Tomorrow is Radical Wednesday

Radical Wednesday Tomorrow

Any bolted fabric = $8/yard
Any panel = $8
Any clearance fabric = $4/yard
(1/2 yd minimum cut on bolted goods)

Continues each Wednesday until further notice
These are panels NOT SOLD in the online store.  They are only available in the shop.  Can't make it into the store?  Give us a call (941-330-0993). 
We will be pleased to send photos and take your telephone order!

Panels present lots of possibilities.  Add a simple border or two and make a wall hanging, lap quilt or throw.  Add another pieced border and turn into a twin size quilt.  How about a HUGE stocking panel to sew up as a package to gift your quilt.  We have Large, medium, and small sizes of stocking panels - $8/panel on Wednesdays.
Make a Halloween bag, complete with LED mini lights for your favorite Trick or Treater.  The Grandkids carrying these last year were the hit of the neighborhood.  Panel is $8 on Wednesdays. 
How about that grey and red church panel from QT, and the blue church panel from Northcott.  Buy the panel for $8 on Wednesdays.  We also have both of these in a kit.

Advent Calendar panels are a fun countdown for the young ones, and even older kids!  The teenage grandkids are at the point where they like to find money in the pockets!  Or a little note telling them where they can find a hidden treasure in the house.  Or a scratch off lottery ticket.  Or a ticket to the ball game.  Or a little note telling them what we plan to do together that day.  
We have those easy to sew advent calendars - a few parallel lines on the folds and the pockets are done.  Much faster than making 25 separate little pockets.  Make a sandwich with batting and backing, sew like a pillow and turn inside out.  Do a little free motion stitching or stitch in the seam and you are done.  Or stitch first then add a binding. 
Advent Calendars are used beginning December 1- so time to get them sewed. 

Several nice religious panels for $8 each.  From Windham, Jesus Walking on Water.  From QT the Serenity Prayer and How Great Thou Art panels.  From Robt Kaufman, Heralding Angel.  And from a variety of vendors we have trees, (red, green, blue, white), and Santa.  Add mini lights or not.  We still have a good supply of battery operated LED minis.  
Northcott's quilt barn panel is in.  And we have wildlife panels for the hunters.  Just received a new shipment of that panel deer to make into an attic window quilt - still one of the nicest wildlife panels printed.  And we keep making more of that attic window kit.  It's our #1 seller online. 
How about a panel to make placemats?  Use a precut, adhesive form (Bosal}, turn inside out and stitch, or stitch first and then bind.  Quick and easy.  Use one of our nice stripes, cut length of fabric to the desired size and have a table runner for autumn, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.
Next month we will be doing some demos of these easy items to sew.

New in the shop are numerous precut quilt kits to make a small, about 22x22 inch piece.  These are great for the traveling quilter.  Everything needed for the top is precut and in the kit.  Great for the beginner to learn basic skills, half square triangles, diamonds, etc.  Jo Morton's mantra is to "make it all, make it small."  Practice making a Lone Star quilt on a small piece to see if you like the technique, then transfer that skill to make a bed size.  We have kits with maple leaves, bargello heart, Lone Star, hole in the barn door, variable star, homespun star, log cabin star, and star spin.  Great portable project for hand piecing.  Try one or all.  Designed by Rachel Pellman.

We do not sell sewing or embroidery machines, however we own a few and periodically need to embroider a few items.  Have you looked at the vast array of stabilizers on the market?  Pages upon pages from the distributors, I just did a quick search and about 250 different products came up.  In the beginning when Mom and I were appliqueing on terry and linen, we had one choice - paper coffee filters, this was 38 years ago.  How excited we were to find a new tearaway called "Stitch and Ditch Heirloom."  S&D Heirloom is still on the market, a great product.  Comes in 3" and 7" widths.  And if you know someone in the medical field you can get this same product in a 24" width since its that paper lining pulled over the examining tables!  
So what do you use?  Probably whatever your shop or educator has ready for you or what they recommend.  Maybe by now you have rolls of different kinds and weights and no good way to organize or store them.  Get an over-the-door holder for shoes and pop the rolls in there.  
Stabilizers or "embroidery backings" basically fall into 4 categories then there is a 5th category called "specialty."  You probably don't need more than one roll of each kind. 
Let's try to make this easy - the categories are:

1.  Tearaways.  The first and most frequent one I use.  Faster and less expensive than most others.  Comes in different weights from 1.5 -3.5 oz.  Good for tea towels, hot pads, cottons, linen, waffle weave, general purpose.  Need a heavier one but only have the lightweight?  Then use 2 layers, or 3.  I started with coffee filters which are more on the 3.5 oz side.  Now I just use that S&D Heirloom which is lightweight, adding more layers as needed.  This tears away clean in either direction without disrupting the embroidery.  Any  residual will dissolve with the first washing.

2.  Cutaways.  A stable base for delicate and stretchy fabrics.  Maintains crispness of the design detail but retains design shape after repeated washings.  Comes in weights from 1.5-3.5 oz.  Usually a paper product.  Again, start with a lightweight and simply add layers instead of winding up with 4-5 different rolls that you only used for one project.  Here's a secret - the embroidery educators want to sell you every different kind since that is more revenue for the shop!  A recent popular cutaway is "no show mesh" which is often used with t-shirts or sweaters.  The mesh stabilizer line blends into the knit background and is not visible from the right side.  Comes in medium weight.  Usually one layer is sufficient, but add another layer if needed.

3.  Solubles.  A stable base for thread lace.  Comes in various weights, the heaviest weight does a good job of holding together thread embroidery.  We use it for snowflake ornaments and other lacy items. 

4.  Adhesives.  Adheres to the back of fabric for temporary or permanent bond to garment.  Useful to embroider on terry cloth such as towels.  Bond remains through laundering and has fair resistance to dry cleaning.  Adhesives are used to back tackle twill and sweatshirts.  Some adhere when applied, some need heat to provide a permanent bond to garment.  There are also puffy adhesives for those puff letters on sweatshirts.

5.  Specialty Backings.  Woven and non-woven materials without adhesive backs.  Use multiple layers as needed and remove as much as possible after embroidery.  CRINOLINE is a bleached, open weave cotton used to add stiffness to emblems and badges.  BUCKRAM is an unbleached, starched cotton heavier than crinoline, used to back chenille embroidery or felt.  No show mesh can be considered a specialty backing for sweaters and stretchy fabrics.  It provides softness and body.

So for the home sewer, if you have 1 roll of lightweight tearaway, 1 roll of cutaway, 1 roll of no-show mesh, 1 roll of soluble and 1 roll of adhesive you can embroider literally anything in your repertoire.  That's 5 rolls of stabilizers, and you won't even need that over the door shoe hanger.  For those of you who are embroidery addicts doing commercial work this may be too simplistic for you.  If you are doing hundreds of hot pads and need a heavier weight tearaway then it would make sense to purchase a roll of heavier weight instead of using multiple layers.    

So much for stabilizers.  I will keep this newsletter up on the website and hope to revisit threads, needles, and pins once again since these categories have also morphed into the out-of-control realm for the home sewer, or sewist, whatever you wish to be called.

I am in Ohio again.  This time my brothers and I are sorting through hundreds, no thousands of slides taken by Dad on his many trips as a first responder to help out after disasters.  We have had some good memories and a few laughs, told lots of stories, and picked out a few slides to convert to prints or discs.  The rest go into the wastebasket. 
On Friday my cousins will help sort through some of the glassware and china that was my mother's passion.  What do you do with all these things?  Even the antique malls and booths are loaded with our "went through the depression" parents' collections and don't need or want more inventory. 
The grandkids and millennials don't want or collect anything.  They use paper napkins instead of cloth and throwaway dishes instead of china.  They eat yogurt and fast-food sandwiches instead of breakfast cereal.  Baby boomers play golf but millennials do not.  They don't carry or use cash and they don't trust banks.  The analysts say this group is "psychologically scarred" from the recent 2008 depression.  They may take up crafting or sewing but don't keep a "stash," instead just those items needed for that project. 

Time to move on. . . .see you in October.
Ella for Alma Sue's Quilts