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