Introducing: Nicholas Turcan

I got to meet Nicholas in January of 2022 and immediately liked how he asked questions and actually listened to the answers. He is very creative and we are all jealous of his hair.

Learn More About Nick

Nicholas Turcan is a multitalented and very creative individual. His journey into quilting began in 2012 with one quilt that quickly turned into several, which made him realize that he needed a better way to finish these quilt tops than a small, domestic-sized machine.

In 2014, Nicholas purchased the HQ Fusion® to help with this task. It didn’t take very long to realize that the creativity this machine unleashed from within him deserved to be shared. To further feed his quilting obsession, he took a part-time job at a local quilt shop, where his passion for fabrics, quilting, and designing patterns grew. He is now a talented longarm quilter who helps his clients enhance their quilts with his creativity. In 2020 after the pandemic struck and things shut down, he took a moment to decide what he wanted to do with his life and decided to become a full-time quilter! Taking the plunge and invest- ing in Pro-Stitcher® Premium allowed him to keep up with the overflow of quilts that started to pour in from every housebound quilter.

Early in 2021, Nicholas had the chance to lease a coveted studio on Granville Island and move into a much larger space, which has allowed him to set up a in-person classroom as well as create a small filming studio for virtual classes, trunk-shows, and video tutorials.

In addition to long-arm quilting for customers, he has started to teach free-motion quilting workshops, where students can learn the confidence and skills required to further their own quilting abilities.

To find out more information about Nicholas, please visit his website
http://www.mysterystitch.com and check out his YouTube channel Mystery Stitch Designs.

Introducing: Dee Maier

Dee is a LOT of fun but I don’t know how she gets any quilts done because she spends more time RVing than I do!!! She loves to travel and is an excellent quilter. You can tell from her quilt that she has a great sense of humor. She incorporated the movie theme from HQ Academy 2023 into her quilt.

Murder Mystery at the Cinema

I love murder mysteries as movies, television shows or books, so when the National Educators were
challenged to make a quilt for the 2023 Handi Quilter Academy whose theme was to be “Cinemacademy,” I immediately thought of the “who dunnits” I so enjoy. We were told we could use only black or grey and white, but could include a small amount of a third color, so, of course, I had to put some “blood” in the quilt. This is an original design, quilted with Sew Fine by Superior Threads and solid fabrics by Connecting

Dee Maier Murder Mystery at the Cinema

Learn About Dee

Dee Maier’s interest in needle arts was inspired by a loving grandmother and aunt when they introduced her to crochet at a young age. Dee began sewing as a tween and moved on to counted cross stitch, crewel, needlepoint and knitting as a young adult. After several years, she progressed into quilting and has never looked back!

Her experience with longarm quilting machines began almost 15 years ago, when she and a dear friend opened a quilt shop. After carefully examining all the machine options on the market, they settled on Handi Quilter because of the company’s dedication to quality, support and education.

Dee began a custom quilting business soon after, but also taught others how to use her longarm to finish their quilts beautifully. She has been the proud owner over the years of a HQ Sixteen®, a HQ Sweet Sixteen®, and now a HQ Avanté® and HQ Amara®, both with Pro-Stitcher®. Ruler work is also dear to her, because of the beautiful work that can be achieved with the many specialized rulers now available.

With a lifelong love of teaching others, Dee wants to inspire others to discover the beauty they can create and share with family, friends and those in need of the emotional comfort quilts provide.

Dee lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and loves traveling to meet old friends and make new ones while sharing a passion for quilting!

CLICK HERE to see more quilts from the Black and White Challenge!

Introducing: Iris Noitalay

Iris is just plain amazing. Her quilting is spectacular, she is always pleasant and she is a HARD worker! I have had the chance to work with Iris several times and I always breath a sigh of happiness when I see her name on the list!

Artist Statement

The challenge was to make a Black and White Quilt, with a pop of color My pop of color is the bright teal, which added so much to the overall look of the Quilt.

So “The Big Reel ”came about one laze afternoon, I was working on my original challenge, and before I knew it, it was done. Although I did like the pattern, there wasn’t enough negative space for me to play (free motion quilt) in. Since I had bought too much of the fabrics for the original quilt I decided to use the left overs for second quilt. And if you know me, I love to make my own patterns. And “The Big Reel” is one of my originals, I used the left over diamond strips laid them out on the floor, and created a new pattern.

It was quilted 90% free-motion (my most favorite way to quilt). The large white setting triangles where quilted with a design out of Pro Stitcher. Enjoy all the different shapes that were filled with Interesting free motion

Learn More About Iris

Iris’ quilt journey started in 1992 ,when Iris’ sister Astrid came to visit while Iris and her family were living in Northern California. She asked if Iris could make her a quilt since Iris had experience in sewing. Making this quilt led Iris to yearn for more, she was hooked. Iris’ experience includes everything from; working at a local quilt shop in North Carolina, to owning her own longarm machine and business, and her line of digital quilting designs.

Iris started out with a non-computerized longarm but switched to a HQ Fusion® with Pro-Stitcher® shortly after. From that point on Iris started creating her own designs such as pantographs and digitized designs, they are currently available at Quiltable. These designs are what led Iris to multiple awards from Judges choice to Blue ribbons in longarm quilting.

Iris’ earned a degree in Advertising and Graphic Design, became a certified instructor in a digitizing software. Learning all aspects of quilting has been quite the journey for Iris, yet the biggest reward is witness the overwhelming join in a quilt recipients eyes.

Iris enjoys teaching quilters with all levels of experience, she believes that quilting should be a fun experience. If you are interested in becoming a longarmer Iris is able to teach everything about quilting especially longarm quilting, everything from the basics on “how to get started” with long arm quilting to “ruler work” to her favorite quilting technique “free-motion quilting”.

In addition, Iris is bilingual and is able to teach classes in both English and German.

CLICK HERE to see more Black and White Challenge quilts!

Introducing: Karen Arnold

Karen and I became educators at the same time so we know each other really well. Karen is quiet in a group setting, but she and i can talk for hours. . . and we have!!!

Artist’s Statement


“With the black and white theme for Academy 2023, I felt like it needed a more modern flair than I am used to.  My cousin, Debbie Youll, came up with the design and I felt that each window was an opportunity to showcase my free motion, ruler work and ProStitcher skills.  Over the years, I am learning the importance of giving my eyes a place to rest so I intentionally left the narrow sashings unquilted so the focus would be on the squares.”

Karen Arnold Splash

Learn More About Karen

Karen grew up on a farm in NE Ohio in a family of creators and learned to sew at an early age. She became accomplished in sewing clothing, embroidery, cross stitch, knitting, crocheting and quilting. After many years, she found that her passion was quilting and has been quilting for the past 35 years.

Her grandmother was an excellent seamstress and quilter who used a treadle sewing machine to create her masterpieces long before the luxuries of rotary cutters and computerized machines. Her mom quilted and believed that hand quilting was the only way to go, until Karen started quilting with a longarm machine!

During high school, Karen took a lot of art classes where she learned about design, color, and texture, which she is able to integrate into her quilting. Most of her quilts are traditional, but she occasionally steps out of that genre.

Karen has a BS in elementary education from Kent State University and a master’s degree in educational technology from Ashland University. In preparing for her retirement after 30 years of teaching, she became fascinated by longarm quilting. She bought an HQ Amara® and started learning how to use it with a passion. She loves combining Pro-Stitcher® and ruler work with free motion quilting. She has been a member of a quilting/sewing group, The Pinpricks, for the last 25 years. Becoming an HQ educator was an exciting way to combine her love of teaching, technology, and quilting! Her favorite parts of being an HQ educator are working with people, sharing her expertise, and visiting quilt shops.

Along with her amazing husband, who supports her quilting addiction, Karen lives near Columbus, Ohio. In addition to quilting, Karen loves to garden, travel and work on the family farm.

CLICK HERE to see more quilts from the Black and White Challenge!