Save 10% on Lime Grabbit® until 03/31/17

Save 10% Lime Grabbits® Until March 31, 2017

Enjoy a different type of green this St. Patrick’s Day. Often imitated, never duplicated to the same high quality standards . . . you can save an additional 10% OFF on Lime Grabbit® Magnetic Pin Cushions until March 31, 2017.

Grabbit® Magnetic Pincushion is an industry-recognized tool for storage and access to straight pins. Consumers have been happily using Grabbit® for over thirty years as their primary pin keeper. The unique attribute of Grabbit® is its powerful magnetic field which sweeps up pins from a distance and aligns them in an organized pile. It is easy to grab a pin or throw one back on the Grabbit® surface when you finish.

  • No more picking up pins one by one – sweep them up with Grabbit®.
  • No more stopping work to push pins into a cloth cushion – drop them onto Grabbit®.
  • No more shaking, tipping, fumbling for pins – they’re easily accessible on your handy Grabbit®.
  • No more chasing lightweight cushions – heavyweight Grabbit® stays put.

Grabbit® has a pleasing contemporary design with a shallow bowl surface to gather pins and a comfortable round shape to hold in your hand. It is stocked with 50 color ball pins. The pins have ample sized 4mm plastic heads and are 1-1/2 inches long. Grabbit® is safe near computer sewing machines. Grabbit® comes in a variety of colors and measures 1 5/16″ tall, 4 1/4 diameter. (NOTE:  Actual product colors may vary from colors shown on your monitor.) Save 10% on Lime Grabbits® until the end of March 2017. Includes 50 colorball plastic head Grabbit™ Steel Sewing Pins. Free shipping in the continental United States!

Click HERE to order.

 

SCHMETZ Microtex Needle . . . Making a Fine Point!

SCHMETZ Microtex Needle

When you need to make a fine point, look no further than the SCHMETZ Microtex Needle. Microtex Needles are generically known as Sharps. This needle has a very slim acute point. In other words, a very fine point. Because the needle is so fine, it also needs to be replaced more often. That’s right! Needles don’t last forever. Replace the needle when you hear a little click at stitch formation or your stitches become uneven.

Use SCHMETZ Microtex Needles with Micro fibers, polyester, silk, foils, fake leather, batiks, quilting cotton. The very thin acute point creates beautiful topstitching and perfectly straight stitches for piecing quilts. Use when precision is paramount.

http://www.schmetzneedles.com/item/Microtex-Sharp-Needles-3

Sizes:  60/8, 90/10, 80/12, 90/14, 100/16, 110/18

 

SCHMETZ Logo

Pat Sloan – The Voice of Quilting

Pat SLoan, The Voice of QuiltingPat Sloan (“The Voice of Quilting”) is a quilt designer, book author, fabric designer and very popular internet radio show host. She runs her own design business, Pat Sloan & Company in Fairfax County, Virginia with her husband Gregg.

Although nobody in her family sewed (not even her Grandmother), Pat started sewing as a child (loved those doll clothes!) and continued to sew clothing for herself until she discovered quilting. On her website, she wrote the story of her first quilt, and bravely shared photos which are hilarious. — www.patsloan.com

A well-known designer and writer in the quilt industry, Pat designed several fabric lines with P&B Textiles. Currently, she is designing fabric with Moda Fabrics. She designs patterns to showcase her fabric lines and she has written 30+ books with Leisure Arts.  She is writing a beginner-friendly “Teach Me” series of books for Martingale Publishing.

“Let’s Go Sew” pattern by Pat Sloan

“Let’s Go Sew” pattern by Pat.

She also designs patterns for all the major quilt magazines: American Patchwork & Quilting, McCall’s Quilting, McCall’s Quick Quilts, Quilters World, Quilting Arts, and the Fons and Porter magazines.

When asked to explain the secret sauce to her success, Pat says, “I really enjoy sharing what I do. I love to travel to talk and teach from my quilt designs. The best part about traveling around the country to meet other quilters is watching what they do with my designs in a workshop!”

Her weekly internet radio show, American Patchwork & Quilting Radio with Pat Sloan, is so popular, she has become “the voice of quilting.”  Pat says, “I never planned a radio show.  It was one of those odd things that sometimes happens. Six years ago I got an email from a lady who is a quilter and web designer. One of her clients was starting an all-woman internet radio station. They needed a quilt show and she recommended me.

I didn’t know anything about radio shows, or internet radio, or podcasts, but thought I’d give it a try! I had to interview with the station manager, who was also an experienced host.  He asked, ‘Can you really talk about quilts for an hour’?? Silly man! Of course I can!  I’ve talked about quilts for an hour, 45 weeks of the year, for 5 full years!  You can find a list of my guests at my website!  — www.patsloan.com

Live! The voice of quilting. American Patchwork & Quilting Radio

Live! The voice of quilting.
American Patchwork & Quilting Radio

I interview authors, museum curators, fabric designers, pattern designers; people who do unusual things like make documentary films about quilters.  My most unique interview was with Astronaut Karen Nyberg. Do you know how hard it is to get an interview with an astronaut? You don’t just email her. You have to write NASA and get it all organized.

Well I did, and she is amazing.  I was delighted to learn she is not the only quilting astronaut!  But she took her quilting into space as her personal payload — so that is the sign of a true quilter. I interviewed her on January 6, 2014.”  

Pat considers herself a geek, and she LOVES technology.  By her own admission, she lives, breathes and soaks happily in all things techy.  She began her professional life with a degree in computer science.  She wrote code, did project management and at one time had a staff of 40 people.
 
With the dawn of the internet, Pat was among the first to see the possibility of using it to create a community for quilters.  Her love of quilting and deep understanding of technology came together to create a cosmic explosion of community.  She and a like-minded individual from her quilt guild started a group on a forum for quilters.

In 1998, Pat started on Delphi boards, and then moved to yahoo groups.  When people started their own blogs, the world changed.  But it is hard to have community on a blog.  So Pat also had a forum. Her forum went up about the same time as Facebook.  She was one of the very first quilters to join Facebook and she started finding others as fast as she could!  She created her Facebook Classroom, Quilt Along with Pat Sloan, where she has over 56,000 quilters!

“My happy place is hanging out with quilters on the internet. And sew alongs, quilt alongs anything alongs are incredible fun. I can’t even tell you how many I’ve hosted or been in the last 17 years!”

 
The Spendid Sampler™

On February 14, 2016, Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson launched The Splendid Sampler™. The Facebook page quickly grew to nearly 20,000 participants!

The Splendid Sampler™ is an epic quilt-along — involving 83 different designers, releasing two original quilt blocks each week. Eventually, there will be 100 BLOCKS in The Splendid Sampler™, which is supported by its own website, Facebook page, blog, as well as tips and techniques from the participating designers linking to their websites, Facebook pages, etc.  The blocks are free until March of 2017. Then they will publish a beautiful book of the blocks, quilts, layouts and variations!!

So, how did the mother of all quilt-alongs — The Splendid Sampler™ — happen?  Pat says, “Jane  Davidson and I go way back. Many years ago she invited me to design a block for her, Desperate Housewife quilt-along, and we have been friends ever since. She is a very talented designer, and a longarm quilter with mad skills.  I love every quilt she makes, and she is fun to hang around!

Jane and I wanted to do something with a large group of our quilt friends. Designers, industry people and shop owners …something fun … something extraordinary.  At 2015 Spring Quilt Market, with those thoughts percolating, we sat down over a long cup of coffee (latte to be exact).  Jane had seen an exhibit of quilts made with blocks of different techniques that really inspired her.  We talk about this on my podcast of February 22, 2016 and she explains how that exhibit made her feel.  By the end of that coffee we decided to invite 83 people to join us for a 100 block epic quilt-along of 6” squares called The Splendid Sampler™ (we don’t know why 83, that’s just what happened!) .

We asked Moda Fabrics, Martingale Books, Aurifil Thread, American Patchwork & Quilting magazine and Handi Quilter to work with us.  
 
The Splendid Sampler™The Splendid Sampler™  took a lot of time to organize and plan.  Almost a year later, on February 14, 2016, we finally kicked it off — and the response has been overwhelming.

We are thrilled to have quilts shops running The Splendid Sampler™, designers sewing along to make their own versions, and thousands of participants sharing their blocks on our Facebook page.  Quilters are a sharing bunch — and tips are coming out about die cutting, sewing circles, or getting that perfect 1/4” seam.  We have an expert quilter on the team, and once a month she gives tips and ideas for how to quilt the blocks.  It is so darn exciting we can hardly stand it!

With this many people involved, our Facebook group grew like crazy to almost 20,000 in four weeks. It’s a wild and beautiful spot filled with quilt blocks from all over the world!

Because we are doing a book, things have to be done way up front so that the single blocks can be photographed. We have two colorways — so 200 blocks. I was flying to our publisher, and took the blocks with me. I hand carried them onto the plane as I was not taking any chances! Jane was texting me to be sure I had them on my person . . .  so funny!!  I had the blocks in my roller case, and when they announced that people might need to check their rollers, I took ALL the blocks out, and put them in my purse!”

The Splendid Sampler™ has received rave reviews from quilters all over the world.  On the  Facebook page, from Karen Johnson:  “All I know for sure is that this is the BEST quilt along I’ve ever participated in. Such great instructions so far, so much variety of techniques, etc. Thank you to all the quilters contributing the block patterns. Wonderful.”

Pat says, The Splendid Sampler™ is a journey, we know it will go on for a long time, maybe years. In the next few months we’ll be coming up with plans for the future, so stay tuned!”

 

SCHMETZ Quilting Needles

 

SCHMETZ Quilting Needles

What needle should be used for quilting? One choice is the SCHMETZ Quilting Needle. This needle has a thin tapered point allowing the needle to smoothly pass through fabric layers. The thin tapered point helps eliminate skipped stitches and promotes even stitches.

Quilting needles are available in two sizes:

If the SCHMETZ Quilting needle is new to you, try the assortment pack containing both sizes.

 

Ebony Love – Die Cutting Fabric Authority

Ebony Love - Die Cutting Fabric AuthorityEbony Love is considered by many in the quilting industry to be the top authority in the field of die cutting fabric. The author of The Die Cutter’s Buying Guide and the Big Little Book of Fabric Die Cutting Tips, 2nd Edition, Ebony describes herself as an Accidental Expert.  

“I had a crazy idea to make round fabric coasters with pinked edges. I cut a few circles using a template and a pair of pinking shears. If you’ve ever wielded a pair of pinking shears, you know the weight and force required to use them makes your hand ache miserably. After cutting the first set, most people would have abandoned the idea entirely; but instead, I went searching for a perfect way to cut pinked circles.

After a bit of digging, some failed purchases, and other experiments, I found a company who could make something called a custom steel rule die. Fantastic! I called them and told them what I wanted, and they got to work on my custom 5” pinked circle die. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask what I needed to actually use the die. Yes, you guessed it… I didn’t even have a die cutter.

Fabric Die Cutting Tips Cover by Ebony LoveSo here I was, with a custom die on order, frantically researching machines to use it. There wasn’t much information provided by the manufacturers so I went online looking for people who had experience with them.  I discovered the world of Yahoo Groups where all these quilters were essentially teaching each other through trial and error. Maybe because I was so enthusiastic, people started to email to ask me for advice, and I’d do more research, make recommendations or help troubleshoot their issues.”

The online groups are an excellent resource for quilters new to fabric die cutting. But, at some point, it became overwhelming to navigate the archives. Although the information is THERE — it’s buried under 20,000 messages. Imagine trying to look up a phone number, but instead of an alphabetized phone book, all the names and addresses are randomly jammed into a dumpster. It became increasingly clear that some sort of reference manual was urgently needed.

Although Ebony didn’t think she knew more than anybody else, she had become very visible in the groups, and she had become active in the various communities that support die-cutting quilters. She’d also started posting how-to videos on YouTube and she knew she had a knack for explaining things to people. She was eager to share everything she’d learned with anybody who was interested, so in 2012, she wrote and published The Big Little Book of Fabric Die Cutting Tips, which earned rave reviews.

Ebony’s life has always been a blend of art and other pursuits. She is a degreed engineer who works full time for a large consumer packaged foods company in information technology, but she has always been a “maker.” When she was in elementary school, she made satin and lace heart shaped pillows and sold them to teachers and other students. During high school, she made costumes for the drama department, and in college she supplemented her income making evening gowns and accessories.

She came to the “quilting thing” pretty late. After college, she stopped sewing for a while. She got back into sewing and quilting because her friends were getting married and having babies and she started making quilts for them. At one particular baby shower, when her pregnant friend opened Ebony’s quilt, everybody wanted one, and she soon found herself making custom quilts in her spare time.

Magic happens in the LoveBug Studios.

Magic happens in the LoveBug Studios.

Ebony started LoveBug Studios as a custom quilt business. Although making quilts sparked her creative fire once again, it was hard to keep up with the demand. It was draining from an artistic perspective. Customers were way more concerned with getting what they wanted or envisioned than feeding Ebony’s creative spirit. She realized two things: she really didn’t like doing commissioned work and supplanting her own ideas with someone elses, and there’s no way to make money customizing quilts unless you quilt for Oprah.

She needed to find a way to create something once and reach many more people with that effort. Instead of making one quilt for one person, she needed to figure out how to make one quilt for many people. LoveBug Studios changed focus from people who want quilts to people who want to MAKE quilts. As a degreed engineer, Ebony has a passion for finding efficiencies, and her love of the precision of die cut quilts seemed like a good direction for LoveBug Studios. 

It’s no mystery! Ebony’s die cut kits save you time.

It’s no mystery!
Ebony’s die cut kits save you time.

Ebony says, “I love die cutting because it really helps me to get past the points that I don’t love so much and get to the part that I do. If I can crank out all the pieces I need for a queen sized quilt in a few hours and just get to sewing as soon as possible, I can see my efforts more quickly.”

The efficiency of die cutting quilt pieces led to other problems though:  because she was churning out so many quilt tops she couldn’t get them quilted fast enough, so she had to buy a long arm.

Ebony thinks of herself as a cruise director or a concierge, and she wanted to create meaningful experiences for people and help them grow in their craft. That desire manifested itself into her popular mystery quilt alongs.

Ebony Love Mystery Quilt Alongs

Find Mystery Quilt Alongs throughout the year.

  • Ebony’s mystery quilts are based around a theme. She’s done three so far focused around Downton Abbey. The current one is “Dear Laura,” based on the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 
  • Three to four months before the event actually begins, people go to the LoveBug Studios website to register. The cost typically ranges from $10-$30, depending on the quilt.
  • When the quilt along starts, Ebony releases a new block once per week, and people can download the pattern, watch videos to show how the block goes together, or read through a photo tutorial. Quilt alongs last anywhere from 3–12 weeks depending on the project.
Ebony with Little House on the Prairie stars Alison Arngrim  (Nellie Oleson ) and  Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle) 2015 International Quilt Market – Houston TX

Ebony with Little House on the Prairie stars
Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson ) and Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle)
2015 International Quilt Market – Houston TX

She also has weekly webinars (fans call them W-Ebony-ars) where participants chat and sew together and ask questions. People can get kits of fabric from the website or from participating quilt shops. She also provides a forum where they can get help, and there’s a Facebook group where they gather to chat and share and post photos.  

In the spring she’ll be doing another Downton Abbey quilt, and the summer will be a Quilt Around the World Mystery. In 2017 she’ll be doing an Anne of Green Gables Mystery. Ebony says, “They are great fun, and it’s pretty neat to be able to connect quilters from around the world.”

Even though LoveBug Studios is Ebony’s “side business” — it has taken over her life and home. She moved the long arm out of the basement and into the living room so she could use the basement as a warehouse and shipping center.

Lights. Camera. Action! in Ebony Love’s video studio.

Lights. Camera. Action! in Ebony’s video studio.

About inspiration, Ebony says, “for me, inspiration always starts with an idea.  Not an idea for a quilt, but an idea for an experience.  I envision how I want people to interact and what I want them to take away.  For example, when it comes to my Downton mysteries, I think about the show and the characters and the plot points, and how I can tie the story line into the quilt, what things might evoke a certain memory for someone or get them to really make a connection to the quilt or the process of making it.  When someone looks at a quilt they’ve made from one of my patterns, I want them to remember the fun they had making it, or what they learned, or the perseverance it took to finish.

My full time job is about sitting in front of a computer or in meetings all day.  It’s hard sometimes to make the connection between what I do and some family out there grocery shopping and buying the food we make and feeling like I was part of that experience.  But the work I do with LoveBug Studios is very connected.  I can see the results of my efforts, and the impact it makes.  People give me feedback and I can take that and incorporate it into the next project.  I love being part of a community that is happy and joyful and sharing in their love of quilting. No matter what our differences may be outside of quilting — we have at least that one thing in common and that’s what matters.”

Ebony’s Big Little Book is going into a second edition.

She is also working on a new book, The Die Cutter’s Buying Guide. If anyone is interested in getting notified when the book is released, please sign up for a notification here:
http://eepurl.com/bDHCOT

To learn more about fabric die cutting, check out Ebony’s blog post:
https://www.lovebugstudios.com/blog/2015/04/20/cutting-up-monday-what-is-fabric-die-cutting/