Michelle

Sewing Machine Artistry

     

Posts in Category: Quilting

How Long Is A Sulky Spool of Thread? 

 

How Long is a Sulky Spool of Thread?

 

 

So, have you ever wondered how far a spool of thread goes?  I thought I would entertain you with some fun facts about how many stitches it takes to get to the end of a Sulky spool of thread.  For those of us who are over a certain age, doesn’t that remind you of Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pops??

 

    •    Average stitch length of an embroidery design is between 4-5mm.  Many of you may not embroider (yet), so your normal sewing stitch length would be shorter, perhaps 2.5mm.  

    •    22 yards of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread equals about 4,000 stitches.

    •    A 250 yard Snap spool can create 44,000 stitches.  That’s a lot of stitches!

    •    An 850 yard King spool can create 156,000 stitches.  Wow, that’s even more!!!

 

250 yard spools of 40 wt. Sulky Rayon Thread.

250 yard spools of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread

 

Let's have fun with this and take these figures even further

    •    If you had all 388 Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread colors on a 250 yard Snap spool, you could create 17,072,000 stitches.  Remember this is the 4-5mm stitch length.

    •    If you had all 388 Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread colors on a 850 yard King spool you would be able to create 60,528,000. 

 

850 yard King spools of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread.

 

So, are you curious to know how much embroidery that is?

The average embroidery design has 20,000 stitches...

    •    ...with 388 Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread on a 250 yard spools, you could create 854 designs or more than 2 a day, everyday for a year.

    •    ...with 388 Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread on a 850 yard spools, you could create 3,026 designs or more than 2 a day everyday for almost 4 years!

 

So now you know how many 4-5mm stitches it takes to get to the end of a Sulky spool of thread!

 

5,500 yard Jumbo spool of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread.

 

Let's have some fun!  Can you figure out how many 4-5mm stitches a 5,500 Jumbo spool of thread can create? 

 

Disclaimer:  I am an affiliate for Sulky, and the highlighted links within this post contain my special code to the Sulky webstore.  When you use these links, you will be directed to Sulky's webstore.  The cost of the products are the same whether or not you use my links, but using my links allows me to receive a small commission from the sale.  This is a way of letting me know how much you like the information I am posting for you, and I truly appreciate your business and support.  

 

Sew Long for Now!!!

M.

 

14-Basic Sewing Supplies 

 

 

14 Basic Sewing Supplies

 

 

Hi Sewing Friends!

 

 

I know how overwhelming it can be to learn something new.  I'm sharing the 14 basic sewing notions that I think are a must for everyone.  As you talk to more people, take classes and become more experienced, your basic sewing notions will include many more items than what I have listed here.  There are several others that I so badly wanted to add to the list.  Instead, I narrowed it down to only 14 items.  If you have these 14 notions you will be well-prepared and ready to make a simple sewing project right away! 

 

 

A clean sewing machine in good working order.

A clean sewing machine in good working order and the owner's manual.

 

First of all, your machine should be in good working order!  If it has been sitting in the back of the closet, do yourself a favor and take it in for maintenance.  It just may need to be cleaned really good and oiled by a certified technician.

 

 

Be sure to have the machine’s manual.  This is such a handy resource to have.  If you cannot find your original manual, look for it online.  Be sure to download and/or print it, and keep it handy, especially if you are taking a class.  You can learn so much more about your machine.  Take some time to read through the manual and familiarize yourself with your machine.   Consult your manual if you are having problems, it could be that your bobbin is in backwards.  

 

Clover Seam Ripper and Bent Tipped Tweezers

 

Seam Ripper!  I tell people that EVERYONE can sew...as long as you have a seam ripper!  There are all sorts of seam rippers on the market, in all kinds of lengths and colors.  There are even lighted seam rippers for those who have difficulty seeing small stitches.  

 

Tweezers.  This might not be a must-have, but it is for me, and everyone else who doesn’t have a pair when they need them. 

 

Small scissors and a pair of cutting shears.

 

Scissors!  To cut thread tails, you will need a small pair of scissors, but if you want to cut large pieces of fabric, you will want to use shears, which are bigger scissors.  Depending on your age, and maybe experience, you may find that having a rotary cutter and cutting mat is an absolute must.  A rotary cutter is like a pizza slicer, except that it IS razor sharp.  We’ll talk more about rotary cutting another time.  

 

 

TIP:  I tied a piece of scrap fabric to the handle of my shears so I would not get them mixed up with someone else's scissor when I take them to class.  

 

A beautiful basket of Sulky decorative threads, to include the brand new Cotton + Steel 50 wt. Cotton Thread by Sulky.

 

Next you will need some good thread.  All right, I’m biased about using a good quality thread, especially Sulky brand thread.  But I have a great story for you about the difference a good quality thread makes in your machine.  By good thread, I mean a brand name thread that is not in the bargain basket.  You know, the buy 2 for $1, or something.  Not knowing what type of sewing you plan to do, I’m going to go out on a limb and recommend general all-purpose thread.  It’s a great idea to check the instructions for your project, as they may indicate which thread to use.  Soon, independent shops will have Sulky’s Cotton + Steel 50 wt. Cotton Thread in stock.  This thread is ideal for piecing and other small projects with seams that won’t get a lot of stress.  

 

I honestly had a student attempt to use the cheap thread in class despite my plea to buy one spool of good thread.  This lady had a very clean older, mechanical sewing machine.  During class she had all kinds of problems with her machine.  The thread was breaking, the machine jamming, and if she was able to sew, the machine was skipping stitches.  At the end of the first class, I told her that I thought it was the thread she was using and asked her to please buy one spool of good thread.  She came back the following week with the same cheap thread.  Again, she was having problems and was very frustrated.  I threaded her machine with good thread, and guess what?  Her machine sewed like a champ and she could not believe it!  If you find good quality thread to be too costly for your budget, buy one or two spools in a neutral color.  For lighter color fabrics, use something like a white, ecru or light gray thread, and for darker fabric, use a black, dark gray, dark blue thread or even brown.

 

Schmetz Universal 80/12 Sewing Machine Needles

 

Next on the list is sewing machine needles.  There are several brands of machine needles to include Singer, Klasse, Organ and Schmetz.  There are different size needle and specialty needles too.  Check your project’s instructions for a recommendation.  If you are making something with a light-weight cotton and are using all-purpose thread you can use a size12/80 Universal type needle to get started.  We’ll get into this topic in the future.  

 

Yardage and precut fabrics.

 

Of course you are going to need fabric.  Your project’s instructions will specify exactly what you need and how much.  But if you are looking to have some general fabric to practice with, I recommend quilter’s cotton.  It is available in a lot of pretty prints and solid colors too.  If you don’t know where to find it, don’t be afraid to ask someone.  You can buy fabric by the yard, or there are pre-cut pieces of fabric available in a variety of sizes that are a lot of fun to work with.  

 

Create-a-Pincushion by Clover.

 

Pins and a pin cushion or even a magnetic pin cushion!  Look for pins that have a colorful head as they are easy to see and the head makes them easy to remove.  I personally recommend glass head pins, because they will not melt if you iron over them.  You will need a place to put your pins for easy retrieval.  A pin cushion is nice and they are so fun nowadays.  You can even find free patterns on the Internet to make your own.  In fact, you can even create your own custom pincushion using your favorite fabric with the Clover Create-a-Pincushion kit.  

 

Magnetic Pin Cushion by Clover.

 

Clover also has a magnetic pin cushion.  A magnetic pin cushion can serve two purposes.  To hold your pins and to pick them up, or find them. laugh  Just think about how easy it would be to pick up pins using a magnetic pin cushion if you were to accidentally drop a pin or an entire box.  Trust me, I know first hand about this! 

 

 

 

Ironing board and Iron.

 

Iron and Ironing Board, or some other type of pressing surface. I remember teaching a children’s class and I told them that we would be using an iron.  One of the mothers was very surprised and she was the type of person who was very animated with her expressions.  Can you imagine her reaction.  That still makes me laugh.  I don’t even think she owned an iron.  LOL… Your iron does not have to be fancy but it needs to get good and hot.  I once had a young student bring one a toy iron to class, and it did not get hot enough to press the seams properly. 

 

A 6" x 24" is a must-have.  Oftentimes you can find a 3 pack of rulers with a smaller 6" x 12" ruler.  Having both is quite is handy too.  Eventually, you will find that a 45mm Rotary Cutter and Cutting Mat by Clover are essential. 

 

Measuring.  If you plan to sew clothing, you will need a measuring tape more so than a ruler.  If you plan to sew quilts, crafts, totes and home dec projects, you are going to really need a quilting ruler.  You will want to invest in a clear acrylic ruler.  In fact, I would recommend a 6” x 24” quilting ruler and perhaps even a smaller ruler such as a 6” x 12”. 

 

Two of my favorite fabric markers are the Chaco Liner Pen Style and Trace 'n Mark, both by Clover.

 

Fabric Marker.  You can decide which will be best for you.  There are all sorts of fabric marking tools available.

 

If you look at the left end of the Chaco marker you will see very fine teeth.  This chalk-like marker makes a fine and very precise temporary line.  

 

One of my favorites is the Clover Chaco Line Pen Style, and they have fun colors too!!! 

 

Trace 'n Mark pen by Clover is air soluble and water soluble.  It even has dual tips that are different sizes.  

 

Another fabric marking tool that is new to me is the Clover Trace ’n Mark pen.  The packaging indicates that this is an air erasable marker and that it disappears with water!  Air soluble means that it will disappear over time.  How much time it takes varies, and a lot has to do with your climate.  If it is humid where you live, the marks may disappear faster than another part of the country.  Water soluble means that it disappears with water, so if you spray a little water on the mark, it will go away…ta-da, just like magic!  What I really like about this pen is that it has different sized tips at each end.   

 

 

 

Happy 2017 Sewing Friends 

 

 

Happy 2017 Sewing Friends!

 

 

 

Happy New Year, Sewing Friends!

 

We are just over a week into the New Year and I wanted to check in with you to see how you are doing with keeping up with your New Year's resolution?  

 

I love New Years because it represents a time to begin anew!  Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I like to set goals.  Sometimes goals and resolutions can seem overwhelming and down right impossible at first.  Right?  I want to share with you the tricks and tools that help to keep me on track. 

 

 

Nine Simple Steps for Goals & Resolutions

 

  • Set yourself up for success by making a plan.
  • Think about how you can make your resolution or goal doable, even if it seems impossible.
  • Write it down your resolution or goal! I have these beautiful planners to help me plan and write it all down.
  • Break it down into achievable steps.  Maybe this is a long to-do list with your resolution broken down into tiny baby steps.  Write them all down.  You can give yourself a big shiny star for each step you complete.  I like to play mind games with myself to keep it fun and interesting.
  • Schedule time for your resolution or goal and make it a priority.  Even a little bit of time is better than none at all.  Even one baby step or 15 minutes makes a difference over time.
  • Set a deadline for yourself. 
  • Show up and put in the effort.  This may sound silly to list, but planning alone won’t get your closer to your resolution or goal.  You have to do something.
  • Visualize reaching your goal or resolution frequently.
  • Review your list regularly.  You may find that you have time to do a little more than you originally planned.  
  • It’s NEVER too late to start…or start over!

 

“Sew” what are my goals?  Most of them are business related intertwined with sewing!  I have one sewing related project that is on the short list.

 

  

 

I’m involved in a round robin wearable art jacket challenge, and my deadline is coming up soon.  We selected a collection of fabric as our inspiration.  In this case it was a range of white to black Fairy Frost fabrics by Michael Miller. 

 

We each designed our jacket backs using any colors from that range.  We could add other colors to our jacket backs  for a “pop” of color.  

 

After we finished our jacket backs, we passed it on with all of the material and thread to the next person.  The next person makes one side and the opposite sleeve.  When that person is finished, she passes it to the last person.   

 

 

So this is what I received.  The back is pieced together using a technique called bargello, and has an appliquéd flower.  Bargello looks like it would be very challenging, but it's actually quite easy.  You will be surprised at how simple it is.  

 

The front panel is pieced and positioned at an angle, which creates a really nice look when worn.  If you look closely, you will see some piecing that looks similar to the saw tooth pattern.  There's a pocket with an appliquéd flower on it, and will be permanently sewn in place at the wearer's desired position.  

 

 

 

Here’s a sneak peak of my progress so far.  I am making the opposite front panel and sleeve.  I chose to do a play on water color piecing.  This was not as easy as it might seem.  Since I am the last person to receive this jacket, I have less fabric to work with.  That's part of the challenge.  Luckily, I had just enough fabric to make this work for both the front panel and sleeve.  

 

 

Here's a picture of the front panel I made with the other finished pieces.  I'm pleased with my progress so far.  Stay tuned for a picture when I'm finished!

 

 

 

Once I finish the jacket challenge, I need to prepare for a couple classes that I am teaching this year.  In March, I will be in Puyallup, Washington and will be demonstrating how to use Sulky Iron-On Transfer pens in the “Transfer It with Iron-On Transfer Pens” class.  This is going to be "sew" much fun!!!!

 

The other class, "Know Your Thread Weight" is a stage presentation.  The Sewing and Stitchery Expo is March 2-5, 2017, in Puyallup, Washington.  If you are there, be sure to look for me at the Sulky booth, or on stage and say hello!  I hope to be teaching a couple classes at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Cleveland, Ohio, but I haven’t received confirmation yet.

 

On a personal note, since we recently moved and I want to sew some simple home dec projects to give our house our personal touch.  I’ll be sure to share them with you as I make them.  Can you believe I won’t let myself start making anything for the house until I can give myself a gold star for the the first two projects on my list!    

 

I love hearing from my Sewing Friends.  Did you you make any New Year’s resolutions, re-SEW-lutions or goals for 2017 that you would like to share with me?  I hope you can apply my 9 Simple Steps for Goals and Resolutions, and make the sewing or quilting projects that you dream of making this year!

 

Sew long for now!

M.

 
 

Free-Motion Doodling On Celestial Stars 

Sewing with Sulky (S.O.S) Webinar

Hi Sewing Friends!

It's almost webinar time again.  I've been working with Beth Bradley of Martingale & Company and Lori Kennedy to give you another fabulous hour of inspiration and education.  This month's topic is Free Motion Doodling on Celestial Stars.  Beth will share with us how to create a very simple Celestial Star block that has plenty of opportunities for free-motion doodling.

Even if you are not a quilter, that's okay.  This is an easy wall hanging, that will be sure to impress your quilting friends.  You will learn how to do the flying geese.  I have to admit this was my first time piecing that pattern.  

Free motion sewing is one of my favorite types of sewing, and the book 180 Doodle Quilting Designs:  Free Motion Ideas for Blocks, Borders & Beyond will give you plenty of inspiration to get started.  Plus we will show you 4 ways to practice free-motion doodling so you will be ready and confident by the time you put your fabric under the needle.  

Lori is a superstar when it comes to free-motion work.  Several of her doodle designs are in the book.  She will teach you how to Doodle using Sulky Stick 'n Stitch stabilizer.  Well, that link will take you to Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy stabilizer, which is the same thing, just a different name.

Registering for the webinar is easy, just click on that link or the picture above.

Even if you know you cannot attend the webinar, go ahead and register anyway.  That way you will be privy to some things that the general public won't be able to see.  Plus you will have a chance to win a door prize and hear about the free download first!  

I hope to see you during the webinar!

Sew Long for Now!

M.

Fun with Preprinted Panels 

It's Christmas in July!

 

 

 

Fun with Preprinted Panels...It's Christmas in July

 

Hi Sewing Friends!

 

It's hard to believe it's time to start thinking about Christmas already.  We all know it takes time and TLC to make special handmade gifts from the heart for our family and friends.  In this video, I inspire you to embellish a preprinted panel with Sulky decorative threads.  I also give you amazing tips and exercises to practice so that you can free motion sew, or quilt interconnecting circles!  If I can do it, so can you!  It's really a lot of fun and easy, especially after you practice.  

​Let me hear a whoa hoo!  I hope this video inspires you to try embellishing a preprinted panel with beautiful Sulky threads.

 

By the way, don't forget to visit my shop to link to the Sulky online store, if you need to order supplies!

 

Here's the exercise sheet I promised.  Print it out on regular paper and practice tracing the lines and complete the rest of the row.

 

The next exercise is optional, and well worth it.  When you are ready, print the  exercise sheet on a piece of Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy Stabilizer (soon to be called Stick 'n Stitch) from your home printer.  This is a Wash Away stabilizer, and is available in convenient 8 ½" by 11" sheets.  It has a self-adhesive backing, like a postage stamp.  Peel that backing off and place it on a practice quilt sandwich!

 

There's one or two more exercises you can try, and I explain them in the video.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post and are inspired to embellish preprinted panels with beautiful Sulky decorative threads.

 

Sew Long!

 

M.

 

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