Sewing

One of Our Own Wins Koala’s National Holiday Sweepstakes!

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Congratulations, Genelle!

Congratulations, Genelle!

Over the Holidays, Koala held their nationwide “I’m Dreaming of a Koala Studio” holiday sweepstakes. When they drew the winner last month, it turns out it was someone who filled out the entry form at one of our own stores!

Congratulations to Genelle T., who won Koala’s grand prize of a Koala Storage Tower!

“I have too many used machines. My husband said I can’t get anymore,” laughed Genelle. Now with the Koala Storage Tower she’ll have much more space for those machines!

See the full article on Koala’s own website here: http://mykoalastudio.com/2014/02/koala-makes-it-easy-for-storage-dreams-to-come-true/

Thanks to everyone who entered the sweepstake at our stores, and a big congratulations to Genelle!


A Great Rotary Cutting Safety Tip

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

I had the joy of spending time in my sewing room watching the Saturday morning sewing shows on KBTC this past week and saw a great tip on Fonds and Porter – Love of Quilting. Don’t you just love starting you Saturday that way?

A "Klutz Glove" keeps you injury free!

The tip that stood out to me was one concerning safety while using a rotary cutter.  When rotary cutting, be safe and use a new sharp blade and wear a “Klutz Glove” to help protect your non-cutting hand from accidental injury.  A fellow sewing enthusiast wrote in to the show to offer the following suggestion for remembering to be safe when cutting with a rotary cutter:

  • After using your rotary cutter,  store it inside your “Klutz Glove” when you are done using it.  This way,  you will have a reminder to use the glove the next time you do some rotary cutting.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times that I have had a “near miss” with my rotary cutter and felt so glad that there are simple tools like this to help keep clutzy me safe!

Reva


Sewing & Quilting Smart Phone App Roundup

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Did you know that iPhones only make up about 12% of all “Smart Phones” nowadays? Over 80% of Smart Phones are Android phones now, so I thought I would write a post about some of the quilting and sewing apps that you can download on your Android phones:


Quilting Calculators
Robert Kaufman Fabrics and Quilter’s Paradise have joined forces to bring you this collection of essential quilting calculators. Designed by quilters, all work with both U.S. and metric measurements. You’ll quickly see how much fabric is needed for backing, batting and borders, and how many rectangular pieces can be cut from a larger piece. There are even calculators for square-in-a-square, set-in, and corner triangles.


Stitcher’s Helper: $0.99
Almost a more powerful version of Quilting Calculators, this Stitcher’s Helper app has several advanced features:
- Several calculators for calculating yardage, cost, or many other measurements.
- Project tracking. Mark your project as “In Progress”, “On Hold”, or “Completed”.
- Attach pictures to projects
- Attach project items to projects. These can be either any of the below calculators with your yardage and data saved, or simply a needed item.
- Projects also have space for pattern information and notes.
- Automatically generated shopping list page that can either be added on the fly or marked as “Include on Shopping List” on the project item edit screen. These items are grouped by project for easy organization.


Quilting Color Match:
A very interesting app that lets you take photos of fabric (or anything, really), then create a quilt pattern and apply the fabric photos to the quilt pattern to see what they’d look like on the finished quilt. It doesn’t have the most easy-to-use interface, but it can be great way to see what certain fabric combinations look like together in a finished quilt without having to buy swatches and swap them around. Plus you can save your projects and export them to your phone’s image gallery.


Quilt Shops
Quilt Shops is a free application to find quilt shops across the U.S. from Quilters Club of America and Fons & Porter.
- Use your smart phone or tablet to search for 2,500+ quilt shops (U.S. stores only currently)
- Versions will be available for iPhone, iTouch, iPad and Android phones
- Search for quilt shop by city, state, Zip, or see stores closest to your current location
- Look up individual stores to see location, Web site URL, map directions and dial store phone number
- Feedback form enables users to easily alert us if a store is missing or needs updated information
- Requires internet connection for GPS mapping and distance calculations


Quilt Index to Go:
More of an app for inspiration rather than utilitarian uses, Quilt Index to Go has images of over 50,000 real-world quilts from the whole range of quilting history. With this app you get a quilt a day from the Quilt Index (http://www.quiltindex.org). There is a Browsing page to scroll endlessly through 50,000+ quilt records
Detailed quilt record information is available for each quilt (when documented) such as:
- quilt pattern names
- quilt-maker names
- dates and/or date ranges
- collection
- links to full information on the quiltindex.org collection record


Fabric U
A handy reference to more than 120 different types of fabric used for quilting, crafting, and sewing. Written by Mary Beth Klatt, the app shares her extensive knowledge about needle and thread combos for various sewing projects. Includes links and videos to help users choose appropriate fabrics and how to care for them.


Quilting Guide
An informational reference app that is full of all sorts of information about the art and craft of quilting. If you’re an expert quilter already this might not be as useful as if you were a beginner, but there are probably some good tidbits that you could find in the many different sections:
- A Notion About Notions
- Add Life to your Quilting with Embroidery
- All About Appliqué
- All About Hoffman Fabrics
- All About Quilting
- All About Thread For Quilting
- Best Books for Quilting
- Choosing And Preparing Fabric
- Choosing Fabrics for Quilting
- Choosing Quilt Fabric
- Essential Supplies for Quilting
- How to Choose the Right Batting
- How to Use Stencils for Quilting
- How to Use Templates in Quilting
- Making Sense OF Quilt Patterns
- Patchwork Techniques
- Quilting 101
- Sewing Tips For Beginning Quilters
- So You Want To Make A Quilt
- The Best Quilting Pattern For Your Needs
- What Are Quilts?
- Where to Find Free Quilt Patterns
And more!


• You can look at these and more apps in the Android store by clicking here: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=quilt&c=apps

Do you use any sewing or quilting apps for your smart phone? If so, let us know about them in the comments.

Happy sewing,
Chris


Make Quick and Easy Wool Felt Ornaments

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Sometimes when you’re looking to make a quick hand-made gift, there is not much better than a pretty little kit containing all the coordinating fabrics and threads that you need to create a perfect project. Honestly, kits are far too often something that I “pet” as opposed to dismantle and cut up to create the designated project. I think that’s okay, too; it makes me happy.

Warm Hands Kit & Pattern

Warm Hands Kit & Pattern

These Warm Hands Wool Felt Ornaments looked so cute I could hardly wait to tear into them and try out the new Brother ScanNCut. May I say: fabulous!!

Here are my step-by-step instructions on how I created these ornaments:

My theory is that if the felt is well stabilized, inside and out, then it will be less spongy and will cut better.  That is why I chose to use the liquid stabilizer “Perfect Sew”. When the fabric that is treated with the liquid drys, it becomes firm and crisp.

Stabilize the Felt for cutting

Stabilize the Felt for cutting

A spoon is great for spreading

  • First thing I did was to stabilize the felt with Perfect Sew. This is a liquid stabilizer that simply rinses out when no longer needed.
  • I laid the felt pieces out on a cutting board and then poured a puddle of Perfect Sew onto the felt.
  • To smooth out the Perfect Sew and completely coat the felt, I used the back of a spoon to spread the liquid around.  The Liquid is thick like honey.
  • Once this side was coated, I flipped the felt over and repeated the process.
  • My goal was to get the felt fully saturated.
  • As soon as I was satisfied, I hung the felt pieces to dry on a line over my laundry sink. To secure the pieces to the line, I used Wonder Clips – they are good for so much more than just quilting!

Felt on the mat and ready to be cut

  • The felt cut just like butter!

    Once dry and ready, I placed the felt pieces next to each other on the prepared ScanNCut fabric mat.  By this, I mean that the mat had the extra sticky fabric carrier sheet on it and it is ready to go.

  • Now it was necessary to get the pattern for the mitten that I wanted to make into the ScanNCut so it could cut out the pieces for me.  This was done by having the machine scan the pattern.
  • To scan the pattern booklet, I used the optional Scanning Mat. The clear overlay of this specialty mat held the booklet in place nicely.
  • I used the included deep cut blade for cutting the wool.
  • Once the pattern was on the screen to be used, I used the feature on the ScanNCut that scans and displays an image of what the mat, and it’s contents, look like.  This allows the user the ability to actulally see where the different fabrics are located and the shapes can be visually placed in the right spot.

Pick a great decorative stitch

Line up where to stitch with your foot

Stitch away! Find a stitch that you like

  • With the pieces cut, layer the pieces as the instructions state. Use the decorative stitches from your machine to add the embroidered decoration. They are so much fun to sew. You will probably find some that look like the stitches suggested in the pattern. I found that the Perfect Sew also made stitching the decorative stitches ideal! No puckering or shifting.
  • Line up the fabric edge with a reference point on the machine’s foot (the foot I am using is called the “Sewing Stars” foot).
  • To give more of a “hand” look, I chose a stitch that repeats each stitch several times so  that it is heavier. Also, I chose to use a cotton embroidery thread so that it looked more like cotton floss.
  • The felt cut so easy with the ScanNCut

This is a great kit, designed for handwork, that is so easily adjusted to be done on machine.

These little gems make such cute ornaments or gift holders. You will want to make a passel of them.

Happy Sewing,
Reva


Recipe Towels Make a Fun and Festive Gift for Anyone On Your List!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Holiday Recipe Towels from Lunch Box Quilts

With the Holidays quickly approaching, do you anticipate finding yourself in need of a quick and easy gift that is beyond the normal and one of a kind? Make sure to read to the end to see what fun ideas you can make!

Might I suggest a gift that will not soon be forgotten? How about a kitchen towel that is lovingly embroidered with a delicious holiday recipe? It’s even a real recipe!

Holiday Recipe Towels is a multi-format embroidery design collection from Lunch Box Quilts. In this collection you will find 10 different recipe designs that will surely make your mouth water.  Also included are tips to ensure beautiful embroidered results and the instructions to add fabric trims to the towels. The results are spectacular! In addition the the given instructions that come with the designs, here are some of my suggestions:

Mark your towel for the center of the design

Hoop the towel and wash-away stabilizer

  • Mark your towel lengthwise. On the end that you would like the embroidery design to be located, make a horizontal line that is seven inches up from the hem.  The intersection of this horizontal and vertical lines will be the location for the center of the embroidery design
  • Next hoop your towel and a piece of wash-away stabilizer. I like to use Floriani Wet ‘n’ Gone (white), it is stable and washes out nicely, Align the horizontal and vertical lines on your towel with the center marks on your embroidery hoop to make sure that it will stitch straight.  I prefer to hoop both my project and my stabilizer when ever possible.  In my experience, this give me the best results.

Use a water-soluble topping

60-wt for lettering and 40-wt for the rest

60-wt for lettering and 40-wt for the rest

  • Place the hoop onto the machine with the bulk of the extra fabric to the outside of the machine.
  • On the top, use Floriani Water Soluble topping – this will allow the thread to lay nice on the surface of the towel and not be lost in the weave of the towel (clear).  Baste into place with your machines basting stitch.
  • For the lettering, use a 60-weight embroidery thread.  This light-weight thread will produce crisp and  clear embroidered lettering (I like the Floriani Micro threads – they are polyester and come in lots of colors).
  • For the rest of the embroidery use a standard 40-weight embroidery thread.  For items that will be laundered often, I prefer to use a polyester thread (they are color-fast even if bleached). If you were to use a lighter weight thread for the rest of the design, the areas would not fill in nicely.
  • Once the embroidery is complete, rinse out the stabilizer.  If you are having a tough time rinsing out your stabilizer and topping, try adding a bit of water softener.

Trim Fabrics

  • stitch fabric band to towel bottom

    Choose the fabric you want for your towel’s trim.  The main piece is 2″ wide and the accent is 1″ wide that has been folded and pressed in half lengthwise.

  • Stitch the accent piece to the top edge of the main piece and press the accent piece up.
  • Un-stitch the bottom edge of your towel and stitch this edge to the bottom edge of the fabric strip, right side of the strip to the wrong side of the towel.
  • Flip the trim piece to the front and press.  Then top stitch the edges to secure in place.

Fun to make and a great gift too!

In addition to the towels, consider adding tasty tidbits to make your gift even more memorable. If you like (and have the time), create the recipe and give it along with the coordinating towel. Several of the recipes lend themselves very nicely to giving along with the completed towel. What a nice gift that won’t soon be forgotten (although you may have to think twice about giving a Turducken). Here are the two recipes that I made:

Nutcracker Spiced Pecans Recipe
Ingredients:
• 1 egg white
• 1 tbs water
• 5 c pecan halves
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp salt, cloves, nutmeg
Preparations:
Beat egg white with water. Stir in pecans, until moist. In a separate bowl mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves, & nutmeg. Add pecans to mixture, stir until well coated (note: I put the dry ingredients in a large zip lock bag, then poured the pecans into it, sealed the bag, and mixed).

Spread on a lined cookie sheet & bake for one hour at 225F.

Peppermint Bark
Ingredients:
• 2 lbs white chocolate
• 30 small peppermint candy canes
Preparations:
Smash candy canes into ¼” pieces.

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Stir in crushed candy canes. Pour mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheet.
Refrigerate for 1 hour (Once it began to set, I used a knife to score lines in the bark so that the piece size and shape could be regulated a bit. I wanted to have longer sticks that I could put into a coffee mug for a complete gift).

Break into pieces.

If time is scarce and you don’t think you’ll be able to complete a recipe, gather the ingredients for the recipe so that it can be easily assembled by its recipient:

Not much time? Gift the ingredients.

Present your gift in a clever container like a whimsical jar or a cute mug.  Not only will your gift be thoughtful and reusable, but it will be tasty too!

Use a cute mug to present your yummy gift

Spiced Nuts, Yum!

Happy Sewing,
Reva


Class @ APWQ 2013 – Decorative Quilting with your Embroidery Machine

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Decorative Quilting w/Hooped Embroidery

Learn Machine Embroidered Quilting w/Reva

Do you ever feel intimidated when it comes to quilting your latest project?  I sure can.  Sometimes it seems as though I do more “over-thinking”,  stressing and just plain old “un-stitching” when I quilt my quilts using free-motion techniques.  I think I need a lot more practice. One thing that I can do really well is to put fabric into a machine’s embroidery hoop, put the hoop on the machine and then push the start button.  That is when the magic happens!  Perfect every time. You may feel this way, as well.  If you have not tried quilting with your embroidery machine, you must give it a shot.  It is much easier than you may think!

  • Look for a machine embroidery design that was meant to be used as a quilt pattern or that is a simple running stitch (like red work)
  • Print out templates of your designs for you to use to plan the placement of the designs
  • Mark the desired locations of the designs onto your quilt
  • hoop your quilt in the appropriate location – Top, Batting, Back and all!
  • Put the thread you want to use in both the needle and the bobbin
  • Embroider your designs – many machines have aids for getting designs to stitch exactly where you want them, easily.  A Multi-Needle machine can be the easiest of all!

If you are not acquainted with multiple hooping, consider taking “Decorative Quilting w/Hooped Embroidery“  at the upcoming  APWQ Quilt Show in Tacoma Aug 22-25, 2013. In class you will work with planning and placement of three different types of quilting motifs:  focus medallions,  borders, and corners.  You will be amazed at how easily you can achieve spectacular results.

Whether you already have an embroidery machine or are just curious as to how they are used for quilting, this class is for  you. I look forward to seeing you in Tacoma at the Quilt Show!

-Reva


Foot Tip of the Month: Decorative Stitching & Candlewicking Foot

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Have you ever looked at two sewing feet and asked “How are these feet different?” Do you know how the Candlewicking Foot works? Let Reva show you in this fun and educational video:

You can inquire about the Candlewicking Foot (and any other decorative feet in which you might be interested) at your local Quality Sewing & Vacuum center, and it can also be found on our website here.


Puyallup Sew Expo is Feb 28 to March 3, 2013

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Did you know the nation’s largest event for sewing enthusiasts takes place right here in the Pacific Northwest? The Sewing and Stitchery Expo is a non-profit educational event that features inspirational seminars daily, hands-on workshops, style shows and vendors from all over the country with booths that specialize in the latest in fabrics, tools, and supplies! This year Sew Expo will be taking place February 28 – March 3rd at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. In addition to all the daily happenings, special guests, such as, Nancy Zieman, Mary Mulari, and the “Hot Fusing Chicks” will be flying in to make special appearances . Nancy and Mary will be presenting their second “Kick it Up a Stitch” and if you joined them last year, you know how much fun time with them can be! in addition, television host Ellen March, will be conducting a live audition for her television show “Sew it All”!

Be sure to check out Sew Expo’s website for all the details you need to know about the show. You can download a registration brochure which features all the seminar and class descriptions. Additionally you can register for the daily seminars on the Expo website. You can purchase Sew Expo tickets at all Quality Sewing locations while supplies last. Pre-sale tickets are only $10.00, they will be $12.00 the day of. The Sew Expo website also features an updated blog and some fun links including:

Pillowcase Patrol As a part of the “Million Pillowcase Project”, the 2013 Sewing & Stitchery Expo will be a collection point for handmade pillowcases. Create cheerful pillowcases for the children who are undergoing treatment at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. Check out the Expo web site to download your free pillowcase pattern. Expo collected more than 5,000 pillowcases last year. How many more can we give this year?

Be Sure to Visit the Quality Sewing Booths – This year we will have an exciting notions and threads booth in the Pavilion. We have been shopping and negotiating with our various vendors for several months to bring you an amazing array of hot buys! We have combed our stores for close-outs and one-of-a-kind items that will all be priced to sell fast. We will also feature the new items that Nancy Zieman and Sue Hausmann will show in their seminars, all at special Expo prices.

We have many sewing experts on-hand this year and this will be a great opportunity to meet them. Across from the notions booth in the Pavilion, we have multi-needle embroidery expert George Moore and special guests long arm quilting expert Denise Applegate-Schober. Be sure to visit Simon Haskins, all the way here from Australia, over in the Showplex building. He will be showing his amazing techniques and designs along with his brand new designs that have just been released. In the Showplex, you will also find our main booth which will be filled with awesome special on machines and Floriani products. Across from our main booth, we will have special guest Ed Moore, the lead designer for Koala Cabinets. This event is not to be missed as it only happens once a year! View our 2013 Sew Expo Buyers Guide that showcases some of the fabulous deals to be had at this year’s event.


Watch New Episodes of “It’s Sew Easy” Online Now!

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

You can now watch the PBS sewing show “It’s Sew Easy” online!

Watch this episode on the It's Sew Easy website!

Watch this episode on the It's Sew Easy website!

Visit the It’s Sew Easy website anytime all week long to watch the latest episode. New episodes are posted every Friday.

“It’s Sew Easy” is a wonderful show full of wonderful tips, tricks, and project how-tos. From their website:

Welcome to It’s Sew Easy where our many experts break sewing into manageable parts as they share their own unique style in projects and techniques. Whether you’re a novice or experienced sewer, It’s Sew Easy will enhance your sewing skills so you can create personalized apparel and home accents.

Now that they’re posting new episodes on their website every week, it makes it much easier to watch. You don’t have to worry about trying to catch it when it airs, or trying to record it; you can watch it at your leisure any time during the week.

Happy Sewing,
Chris


My Favorite Time-Saving Features of the Brother PR-1000

Friday, April 13th, 2012

A while ago I wrote about how excited I was to get the new Brother PR-1000 and how much time I thought it would save me. It has done that and much more.

The Brother PR-1000 Multi-Needle Embroidery Machine

LED Indicator Lights

LED Indicator Lights

There were some things that I didn’t realize would be so useful:

One favorite feature is the way the machine remembers what colors I have on the spools. When a new design is selected it highlights the spools that need to be changed for the next design. For example: I was doing a set of designs from a collection. All the designs had similar colors with just a few changes for each design. As soon as the new design was selected the colors that needed to be changed were highlighted in blue, making it very quick for me to get the new thread colors in position. It remembered that Prussian Blue was on spool 3, and even though Prussian Blue was the first color in the new design it was automatically assigned to spool 3 instead of me having to move it to spool 1 or manually re-assign it myself. In many cases I only needed to change 2 or 3 colors for the new design.

The Name Drop feature has saved me more time than I dreamed possible, especially when it is teamed with the LINK function. The Name Drop feature lets you save series of names that it will place in the proper position on a design. As soon as a design is completed a message pops up and asks, “Do you want to do the next design?” If “OK” is selected the finished design will clear and the next name in the queue will load in the next design automatically. I used a design from an Anita Goodesign holiday collection with Name Drop and completed a monogrammed Christmas stocking for every member of the family. Everyone loved them!

Aligning with the Snowman

I have done plenty of large designs using the FF jumbo hoop and the alignment system in PE Design. I’ve never had problems with alignment, but I was careful and followed a “procedure” to make sure it lined up prior to stitching. Now I just divide the design in PE Design NEXT and let the Snowman® do the alignment. This requires no thinking on my part. I just need to be able to read and follow the simple steps that are displayed on the screen!

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If you have a multi-needle machine, what are your favorite features? If you don’t have a multi-needle embroidery machine, be sure to stop by your local store and take a look at one in action. You’ll be amazed at how much time you can save!

Happy Stitching,
Carol