A sewing machine is only as good as the needle in it. Kind of a strong statement, but if you have done any amount of sewing, you may have realized how true this really is. In our shop we have a stock of very unassuming looking envelopes of sewing machine needles.
These envelopes of needles come from The Organ Needle Company. The Organ Needle Company works closely with sewing machine builders to design and manufacture needles for optimal performance. Organ brand of needles have become our favourite brand in our shop because they perform really well.
While the needle is the least expensive component in any sewing machine, it is the most important. High quality, ORGAN needles designed in cooperation with the machine builders assure maximum performance, quality, and economy.
ORGAN needles are manufactured from special high carbon, silicone rich steel. They use the latest state-of-the-art production techniques to insure highly polished eyes for dependable, smoother stitches, consistent quality and fewer thread breaks.
ORGAN assures you the right needles for all your sewing jobs. ORGAN supplies the largest variety of needle types, sizes, eye configurations, point designs, and finishes for almost every sewing task.
If you have been having issues with how your machine makes stitches, we recommend trying one of these Organ needles in your machine and we believe that you will see a remarkable difference.
Note: It’s always advisable to have your machine serviced by a qualified technician to ensure that it is in good working order.
Sometimes the best recommendations we get come from friends. Well that’s exactly the case for this week’s Tuesday Tip. Have you ever heard about Clover’s Dome Threaded Needle Case? Well, our next door neighbour, the lovely Ursula, shared that she really likes this domed needle case. (Can you imagine being a quilter and living right next door to a quilt shop?!! Well fortunately for us, and Ursula, she lives across the pasture from the store and frequently drops in to see us and search out lovely fabric. We can all dream...) Anyways, Ursula told me about this dome threaded needle case that Clover has designed. She has used this product for years now and finds it very handy as she travels to guild meetings, workshops, etc.
Tired of rethreading needles when doing hand work or embroidery? Load this handy domed needle case with ten needles threaded and ready to sew, then sew all day long. This is the ideal case for traveling. It keeps your threaded needles ready to sew at all times with no tangling. Imagine having this little gadget loaded with needles before your next trip away from you sewing room. How about taking it to a retreat or with you on vacation. Maybe you could use it with your sewing supplies in your busy bag as you travel. Anyways, check out this quick little video that demonstrates how this case works:
Last week we received a case of a product here in the shop called Terial Magic. After unpacking the box and putting them on the shelf, I decided to investigate what this eco friendly liquid is used for. Watch the video below explaining how to use Terial Magic:
Uses for Terial Magic:
Machine Embroidery: Hooping treated fabric is easy without the need to hoop both fabric and stabilizer. This means no more fusibles, off-gassing plastic fumes or pulling uneven layers taut. Simply hoop Terial Magic treated fabric to embroider beautiful, even stitches that don’t collapse and are pucker-free. Once the project is finished, soak in warm water for 10 minutes or wash out. Great for T-shirt embroidery with no shadow lines or itchy backing.
T-Shirt Quilting: There is no longer any need to iron on expensive fusible stabilizing or leave hard and stiff stabilizer in your quilts. T-shirts treated with Terial Magic are stretch-free and sew and press like wovens. Sewing and quilting glides through sewing machines without puckers, fraying, pleating or warping. Once quilted, soak in warm water for 10 minutes or wash out. Quilts will be soft, light and feel cozy like a T-shirt should.
Raw Edge Appliqué: Treated fabric is fray-free, cuts like paper and sews evenly to treated background fabric. Even intricate shapes are easy to cut and appliqué. Top stitching close to treated edges is effortless. Paper-like fabric is perfect for appliquéd wall quilts or fabric cards. Leaving Terial Magic in keeps fabric taut and looking freshly pressed. Unlike starch it doesn’t attract bugs when left in. Note: Leave in or wash out for desired effect.
Thread Painting: Get flawless results while thread painting. The stitching is even and the edges do not curl as fabric glides while you free motion paint with thread.
Inkjet and Laser Printing: Cut treated fabric to paper size and load into printer without the need for freezer paper. Heatset permanent ink with medium hot iron to make printing colour fast. Print on fun fabrics for custom quilt appliqué, fray-free fabric banners, etc.
Die Cutting: Use treated fabric in a die cutter for clean, fray-free cuts that cut like paper. Save time by cutting multiple layers at once. Enjoy cutting shapes for quilts that sew together evenly because they are paper-like. Try using fray-free fabric shapes to decorate cards and scrapbooking instead of paper.
Precise Quilt Piecing: Envision cutting and piecing with paper-like fabric. Treated fabric makes the entire process of quilting easier and faster, even cutting sewing time in half. Rotary or hand cutting treated fabric without any shifting making for perfectly aligned edges. Terial Magic-treated fabric means no flimsy edges at pressed seams, even finger press seams open with nothing to get caught in the feed dogs.
No Stretch Bias Quilt Piecing: Treated fabric makes perfect bias cuts and pieced blocks without any stretching or distorting. This makes sewing even and perfect for exact blocks that will need less squaring up.
Quilting on Home Machine or Long Arm: When tops and backs are treated and sewn with Terial Magic they quilt together smoothly and evenly without puckers or tucks. Stitching is smooth and faultless when going over thick seams without stitch skips or bunching and free motion glides faultlessly.
Consider trying Terial Magic for your next project; happy stitching!
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of visiting our fabric distributor, TrendTex Fabrics in Port Coquitlam, BC (a suburb of Vancouver). I was there with a few others to work with the lovely Sue Jensen who showed us this stitch-and-flip sewing tip. Sue is an amazing teacher and we learned a lot from her that day!
The only thing you need is a simple piece of cardboard and it will save you from having to mark all those diagonal lines as you join strips for binding, jelly roll strips, etc. Sooner or later as quilters we all come across an instruction in a pattern asking us to stitch and flip!
This method is much faster than marking lines on each of your strips or squares. Think about using this method for half-square triangles also.
Step 1: Here’s the rectangle with a square to be added. Cut a narrow strip of paper, lightweight cardboard (cereal box weight or file folder) or lightweight sandpaper like you see below. Sue used cardboard.
Step 2: Place the square on top of the rectangle, right sides together.
Step 3: Lay the cardboard strip across the square, corner to corner. Cardboard should be a little longer than the distance from corner to corner.
Step 4: Sew along the straight edge of the cardboard, holding the cardboard in place while sewing. Chain as many as you wish.
You will get a perfect diagonal seam!
Step 5: Trim the seam allowance to a 1/4″.
Step 6: Set the seam by pressing over the stitching and then flip the smaller patch open and press.
Now you have a perfect diagonal line without marking each square.
There are many choices for backing quilts these days. From regular quilting cottons, to wide backings in both flannel and cotton. Many quilters are going with less traditional options these days and lots of us have moved on to cozy synthetics such as “Fireside” which comes out of our Vancouver, BC warehouse. Fireside is a 150cm (60”) wide 100% polyester fabric with a soft, velvety hand; kind of a velour, making it the perfect width for large lap or single size quilts and can be pieced for larger quilts. It’s less slippery than Minkee, so it’s a little easier to work with with less drama dealing with nap. If you’re thinking about trying one of the 46 different colours of Fireside, here are some tips to consider as you sandwich your next quilt top:
1. Batting or no batting?
Because Fireside is already so cozy, you may decide you don’t have to put batting in your quilt. This makes your project more like a throw. If you think you would still like a layer of batting that’s just fine and most of our samples have batting between the layers as we like warmer quilts in our Canadian climate.
2. Stay sharp!
As with other synthetic fabrics such as Minkee or fleece, you may find that your needle dulls faster than it does when sewing with other fibres. If you start with a fresh needle, you can avoid the pitfalls of dull needles such as breakage, skipped stitches, or the needle trying to push the fabric into the machine.
3. Stitches Sink Right In
Because of the velvety pile of Fireside, it may be hard to see the stitches on the back of your quilt as the stitches can get hidden in the pile. With Fireside, you can use a slightly heavier thread, such as a 30wt, to create more impact with your quilting. We have never had an issue with the “pile” pulling through to the front of a quilt with Fireside on the back. Other polyester backings with higher pile can pull through sometimes and be seen on the front.
4. Baste Well
Fireside is a knit fabric and, like most knit fabrics, it can be a bit stretchy. To keep it from stretching as you sew, it is important to do a good job basting your layers before you start quilting. If you are using quilters’ curved safety pins, you should have one pin every 4” (10cm) both vertically and horizontally. Basting spray is also a great tool when working with Fireside. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your spray. Many of our quilting friends find Fireside less stretchy than Minkee as they install it on the back of their quilts.
5. Not Wide Enough?
If you are piecing the quilt back, make sure that the nap on the panels is running in the same direction. Also, it is recommended that the nap run down the length of the quilt, i.e. it should feel smooth as you run your hand down from the top of the quilt. A 1/2″ seam allowance works well to join lengths of Fireside. A finger press works good (or gentle press on correct iron setting) to hold the seam allowance open as you prepare your quilt sandwich. That seam almost disappears when working with Fireside and becomes practically invisible. Fireside, if used as backing, should be mounted on a longarm with the stretch going from side to side, so that that into account when piecing.
Next time you’re in the store, check out our selection of Fireside. If you don’t see the colour you want, please ask and our staff will be glad to special order a colour for you pending availability from the warehouse. Everything we have in stock is displayed on our website. You may find it’s just soft and cozy enough to convince you to try using it on the back of a quilt.