Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Wannabe a Longarm Quilter

A quick trip to the headquarters of Handi Quilter in North Salt Lake, Utah, last month reawakened my secret wish to be a longarm quilter. Gloria Bolden (American Quilter magazine advertising manager) and I were invited to attend a Media Day at Handi Quilter's new facility...and it's impressive. There's no doubt when you walk in the door that this is a company catering to quilters - beautiful quilts hang dramatically in the lobby and throughout the building.
After a morning presentation by CEO Mark Hyland, Gloria and I got some quick lessons from instructor Kathi Salter (center in the photo) on one of the 16 HQ machines set up in their education room. And since most of the guests that day were from other quilting magazines, of course there was a competition involved! Each team had to learn how to use the machine and then quilt an entire top (about 24" x 36") in an hour. Then Handi Quilter employees voted on their favorite quilt.

Gloria had never operated one of the HQ Sixteens, and within minutes had figured out how to deftly control the Pro-Stitcher. She used that for the center block quilting. I'd had a little free-motion longarm practice last year when I attended a Handi Quilter retreat for beginners, so I did the feathers and leaves. We each signed our own names. What fun! We were thrilled to come in 2nd, and it was acknowledged that it was almost a tie for first!

For more information on Handi Quilter, visit

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