Original Sewing and Quilt Expo – Minneapolis, MN 2014

I have written about the OSQE before, and I was not complimentary. I have a new experience to share this year!

I have attended the OSQE four times now, and this was by far my best experience. To get the negatives out of the way right off the bat, the venue was not big enough for a conference of this size, making the vendor hall(s) and finding rooms confusing and frustrating. Next year they will be at a different location, which should solve this problem.

In the past I chose my classes according to the techniques or projects I thought sounded interesting, and I was consistently disappointed in the instruction and often in the projects. This year I took a different approach and chose the teachers instead of the topics. My classes were all I hoped for and I learned something in every class. The class I learned the least in was with an excellent instructor, but I apparently knew that topic better than I realized.

The instructors whose classes I chose were: Linda McGehee, Laura Murray, Cynthia Guffey, and Cindy Losecamp. Instructors I know are excellent, but I was unable to attend classes with this year are Lorraine Henry, Linda Lee, and Carol Steinbrecher. If you ever attend the OSQE, try to take at least one class with a few of these instructors and I think you will go home with new information.

Cindy Losecamp has great hands-on classes. The challenge is that although her projects are designed to be completed in the time given, and I have always finished mine, they are always tight on time. It helps if you know how to run an embroidery machine before taking her class, just because it will help you complete your project in the time allotted. Her projects are always beautiful and full of techniques you can replicate at home with your own embroidery designs.

Laura Murray is “the” Paintsticks lady, as far as I am concerned. I have owned paintsticks for a while, but I never took them out to play. It was fun to use them without being responsible for the clean-up. What a great workshop!

Cynthia Guffey is personality plus, but regardless of what you think of her personality, she is one of the most experienced dressmakers you will meet. She knows so much, and what I most admire about her is that she is constantly learning herself, and continually experiments and tries to improve on current sewing techniques. In her classes you will learn how to be accurate and sew more and rip less. She is one who believes in doing it right the first time. I tend to rush more than she would like… ūüôā

If you want to learn about how to fit and alter patterns, Lorraine Henry is the teacher you just can’t miss! She will teach you how to alter patterns using the seam alteration method, and her experience as an excellent dressmaker means she knows how to fit patterns and then put them together beautifully. She is also one of the sweetest, most giving people you will meet.

Anyone who sews has probably had a friend or family member ask her to mend some clothing item, and we all know it is not as easy as it sounds. Carol Steinbrecher alters and mends professionally and knows all the ins and outs of replacing zippers and hemming pants, to name two commonly requested repairs. Take her image class also to learn about personal style and how to dress to impress.

I hope I will get more opportunities to take classes with these awesome instructors. I am so grateful that they take the time to pass on their incredible skills. If you get a chance to take even one class with them, do so. Not everyone is willing or able to share their knowledge or talents in a way students enjoy, so it is special when you to study with someone who can teach you something, whether you are a beginner or an experienced needleworker.


Decorative Quilt Binding

I had planned to bind my husband’s flannel lap quilt in a traditional manner – sew the French double fold binding along the edge of the quilt sandwich, matching raw edges, then hand sew to the back of the quilt – when I ran into some difficulties.

The quilt was pieced with lovely high qualify flannel and a low-loft polyester batting.  It was all fluffy and soft, which makes for a nice quilt, but not for a nice binding experience, I discovered.  As I tried to wrap my binding around the quilt edge, I found myself tugging and pushing on the binding to make it completely cover the edge.  The three quilt layers were so fluffy that they were puffing up around the edge, making wrapping the binding difficult.



I am always looking for ways to use the decorative stitches on my machine, so I chose to flatten the edges by stitching the binding to the edges with a decorative stitch first.¬† I considered stitching only the quilt sandwich seam allowance, under the binding, with a triple zig zag, and this would be a good choice for solving this problem if I really didn’t want any stitches showing on top.¬† Instead, I chose to practice my feather stitching on the top of the binding, stitching it all the way around the edge with the binding flattened out.¬† I aligned the left hand edge of the stitch with the ditch of the binding to keep the whole stitch on the top of the quilt.

Image     Image

This flattened my seam allowances down and I was able to finish my binding. Although I usually hand sew binding, I wanted to get this one done, so I machine stitched it in the ditch from the front.  It worked beautifully after I flattened the fluff.


Try this out.  Think of all the decorative stitches you can try out!

Additionally, I learned something very important about quilting with flannel.¬† I knew flannel stretched more than other cottons, but I didn’t realize how much that affected my quilt until I was finished.¬† I confess my edges came out a little wavy.¬† Next time I quilt with flannel I will stay stitch the edges before sewing the binding on.¬†

Another Sale Not to be Missed

Craftsy is currently having its wonderful up to 75% off summer sale. That means you can sign up for up to 4 classes for the same price as you would usually pay for one class. Wow! And once you “buy” a Craftsy class, you can watch it and refer back to it over and over for the indefinite future.

To be honest, I have not tried the beginner serger class, since I didn’t think I needed it, but I have heard excellent reviews of that class on my Yahoo groups. The diversity of classes offered just keeps growing, so click on over to the Craftsy Sweet Summer Sale 7/17-7/21 and see what they have to offer!

Serger cover pattern for Kindle

I finally got to see the Kindle version of my serger cover pattern.¬† The formatting did not come out correctly at all.¬† I will be reformatting it and uploading a corrected version as soon as I can, so if you buy the book, don’t worry.¬† I’ll be fixing it.


Thank you for your patience.

Where have all the sewing machines gone?

We are moving with professional movers for most of our shipment this time.¬† One of our movers commented to me that up until about 10 years ago, he used to move¬†a sewing machine in every shipment.¬† Now he rarely sees any at all.¬† I made up for a couple of shipments with mine, but I thought it was a sad observation.¬† I hope that DIY, Project Runway, and other such shows will inspire a new generation of home sewers.¬† I know that the number of quality fabric stores has declined dramatically in the last 10 years as well.¬† How many of us try to create unique, well-fitting clothing ourselves? We are becoming slaves to and dependent on the Walmart “Made in China” label and “No Sew” projects.

I am probably preaching to the choir here, but it does tell us how important it is that we continue to try to pass these skills on to the next generation.  We need to wrestle or entice our youth away from their socially networked computers and show them how to use a different computer Рa sewing machine, which can be used for creativity as well as productivity.  Let us keep developing our own skills, and reaching out to others as well.

Quilting and Machine Embroidery Team Up for Beautiful Quilts

Embroidery machines can be used for piecing, quilting, and embellishing beautiful quilts of all sizes. With an embroidery machine, piecing is more precise, quilting is easier, and quilts can be embellished with embroideries ranging from redwork and outlines, to traditional satin stitch embroideries, to monograms, to perfect appliqué.

On the internet there are many resources for embroidery designs that are digitized specifically for piecing and quilting.  Two designers who have published great print resources for piecing in the hoop are Eileen Roche www.dzgns.com and Larisa Bland at http://www.pieceinthehoop.com.

Three other high quality resources for downloadable piecing-in-the-hoop designs are Kenny Kreations at www.kennykreations.com, Skeldale House at http://www.skeldalehouse.com, and Queen of Stitching at http://www.queenofstitching.com/.  These are by no means the only sources for such designs, since this is a booming new area for quilters and embroiderers alike.

Hoopsisters at www.hoopsisters.com create complete quilts in the hoop. These incorporate more embroidery in addition to the piecing.  Some of the patterns are traditional, and some are contemporary art quilts.  Jenny Haskins at www.jennyhaskins.com is known for her embroidered quilts, and she has just now come out with a book, A Place in the Sun, an appliquéd quilt both appliquéd and quilted completely in the embroidery hoop.  Her other embroidered quilts are highly embellished and use many different techniques to achieve beautiful effects. Kenny Kreations, mentioned above, also has some wonderful embroidered quilts where embroidery is the focus.

Some digitizers have developed embroidery patterns for appliquéd and embroidered quilt blocks.  These are relatively quick and easy to create, and are much faster than traditional appliqué methods. There are several companies producing these quilt design sets. A recent addition to this family is Lunch Box Quilts at http://www.lunchboxquilts.com/.

Many of the major digitizers have developed quilting designs for quilting blocks and borders.  One of the strengths, however, of using an embroidery machine for quilting is that one is not limited to traditional quilting designs.  Any outline or redwork design can be used for quilting with incredible, personalized results.  A quilt sandwich is fairly stable, so most quilting in the hoop can be done without any additional stabilizer, making it very economical as well as fast, easy, and beautiful.

Machine embroidery can be used to make a whole quilt or enhance a traditionally pieced quilt.  The next time you feel intimidated at having to quilt a large quilt or pay for someone else to do so for you, consider using your embroidery machine to help you out.  The possible combinations of hand and machine work are limitless, and the precision of machine embroidery can enhance your work, taking it to another level of beauty and quality.

I am currently quilting a wall quilt using outline designs of dragons.¬† The quilting is hard to see in a picture, since I’m using black thread on black fabric, but that is part of the beauty of this technique.¬† I can use any thread color because I know the quilting will be perfect every time with my embroidery machine.¬† Here are pictures of my template placements.¬† Fortunately, for this quilt I just needed templates for general ideas for design placement.¬† I did not need much accuracy.¬† After I quilt the embroidery designs, I will free-motion quilt around them.

For FREE sewing, serging, and embroidery tips and projects, sign up for my newsletter at www.cherishedneedlecreations.com.



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