by Mary Beth Krapil
It’s time to get to know another of our wonderful Handi Quilter Ambassadors, Kimmy Brunner.
Kimmy has the good luck to come from a long line of quilters. Growing up, most of her school vacations were spent at her grandparents’ farm where her grandmother, who had the patience of a saint with a little girl and her clumsy fingers, taught her to do all kinds of handwork (probably in a desperate attempt to keep her from going out and terrorizing the chickens). Her grandmother’s love of quilting, and Kimmy’s desire to grow up to be just like Grandma, has led her to an amazing and rewarding career as a professional quilter. Kimmy quilts on an HQ Infinity and an HQ Avante with Pro Stitcher. We sat down with Kimmy and asked her a few questions and here’s what she had to say.
HQ: What does being an HQ Ambassador mean to you?
KB: I absolutely love being an HQ Ambassador. Handi Quilter shares my commitment to treating other people as I would want to be treated by them and also shares my commitment to sharing my love for and knowledge about quilting. My Grandma was my teacher and she not only taught me to quilt, she taught me that quilting is about community, and about supporting other quilters; sharing their struggles, building them up, sharing their joys. HQ shares those same values. They don’t just sell you a machine, they teach you how to use that machine, they support you every step of the way, and they rejoice with you when you succeed. It makes me incredibly proud to have my name associated with a company that treats people so well.
HQ: How long have you been an HQ Ambassador?
KB: Since May 2010. Every single minute has been a blast. I’m so lucky that they’re still letting me hang around!
HQ: What is the most fun thing you have done as an Ambassador?
KB: Oh my gosh, you want me to name just one thing?? This interview is hard! LOL! I think that I would have to say the trip I made to Ste Marie aux Mines, France in September of 2015 was the best. My flight out of Minneapolis was delayed, I missed my Amsterdam connection in Boston, I caught my Basel flight out of Paris by the skin of my teeth, my luggage got lost for 54 hours, and none of those things mattered a bit because the HQ team was so awesome. I laughed so hard with the German Handi Quilter staff that my face was sore for days, I had the best food I’ve ever eaten in my entire life at a little French restaurant in a 500 year old house located on an ancient market square, I taught in a classroom where my interpreter (who fed me wasabi flavored Kit-Kat candy from the Tokyo airport!) and I were pretty much the only ones who spoke English but it didn’t matter a bit because we all spoke fluent Quilter, and I got to really truly bond with a fantastic group of professionals with whom I have remained friends ever since. Next June I’ll be returning to that area to work with them again and I just can’t tell you how very much I am looking forward to that. Quilty friends are the best friends of all and that wonderful trip brought me some deeply valued friends 🙂
HQ: Of all your quilts, which is your favorite?
KB: My vinyl wholecloth Halloween quilt, The Great Pumpkin, is my fave. It’s made from cheap black vinyl that I found on the clearance table at Joann’s for $9.00, and was stitched on my Avante using a size 20 needle. I’ve been quilting leather, vinyl, lame’, chiffon, etc., for almost 10 years and I’m here to tell you that our HQ machines stitch right through all of these textiles like a hot knife through butter. You don’t need special needles, you don’t have to make special adjustments, you don’t have to do anything but load it up as if it were fabric and hit the gas. Easy peasy lemon squeezie! For this quilt, I stitched out the pumpkin centerpiece design (which is an Urban Threads embroidery design) on black chiffon using three layers of Sulky Solvy stabilizer, then appliqued the chiffon in place using the longarm. The design lines were marked with a white chalk pencil, which wiped away easily with a damp washcloth when the quilting was finished. All design work was created with thread; there is no piecing on this quilt. It’s backed with black fabric covered in neon green bats and I grin every time I look at it.
Stay tuned next week for more quilty fun from Kimmy!