"You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking, you are under pressure." Chadwick Boseman
Please help me welcome Paula Hall to our staff. Paula has been a Capital Quilts customer for many years and is a wonderful quilter. We look forward to having her here with us.
Please note that Capital Quilts will be CLOSED this SUNDAY & MONDAY, 9/6 & 9/7.
One of the best things to result from the COVID pandemic is that Capital Quilts has so many new customers. Our community grows bigger, stronger, and more diverse every week. The staff and I are excited about helping you select projects, fabrics, and tools as you expand your sewing skills. We look forward to meeting you in person in the shop and hope that, one day, you will enjoy taking classes and participating in our events, clubs, and other meetings here in the shop.
From speaking with you on the phone or in the parking lot, I am pretty sure that many of our new customers are new to sewing or coming back to it after a long hiatus. I would like to dedicate this newsletter to you, and give you some suggestions, tips, and other helpful ideas that I vaguely remember helping me at the beginning of my journey oh so many years ago.
Find a mentor. For me, it was the mother of my daughter’s school friend. While I am largely self-taught, she was someone who would answer my questions and gently guide me in the right direction when I started going haywire. She taught me how to bind a quilt and, most importantly, as it turned out, introduced me to Capital Quilts.
Get the best machine and the best tools you can afford and learn how to use them properly. I learned how to sew on my mother’s Featherweight, bought a Kenmore at Sears when I got married, bought a Bernina when I started quilting (the Kenmore couldn’t do free motion and didn’t have a walking foot), and started buying Janomes when I became the owner of Capital Quilts. I now sew with the 9450, a top of the line sewing/quilting machine, and I love it. When I started using the Janomes, my children commented on how much more professional my sewing looked. The quality of the stitch and the accuracy I can achieve are far superior to my other machines. It can do many things that I haven’t even explored yet, and that is okay. I think it is better to buy something you can grow into rather than something you will grow bored with after a year or two. A better machine allows you to produce a higher quality product, which will make you feel proud and happy and give you the confidence to keep sewing and growing as a sewist.
Tools are important, too. If you are interested in quilting, you will want to get a rotary cutter, mat, and 24” ruler to begin. Get a cutter that is easy to hold, allows you to change the blade easily, and has a safety feature that protects the blade when not in use so nobody gets cut accidentally. Start with the 45mm size. The mat should be self-healing. The ruler is 6” or 6.5” wide, 24” long, and has markings for at least 1/8” increments. The finer the lines are, the easier it is to do accurate cutting. The more accurate your cutting is, the easier it will be to sew your pieces together and make a quilt top that doesn’t pucker or have seams that are off-kilter. Cutting is the basis for all that follows, no matter what you are sewing. A small inaccuracy at the cutting stage can balloon into a huge problem down the line.
Here’s a tip: when cutting with a rotary cutter, hold the blade perpendicular to the mat. If you hold it at an angle, the blade will cut the fibers of the mat just a little and the mat will wear out a lot faster. When held perpendicularly, the fibers separate to accommodate the blade without being cut themselves. Another tip: keep some butterfly bandages in your sewing area in case you slice your finger with your rotary cutter. Always push the cutter away from you; never pull it toward you, and keep your fingers out of the way. Don’t cut over pins!
Take advantage of books, videos, classes, and whatever else you can find to educate yourself. Be careful, though. Some teachers are better than others and some pattern writers are just plain awful. This is where having a mentor can help. After a while, you will be able to recognize when a teacher is really good and knows his or her stuff.
Today’s best tip: take the Capital Quilts Complete Course of Quilting. We’ve been teaching this class for over 20 years. You will develop good sewing habits, learn all the basic techniques, and be well and truly launched as a quilter.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and explore! You don’t have to make a whole quilt to try out applique or paper piecing. A block or three will suffice. Take a class in the subject. Often hearing the teacher’s tips and tricks will change your mind about a technique. It will turn out not to be as difficult as you thought.
Get involved. While much sewing is done alone at home, it is a community that loves to socialize. Think quilting bees and sewing circles! Quilters are also very giving as a group and actively make items to donate to the less fortunate or otherwise in need. Here at Capital Quilts we have our Capital Quilts Cares program, through which we hold events to make items such as quilts for shelters and children in hospitals, placemats for Meals on Wheels or senior centers, kennel mats for animal shelters across the country, pillowcases, and much, much more. We are also a Quilts of Valor (QOV) chapter. Join a guild. You will find friends with the same passion you have and ways to participate in your community.
I will have more tips and information for you in future newsletters.
Our Gallery is once again open! When you visit the shop, be sure to stroll through and admire the COVID19 Challenge quilts. You may recall that Capital Quilts provided 1 yard of fabric and asked each participant to express in a project how they were feeling about the pandemic and the shutdown.
We really and truly appreciate your patronage and your patience through this pandemic. Your support has been awesome. You are truly the best customers ever!
Go ‘n’ Piece,
HANDI QUILTER EVENT
I am tentatively scheduling a Handi Quilter Event here in the shop on September 25 and 26. The four classes will be led by Handi Quilter National Educator Diane Henry. Diane lives locally and feels comfortable teaching a small group. We would, of course, wear masks and sit socially distanced. Each class will be limited to 6 people.
There will be four 3-hour-long classes, one each morning and one each afternoon. The first class, on Friday morning, is for those of you who have been making quilt tops like crazy since March and are now ready to quilt them! It is called “Taking the Mystery Out of Longarm Quilting” and is an introduction to the Handi Quilter longarm machine, with information about thread, needles, loading fabric on the frame, and basic quilting techniques. This class is perfect for those of you who would like to know more about longarm quilting.
Friday afternoon’s class is called “Design Your Quilting for the Whole Quilt”, which will get into planning and marking your design, developing a design library of background fills, and making borders fit without measuring. Move beyond edge-to-edge quilting and learn how one motif can be broken down to complement each area of your quilt. Explore fillers both modern and classic.
Saturday morning we’ll have a class called “Using Rulers and Templates”. Diane will talk about using rulers safely, then discuss the different designs you can produce with different rulers and how to mark for them. You’ll get a chance to try various rulers at the machine.
Our last class, on Saturday afternoon, seeks to stir your imagination. It is called “Jumping into Improvisation Quilting”. Looking at your fabric motifs, the shapes of your blocks, and even using surprising thread colors can all be used to quilt in unexpected ways. Topics include drawing and transferring simple designs to your quilt, using straight lines to create drama, adding unexpected designs, using marked grids as a foundation, and drawing inspiration from fabric prints.
In every class Diane will give you lots of tips and tricks. The outlines of the classes above are just the beginning of the information she will impart. You’ll have a great time and learn lots.
Each class is $75. Register online or by calling the shop at 301-527-0598.
Note: I will be keeping an eye on the progress of the pandemic between now and the end of September. If metrics become unfavorable, I will cancel the event and refund your money.
I am also counting on you to be responsible about not coming to the event if you have been exposed to the virus within 2 weeks of the event or if you are feeling in any way unwell or someone in your household is unwell. Let’s protect each other! Thank you in advance.
This will be our first attempt at an in-store class since March. If it goes well, I will consider having other classes here at the shop. Fingers crossed!
Like so many schools, we are electing to not hold classes in the shop right now but to have virtual learning instead. We will make this as easy as we can for you, sending you a link to the Zoom class. All you have to do is add the Zoom app to your computer, IPad, or other device so that you can open the link and participate in the class.
Class size will be limited, at least at first, while our teachers become familiar with using Zoom. As before COVID, you can sign up online, by phone, or in the shop if you are here on a shopping appointment. Class descriptions are found below and on our website. Each class will have a supply list; look for this on our website: click on “Class Calendar in the blue bar at the top of the home page. Find the class on the calendar and click on that, then scroll down to the bottom left of the page to find “Supply List” and click on that.
THE CAPITAL QUILTS COMPLETE COURSE OF QUILTING: This course is designed to teach you everything you need to know to make a quilt, from how to use your sewing machine to fabric selection to sewing on the label. Learn a new technique each week, including cutting, pressing, set-ins, paper-piecing, and more. You will make a sampler quilt incorporating all the major quilting techniques, and then learn how to sandwich, quilt, and bind your masterpiece. It is the perfect opportunity to start at the beginning and learn one step at a time. This class will have 10 meetings on Zoom and 1 meeting with the instructor in the shop, one-on-one, to go over using your machine and selecting fabrics for your project. Please plan to wear a mask in the shop. You must have your own sewing machine. There will be homework!
This class will be held mainly on the Zoom platform; some classes may be held in the shop. Please download the supply list well before the 1st class to be sure you can meet the technological requirements and have materials on hand for the class. Note that you must have your own sewing machine and that it must be in good operating condition.
Meets on 10 Wednesdays beginning on September 9, 6:30-8:30. The last class is on November 18. Betsy Kulamer, instructor. $275. Limited to 6 participants. Skill level: beginner.
AccuQuilt is offering $90 off the Go! Big, Ready. Set. GO! Ultimate Fabric Cutting System, and Ready.Set.Go! cutting machines during the month of August. This is a mail-in rebate available only through retailers (not on the AccuQuilt website); get your rebate form with your purchase at Capital Quilts.
September 3-8: Take 15% off any GO! die priced 59.99 and up (in-store only).
AccuQuilt introduced 3 new dies last week. They are “Starry Path”, a 9” finished die; “Snail’s Trail”, 8” finished; and “Maple Leaf”, 8” finished. If you would like to order any of these dies, please let me know and I’ll get them in the shop.
Coming September 22: AccuQuilt is introducing the English Paper Piecing Qube. The Qube includes 8 dies, 4 for fabric and 4 for papers. The shapes are the hexie, half hexie, diamond, and equilateral triangle, with 1” finished sides. Get a free book, “English Paper Piecing Made Easy” by Katja Marek when you purchase the Qube. Pre-order yours today!
Meet the Janome 2222. This entry-level mechanical sewing machine is a perfect machine for a new sewer. It has 22 stitches, a one-step buttonhole, an auto-declutch bobbin winder, front-loading vertical bobbin, and a maximum stitch width of 5mm. The feet snap on and off. The free arm allows easy access to sleeves and other tight places. You can drop the 5-piece feed dogs for free-motion quilting. There is a built-in needle threader. It comes with a dust cover and at just 13 lbs. is also a perfect machine for travel.
Capital Quilts has 2 of these machines in stock.
Also in stock: the MC 9450 QCP. This machine is designed particularly for quilters, with an 11” throat space, built-in quilting stitches, and automatic foot lift. Click here to check out all the features on the Janome website. It is a fabulous machine! Call us to discuss pricing.
Special Financing Promotion: from August 18-September 8, 2020, Handi Quilter is offering $0 down and 0% financing with Free Shipping. This is a great time to buy a longarm quilting machine or a Pro-Stitcher!
Handi Quilter has renamed their Facebook Live series from Shop@Home Event to Watch and Learn Quilting Show. Tune in to the Handi Quilter Facebook page every Tuesday at 2pm EDT for the show, which features tips, tricks, and tutorials on Handi Quilter products with limited-time special pricing and a give-away to a random live attendee. They announce a special on a different machine or accessory each week. If you can’t watch the Tuesday show, go to the HQ website and enjoy the “And I Quilt” series of videos. You can still get the special pricing on the week’s product through Sunday.
This week, take $50 off the My Secret Drawer.
IN-STORE SHOPPING AT CAPITAL QUILTS
We continue to offer shopping by appointment here in the shop, and remain closed to casual walk-in traffic. Please click here to make an appointment. Need more than 25 minutes? Book 2 consecutive time slots! Please be sure to carefully read all the rules we have around in-store shopping, and know that the staff is wiping down surfaces frequently with disinfectant.
Pro shopping tip: if you know you need needles, elastic, thread, or other items that do not require an in-person appointment, go ahead and order them online!. Specify curbside pickup, and you can pick those things up when you come for your appointment, and then you can spend all your time enjoying the fabric!
If you are unable to come to your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can fill that time slot.
CAPITAL QUILTS CARES
We are collecting scrub caps for nurses and respiratory therapists at a local hospital. Wearing PPE all day can be depressing, and medical workers love to perk up their day with happy or silly scrub caps. The requesting doctor received one from her mother that she loves! She made a few more for herself, and knowing what a lift it gives her, is hoping to share the love. There is no restriction on the pattern to use, but she likes Milly's Tie Scrub Hat Pattern from Brimming with Love. It's a woman's hat with enough room to tuck long hair up into. Twelve Bees has a great video and pattern for making a men's scrub hat. (Not necessarily men, but for people with short hair.) 2 hats from just a hair over a 1/3 of a yard. (12.5 inches)
We also have free pillowcase kits available that you can sew at home. They are a wonderful beginner project to do with children. The kiddos will learn some sewing skills and stay busy, too! We can mail them to you or you can pick them up curbside. Return the finished pillowcases to the shop (when you can; there is no rush), and we will donate them to Ryan’s Case for Smiles when the appropriate time comes.
Small Kennel Quilts are always accepted for donation. These small quilts are sent to shelters and rescues all over the country, and are a great beginner project, or a way to practice your free motion quilting skills. 150 of these small quilts were recently sent to California and the Carolinas; more are being sent to Texas and Louisiana this week.
NAVIGATING THE ONLINE STORE
For those of you who are computer-challenged, click here for a quick tutorial on getting to and through our online shop using a laptop or desktop computer. (Smart phones and tablet screens may vary.)
We have had a few people call to say that they are having trouble getting PayPal to work or to make a selection or are having other issues when they use the Capital Quilts online store. If this happens to you, try refreshing your browser. That often solves the problem. Don’t forget to click on “I am not a robot”, and select the method of delivery (shipping/curbside), too. If you continue to have a problem, please contact the shop at 301-527-0598.
We have all made a mask or two (or 50, or 200, or…), and would like to share our favorite patterns, and some tips and tricks we’ve discovered along the way. Click here for all the details! (By the way, some of our customers are now offering completed masks for sale on our website, if you aren't interested in sewing one yourself.) All our mask-making supplies are grouped together for easy browsing here.
SEWING MACHINE MAINTENANCE
We are able to accept all brands of sewing machines for cleaning and tune-ups. To take advantage of this service, go to our website and sign up for machine repair. Bring your machine to the shop. We will take it in and wipe it down with a disinfectant (safe for sewing machines). We will let you know it is ready for pick-up and wipe it down again before we give it to you. Our technicians are working as quickly as they can, but both have essential day jobs. Machine servicing wait time is currently estimated at 2-3 weeks after drop-off.
If your machine is broken, be sure to write that in the notes section. We are not always able to get parts for machines other than Janome, but we will contact you before proceeding. If you want the technician to call you with an estimate before making the repair, please put that in the notes section as well.
NEW AND NOTEWORTHY
If you know a child with an appetite for exploration and adventure, City Hoppers will take them on a magical journey of discovery. Explore the City In The Sky, or join bunny and friends as they zip through the streets of Happy Town. Panel, $9.99 each; coordinates, $12.99 per yard.
Sue Zipkin has created Midnight Glow, a Halloween line for Clothworks. Her colorful, playful artwork is fresh and sophisticated with a sassy bent. $12.99 per yard.
Sew 44 gorgeous gifts and 24 stunning quilts from your Jelly Roll stash. All the techniques needed are clearly explained step by step, and all the required templates are given at the back of the book. The Joy of Jelly Rolls by Carolyn Forster, MSRP $19.95, CQ price only $17.96.
Why settle for one way to layout your blocks? Twist & Turn Block Quilts has an extra option with each pattern, but that's only the beginning. These fun quilt blocks have endless possibilities. These eight patterns can be twisted and turned to create more quilts than you will ever make. MSRP $9.99, CQ price only $8.99.
Kick tension problems to the curb and say goodbye to presser foot problems with the Sewing Machine Reference Guide! This pocket-size guide helps you troubleshoot your sewing machine on the go. Quickly fix issues with needles, threaders, buttonholes, tension, and more. MSRP $19.95, CQ price only $17.96.
Debbie Shores Sewing Room Secrets Quilting is packed with hints and tips for successful quilting and will walk you through every aspect of your sewing journey. The book contains a comprehensive trouble-shooting section to reassure and guide beginner sewists when they encounter problems, along with a glossary to debunk any unfamiliar terms. MSRP $16.95, CQ price only $15.26.