Sunday, December 23, 2012

Old Year/New Year - Finishes and Beginnings!

Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years to everyone!  Thanks to my phenomenal customers for a great 2012.  Please use up all that thread so you'll need more!

I'm hoping to do a last-week-of-the-year concentration to get some quilting projects done to add to my list of completions for the year.  I keep my quilt projects in an Excel spreadsheet...compulsive, I know, but it works for me!  I'm an old data pusher...

Look for more thread info and tips from the Threadmonger in 2013.  I have enjoyed the feedback I get from my little editorials and I hope they are of value to you!

On January 6 I'll be doing a demo at Fidalgo Island Quilters' University on "Binding Your Best - perfect corners".  A great way to start the new year!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Prewound bobbins - do they fit my machine?

Prewound Bobbins – do they fit my machine?

Prewound bobbins have become popular with quilters and machine embroiderers, both because of their convenience and the ability of the manufacturers to get more thread on the prewound than you can wind at home.  Historically, there have been a LOT of different sizes of bobbins for domestic machines – the kinds of machines you use at home – but the good news is that manufacturers are standardizing their bobbin sizes over time.

Do you need prewound bobbins? Not necessarily, but you might like to try them.  And if you haven’t tried them lately, you might want to revisit prewounds to see if the product changes and improvements make your quilting life easier.

The most common sizes of prewound bobbins available to quilters are L Style, Class 15 (sometimes called A Style), and for some longarm machines, M Style.  L Style and Class 15 bobbins are small, M Style bobbins are much larger, about the size of a quarter.

Here is the most important thing that I want to say in this blog entry:  You need to know what size bobbin your machine takes.  Look it up in your manual, ask your dealer, or look it up online.  If you don’t think you’ll remember the size, write it down on something you carry all the time (like on the outside cover of your check register).

There are so many HUNDREDS of brands and models of machines that a retailer cannot possibly memorize them all and know which bobbin size fits yours.  There are charts of bobbins sizes here and there on the Internet and sometimes published in magazines, but the BEST thing for you to do is research it yourself and have that information ready when you buy prewound bobbins.

Older machines may have proprietary (meaning exclusive to that machine or brand) bobbin sizes.  Independent businesses that specialize in maintaining vintage machines are often able to order specialty bobbins.  But don’t necessarily expect that prewounds will be available for your vintage baby.

Prewound bobbins come with plastic or cardboard sides.  You might need to experiment to see which ones are best for you.  If your machine has a detection system that alerts you to a “low bobbin thread” situation, the detector needs to see the thread from the top.  The plastic bobbins are see-through; the cardboard ones are not.  Some people, finding that the cardboard ones are their preference, peel the cardboard top (or top and bottom) off the bobbin and use it that way.  The reason this is possible is that thread for prewound bobbins is treated with a starch product that holds the thread in place on the bobbin. 

Some people just find that the cardboard bobbins work better for them with one or both sides removed, regardless of the machine’s need to see the thread.

Bobbin tension
As you know, in most domestic machines tension is adjusted for the top thread but not for the bobbin thread.  There is a way to adjust bobbin tension for front-load bobbins by turning the TEENY screw on the bobbin case, but most quilters are afraid to do it.  Even the pro’s keep a spare bobbin case for adjusting and one where the screw is never changed. 

If you find that you need more control over your bobbin tension (especially for free-motion quilting), some of the prewound bobbins and accessory products are attempting to help you with that. 

Some smooth, plastic-sided bobbins have been accused of continuing to spin when you stop sewing, thereby creating what is called “backlash” and a resulting bobbin thread mess under your quilt.

There is a disc made of Teflon and shaped like a “washer” that can be placed beneath a drop-in bobbin; this theoretically increases the bobbin tension and manages “backlash”.  This is sold as the “Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washer” –in two sizes, one for domestic and one for longarm machines.

Another new type of bobbin uses a magnetic core to manage bobbin tension. 

Fiber Content
The current crop of prewound bobbins come in the most popular fiber contents:  Cotton, polyester, and nylon.  They also come in a variety of thread weights.  Read the packages carefully to make sure that you are buying the fiber and weight that will best oppose your top thread.  The newest prewound on the market is the Deco Bob from Wonderfil which is an 80-weight polyester thread similar to their amazingly popular Invisafil 100-weight thread.  These are manufactured in L Style, Class 15, and M Style plastic-sided prewounds and sold in a card of one dozen. 

Prewound bobbins are not always made with the thread color you need to exactly match your top thread.  Even if they’re manufactured, they’re not always available from your retailer because of the vast number of thread colors and thread weights that they would need to carry.  So be prepared to choose a neutral or blending color for your prewound bobbin thread.

Still not sure?
Only your experience with prewound bobbins will tell you if they are compatible with your machine and if you even like them.  Buy a package and try them!  If they don’t work for you, pass them along to a friend.  Or begin by going together with a friend or two and buy a package – split them up and try them! 

There is a LOT to be said for experimentation.  I equate using a sewing machine to playing the violin; you must KNOW your instrument and how it will perform under varying circumstances and with a variety of accessories.  That comes down to practice, practice, practice.  Luckily, pushing that fabric through the machine is what quilters enjoy most!

Hand sewing with prewound bobbins
Yes, it’s true.  MANY hand-piecers and appliquérs buy prewound bobbins in a neutral color assortment for their carry-along sewing kit.  They’re not so much interested in the bobbin construction as in the thread.  When space is tight or several colors are needed for a block, hand-sewers snap up those variety packages of prewound bobbins. 

Threadmongers carries prewounds!
Right now, I have a nice assortment of prewound bobbins from Wonderfil/Deco Bob, Fil-Tec, Signature, and Superior (Masterpiece and Bottom Line).  Let me know if you’re looking for anything in particular!

The old-fashioned way
Wind your own!  It’s still a simple task and can be done with any sewing machine.  You might not be able to get as much thread on a bobbin as the manufacturer can, but you can exactly match your top thread with your bobbin thread.

Prewound or user-wound, bobbins are an essential part of machine sewing.  Know all your options, have courage and try new things!  Thread is half the fun of quilting!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Block Party Quilters Issaquah - Nov 9-10-11

Threadmongers will be a vendor at the Block Party Quilters' annual quilt show
November 9-10-11!

Show Theme:  "Expressions"

Friday, November 9 - Sunday, November 11, 2012
Hours: Friday and Saturday 10 AM - 5 PM, Sunday 10 AM - 4 PM
Issaquah Community Center
301 Rainier Boulevard South
Issaquah, WA

Beautiful quilts and fabulous shopping in a wonderful venue!
Refreshments available in the guild's tea room.

Create a block for a quilt to be donated to Ronald McDonald House.
Featured Artist - Linda Haddan.

Come and be inspired!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Woolley Fiber Follies Saturday October 20th

The Woolley Fiber Quilters will present their Fiber Follies on Saturday, October 20th at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (on Wicker Road) in Sedro-Woolley.  A fun day of skills-sharing, networking, and mentoring young quilters! 

All the info and a list of scheduled demonstrations is on the blog:

This is the place to be to get inspired to make those great quilts that you'll enter in the Woolley Fiber Quilters' show next June! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Featured Artist Show - Clark County Quilters - Oct. 5-6-7

Clark County Quilters present their annual "Featured Artist Show" October 5-6-7 at the H. H. Hall Building, 10000 NE 7th AVE, Vancouver WA. 

This year the featured "artist" is The Art Quilt Group with their exhibit, "Our Journey into Art Quilting".  One of the most anticipated quilting events of the year!  Friday - 3 to 8 p.m. with the artists' reception starting at 5 p.m. Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 10 to 4. 

If you're near Clark County and want to see some GREAT quilts as well as absorb some inspiration, this is the place to be!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sea Pals of Ocean Shores will have a Whale of a Quilt Show this weekend!

The Sea Pals Quilters are revving up their annual Whale of a Quilt Show for this weekend - Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Sept 28-30.  Held at the Ocean Shores Convention Center this show is in the heart of fun at the beach!  Lots of amazing quilts to see, a quilt walk, demonstrations, vendors (!), refreshments, and so much more!  This show is SO POPULAR that some groups of quilters come to Ocean Shores and spend the whole weekend!

So roll on out to Ocean Shores and see what the Sea Pals have quilted up for you this year. 

Threadmongers will be there!  Wouldn't miss it!!

Visit their web site at:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cabin Fever Quilters - Port Townsend show this weekend!

Cabin Fever Quilters are hosting their bi-annual quilt show this weekend, September 21-22 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Port Townsend! 

Over 100 quilts and wearable art will be featured as well as vendors, demonstrations, an amazingly beautiful Opportunity Quilt, and the guild's popular Country Store! 

Featured quilter is Kathy Stavney!

Threadmongers will be there - come on out to lovely Port Townsend and enjoy the Cabin Fever Quilters' show!

Fall color - Orange!

Fall is a great time to stock up on orange thread!  Here are just a few great ones - from Superior, Valdani, Aurifil, and Genziana:

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Quilt Shows, Attendance, and Publicity Ideas

I have had several conversations with quilters lately about quilt show attendance.  It looks like we’re in a “transitional time” for guild shows due to the proliferation of commercially-produced sewing/quilting/craft expos.  Local quilt guilds continue to hold quality shows in local communities, but they are having a more difficult time getting folks to turn out and enjoy the show. 
So here are some ideas that I have used, some that I have seen guilds use to their advantage, and some that I have not tested but sound pretty good to me!

Full disclosure
I’m a big fan of quilt guild-produced shows and I believe that quilters and quilt-appreciators should support them wherever possible.  The big commercial shows are nice but they lack the home-town flavor of shows conceived and executed by (your) family and friends.  Quilt guilds often use the proceeds from their shows to fund guild activities all year long.  This certainly includes the enormous amount of charity work that guild members do as well as bringing quality speakers to your town.  So I’m here to help spread the news about quilt shows wherever I can!
Let’s begin with the premise that people would like to attend your show but they have very busy lives.  So they need to be reminded often, to feel as if they are welcome to attend (even if they’re not quilters), and to relate something that is already important to them to your show.

1.  Remind them often
More is better.  The ideas listed below will work best if you use LOTS OF THEM.

2.  Make them welcome
The best way quilt shows “engage the public” is to use a People’s Choice voting mechanism and award lots of ribbons/prizes for the winners.  Tell attendees “we value your opinion” and give them a ballot and a pencil when they arrive.  Award at least some People’s Choice ribbons DURING THE SHOW so attendees can see results.  Say “thank you for coming” and use lots of welcoming signage at the show entry.

3.  Help them relate to the show
Quilters attend shows for inspiration and to see their friends’ work.  Use a labeling method              for the quilts that includes the quilter’s name, quilt’s name, cites the pattern source (commercial or “original”), and some text about the quilter’s reason for/inspiration for the quilt. 

Non-quilters attend shows to see Mom’s/Grandma’s/Auntie’s quilt.  Yes, and to see Dad’s/Grandpa’s/Uncle’s quilt, too.  They want to see it and vote for it.  They want to take a photo of the quilt with the quilter standing in front of it.  Possibly with the grandchild for whom the quilt was made.  Make sure that there is enough aisle room in front of your display to allow for good photos.  And we all know the value of choosing a show venue with good lighting. 

The pattern you’re seeing here is that PEOPLE ATTEND LOCAL QUILT SHOWS TO SEE THE WORK OF PEOPLE THEY KNOW AND LOVE.  Any way you can find to make that easier will make your show more popular and create more buzz. 

The Committee
Assemble a Public Relations committee for your show that works all-year-round!  This activity needs to be separate from what your (overworked) show chair is doing.  Create a written plan and schedule the publicity activities for your show. 

You probably have members in your guild whose professional life has included some kind of publicity responsibilities.  Even if they’re not the chairman of the committee, use their expertise and creativity!


Print Media
Traditionally, “print media” means newspapers.  Newspapers are profit-driven.  That means some important things to you:

·        Anything you can do to help the newspaper sell more copies/increase circulation will be welcome.

·        Your quilt show is not breaking news; so submit your articles early and make them short.  Every word counts. 

News releases – keep them short and crisp. Expect them to be rewritten by an editor (who will also be using the newspaper’s editorial standards, which you do not know).  Use PEOPLE’S NAMES in the article because that’s what sells the paper. 

Paying for publicity – consider buying a layout ad (for which you will need design services and will need to comply with the newspaper’s standards), or a classified ad (easier but buried in the classified section).  If you pay for advertising, the ad will be published on the day you choose.  If you send a general news release, the paper will choose the publication date.

Develop a relationship – with the editor of the section where quilt shows are news.  Take that person’s advice and learn how to make the editor happy.

Newspapers online – most newspapers have an online presence and many have an online “calendar of events”.  Your committee can upload your show’s details to the site.  Sometimes a review and approval is required.  Many newspapers take the data from these calendars to populate the community calendar in their print version.  Many newspapers outsource their calendar function to a subcontractor, who may spread the calendar details throughout the subcontractor’s network (regionally or nationally).  If you use an online calendar of events (and you should) be prepared to let go of the show information, as it will take on an Internet life of its own.

Some Samples
When publicizing other events held by your guild, take advantage of the opportunity to mention your show like this:

The Quipsters Quilt Guild will hold a day of quilting fun to benefit [local charitable children’s group] on November 10 at [this location] from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Guild members will be assembling and finishing small quilts to be donated.  Members of the public are welcome to attend and help.  Donations of fabric, batting, and thread are appreciated.  Guild president Sue Sunbonnet advised that members will display additional quilts at the QQG’s annual quilt show, June 1 -2, 2013.  For more information call Mary Smith at [this number] through the day of the event. 

Quipsters Quilt Guild president, Sue Sunbonnet, announced today a call for entries for the Quipsters’ quilt show June 1-2, 2013.  Categories include large, medium, and small quilts, as well as miniatures, wearables, and art pieces.  A special category has been created for quilts representing the show theme “Farm Life”.  Entries are due by May, 15, 2013.  Entry forms are available [here] or by calling [number].  Quilt turn-in day is May 29.  For more information call Mary Smith at [this number] or visit the Quipsters’ web site at [URL].

Photo caption:  Quipsters Quilt Guild member Claudia Sunbonnet holds her quilt as Mary Smith measures it for size.  This quilt and many more will be displayed in the Quipsters’ annual quilt show, to be held June 1-2, 2013 at [this location].  “Our show will be fabulous this year,” advised Smith, “with over 150 quilts displayed, a vendor mall, daily door prizes and raffles, and demonstrations of quilting techniques.”  For more information visit the Quipsters’ web site at [URL].

Publicize the show dates and some details early and often.  Refer the reader to a web site with more information. 
Here is your opportunity to distribute a piece of paper for people to keep (hopefully) and remind themselves that a great quilt show is coming!

Have a great poster or logo designed.  If you need to hire a graphic designer, do it.  Many charge very reasonable prices and you may be able to acquire a piece of artwork that you can use every year if you are budget-challenged.  A logo will help people identify your show with your group.  Ask a local printer how much your items will cost for printing before you commit to the final design, so you will know if you can afford color or black and white. 

This is important:  Get the graphic artist to provide the design to you in several electronic formats.  PDF format is un-useful for graphics.  Get the designer to provide the image with the highest possible resolution and in two or three formats (on a disc).  Your professional printer will be able to accept and handle them all.  You will also need a low-res version to use on your web site or as a graphic in e’mails you send.  Remember – high res is for printing, low res is for Internet.

Posters are great – If you have a particularly popular one, some of your members may want to buy a fresh one to keep as a souvenir (develop a price). 

Bookmarks (the long skinny handouts on card stock) are another great way to advertise.  Print information on BOTH SIDES; your show graphic and details on the front, including your sponsors, and your web site.  On the back you might put directions/a map to the show, a list of activities, a list of vendors, or information about a special event at the show. 

Flyers – many groups prefer a paper stock flyer as a handout; maybe a tri-fold with more information, like how to join the guild, or how to participate in their charity work. 

Postcards – these have come down in price and can be used in place of bookmarks but also mailed individually if you have that need. 

Make a list of all of the places to distribute your handouts, targeting the places where quilters and quilt-appreciators hang out.  Here are some ideas, but you’ll have your own!

  • Quilt/fabric shops (of course)
  • Other quilt guilds and quilt shows (your target audience)
  • Knit shops
  • Other needlework shops
  • General craft shops
  • Card and scrapbooking shops
  • Senior Centers
  • Senior living communities (contact the activities director, too)
  • Laundromats
  • Grocery stores (especially the mom and pop ones)
  • Restaurants (quilters love pizza!)
  • Museums (they may want to have a textiles exhibit in concert with your show dates)
  • Chambers of Commerce (and their web sites)
  • Hospital waiting rooms and employee break areas
  • Exercise clubs
  • Hair and nail salons
  • Pet grooming salons
  • Churches
  • Send a supply to your vendors!
Use a spreadsheet program to list all of the places you have thought of, and list them by city.  If you sort them by city and distribute the list, your members can sign up to take the posters, etc., around and you can keep track of who has already been to each place.  Personal contact at each location increases the likelihood that your items will be displayed.

The expense of the handouts will probably mean that you will distribute more of them closer to your show’s location and fewer as the shops get farther away.  But you know your region and you know how quilters travel to get to your show; consider the most common routes (like Interstate Freeways) and make sure that your items are strategically placed in shops with easy access routes to you!

Personal distribution
Encourage members to carry a few handouts with them and give them to friends, family, and strangers in parking lots.

Your VENDORS will take a supply of the handouts to each of the quilt shows they are attending before yours.  Other quilt shows will display your handouts on a table at the show for their attendees to review.  NOTE:  Plan to have a table just like that at your show, to advertise future shows and events!

Reciprocate:  Quilt guilds will distribute your handouts to their members at meetings and you can do the same for them!

JUST BEFORE THE SHOW:  About a week or two before the show CHECK BACK with the local quilt shops to be sure they have a supply of handouts, as their customers are your target market, too.  Keep a few extra handouts on hand for last-minute distribution, but don’t have any left after the show!

Broadcast Media
Radio and television stations (including cable) are a little tougher to crack but you can do it. 
Your biggest advantage in television is that QUILTS MAKE GREAT COLOR IMAGES ON TV.  That, coupled with the people hanging them (and maybe a cute kid for cute kid quotes) should appeal to a TV crew.   Contact them weeks before the show.  Explain that show-hanging days (or quilt-turn-in-day) are the best opportunities for video.  On show hanging day assign a guild member to be their exclusive liaison (read:  handler) so that they can get great video and get their questions answered.   Expect them EARLY in the day because they are on deadline.  Offer them coffee or a cold drink.  Have the show chairman and guild president standing by for interviews.  Be sure they have the liaison’s cell number in case they get back to the studio for editing and need more information.  Verify their spelling and pronunciation of people’s names.

If you can’t interest a TV station, at least get a guild member or guild friend to take some video and upload it to YouTube!

Radio stations don’t need video but they need great interviews, quotes, and sound bites.  Again, contact them early and assign a person to be their liaison.  What are the sounds of a quilt show being hung?  Who can explain what’s happening?  Who is articulate and speaks well? 
Even if a TV station or radio station is not interested in your quilt show, per se, there may be other activities going on in the area which they are covering.  This is why early contact is important and why a contact name and cell number on hanging day or the day of the show are important.  They may be able to incorporate a visit to your show on a news run to a nearby location. 

Finally, many TV and radio stations also have on-line calendars as part of their Internet presence (see print media, above).  Log on to their community calendars and enter your show information months in advance. 

I surely don’t have to discuss the importance of having a guild web site – or blog!  But there are additional options:  A web site or blog exclusively for the show, a social media page (like Facebook) exclusively for the show, other shops, guilds, or organizations that invite you to send them your show details for publicity, community calendars as discussed above, and so many more!  One of the dynamic things about the Internet is that things change and new ideas pop up all the time.  Keep surfing to find them!

EVERY ONE of your guild members should be posting information about the show on their Facebook or blog pages.  This is essential to creating a positive buzz about the show.

Publicity DURING the show – made possible by the Internet!
If you have a show or guild blog, post a few photos and some teaser information every day leading up to the show and every day of the show.  Build interest in attending!

Don’t assume that no one is reading your blog – you’ll be amazed at how many people do!

Local organizations
Chambers of Commerce are an excellent contact, because quilt shows bring visitors to town to shop.  Quilters will not only attend the show, but will eat at restaurants, shop at local stores, buy snacks, and buy gas.  Chambers of Commerce also have great web sites and e’mail distribution lists – get on them!  You don’t need to be a member because your show is benefiting their members and they need to hear about you!

Your members probably belong to other local groups, like service organizations.  Make sure they announce the show at a meeting just prior to the date and have handouts for the members. 
The cost of signage has also come down in recent years, so you can invest in signs; some for the current show only and some generic signs that can be used every year (“Quilt Show Here Today”). 

What kinds of signs?
Banners with grommets – attach with wire or cable ties.
Campaign-style signs – with frames that stick in the ground
Sandwich signs
Readerboards – reserve space with readerboard owners early
Handmade quilted banners
Flutter/feather flags – these are the ones that must be stuck in the ground
Magnetic signs – to display on members’ cars
Hand-lettered signs on posterboard, especially with kids’ artwork!

 Get advance permission to post signs on private or public property.  

Your members may have the perfect place to display signage at their home or business.  Use your internal resources!

Be sure to post signs at your show location in the 2-3 weeks prior to the show. 

Write contact information in small lettering on each sign with an indelible marker.  That way if the wind blows it down the street the person who finds it can give you a call.
Special show attractions
Adding a Featured Quilter (guild member or well-known professional quilter) to your show gives you new avenues for publicity and attracting groups of attendees.

What about a Featured Teacher?  Schedule some classes during your show, if you have the room.  Hands-on, lecture, or make-and-take classes can attract more attendees.

Demonstrations – guild members can demonstrate quilting techniques.  During the show hours and answer questions.  Frankly, these are the people who have the most fun during the show because they get to sit and sew the whole time!  And demos attract beginning quilters, wannabe quilters, and the friends of the demo artist!

Featured charity – ask a local group that makes quilts for children, veterans, or other good causes, to come and have a display and/or demonstration.  They will attract more attendees from among their friends and fans.  Be sure they have a supply of handouts prior to the show!

Member boutique – publicize if there will be finished quilts or quilted gift items for sale at the show.  This attracts folks who don’t want to quilt but who want to buy one!  There are many of these people!

Special guests
Invite a local group or two to be your special guests – with no admission charge – at your show.  Schedule them to arrive and assign them a show docent to take the group around and explain quilting.  This group can range from a kids’ class with teachers, to developmentally disabled adults with their caregivers, to a 4-H club, to local dignitaries (Economic Development Council board?), to whoever you think would make great guests and would go home that night and tell their friends and associates about your show.  Have them come on the first show day!  Or even to the preview party.

Although having vendors at a quilt show is a relatively modern trend, they can be a significant attraction for your show.  Many quilters follow their favorite vendors to shows around the region.   They’ll publicize your show on their web sites, calendars, and at previous appearances.  You also owe your vendors good quality publicity in your show literature – emphasizing that there will be vendors and listing them by name and contact information is good content for your handouts and web site. 

This category is for those wacky things you do that are probably different in every community and create buzz and the expectation of fun at your show.  Here are some quick ideas, but this is where you need to come up with your own!

Establish a quilt walk that ends at your show!  What about quilted footprints on the sidewalk?

Create a quilting scavenger hunt for kids to do at the show and award them a little gift when they turn in their completed sheet.  This makes your show a destination for folks who are looking for something to do with their kids.

Hold an event on National Quilting Day in March (like a flash mob parade…) and show your signs.

March in a local 4th of July or other parade with your show banner.

Invite a celebrity to attend your show on the first day and upload photos and details on your blog.  It creates the impression that “anything can happen” at your show and that people should be there to see what happens next!
Opening Day
Mornings at the quilt shows are the busiest times, so make sure you have multiple lines for collecting an admission charge (if you have one) to avoid making attendees wait.  You want to make the experience for them fun, welcoming, EASY, and exciting. 

Speaking of admission charges, many guilds set their admission charge based on their “revenue requirements” (my old career is showing – this refers to their costs plus the amount of profit they want to earn).  Also consider your admission charge relative to the VALUE you are presenting to attendees.   They want to see a lot of quilts.  They want good parking and easy navigation into and around the show.  They want to see their friends’ quilts and they want to be able to tell their friends about their experience at the show.  Most of all they want INSPIRATION.  Make sure you meet or exceed all these expectations.
These are but a few ideas for you on how to bump up attendance at your show.  Create positive expectations in the community and engage your quilters and quilt-appreciators.  Give them something as special as the quilts you have on display and you’ll have a great show!

Create the buzz!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Quilting by the Bay"

The Moonlight Quilters of Bellingham will hold their biannual quilt show Friday and Saturday, August 24 and 25, at the Boys and Girls Club building:

1715 Kentucky Street, Bellingham

Members are planning a GREAT show with many quilts on display, a tea room, raffle prizes, demonstrations, and vendors!

You know that means Threadmongers will be there!

Check out this web site for more information:

Isn't that quilt above fabulous?  It's the Moonlight Quilters' raffle quilt for 2012 and you can buy a ticket (or two!) at the show. 

Come on out and enjoy the fun!  Meet your friends at the Moonlight Quilters 2012 Quilt Show!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Threadmongers - upcoming quilt shows!

Threadmongers will be at these great quilt shows soon!

Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club
July 20-21-22
Sequim Middle School

Busy Bees
July 27-28-29
Monroe High School

Covington Quilters
August 3-4-5
Cedar Heights Middle School

Moonlight Quilters of Bellingham
August 23-24-25
Bellingham Boys and Girls Club

Cabin Fever Quilters of Port Townsend
September 21-22
Jefferson County Fairgrounds

Sea Pals Quilters of Ocean Shores
September 28-29-30
Ocean Shores Convention Center

La Conner Quilt Festival
October 5-6-7
La Conner Quilt Museum and Maple Hall

Block Party Quilters of Issaquah
November 9-10-11
Issaquah Community Center

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Threadmongers will be in beautiful Tillamook, Oregon THIS WEEKEND!!
2012 Tillamook County Tidal Treasures Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival
Memorial Day Week-end - May 26 & 27, 2012
Tillamook County Fairgrounds
10 am – 4 pm Admission $5.00
Featured speaker – William Volckening
Vendors, Catering by Katie, demonstrations by local artisans.
Quilts and many other beautiful fiber arts on display.
As a bonus - the Tillamook Master Gardeners are having a plant sale at the fairgrounds on Saturday from 9 to 2!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A review: Quilting Safety!

Let’s Review Quilting Safety

Are you like me?  Mesmerized by the process of quilting...I get to working on a project and ignore television, phone, cats wanting dinner, and the next thing you know it’s tomorrow!

But I try to quilt safely every day.  As quilters, we handle potentially dangerous tools in dangerous circumstances.  We owe it to ourselves and to those whom we teach to use the best safety practices.

So let’s review some important quilting safety points:

Rotary cutters, scissors, pins, needles, and other sharp objects (metal or plastic) are a constant hazard.  Handle them all with respect.  The best safety tip for rotary cutting is to close the cutter every single time you make a cut.  If it helps you to use a cutter that closes automatically, that’s a good solution for you.  They drive me crazy.  So I have accustomed myself to pushing the blade protector closed every time I set it down.  I’m so used to it now that I’m uncomfortable if I don’t do it, just as when I’m sitting in the car without my seat belt fastened. 

Take a class in rotary cutter care and feeding.  It’s well worth the time and it is essential for beginners.

I keep close track of the pins and needles I’m using and account for them all when I finish for the day.  Don’t stick them in the chair arm.  Use a handy pin cushion or thread catcher.  You will use fewer pins and get stuck less often.  

Invest in a telescoping magnet to do a quick sweep of the floor around your chair if you drop a pin (or think you have). 

Use a small plastic container for used/bent pins and needles.  A prescription pill bottle works great!  When it is full, the whole thing can go in the garbage without risking a stick.   

Remember to wrap rotary cutter blades for disposal, too.

Don’t share needles with other quilters.  A prick can leave blood on a needle and exchange of body fluids is a bad idea.

I used to have a cat who would pull pins out of the pin cushion with her teeth and spit them out on the floor.  So I got in the habit of tracking all pins carefully and putting all pin cushions in cat-proof storage when not in use.  The first time I saw her do it I almost had a coronary.

Pet-proof your quilting areas with as much care as you would for small children.  Cats are notorious for swallowing thread, which can cause a life-threatening condition.  Use zip-closing plastic bags to store thread and floss for projects in progress, although don’t put textiles in sealed containers for long-term storage. 

“Ironing and pets” is a bad combination.  Large pets can knock over the whole ironing board.  Cats can – and will - jump up on the board and send the iron flying.  That dangling cord is a temptation for pets and kids.  And when you are ironing, be careful stepping backwards to go to the construction area, as that sleeping or hungry pet behind you will cause a fall or mutual injury.

Motors and electricity
A sewing machine needle is powerful.  Ask anyone who has sewn through their finger.  I haven’t, but it’s my greatest fear in quilting.  Use safe practices to keep your fingers away from the needle.  The needle shaft also has things protruding from it that can pound your finger bloody. 

I never leave an iron plugged in, even if it is turned off.  If the iron falls to the floor and breaks open (that pet!), the coils inside can heat and cause a fire.  Never leave the house with the washer or dryer running. 

Irons use more amperage than you think, and more than other small appliances.  It’s best to plug an iron into a circuit by itself.  Using electrical gadgets that require more amperage than the circuit supplies is a recipe for overheated wiring and fire in the wall.  Ask for advice from a professional if you have questions.  Each electrical appliance has the required voltage and amperage printed on it.  Make a list of the items you normally use at one time and add up the amperes required.  If you’re setting up a quilting room or studio, get professional advice on how many circuits of what capacity you need.

Invest some time in reading about ergonomics for quilters and determining the best height and placement for your cutting and sewing surfaces.  Take frequent chocolate breaks, rather, stretching breaks and walk around to give all those muscles a chance to operate.  There are so many options for quilters with regard to chairs, frames, tables, and tools that you can find the right combination to let you quilt for hours without one sore moment! 

In addition to using safe practices for handling your credit/debit cards and money (to avoid identity theft and maybe avoid overspending…) be sure to safely lift those 10 bolts you are taking to the cutting table.  Bend your knees!  Use a cart or a helper.  During a great sale, if you wrest a bolt out of another quilter’s hands, give her/him fair warning and plant your feet firmly.  Don’t twist. 

Be aware of your surroundings whenever walking to and from your car.  It’s always better to shop with a friend.  Put purchases out of sight in your car; if thieves see bags of new items in your car they will break in, regardless of the contents. 

It is easy to get excited about starting a new project or finishing a UFO!  That’s when safety takes a holiday and you become at risk for quilting-related injuries.  Maximize your enjoyment and productivity by planning for safety.  The easiest way to remember safe practices is to say to yourself, “How would I teach a child to do this task right now?” and then follow your own good advice. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Clark County Quilters annual quilt show April 5-6-7

It's time for another explosion of color with "Burst", CCQ's annual quilt show!

Threadmongers will be there - full disclosure - I am a member of this guild!  So I can tell you with authority that this is a guild full of VERY TALENTED and PROLIFIC quilters!  The guild works hard all year to make sure that this show will be a destination for quilters from all over WA and OR.  Come and be inspired!

Vancouver Church of Christ
9019 NE 86th Street
Vancouver, WA
Over 200 quilts to view
Lots of free parking
April 5, 6 & 7, 2012
Thursday 10-5
Friday 10-5
Saturday 10-5

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tri-City Quilters' Guild - Quilt Show March 30-31!

Threadmongers will be a vendor at the popular Tri-City Quilters' Guild show, March 30-31 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick!  This is such a great location and the area is full of talented quilters, ready to show off their hard work!  Come on out and join the fun! 

Here's the link:

Evergreen Piecemakers - Kent, WA March 26th

Here's a quick shoutout to the Evergreen Piecemakers!  They have invited me to speak to them tomorrow night about thread!  We will have fun - the Threadmonger's enthusiasm for thread is shared by many!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kitsap Quilters quilt show Feb. 17-18

Threadmongers will be at the Kitsap Quilters show next month!  Just when we are covered with snow, it is lovely to think about a quilt show that will be looking forward to spring!  Kitsap Quilters always have an amazing show with lots of fun in store.  Come and see them and look for Threadmongers!

February 17-18
President's Hall, Kitsap County Fairgrounds