My very own ‘Bee’

5 05 2011

After playing with the HandiQuilter (HQ) Sweet Sixteen quilting machine at the Eleanor Burns Quilting Academy in March, and after really putting it through its paces when a friend lent me hers, I’ve now purchased my own machine!

I picked it up from Handcrafters House in Midland (Western Australia) last Friday, and spent about 2 hours with the lovely Michelle being trained on it. Because I had already used it extensively for about 2 weeks when I had the loan machine from Bobbie, I had lots of questions for Michelle, so instead of the standard training, she mostly dealt with my questions and assessed the samples I brought in for her. Most of my issues were to do with tension, particularly getting the bobbin (foundation) tension right. I learned a lot about tension! ;-)

As an aside, just before I picked up my machine, Michelle and her team at Handcrafters House were named HandiQuilter’s International Dealer of the Year, beating some 750 dealers in 10 countries for that award, which is based partly on sales but mostly on customer support and training. Congratulations, Michelle and all your team!

I was originally going to call my machine ‘The Beast’ because it’s such a big and heavy thing, but I decided I needed something a little less horrible for such a lovely machine. After some ideas from my quilting circle of friends, and mulling over some ideas of my own, I’ve settled on ‘Bee’/’The Bee’. Why? Several reasons:

  • B for big, beautiful, brilliant, beast
  • B for my surname
  • Bee as in ‘quilting bee’ and ‘buzzing bee’ (my husband reckons it makes a noise like a bee when he hears it from another room in the house), and of course, ‘busy bee’

Here’s The Bee in its new home in my sewing room, and with the first largish piece I quilted using it (I did quilt another smaller piece before this one, but it’s a gift for someone who reads this blog, so I won’t post pictures of that until after the gift is delivered!) — click on a small image to see it full size, then, once it’s full size, click on it again to see it it even larger:

The quilting motif I’ve used on that square metre of orange batik is based on the crocus designs from Leah Day and her free motion quilting project. It’s a design I find really easy to do and is a great filler design for all sorts of large and small areas.

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14 responses

5 05 2011
Sue

Was that a gift for me? Huh? Huh? Was it? Huh? :)

5 05 2011
SuzyCooper

Well I’ll Bee! Wow, your freemotion designs look amazing. I hope you have lots of fun with your new machine.

5 05 2011
Rhonda

You know, when I wrote this post and mentioned a gift, I *nearly* put in “(and no, Sue, it’s not for you!)”. I should have. And no, it’s NOT for you, so there ;-p

5 05 2011
Michelle

WOW! Rhonda – your quilting looks bloody brilliant! Well done – seriously, there is no holding you back now! So impressed!

9 05 2011
Practising feathers « At Random

[...] sat down at the Bee (my HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen machine) and got started. I marked sweeping curves for the spines, and side rails to contain the ends of [...]

9 05 2011
Joan

Oh – heavens – you must be so delighted – you have done wonderfully. Bee must be running hot!! :) Great going Rhonda!

11 05 2011
Kelli’s chickens « At Random

[...] first piece I quilted with my new HQ Sweet Sixteen was a gift — a table runner/place mat for Kelli. Kelli has just moved from Arizona to [...]

25 06 2011
Andy

Great site, wonderful images and the quiltiing is amazing

7 07 2011
Cynthia Anderson

I read your blog regarding the HQ Sweet Sixteen sit-down machine with interest. I am very interested in purchasing one but… Have you had any problems with “stickiness” on the quilting table? Have you done anything/do you have any ideas about making a medium-sized quilt move more easily on the table? Granted, I didn’t have my quilting gloves, but while pantomining quilting on one of my UFOs at the dealer, I was dismayed that the quilt seemed to stick a bit, making smooth movement difficult. It was a bit humid today (almosts 30%). The dealer has a great sale through the 11th, so I need to make a decision soon…

7 07 2011
Rhonda

HI Cynthia

I haven’t encountered any stickiness on the table at all. However, I have added a Super Slider to the needle area because I don’t like the little ridge between the table and the machine — the Super Slider smooths out that ridge. I just used an old one I had from my domestic sewing machine and taped it to the table a few weeks after getting annoyed with the ridge (I tried taking the rubber feet off the machine and raising the machine to the edge of the table with paper where the feet went, but that didn’t work out).

Maybe the stickiness you’ve encountered at the dealer’s is a result of too many people using the table and the staff not cleaning it properly. Perhaps someone on staff sat a bottle of oil on the table and a few drops ended up drying on the table — I never put the oil bottle on the table before or after use, just in case.

Oh, and I’ve tried several Sweet Sixteen machines with their tables — at the workshop in California, my friend’s loan machine, at my dealer’s, as well as my own — and none have been sticky.

–Rhonda

5 08 2011
My personal Leah Day project « At Random

[...] very own Bee: http://sandgroper14.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/my-very-own-bee/ (my quilting machine and the first large piece I did in one of Leah day’s [...]

15 10 2011
Challenge Quilt 2011: The finished quilt « At Random

[...] hers for two weeks. I actually did all the quilting on it using Bobbie’s machine, then bought my very own Sweet Sixteen at the end of April as a result of stitching this quilt (and [...]

6 01 2013
Practice may not make perfect, but it helps! « At Random

[...] In March 2011, I attended a quilting workshop in the US when I was there for a conference and tried out the Sweet Sixteen. I was smitten . Another friend in our local group bought a Sweet Sixteen around that time and I just had to try it for more than 10 minutes! She was going away for two weeks so generously lent me her ‘Queenie’ while she was away (http://sandgroper14.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/testing-the-beast/). Oh boy! That did it. In that 2 weeks, I quilted about three UFOs I had, including one where I quilted a different motif in every block (http://sandgroper14.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/challenge-quilt-2011-the-finished-quilt/). I was totally hooked and bought my own machine a few weeks later (http://sandgroper14.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/my-very-own-bee/). [...]

1 09 2013
Practice may not make perfect, but it helps! | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] In March 2011, I attended a quilting workshop in the US when I was there for a conference and tried out the Sweet Sixteen. I was smitten . Another friend in our local group bought a Sweet Sixteen around that time and I just had to try it for more than 10 minutes! She was going away for two weeks so generously lent me her ‘Queenie’ while she was away (http://rhondabracey.com/2011/04/07/testing-the-beast/). Oh boy! That did it. In that 2 weeks, I quilted about three UFOs I had, including one where I quilted a different motif in every block (http://rhondabracey.com/2011/10/15/challenge-quilt-2011-the-finished-quilt/). I was totally hooked and bought my own machine a few weeks later (http://rhondabracey.com/2011/05/05/my-very-own-bee/). […]

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