Thursday, December 30, 2010

Home for the Holidays... At Home with Quilts

Home for the holidays ... well at least with my heart in this 2010 holiday season!  Last July I went home to Nebraska for a family reunion and had the pleasure of meeting the Crazy Quilt Guild, lead by Linda Clements and Janet Prior, owner of Prior's Fabrics.  They organized an evening of show & tell and I gave a SCHMETZ needle presentation.  The evening worked out beautifully despite a tornado warning.  The ladies, young & young in spirit, brought quilts that they lovingly made.  And some of the girls even brought their 4-H projects soon to go on to competition at the Chase County Fair.  Take a look at these wonderful quilts from the great plains of Nebraska. . . .

Thank you ladies for the warm welcome and sharing your quilts.  Seeing your quilts and hearing your quilt stories made my heart swell with enthusiasm for the love of our hobby.

I'll be back next year with more stories from my travels, some of my misadventures with sewing and a few new products you will want to try.  So hurry up and finish your 2010 projects, so you can make a fresh start on your 2011 sewing projects!
Happy New Year!


Monday, December 20, 2010

A World of Good Wishes

If you sew chances are good that you also dabble in a few other hobbies.  I am not a scrapbooker, but for nearly 15 years my dabbling has been close by being the custodian of family contacts - keeping track of aunts, uncles and cousins on my Mom's side of the family.  Don't use fabric or thread here, but a few sewing tools and stash items sure are imperative.  Here's what I do...
Choose a beautiful Christmas or holiday card.  I combine birthdays and anniversaries in a running list, then dedicate one page per family with mailing addresses and other contact information.  Most of the time I need to trim standard 8/5" x 11" paper to fit the card, so I use the Roll The Gold Titanium Blades.  These blades cut slick... on paper and fabric! 

Roll The Gold
45mm Titanium Rotary Replacement Blades
I fold the family info sheets and secure them in the card with ribbon from my stash.  Plus this year I found cute little 3D poinsettias to further embellish the sheets.
Ribbon From The Stash

Yesterday I combined 18 Christmas cards with the family address book.  Since all the supplies were handy, this project took about 4 hours - printing the address sheets took the longest chunk of time.  Christmas cards are in the mail and will hopefully make their destinations in time for Christmas. 

SCHMETZ Needles,
Iris Pins, Roll The Gold

On behalf of I wish you a very merry holiday season. . . . .  And during the hustle and bustle when you are in need of a little "quiet" time, sit down at your sewing machine and remember SCHMETZ needles make your sewing projects sooooo much better!

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Let It Snow . . .

Last weekend Chicago land - which is where I live - was blanketed with a beautiful white and fluffy snow.  I just could not stop myself . . .  Since becoming a photo bug I bundled up to take pictures of the glistening wonderland before the wind had a chance to change the winter scape.  Take a look...

Snow Covered Berries
I adore the red berries on this tree.  Some of the berries are nearly translucent from the freezing temperature.  When I looked at the whole tree against the snow background my first thought was translating it into embroidery.  Wouldn't this pic make a beautiful embroidered block?  Wouldn't this be spectacular on a white Ultrasuede, which I recently found  in my stash.  Something to ponder.....

Limelight Hydrangea

This summer I planted 8 Limelight Hydrangea.  To say they were magnificent is an understatement.  For new plantings the blooms were impressive - robust and full.  . . . .  I'm imagining next year's growth . . .  but to get back on track I love the way snow created domes on the blooms.  Now I'm wondering how I can translate these regal snow globes into embroidery.  Any ideas?  I better start collecting white, silver and iridescent threads.

With the dogwoods I love the snow resting gracefully on the red branches.  Hey, I think this could be a very cool 10" embroidery block.  Well it looks like I have the beginning of an Ultrasuede quilt or at least an embroidery series, but first...

. . . . I better finish another project I started during Thanksgiving. During last weekend's snow storm I squared up my embroidered blocks using the Roll The Gold blades. Have you tried them yet? Smooth as butter, these blades cut effortlessly. With the Titanium coating they last a long time, but I like that I can cut faster and more accurately. The 45 mm blades - they are sold in 2 and 10 packs - work with all the rotary cutters found in my drawer - Olfa, Clover, Dritz, etc.

I'm taking a few days off for the holiday.  Hopefully I can finish a couple projects and start some new ones.  You know how it is... always creating in my mind and hopefully . .  with my hands.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for Cleaning A Closet?

Yesterday afternoon I had an unexpected burst of energy.  Ever lingering on my "To Do" list was clean the guest room closet.  This is where I keep my clothes that don't quite fit at the moment - but I'm certain they will next season, and a cadre of sewing supplies in pretty red plaid boxes, patterns, fabrics and other mysteries.  I just dug right in and started cleaning and organizing.  Surprisingly I found a lovely white on white cotton fabric that originally I bought for a quilt backing, but it was a little short. 

One of 20 Stippled Janome Motifs
 I love sewing and have been using a Janome 11000.  This machine is also an embroidery machine and has 24 built-in 4" x 4" motifs on a stippled background.  For some reason multi-tasking was the mode of my day.  If I have to clean I should reward myself with embroidery.  Right!  I cut up the white-on-white fabric and sandwiched in light weight batting.  Luckily I had enough fabric and white thread to embroider 20 lovely designs.  I used a SCHMETZ 80/12 Microtex.  This little project became addictive!  Pretty soon the clock struck midnight and I had only 6 more designs... finally at 2:00 AM the embroidery was complete and my closet was finished!  This was such fun!  Now I have to decide how to join the blocks.

Last Year's Apron from Mom
During my cleaning spree I also found an apron that my Mom made for me last Christmas.  The apron is made of fabric from a college sewing project - Mom hung on to that fabric for quite a while!  Maybe she found it while cleaning her own stash?  That got me to thinking about what I read on Rita Farro's November 21st blog about National Tie One On Day.  That's tie on an apron!  I don't think the pattern Mom used is a Mary Mulari Church Basement Ladies Apron pattern, but the apron sure is special to me.

Cleaning my closet has really come full circle in the last 24 hours.  That dreaded chore lead me to a wonderful embroidery project and uncovering Mom's apron in this season of Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for family and friends and the wonderful world of sewing.  Let each day be a day of thanksgiving . . .  and sewing.
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Rita Farro's blog
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

2010 SCHMETZ Portfolio Designer - Kaye Wood

Kaye's Favorite Needle - Universal 70/10 and 80/12
Kaye Wood

"Most of my machine time is spent piecing quilts using cotton or poly cotton thread.  SCHMETZ is the needle that provides consistent stitch quality.  The Universal is my favorite needle type."

Kaye describes herself as a "Quilt Engineer".  She simplifies the quilt making process resulting in easier and more accurate techniques - while breaking a few "rules". 

Kaye began teaching the machine arts, especially free motion embroidery  in 1973.  Then one of her students asked how to do some of that "quilting stuff".  We know and love Kaye for teaching original techniques throughout the world in classes, lectures, books, patterns and through her PBS program now in its 40th season. 

DALCO Dimensions
Kaye Wood Stained Glass Diamond Iris

Being an original, Kaye developed her own line of quilting tools, the Starmaker(R) Master Templates and the View & Do Shapes.  If you are getting short on making a few last minute Christmas gifts, Kaye will show you how to quickly make Starmaker potholders.  These are stars without the hassle of matching points!  Check this link - - chock full of "how to" videos.  And guess what, viewing is FREE!
View and Do Shapes

Kaye loves cruises.  She's taken quilters on 25 cruises!  Sounds like great fun to me - quilting, friends & food!  In June 2011 she will be cruising with the Round Bobbin Sew Fun Cruise. 

Pinwheel Hearts

Kaye is also well know for her charity quilt project, The LoveQuilt Connection.  At consumer shows around the country, you will find volunteers stitching LoveQuilt projects for donation to local charities. 

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010 SCHMETZ Portfolio Designer - Janet Pray

Janet's Favorite Needle:  Jeans 90/14
"When constructing my Double Green Shopping Bags made from recycled blue jeans this needle works wonderfully sewing through crossed or flat felled seams like a dream.  I have used SCHMETZ needles exclusively for over 25 years!"
Janet Pray
Janet is a fiber artist, fiber arts teacher, sewing instructor and business woman.  She began her sewing industry career by creating a unique line of artistic women's clothing.  Her specialties were coats and scarves sold at fine art fairs and boutiques.  Her career has greatly expanded by developing the largest independent sewing expo - The American Sewing Expo held annually in Novi, Michigan.
The American Sewing Expo
The Largest Independent Sewing Expo in the World!
Janet teaches industrial sewing techniques developed by her aunt, Margaret Islander.  Janet now owns Islander Sewing Systems Company which publishes Janet's clothing patterns.  Her pattern directions are easy to follow and I love the time saving industrial sewing shortcuts.
Irish Coat
This is My Favorite Islander Sewing Systems Pattern
Between writing books and developing DVDs, Janet has found time to share her love of sewing with even more people by creating the National Sewing Council, a non-profit organization focused on encouraging more people to experience the joy of sewing.  Janet serves at the Executive Director.

The Sew Creative Lounge hosted by the National Sewing Council
in Chicago at the CHA Craft Super Show, July 2010
Brenda Rogerson shares her love of sewing with a free Make & Take project
 Janet's work never ends.  Find out more about her shows, patterns and publications at these websites:

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

International Quilt Market in Houston

My annual ritual is to visit International Quilt Market in Houston.  New products are presented.  Orders are written.  Events are planned.  Business is done.  Between conversations with vendors, designers and all the eye candy of new fabrics and notions, it is easy to "overload". . .  but I'm not complaining.  Here are a few friends of SCHMETZ:

Karin Hellalby
UK Teacher, Author & Quilters Haven Shop Owner
Delighted to Show Her 7 Book Covers on Her iPad

Barbara Weiland Talbert
Signing Her Latest Book The Sewing Answer Book

Betsey & Margaret
MorninGlory Designs
Modelling their Newest Jacket Designs

Donna, Indygo Junction
Modeling Midtown Trench

Amy Barickman's Vintage Notions by Indygo Junction
Delves into the life of Mary Brooks Picken.  What an inspiration!
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Monday, November 1, 2010

2010 SCHMETZ Portfolio Designer - Luveta Nickels

Luveta's Favorite Needles:

"Jean Queen" and the "Denim Diva"
 Jeans 80/12, 90/14 and Topstitch 90/14
Luveta says "Jeans needles are a must for recycling jeans.  Penetration is greater with less stress on the sewing machine.  I find the smaller the point the better.  The Topstitch needle is a must in every aspect of sewing or embellishing.  It performs like none other when trying to match previous jean flat-felled seams.  I like to use two threads of my favorite color through the same eye of a Topstitch needle.  This allows a more pronounced stitch without threads fraying.

Frequently nicknamed the "Jean Queen" and the "Denim Diva", Luveta has been recycling jeans for 20 years.  Frequently seen at the American Sewing Expo, the Sewing and Stitchery Expo and State Fairs, Luveta's popular seminars are jam-packed with finished samples of her easy, but professional techniques.  Luveta has written books, designed patterns and invented many notions specific to sewing on recycled jeans. 

When sewing on jeans have you found sewing through the flat-felled seams difficult?  The answer is Luveta's very own invention!  The Jean-A-Ma-Jig to help move over the seam without skipped stitches.


Pink Thrill of the Drill
Use bleach in a controlled, splatter-free manner
And for something thrilling.... try the Pink Thrill of the Drill!  for adding bleach in a controlled manner to decorate your jeans.

French Grommets embellish Junk Jean Jackets
Luveta imports special Grommets from France to embellish her Gone Wild jackets. Finely finished, they add a special touch - a special sparkle to jean and non-denim jackets.

Luveta is a rancher from South Dakota.  She is passionate about recycling blue jeans!  Her website is

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Platter of Silver Spoons

Are you still enjoying an Indian summer?  Last weekend was glorious for flea markets and craft shows.  With the upcoming holidays just 2 1/2 months away, I am still hunting for gifts.  Still looking for gifts?  I admit this year I'm an early bird and have only one gift left to find or make.  Yes, I shop and make gifts throughout the year so I can get them mailed on time and enjoy the holidays... Some years I'm more successful than others.  Here are a few special gifts I found last weekend - appropriate for any sewing enthusiast.

Silver spoon pin cushions

Amy of repurposes barkcloth curtains and vintage linens into dresses and accessories 

Button.  Button. Who's got the button... bouquet?

Pattern Bouquet
So, this is what happens to those patterns that cannot be refolded into their envelopes!

How many sewing enthusiasts are on your holiday list?

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yes! I Made This! ... Forever Friends

September 2010
American Sewing Expo, Novi, MI

Sewing is a creative hobby.  We may find ourselves sewing alone in the solitude of the night, but eventually we share our love of sewing one way or another with others - maybe as gifts or meeting friends for a fabric spree, shop hop, guild meeting or quilting bee.   No doubt about it, we enjoy sharing.   Thanks to you for sharing your love of sewing by purchasing a Yes I Made This! button.  Your donation went to the Dress for Success program to assist women to economic independence.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yes! I Made This! ... Fish, Wildlife & Other Creatures

September 2010
American Sewing Expo, Novi, MI

This is not a large photo gallery, but very worthy to see the wonderful workmanship in machine embroidery and some applique.  Whatever your favorite creature, it is fun to see them in fabric and thread!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yes! I Made This! ... Vests, Tunics, Dresses and More

September 2010
American Sewing Expo, Novi, MI

I love vests - just ask my husband.  He thinks I wear too many, especially in the winter.  Vests are very practical allowing me to layer clothes without a great deal of bulk.  I especially love vests for pockets.  Good secure pockets mean I don't need the burden of carrying a wallet - I'm not a purse person. 

I love dresses too - just ask my husband.  Before we married  my wardrobe was 80% dresses.  In fact today as I write, I'm wearing a dress.  Funny thing is I find this dress the equivalent to wearing a pair of favorite jeans - comfortable and maintenance free. 

Whether you love vests or dresses, you will find them both here with lots of personality.  Enjoy! 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Yes! I Made This! ... Machine Embroidery

September 2010
American Sewing Expo, Novi, MI

I love machine embroidery - especially the ingenuity and enthusiasm embroiderers use to adorn their clothes.  Machine embroidery takes a plain garment over the top to extraordinary.

Since you dropped by the SCHMETZ booth, no doubt you also saw Soni demoing Creative DRAWings.  Yes, I'm plugging Creative DRAWings because it is a terrific product allowing users to actually concentrate on designs rather than all those complicated sequences that eventually lead up to a design.  And for you quilters, Creative DRAWings now works with Quilt and DXF file formats.  Imagine the fun!  For the latest info, check out .

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Yes! I Made This! ... Totes, Bags & Clutches

September 2010
American Sewing Expo, Novi, MI

Do you carry a purse?  Do you cart "stuff" around?  I've become pickier about how my personal items - driver's license, cash, credit card and lip stick - are organized.  A simple wallet just won't do for all occasions.  And sometimes you just want an attractive tote for all those papers and other "stuff".  Check out these 35 totes, bags and backpacks. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yes! I Made This! ... YoYo's, Dog Collars and...

September 2010
American Sewing Expo, Novi MI

This group of photos is the most diverse.  Check out fabric painting, bobbin work and a terrific "trick or treat" apron accented with prairie points.  Do these projects inspire you to try a new technique or something outside your comfort zone?

Yes! I Made This! ... Young Ideas

Young Ideas!
We are always thrilled to see young people enthused about our sewing hobby.  What terrific ideas and fabrications they have!  From totes to skirts to finely designed ensembles, these girls enjoy their creative hobby.  There are only 8 pics in this group, but they are mighty!  How are you sharing your love of sewing with young boys and girls?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Yes! I Made This! ... Jacket Joy

Jacket Joy!
36 jackets, nearly 50 photos.  Look for your photo with the SCHMETZ "Super" Needle.  These photos are the first of 8 sewing catagories from the September 2010 American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Yes! I Made This!

Last week's American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI is now stitched in our memories.  SCHMETZ, Islander Sewing, Junk Jeans People and Ghee's each sold Yes I Made This! buttons to benefit Dress for Success, a charity that helps low income women prepare for the job market by supplying appropriate work clothes.  Buttons were $2 each.  Each buyer was then photographed with the SCHMETZ "Super" Needle.  Yes, our own red carpet event with YOU the sewing star!  Before posting our button sales . . . .  and before I figure out how to post over 200 photographs, here are a few favorite garments to tease you.  Enjoy!

Stunning Reversible YoYo Jacket
based on a Detroit Free Press pattern by Jocelyn Brown found in the June 2010 ASE Newsletter.

Button! Button!  Who's got the button?
An ingenious use of old buttons stitched between scarf front & back!

A show stopper patchwork jacket - bright and cheery... just like its creator! 

Clever fall maple leaves of leather & assorted fabrics
 sandwiched between the tote and a shimmering exterior.

Stripes and polka dots. 
Wait there's more! This is a stunning reversible vest with a cute back pack.

Chipper Tote!
Stop!  Don't throw your potato chip bags away! Tote um! 

Tadaa! Rosette Wool Felt Pillow Kit made in class!

Photo close-ups of each project will be shown in later postings.  Thanks everyone for s...e...w... enthusiastically participating in Yes! I Made This! 

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010


What's your creative inspiration?  This summer I became a photo bug.  Still need to master a few techniques, but here are a few pictures I want to remember for future quilt and sewing projects.  Take a look . . .  
These little guys could dance around a Christmas quilt!
Steelroots: Tobin at the Morton Arboretum
Adore this deep red and gold mosaic vaulted ceiling
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis
Mosaic floor at Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

I have over 1,000 1" Thangles.
Wonder if I can manipulate them into circles?

Stay tuned.  I have many more pictures.
It's hard to show only a few...

What's your inspiration?

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