Let’s learn about needles – Troubleshooting and Changing

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Last week I talked about Needle Sizes,  this week we are going to talk about troubleshooting your needle problems..

All of this information is courtesy of Schmetz.

Important Points to Remember

  • Needles DO NOT last forever, they should be replaced approximately every 8 hours
  • The eye of the needle should be 40% larger than the diameter of the thread
  • When going to a larger size of thread, a larger needle should be used
  • Use the appropriate needle for the type of fabric being sewn
Problem Causes Solutions
Upper Thread Breaks Incorrect threading
Knots or twists in thread
Tension too tight
Damaged/old needle
Needle too small
Rethread machine properly
Replace thread
Reset bobbin and top thread tension
Replace needle
Use correct needle for thread and application
Bobbin Thread Breaks Bobbin case incorrectly threaded
Bobbin case incorrectly inserted
Bobbin does not turn smoothly in bobbin case
Lint in bobbin case
Bobbin tension too tight
Remove bobbin and re-thread with bobbin turning clockwise
Remove and re-insert bobbin case
Check that bobbin case and bobbin are in “round”; replace if necessary
Clean bobbin case and surrounding machine area
Check and reset bobbin tension
Skipped Stitches Thread tension too tight
Needle damaged
Needle wrong size
Sewing machine out of adjustment
Reset top and bobbin tension
Replace needle
Use correct needle size
Have sewing machine adjusted for timing; hook to needle clearance; needle bar height
Frayed Stitches Needle too small
Tension too tight
Damaged thread
Increase needle size
Reset tension
Replace thread
Thread Loops on Bottom Thread not in top tension
Machine incorrectly threaded
Top tension too loose
Burr on hook mechanism
Rethread machine with presser foot “up”
Rethread machine incorporating take up lever
Reset top tension
Remove burr
Irregular Stitches or Malformed Stitches Wrong needle size
Incorrect threading
Upper tension too loose
Operator pulling fabric
Bobbin wound unevenly
Ensure correct needle for fabric & thread
Un-thread machine and carefully rethread
Reset lower and upper thread tension
Check presser foot pressure
Rewind bobbin
Fabric Puckers Excessive stitch length
Needle point is blunt
Excessive thread tension
Fabric is too soft
Thread displacement — too much thread in a small area
Fabric not feeding
Decrease stitch length
Change needle often
Check bobbin and upper tension
Use stabilizer
Decrease field density; scale embroidery designs; increase stitch length
Check presser foot, needle plate, feed dogs

Tune in two weeks to learn about the life of your needle.  Or you can take a look at the Schmetz website and learn for yourself!  Why two weeks?  Because next Saturday is April Fool’s Day!  One of my favorite holidays of the year.  The post will be a little later in the day while I find some good pranks to share with you.

-Toni


New Camelot Fabrics

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In my Twitch Stream the other day I talked about some of the amazing new fabric that Camelot is coming out with.  It reminded me that I need to share these fabrics with you!  Today I am going to share the Guardians of the Galaxy line coming out in June.

They even have free patterns that you can use the fabric to make!

I am so excited to see these in person!!

-Toni

 

 


DIY with Scrapbook Paper

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Hello Thursday Readers,

One thing I never got into but always sort of wished had the time for was scrapbooking. I love all the pretty things that you can do with it and the papers, the lush papers are amazing and there are some pretty easy DIY projects that you can do for your home or for a gift that would look just amazing. This is a very quick one, and doesn’t require a lot of time or skill to do, just the materials. I am actually going to combine two DIY ideas from a lovely person I have featured here before called the Nomadic Decorator.

For this DIY you’ll just need an adhesive like Mod Podge (though she actually recommends Aleene’s Tacky Glue instead, because it is less wet and will help the paper stay flat. She also recommends trying a spray adhesive). You will need pieces of amazing 12×12 scrap paper – and the heavier weights and thicker papers are recommended.You will also need some 12×12 wooden panels, which you might find at your local craft stores. at a local hardware store, or  you can order them online at places like this. Though this DIY is very simple, your materials and technique are what will really make it pop on your wall.

All you need to do is paint the sides of your exposed wood, and then brush a layer of glue onto the panel. Place the scrapbook paper on the glue and then use a ruler, a credit card or really anything with a sharp, flat edge to start from the centre and work your way outwards to press out the bubbles that may have formed under your craft paper. You can seal it if you’d like, and you can seal it very well with an outdoor sealant if you’d like to decorate an outdoor (but not too exposed to the elements) place. And that’s it! You can make as many as you want to cover however big a space you’d like. I love that these are so easy and that you can do this to suit your style.

There’s an extra step that you can do if you’d like to dress it up and make these a little bit more lush.You can use this other tutorial to stencil your scrapbook hangings to bring a little metalic or whatever other color you’d like onto your scrapbook hangings. This new tutorial shows you how to make one bigger hanging but I love the idea of using a stencil on a couple of these smaller ones as part of a whole to give a little extra pop. I especially love the metallic.

You’ll need a few extra tools – a stencil brush and stencil, paint and a bowl (with a paper towel) for blotting so you don’t goop all over the stencil. If you need help with stenciling, there are plenty of ideas here. Basically, I would recommend applying some beautiful stencils (that you can order online or find at a craft store) after everything is dry, but before you seal your work. I would also recommend doing a couple pieces as an eyecatcher rather than doing each individual square, unless you’re planning on following the tutorial to create one big one.

I hope you enjoyed this simple but really lovely and lush marriage of these two tutorials. I love, love, love simple tutorials that look so much more involved than they are for a really impressive result.

Enjoy, and happy crafting!

~ Megan


Gearing Up for Show Season, Part 3

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. In previous Wednesday posts, I have brought up how to apply for shows, what to do for Juried events and photos, and what questions to ask an event to determine if its a good fit for you. Once you apply, and receive an acceptance, what next?

Creating stock for the event. Generally, think about the theme of the show, the demographics and buying power of customers likely to attend an event. If there are special guests or celebrities, consider whether items inspired by them should be something you offer. A wide variety of pricing can also help. The rule is enough stock to refill your table 3-5 times.

Make sure your display is tasteful, geared toward the event, and something easily visible to customers. It should never overpower your stock. If using tables, consider table lifts. They are easy to make or buy, and raise the tables enough so that customers don’t have to bend too far to see what you have. Organize your things, and have price tags or price signs out. Many customers don’t want to ask the cost of items- they may simply walk away and assume they can’t afford what you have. A sign across the front of your table or hanging on a display behind you will help with customers that are farther away. If at an art or craft show, having a banner across the top bar of your tent, or framed is a nice touch. Make sure it includes a logo or photos, along with contact information such as websites, email or social media links.

Invest in good business cards, shopping bags in paper or plastic, wrapping tissue, bubble wrap, boxes, or other packing materials for customer purchases. Unless you are selling bags or purses, most customers want their purchases wrapped. Buying handmade implies a higher level of service, so make sure that every part of the purchase is a pleasant one. If you want to make reusing or recycling part of your concept, offer newspaper, saved bags, or them about going green. Make sure you can take credit cards, because it will account for a significant number of your sales.

Before your show, its also a good idea to make sure you utilize social media to its full potential. Advertise the show, share photos of the art available, and make sure to publish directions and a map to your space. When at the show, walk around, talk with other artists and vendors, and network. Many times you can share customers, or direct them to someone who may sell something you don’t make. It is a small community, and it helps everyone when you are nice.

Next week, we can talk about pricing your items for your event!


Birds of a Felted Feather

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Perhaps it’s my bias towards sewing skills, but felt and embroidery projects always catch my eye. It’s like my brain is playing a Where’s Waldo type game but with fabric and thread without telling me. 😛 It’s no wonder I easily came across these awesome felt sculptures as a result.

Jill Ffrench, is the owner and artisan of Fantails and Feet, a custom felt sculpture artist that makes beautifully expressive birds out of felt, thread, wire and wax. While you can see she has a passion for peacocks, her entire collection of birds is simply lovely.

I especially love the extra detailing the feathers get to selectively make them pop, but they’re all wonderful. If you’re a bird lover, or know someone who is, I definitely recommend giving this shop of fine feathered friends a look over.


Blinded by the Light!

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Hey Hackers!

It’s me, Scribe Sarah, filling in again on our fantabulous blog. Today, I wanted to enlighten you regarding some truly inspiring work from a company out of Seoul, South Korea; WyseFactory!

First, let me tell you a little about this company. They are a distribution brand of Wyse & Control Corp, which has been in business since 2008. WyseFactory joined the Etsy-sphere in 2016 and offers a plethora of items from handbags to mugs to light fixtures. All items are handmade with an incomparable skill and passion. Honestly, you can tell from the products that they are lovingly crafted.

While there are a myriad of pieces on their Etsy shop (link provided at the end of the article), the ones I really wanted to bring to your attention are the metal craft table lamps. There are not many of them, however, they are true works of indelible art.

These lamps are crafted from a variety of metals including copper, iron, and aluminum. They also utilize metal items such as nuts, bolts, and screws in the design. Not only is this a unique way to repurpose old metal objects, it also provides a space with an inimitable piece of handmade art. These lamps help lend a kind of “Wall-E” feel to your office or living space. There is the ETY Muscle Man, the ETY Explorer, and the ETY no. 1 (my personal favorite). Each of these lamps features movable, poseable joints that can be tightened to maintain a specific posture. They can be powered by 12V power adapter down to a USB adapter. None of these lamps is too large and they are adaptable to really any small space.

Metal Craft LED Table Lamp - ETY Muscle Man / Free Shipping

In addition to providing much needed light to an area, these adorable little metal men give the sense of having your very own robot friend or assistant. They watch over your work, whether that be cross-stitching or writing, offering a silent sort of support in all your endeavors.

If you love unique crafts, please check out WyseFactory’s Etsy shop.
And special thanks to Nicole for pointing me in the direction of this charming shop and its fare!

Scribe Sarah

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An Abundance of Blooms

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Happy Sunday, all!

Supposedly tomorrow is the first day of Spring here and while the temperature may not reflect that, the amount of sun has definitely improved! It makes me think of green grass, warm breezes, and flowers. Fragrant blossoms arching toward the bright light, full of color and beauty. It’s a bit early for them, though, so what’s a girl to do? How about we make some of our own? I’ve always admired the colors and realism achieved when creating coffee filter flowers:

With a little swipe of essential oil around the sides, these could also give off a delightful scent!

During my spring cleaning, I found an awful lot of stray buttons. We could always make some button flowers:

Perhaps to be made into badges or hair clips?

Or maybe you still have some fabric scraps laying around from other projects and rather than the roses in our Spring Cleaning tutorial, you want some cute little flowers for embellishment:

These would also be great for hair ornaments!

Of course, there is always room for a little bit of crochet so why not some pretty petals of yarn:

These could be placed on a bag or blanket or whatever catches your fancy.

Oh it just makes me think about all of the warm days to come! I sure hope they show up soon.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Let’s learn about Needles – Needle Sizes

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Last week I talked about the anatomy of the needle.  Today we are going to look at the different types of needles and what you use them for.  All of this information is courtesy of Schmetz and Generations Quilt Patterns.

When a quilter talks about sewing machine needle sizes, they’ll say, “It’s an 80” or “It’s a 12” or “It’s an 80/12”.

Just what exactly do those numbers mean?

The Sizing Systems

The sizes are found on the front of the packaging (circled in red to the right).

That first number is the Number Metric (shown as NM). This system was set up in the 1940’s to standardize needle sizes.

It is simply the diameter of the needle shaft in millimeters multiplied by 100 to get rid of the pesky decimal places. That means that our standard “80” needle is really .80mm in diameter. (You’re glad you asked, right?)

What it means to you as a quilter is:

The larger the needle size, the stronger and thicker the shaft.

So where does the ’12’ of the 80/12 name come from?

It is nothing more than the merging of two measuring systems. The ’12’ comes from the corresponding Singer or US needle system. The ’80’, as we’ve learned, is the diameter of the shaft in millimeters multiplied by 100.

Next week I will talk about trouble shooting needle problems and how often you should change them.

Would you like to save and carry any of this information about needles?  Schmetz has their own app!  It has all of the information we have shared here plus more.  Download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

-Toni


Happy St Pattys Day!

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Happy St Patty’s Day!  I figure today is a good day to look at one of my favorite quilt patterns, the Celtic Knot.

Ancient-Symbols.com explains the significance behind the Celtic Knot.

Interwoven patterns first made an appearance in the handicrafts of the Roman Empire. In the third and fourth centuries AD, knot patterns were first seen—an art form that was soon adapted to mosaic floor patterns too.  In or around 450 AD, before the Celts could be influenced by Christianity, Celtic culture took the form of knots, spirals, plait, braid, step and key patterns to depict richly symbolic seven creations.

Celtic Knots are complete loops with no beginning and no end.  So of course it was natural to make them into quilts!  Here are a few patterns I found so you can make a Celtic Knot of your own.

 

 

There are many different ways to make a Celtic Knot Quilt.  If you have made one, share it with us!

-Toni

 


Tinted Decorative Glass

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Hey there Thursday readers!

Well, where we’ve just had Pi day, and it is indeed March, it’s snowy here, where I live, and it doesn’t look like the snow is going to stop anytime soon. Does that mean we shouldn’t be looking at spring focused DIY? Not at all! What better way than to do a craft that can be used for flowers and decor or for lining window ledges to get a smattering of colour. I am bringing for you a super easy tutorial for making tinted glass. Now, usually you see this kind of thing done in the form of beach glass, where glass jars are done in an aqua colour. This one is a little different because the tints used are really nice and vintage – like antique medicine bottles. I have used the tutorial from Fancy that Design House, and of course there many tutorials floating around, but as I said, I loved the colours that were chosen for these jars, and I love how easy it is.

I love the look of these and they’re so easy and can be used as really beautiful accents to any rustic decor, or to sit on windowsills to tint the light coming in. I also love that you can just save your old pasta, jam, mason or any jars you fancy to use for this, so it can be done on the cheap.

You will need some supplies, but they are minimal and you might just have them laying around the house. If you don’t, Mod Podge (or a similar craft adhesive) can be bought at almost any  craft store, and then the others you can pick up at any grocery store. Just make sure that outside of the jars, mod podge and food colouring that you also supply yourself with mixing bowls, some newspaper to cover your work area and to line a baking sheet (rather than using rather expensive parchment paper), a baking sheet, paper towels, and a stir stick or spoon. You’ll also be heat blasting them in an oven, so, you’ll need access to one of those too.

 

Your first step is to mix Mod Podge, water and food colouring in a small mixing bowl. For just one jar, you’ll need about 1 tbsp of mod podge with about 1/2 tbsp of water, so depending on how many jars you will be doing, you’ll need to bulk up your recipe as necessary. In this bowl you’ll also want to mix your food colouring. Depending on the colours that you’re wanting to do, you can start with a more green colour, and add drops of food colouring as you go to give you variations in your colouring so that you don’t have to make separate batches of the goo to have different colours. Just add a drop of whichever colour moves you after each one. Though the goo might look gross, rest assured when it dries it will be a glorious antiqued browish colour.

You will also need to prep a baking sheet by lining it with newspaper. You’re now ready to pour the gross looking goo mixture into your jar and rotate it around so that the inside gets completely covered. Be ready with a paper towel when you get to the mouth of the jar, to catch any dribbles as you reach the edge, and make sure that all the glass is covered or you’ll have a bald spot.

Put your covered jar upside down on the covered baking sheet and repeat the steps above if you’re doing more jars. Remember to change up your colour mix a little! You want to let your jars sit upside down for about an hour so that any extra goo can run down the sides and exit. This will also help prevent streaks.

In the meantime, prepare another baking sheet by lining it with wax paper ( though I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to use parchment if it’s on hand, or even foil). When your waiting period is up, turn your jars right side up and put them on the newly prepared sheet. You might have leftover goo puddles, but that’s okay, just bundle them up and throw away the newspaper. Put your tray with the jars right side up in a warm oven (225 degrees F) for about 45 minutes. If you check after 45 minutes and notice streaks, leave them in a little longer. When your time is up and you don’t have streaks, remove from the oven and give them plenty of time to cool.

There’s just a few things to remember. Some streaks will be inevitable, especially the darker you go. These jars aren’t great for water, as Mod Podge is water soluble. So if you insist on putting things in there that require water – you could try putting a coat of water resistant sealant, but there’s no guarantee. Rather than fresh flowers, try getting some silk foliage, or dried flowers in the fall. My mother uses delicate branches from bushes in her garden and they look fabulous.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan