Almost a year ago I decided I needed to take lessons on my new Handi-Quilter long arm machine. But when I looked at the schedule of classes I found that this August was the first date I could get away. So I booked my retreat and spent a year preparing and dreaming about it. The retreat is offered by the Handi-Quilter Education Staff at their corporate offices in Bountiful, Utah, near Salt Lake City. Finally the day came and I boarded the plane for Utah! What a surprise, it was beautiful. Ringed by mountains, the high desert of SLC was spectacular and the weather was perfect.
But the bigger surprise was the incredibly warm welcome we received from the Handi-Quilter staff, including CEO Mark Hyland. They fed us like royalty all week, clearly to keep our energy up as they proceeded to work us like Border Collies on a herd of sheep! It was wonderful. They lodged us in a wonderful hotel and shuttled everywhere we needed to go.
Day one began with an incredible overview of the Handi-Quilter machine and an in-depth tour of the manufacturing plant led by CEO Mark Hyland. He marched us around the plant showing us where the machines are assembled, tested and inspected. It was great to see where my HQ16 was born. We watched as they assembled machines, put them in the “burn in” room to run for 4 hours, and then saw where they tested them for 20 minutes of sewing. It was amazing to watch the process and see how my HQ 16 was made.
Here are more pictures of the plant.
After the tour our morning class was an incredible class on how to use the machine, how to load quilts and how to do ruler work. Our incredible instruction staff was led by Vicki Hoth, Hatty Brown, Cheryl Duncan, and Kathi Salter. Kathi led our morning class and got us to work on our machines right away.
You would not believe the corporate offices where we took our classes. Their studio was incredible and the building was full of quilts. I took lots of pictures of the quilts and here are a few of them.
In addition to learning about the machine, we spent the afternoon learning about threads and tension, loading 10 different threads on the machine and learning to adjust the machine tension for every different thread! OMG, now that was a challenge. We ended up with a lesson in bobbin work and embellishment that was wonderful.
Later that night, after an incredible catered dinner of roast beast and mashed potatoes we went to a quilt shop and had a ball shopping. There were great quilts in the shop also, and had to take some pictures of those as well. I bought a couple of patterns, – like I really need more patterns!! – and then they took us back to our hotel to crash in a pile, exhausted to the bone.
Ok, so that was Day 1. Tomorrow I will show you what we did on Day 2! Till then. . .