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