Image of Handi Quilter Ambassador Helen Godden

Helen Godden

Helen Godden’s motto is “Don’t be afraid to rock the boat, as long as no one drowns.”

She claims to have never had a “real” job, and that she has always been lucky enough to work for herself, following a creative path as a visual artist. In her life “before children”, she hand painted ladies’ fashions, designed jewelry, and created fine art in acrylic, pastel, and watercolor. Struggling through the transition to motherhood, at age 38 she suddenly met free-motion machine quilting (FMMQ) and rapidly developed a close friendship – so much so that Helen invited “her” to move in and to stay! Helen then bought her first sewing machine and started sewing and quilting in 2003.

She came into the quilting world with no previous sewing experience or restrictive rules, and that seems to have been to her advantage. In such a short amount of time, Helen has received awards both nationally (in Australia) and internationally. She enjoys teaching and sharing her ideas with others.

Helen claims that “doing my own thing and taking my own path works for me”. She likes to leap outside the square and love inspiring others to step into new territory. She teaches FMMQ and “Liberate Quilters from the Ditch” and opens her students’ eyes to endless possibilities.

Helen’s adventures in quilting have taken her as far as the Houston International Quilt Festival where she came across an HQ Sixteen sit-down machine, the predecessor to the current HQ Sweet Sixteen. She wondered “What is an HQ? Helpful Queen? Hard Question? Hot Quiz? Huge Quail? Horrible Quarters? Handi Quilter. That’s it! Now what is the sixteen? Sixteen years of age or under? No. Sixteen times more expensive? No. Sixteen years to master? No. Sixteen balls would be easier to juggle? No. Sixteen miles per hour?” She learned that it was a sixteen-inch throat machine with 1600 stitches per minute, designed just for free-motion machine quilters who like to work big and fast, for extreme quilters like her who have a need for speed, and for crazed quilters who stitch with the pedal to the metal, whose motto is “Go hard or go Home” and slow down for no pedestrians. That’s Helen!

And now as a proud owner of her very own HQ Sweet Sixteen® for more than eight years, Helen looks forward to learning more about her machine and doing some serious bonding. For far more insight than you really want to know about Helen’s art, her shoe size, and more, step into her colorful world at

Helen has 11 awards from 22 selections from the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

Learn more about Helen Godden and her OMG quilts here.

Screeching Cockatoo
Helen Godden’s winning quilt

Screeching Cockatoo

Art-Painted Surface Winner
HQ Sixteen Owner. See more of Helen’s work at

Seasonal Sisters
Gail Thomas, Annette M. Hendricks, and Helen Godden’s winning quilt

Seasonal Sisters

World Of Beauty Award, sponsored by
HQ Sixteen Owner. See more of Helen’s work at