch) so my husband could see what I had been talking about”.  The more he saw, the more questions HE asked and the more sold on the machine HE became.  By the time we walked out I had committed to purchasing the HQ24 Fusion with my husband’s blessing.
3 weeks later we had cleaned out, painted and set up a quilting studio in what used to be a large storage room, the machine was set up and ready to go.  I got instruction from the dealer, bought videos and started practicing my heart out. I had about 2 weeks practice under my belt when my church group started a project for the girls who were graduating from high school.  Each mother and daughter were supposed to make a quilt which would then be tied or bound in a group activity with all the women in the church.  I let it be known that I would give a “new machine quilter discount” if they would let me practice on their quilts.  Many of the mothers were thrilled to get this discount and I got great advertising at the group event after quilting 5 of the quilts.
I have been asked to display, discuss and show my quilting at an annual local quilt show as the “only machine quilting vendor” they have ever invited and been asked by a quilt shop out of state to quilt for their customers as well. 
I just finished my 29th customer quilt and I am having so much fun that I have to admit, I like the machine quilting even better than piecing the quilt tops.  I think the reason for this is that the turnaround is so much quicker and I still get the creative energy rush that comes with completing something beautiful.  I just get it more often now. 
The best payback of all though, comes with finishing a quilt that I have personally pieced AND done the machine quilting on.  It doesn’t get any better than this. 

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

Marilyn Stiller


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I started quilting in 2001 on my domestic machine. My husband decided to make a quilt frame for me that I could use my domestic machine on. It worked great as long as I was doing baby quilts and other small projects but I wanted to do more than just small projects. I stared researching and trying out different machines. I always kept coming back to the HQ Sixteen. Finally in January of 2007 I purchased the HQ Sixteen. I couldn’t wait until my husband had the table assembled and the machine in place. With a little practice I was on my way to quilting larger projects. Five months later I purchased the Pro-Stitcher. I have done so much more with my HQ Sixteen and HQ Pro-Stitcher than I ever thought I could possibly be able to do. Each time I load a new quilt on the frame I don’t want to stop until I am done with it. We just attended our local state fair and my husband had to try another brand of longarm machine to compare to mine. His comment was, “It doesn’t run as smooth as yours”. I love my HQ Sixteen and all the possibilities it has to offer. I can’t wait to get to my next project!

I own the following HQ machines: HQ Pro-Stitcher, HQ Sixteen

Jolene Mershon

Jolene quilting with Sweet-Sixteen

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I've been quilting for about 20 years, but seriously quilting ever since I retired in 2000. I sew almost every day and am totally emersed in making quilts. I started as a hand quilter and still hand quilt some of my wall hangings. But, there are so many quilts I want to make and so little time. I knew I needed to learn to machine quilt. I took a machine quilting class for domestic machines from a local quilter. That got me started and I practiced a lot. In 2003 our guild started making quilts for soldiers wounded in the Iraq war. Those donation quilts gave me a great avenue for practicing my quilting. Then I bought a new machine with a stitch regulator, thinking that would keep my stitches perfect. But, I've found that nothing can replace practice, practice, and more practice. After taking a class with Harriet Hargrove I began to venture out with free form quilting. However, I felt limited to smaller size quilts. The largest quilt I ever quilted on my domestic machine was a queen-size T-shirt quilt that I made for my son. It was like wrestling a bear. That was when I began to play with the idea of getting a larger machine. I have a large quilting room but it's pretty much packed with other quilting needs such as cutting table, etc. I just don't have room for a long-arm machine and my husband refuses to give up his hobby room for my quilting. He already grouses that I sew "all over the house". The HQ Sweet Sixteen is just the right size to fit into my sewing room with the added bonus of allowing me to sit while I quilt. I bought my HQ Sweet Sixteen in May of this year at the quilt show in Arlington, Texas. I first heard about the machine while taking a David Taylor workshop three years ago. David really loves his machine and makes beautiful award winning quilts on it. After that class I searched for information on Handi Quilter and began to seriously consider purchasing one. I tried the machine at the Dallas quilt show in March of this year and also at the Paducah AQS show. I took measurements of the machine and measured where I thought a it might fit in my sewing room. I found I didn't have to give up any of my other quilting furniture or an antique table that belonged to my Grandmother, who was also a quilter, to accomodate it. That really helped me finalize my decision. I really liked the way it stitched and it had so much room under the arm. I felt I could quilt larger quilts without having to push and pull so much. When a vendor brought the machine to my guild's quilt show I tried it again and decided to buy it during the show. I've taken the class on my Sweet Sixteen and learned so much. I've been using a variety of threads so am trying to master the tension. I love thread just about as much as I love fabric. I'm working on increasing my thread stash and expect I'll be using all of it on some project at some point in time. Right now I'm quilting on an entry for a quilt show in September. The last few years I've paid a long-arm quilter to quilt most of my show entries. She does a beautiful job and I've won quite a few ribbons with that strategy. But, I'd like to totally own the work on my quilts. I'm hoping that I can successfully master the Sweet-Sixteen so that I can make it happen.

I own the following HQ machine: HQ Sweet Sixteen

Joe Filer

I'm using a pantograph on a charity quilt

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I ordered a HQ24 Fusion at the Paducah quilt show in April of 2009 after comparing it with the competition. I have surpassed 500 quilts since I began logging my work in September, 2009. Most of my work has been dedicated our favorite charities: Project Linus, Quilts of Valor, and several local shelters. I have been especially pleased working with the HQ technical staff to improve the functionality and “personalization” of my machine. I have found that long arm quilting is a great challenge for a man, calling upon my background mechanical and mathematical experiences. The HQ technicians have been very helpful with my general questions and installation of software updates. They even invited me to beta test an update. I am hopeful that my input for product improvement and innovations is helpful and not viewed as too “kooky”. I love to tinker with my setup, looking ways to make my quilting easier and nicer. I really like the ability to using specialty threads that local quilters with other brands of machines don’t want to touch! Metallic threads have worked well on art quilts and glow-in–the-dark thread adds an exciting touch to the Project Linus kid quilts. I have been expanding my experience into denser custom quilting (picture), ruler work with monofilament thread, and trapunto with water soluble thread. Successful use of my Fusion encouraged me to try my hand at piecing my own top. During a short period when my Fusion was in for routine service, my wife gave me instruction to piece a “Sudoku” quilt of my own design. I finished it on the Fusion with a “puzzle” pantograph quilting pattern. It is a functional puzzle quilt that can be placed on the floor and solved with quilted playing pieces. It has been enjoyed by our children, grand children and even our dog. (picture) I’m looking forward to future projects that will include hand painted fabric with whole cloth quilting motifs. Long arm quilting need never get boring!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ24 Fusion