|HQ Sweet Sixteen (stock photo)|
The features that convinced me to buy it:
1 -- The table it sits in is compact, 30" x 36" -- (I don't have room for a long-arm machine.)
2-- This is a sit-down machine, and the table height is adjustable for my comfort. I do not want to stand and quilt, .
3--The machine stitches from 10 to 1500 stitches per minute, easily adjusted on a touch screen.
4--The generous space between the needle and motor, (16") plus the roomy flat surface, gives me plenty of room for quilting even large quilts.
5--A heavy duty bobbin winder for the M class bobbins is included.
5--The machine is less expensive than long arm machines.
6--It's manufactured and assembled in the USA, and each machine undergoes thorough testing before it's shipped.
7--A local HQ rep came to my house to train me with my machine. She was patient, thorough, and a great teacher. The company knows that a well-trained owner of the machine will be happier with the product.
8--This machine can be upgraded in the future with handles, framework and a computer package to become a long arm, if I'm interested. I can also add a stitch regulator, if I decide to go that direction. (currently about $1000 to add)
|extension added to R side of table; adjustable legs|
That last purchase was not necessary. I quilted my first large project before I had an extension attached. I set up our standard card table on the left side. It was the same height as the HQ table and worked great! DH has since added the hardware so I have an extension added to the right side of the table. It can be extended to support the quilt, or it can hang down, out of the way.
[UPDATE: My extra, unused extension has since been sold to a lady in MN to use with her HQ Sweet 16.]
|touchscreen and good lighting (stock photo)|
The visibility is wonderful! When quilting with my Brother 1500, an extended arm machine, I'm always dipping my head, craning my neck, peeking around the machine, looking to see what I've done, where I've been, where I'm going. With the Sweet 16, I just shift my eyes and I can immediately see my progress. A light ring with 28 LEDs aids visibility while stitching.
The bobbins hold a lot of thread, more than the standard bobbins I'm used to. On my first large quilt, I barely started a third bobbin. (I usually don't add a lot of tight quilting, so that statement is relative.) Regardless of how densely anybody quilts, large bobbins save time.
The biggest difference, which I'm not used to -- there is NO presser foot. I still reach around behind the needle now and then to raise the presser foot lever, and there is none. Oops!
Love the color touch screen. It's a multi-purpose tool. I can change my speed easily, save 3 favorite speeds, needle up or down, change light brightness or volume of the beeps, troubleshoot with diagnostics that check quality of performance, and my personal favorite -- keeping track of # of stitches. It's like the odometer on a car. I reset the stitches each time I start a project, but the total stitches in the lifetime of the machine continue to add up. In a couple weeks, my total is over 300,000 stitches.
Maintenance is basic. One drop of oil in the bobbin case area after 2 bobbins' worth of sewing. Gently brush lint away. Replace needles regularly. If there are problems, the diagnostics on the touch screen can help. The HQ rep is available to give advice, and there's tech support available online or by phone.
Easy set up and take down. If I wanted to move it, I could do it myself, or DH would help. (So far, it hasn't moved since being set up.) Machine is 53 pounds, and the table may be a similar weight. It's a strong, solid table and does not shudder and shake when I'm quilting at a high speed.
This machine is not a magic tool for perfect quilting. I have to move the quilt under the needle-- just as I did with my domestic machine. The Sweet 16 does not move above the quilt, as with a longarm.
I did not purchase a stitch regulator (though that can be added for an additional price). There are no plug-in pantographs. I'm responsible for the quality of my stitches. I'm responsible for the length and evenness and direction of the stitches. While quilting in the middle of a large quilt, I still have a lot of quilt to settle on my shoulder and/or chest and/or legs until I've quilted away from the middle. I'm in charge of manipulating the quilt, balancing its weight, and controlling those stitches. HOWEVER -- that 16" space and the flat surface make it so much easier than quilting with my domestic machine, as I previously did on our dining room table.
If interested, you can read more about the HQ Sweet Sixteen machine on the HandiQuilter website here. There are a couple introductory videos, Getting Started #1 and Getting Started #2. You can find the location of dealers (including Australia) and there's a map of where machines have been shipped. (updated periodically) Plus quilters who have bought Handi Quilter products have sent their stories to the website.
BTW--I'm just sharing my comments and observations here. I have no connection with the HandiQuilter company, other than I bought one of their machines, and I'm very glad I did.
UPDATE: December 2013. Since this post was published 2 years ago, I've received many e-mails from interested ladies who had questions. I reply to comments, if your comment is connected to an e-mail.
If you're a "no reply blogger," then I have no way to answer your question(s). If you received no reply from me, it's because I didn't know how to contact you. Sorry. If you had included your e-mail address with the question, I could have answered.
Latest no-reply blogger: LHump
UPDATE: October 2014 -- If you're curious how much I use my HQ Sweet Sixteen, quilt #87 was finished last week. A few of those were crib-sized, many were lap size, and the rest were twin size, full size, and queen size. The lifetime stitch count on my "Nellie" is currently 4,857,371. (yes--it's approaching 5 million)