As quilters, all of us have tools to help us in our craft. These tools are tangible (machine, rulers, cutters, etc.) as well as the intangible (skill, knowledge, etc.)

Last week I added a really BIG tool to my toolbox. I’m a bundle of emotions with this addition – excited, nervous, a bit apprehensive, and a whole lot ‘I hope I can do this.’

HQ ProStitcher

That’s right….Freddie got an upgrade! I have added the HQ ProStitcher to my machine. For those who aren’t familiar with the ProStitcher, it is HandiQuilter’s version of computerized quilting.

Handi Quilter Pro Stitcher for Fusion

The decision to add robotics is one I didn’t make lightly. I have really struggled with that decision for a while now. On one hand, I love free motion quilting, ruler work, and adding custom designs to my customer’s quilt tops. No two are alike, they are truly original. Some quilts really push me creatively and I love that.

On the other hand, many of my customers really just want an edge to edge design. They don’t want to pay for custom quilting, or they are on deadline and don’t have the time it takes for me to do my thing. I have several E2E designs I can freehand, but not as many as I’d like. So their choices are limited.

Then there is the whole “if a computer does the stitching then I must be cheating” issue that I struggle with. For a while I felt like adding the computer would somehow make me less of a quilter. Weird I know, but that’s just me.

But one day a very wise person commented that most times my customers don’t care whether I’m physically driving my machine or a computer is running my machine. They just want their quilts done. And if I can offer more options in less time by using digital E2E patterns, in the end they will be happier. That conversation was the beginning of a shift in the way I looked at computerized quilting.

HQ ProStitcher installed

So after much discussion with hubby and a lot of waffling back and forth in my head I finally decided to take the plunge. I ordered the ProStitcher last fall during Market and it has been sitting in my house patiently waiting to be installed. Even after having made the decision to go for it and buying it, I was hesitant to hook it up. I waited until I finished all my Christmas obligations before allowing Tim (the LQS tech guy) to do his thing. So it was installed last week and Freddie is ready to go digital!

After an hour or so of training Tim left and I was on my own. I shut everything down and walked away because my brain was on overload from so much info. But the next day I loaded up a test quilt (thanks Mom!) and quilted my first digital edge to edge design.

E2E digital pantograph

It took me most of the day to do and in the back of my mind I kept thinking “I could’ve had a freehand design finished by now”. But there’s a learning curve and that’s why it took me as long as it did. I had to keep reminding myself of that! I ended up being pretty happy with my first project.

Look at the great texture that shows so well on the back:

e2e digital pantograph

I can definitely see how adding this tool will save me time and help me finish quilts faster than I do now. But I wanted the computer for more than just E2E designs. I want to use it to enhance the custom quilting that I do. I can already see how much it will help me in that area, and I’m excited to start working with it in that way and share that with you.

Now you see why my quilty toolbox has gotten so big! I can’t wait to discover everything the ProStitcher is capable of. I know it’s going to allow me to do even more fabulous custom designs and you know I’ll be sharing them with you here!

So that’s my crush for this week, now it’s time to hear about yours! What has you excited to be in your quilting space? I’d love to see what you are working on. You can link any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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