Robin May

Thanksgiving, 2004

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I have been a quilter for many years, but having four kids meant little space (or time!) to quilt as much as I wanted. My sewing was relegated to the dining room table or the utility room, and I always had to send my quilts out to be quilted, or struggle to baste, roll and try to quilt on my domestic sewing machine. As the kids have grown and left home, I finally acheived at least a sewing room of my own, but I still felt a quilting machine was out of my reach. In 2005, our daughter moved back in with her three children so that we could help with the kids while she finished nursing school. I packed up my sewing room and compressed two households into one. I had to have a creative outlet of some sort, so I knitted for those years, because setting up a sewing machine was next to impossible. Our daughter earned her BSN late in 2007, and moved out, but by that time my mother was rapidly failing and we moved her in with us. Unfortunately, she broke her hip about 6 weeks after she moved in with us, and had to go to a nursing home. In the meantime, our oldest son needed to move back home in the middle of changing careers, and our second son returned home from his second tour of Iraq. there were no jobs easily available at that time because of the economy, so of course we had him stay with us. Sewing room on hold again! Eventually, jobs were found, careers planned, marriages occured and we are once again empty nesters! I have quite a few friends that sew and quilt, even a couple with quilting machines of their own, so I started looking at their set-ups. One friend in particular had a mid-arm machine and small frame set up in her home. I realized that might be possible for me too. I started looking out for frames, and found one on Craig's List. We took a Saturday and drove to check it out. I ended up buying it thinking I could maybe make my domestic machine work with that particular frame. It took another entire Saturday to re-assemble the frame (thanks to my sweet husband), but what a dissapointment! My domestic machine would probably only allow me to quilt about 2 inches at a time. So, I began looking for a mid-arm machine. I called several sewing machine shops in the area, and most told me they rarely had mid-arm machines for long. I also contacted Pam Barr at the Quilt Depot in Grapevine Texas. She told me she didn't carry used machines, but she sold Handi Quilter machines and also rented time on them. We decided to go there and just look (I still didn't think it was possible for me to have a longarm machine). As soon as I tried just a few stitches on that HQ18 Avante I was hooked! My husband who is in machining and builds prototypes for Bell Helicopter was very impressed with the construction and quality of both the machine and frame. Pam encouraged me to check out every machine brand I could find to make sure I could get the one that "fit" me best. I did do a little more shopping, but the Handi Quilter was just so impressive. I even shopped around on E-Bay a little, but my husband kept telling me "You need to get the "good one"" I haunted the Handi Quilter web site, checking out the videos and all the options. Then I saw the "financing available" button! I was really excited then. We wanted to get all our "toys" ready for retirement while we can. We decided to apply for credit, and the rest as they say is history. I applied, was approved, and ordered the HQ18 Avante as soon as I could. I took off work the day the machine was to arrive. I was so excited! I just kept looking at all the boxes and pinching myself to make sure it wasn't a dream. Pam and Deedee drove to my house (an hour from her studio) on a Thursday, assembled the frame, and set everything up. The following Saturday, Pam trained me, and I went home and got busy. I'm still learning, and I have run out of quilt tops, but I have completed three quilts so far, with the fourth loaded and ready to quilt. I am sold on Handi Quilter's quality, customer support and web site. This has been a great experience from the start, and I am proud to be part of the Handi Quilter family!

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante