Simply Dry April 30, 2014
I've been drying my dishes on a towel at the side of the sink for eons. Enter the new Simply Dry mat - it's perfect for stylish drying.
Simply Dry is a specially cushioned mat engineered to allow your delicate dishes to drip dry. When you're done with Simply Dry just hang it up to air dry or store.
Sew one for yourself and you'll soon be making them as gifts for others! An addictive technique using jelly beans and spots will make you smile!
Click on the picture to see and read more!
In The News
NOTION COMMOTION BLOG HOP - Sewlite Task Lighting July 3, 2014
I’m always looking for new and innovative products while at Quilt Market and was happy to discover a series of shawdowless task lights called Sewlite™ by the Lumitask™ Company. Under the Sewlite line the company offers several task lighting units that affix in under 5 minutes to the underside of any sewing machine. There are several ways to power up – plug-in, battery or USB. They also manufacture a unique battery powered neck light that stays powered up for 10 hours of continuous use – perfect for hand stitching in dark corners!
Kelly and Dixie Walterscheid from Mesa, Arizona have been creating and supplying task lighting for 13 years and have worked with companies such as Intel, MacTools, Ferma and even the Canadian Government. Proper task lighting is important in industry and to sewists keeping work spaces properly illuminated and providing an unsurpassed comfort level that eliminates headaches caused by poor lighting. Comfort while working is what it’s all about for Kelly and Dixie.
The light provided by the Sewlite products is unique – it casts no shadows. Kelly and Dixie call it invisible light because it eliminates the color cast you’d find in other lights sold in the industry and in dollar store type lights. The HD LED source is from Cree™ which is an industry leader in lighting technology with bulbs that last 25 times longer and use 80% less energy. They’ve established strict standards for color temperature, rendering, brightness and efficiency for the best lighting experience possible.
You can contact Lumitask to order at: P.O. Box 1061 Mesa, AZ 85211, phone, 480.331.5334, Web: lumitask.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Me and My Baby Lock
Trying out the Tiara April 16, 2014
I invited myself over to my friend Linda Peters home this past week to try out her new Baby Lock Tiara quilting machine. Linda's husband Paul had it all set up and ready to sew. I love instruction booklets so Linda passed me her manual and left me to figure it out on my own.
The manual is very clearly written with large pictures to illustrate threading and the various machine parts. It's easy to understand the machine since it is basically a large scale variation of a straight stitch sewing machine with a wide arm. I quickly figured out threading. The touch screen was straightforward and it was easy to set the variable speed control with saved settings and the stitches per inch. I liked the amount of light the machine cast over the work area below the needle.
Linda had been using a 60 weight polyester thread in the bobbin and a 50 weight Mettler thread in the top of the machine. I wanted to use my spool of 50 weight Signature thread for both so I played with the top tension for a spell before tightening the bobbin tension ever so slightly to achieve perfect tension.
Now it was time to tackle the Tru Stitch manual. Tru stitch is a stitch regulating unit that can be purchased separately for the Tiara. It took me a moment to understand that the mouse like unit that plugged into the Tiara had to lie underneath the quilting I was doing. The mouse detects the speed at which the quilt is moved over it during quilting. It then adjusts the speed of the machine. I tried holding the mouse under my left palm as I quilted but found that it did a fine job just lying free under the quilt. The cruise feature offered on the touch screen with Tru Stitch worked well but I still preferred to use the foot pedal. I think I'm just foot pedal oriented.
The Tiara was created for quilters looking for a smaller alternative to long arm quilting machines. The table is about card table sized with two wings that open to either side - making it the right size for the typical spare bedroom sewing space that most quilters have. I also liked the fact that I could sit while qulting.
I'm looking forward to visiting Linda again soon. Sure I'll be visiting my friend but I'll also want to get more acquainted with her Tiara!
A Sneak Peek January 8, 2014
I'm designing a new bag for you and creating it on my Baby Lock sewing machine.
Winter gets me thinking about travel so I'm designing a gorgeous bag to take along when you visit your next destination. Use it as a carry on or a weekender bag or take it along to the gym.
Have a look at the fabric I'm using. These colorful strips are part of packages of forty 2 1/2" strips that are distributed in Canada by Trend Tex Fabrics. They've hand picked 40 different Hoffman California batiks in each package. The pink color way I'm using is called Electric Lemonade as well as a bit of brown batik for the accent, zippers and for the swirl that is raw edge appliqued to the front of the bag.
Stay tuned for another sneak peak update!
The Notions Commotion Blog Hop July 7, 2014
Sometimes a great notion makes all the difference in the world when you are sewing or quilting. But how do you find out about those notions? Every year designers visit Quilt Market to get the skinny on brand new notions and they revisit the suppliers who manufacture their all time favorite notions. Follow 10 designers through June and July as they share their picks with you on the Notions Commotion Blog!
Visit Annette Ornelas from Southwind Designs today as she reviews her top pick! Click on the picture to see more...
June 17 Poorhouse Quilt Designs http://poorhousequiltdesign.com/quilting-at-the-poorhouse/
June 19 Anything But Boring http://anythingbutboring.com/blog/
June 24 The Fat Quarter Gypsy http://www.fatquartergypsy.com/
June 26 Seams like a Dream http://seamslikeadream.com/blog/
July 1 Wendt Quilting http://debbiewendt.wordpress.com/
July 3 Among Brenda’s Quilts, read my blog above!
July 8 Perkins Dry Goods http://www.perkinsdrygoods.com/blog/
July 10th Plum Tree Quilts http://plumtreequilts.wordpress.com/
July 15th Swirly Girls http://www.swirlygirlsdesign.com/blog/
July 17th Southwind Designs http://southwindinspirations.blogspot.ca/
What is P.U.L.? March 9, 2014
P.U.L. stands for polyurethane laminate fabric. The polyurethane in P.U.L. is adhered to knit fabric. This product has little or no shrinkage, so when using any brand of P.U.L. in conjunction with a cotton fabric pre-wash the cotton fabric.
To my knowledge, P.U.L. is currently manufactured for the quilting and sewing industry by two companies in the USA.
Fabri-Quilt Inc. manufactures a 56" wide lightweight P.U.L. fabric in 6-8 plain colors. You can order this product by going to the ‘Shop’ button at the top of the page and searching for P.U.L.
Prym Consumer USA manufactures Babyville brand P.U.L. It's about 64" wide. The Babyville product comes in a wide assortment plain colors and prints. Most of the prints are juvenile prints, not adult oriented prints.
Both brands of P.U.L. are used for different purposes.
Fabri-Quilt brand P.U.L. is the more lightweight of the two products and is therefore easier to use in multi layered quilting projects like bags. The polyurethane is adhered to the front of the knit fabric giving it a wipe clean finish. You might think that this is a disadvantage remembering those crunchy plastic change pads of the past. Surprisingly the surface is soft, pliable and warm to the touch. This product was originally developed for hospital use and so it can be sterilized with hot water. This is certainly an advantage for items that require frequent washing. You can touch an iron to this type of P.U.L. without it melting. I really liked that feature when sewing my Me & My Baby Diaper Bag.
If you have needle holes in the fabric from a sewing error the heat of an iron will shrink if not close them. Use the Fabri-Quilt product to line bags that have multiple layered seams. It works very well when used in conjunction with cotton fashion fabrics like the Me and My Baby Diaper Bag that's pictured. That's the Maize color you see used in the change pad. I have used an 80/12 topstitch needle when sewing with this product and am happy with the results.
Babyville brand P.U.L. is used differently. This is a more luxurious product but it is a heavier product to work with. The polyurethane layer is adhered to the back of the knit fabric making it a wash to clean rather than a wipe clean surface. The product is waterproof and breathable. That makes it a great fit for Mom's using it in place of those old rubber pants that were used to cover cloth diapers when I was a little nipper. Sewing multiple layers of Babyville P.U.L, something you would find in bag construction, is challenging. I would suggest that sewing 4 layers of this fabric is about the most that a beginner might want to tackle.
The Pyrm site suggests using a no. 11 ballpoint needle or a 10/12 universal needle. I tried a Jeans needle for thick seams but found that the holes made were much too large. With that in mind I adjusted the Quick Change instructions so that you are never sewing thick layers when using Babyville. The Babyville Boutique site advises that the product be washed in warm water with occasional bleaching used for sanitation purposes. The bleach will damage the laminate over time so don't bleach too often. Line dry or tumble dry the product on a low heat setting.
Be extra careful when pressing Babyville. I used a wool setting with a bit of steam while working on the Quick Change Bag. Hot temperatures cause the polyurethane on the back of the product to melt. If you are pressing wrong sides together at a high heat they will adhere permanently together. A benefit of this is that small holes can be closed by pressing slightly on the top of the fabric (test first) or by putting the article in a hot dryer for 20 minutes like the Babyville Boutique web site advises.
Our Quick Change Diaper Bag works well with either kind of P.U.L. I've written the pattern with tips for use with both products. Personally I think that the Babyville product gives the Quick Change Bag a richer, more professional look even if it is a bit harder to work with. The Fabri-Quilt P.U.L. is a simpler product to use and has the benefit of being wipe clean. Of course you can also wash it in hot water for extra sanitation.
With this information you should be able to use both products to their best advantage. Let me know if this information has been helpful to you and - Happy sewing!
Piccadilly Piecing October 9, 2012
Follow Brenda's 4 step lesson plan in your quilting shop when teaching the multi-sized Piccadilly Quilt (ABQ-167). Share these tips to keep beginners coming back to your store again and again.
Click on the image link to see this helpful video!
Youtube Videos! January 2, 2012
Here's an in depth look at how batiks are used as a background fabric for hand embroidery. Follow Brenda as she gives the scoop on the benefits of using Hoffman California's 1895 collection. Tips are given on how to line your embroidery fabric and how to combine lining with transfer pens and markers.