Patty Swatzell

Lap Quilt for our RV
We’re Not in Kansas Anymore
The Story of Toto (My HQ 18 Avante)
My HQ story was written by my husband who knows me better than I thought after reading this. Thank you, John
Once upon a time a young Air Force guy met a cute little girl from Missouri. She stole his heart and soon after that they were Mr. and Mrs. Early on he learned she loved sewing. Back then (late 60’s, early 70’s) military pay was (and still is) pretty limited. But, just as I couldn’t pass a motorcycle shop without looking, she couldn’t pass up a sewing shop without looking. I knew I was in trouble when she found a Viking sewing machine she fell in love with. I couldn’t believe she wanted to spend $500 for a sewing machine. To put that in perspective, gas at that time was 30 cents per gallon and milk was 50 cents a gallon and a new Harley was only $1200. So $500 was probably like $5000 in today’s dollars. Anyhow, we somehow figured out a way to get it and she was a happy little seamstress for many years. Fast forward to present times.
A few years ago the Bernina 200E came out and she was in love. She was a Precious Moments collector and Bernina had released an Embroidery CD of Precious Moments designs. Her plans were to embroider blocks and then quilt them. I couldn’t believe she could actually want a $7000 sewing machine! Wow! I could get a really nice motorcycle for that kind of money. So I weighed my choices. Motorcycle (me happy) vs. sewing machine (her happy). Hmmmmm! The old saying is “If momma’s not happy, nobody’s happy.” So that Christmas I sneaked into Gina’s Bernina in Knoxville, TN and with their help totally surprised her with the new Bernina 200E. It was such a surprise all she could do was cry!! I was able to get her what I thought would be the last sewing machine she could ever want. Wrong! Just a few short years later, along comes the Bernina 830. Of course she drooled over it for a year or so. Then an inheritance check from a dear aunt shows up and she was able to get her machine sooner than expected. She named her new baby Dorothy as she felt like she was in the Land of OZ in her sewing room!!
Now, surely, we are through looking and spending on sewing machines I thought. Wrong again! I began to hear hints about a long arm quilting machine to quilt the tops she had piled up in the closet. To begin with she was drooling over the really high dollar machines that were huge! I thought I was safe from this latest want for a couple of reasons. First, there was no way we could spend 20 thousand for a quilting machine and second, we just didn’t have a place in our small home for such a large machine. Her sewing room had already taken over our sun room and was stuffed to the ceiling with machines, desks, sewing tables, and material.
But then along comes the HQ18 Avante. I’m in trouble again! This machine is only half the cost of other machines and its features make it top of the line and so easy to use for a home quilter. Ah, but it’s still too big for our home I thought. Wrong again. I underestimated my wife’s ingenuity. Armed with a tape measure she set about figuring ways to fit it in her sewing room. Of course, the Avante18 can be setup with varying lengths but she actually figured out a way to fit it in her sewing room in the full 12 ft. length. She also had met Elaine Gilmore from the Quilting Machine Shop in Bunnell, Fl. We live in Tennessee! So how in the world did she meet up with Elaine from Florida? Danged internet! If you ever met Elaine, she is just a bundle of enthusiasm and energy and it’s contagious. Patty would order Accuquilt “GO” Dies and when we would go to FL on vacation we would stop by her shop, pick up her order, visit and go to lunch. Elaine is also a HQ dealer and when we were in her shop Patty would practice on the HQ18 Avante that was set up in the showroom. So yes, we now have an HQ18 Avante sitting in our sunroom now completely a true sewing room. She has named it Toto. Now her Oz family is complete. She often disappears into her Land of Oz and happily spends her time sewing and quilting the days away.
As a footnote, the HQ18 Avante has really been a blessing because as our ages have crept up, her mobility has crept down but hopefully that will soon change. Patty is scheduled for a knee replacement August 23 and after her rehab we hopefully will be able to go RVing every so often and visit quilt shops as we travel. She takes a sewing machine with her and if we had a big toy hauler she would want Toto to come along but I am afraid he will have to stay home. But for the last year her sewing and quilting has become a real godsend for her. She has already quilted several quilts plus practice pads and has not had any trouble at all. She loves her HQ18 Avante and recommends it to all her quilting friends.
So now, I think I’m finally through with the new machines and equipment. We can look forward to many years of me riding (yes, I got my Harley) and her sewing and quilting. We have all we need.
By the way, I keep hearing rumblings about something called an HQ Pro-Stitcher. What in the world is that? Am I in trouble again?

I own the following HQ machine: HQ18 Avante


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