Jeanies Mask cropped

 

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of working with Ryan and Diane from Ryan’s Sewing and Vacuum Center. Ryan’s is a sponsor of the Rusty Barn Quilt, Craft, and Sewing Festival held at the fairgrounds in Albuquerque, NM.

Ryan and Diane were kind enough to let me demonstrate The Thread Director and our newest product the NeedleMinder in their booth. When demonstrating The Thread Director, you need to pick the perfect project, too many color changes or too few stitches make the project tedious and draws focus away from the customers. So, I chose the New Venetian Mask Collection from Anita Goodesign, which fit the bill perfectly. The mask pictured above was done with one color of Floriani metallic thread, two layers of Floriani Wet-n-Gone Stabilizer, a Schmetz 90/14 Top Stitch Needle, and of course The Thread Director. After completing the stitch out of the mask I handed it off to Jeannine D. Cde. Baca, who is an extremely talented fiber artist. She completed this beautiful mask that you see above.

If you are ever in the Albuquerque Area, you need to visit Ryan’s Sewing and Vacuum Center. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and the wide selection of great batiks makes this a store that should not be missed. Ryan’s is also opening a second location in Santa Fe. Stop by and introduce yourself to the manager Katy. For more information on Ryan’s Sewing and Vacuum Center go to: http://www.ryansewnvac.com.

ANITA GOODESIGN EMBROIDERY PARTY

If you have never attended an Anita Goodesign Embroidery Party, you are really missing out on a great experience.  Steve Wilson, President of Anita Goodesign, has been offering these events for years and every year they get better and better.

Recently I attended “The Perfect Sewing Room” event sponsored by Moore’s Sewing and it truly is one big party.  You get to see the newest designs first (see what’s coming up next year below).

This is a hands-on, team sewing event where you learn new techniques using the latest embroidery machines. You also learn what stabilizers to use for your projects and they have all the supplies available for purchase that you will need to make these projects at home.

Most importantly, you will meet other sewers.  Look around the room, notice what everyone is wearing, chances are they made it or embellished it themselves.  Some of these garments/purses are spectacular. Go up and talk to them, no matter how much you know, you can always learn more and these women are a wealth of information when it comes to tricks, shortcuts and how to get the best results.  Best of all you make new friends!

Anita Goodesign Event IMG_1782 Anita Goodesign Event IMG_1781 Anita Goodesign Event IMG_1780

 

 

 

 

 

The Question: “I bought Invisible thread and when I try to fill the bobbin, it keeps breaking. Any ideas?

Recently Lee Fletcher, received this question from someone she met at Sewing Center OC in Yorba Linda, CA 

The Answer from Lee:  “The great news about invisible thread is that you can’t see it.  It is also the bad news!  It takes patience to work with Polyester core threads including the Metallic and Invisible since they tend to twist and curl easily.  A little bit of tension on the thread helps when threading the bobbin or the machine.

 

  1. Make sure that you are using Polyester Invisible Thread.  I highly recommend sticking with the Sulky brand.  If you are trying to work with Nylon monofilament or if the thread contains Nylon, throw it out.  Polyester on its own will stretch a bit, but with Nylon mixed in, there is more stretch than the machine can manage.  In addition, Nylon does not bend like Polyester and can damage your machine.  Put the Nylon in your fishing tackle box!
  2. Polyester threads do stretch to a certain degree.  Using them with The Thread Director helps eliminate most of the stretch whether it is Polyester Invisible or spun embroidery threads.
  3. In order to keep the thread from stretching onto the bobbin while winding, set the machine to the slowest speed possible.  This will prevent the thread from heating up and stretching even more.
  4. Only wind the bobbin half way.  If you fill it too full, the thread will pop the ends of the bobbin off.  I actually didn’t believe this and tried it with an old metal bobbin.   Fortunately for me, I was wearing safety glasses!  Don’t try this at home!

 

I love using Sulky’s Polyester Invisible (disclosure: Lee is a Freelance Educator for Sulky America) thread in the bobbin when using metallic thread.  I also love stippling with Invisible Polyester thread.  It adds texture to your quilts without interrupting the design of the fabric.

 

Keep the questions coming!

Lee Fletcher Demos at Upland Vacuum & Sewing

Lee in upland

Lee Fletcher, the Inventor of the Thread Director, captivates another group of sewers with fascinating stories and shows them the spectacular results you can get with metallic threads using the Thread Director!!

TIPS FOR USING THE THREAD DIRECTOR ON A MULTI-NEEDLE MACHINE

A few weeks ago I met a lovely woman who was rather upset.  She said when I sold her a Thread Director I claimed it would work on a ten needle machine, but when she tried it on her machine, she could not get it to work.  I asked her to tell me what challenges she was experiencing.

Apparently her thread was breaking.  I thought to myself, okay there could be a number of reasons for breaking thread so I went down the list of reasons this could be.

Question: “Are you sure the thread is on the spool pin loose enough for the spool to spin freely?”

Answer:  “Yes”

Question:  “Did you check to make sure the thread was not twisting around the spool pin?”

Answer:  “Yes, it was feeding correctly off the Thread Director.”

Question:  “Did you lower the tension on your machine?”

Answer:  “I tried loosening the tension, I tried tightening the tension and my thread still breaks.”

Question:  “When was the last time you changed your needle?”

I could tell by the look on her face that this was a foreign concept to her.  Finally she sheepishly replied, “I’ve never changed my needles.”  I’m thinking, “Bingo, we have a winner!”

I then explained to her how metallic thread wears burrs in your needles and when working with metallic thread you need to change your needle(s) often.  Start with a new needle.  When your thread starts to shred, it’s a good sign that your needle needs to be changed.

When I am demonstrating The Thread Director, I have to change my needle about every three hours.  This isn’t like sewing clothing with polyester thread or quilting with cotton thread where manufacturers suggest you change your needle about every eight hours.  This is metal against metal.  I asked her to change her needle and try again and if she had any further problems to please call me so we could figure it out.  I haven’t heard from her yet and it’s been over a month.

Besides all the items on the checklist above, when using metallic thread on your multi-needle machine, always use the needle that the manufacturer recommends.  For the stitch outs pictured below, I used a 75/11 needle.

Wings

 

Turtle 10 needle

Turtle 10 needle 1

 

Turtle - Start

Butterfly in Flight

On my machine, the spool pins that came installed on the machine have a tendency to rotate with the vibration of the machine.  If you look closely at the picture you see I have a binding clip attached snuggly at the bottom of the pin to prevent this from happening.  You may want to check every once-in-a-while to make sure the clip is still snug.Spool Pin on 10 Needle

The designs are “Into the Wild” from Anita Goodesign and I stitched them out on Kona Cotton.  The thread I used is gold Floriani Metallic on mini-king spools.  For stabilizer, I used Sulky Cut-Away Plus since it is going to be a wall hanging.

If you have been using The Thread Director on a Multi-Needle machine and have further tips and suggestions, please let me know so I can pass them along to others who may be experiencing challenges.

 

Queen Gee

Phoenix Rusty Barn Show with 35th Avenue Sewing

I was able to demo the Thread Director for 3 days in the 35th Avenue Sewing Booth at the Rusty Barn Craft & Sewing Show. It was so much fun to watch everyone’s amazement at how easy it was to work with metallic threads. I was demonstrating free motion work with satin stitches and “hurky-jerky” sewing with NO BREAKAGE! It was fantastic to be able to inspire the audience to get out those threads that they thought could not be run in their sewing machine. It was like setting their creative minds free to accomplish the embellishment techniques that they thought were not possible!

 

Lee Fletcher

LAS VEGAS BABY!

We spent the earlier part of this week showing at the VDTA/SDTA Show in Las Vegas.  I have to admit I was a little “star” struck.  We got to see and meet with so many celebrities from the sewing and embroidery world.  And better yet, they really seemed to like our product.

I’d like to thank Steve Wilson from Anita Goodesign for being so gracious and allowing me to stitch out his Nutcracker’s for demonstration of The Thread Director.  (See tips on my “Nutcracker” post, dated February 5th and see my second one pictured below)

In the next few days, we will post a list of events where you can see The Thread Director demonstrated.  Please check it out, stop by and say hi and bring your projects so we can get photos and share here on-line.

Nutcracker 1

Nutcracker 1

Queen Gee

THE NUTCRACKER!

I’ve spent this week preparing for the Vacuum and Sewing Dealer’s Trade Association show (that’s a mouthful).

Since I will be demonstrating The Thread Director and how well it works with all specialty threads, I decided to tackle the granddaddy of all designs, Anita Goodesign’s “The Nutcrackers”.  My first nutcracker turned out beautiful.  Actually, my only nutcracker turned out beautiful.  I have eleven more to go.

I used every metallic thread in my arsenal.  Here are some tips when stitching these out.  For Madeira, Sulky and WonderFil metallic threads, use a 90/14 Topstitch needle and don’t forget to lower the tension on your machine.  When using the Madeira Supertwist (that’s the thread that looks frosted) use a 100/16 Topstitch needle and perhaps a few drops of Sewer’s Aid.

There are a lot of stitches in these designs so use fabric with a little heft to it.  Per the design instructions, I backed my fabric with Ultra-Weft Fusible Interfacing and hooped a piece of mesh stabilizer.  Sometimes it’s called No Show Mesh or Soft ‘n Sheer Extra depending on the manufacturer.  As a topper, I used a heat-away stabilizer so the thread lays on top of the fabric instead of imbedded in the fabric.  Let me know what you think!

Nutcracker 2

Nutcracker 2

THREAD DIRECTOR DEBUTES AT ROAD TO CALIFORNIA

THREAD DIRECTOR DEBUTES AT ROAD TO CALIFORNIA

The Thread Director made it’s debut at the Road to California this past week and it was a resounding success.

I’ve worked shows before, but never one like this.  In the past it has been the Consumer Electronics Show and the National Association of Music Merchants.  Those shows are no fun at all.  By the end of the day your legs are numb from the knees down.  Quilting and Sewing shows are so much more fun.  Everyone is happy, friendly, enthusiastic and passionate about the art of sewing.

I was demonstrating The Thread Director which is our spool pin adapter for metallic and specialty threads.  I must have produced a hundred 3-D butterflies made out of organza with metallic thread in both the top and bobbin.  No twisting, no breaking and no puckering of the fabric.  I finally got tired of those and remembered that years ago I bought a design set by Cindy Losekamp of  Sew Artfully Yours, entitled “Crocheted Crudites”. I experimented with a 12 wt. cotton Blendable thread and Holoshimmer thread from Sulky, running in the same needle simultaneously.  In the bobbin I used 60 wt. PolyLite Blendable.  See picture below.

2015-01-26 triangles

 

The response to our adapter was astounding.  Metallic thread is so beautiful and really enhances your project.  You can have as much or as little “bling” as you want.  I kept hearing over and over how difficult they can be to work with.  Some have shied away from them and others had given up all together.  If this sounds like you, dust off that thread you have stashed away and give The Thread Director a try.  I know you won’t regret it.

 

Queen Gee