With a life-long interest in sewing, Laurel Barrus, founder of Handi Quilter, had the idea for the “Handi Quilter” portable frame when she was looking for a way to take a portable machine quilting frame to her family cabin. She could not find anything to suit her needs in the marketplace, so she created something that could be used with her own home sewing machine. It had to be light and small enough to carry in her car, yet adjustable so it could accommodate small or large quilts. When her friends saw the portable, adjustable frame she had created, they wanted one too.
Seeing her friends’ interest in her new frame, Laurel named it the “Handi Quilter”. She worked with several suppliers, produced a prototype, and took it to the International Quilt Festival in Houston in October of 1999. On the first day of the festival, she called her fabricators and told them she had received enough orders to keep them busy until Christmas.
The business continued to grow and in 2002 Laurel recognized the potential of the home machine quilting market, if a quality product could be offered at an affordable price and fit in the home environment. She invested in the design and production of an entirely new line of products – the “HQ Sixteen” quilting machine and the adjustable frames to support it. She hired her own electronic and mechanical engineers and support staff, established the manufacturing infrastructure for the new products, and created a new distribution network that could sell and service the machines.
In 2010, Handi Quilter became the only longarm quilting machine company to achieve worldwide safety and electrical certificates for our quilting machines and systems, enabling HQ expand to more than 900 worldwide independent retail locations across 55 countries. Its dedicated engineering team works with quilters when creating new and innovative products. Handi Quilter’s continued focus on education is furthered by more than 30 field educators in our HQ Studio and throughout the world who share their talents, knowledge and love of quilting.
Handi Quilter is recognized for its leading Customer Relations and Technical Solutions teams focus on quilters’ needs every day. What’s more, its retail partners are trained and certified in the HQ Way, providing information and service in their local communities, and HQ production team is focused on building the highest quality machines in the quilting industry.
Although the HQ Sixteen has now been replaced by newer machines, Handi Quilter continues to lead the machine quilting market, following our founder’s vision – Designed by a Quilter, for Quilters®. It offers quilting machines for every budget, space constraints, and quilting requirements. Most recently we launched the HQ Stitch line of sewing machines to further meet the needs of quilters.