Monday, June 27, 2011

Shipshewana Quilt Festival 2011

Last week was the Shipshewana Quilt Festival in beautiful northern Indiana.  Bucolic hills among the Amish back roads of LaGrange County, friendly residents and wonderful comfort foods contributed to a memorable shop hop weekend for quilt lovers. 

Kaye England was the feature speaker.  Her "Memoirs of a Quilter" was a light-hearted conversation about quilt making with lots of beautiful quilts.  Kaye is a staunch 1/4" seam user, not a scant 1/4", but a 1/4" with the needle in the middle position of the machine foot.  I really appreciated her take on a scant 1/4" since it never made sense to me especially when a ruler with exact measurements is used.  Kaye has an extensive quilt collection of antique, civil war, 1800's era quilts.  Kaye's "Threads of Time" quilt collection - about 40 quilts - were magnificently displayed at the Hostetier's Hudson Auto Museum in the Shipshewana Town Center on impeccably restored 1900's Hudson cars.  Oh, I wanted to take pics soooo bad, but photos were not allowed. 
Besides authoring and publishing books, Kaye designs fabrics for Wilmington Prints.  Her Bread & Butter collection was unveiled at Yoder Shopping Center. 

This was my third year to teach SCHMETZ Needle Education at the Shipshewana Quilt Festival.  I always love talking with quilters and sewing enthusiasts in this delightful venue.  And to take quilting a step further along 90 miles of scenic roads are 18 quilt gardens in full bloom among 90,000 flowers.  Colorful!!! 

It's shop hop season and quilters are gleefully adding to their fabric stashes.  The Cotton Corner was not only part of the hop, but also celebrating their s.p.a.c.i.o.u.s new location.  Linda and her staff took a few minutes between sales for a couple pics. 
Imagine my delight when I saw their SCHMETZ needle display on their checkout counter. It's an easy reminder to start projects with a new needle or at least to pick up a couple needle packs rather than find yourself at 2AM without the appropriate needle.

Plan to attend the 2012 Shipshewana Quilt Festival - June 20 - 23, 2012.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Projects

It's officially summer.  What summer projects are on your list?  Let's see what a few friends are stitching up:

4-H projects will soon be due. 
Bailiee models her newly sewn purple pansy skirt.  In a few days she will finish sewing a black top. 
Mary created this wonderful Irish Chain which is . . .

now the summer hand quilting project of The Piecemakers.
Garneta and I share a few good laughs while stitching. 

Mom studied these blocks purchased last summer at a family auction.
With them she is creating a small quilt to auction again at the next family reunion.

Rita loves zebra print.
How will she incorporate these felt squares into her sewing projects?
Yes, it is summer time.  Time for sewing machines to sing.


Thursday, June 9, 2011


We are spring cleaning in the office.  Well forced to clean since soon we will have newly painted walls and fresh new carpet.  Bravo, a fresh new work space!  When I teach classes, frequently I travel with beautiful samples showcasing impeccable machine work.  It's time to return samples, but first take a look at these wonderful projects offered by a few of the 2010 SCHMETZ Portfolio Designers:

Debra Justice, Labours of Love
Isn't this dainty camisole lovely!  Debra uses the Hemstitch (Wing) needle size 100/16 to create old fashioned "pin stitching" or dainty little holes in natural fibers.  She uses the Hemstitch to attach and embellish lace.  When she joins laces her bonus is the creation of entredeux.

Louise Cutting, Cutting Corners Inc
These shirts made of batik and quilting weight cotton were each stitched using Louise's preferred needle, the Quilting 70/11.  Louise finds the sharp tapered point of the Quilting needle to pierce fabrics beautifully without puckering or rippling.  Louise is known for stitching very, very close to garment edges.  Her stitches are impeccable!

Kaye Wood, Kaye Wood Productions
Kaye is a "Quilt Engineer".  She is always simplifying the quilt making process, breaking rules and developing new tools and patterns.  Kaye's needle of choice is the Universal in sizes 70/10 and 80/12 combined with a cotton or poly-cotton thread. 

Carol Ahles
This delicate ring bearer's pillow is a cadre of heirloom techniques:  Pintucks using Universal Twin 1.6/70, Shadow Work and Scallops using Universal Twin 2.5/80, Fagoted seam using Universal 80/12,  and a narrow hemmed and pin stitched Ruffle using Universal 110/16.  Learn all these techniques in Carol's book Techniques From Fine Machine Sewing, Taunton Press.

Mary Mulari, Mary's Productions
Mary, a former English teacher, started her design career with sweatshirts... and she has not stopped designing.  Look for her Church Ladies' Apron and recycled  Sew-Green patterns to name only a few.  Mary is also the most frequent guest on Sewing with Nancy.  To friends that buy new sewing machines, Mary makes up a nice usable sewing kit that always includes her favorite needle the Topstitch.  Mary is always designing cleaver new projects! 

Rebecca Kemp Brent
Prolific writer, editor, educator and machine embroidery expert.  How does Rebecca fit all these activities into her work life?  I love these samples showcasing delicate embroidery.  The Hemstitch (wing) is her favorite needle for a quick embellishment of ready to wear.  Plus she uses the Hemstitch to quilt fabric for a really unexpected look.   I love the simplicity of redwork and this sample from Rebecca's book, Redwork from The Workbasket.

Thanks ladies for sharing your samples and for inspiring sewing enthusiasts around the world.  I look foward to seeing you on the road!

Each 2010 SCHMETZ Portfolio Designer has a website.  Check out their links in the upper right column.


Friday, June 3, 2011

A "Supreme" Evening with Connie Crawford

Once upon a time did you sew garments for yourself?  Maybe you stopped sewing years ago and want to start sewing for yourself again or perhaps you are just learning to sew now.  One of the most important elements of garment construction is fit.  You can be the most skilled sewer using the most exquisite fabrics, but if the garment does not fit properly, your work is compromised.  What's the answer?  Finding patterns that fit and adjusting them appropriately . . . and Connie Crawford, an American Sewing Legend, designs for us - real women with real bodies.  Connie designs for women with curves - Rubenesque, pear and apple body shapes - up to sizes 6X. 

Connie showing samples from her Butterick pattern line.
This weekend Connie is in Chicago teaching classes on fit.  Wish I could attend - I need her expertise - but at least last night I was able to enjoy her special Fall/Winter 2011/2012 Fashion Predictive.  Black, black with intense color accents, black openwork, denim, mixing blues and browns and finally beeswax yellow are just a few color trends Connie predicts for the upcoming year.  Besides trends Connie talked about adjustments for the full figure woman and how women of all sizes want to wear beautiful clothes and feel terrific.  

I love Connie's jackets!  That ruffle around the neck is special.

We gathered at Supreme Novelty Fabrics.  Bridal, home dec and wonderful sheers, wools, knits, evening fabrics. . . . I didn't know which way to turn.  From every corner I was surrounded by glorious fabric treasures!  The setting was lovely.  A clean, well organized warehouse loft filled with beautiful fabrics.  Here's Connie with Richard Schneider, third generation owner of this wonderful fabric destination.  Richard and his staff are textile experts offering original design solutions in clothing, special occasion gowns, interiors and event-scapes.

Richard and Connie
Laura showed me a few of Connie's favorite Supreme fabrics.    I would like a cut from each of those bolts please!

One of Connie's newest patterns is this wonderful Spiral Wrap.  I have her pattern already and can hardly wait to sew it up.  Just cut, finish the edges and I'll be ready to go.  . . . . Connie is teaching classes throughout the country and Australia too.  Check her schedule for a class near you.

Connie showed me several ways to swirl - wear - her shawl.

Connie's patterns make dressing well accessible to every body shape... and Supreme has just the fabric for every occasion.  Thanks Connie and Supreme Novelty Fabrics for a special evening. 
Check out these websites for more information: