|Dear Sharp Sewists,
2020 has been, as you are well aware, a depressing and difficult year. Our sewing area, be it a room, a studio, or the kitchen table, has been our retreat, our comfort, our hidey hole from stress. No mask is required, social distancing is easy, loneliness is put aside by the act of creating, and frustration melts away.
Or does it? Are there things that you use frequently while sewing that cause you frustration, perhaps minor, but still there? You don’t need frustration! You need joy and happiness! Let’s take stock of our basic needs and see if they make you happy:
We’ll start with rotary blades. It’s amazing how long you can go without changing a blade. Maybe you find yourself cutting fabric in the same place twice (or more!). Or every few inches it will skip some threads and you have to back and cut them again. These are clues that you need a sharp new blade. You deserve a new blade! A new blade cuts like a hot knife through butter. It will be a joy to cut fabric again. Click here to order. Be happy. If you don’t know how to change a blade, we are glad to show you.
How about your seam ripper? We talked about these a couple or three weeks ago. Is yours dull? A sharp seam ripper will cut through thread without much pressure. Has the point broken off? You will have a hard time isolating those threads. You deserve a new seam ripper! Click here to order. Be joyful.
Pins, too, can get dull. If you are having a hard time pushing a pin into fabric, consider its age and the amount of use it gets. It might be time to replace it. It might be the wrong pin for the fabric you are using. There is a wide variety of pins to choose from these days. If you go to checkerdist.com (Checker) and do a search for “straight pins’, you’ll get 221 results! Different companies overlap with similar items, of course, but still.
So let’s talk about pins, the different types and things to consider when purchasing them. “Quilters’ Pins”, the giant ones with the huge yellow or red heads, are not good for piecing. The plastic heads are too large and will lift the fabric as it approaches the needle of your sewing machine, potentially skewing your seam. The heads are plastic and will melt if touched by an iron. The shafts are thick, which may also distort the seam. Save these pins for pinning quilt layers together or pinning a quilt to a longarm machine leader.
For accurate piecing, look for pins that are slender with small glass or heat-resistant heads. They should be easy to pick up and easy to remove. The length is your choice, whatever makes you happy, but most quilters use very short pins for applique. Flat-head pins, like the ones with the flower head, eliminate the possibility of the fabric being lifted at the machine needle. You may be tempted to sew over them, which machine manufacturers most definitely do not want you to do. They are also more expensive and sold in smaller quantities.
Have you ever tried a forked pin? Use them where you are matching seams to keep the seams from shifting as you sew. Use them for bulky seams and for layers of wool. They are perfect for blocking embroidery or applique blocks on a wool pressing mat. Check them out here.
Your cutting mat can cause you annoyance, too. If you have accidentally put a hot cup of tea on it or left it in the sun, you probably have got a bubble or two. If you cut in the same place all the time, you will have grooves that can cause the blade to skip threads when you are cutting. Perhaps your mat is too small for comfortable cutting, or you need one that swivels. You deserve a new one if any of these things are true! Order yours here.
You spend a lot of time in your sewing area. Make it as pleasant a place to be as you can. Do something for you. Feel better in this crazy world we are living in.
Shopping at Capital Quilts: Please give us a call at 301-527-0598 if you’d like to make an appointment to come shop in the store. You can usually get in the same day. We are no longer making appointments online, only by phone. I’d like to be able to open the shop entirely, but I still feel the need to control the number of people in it in order to protect both you and us. The virus numbers are rising again, and we want to reduce the odds anybody in our quilting and sewing community gets Covid 19. Remember that if anybody on the CQ Staff comes down with the virus, we will have to completely close the shop for at least 2 weeks, as we will all have been exposed.
If you are exposed to the virus and/or get a positive COVID-19 test result, please do not come to the shop, and if you have been to the shop while you may have been infectious, please call the shop so that we may let others know. There is nothing political about this, and there is no judgment from us. We just want to do our best to help stop the virus from spreading and protect our friends and families and community.
We really and truly appreciate your continued patronage and your patience through this pandemic. Your support has been, and continues to be, awesome. You are truly loyal friends! Keep wearing those masks! When your number comes up, get that vaccine! Stay safe.
Go ‘n’ Piece,
We are having some classes in the shop and some on Zoom. We will make the virtual classes 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. 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 Longarm and Pro-Stitcher Clubs will meet on the first Saturday of each month in 2021. We will continue to meet via Zoom, until such time as we can once again meet in the shop. Barbara Bean and Elyse Turkeltaub have done a great job of continuing the clubs during the COVID crisis. Thank you, ladies!
2nd Saturday Club 2021 via Zoom 2nd Saturday Club meets monthly on the 2nd Saturday of each month (really!). In 2021, Betsy Kulamer and Jan Wisor will lead the Club members in an exploration of Tula Pink’s book, City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. You will make 5-10 blocks each month. We’ll talk about techniques for making the blocks, color, quilt layout, and more. Betsy and Jan, who teach/have taught the Complete Course of Quilting here at Capital Quilts, are very experienced quilters who have lots of tips to share and stories to tell. Find more information and register on our website here. You can also register by phone or in the shop. Look for the Supply List online beneath the picture of the quilt.
We’ve gotten permission from Tula Pink to use the City Sampler book in our class, provided that each person buys one. We request that you do not share books and that each person has his or her own Zoom link. It is financially unfair to Tula, the teachers, and Capital Quilts if you do otherwise. Please continue to support our designers, teachers, and your local quilt shop!
Skill Level: Confident beginner and up.
Instructors: Betsy Kulamer and Jan Wisor
Time & Dates: 9-10:30 on the 2nd Saturday of every month, beginning January 9.
Sew Together: Ask an Expert Tired of sewing alone? Join fellow quilters for a virtual quilting bee. Settle into your favorite sewing space with your favorite Zoom-compatible technology for 2-1/2 hours of stitching and chatting. Everyone will have a chance to talk about what they’ve been working on and pose questions to the other quilters. No masks required! Each month, we are inviting a guest who is expert in some aspect of quilting and needlework to join us to answer questions about his or her specialty.
January 15: Jan Wisor discusses tips and tricks from her wide experience with foundation paper piecing.
February 5: Kathy Barden shares her joy in making three-dimensional projects, especially ByAnnie bags.
March 5: our very own Kat Martinez loves improv quilting and shares her knowledge and experience with you.
April 2: Sue Fierston, president of the Nature Printing Society, talks about leaf and fish printing on fabric.
Skill Level: any
Instructor/Moderator: Betsy Kulamer
Time and Date: 6:30-9 on Dec. 4, Jan. 15, February 5, March 5, and April 2.
Demystifying EQ8 via Zoom Learn how to design your own quilts using computer software. Import existing fabrics, make or modify blocks, resize, add borders, play with color…there is so much you can do! In this class, meant for beginners, you’ll learn the basics of how the program works and what the various buttons and functions are.
You must be comfortable using a computer, you must have the Zoom app, and you must have the EQ8 program loaded on your computer. Please contact the shop to purchase EQ8, as I do not stock them and must order one for you. Allow a couple of weeks at least. Thanks!
Skill Level: beginner
Instructor: Elyse Turkletaub
Time and Dates: the class will be taught 3 times; sign up for one. 12-3 on Jan. 10, Feb. 9, March 20
Pro-Stitcher Premium: Getting Started Pro-Stitcher Premium is computer software from Handi Quilter that allows you to design quilting patterns and then stitch them out on your longarm quilting machine. This class goes over the basic functions and structure of the software. Learn how to find pre-loaded designs or import a new design, how to fit the design to your quilt, and how to stitch out the design.
You must be comfortable using a computer and the Zoom app. The instructor will give directions for loading the training software on your computer.
Skill Level: beginner
Instructor: Elyse Turkletaub
Time and Dates: the class will be taught 3 times; sign up for one. 12-3 on Jan. 19, Feb. 16, March 27
Capital Quilts' Complete Course of Quilting: This 10-week quilting course starting Wednesday, January 20th at 6:30pm will teach everything you need to know to start making your own quilts. This course covers the basics: getting to know your sewing machine, rotary cutting, fabric selection, and a variety of techniques for machine-piecing quilt blocks. You make a sampler quilt and learn to sandwich, quilt, and bind your masterpiece. This is the perfect opportunity to explore the quilter’s art, which is both ancient and modern!
Meet the Janome 4120 QDC. This computerized free-arm sewing machine has lots of built-in functionality to make your sewing experience a delight. In addition to Janome basics such as memorized needle up/down, speed control, needle threader, thread cutter, drop feed, and snap-on feet, this machine has twin-needle capability, 120 stitches, 7 buttonholes, stitch pattern memory capability, and an LCD screen with enhanced informational display and touchpad for easy navigation. Standard accessories include 7 feet, bobbins, needles, a seam ripper, and a hard cover.
This machine is in stock. Get yours today!
Also in stock: 5300, 1600, Skyline 3, Air Thread 2000D serger, MyLock 643D serger
The 1050 and the HD3000 will not be available until January at the earliest. The 9450 will hopefully come in at the end of December. If you are interested in any other machine than these listed, please call or email so that I can place the order and get in the queue at Janome! It is still taking time to get these machines into the warehouses, and with COVID surging around the world, it could take even longer.
Tune in to the Handi Quilter Facebook page every Tuesday at 2pm EDT for Handi Quilter’s Watch and Learn Quilting 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 we are offering 15% discount on Wave templates. Stock up today! This offer expires at midnight on Sunday, December 20.
Handi Quilter is currently offering FREE SHIPPING with the purchase of any longarm machine, with the exception of the Moxie. This offer is good through December 21. Please contact the shop to make your purchase.
Longarm quilters: there is a new website you should check out! It’s www.quiltable.com and it is all quilting designs to view and purchase. The digital products include several file types and are intended for robotic quilting systems (not just Handi Quilter). There is an option to join a club and automatically receive new designs every month plus get a discount on other designs throughout the site. See the flyer here.
Handi Quilter is launching a new program called Pro-Stitcher Catalog. Get it through the Handi Quilter website. The program will store, organize, and give you a quick way to find your designs. Heaven on Earth! Use the code HQ1498 to get a $10 discount. You’ll also be supporting Capital Quilts, as we will then get a commission from Handi Quilter. See the flyer here.
Our Handi Quilter Moxie is now fully functional and ready for you to come try. I’ve sold one to a quilter who already owns a Fusion. She said she wants to use it for free motion quilting while the ProStitcher on her Fusion is working on another project. The Moxie is very light compared to the bigger machines and is easy to move around, with less stress to your joints. You can also put a Simply Sixteen on a Loft frame (the one the Moxie uses). You’ll get a little more quilting space and a more sophisticated machine on the smaller frame. If you already have a Simply Sixteen and want to move up to the Loft frame, you can do that. Call me if this is something you’d like to order.
Sew Steady has some new offers for the holiday season, valid through December 31, 2020:
Holiday Dreams Table Package: a 22.5” x 25.5” acrylic table with beveled edges and a blue drawer for notions PLUS a 26” x 26” padded nylon storage bag with pockets. Total value: $249 SALE: $199
Light Up the Holidays Large Table Package: get the best selling 18” x 24” acrylic table with rounded front edge and an 18” printed ruler PLUS a Light Stick and Dry Erase Marker to turn your Sew Steady table into a light box or design board. Total value: $155 SALE: $119
Best Selling Quilting Kit: This ruler work kit special includes a domestic ruler foot, 12” arc template, 6pc Sampler Template Set 1, 8-1/2” 8pt. Crosshair Ruler, and a spacing gauge. In addition, you get Janet’s Ruler Quilt Design eBook, Creative Quilting Inspirations Designing with the Crosshair Rulers eBook by Leonie West, a free printed pattern, and a free Ruler Work 101 online class at the Sew Steady University. Total value: over $270 SALE: $175 Wow! I love all the educational materials. This is a great way to get started quilting with rulers. This offer is valid through January 15, 2021.
NEW AND NOTEWORTHY
The Safety First Mask Panel from Moda has been restocked ($10.99 per panel), and we also have a Holiday mask version ($9.99 per panel)!
We've received an assortment of kitchen towels, $4.99 each. Great for hand or machine appliqué, and other embellishments, just select your favorite fabric and sew a band across the bottom for a quick decorator towel. They can be used for for home decorating, basket liners, curtain valances, tote bags, pillows, and clothing. These high quality tea towels are heavy weight, with twill tape sewn in corner for ease of hanging for all your crafting and home decor needs. 100% Cotton - 20" x 27"
Big Hugs from Henry Glass is inspired by all the brave heroes in the medical field. This adorable line features tossed allover characters, tossed allover first aid kit, a tossed allover cat, a nurse mouse print, and a heartbeat print. This collection is ideal for masks, a fast quilt, a wall hanging, pillows, tote bags or any of your own creative ideas. $11.99 per yard.
Were you hoping for a "handmade holiday", but just never got around to it? We can help! Browse the retired shop models we're willing to let go by clicking here.
Northcott Colorworks solids have been restocked. $9.99 per yard.
CAPITAL QUILTS CARES
Thanks to those who have donated kennel quilts in the last few weeks! Keep them coming! If you are willing to help, please make more for us! Find the directions here. Please be careful of the dimensions of the little quilts; too big or too small and we can’t send them. Drop them off “curbside” at the shop; no need to make an appointment (unless you want to shop, of course!).
We have both pillowcase and kennel quilt kits available, free. Make them at home and return the completed project to us for distribution.
The holidays are close at hand, and we like to give cheerful placemats to seniors and others to brighten their days. If you are willing to make some placemats, we are happy to find them good homes!