Back in 1968 when I was just shy of my 12th birthday I tried to make my sister a shirt out of fabric that we had laying around using my sisters pajama top for a pattern, with this my mother knew I was ready to sew. My mom was an absolutely beautiful seamstress and with this she passed her knowledge of sewing down to me. I’ve always been thankful of her giving me this talent because it’s given me a way to express myself in a form of art that I can pass down within my own family.
My first quilt class was back in the year 2000; I knew I wanted to long arm quilt after I saw all the quilts the ladies in the "block of the month" group sent out to be quilted; they were beautiful. I was very new to quilting, and long arm quilting seemed so foreign to me but I was determined enough to give myself to the art in order to become a proficient quilter. My family consisted of six children and my husband’s of five; this meant there were lots of quilts to be made. After my mother had passed away in 2004, I took pieces of her clothing and with the help of my husband (and his knowledge of computers) I printed out fabric pictures, piecing together the treasured moments of my family’s history into six separate quilts for each of my brothers and sisters. I knew both my mother and father were surely proud of me. I knew after these six quilts and the amount of determination, passion, and heart I put into each one of these that I was finally ready to be a long arm quilter.
I set up an appointment for a Saturday to look at the HQ Sixteen long arm, but found myself crying and unable to go because I felt like my mother should have been there for this. She passed all of her talent down to me and I wanted to show her how I took the gift she gave me and used it to create beautiful pieces of work for all of our loved ones. I had never entered a new stage of sewing without the guidance of my mother and it was an eye opening day for me. I realized my mother could no longer be there with me, but she could live on within my work. Three weeks later I finally found the strength to go in for the demo on the HQ Sixteen; it was so easy to use and I didn't have to think twice if I wanted it. It was also good I had waited; there was a sale where if I bought the machine and table the frame would be included. I knew it was meant to be.
I ordered my machine and awaited anxiously, tracking it’s every movement from Utah to Kissimmee, Florida. The Machine arrived on Friday and was to be set up on Saturday; it was like I was a little girl waiting for Santa Claus to bring me a gift. I sat up all night with my best friend Cheryl (she married my brother, and we have been sewing together for over 25 years) staring at the unopened box. We stayed up the entire night sewing and quilting in anticipation for the next day. I have named my HQ Sixteen Sophie after my sister’s mother in law. She was an avid quilter and perfected the art; her quilts were absolutely beautiful and I admired the dedication she put into each stitch.
I stippled my first quilt the day after I got my HQ Sixteen, not bad for my first quilt. I have since done pantographs, groovy boards, and some using rulers. The best part is when a quilt comes off the frame; I step back and look at what I have quilted. I can’t believe that I quilted them, because they are looking like the ones I admired as a beginning quilter. Sophie (HQ Sixteen) has become my new best friend! (Sorry, Cheryl!!!).
Fast forwarding a few years, my step father recently passed away and all six of the children were left to sell my parent’s home. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life, but I felt with it came hope. I order the HQ Pro-Stitcher and it has since than arrived. I’m going to be training on the machine in the next few weeks and I’m truly excited about stepping farther into the art of quilting. Each time I learn something it helps my mother live on through me and allows me to show the gift my mother gave me to the world. I owe the talent I have to both of my parents. My dad was always praising my sewing and craft projects and he built my first sewing cabinet for me.
My neighbor always used to say “I can’t understand why you take perfectly good fabric, cut it up, and sew it back together again.” This was something that always used to make me laugh and I reflect upon it while I sew. A long arm HQ Sixteen may be “just a machine” to some, but to me it’s a way for to share our family’s history with everyone and give each of them a special gift so they never forget how wonderful of a life we’ve all had.
I own the following HQ machines: HQ Sixteen, HQ Pro-Stitcher