Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Public Apology

It's official, we are happy to announce that we are the NEW HandiQuilter Dealer in the Pittsburgh area! That means that you can purchase your very own longarm quilting machine (or the Sweet 16 sit down version) right here in our store. It also means that we have cleared space to set-up the 12 foot version of the HQ Avante 18 complete with the ProStitcher here in the shop. It is beautiful. Right near-by is the table top Sweet 16 version with the Stitch Regulator and both are ready for a test drive. You can't possibly imagine how much fun they are to play with!

There is a little more to being an HQ dealer than just having the space to display a machine on the floor. You also have to learn to use the machines - properly. Not to mention the service end of the business, but I leave those matters up to Brandon our Tech and as always, he does a stellar job. The rest of the staff, myself included, have to become proficient at loading the machine, using the features, answering questions and putting the machine through its paces. That means hands-on experience. Jane and I have been loading quilts, pressing buttons, and trying out all of the features.  I have to say that now that I have had the experience of loading a quilt, basting, selecting a design and doing the quilting, I feel as if I should make a public apology to Mary and all of the other quilters that have quilted my tops in the last 20 years.

To My Favorite Quilters,

Please accept my sincerest apology for every uneven edge, out of square quilt, skimpy backing, twisted seam, lump, bulge, loose stitch, dangling thread and any other breach of quilt preparation that I may have inflicted upon you over the years. I beg your forgiveness, for I knew not the issues I heaped upon you. My eyes have been opened and I have sworn to mend my evil ways. - Karen

Our city has an amazingly gifted group of women that quilt professionally for others. I have used and abused them with tight deadlines and impossible requests over the years. To be honest, even though there is a fabulous quilting machine sitting in my store, that we will be using and renting by the hour, I still intend to send a fair number of my tops out to be quilted by others.

Why, you ask? Several reasons. First, the machine arrived in a dozen boxes that included all of the necessary parts. Not one of those boxes was marked "TALENT". Exceptional machine quilting is an art form and I will be the first to admit that I am not in the professional quilters league. I'm often lucky enough to have my projects published in books and magazines and those pieces deserve top notch creative quilting. Second, I'm a shop owner. My customers enjoy seeing and comparing the work of area quilters before they select someone to do their quilting.

With that said, not all of our quilts are headed for shows or publication. Many of them, just like yours, will be finished and given away to someone where we simply hope they will be well loved. Those are the tops that are destine for the HQ!
 Not only will they be quilted on the HQ18, we are using the ProStitcher, the computerized version that plots your design, regulates your stitches and makes you look like a pro! Too much fun! We can't possibly load quilts fast enough. As rank beginners we are tickled pink with the huge selection of pre-loaded designs. Edge-to-edge quilting is just fine for the time being.... but there was that custom design CD in the instructional videos....... 

November brings a trip to HandiQuilter Headquarters for training where I expect to come home with notebooks of knowledge to share. Meanwhile it is like Christmas morning here every day, and Santa brought us exactly what we wanted!  If you are in the area, stop in and share the joy!

P.S. I lieu of Design Wall Wednesday, I included pics of the butterfly quilt from the Painted Lady collection from Timeless Treasures.  It was on my design wall, but as always, I'm on a deadline so I whisked it off and on to the HQ before I took a photo.  The pattern will be a free download on the Timeless Treasures site in the upcoming months.