Meet the Hackers: C2E2

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Today marks the start of C2E2 in Chicago and we are back fro our 3rd year!

We can be found in the same place we have been every year in booth 1357.

As Kim said Wednesday, she will be at C2E2 this year in the Black Cat Creations booth.

This years Craft Hacker line up includes Toni from Quiltoni, Nicole from Craftigurumi, and Jess from Ami Ami Creations.  We will have lots of amigurumi goodness, plush, scarves, quilts, pillows, and quilt patterns.  This year Toni and Nicole have to make room for brand new inventory so are putting the old into special mystery boxes!  Each box has a guaranteed value of $95 and can be yours for $40.  Every item in the mystery boxes will never be made again.  They are only available while they last.

So swing by, say hi,tell us how your year has been, and check out all of the new things we have!


Let’s learn about needles – The life of a needle

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All of this information is courtesy of Schmetz.

1 Definition of Needle Life

During the sewing process different forces and influences are attacking the sewing machine needle. There might be

  • Abrasive forces
  • Penetration force
  • Influence of operator
  • Influence of sewing thread
  • Influence of sewing machine

Every one of these forces and influences are the enemies of needle life. They might destroy the point, abrase the needle surface or even break the needle. Some of these influences and forces and their effects are directly visible, e.g. if you get holes in your fabric something has happened to the needle point or if the thread breaks there might be damage to the eye of the sewing machine needle.

As a general definition of the end of needle life we can say

2 Parameters influencing Needle Life

In the previous paragraph we already named a few influencing factors on needle life. If we look closer we will find the following parameters

  • sewing good
  • operator
  • machine setting
  • machine speed
  • thread quality
  • thread size
  • needle size
  • needle point

besides other parameters being specific to every plant like climate, work environment and others. All these parameters are of influence to the needle life and are very individual to every sewing factory. The life of a sewing machine needle has come to an end when the needle looses its proper function.

If we just take the operator as one of the most influencing factors on needle performance we can see that the skills and work experience is a significant parameter. But also here the human factor comes in because not everyday the operator works the same depending on the physical and mental condition. If you put two operators side by side sewing the same workpiece under the same outer conditions like same machine, same speed etc. it can happen that the results are very different, especially when we look into the needle consumption.

From all these influencing parameters it becomes very clear now that they cannot be predetermined because they are individual to the specific sewing factory. Almost every factory has different conditions and setups even if they make the same product.

3 Examples

Broken needle points because the needle has touched some machine parts. The fabric never would cause this type of fault.

Abrasion on eye sidewall because the needle was deflected during sewing and was touching the sides of the needle hole in the throat plate

Total abrasion of eye sidewall. The eye is open. This happened with a very abrasive sewing good containing a flame-retardant chemical.

4 How to find your individual needle life

As the manufacturer of the sewing machine needle we are not able to give a prediction of needle life for the individual plant because it is impossible to know all your individual factors. But a lot of sewing factories have the data available or are able to find the data for every sewing line or even for every sewing machine. It just is a matter of about a month collecting data for every needle change, log the data and categorize by reason for the needle change.

This will give a good basis for quality improvement because if you have these data you will be able to implement a needle change policy in your factory as already a lot of the high quality manufacturers do. You will have the possibility now to change the needle before it starts to abrase or before the needle point gets damaged.

-Toni


Amazon Warrior Quilt Pattern

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The team of Nicole and Toni released a new Quilt Pattern this week, the Amazon Warrior.

 

Basic Skills Necessary:

  • Use a Sewing Machine
  • Use a Rotary Cutter and Straight Edge
  • 1/4″ seam

Pattern Description: Created by the gods, the amazon warrior shows compassion but that doesn’t stop her from annihilating her enemies.

Learn how to sew strips, nest seams, and piece efficiently to save time.

Sizing / Finished Measurements: 36″ by 48″

Materials:

  • 1/2 Yard Tan Fabric
  • 1/4 Yard Blue Fabric
  • 1/2 Yard Yellow Fabric
  • 3/4 Yard Black Fabric
  • 1/4 Yard Red Fabric
  • 1 Yard Purple Fabric (or background of choice)

You Will Also Need: Sewing Machine & Preferred Thread Rotary Cutter & Straight Edge Pins Scissors Iron & Ironing Board

If you would like to see more information on the pattern, or purchase it, head over to Craftsy to take a look!

 


Happy April Fools Day!

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Today is the day where you don’t believe anything you hear or read.  Nothing.  I wasn’t disappointed with the amazing April Fools jokes.  Even though they aren’t crafty related, here are some of my favorites.

Think Geek has some amazing April Fools items.  They even ask if you would buy it if they really made it!

The Tentacuddle Wrap

A Where’s Barb book from Stranger Things?!

A full body snake tattoo

Alexa now helps pets!

And of course the Netflix Live gag is amazing.  Will Arnett did such a good job it almost makes me want this to be a show.

That’s it for this years April Fools!  Next week I return to the regular posting.

-Toni

 

 


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

 

 


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

 


Let’s learn about Needles – Types of Needles

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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 the Schmetz website.

SCHMETZ COLOR CODE CHART

Did you know that SCHMETZ is color coding their home sewing needles (needle system 130/705 H)? Most, but not all, household needles now have two bands of color. The top color band indicates needle type and the lower color band indicates needle size. Due to special features, SCHMETZ Universal, Hemstitch, Double Eye, and Quick Threading needles only have one color band to identify needle size.

SCHMETZ_Color_Code_ChartLG

 

needle_eye_comparison-Revised-011614

Denim/Jeans Needle — Color Code: Blue Feature: Modified medium ball point and reinforced blade. Fabric Use: Denim and similar fabrics. Advanced point design is a SCHMETZ exclusive. For penetrating extra thick woven fabrics, denims, or quilts with minimum needle deflection, reduced risk of needle breakage and skipped stitches.

Embroidery Needle — Color Code: Red Feature: Light ball point, wide eye and groove. Fabric Use: Use with rayon, polyester and other specialty embroidery threads. The special scarf, widened groove and enlarged eye protect fragile threads and guard against excess friction allowing trouble-free embroidery and decorative stitching

Jersey / Ball Point Needle — Color Code: Orange Feature: Medium ball point. Fabric Use: Knits and some stretch fabrics. Made especially for sewing on knits. The medium ball point does not damage or break knit fibers.

Leather Needle — Color Code: Brown Feature: Cutting point. Fabric Use: Leather, artificial leather, heavy non-woven synthetics. Do not use on knit or woven fabrics.

Metallic Needle — Color Code: Pink Feature: Elongated eye. Fabric Use: Metallic and other specialty threads. A “must have” for sewing with sensitive metallic threads. The elongated eye prevents shredding and breaking of metallic threads.

Microtex/Sharp Needle — Color Code: Purple Feature: Very slim acute point. Fabric Use: Micro fibers, polyester, silk, foils, artificial leather, coated materials. Very thin acute point creates beautiful topstitching and perfectly straight stitches for quilt piecing when precision is paramount.

Quilting Needle — Color Code: Green Feature: Special taper to the slightly rounded point. Fabric Use: Made especially for piecing and machine quilting. The special tapered design allows easier fabric penetration and helps eliminate skipped stitches.

Stretch Needle — Color Code: Yellow Feature: Medium ball point, special eye and scarf. Fabric Use: Elastic materials and highly elastic knitwear. The medium ball point, specially designed eye and scarf prevent skipped stitches.

Topstitch Needle — Color Code: Lt. Green Feature: Extra long eye. Fabric Use: Topstitch, heavy, multiple or poor quality threads. Achieve perfectly straight stitch lines and even stitches when using a straight stitch plate.

Universal Needle — Color Code: None Feature: Slightly rounded point. Fabric Use: Numerous – woven and knits. A great general purpose needle.

So what do those needle sizes mean and how do you pick the right one?  I will tell you next week!

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