Thursday, December 27, 2012

Digital Goddesses . . . and they love to sew too!

Wow!  I'm excited about our daytime line up of diverse, creative and inspirational digital goddesses that will "tell it like it is" at the SCHMETZ Sew-cial Bloggers Boot Camp.  Here's a glimpse into their lectures.   Hang on to your hats because these gals have moxie to share with you!

+Jake Finch, Co-Founder and Publisher of Generation Q Magazine
Pinterest:  Friends with Marketing Benefits and
Kickstarter:  Kick Your Way into Non-Fat Funding

Pinterest is the social media craze overflowing with creative people seeking the latest and greatest.  Come laugh with us as we find out about the good, the bad and the glory of using Pinterest for your evil creative blogging purposes.  Then, we will look at how Kickstarter can be a blogger's answer to those funding prayers for that next business idea you have dreamed of launching.  It is a lot of helpful info packed into a fun session, complete with chocolate!

+Sarai Mitnick, Owner and Designer, Colette Patterns
Know Your Audience:  How To Learn From Your Readers

What can good design teach us about growing a blog or small business?  Sarai, founder of Colette Patterns and former user experience researcher for Goggle, shows how the universal principles of design can help you to communicate meaningfully, increase your online presence and engage with your audience.

+Angela Mae Jorgenson, Etsy Extraordinaire
Crack the Google Code!

Angela cracked the Google code.  It wasn't easy - it took lots of trial and error - and she sometimes didn't shower or eat for days on on end - but she cracked it!  That is how she moved up to #1 in the Google search engine - and sold over $100,000 of handmade wedding merchandise on Etsy in her first 14 months.  Angela has been in the Etsy trenches - and has real opinions on what you should name your Etsy store, how you should handle shipping and how to turn every customer into repeat business. . . .  your success depends of cracking the code!

+Niamh O'Conner, Evil Genius of
Urban Threads:  Purveyor of Fine Machine & Hand Embroidery Designs

Niamh talks about her new and innovative approach to both machine and hand embroidery.  Hear how social media marketing has played a big role in the website's growth, as well as what it's like to take risks with non-traditional products in a traditional market.  When it comes to embroidery and crafting, the only limit is creativity.

Registration includes a sewist's delight goodie bag - a $200+ retail value, hands-on evening classes 2013 New Product Review and a VIP and One Needle Session passes to opening day at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo. 

Do it now! Download the Boot Camp brochure and register at
Save $50 and register now before January 1!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas from SCHMETZneedles

Are your sewing projects done?
Just a gentle reminder to have an extra stash of SCHMETZ needles readily available for sewing late into the night. 

@Santa says "Share your Stitches!"

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
May your stockings be filled with beautiful fabrics, sewing notions, SCHMETZ needles . . . and a surprise gift to attend the SCHMETZ Sew-cial Bloggers Boot Camp, February 27th & 28th in Puyallup, WA.  Check for details.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Love to Sew & Blog? A Special Event for You!

Love to sew?  Love to blog?  Well I have just the event for you.  The first ever SCHMETZ Sew-cial Bloggers Boot Camp. 

Be a better blogger.  Meet like-minded bloggers.  Expand your digital circle with like-minded bloggers learning from sewing and blogging experts.  You probably already read the blogs and use the designs and patterns of our speakers. . . and if you don't, you will.

Join us February 27th and 28th in Puyallup, Washington for two days of sewing and blogging bliss. Learn how in increase your influence and readership from lecturers of Urban Threads, Colette Patterns and Generation Q Magazine as they talk about their creations and their digital steps and missteps.

About 120 attendees that love to sew and blog are meeting to learn even more about our digital world . . . . 'cause it's changing fast.  Our speakers of the day are covering not only blogging and insight into their creative worlds, but their successful use of Pinterest, Etsy, Google and Kickstarter to name just a few.  Plus through the help of generous designers and manufacturers you can see, use and review a 2013 New Product . . .  You'll be the envy of your friends!

Register now via to save $50!   The SCHMETZ Sew-cial Bloggers Boot Camp is organized in conjunction with the largest sewing party in North America, the Sewing and Stitchery Expo.  Sign up for the Boot Camp and you will receive a free pass to the Sewing and Stitchery Expo.  Watch this blog for more scoop on this exciting event!
Click here for the brochure:
Brochure SCHMETZ Sew-cial Bloggers Boot Camp
Now check out the Sewing and Stitchery Expo blog:
Sewing and Stitchery Expo Announce The SCHMETZ Sew-cial Bloggers Boot Camp

Friday, November 30, 2012

SCHMETZ Stocking Stuffer

Last year we introduced the SCHMETZ Gift Box as a fun, economical and reusable sewing gift.  Yes, a practical secret santa sewing gift!   They have been so popular I thought you would like to see a picture of them on the production table before the lids were closed and sealed.

These little boxes are so cute and . . . . they are flying out the door! 

The SCHMETZ Gift Box is a terrific stocking stuffer, priced at less than $25. Inside find needles nestled into a foam insert that will later hold and organize up to 20 packs of needles, a Sulky PolyLite sample thread spool, and the ever popular SCHMETZ ABC Pocket Reference Guide.

Choose from five needle collections: Embroidery, General Sewing, Quilting, Universal and new this year, Stretch. Give one or bundle all five!  You or your friends can never have enough needles! 

Order right now at

PS: The General Sewing collection is especially terrific for the young or returning sewist as it offers the widest needle assortment.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sewing Machine Needle: myPad Machine Needle Organizer

What do you do with those lightly used sewing machine needles?  Needles that are still sewing worthy.  Return them to the original needle cartridge with a black mark indicating the needle has been lightly used?  Place the needle in a sectioned-off pin cushion indicating needle type and size?  Toss the needle in a nearby dish thinking "I will remember the needle type and size?  Hmmmmm, do these scenarios sound familiar?  Yep, been there and now . . . . have the answer:

The myPad by Grabbit Sewing Tools.  Here's the cool thing about myPad, not only can you organize your lightly used needles by type and size, but use the white flower head pin to identify the needle currently in your sewing machine.  Hello, this is so easy!  Why didn't I think of this? 

The myPad can be found in your local quilt shop or machine dealer.  It retails for less than $15.  I have 3 machines, so I might just get a myPad for each machine.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sewing Machine Needles: Colors of Thanksgiving

On this day of Thanksgiving, I want to share a few pictures from my travels.  I am rather surprised to not find so many Thanksgiving projects, rather the autumn color of orange was easy to find in my photo stream.  So enjoy of few pics.  I hope they inspire you.

Lumination II
Susan McBride Gilgen
2012 International Quilt Festival, Houston, TX
Glorious hues of orange, red and gold.  Yes, this is a quilt as if you are standing at the foot of a forest looking up to the sun.  Susan describes these Japanese maples as a forest of fire in fiber, a lumination to the mind.  This stunning original quilt is made of hand-dyed cotton and batiks.  Her techniques are spontaneous design application, free-motion  machine embroidery and machine quilting.

2012 Sewing & Stitchery Expo
Puyallup, WA
Nice example of blending patterns, techniques and colors. This vest is a stunner! I love when sewists can wear their projects to sewing and quilting events.

Lobby, Aladdin Holiday Inn
Kansas City, MO

This spring International Quilt Market, wholesale fabric and quilt supplies show,  took place in Kansas City, MO.  Staying at the Aladdin Holiday Inn was a treat.  I especially loved their lobby with the beautiful over sized orange red glass perched upon a circular sofa flanked by regal pillars glowing with gold detail.  The vaulted lobby ceiling was outstanding.  This little boutique hotel restored its original art deco ambiance with a touch of vintage charm.  The Aladdin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was easy walking distance to Quilt Market. 

Triple Stripes
Pieced by Anita Marsh, Quilted by Dan Kolbe

Meandering through quilt festivals is always a pleasure when traveling.  This summer my community had their second annual quilt festival.  The weather cooperated and the quilts were special.  This quilt caught my eye reminding me of modern quilts which are so popular now.  Anita found the pattern at her local quilt shop, Prairie Stitches Quilt Shoppe, and used batiks from her stash.    It is always good to support your local shops, and yes, Prairie Stitches does carry SCHMETZ needles.

Shopping at Haberman Fabrics
2012 American Sewing Expo, Novi, MI

Staying with the autumn color theme, especially orange, you are looking at my next sewing project - beautiful nubby wool to be made into a jacket.  Plus I found a delightful orange paisley jersey knit with a touch of turq for a companion blouse, or if I am lucky a Magic Bias Dress.  Soon I will find out as this is my Thanksgiving sewing project.

On this day of Thanksgiving, enjoy your family and friends.  Share your love of sewing.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sewing Machine Needle: In A Pickle Over Dull Needle

A sewing friend clipped this cartoon by Brian Crane.  How apropos!  The November blog posts have all been about the sewing worthiness of your machine needles.  It is true, a needle will not last forever! The solution is so easy and inexpensive - Change Your Needle!

©2012, The Washington Post
Reprinted with Permission

So, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, I hope you find some sewing time to create and rejuvenate. Unlike the last frame of this Pickles comic strip, go out and buy a couple packs of needles from your local store.  Be prepared to sew!

Have a grateful and terrific Thanksgiving holiday.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sewing Machine Needle: Sewing Worthiness?

How many times have you saved a used machine needle only to return and wonder if it is sewing worthy?  Perhaps you were quilting and were side tracked by an emergency gift project.  You removed your needle, say a Microtex and set it aside for future use.  You insert a Jersey for a rush t-shirt gift.  Imagine you had no interruptions and finished the t-shirt in a couple hours.  Now after a cup of coffee and a chocolate you are ready to return to your quilting.  You find the Microtex needle and now wonder, should I have thrown it away.  Is this needle still sewing worthy?  Because you have already learned in previous posts the damage that a dull needle can do:

Shred or Break Threads
Skip Stitches, Uneven Seams
Pucker and Damage Fabrics
Popping or Clunking Sound Made By Sewing Machine

There are two little tests you can do on the spot to determine the sewing worthiness of your needle:

  • Run your needle tip across your finger nail.  If the needle leaves a scratch, it has a burr.  Toss the needle.
  • Run your needle tip across a pair of old hosiery or a swatch of clingy knit fabric.  If the needle tip snags your hosiery or your knit fabric swatch, it has a burr.  You know what to do... Toss the needle.
I know many of us have good intentions to just toss any slightly used needles, but sometimes we get sidetracked and just set them aside.  The above tips are easy and cost nothing to help you determine the sewing worthiness of your used needle.  If in doubt, CHANGE the needle!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Magic of Sewing

One of the joys of my job is talking to sewing enthusiasts from around the world.  Whether teaching or walking a sewing show, sewists like to show and tell about their garments, quilts, wall hangings, crafts and charity projects.  I met Bill earlier in the year between my SCHMETZ: Get to the Point classes at Steve's Sewing, Vacuum and Quilting store in King of Prussia, PA.

Bill Brown
Bill showed me a photo album of his sewing projects and his newly created sewing room.  Thanks to his daughter moving out of the house, the bedroom was free and Bill moved right in setting up sewing machines, a serger, lots of shelves, thread racks, a cutting table and extra lights.  Bill was beaming ear to ear over his awesome sewing studio.

Bill loves to sew quilts . . . . and thoughtfully creates lovely gowns for the burial of premmie babies.  The gowns are complete with lace trim, satin ribbons and dainty rose trim.  The gowns are donated to the local hospital.

Curious to why Bill learned to sew? Magically, he can thank his Mom.  Special pockets?  I'm lucky to install one good pocket.  Thanks Bill and the customers and staff at Steve's Sewing and Vacuum for a terrific Sew SCHMETZ day!  If you missed it check out my March 28th blog post for more details about Steve's Sewing, Vacuum and Quilting store in King of Prussia, PA.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sewing Machine Needle: Dull Needle with Burrs

Think it doesn't matter how long a needle is used?  Have a microscope in your sewing room?  Take a look at a used needle on the left.  With each magnification you can see not only the dull point, but look at the striations and that GIANT burr on the needle point.

Now imagine what this needle will do to your fabrics and thread?  That's right, it bears repeating the clues to using a dull needle:

Shredded or Broken Threads
Skipped Stitches
Puckered Fabrics
Damaged Fabrics
Uneven Seams
Popping or Clunking Sound from Sewing Machine

So what is the solution?

Change your needle!
It's the easiest and least expensive way to improve your stitches.

Next week find out if your gently used sewing machines needles are still sewing worthy.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2012 Fall International Quilt Festival

Going to Houston for International Quilt Market draws me like a magnet.  I love this wholesale market seeing vendors, new product, gathering ideas and viewing the vast special quilt exhibits.  I always love Preview Night for International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX.  The sky is dark, Halloween costumes are on parade and at last the public's attention is focused on the remarkable skill, creativity and artwork of quilters. One of the perks of Quilt Market is accessing Quilt Festival quilt exhibits.   I am back home now, but I am thinking about all the excitement and viewer exhilaration of seeing the quilts for the first time.  Here are just a couple of my personal favorite quilts:

Kitty Corner by Janet Fogg
2012 International Quilt Festival
Kitty Corner is a literal interpretation of the traditional quilt block, Puss In The Corner.  The larger-than-life Maine Coone positioned in the corner of the traditional layout of the blocks pushes the point that innovation in traditional work is possible.  This cat has personality!  I love cats.  I love dogs.  Can I be a cat and dog person?  :)

Zinnias Three by Jean Smith
2012 International Quilt Festival
Zinnias Three is fused, pieced and free-motion quilted. Inspired by Melinda Bula's zinnia class, Jean created three zinnias in her favorite colors. I love the colors and cheerfulness!
Natural Wonders by Kathy McNeil
2012 International Quilt Festival
Beautifully executed hand applique, hand embroidery, Yo-Yo embellishments, piping and machine quilting.  Wow!  Natural Wonders looks like a photograph.  Kathy hand-appliqued 123 different fabrics to create a seascape that existed only in her imagination.  Stunning!

America, Let It Shine by Sherry Reynolds
2012 International Quilt Festival

America, Let It Shine is an original design using paper piecing, hand applique, fused applique with machine finished edges and free-motion quilting create a tribute to American foundations and values with hope for a brighter future.  5,121 Swarovski crystals, 13 points representing original 13 colonies, ring of 50 stars representing 50 states.  Wow!  A show standout!  Stunning!

For more information on International Quilt Festival visit

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sewing Machine Needle: Change Your Needle

How long have you been sewing with the same needle?  How many quilts have you made using the same needle?  Have you experienced these dull needle symptoms?

Shredded or Broken Threads
Skipped Stitches
Puckered Fabrics
Damaged Fabrics
Uneven Seams
Popping Sound by Sewing Machine

Guess what?  These are clues - clues that you can see and hear - that you need to change your needle. 
The general rule of thumb is to change your needle after 8 hours of sewing.  Depending on the project, some sewists change needles once and sometimes twice insuring a quality stitch.  Others start every new project with a fresh out of the pack needle.  No, we are not trying to sell you more needles.  We are trying to help you sew better . . .  with better stitch quality. 

Change your needle!
It's the easiest way to improve your stitches.

Tune in next week and get a close-up view of a dull needle.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sewing Machine Needle: Does SCHMETZ Work With My Machine?

Wondering if SCHMETZ needles work with your home sewing machine?

SCHMETZ works with all these machine brands!  SCHMETZ 130/705 H - see the October 8th post if you need a refresher on the meaning of 130/705 H -  is compatible with all these home sewing machine brands in the marketplace.  That's a relief!  There are a few older Singer machines that require a different needle system, plus a few specialty machines such as needle felting and sashiko machines that do not use SCHMETZ 130/705 H needles.  SCHMETZ engineers work with sewing machine manufacturers around the world to ensure that the SCHMETZ needle performs properly in your home sewing, embroidery and quilting machines. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Becca Asks "Needle, Needle, Which Needle?"

2012 State and county fairs are warm summer memories.  Kids worked hard under the watchful eyes of 4-H leaders hoping for those special blue and purple ribbons.  Meet Becca from Oregon State.  Becca loves to sew and decided to learn more about sewing machine needles. 

Becca first contacted us in July asking for permission to use the SCHMETZ logo for a 4-H project.  We were happy to help and sent her the SCHMETZ ABC Pocket Guide.  We were thrilled to see the ABC's incorporated into her informational board Needle, Needle, Which Needle highlighting needle anatomy, importance of using a new needle and the benefits of using the correct needle.  We even learned a thing or two from her project. There was an area called Sewing-Machine Needle in Antarctica that was named by whalers.  What a terrific trivia question!

Becca certainly did her homework resulting in all these trophies.  Bigger yet is the smile on her face.  I imagine her parents and 4-H leaders are smiling too.

More than all the learning is the chance to share knowledge and friendship with other 4-H Club members.  Becca with Bethany and Nicole.   I just wonder what sewing projects Becca has in mind for next year.  It is never too early to plan for next year. 

Thanks Becca for sharing your 4-H sewing story with us!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sewing Machine Needle: Types

Need a needle?  How many times have you rushed into a store for needles, only to stop in awe -confounded by all the needle choices?  Really how many needles are there?  Does needle type really matter?  Because you are thinking, I just want a needle to finish my project.    I hear you, so let's first get an overview of all the types of needles available for your home sewing machine.
Yes, you have choices, not only in needle type, but needle size.  Many times, but not always, the needle name also suggests project usage too.  So what is YOUR favorite needle?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Night Circus, Sewing and Black & White

This posting is going to be my own three ring circus tying these topics together:  The Night Circus, sewing and black and white.  Here's how it all started.  At the suggestion of Nancy, our local librarian, my husband brought home a magical book The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  Little did I know how enchanting this good read would be. 

Visual reading is how I describe the story lines in this book.  The descriptions of the characters and the circus with all its unusual and magnetic tents were wonderfully refreshing and real.  I was especially thrilled to find out that . . .

Yes last night the author, Erin Morgenstern, was in my neighborhood to talk about her debut book The Night Circus.  So I grabbed a red scarf - I could not convenience my husband to wear a red scarf, but was happy that he wore a red bow tie - because I am now a "serious" fan of The Night Circus.  Yes, the red scarf has meaning from the story line.  What I learned is that Erin is an artist that writes AND is a writer that is an artist depending on how her creative energies need to express themselves.   The writing of this book started in a November -  sorry don't remember the year - National Novel Writing Month.  In 30 days the challenge was to write 50,000 words - some call this binge writing.  She wrote many vignettes that eventually all wove together especially after 2 years of editing and rewriting.  2 years of rewrites!  What tenacity!   

Years ago as an artist Erin designed tarot cards and challenged herself to using a black and white color scheme which also carried over into the menagerie of circus tents and even some of the characters in her book.   I love the poignancy of black and white and thought you may enjoy a few sewing pics I have taken from various trips:

Let's Go To The Zoo! 
Great Lakes Heritage Quilters Special Exhibit 
American Sewing Expo 2012

Baby Lock Love of Fashion by Designer Joi Mahon
Special Exhibit of Joi's Off-Beat Bridal and Formal Wear
American Sewing Expo 2012

Diane Kroll, Special Exhibit Coordinator
Standing in Front of California Dreaming Exhibit
By Lakes "Sew"Ciety Members
American Sewing Expo 2012

Rita Farro
With Her Newly Treasured Black and White Zebra Corduroy Stash
Nancy Zieman's Quilt Expo 2012

AnyWear Shoe
Comfortable Shoes Worn by Sewist Attending American Sewing Expo 2012

Just like The Night Circus, the inspiration to sew makes no announcement.  We simply must sew, collect fabrics and share our passion.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sewing Machine Needle: How To Read The Needle Package

Baffled by the needle package?  What do all those all those numbers mean on the needle package?Well, let's first review the essential needle information printed on that tiny 5 pack of SCHMETZ needles.  Information that will make your needle purchase so much easier. 

Let's start from the bottom of the package and work our way up:
  • Size:  Needle size is always found at the bottom of the package.  Both the metric and the Singer or international size designation will always be shown.  This package has assorted sizes - 70/10, 80/12, 90/14.
  • Needle System:  130/705 H is the needle system used by nearly all home sewing machines.  130/705 refers to a needle with a flat shank.  The H refers to a German word, Hohlkehle,  that translates to scarf.  So 130/705 H is a flat shank needle with a scarf.  All brands of home sewing machines use system 130/705 H - Baby Lock, Bernina, Brother, Elna, Husqvarna Viking, Janome, Juki, Pfaff, White and more.
  • Needle System:  15x1 H is a cross-reference to needle system 130/705 H.  The two needle systems - 130/705 H and 15x1 H are equivalent, same needle anatomy- a flat shank with a scarf.  Same needle, different manufacturer. 
  • Needle Type:  There are 16 needle types for your home sewing machine.  The above needle pack contains Universal needles.
  • SCHMETZ:  The preferred needle used by sewists around the world.  SCHMETZ is high quality.
Next week we will review the different needle types for our home sewing machine.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chanel and That Jacket, American Sewing Expo 2012

Claire Shaeffer describes herself as a "garment engineer".  Visiting Parisian couture workooms, dissecting haute couture garments, interviewing Savile Row workers and collecting Chanel - owns over a 1,000 Chanel and couture garments, Claire knows couture techniques and gleefully shares them.  Admiring students - and recently I was one - hung on every word and technique Claire shared.

A Chanel Jacket from Claire's Collection
Along with Chanel Inspired Jackets
Last week at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI, I had the pleasure of taking Claire's class.  I consider myself a quilter, but my sewing started with garments and I find myself increasingly enjoying garment construction.  At first I thought I might be in over my head taking this intense hands-on couture level class, Chanel and That Jacket.  However as the class progressed I learned I already knew and already use many basic techniques such as quilting and many hand stitches.  The difference - huge differences - in couture is fit, time, patience and thoughtfulness that goes into the garment construction, or in one word, craftsmanship.  Oh, yes . . . money is a huge difference too.

Juliette Shows Her Couture Techniques
Including the Quilted Jacket Body
The class had 30 students.  Through a drawing we buddied up to use Pfaff machines.  Juliette was my new sewing buddy from Austin, TX.  Juliette is an avid sewist and already made Claire's Chanel inspired Vogue Pattern #8804.  Her sewing techniques, quilting and use of chain weight on the hem were skillful and no wonder, Juliette along with half the class were members of The Association of Sewing and Design Professionals. 

The primary focus of our class were the intricacies of couture techniques applied to a three piece sleeve that Chanel avidly used.  I learned about generous seam allowances, thread tracing and quilting techniques.  We did lots of hand work.  When we machine stitched Claire said she uses SCHMETZ, so of course I had to make a video.  Find our which three SCHMETZ needles are Claire's favorites.  She also prefers to use the Swiss Iris Super Fine Pins - the ones in the adorable little blue Klip-Klap tin.
Claire is An Avid Writer and Educator

Except for this American Sewing Expo class, Claire has cut back on her traveling and now teaches an intensive 5 day workshop in Palm Springs only twice a year.  Lucky for us her knowledge is easily available in books, magazine articles including Threads and Vogue Patterns, and DVDs.  In February 2013 Claire's new book will be released,  Couture Sewing Tailoring Techniques.  I can hardly wait to get my copy. 

Rhonda Pierce and Claire Shaeffer
Thanks Claire for a terrific class.  Learning about thread tracing, easy bound buttonholes, creating trims and the importance of hand basting, you inspired me to sew for better fit and mostly . . . . craftsmenship.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sewing Machine Needle: Anatomy

The SCHMETZ needle, that little 2" piece of steel, is one of the most important parts to your home sewing machine.  Your machine cannot operate without a needle, right?  Insert it wrong, and your machine will not work.  Use an incorrect needle and your stitches will be less than desirable.  Use a dull or bent needle and you risk damaging your machine, fabric and thread.  In other words the SCHMETZ needle is an essential work horse. Over the next few weeks, let's Get To The Point with SCHMETZ needle facts.

When was the last time you looked at, I mean really looked closely at your sewing machine needle?  There are eight parts to needle anatomy:

From top to bottom, let's review needle parts and their important functions:
  • Butt:  The very top of your needle has a beveled edge for easier insertion into your machine.
  • Shank:  Home sewing needles have a flat shank for perfect positioning in the needle bar in relation to the hook. 
  • Shoulder:  The transitioning area between the shank and the blade.  SCHMETZ color codes 5 needle types on the shoulder for easier identification.
  • Blade:  The length of the needle.  Needle size is determined by measuring the blade diameter.
  • Groove:  Cradles and guides thread to the eye of the needle.
  • Scarf:  The indentation above the eye that allows the bobbin hook to smoothly grab the thread under the throat plate to create a stitch.
  • Eye:  The hole through which thread passes. 
  • Point and Tip: The first area to penetrate fabric in stitch creation.  The point and tip length, shape and size vary according to needle types.

Next week we will review How to Read A Needle Package.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fashion Sewing Design Contest, IPCA

Here's just the Ticket To Paradise . . .  a terrific fashion sewing contest recently announced by the Independent Pattern Company Alliance - IPCA.  Winners will be announced March 3, 2013 at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA.  Great prizes include a fabulous Baby Lock Symphony sewing machine.  The Grand Prize winner will be invited to the International Textile Expo in Las Vegas also in March.  Sounds exciting doesn't it!

Here's how to enter: 
  1. Visit to discover all the pattern companies included in the contest.
  2. Choose a pattern from the IPCA members' pattern collection, then free your imagination using the theme "Ticket to Paradise".
  3. Stitch up your garment or outfit using your personal vision of  Ticket to Paradise.
  4. Submit an entry form with at least 2 photos of your completed entry to the appropriate IPCA member company.
  5. Entries are due by January 25, 2013.
Who's the IPCA?  Just as the name suggests, these independent designers formed a coalition to promote their creative pattern designs.  When you buy a pattern from an IPCA member, you are assured that it has been professionally drafted, professionally graded for multiple sizing and include comprehensive illustrated pattern guides.

I'm thinking Ticket to Paradise in a great chance to showcase your design and technique skills. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sew It! International Sewing Month

September is International Sewing Month.  The kids are back in school and it's time to schedule sewing time back into the daily routine.  First stop, your local independent sewing dealer.  Look for this promotional sign for participation in International Sewing Month activities, an annual nation-wide event. 

You could win a $600 gift certificate as the grand prize drawing winner.  Sweet!  How would you spend an unexpected $600 windfall?  Your local dealer will show you lots of opportunities to win great prizes from favorite manufacturers including Coats and Clark, Janome America, McCall Patterns, Nancy's Notions, Sulky to name just a few, plus yours truly . . . . SCHMETZ needles.

SCHMETZ Gift Boxes
Prizes for International Sewing Month
Your local independent sewing machine dealer is eager to greet you.  Over the summer dealers traveled to their machine annual conferences to stay current with sewing machine product lines, techniques and education.  Whether you need a basic machine for a grandchild new to sewing or a fully loaded machine with all the bells and whistles for yourself, your local independent dealer has been trained to find the right machine for you. 
Baby Lock Endurance with bells and whistles for fast and easy embroidery
Baby Lock Tech 2012
Your local independent sewing dealer is a wealth of information and friendship just waiting for you to walk through the doors.  Sewing is fun . . .  and sewing is especially fun when you can win great prizes this month through your local dealer during International Sewing Month. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Biggest Beatles Fan Quilts

It's not every day I meet a quilter that diligently translated her undying devotion into Beatles quilts.   Quilts, that right - not just one Beatles quilt, but two!  Meet Lynda Martello, affectionately called loco Beatles fan by her friends and colleagues at The Sewing and Vacuum Place in Santa Rosa, CA.  Wow!  Lynda's Beatles quilts have won all sorts of ribbons and its no wonder, these two quilts are outstanding.

Lynda's quilt blocks represent Beatles albums and .....

song lines...  

Lynda collected fabrics for 12 years ...

After having her original Beatles quilts stolen, Lynda diligently labels ALL her quilts. 

Lynda's quilts now hang in the safety of The Sewing and Vacuum Place in Santa Rosa, CA. 

Pam holding the SCHMETZ "Super Needle and Lynda 

Next time you visit beautiful Sonoma Valley, drop by The Sewing and Vacuum Place - a Baby Lock dealer - to take a look at these remarkable quilts.  Pam Cortese, owner of The Sewing and Vacuum Place, and Lynda love to talk about sewing and quilting.  Without a doubt, you will be inspired!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

4-H Fashion On The Runway, Penn State

Over 100 years ago 4-H Clubs were organized by agricultural schools to educate youth and their families in rural communities.  Today through 109 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension Services, 4-H programs reach more than 6 million kids in urban, suburban and rural communities.  With over half a million volunteers, 3,500 professionals and more than 60 million alumni, 4-H kids from elementary to high school "learn by doing."

Last week I drove through lush gentle mountains that wound into a green well manicured valley.  After making a few wrong turns and attempting to avoid street construction, my 4-H journey began at Penn State University in State College, PA.

4-H is about learning and sharing.  Gabby was my ever cheerful and helpful assistant.  Growing up Gabby was an active 4-H member with many sewing projects and today was a walk down memory lane.  Even now while studying to be a physician's assistant, Gabby took the time to help with the 2012 4-H Fashion Review.

Fashion Review day was conducted with precision.  Sandra, Maureen, Linda and the 4-H volunteers set -up a terrific day of learning.  From 9:00am to 2:45pm 4-H participants attended workshops on careers in fashion and design, pattern making, a design challenge, wool felting and SCHMETZ needle education.

My first students of the day with the SCHMETZ Super Needle.

60 Fashion Revue contenders won their local and regional sewing competitions before reaching this state level. The young ladies - no guys this year -  filed into the auditorium for their preliminary walk through on the stage . . .

while the official judges also preview garments for the first time.

Competition was tight.  Workmanship, style and sewing techniques were high. Judges announced winners that evening at a formal runway fashion show with lights, music and narration.

I taught 6 SCHMETZ classes and fielded questions from the astute audiences.  The girls were certainly present to learn and to meet new friends.  Being part of the day's excitement I recalled the 4-H pledge: 
"I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world."

4-H is a terrific organization for kids to learn new skills, develop leadership, serve communities and build confidence while expanding their worlds.  It was a joy to be among these attentive and friendly 4-Her's that were eager to learn and explore.  To find a local 4-H club in your community and to learn more about 4-H visit