Saturday, December 29, 2012


Between holiday celebrations and end of the year inventory I also managed to eliminate one of my pet peeves the other day. I treated myself to a gift-to-me this holiday season. You might asking yourself what it is that makes me almost as happy as the diamond necklace from my hubby? It is simple. I have tamed the wicked Velcro on my winter jacket!

I hate Velcro. I know it has fabulous uses. Everything from the now defunct space program to toddler tennis shoes. I am aware that the introduction of Velcro changed the way we live. I even know that the product was developed by a guy that was trying to figure out why those thorny, chigger type plants stuck to his socks. Maybe "hate" is too strong of a word. It isn't like I rank Velcro up at the top of the list with things like..... stinkbugs. Let me correct myself.  Having exposed Velcro on my winter jacket drives me CRAZY!

I own a very nice ski jacket from L.L.Bean. It has a double zipper, tons of pockets, is light weight and warm. The strange material tabs that were used to Velcro the sleeves so that the air doesn't blow up your arm cracked and split shortly after buying it, so I cut those off. But that isn't the point. It is a nice jacket. It also has four strips of Velcro that close a flap over the zipper. The soft side of the Velcro, the kind that is left unused on my sleeves, isn't a problem. It is the gripper side that has caused me hours of frustration. When the jacket is worn open, which is more often than not, those Velcro strips grab on to anything they pass, including the remaining sleeve Velcro. I've spent a lot of time in that jacket stuck to myself - or the items that I was shopping for. If you have ever witnessed a battle between Velcro grip and a fine knit sweater, you know the bittersweet feeling as that sweater is scarred for life.

Enough of this daily aggravation! I have a kajillion dollars worth of sewing equipment at my disposal. I should be able to fix this.

I started by finding a scrap of black Ultra Suede in my stash. For all of you nay-sayers out there, this proves that saving things dating from the 1980's is not a total waste of space! The scrap was large enough to embroider and it matched the black accents on my coat.
Using the BERNINA software I quickly digitized a simple design and selected a spool of thread to match my odd shade of blue coat. Having the entire line of Isacord thread at your disposal comes in handy. I never have to worry about making a trip to the store for the right color, because nine times out of ten I'm working on these projects AT the store. Being in the store also came in handy when Brandon recommended that I use a #90 needle. Having a top-notch Tech at your disposal is pretty convienient too.

The process was simple, stitch out the design and an outline that was digitized the same size as the Velcro patches on my coat. Flip the hoop over and position soft Velcro strips in each of the outline areas. (I cut these longer than necessary and held them in place with tape) Put the hoop back on the machine and stitch the outline again. That stitched the Velcro to the back of the designs. I took them out of the hoop and trimmed them to size. Using the Ultra Suede meant that the edges were finished and will never fray. I chose a water soluble stabilizer for the project, so that was easy to remove.

TA-DA! Problem solved! I simply placed the decorative Velcro strips over the offending gripper strips and snag-no-more! If I ever have the desire to close the zipper flap I can simply peel off the decorative tabs and store them in one of the 17 assorted pockets.

Scrap of Ultra Suede - Free
Velcro - .70 cents
Thread to match jacket - $5.89
Software to digitize the design - $1999.00
Embroidery Machine - $10,000
Eliminating the aggravation - Priceless
Satisfaction - worth a million bucks!

I think L.L. Bean should include these with your coat!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Help Newtown Begin To Heal

The following is a re-post from Joan Fords blog.  Joan is the owner of the Hummingbird Highway pattern company.  Joan is a friend and she has a wonderful idea.  I'm sending some quilts to help her attain her goal and even if only one of you joins in, it was worth passing this along.  I know there are people everywhere that could use a quilt hug and the people of Newtown, Conneticut aren't the only ones hurting at this time of year, but we have all been struck by this tragedy.  Joan is right, Quilters understand the magic that happens when fabric, batting and stitches come together with love and good thoughts.  It is almost impossible for Quilters to not help when a something like this happens.  Let's send a Newtown some hugs.

You may know that The Taunton Press, the publisher of many wonderful books and magazines, including my own, is located in beautiful Newtown, Connecticut, just down the street from Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Taunton employees were fortunate not to be directly impacted by the events of December 14. But as I write that last sentence, I know in my heart that we have all been affected, but most especially those who live, play, work, and connect in Newtown.
Anyone who has ever made or received a hand-made quilt knows what power is created when fabric, batting, and stitches combine in a quilt. And so, I'm asking you to send a hug and a prayer to the folks in Newtown.
I have said that a quilt is a reusable hug. Specifically, I'm asking for quilts. Not because of the devastating loss caused by a natural disaster, but to help heal a broken community who may just need a reusable hug right now.
I need your help. Here's what you can do.
- Go to your stash. Find a quilt that is almost done - it only needs a binding or some last quilting stitches, or maybe a border to finish it off. And finish it up.
- You'll be sending a bit of yourself along, so think kind thoughts while you make those last few stitches. Those good thoughts will translate to healing and hope for the recipient.

-Don't worry about whether the quilt is kid-friendly or themed for any one person or another. These will be distributed to folks of all ages. Quilts in all sizes will be accepted. Child and lap sized quilts are especially welcome.
- Spread the word. I realize it's horrible timing. And the turnaround seems dreadful. But I also suspect that you might have one or two quilts that are nearly complete, a few stitches and away it goes. There's nothing like a deadline to get things done. . . . am I right?

I'm planning to deliver quilts personally on January 3, 2013 - so there isn't much time. If you are in the Syracuse, NY area, Calico Gals, Mission Rose Quiltery, and Patchwork Plus Quilt Shop have agreed to be collection points for Newtown quilts. I'll be leaving early on the 3rd, so quilts must arrive at the shops before January 2, 2013.
- If you are not in the Syracuse area, please send quilts to:

The Taunton Press

Attention: Renee Neiger

63 South Main Street, PO Box 5506

Newtown, CT 06470-5506

If you want to help stuff the CRV, you can send quilts to me directly:

Joan Ford

Hummingbird Highway

3795 Gray Ledge Terrace

Syracuse, NY 13215

My friends at The Taunton Press will make sure the quilts reach their new homes.