Well today was my grand daughter's 6th birthday and Mima had promised she would teach her how to sew when she was six.
I bought a child's sewing machine made by White with 2 speeds, a foot pedal and button control, bobbins...the whole nine yards. I tried it out and it sure made me appreciate my Pfaff and Singer Featherweight. This little thing is soooo noisy but it does the job.
My daughter, Crystal, dropped Bailey off on her way to work (7:30am). We ate breakfast watched a movie she brought with her. I asked if she would like to go to my studio and she eagerly ran up the steps. She opened the door and there on a small table was her present. She squealed with joy and the lessons began.
I was very pleased with her concentration and ability to remember the basics...always rotate the fly wheel toward you, keep your fingers away from the needle, press lightly on the foot pedal. She started with sewing along the lines on paper to get her used to the foot pedal.
I had her sit in front of me and I placed her hands where they should be, had her step on the foot pedal and helped her guide the fabric under the needle. With my help she pieced together a quilt top for her cat, Jack. I found a backing and batting, helped her sandwich, pin and sew it together. We turned it right side out, closed the opening and top stitched around the edge.
We went down for lunch and we barely were done when this little voice asked me if we could sew again. Back up we went and this time I let her do her own thing. She chose some squares and started sewing them together. Except for one time she asked me to rip out a seam she sewed the top together herself. She is having difficulty with guiding the fabric through the machine so if anyone has any ideas how to teach her to sew a straight line I would appreciate your comments.
Here's a picture of the first project from the Littlest Quilter.
Once a year the Checkers Distributors host an Open House for their wholesale clients. This is the second year we have attended. The warehouse is located in Maumee IL which is not far from here.
They also run school house classes one of which was lead by the originator of the Row by Row Experience. The response to this years' Row by Row Experience was outstanding. Over 1000 stores participated including over 80 from Ontario.
We have had more than 900 visitors participating in the Row by Row Experience and .... in the July Shop Hop. We are so blessed to have loyal staff who have gone above and beyond this summer. we were blind sided by the response and had to scramble to print patterns and find fabrics as the kits were snatched up.
We had an ulterior motive to visit the AQS show in Grand Rapids. It seems the USA is always ahead of us in patterns, notions, fabrics, etc. This was a great way to check the stores across the border.
We also wanted to check out how and what stores were displaying in their booths. We found that civil war themes and Americana were quite prevalent. We as Canadians don't do a lot of flag waving even though we should. We as a country are awesome!
Okay back to the show. We were impressed with the quilts we saw. I wish we would have more time at the show. We were disappointed to find no new fabrics but we did find a few patterns that impressed us.
Linda and I set out on our adventure on Friday, August 22. We were accompanied by our sister Lois and Alyssa our business consultant and friend. Every time I travel it always seem to be drive till you get to your final destination...no stopping except for the call of nature. Not this time.
We made two stops before we crossed the border in Sarnia. We stopped at The Marsh Store in Cold Stream. It's been years since I had been there and it was nice to be greeted by the same Golden Retriever. The store had changed and I was delighted to find a Batik that will end up in my Mariner's Compass.
Our next stop was Sew Creative in Mount Brydges where I again found another Batik for my Mariner's Compass. I just might find the last few accents before our workshop.
After a long wait at the border we stopped at Sew Elegant in Port Huron. The last time I was there I was overwhelmed by the number of bolts. There were rows of bolts in front of shelves so it was very difficult to find anything. They had neatened up the store. If you are looking for an older fabric you might try there. I must admit I found another Batik.
Mary Maxim was our next stop where I purchased a crocheted sweater kit.
It was on to Grand Rapids and the Amway Grand Plaza. Wow!!! If you ever have a chance to stay in Grand Rapids book into this hotel.
This is a picture from the door.
Well we gave in. We have been dragged kicking and screaming as we realized a way to increase productivity in the service side of the business was to purchase a computerized system for my machine.
Pantographs are very repetitious and physically draining. It's a whole new learning curve for us but the computerized system would release us, when it's quilting, to concentrate on another side of the business. The machine was sitting empty too long as I did this side of the business.
IQ dealers Steve & Crystal Karley installed and trained us in the IntelliQuilter we had chosen. We are quite excited about how this will improve our service to clients.
We still look forward to many challenges in the custom quilting side of our business. Linda said she would let me borrow her machine.
I never thought we would get through this week, but with the help of family, friends, clients, and loyal employees everything came together in the end. It was a mad dash to the end if I do say so myself but the long hours, the frayed nerves and tempers (not many of those thank heavens) did us all in. Now we need to relearn our store, our stock and our customers.
We wanted to change the store for a few years now but never seemed to have the time or direction needed to take on this Herculean task. Well the answer came in the form of one of our customers, namely Alyssa Light. At times like this I'm happy I talk too much (according to Linda) as I was checking Alyssa out (her sales that is) and I mentioned we had been looking for someone for years to guide us through the business side of our partnership but we didn't feel the people we had met were the proper fit with. We felt had the creative side of the business but not the organizational side of the business. Guess what! That's what Alyssa does. I set up a meeting with Alyssa, Linda and the rest is history or at least history in the making as there is still a lot to organize in behind the scenes.
Charles Alfred William Powell 1924 -2014
Our Father past away peacefully on Friday May 16th at the age of 90.
As I think about our family, our Mother, our sisters, our brother and spouses, I realize our family has been very blessed. We all have our varied talents, some overlap but each are unique. We are like the many fabrics that go into the quilts Linda and I create. They are beautiful on their own but fantastic when pieced together with love. Now that Dad is gone he is like the back of the quilt. Not seen but very present and always there to support us, to remind us of our background and beliefs. The love of our God is the binding which is ever present and holds us all together. Thank you for being the husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather that we could come to with our successes and failures. You told us many times you were proud of us and we are very proud of how you lived your life and kept your Faith over the years. We know God was waiting with open arms to welcome you home at last.
Friday March 28/14
To begin with, journaling or blogging is a new experience for me so bear with me as I get the hang of it.
I have been asked many times 'Do I prewash my fabrics?'. I do wish I could say 'Why yes, I prewash every scrap of fabric that comes into my home studio'. Unfortunately, I am a very impatient person when it come to starting a project.
I get an idea and I want to start immediately which means many other projects get pushed to the side to wait for the inspiration or frame of mind to finish it. My sister, Linda and business partner since 1988, can attest to that as I believe she knows me best (sometimes I think better than my husband).
Okay, back to the prewash or not to prewash. I have been known to prewash dark fabrics such as burgundy, navy, black and reds These seem to be the worst offenders.
I have found a way around prewashing for me in the form of Shout Color Catchers. These are not available in Canada but I do bring a supply back from the States every time I can and sell them in the store. You put a single sheet of this product in the wash cycle. It attracts any dye released from the fabrics so it does not reattach itself back to other fabrics in the wash. This product is also great for students at College or University who do one load of wash and end up with pink Tshirts underwear.
Prewashing is a preference rather than a rule so if you feel better prewashing do so.