Awhile ago, I blogged about getting a new machine, I have even shared several pictures of it on my Instagram (my new social media addiction). But I haven’t really told you about it and why I made the switch.
I bought my first quilting machine, 10 years ago! My husband’s grandpa (who had taught me how to quilt) had encouraged me to buy one, even though neither one of us had actually seen or used one! I bought a used Gammill Premier, and promptly went on to find out I loved machine quilting!!!
It’s a great machine, and has really stood the test of my heavy quilting schedule. It’s a basic machine, with no bells and whistles, which has never bothered me. The only thing that I wished for was a “needle up and down” button. Since it doesn’t have one, I have spent the last 10 years hand cranking the wheel to advance the needle. Sometime last year, I realized that I am starting to get carpal tunnel in my arm. I knew that it was time to find a different quilting machine.
I have to admit, switching quilting machines scared me a little bit. I was so used to my machine and I didn’t have the time to try to get used to a new one. This isn’t a choice that I made lightly. In the end, I ended up going with a Handi Quilter Avante, for many different reasons.
First of all I fell in love with the company. Last February, they invited me to their headquarters to film an episode of Quilt It. At the time, my book hadn’t even been released yet and not many people even knew about me. They let me use their booth for demos at Quilt Market and went out of their way to help me. I knew that this was the right place for me.
Another huge factor was QuiltCon. When QuiltCon was still in the planning stage, they stepped up and offered to supply the machines for my classes. We had no idea how it was going to go over. Would there be interest in longarm classes? I wasn’t sure, but they believed in me and made my classes possible. I will never forget the trust they placed in me.
Once I decided on getting a Handi Quilter quilting machine, I had to decide which machine would be best for me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get the Fusion, which is a bigger machine, or pick an Avante which is the same size that I am used to.
In the end I went with the Avante, I love everything about it! I even set it up myself, I am pretty proud of that!
I have been asked several times if I will be selling my old machine, and the answer is no. I have taken it down and stored it carefully. I have a grand plan of eventually having a place to give private lessons and maybe even hold retreats. It’s a dream right now, but if I have learned one thing over the last couple of years, it’s this: If you work hard and be nice, you can do anything!