Monday, March 18, 2013

Needle Replacement

When do you change your needle?  Recently I conducted an informal survey at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo and found that 46% change their needles with every new project or every 4 to 10 sewing hours.  That was a pleasant surprise, but again I was asking attendees at the largest sewing party in North America.  Hmmmm 46% . . . . 

What is everyone else doing?  That leaves many sewists waiting to replace their needle until it snags, pops or breaks.  Well for those of you that never change your needle - you know who you are - or wait until the needle breaks, take a look at this magnified pic of a used needle.  The needle on the left has been used, yet a closer look tells a very different story.

This needle is not as sharp as it looks to our naked eye.  Look at that giant burr and striations!  What is it doing to your fabrics?  Is it compromising your machine?  Just like a razor gets dull and pulls at a beard, a machine needle is similar and needs to be changed.  The general rule of thumb is to change your needle after 8 hours of sewing time.  Fabrics with different finishes and even your sewing technique may determine needle replacement more or less than every 8 hours.  In the meantime, here are a few clues to help you to determine when to replace the needle:

Broken or Shredded Threads
Skipped or Uneven Stitches
Puckered or Damaged Fabrics
Popping/Clunking Sound Made by Sewing Machine

Yes, your machine talks to you.  Look and listen.  Change your needle.


Friday, March 15, 2013

What Blogs Do You Read?

What sewing and creative blogs do you read?  This was my question of the week at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo.  With the zillions of websites and blogs, where do others find sewing facts, education, inspiration, some humor and a recipe or two?  Through an informal questionnaire, I got quite a list.  In fact I was thrilled with the variety!  So here's a list of blogs - or websites with blogs - that our creative friends are reading.  

If you are new to blogs or you just want to break out of your reading rut and discover new blogs, have some fun checking these out.  Each blog or website below is linked, so just click a name and you are off to discover a new site. . . .  Of course I was thrilled to know SCHMETZneedles is regularly read.

alittlesewing          ARMOMMY          Army Wife 101          Arts Business Institute          Artfabrik          The American Sewing Guild          Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery International Guild          BellaOnline           Burda Style           Canada College Fashion Dept      Centsational Girl          Colette Patterns          Communing With Fabric          Craftsy          Crazy Mom Quilts          Wolfram Demonstrations Project

Design Sponge          Embroidery Library          50 sqft studios          feeling stitchy   Generation Q Magazine          Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing          Goodbye Valentino          the Inspired room          instructables         janome life           j stern designs          knittyblog          kollabora          MARCY TILTON          mr x stitch          Nancy Zieman                    new dress a day          One Piece at a Time          Organized Home          Pacific Fabrics and Crafts          Paper Craft Planet          PatternReview          Pinterest         
Quality Sewing and Vacuum          Quilters Newsletter          Quilting Board          Quiltville          Judy Niemeyer Quilting          ravelry          Rita's Sew Fun Blog          Royal School of Needlework          SCHMETZneedles          Sewaholic          sew bittersweet designs          Sewing and Stitchery Expo Blog          Sew Nancy          SEW iT All tv          Sew, Mama, Sew!          sew can she          Smitten Kitchen          Stitchery Dickory Dock          Stitches and Seams          Sure-Fit Designs          the house of SMITHS          The Pioneer Woman          The Vivienne Files          Thread Banger          Threads Magazine          tumblr          Urban Threads          We All Sew          Whisk Kid          Without Directions


Besides sewing tips and lots of inspiration, did you find the recipe for the salted caramel brownies?  Maybe it's time for a little snack.  So the question to YOU is "What blogs do you read?"   Let me know by commenting and I will post another list.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sewing & Stitchery Expo 2013: Meet Mary Collen

What ingenuity!  Meet Mary Collen.  Mary took a few moments from her busy schedule at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo to talk about her entry into the IPCA, Independent Pattern Company Alliance, Ticket To Paradise Challenge.  Mary used a Dana Marie Design pattern to create a ski jacket with QR codes that when scanned with a smartphone redirect the reader to her website for details about the jacket at  Mary used a SCHMETZ Microtex needle.

Mary didn't win the challenge this year, but she won last year with the beautiful jacket she is wearing in this video.  Note the timeless embellished lapel.  What will Mary think of next year?  I'm going to keep a look out for next year's IPCA challenge.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sewing & Stitchery Expo 2013: Favorite Pics

I'm still winding down from the largest sewing party in North America - The Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA.  What a whirlwind of classes, chance encounters, authors, designers, vendors, volunteers and people like you - that love to sew, quilt and craft.  As the Expo Facebook Hostess I took a ton of pics in classrooms, show aisles, booths, fashion shows, even a men's restroom, and elsewhere on the Expo grounds.  Visit  While I still sort through nearly 1,000 pics, I want to share with you a few favorites in no particular order:

Love the joy in Leslie's face as she donates 6 pillowcases made by her Super Saturday Pierce County 4-H Group.  Over 4,595 pillowcases were donated by Sewing and Stitchery Expo attendees to Mary Bridges Children's Hospital.  Adorable Leslie and her friends made the pillowcases "for the sick children".

This young gal is nearly ready for The Best of the Best, 4-H Fashion Revue wearing a lovely, cool blue, romantic dress, topped off with her mother's wedding hat.  The ensemble is timeless.

Rita Farro, publicity director for the Expo, unofficially declared to Facebook & blogger friends, "Zebra Day" on Expo Friday.  Wow, we saw some creative uses of zebra fabric!  Note that young Olivia seated on the bench is wearing knee-high zebra sneakers.  Even Olivia's Mom - not pictured - wore the same zebra knee-high sneakers.  Pictured on the bench are Olivia with her aunt, standing are Jan and Bonne.

Ben won a collection of 28 fatt-quarters provided by Studio-e Fabrics.  Ben was surrounded by quilters anxious to win this beautiful collection.  We all had quilts dancing in our minds, when Ben won the contest.  Ben loves to sew bean bags and blankets for his bears.  I am soooo happy Ben won these beautiful fabrics!

Thanks to Grandma, this is one adorable coat with leopard trim and felted rose embellishments for sisters.

Getting a dash of lip gloss from a friend before moving backstage for The Best of the Best, 4-H Fashion Revue.

Ellen March, Host of and Laura Mendoza, State Fashion Revue Superintendent are framed while playing with sewing props.
Hmmm... my husband always asks me to hem his new pants.  To me, hemming pants is NOT sewing.  Of course, I always say yes, but I really want to say this as seen on a cute SewItAllTV t-shirt ......... 

I have many more pics to share on Sew Expo and SCHMETZneedles Facebook pages along with this blog.  So, stay tuned for more memories of a truly great sewing party - The 2013 Sewing & Stitchery Expo.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sewing Machine Needles: Twin & Triple Part B

On more thing about Twin needles - they are available in a variety of needle widths and sizes.  Below is a pack of 3 Universal Twin needles, just like you would find in your local store.  Look at the bottom of the needle pack and you see 1.6/70, 2.0/80, 3.0/90.  The first number indicates the stitch distance between the needles, so 1.6mm between the needles will stitch narrow parallel lines.  The 70 refers to the needle size, so size 70.  
Universal Twin needles have the widest assortment of stitch widths and needle sizes:  1.6/70, 1.6/80, 2.0/80, 2.5/80, 3.0/90, 4.0/80, 4.0/90, 4.0/100, 6.0/100, 8.0/100. 
Denim Twin:  4.0/100
Embroidery Twin:  2.0/75, 3.0/75
Hemstitch Twin:  2.5/100 
Metallic Twin:  2.5/80, 3.0/90
Stretch:  2.5/75 4.0/75