SCHMETZ Chrome Quilting Needles

SCHMETZ Chrome Quilting Needles

Wondering what needle to use for quilting?

One choice is SCHMETZ Chrome Professional Grade Quilting. A special tapered tip to the slightly rounded needle point allows easier fabric penetration. The Chrome finish reduces heat & wear on the needle passing through the fabric and reduces friction on the thread passing through the eye. This all adds up to fewer skipped stitches, less thread shredding and more even stitches.

Two sizes available:

75/11 — A piecing favorite!
90/14 — Quilt with heavier threads or 40 wt variegated threads.

Available now at independently owned shops and www.SCHMETZneedles.com.SCHMETZ Logo

 

Modern Quilt Studio – Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part blog about Modern Quilt Studio. Click HERE for Part 1.

Modern Quilt Studio Logo Inspired to SEW

Weeks and Bill both loved their careers, but they didn’t want to be forced to choose between having interesting work and raising a child. They envisioned a life where they could take their child to the zoo on a beautiful day, then go home and work while the baby was napping.

Bill was graduating from graduate school, and Weeks wanted to transition to a home-based, family-friendly business. They didn’t want to do street fairs, and they felt the quilt world was too conservative for their design ideas. Weeks’ philosophy is “Life Rewards Action.”

Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr working in the studio.

Weeks & Bill working in the studio.

So, instead of attending Bill’s graduation, they invested their savings in a booth at the International Contemporary Furniture trade show in New York City. Weeks understood how buildings were built and funded. She also knew about decorating budgets. They went to that first show with the modern quilts they’d made. These were quilts people hadn’t seen before — all machine quilted. They weren’t trying to recreate nostalgia. They were making quilts that expressed the times in which we live. That trade show was the launch of their business. They scored numerous quilt commissions and established relationships with influential interior designers.

For the next five years, they sold finished quilts at museums in New York and had an eight month waiting list for commissions. A publisher approached them about writing a book and fabric companies wanted them to design fabric. Modern Quilts were starting to become embraced by the quilting world.

Bill, Sophie and Weeks at home with Kip.

Bill, Sophie and Weeks at home with Kip.

Weeks says, “Success didn’t come overnight. Sure, we had a bunch of quilts in the Oprah magazine, and we received lots of coverage in many prestigious magazines — but that didn’t just happen. We took risks and we invested our own money. Life rewards action — and we spent $5,000 for that booth. We printed a catalog, we sent out beautiful press releases (which looked like little fabric lunch bags). We worked hard and we took chances. We had a plan, and we were strategic. And now we have a workplace where, around 3:30 PM, when our daughter Sophie gets home from school, we make tea and a snack for ourselves and our staff. She’s a sophomore in high school. Our business predates her adoption so she always peeks over our shoulders to register her opinions on whatever we’re working on.

Although some quilters like to stick to one look or one technique, our work is quite varied. Our quilts are made using large and small pieces, hand and machine appliqué, hand and machine quilting and a variety of innovative construction techniques. We don’t want to end up in a rut so we are always trying new approaches to making quilts.”

Inspiration

Inspiration

When asked about where they get their inspiration, they had this to say:

Bill: We both keep sketchbooks on our desks and bedside tables to capture and share inspiration whenever it occurs. Weeks and I check in with each other to get opinions. I think the breadth of both of our interests and skills is vital to what we do. I tell my students that I hope they are as lucky as I in finding someone who is a great critic and editor of my work. Having a wonderful spouse whom you trust to give you honest feedback on your design, writing and business ideas is as good as it gets.

Weeks: Inspiration to us is not so much something you find on a shelf but a lifestyle choice. To be creative, you have to have a source of inspiration but you also have to have space in your head to do something with the inspiration. We find inspiration in the work of artists we follow, popular culture, and the desire to make quilts that are both innovative and practical. Every quilt we make is machine washable and dryable. Being able to use the quilt is an important part of making it for us.

It is hard to imagine what the Modern Quilt movement would look like if it weren’t for the partnership and influence of Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. It would be like a peanut butter sandwich without the jelly. A cartoon with Tom but no Jerry. Macaroni without the cheese? Needle without thread.

www.modernquiltstudio.com

Modern Quilt Studio – Part 1

Modern Quilt Studio Logo Inspired to SEW

Weeks Ringle preparing the next project.

Weeks preparing the next project.

If you Google “Modern Quilts” you will be whisked to the Modern Quilt Studio, co-founded by Weeks Ringle and her husband Bill Kerr. Weeks teaches a class on designing modern quilts on Craftsy.com, another on iQuilt.com and has written articles about modern quilting for American Patchwork & Quilting, American Quilter, Quilts Japan, Quilt Time (Japan) and American Quilt Retailer. When he’s not working in the studio, Bill Kerr is a professor and head of graphic design at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. They are the authors of The Modern Quilt Workshop, the first book ever published on modern quilting, as well as Quiltmaker’s Color Workshop, Quilts Made Modern, Color Harmony for Quilts, A Kid’s Guide to Sewing and Transparency Quilts. In 2011 they launched Modern Quilts Illustrated, the first magazine dedicated exclusively to modern quilting.

Bill Kerr’s sewing skills are not limited to quilts.

Bill’s sewing skills are not limited to quilts.

Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr are often referred to as the “founders” of the Modern Quilt movement. But, according to Weeks, “As is the case with any movement, lots of people have contributed to the growth of the Modern Quilt Movement.” Humility aside, Weeks and Bill are certainly pioneers of the movement.

There are many couples working together in the sewing/quilting world. Typically, the wife is doing the creative work while the husband takes care of the sales/business end of the operation.

But there is nothing typical about either Weeks Ringle or Bill Kerr. As individuals, they are bright, thoughtful and creative. But, together? They become more than the sum of their parts. Their energy as a duo creates spontaneous combustion…

A glimpse into the Modern Quilt Studio.

A glimpse into the Modern Quilt Studio.

One of the most unique things about their partnership is that Bill actually sews and quilts. He says, “My mother kept her old Singer in my room and to me it was just a mechanical toy to play with. It had a knee bar instead of a foot pedal, something I never liked. One day on my way home from school I saw an old machine on the curb on trash day. I ripped out the pedal, took it home and wired it into my mom’s machine, bypassing the awkward knee bar.

I used my sewing skills in many ways before becoming a quilter. In my 20s, I took half a year off and hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. It’s a self-contained journey that requires careful packing and taking nothing but the essentials. I custom sewed stuff sacks for all of my clothes and supplies to fit my backpack perfectly. Not only do I sew quilts, but I enjoy sewing shirts for myself from our different fabric lines.”

Weeks’ story: I lived in Tokyo for almost eight years working at times as a teacher, an editor and mostly as a securities analyst for a French bank. I left my career in finance to get a master’s degree in landscape architecture. I met Bill when we were both working as VISTA volunteers in Knoxville, Tennessee. After we got married, we moved to Chicago so Bill could attend grad school. I became the breadwinner, working 70 hours a week at a large architecture firm. At that time, Bill and I were the main caregivers for his mother who had a terminal condition and found it challenging to balance the demands of working at a large company and being attentive to family. I have always been extremely intentional about the choices I make and there was a time-frame in which I wanted to become a mother. So I started to think about how we could build a professional life that was more family-friendly.

In 1987, I made my first modern quilt after seeing an exhibit of Shizuko Kuroha’s indigo quilts in Tokyo. Bill and I began making modern quilts together in 1995. Four years later, in 1999, we quit our day jobs and began our business full-time. Modern Quilt Workshop was published in 2005, which coined the phrase “modern quilt.”

Bill’s story: I grew up in a creative home. My father was an architect and mother was a weaver. As a kid, I was a total math/science geek with an engineer’s mind. At university I took my first design class. After one semester I was hooked on art and ended up graduating with a double major in Art (printmaking specifically) and Anthropology (go figure.) I realized that my love of all things mechanical was really a love of making things.

2016 ­‑ Bill & Weeks continue the service work they began 20 years ago as VISTA volunteers in Appalachia.

2016 ­‑ Bill & Weeks continue the service work they began 20 years ago as VISTA volunteers in Appalachia.

To this day my math studies have served me well. I was a high school math teacher for two years in a village of 50 people in rural Kenya and now I love the calculations and planning in making quilts and in writing patterns. I was also a junior high school English teacher in rural Japan.

In Kenya, I fell in love with the print-on-print-on-print aesthetic found in the marketplaces. The women would all be using multiple printed fabrics as skirts, head wraps and baby carriers. And as different as they all were, they looked great together. Japan was quite the opposite. There I discovered how years of isolation had created a culture in which design was refined over and over to a point of purity and minimalism. More importantly, living in Japan is a great connection Weeks and I share. We know how to cook each other’s favorite Japanese meals, enjoy quirky idiomatic phrases and generally share a love of Japanese design (to be continued).

Click HERE for Part 2 of our Modern Quilt Studio blog.

www.modernquiltstudio.com

SCHMETZ Chrome Topstitch Needles

SCHMETZ Chrome Topstitch Needles

The SCHMETZ Chrome Topstitch needle has an extra-long eye that allows
the use of heavy, multiple or poor quality threads.
Combine the Topstitch needle with a straight stitch
plate to achieve perfectly straight stitches.

• Resists Heat & Wear •
• Improved Stitch Performance •

Sizes: 80/12, and 90/14

Available now at independently owned shops
or on-line at SCHMETZneedles.com. Click HERE.

Terial Magic – Terry McFeely

 

Terry McFeely 2017 International Quilt Festival, Chicago

Terry McFeely
2017 International Quilt Festival, Chicago

My name is Terry McFeely, fifth generation native Californian owner of Terial Arts. I am married to a wonderful man who is very supportive without ever telling me how to run my business. We live in a small Northern California gold rush town and we have one daughter, a son-in-law and two granddaughters. Our home (designed by our daughter) was custom built in 2005 to include a large studio and an embroidery/sewing room. It is on five acres of fir, pine and madrone trees complete with lots of wild life and hiking trails.

Throughout my childhood and young adult life I always loved art, drawing, sewing and anything DIY. I am a creative and have always designed things in my head to make them better or easier to construct. I crave nature; its colors, flowers and creatures. My medium for art has always been fabric. I started my career path in engineering design and drafting but always loved sewing clothing, quilts and home décor.

In the late 1990’s I started the Sausalito Bag Company where I designed, manufactured and sold tapestry handbags and backpacks. This is where I learned my own limitations for success when it came to marketing and product promotion. I went back to fashion school in 2003 to better grasp the business and marketing side of being a successful design entrepreneur. I ended up going back to engineering work after fashion school.

The fabric orchid that launched Terial Magic.

The fabric orchid that launched Terial Magic.

In 2010 my daughter was getting married and wanted fabric flowers in her wedding décor. One of the many fabric flower projects that I designed (and made) was fabric orchid napkin pins. They were beautiful and people raved about them. Many said I should make larger flowers, even DIY patterns. The problem was that these flowers had to be small because of the limpness of fabric and the fraying. I went into the market place to try and find something that might work, I tried stabilizers, fusibles, stiffeners, starch, anything I thought might work, but nothing produced the result I desired.

I wanted to play with fabric the same way I play with paper. So, I set out to create a product that kept fabric from fraying while giving it a firmer hand.

My first concern was that the product had to be natural. I did not want to use any polycarbonates or chemicals because they could be harmful, especially if heated or ironed. It took several months of research and ordering many different compounds to finally stumble onto something that worked. I was beside myself with happiness, but then, this compound turned my fabrics brown. I had to do more research and find out how to have it bleached . . . I then had a chemist friend help me with other components to keep it in solution and from spoiling.

Terial Magic Fabric Stabilizer

Terial Magic Fabric Stabilizer

The name Terial Magic comes from the word material. I felt the product was, material magic, but that is not a name I could trademark. So I took the “ma” out of material and got terial, which also has my name in it, not the correct spelling, but still teri!

Once I had a product that worked, I designed flower patterns by actually taking real flowers apart and creating realistic, easy to make flowers from treated fabric. This took a lot of time and illustrations because I wanted the end user to be 100% successful. I even had floral wire special made so that you could tell the different gauges apart by the wire colors. We launched at the end of 2012 and were very fortunate when E.E. Schenck, a fabric and notion distributor, picked Terial Arts up and debuted us in their booth at Fall Quilt Market in Houston in 2012.

Terial Magic in three steps.

Terial Magic in three steps.

The following year, 2013, I had my own booth at Fall Market. I met with other distributors and had several machine companies try embroidery, using just Terial Magic treated fabric, no other stabilizer. Some just stared at me in disbelief, and other educators went for it. They started with simple open designs and when I came back by to see them, I would say, try a dense design, and so they did with great success! I also took a sample of treated fabric to an electronic cutting machine booth; again they also had great success. Terial Magic washes completely out if desired and bugs won’t eat it like starch if left in.

The process of taking a new, never before made, product to market had its challenges. It had no competition which was good, but it also did not have anything to compare it with, which was hard. The customer had to be educated plus excited enough to actually try it once they got it home. I still get customers visiting me at shows who say they still have not used the bottle they bought last year. I feel we all gravitate to what we know, and back away from trying anything new, that might take extra time to learn. But once people do try it, they come back praising it, and buy it by the gallon!

Terial Magic started out as a fabric stabilizer for 3D fabric art but it is now used for: pucker free machine embroidery, crisp, fray free die and electronic cutting, no stretch t-shirt quilting, perfect appliqué and thread painting, better and easier inkjet and laser printing, 3D fiber art, and stress free garment sewing on shifty silks or rayon, to name a few, without the use of any other stabilizer.

Terial Arts did its first craft show January 2016. It was only in a half booth, but I wanted to show how all paper crafts could be done with Terial Magic treated fabric. Stamping, scrapbooking, fabric painting and more die cutting. I met so many wonderful people and companies, and one in particular, Imagination International Inc. The owner saw the potential in this new product that made fabric paper-like, and asked if I would be interested in licensing it so that they could help take it worldwide. Since March 2016 Terial Arts has been with Imagination International, who now manufactures Terial Magic and does all sales and marketing. Shows have increased as have sales! We recently did a show in Frankfurt Germany, which was amazing and, yes, we are growing worldwide!

Terry with Brand Manager, Laurie Chamberlin.

Terry with Brand Manager, Laurie Chamberlin.

I still own Terial Arts and am the face of the company, though I now have much-needed help, even a Brand Manager, Laurie Chamberlin, who is my marketing master! This allows me time to do what I love, designing or creating fun projects for blogs or to share in classes or at shows. My main concern has always been for people using Terial Arts products to be successful and genuinely happy with their results. I will continue to test and try all the many uses people are finding for Terial Magic. It has been an amazing journey so far, and because it is my passion, it has seldom felt like work. If you decide to follow a dream, be sure it is your passion.

 

Terial Magic is revolutionizing the fabric arts industry.

www.terialarts.com
www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgYHJ8Do1tw