Last year, I attended a lecture by Meg Cox where she discussed the future of the quilting industry as the age of the “average quilter” continues to increase. I’m about a decade behind the “average quilter” but I can relate to much of what she said. Generally speaking, the “average quilter” already has all the machines, notions, thread, books and other stuff he/she is likely to ever need. Said quilter also has a fair amount of disposable income to devote to his/her hobbies. Marketers are designing destination travel geared specifically toward this demographic.
That’s certainly something to look forward to when I retire, but hey, I’m interested in retreats I can attend NOW while I’m still working full-time!
Retreat organizers – consider scheduling week-long retreats from June to mid-July, or 3 day weekend retreats in late September to mid-October and again in mid-February to mid-March. You’re more likely to reach those quilters with disposable income who are still working full-time. You might even attract younger sewists who can manage 3 day retreats, but not an entire week.
Keep the costs reasonable. $2,000 for a weekend stitching retreat in New England in the fall is a bit beyond my budget (especially when I still have to factor in airfare and car rental). And no, I’m not going to pay $495 for a one day EPP class – regardless of the instructor. Yes, there are those who will, just not me.
Fortunately, someone has listened. I’m already signed-up for a FW retreat in 2020. It’s during a week in July that I can attend. It’s only a few hours away by car. Nationally known teachers conducting the classes. The best part? All accommodations, meals and fees combined are less than the registration fee I paid to attend a retreat last summer in Idaho.
This means more $$ in my pocket to spend on supplies and other sewing events during the year.
And a quilter hooked on destination travel who will have the time to attend those amazing retreats in 5-7 years!
So, I purchased this tumbler from a quilt shop in the Atlanta area last spring. It is a constant presence in my sewing studio. It even traveled with me to the JK Quilts/Featherweight Shop retreat in McCall, Idaho last summer. Do you have an idea of how much I love this particular tumbler? Besides the cuteness factor, it’s the perfect size and shape for my small hands to hold.
I lost the lid!
Since it’s not a Tervis product with lids available almost everywhere, trying to find a replacement lid that fit was like finding a needle in a haystack.
I’m happy to report that replacement lids and straws are available from Tritan USA. If you have a tumbler from your Baby Lock dealer that looks like this, then you might want to bookmark the TritanUSA site for future reference.
Picture courtesy of V. Borodinova
Home economics & school-based sewing classes may be gone with the wind; however, sewing definitely is NOT dead! The Maker movement, coupled with a STEAM focus in schools, has made sewing “sexy” again. High school students and young adults (< 40) have reignited an interest in garment sewing thanks to Cosplay (think dress-up and costumes for grown-ups). Sewing, knitting and crochet clubs are spouting up as after-school enrichment clubs, in library Maker Spaces, at recreation centers, and in quilt shops/stitch lounges across the country.
While Cosplay sewing does involve garment sewing skills, it’s more costume oriented – which means you may not have to spend as much time on the finishing details and fussing over fit. The main driver of the time, attention and care given to garment construction, fit and embellishment will largely depend on how many times you plan to wear the costume.
If you are a former garment sewer – now turned quilter or other type of sewist – do not be afraid to dust off those skills and offer to teach your DGD/DGS (and their friends) how to read a clothing pattern and how to use a sewing machine. Costuming generally doesn’t require the precision and perfection of your high school Home Ec teacher. If you find yourself sounding like your old Home Ec teacher (unless she was nice), then just STOP IT! Take a deep breath and remember creating is a messy process. The kids have to start somewhere. If you don’t, you’ll scare them off from sewing – and none of us wants that.
If you are interested in Cosplay sewing classes in the South Cobb area, let me know. Classes can be held at either Mable House or at Stitch N Quilt.
P.S. No sewing machine? You can rent one of my computerized sewing machines for $5.00 per class.
If you live in the Atlanta area, be sure to check out Best Fabrics and Gail K. Fabrics for awesome Cosplay fabrics that you probably won’t find at Hobby Lobby or Joann’s.
For invisible machine applique, the usual process involves tracing your design onto a lightweight piece of sew-in interfacing, (remembering to reverse the design where necessary), stitching it to the fabric, then cutting a small opening in the interfacing to turn the applique right-side out. You smooth out the design using a turning tool/point turner, then give the applique a good press. A spritz of ironing spray also helps with crisp applique shapes. The applique is then glue basted to the background, lightly touched with an iron and allowed to set for a few minutes. Then, the design is stitched down using a narrow zig zag and invisible thread.
Applique stitching particulars:
For glue basting, investing in a bottle with a micro tip is well worth the money. I bought a bottle of Appli-Glue with the micro-precision tip that allowed me to twist on a different cap for travel. The glue part of the product works well, but I’ll probably refill it with good old Elmer’s washable school glue once it runs out.
Use a fine point mechanical pencil for tracing designs (.5 lead size)
Test a variety of sheer and light-weight sew-in interfacing to see which one you prefer. I tried Pellon 905, 910 and the Lori Holt versions. Personally, I prefer Pellon 830, which is marketed as pattern tracing cloth. It’s a poly/vicose blend that feels similar to Lori Holt’s product, but is a little bit lighter weight.
Hubby’s surgery at MD Anderson was a success. It was a long 10 days and I am SEW glad I brought a sewing machine and project to work on while we were there. May I share some of what I learned from my experience? These recommendations are based on staying at a hotel for an extended time (not attending a sewing retreat).
Things I really wished I’d brought with me: wooden chopstick or skewer, hand sewing needles/thimble, pretty magnetic bowl and a “trash” bag (fabric or paper bag/tape).
Any must-haves that you would add to this list?
About a month ago, my world was rocked when my husband was diagnosed with a very rare form of thyroid cancer. We were immediately dispatched to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for further evaluation. We knew the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes surrounding the thyroid on his right side. What worried us was a suspect lesion on his lung that appeared on the CT scan done locally. The battery of tests conducted that long week spent in Houston for evaluation concluded that the cancer had NOT spread.
That’s good news since the only protocol for this type of cancer is removal by surgery. There’s no chemo or radiation afterwards. Hubs will be under the knife for several hours as Dr. Z. and his team work their magic. Hubs will come away with a nice, long scar as his souvenir. My fervent hope is that the surgical team gets ALL the cancer and there are no surprises during surgery. I sincerely hope hubby heals quickly and with minimal pain. Well, the previous sentence is for me, too, as I will be the one with him in Houston for those two weeks.
Yes, I’m packing my Janome Jem Gold 660 and Granny’s Garden (a Lori Holt sew-a-long) project to work on while I’m there. [Ideally, I’d bring a Featherweight, but I need a zigzag stitch for applique.] Others in similar circumstances actually encouraged me to bring a machine or pick up an inexpensive one at Wal-Mart once we got to Houston. It will give me something to do either in the hotel suite or in the community room (we’re staying at a property adjacent to the medical center). Handwork can be saved for time spent waiting in the doctor’s office.
We’re on Fall Break this week. I’ve spent time outfitting the Janome with accessories I might need and sourcing fabrics/tools/templates for the quilt. Tomorrow, I will make the first block – all the way from start to finish. Lori Holt suggests that you precut everything and put it in baggies before you begin to sew. No time for that. I might try to precut parts for the next 5 blocks and bring the rest of the fabric with me. I plan to use a low sheen, invisible poly thread for the inner appliques and white thread to stitch down the large circles to the background squares. I don’t have room in the suitcase for multiple spools of thread to match each applique piece. I need to find my notes from the invisible applique class I took with Jan Cunningham!
The Janome Jem Gold 660 is a wonderful sewing machine. However, it features stitches that come with preset stitch length and width. I could not find stitch length and width measurements anywhere for the straight and plain zigag stitches. I even called Janome. Their USA customer service didn’t have the info either.
Some experts recommend disregarding any sewing machine without adjustable stitch length and width. For most sewists, preset stitches are really not that big of a deal unless you are taking a class that requires decorative stitches and uses heirloom sewing techniques. The Jem Gold 660 is perfectly fine for quilting classes, raw edge & Lori Holt appliqué projects, plus most garment sewing applications. It also makes a great travel machine.
Following is my best approximation of the actual stitch length and width for the preset straight and zigzag stitches only:
Straight stitch length
Small 1.7 mm – 15 stitches per inch (anything where foundation paper is torn away after stitching)
Medium 2.5 mm – 10 stitches per inch (95% of your sewing will be done with this stitch)
Large 4.0 mm – 6 stitches per inch (basting and gathering)
Zigzag stitch width x length
Small 1.5 mm x 1.5 mm (appliqué – most of your appliqué will probably use this stitch)
Medium 3.0 x 3.5 mm (appliqué, decorative, seam finish)
Large 5.0 x 2.5 mm (seam finish, decorative)
(I measured actual zigzag stitch samples with a metric ruler.)
* In a pinch, you could probably use the narrow and wide stitches in the 4 step buttonhole for a satin stitch!