Category: Sizzix

Tutorial – Cutting Applique Shapes With Modern Tools and Software

This post contains Affiliate Links.

Today, I’m sharing insights on Modern Tools and Software that can be used for cutting fabrics for applique’, as well as cutting many other items.  I’m also sharing a tutorial to help you take a design created in various software (e.g. EQ7, machine embroidery designs or software, etc), or even sketched on paper, to create an SVG file that can be used to cut your shape on an electric cutter. And, there was a release this week of new software from Silhouette, that I want to increase awareness.

If you don’t have any of these tools, I hope you’ll still follow along and share your perspective on what you may like or dislike about applique.  And, if you do have these tools, or other modern tools, I’d also enjoying hearing your perspective on what you may like or dislike on using any of these tools.

TO START, WHEN YOU THINK OF APPLIQUE, WHAT COMES TO YOUR MIND?

Machine Applique ?  Machine Embroidery Applique ? Needle Turn Applique ?All the work required to trace and cut your shape?  Using an AccuQuilt Die?  Using an electronic cutter, like a Silhouette Cameo, Sizzix Eclipse, Brother SnC, etc.?  Using software to create your own unique design in EQ7 or other software?  Or do you think of doodling on paper to create your own design and manually transfer that design to cut your shape on fabric?

Unfortunately, or fortunately, the evolution of modern tools and their benefits for quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts continues to grow.  It just seems that it was a few years ago that die cutting machines (e.g. Sizzix Big Shot, AccuQuilt GO!) were considered revolutionary and, for many, they are still a valued modern tool that help them be creative.

For those uising die cutters, AccuQuilt actually has many wonderful dies to cut applique shapes perfect for this time of year.  And, they make cutting such shapes easy, fast and fun.

 

Sizzix also has many wonderful dies, that are perfect for Fall theme projects.

But what about when you have a shape that isn’t available in a die or the die doesn’t cut the shape in a size that you want?

Maybe you have an applique shape you created using Electric Quilt/EQ7 software, or from machine embroidery digitizing software, and you want to cut that shape in fabric, for your project.  

dog paw

Maybe cutting one shape using manual tracing and cutting techniques would be ok.  But what if you need to cut hundreds?  Who would want to manually cut out dog foot prints to go around borders and sashing when you could cut them out on an electronic cutter that would be a perfect size for your project?

Within EQ7, as well as many other software packages by the Electric Quit Company, you can easily print your applique templates to cut your fabrics.  And, for those using electronic cutters, you can also print your applique templates (or Foundation Piecing Templates) to a PDF.  There are several ways you can then use this PDF, but in just a minute, I’ll share a tutorial to show an easy way.

Within machine embroidery digitizing software packages, you can also print your templates to cut your applique shapes using traditional methods.  Or, you can print to a PDF for use on an electronic cutter.

There are actually a variety of Electronic Cutters on the market, so the steps can vary with each:

And, while Silhouette, Sizzix, Brother,  Janome, Cricut and Pazzles all have their own software package to help you design your own shapes on their machine.  There is also a variety of other software packages that you could use to cut your shapes on these machines.  

Make the Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot are independent software packages that allows you to create your own shape and cut on many of the electronic cutters.

Again, each electronic cutter and each software package that connects with one or more cutters, all have different pros and cons.  And, different steps for how you can create your own design, or take a design from a machine embroidery applique design (or an EQ7 design file) to your cutter.  I’m not going to try to walk you thru all the options, but for those that may want to get an applique template or foundation (paper pieced) templates created in EQ7 (or other software by Electr

For those that have an electronic cutter and may find challenges with cutting shapes created in other software packages (e.g. EQ7, machine embroidery digitizing software), here is a tutorial that I’ve found to be easy to use and economical.  It simply relies on your ability to create a PDF (or you may already have one with your purchased machine embroidery design files), as well as use a free program called Inkscape to create an SVG file format that can then be used to cut on various electronic cutting machines.

If you do not have software on your computer, to allow you to create a PDF, here are two free programs that you may want to consider:

note;  You may have Illustrator, or other software packages that support Vector graphics that will allow you to create SVG.  But as these are typically expensive software packages, but if you don’t the free Inkscape program works great!

DID I MENTION A TUTORIAL ?

HOW TO CREATE AN SVG FILE FROM A PDF ?

Step 1

If you do not already have Inkscape installed on your computer, you will need to download and install this FREE progra from: https://inkscape.org/en/

Step 2

 

Within the Inkscape program, click FILE > OPEN and navigate to open the PDF created in V7.

Under the PAGE SETTINGS option, Click the page that contains your appliqué template on the pdf and then click ok

Step 3

Click on the Select and Transform button on the left hand tool bar (arrow button).

And use your mouse to click on the template. Right click and select UNGROUP.  You may have to click the UNGROUP button twice, to ensure all the items are ungrouped as you may have a group within a group.

Step 4

Right-click the vector graphic and click “Ungroup” from the pop-up menu. This splits the image up into its vector components so you can extract the parts you require.

Step 5

pdf import settings for inkscape

For multi-page PDF files, be sure to use the PDF Import Settings to select the page for the shapes that you wish to import to Inkscape.  To clarify, if there are multiple pages, you will need to repeat this step by “Select page” under the Page settings option.

Step 6

ClICK on any item, other than your appliqué shape and delete. Note: You may need to click once and ungroup again, before you can delete the misc items that were on your PDF.  Goal is to get to the point that only your desired appliqué shapes are in view in Inkscape.

Step 7

CLICK FILE SAVE AS type the name of your design, which now has the SVG file extension. Save as to your desktop, or an area you will remember.

Step 8

Your SVG file is now ready to be opened in software for your electronic cutting machine, following steps unique to your software to send it to your machine to cut.

NEW SILHOUETTE DESIGNER EDITION PLUS SOFTWARE

For those that enjoy machine embroidery, Silhouette has released PLUS software this week that will allow you to open up machine embroidery designs and cut your applique shapes on your Silhouette machine:  This new PLUS software will work with the following machine embroidery file formats:

  • PES
  • DST
  • EXP
  • JEF
  • XXX

In addition to being able to open machine embroidery files in this new PLUS version, there is also functionality for creating Rhinestone designs.   Personaly, I’m delighted with this new PLUS software release and plan to not only use it to cut applique shapes for machine embroidery applique (MEA), but to incorporate sketch pens and/or rhinestones into my MEA designs, as well as use  MEA designs to create quilt labels and more.  The possibilities are endless.

While I am not an Affiliate for Silhouette, I honestly think their software is a good value.  This new PLUS version comes has two options to purchase:

  1. Standalone (you do not already have Silhouette Designer Edition) – $74.99
  2. Upgrade version (you already have Silhouette Designer Edition) – $25.00

 

note:  If you purchase the Upgrade for the new PLUS software, be sure you have the most current version of Silhouette Designer Edition (3.6.39).  If you do not, download and install the free upgrade to the most current version which you can get on their Silhouette-Studio page, by scrolling to the bottom and clicking the button that says download: http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/software/silhouette-studio   Once you have the Plus version successfully installed, your software will clearly show “plus” at the top.  You will then simply click FILE > OPEN and change the file type to reflect the file format of the machine embroidery design you want to open. Then, you can use the entire design to print, to change portions to rhinestones, or remote all but the cut line which you can use to cut your fabric with perfect alignment to your machine embroidery design.

I just purchased the Upgrade to PLUS and was able to quickly and easily open up machine embroidery applique files, to cut out the appropriate size applique shapes.  If there is enough interest, I may later record a video tutorial, but the steps are truly very easy.

While I’m a Silhouette owner and excited about the new Designer Edition Plus software, I am disappointed it does not pull in designs created in various Electric Quilt software (E.G. EQ7),.  Earlier insights on the Silhouette website had reported the Designer Edition Plus software would allow users to open up “stitching” files, which made me get very excited about the ability to easily create cut applique shapes created using EQ7 software.  But this week, they changed their website to reflect it would only open a limited selection of machine embroidery design formats.

For now, I’ll continue to rely on using PDFs and Inkscape for my EQ7 designs, to create SVG cut files for my Silhouette, but I do hope that one day there will be an easier way to turn my EQ7 applique shapes into cut files, as well as use my sketch pens for overall EQ7 designs.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if EQ7, or an EQ add on, would support creating SVG files?

To clarify, I’m excited about how the Silhouette Designer Edition Plus helps to integrate machine embroidery designs with the Silhouette ecutters, but I’d like to also be able to easily incorporate designs that are created in one of the most popular quilt design software packages – EQ7, eliminating the need to create PDFs and process them thru Inkscape, before we can cut them in our Silhouette, or other ecutters.  Electronic cutters are great tools, but if the manufacturers of these devices and the respective software companies of standalone software, want to embrace quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts, they need to help streamline the connectivity between our primary designing tools (e.g. EQ7) and the ability to cut on their electronic cutting tools.  So far, the hardware and software companies seem to be falling short of missing this opportunity.

Here are some links to other sources of great information on various electronic cutters and software:

Marian Pena of Seams to be Sew has a great tutorial overview of various electronic cutters and software: http://www.seamstobesew.com/tutorials/cutting-machines/todays-cutting-techniques/

Jin Yong of Under A Cherry Tree has a blog that focuses on electronic cutters and has released many tips, tutorials and inspirational projects, although she is not a machine embroiderer, so will most likely never explore the new Silhouette Designer Edition Plus software:  http://underacherrytree.blogspot.com/

As mentioned earlier, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this broad area of Modern tools and software and applique in general.  Are you excited about the direction these modern tools are going and their ability to help us create?

 You can find the Electric Quilt Company at:

http://www.electricquilt.com
https://www.facebook.com/ElectricQuilt
https://www.youtube.com/user/ElectricQuilt
https://twitter.com/ElectricQuilt/
https://instagram.com/theelectricquiltcompany/

#CreativeGoodness with Sizzix Fabi and New Kid Giddy Dies – Plus A Giveaway

Die Cutting machines can certainly help increase creativity for kids of all ages.  And, Using Ellison/Sizzix products have perfect ergo balance, making them comfortable to use and precise cuts.  Combined with a vast amount of dies for quilting, sewing, embroidery, as well as scrapbooking, card making and other interests they enable endless creativity and fun, with far less time than more traditional cutting tools.

11359102_1607747816165676_1680507031_n

Today, I’m delighted to heighten awareness of some of  new products from Ellison/Sizzix, introduced this year, as well as share insights on a great giveaway.

 

While new products are always being introduced, at Spring Market there were 18 new dies and one new Big Shot Plus machine that were introduced.

10983587_386490068196406_875710023_n

 

And they introduced many new Kid Giddy dies, that have been so popular, they’re frequently sold out.  Each are packed with total #CreativeGoodness.  Who wouldn’t want to create these cuties?

Big L Hedgehog

Check out this Youtube video about these new dies:

If you have problems view this embedded video, here is a link to watch it directly in Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1mTNG75Dmw
Big L Owl

 

 

 

owl stuffie

10946488_416657398509834_1333857134_n

 

 

New Doll die by Kid Giddy.

660537

 

And don’t overlook how perfect these projects would be as a stocking stuffer, or other gift!

 

Many quilt and craft shops carry Sizzix products, but you can also find them on Amazon, as well via the Sizzix online store.

You can find Ellison/Sizzix at:

http://www.sizzix.com/
http://blog.sizzix.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Sizzix
https://twitter.com/sizzix_us
https://www.youtube.com/user/sizzix
https://instagram.com/sizzix/

 

Did I Mention A Giveaway?

To celebrate National Sewing Month, Sizzix is sponsoring several giveaways.  This week, they have a special giveaway where you can win a Sizzix Fabi and a Kid Giddy Doll Die.  To enter to win, visit the Sizzix blog and follow  their instructions to enter no later than Monday, September 21st.

 

 

Die Cutting for Beginners with Ebony Love, a Blog Hop, and a Giveaway too!

I’m excited about a new QuiltingArts video workshop with Ebony Love, which was sponsored by Sizzix and published by F&W media, through QuiltingArts.  And, I’m participating in a blog hop celebration of this DVD workshop where you’ll find more out about it, as well as opportunities to win a copy of this downloadable DVD, as well as other fantastic prizes too!

This workshop is an excellent learning resource, for those new to die cutting machines, or not having yet purchased such modern cutting tools and want to learn more. 

Ebony Love (Love Bug Studios) is the Queen of Die Cutting Machines.  She is a quilter, author and die cutting expert who  has written and self published a book “The Big Little Book of Fabric Die Cuts”, taught classes at major quilt shows, created many Youtube video tutorials, hosted quilt-alongs all to help quilters understand how to use fabric die cutting machines and create beautiful quilts. She has also written other books, such as “Cut It, Sew It, Stow It”, published by Annie’s. And she published an e:Magazine “Blocks to Die For”.

And now, she has an excellent DVD learning opportunity for beginners to Die Cutting.  

Die-Cutting for Beginners with Ebony Love at QuiltingArts

 

Attendees of this workshop will learn the basics of working with die cutting machines.  While tips and techniques covered in this DVD apply to all brands of die cutting machines, the machines used in this machine are Sizzix, which allow you to cut up to 8 layers of fabric at a time! And, Sizzix machines have the easiest to use handles for manual die cutting machines on the market (easy on the wrist action as they have an ergonomic design).  Sizzix mats are also more durable and have a longer life than other brands.  Plus, Sizzix has the largest selection of overall dies than any other brand.

This workshop is well organized into three main chapters:   Making the cut with traditional blocks, making the cut with applique’ shapes, and die maintenance. The overall workshop is 1 hr 10 minutes, where you can easily start, stop, re-start and repeat at your leisure as often as you want.

Die-Cutting for Beginners

Highlights of this video workshop:

Introduction to Die Cutters: Learn about the three different type of die cutters on the market today, including electric cutters like the Sizzix Eclipse and Sizzix Vagabond, as well as  manual die cutters like the Sizzix Big Shot Pro and the Sizzix Fabi.   And, for those that have not yet purchased a die cutter, Ebony shares tips for deciding what machine may be best for you.

Die-Cutting for Beginners with Ebony Love 2

Die and Fabric Preparation: Ebony shares tips and techniques to help you make easy and accurate cuts and minimize scraps.  In this section you’ll also learn how to use fan folding fabric and the stacking techniques and minimize fabric waste.  With the Sizzix dies you can cut up to eight layers of fabric at a time and you’ll learn a variety of ways to minimize fabric waste when cutting.  But you’ll also learn how you can make a variety of cuts on your dies.  For example, squares, 45 degree, or 60 degree cuts on your strip dies are easy and can make your die more versatile. As fabric has different grain lines, Ebony also shows how to take grain lines into consideration when using a die cutting machine.

Making the cut with Strips:  Ebony shows how strip dies are versatile, to allow you to easily cut a variety of shapes. fan folding or stacking  technique for cutting strips (you can quickly create your own strip bundles of jelly rolls or bali pops), using your strip dies to make squares, four patch units, diamonds, cutting for continuous borders and bias binding.

Making the cut with geometrics: HST, quarter square triangles, create flying geese, isosceles triangles, right and left HST, trapezoid,  fan folding layering and stacking techniques for fabric cutting

Making the cuts with Traditional Blocks:  Cutting curves using templates can frequently be intimidating to many quilters, but Ebony shows how easy it is to make with die cutting machines showcasing the Drunkard’s Path die.  You’ll also learn how to cut papers and fabrics for English Paper Piecing hexagons.  She also shares a super fun and fast way to use the Clamshell die to cut fusible interfacing, as well as fabric, to create a Clamshell appliqué that can be easily fused for a quick project.

Die-Cutting for Beginners with Ebony Love 3

Making the Cut with Applique’ Shapes:  Ebony shares insights on dies that are compatible with the machine, but may be too intricate to cut fabric (but fine for cutting paper) vs dies that have been designed specifically for quilting applique’.  She also shares insights on fusible stabilizers that are helpful for die cut shapes, as well as machine appliqué vs mock applique or needle turn appliqué cut with a die.

Die-Cutting for Beginners with Ebony Love 4

Die Maintenance:  Learn how to increase the life of your mats, how to clean your dies, store your dies and more.

I can highly recommend this DVD workshop for anyone interested in getting a die cutting machine, particularly those that do not yet have one, as well as those that may have purchased, but have not yet gained confidence or feel they understand how to use a die cutting machine.  It could also be a good workshop for those that may have been using a die cutting machine for some time, but would like to build a solid base that could also help kick start them in teaching using die cutting machines!

With this DVD, Ebony also created a free pattern to make a unique quilt , using a variety of dies finished quilt size measures 44”x48”that incorporates a variety of blocks created with dies that could easily create beautiful quilts comprised of a single block, or two or three blocks.  But this sample block pattern does walk you thru a variety of blocks, from traditional, curved, appliqué, strips, etc., to easily help to help you gain experience creating blocks with a variety of die shapes that are all fast and efficient.  The blocks include:

  • Four Patch block 8”x8”
  • School Girl’s Puzzle block 16”x16”
  • Rail Fence block 16”x16”
  • Wild Goose Chase block 4”x6”
  • Lucky Clover 12”x12”
  • Fifty Four Forty or Fight 12”x12”
  • Four Fans Three Petals 12”x12”
  • Drunkard’s Path 16”x16”
  • Clamshells 16”x16”

Ebony also shows how to cut fabric, while minimizing waste, using die cutting machines and more:

  • full length continuous cuts for sashing and borders
  • bias binding
  • half-square triangles, quarter square triangles, strips, curved shapes, iscoles and right triangles, trapezoid
  • create flying geese, triangle in a square
  • stacking technique vs fan folding techniques for cutting (how and tips on when to use each

While I personally love die cutting machines, there are features with Sizzix that are not found on other machines.  For example, cranking the handle on their manual models has been designed to be very easy on the wrist, making it much easier to use for those that have wrist or shoulder problems.  Their mats also last longer.  They also have a very large selection of dies, and they continually create new ones, that are perfect for quilters.  And many of their dies created for scrapbookers are actually great for machine applique’, machine embroidery, as well as mixed media art.  Here are a few photos from their booths at CHA and Road to California, earlier this year, showing beautiful and inspirational projects:

 

P1130626 P1130628 P1130629 P1130632

Be sure to visit all the blogs participating in this blog hop for more insights on this new DVD workshop, as well as inspirational project ideas.

BLOG HOP SCHEDULE

July 20 – LoveBug Studios http://lovebugstudios.com

July 21 –  Sizzix http://blog.sizzix.com/

July 22 – Custom Quilt Kits http://www.customquiltkits.com/

July 23 – GenQ Magazine http://generationqmagazine.com/

July 24 – Cheryl Sleboda http://muppin.com/wordpress/

July 25 – Jessica K Darling http://jessicakdarling.com/

July 26 – Quilt Shop Gal http://quiltshopgal.com/

July 27 – LoveBug Studios & Interweave – Webinar with Ebony Love

You can find Ebony Love at:

http://www.lovebugstudios.com/

https://www.facebook.com/EbonyLove.Designer?fref=ts

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzlssDKsoZqcz7cV_SQtBDQ

 

You can find Sizzix at:

www.sizzix.com

http://blog.sizzix.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Sizzix?fref=ts

https://www.youtube.com/user/sizzix

https://instagram.com/sizzix/

https://twitter.com/sizzix_us

 

You can find F&W Media at:

http://www.fwcommunity.com/

https://www.facebook.com/fwmedia?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/fwmedia/

 

I also want to heighten awareness that Sizzix is a sponsor for the free virtual #summerCamp I’m hosting. There are #kidfriendlyprojects released every Tuesday and Thursday, through August. Create one or more of these projects with your kids this summer, to enter to win sponsored prizes that will be randomly awarded in September.

DID I MENTION A GIVEAWAY ?

Sizzix and F&W Media are giving away a DVD copy of Ebony’s new Die Cutting for Beginners dvd.  If you would like to win a copy of this DVD, please leave a comment on this post. While you can share anything you feel appropriate, you may want to share if you have a die cutting machine and if so what brand, what you like about die cutting, or what you want to learn about die cutting.

The winner will be randomly selected on August 7th.  I will send them an email to let them know and they will have three days to confirm they wish to claim their prize.

This giveaway is open to US only participants, as the prize will be shipped directly from the sponsor.

UPDATE:  The lucky winner is Francesca R.

Your Dream Studio – What Would You Like It To Look Like ? Sponsored Giveaway

Time to be Happy.

 If you are on a MAC or have problems watching this embedded video, click this link to watch it directly in youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM

SewCalGal really hopes you are happy and a TBA Sponsor is definitely going to make one lucky follower very happy.  They are giving away an amazing Dream Studio that includes:
 

 Ellisimo Gold II Sewing Machine, from Baby Lock Ovation serger, from Baby Lock
Quilt Mate Plus IV sewing station, from Koala Cabinets
Creative Gallery Wall system, from Koala Cabinets
Sew Comfort XL Chair, from Koala Cabinets
A Collectors bundle of Aurifil Thread that includes EVERY one of their Collections
Silhouette Cameo
Sizzix Big Shot Pro and 10 dies of your choice, from Sizzix
20 bolts of your favorite Hoffman California Fabric.
20 of your favorite books by Martingale
Complete Collection of Omnigrid Rulers
Complete Collection of Notions from Dritz



What an amazing giveaway from a very generous sponsor!  Wish I could find the email that has their contact info, so I could recognize them and thank them for their generosity and support.
 
 
Ooops.  I forgot to mention today is April Fool’s Day.  But if a sponsor would like to sponsor a giveaway on SewCalGal, please    
 
On another note, while SewCalGal is copyright protected, I have created some clipart for you which you can copy and use as you wish.  I hope it brings you a happy smile!
Lastly, this is National Serger Month and you can enter a contest to win a Baby Lock Ovation serger.  This isn’t an April Fool’s joke, but a contest that is open to enter during April.
 
What ever you do today, I hope you are happy.  And, of course, I hope you can find to enjoy and create too!  If you come up with any quack up ideas,    email address copy

quack me ups by sewcalgal copy
 

#CHAShow – CHA Mega Show 2014

CHAlogo
SewCalGal was able to attend the CHA Mega Show in Anaheim, CA, January 10-14th.   This amazing event was packed with professional seminars,an exceptional trade show with over 400 vendors, inspirational make-n-takes, demonstrations,  and buyers and attendees from all over the world.  And, I’m delighted to be able to share insights with you about this show today.
 
First, for those of you not familiar with CHA it is an association of Craft and Hobby Professionals from around the world.  It is an International non-profit organization with members involved in the design, manufacturing, distribution and retail sells of products in the nearly $30 billion U.S. craft and hobby industry.  And while they host many professional events throughout the year, the annual CHA Mega Show in Southern California is one of the largest and most opportunistic for “those in the business” to participate in.  To clarify, CHA is a great organization and SewCalGal highly encourages those in the business to become members, if you are not one already.  
 
Before I share insights on the Mega Show, I want to share that this is such a large show it is impossible to see everything in a day. Plus, there are multiple days of workshops and professional presentations.  And I’m only going to share glimpses of new products that caught my attention at the Trade Show.  While I attended this event to search for new products, I was also highly interested in learning more about ecutters.  In this post I’ll share some insight, but I’ll be writing a separate article about ecutters in the very near future.  
 
Here are highlights of what caught my attention at this show:
june tailor hexie
June Tailor has new tool for cutting Hexies: “You Hexie Thing – Hexie Ruler”  can easily cut perfect hexagons in nine sizes; 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″, 3″, 3-1/2″, 4″, 4-1/2″, 5″ and 6″.  And, like their  Shape Cut Ruler, which cuts perfect strips of fabric in various sizes, you can cut multiple layers of fabric using your rotary cutter.
 
There are also free quilt project instructions you can download for this ruler: The Hexie Thing Strip Quilt, The Oh So Hexie Quilt, and other Hexie projects too
 
And June Tailor has a new Diamond Ruler that will also easily cut diamonds in 1″ to 6″ diamonds in 1/4″ increments without measuring.
 
 

CRAFTWELL

ebrush

The new eBrush, by Craftwell, was introduced at CHA and was also honored as one of CHA’s top 20 products at the show, with a 2nd place award.  It is an airbrush compressor that turns markers, by various manufacturers, into spray art. The eBrush will be available in early April for retail purchases.  

While this product is clearly going to be popular with crafters, SewCalGal also anticipates it to quickly become popular with fibre artists and quilters alike.  Think of the fun and creativity this new tool will unleash to allow quilters to use stencils to paint on fabric, to free-form embellish fabrics, or to complete paint your own fabric and create your own unique piece of art!  

I also thoroughly enjoyed the ebrush demonstration by very talented Debi Tullier and artist “Slive”.   And, I thought you might also enjoy this youtube video by Noel Hyman.

This product will be on HSN for $150 late spring, making it a reasonably priced air brush tool that you can use to paint on fabric, paper wood, food or more.

LION BRAND YARN

lion brand exhibit at CHA

Lion Brand Yarn had a spectacular booth that was decorated with the “Seven Wonders of the Yarn World”, all made with beautiful irons.  I hope this exhibit travels to other shows, as it was super cute!

BROTHER SCAN N CUT
brother scan n cut

Brother has recently introduced a new ecutter, called the Scan-N-Cut.  It is the first ecutter that includes a built in 300 dpi scanner.

Like other ecutters, this product is marketed for scrapbooking and other crafts, but unlike other ecutters this product has done the best job SewCalGal has seen to-date to build in functionality that makes this product perfect for quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts.   There are many options for how you may want to use this product to create.  

For example you may want to doodle on paper, scan it and cut out part of that design.  You may want to scan and cut a shape on fabric for applique.  You can even cut out quilt block pieces, where you set the size that you want your block to be, and stitch out your blocks.  

There are over 600 built-in Designs, including 100 quilt patterns, plus 5 fonts.  And don’t forget you can scan designs and cut, as well as use various software packages to create designs that you can create SVG files to cut using this device. 

 Like other ecutters it can accomodate 12″x12″ and 12″x24″ cutting mats, as well as rolls of vinyl.  Retail is $499.

 
 
 

SewCalGal also wants to point out that this amazing 3D swirly snowflake creation is designed by the very talented Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero (Kaleidoscope Collections).  Jeanie has been using the Scan-N-Cut to create a variety of designs and sharing insights on her blog, which you may want to follow to also see what she creates with this ecutter, as well as see how she uses it combined with her super fun and creative Kaleidoscope Collections software.

ECLIPS2 BY SIZZIX
Sizzix introduced eclips2, their 2nd and more powerful electronic cutting system.  Their first ecutter was actually introduced 5 years ago!  This version has an enhanced motor, industrial strength gears, reduced noise and other improvements to help get more precise cuts.  It is also accompanied with free eCAL lite software to allow you to create your own designs, plus cut, score, draw and edit unique shapes for unique projects.
sizzix eclips2
SewCalGal liked the preview feature that allows you to place cuts on materials that may have been previously cut, to allow you to place your new cut to be efficient and optimize use of your materials.  There are also two new models of the ECLIPS2, one of which, will incorporate bluetooth technology to allow users to use the ipads or tablets to work with the eclips2. To clarify, both models can be connected to a computer via a USB cable, but the bluetooth model will allow you to easily bypass the USB cable when used with your tablet.   Retail of the basic eclips2, which will introduce this Spring, is $299 and the model that is bluetooth compatible will be introduced at a slightly higher price (~$50-$60 more), early summer.

These ecutters are definitely marketed towards crafters, with less emphasis on quilters.  But they will cut fabric even though they do not come with a blade for cutting fabric (you simply adjust your settings to cut and need to make sure your fabric is starched well and/or stabilized with a good adhesive stabilizer).   They also come with a basic version of the software and the Designer software version can be purchased for a $25-$50 upgrade price (final price has not yet been determined).

The cutting size for both these new models is 12″x12″, 12″x24″, or a roll of vinyl.
 
Also, Sizzix will be releasing a new ESHAPE store this Spring which will offer pre-designed ecut files that can be purchased and downloaded for use on your eclips cutters.
SILHOUETTE

New accessories for the Silhouette ecutters were introduced:  a stencil material,  12″x24″vellum sheets and new adhesive mats that have less tack that make it easier when cutting vellum.

SIMPLICITY EZ QUILTING
There were many wonderful products in the Simplicity booth. SewCalGal was particularly drawn to the SewEZ Jelly Roll ruler, the Joseph’s Coat acrylic templates, and the Inkadinkado products.  The Inkadinkado products just seemed to be fun to be able to stamp and create your own fabrics and I think they would look wonderful with beautiful free-motion quilting.  SewCalGal definitely wants to spend more time playing with these products.
Simplicity EZI Quilting

TOMBOW
tombow at CHA 2014
Tombow had an inspirational booth filled with beautiful art made with their creative markers and other craft products.   

CHAMELON
cameleon pens

Cameleon introduced some very new marking pens that are alcohol based markers that are refillable and the pen nibs allow excellent control for marking, and amazing color range.  These markers and their gorgeous colors look like they’d be great with artists, crafters and mixed media artists. 

While SewCalGal was told, during a demonstration, that these markers are permanent on most materials, SewCalGal has not yet had a chance to test them on fabrics. But I want to heighten awareness of these new pens, as I think they are going to be very popular.  

CHAMELEON SKINZ 

cameleon fabrics

Cameleon Skinz introduced inspirational fabrics and tapes that change color based on temperature.  You can use your hands, ice, etc.to doodle on these materials.  

Fabrics by Cameleon Skinz have been popular for use in children’s hospitals, as they certainly are more inviting for children and they are easy to clean.  But, SewCalGal thinks there are endless possibilities for these products.

Custom fabric orders can be made for different temperature sensitivity, as well as colors.  You can even embed secret messages as well as specifications can be set to allow an initial writer to write a secret message that someone else can then reveal it!  

SewCalGal can certainly think of many projects that would be fun to create with these temperature sensitive materials.  But more awareness needs to be made to help this material cross into the quilting, sewing and even embroidery world.    

 

I hope you enjoyed hearing my insights on the CHA show. With over 400 vendors, it was quite a challenge as to which products I could share insights with you today. 

 

The NBC Today Show also attended the CHA Mega Show.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

SewCalGal also hopes to share more insights on many of these products in the near future and maybe a few sponsored giveaways too!  But, at a minimum I hope you’ll keep you eye out for these products as they appear in your local sewing and craft shops, or favorite online shops.  And, if you don’t see them do let store owners or managers know that you are interested in having them carry these products in their store.  After all, exceptional retail stores do appreciate hearing from customers as to what you’d like to have them offer for sale in their stores.

For more information on CHA:

https://www.craftandhobby.org
https://www.facebook.com/CraftandHobby
https://www.youtube.com/user/CraftandHobby
https://twitter.com/craftandhobby
http://craftandhobby.wordpress.com/

Here is a list of previous posts about the annual #CHAShows:

Amazing Sizzix deals at Zulily

Are you a shopper at Zulily?  They have amazing daily deals that include items for kids, adults, shoes, toys, kitchen items, gifts and more.  And, they currently have an amazing deal on many Sizzix die cutters, dies and other accessories.  But deals at Zulily typically last a very short time.  The current deals on Sizzix products are only good thru October 8th.
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Click on over to Zulily to check it out.

Welcome to the Quilter’s Christmas Party ***Updated after the Parties****

I’m delighted you are able to come to the Quilter’s Christmas Party today.  Everyone is welcome to come have fun at this party, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas.  Still, this is a Christmas Party.  You can get dressed up, or come in casual attire.  You may want to share tips, tutorials, inspiration, share insights on your favorite Christmas, holiday recipes, or what you plans are for this holiday season.  Or, simply pop by and see what everyone is doing.

As this is a virtual party, their are some pros & cons.  We may not all get together in the same place, at the exact same time, but we can still get together and have fun.  A linky is provided for bloggers and non-bloggers to use.  For those that link up today, you’ll get a door prize ticket to win fantastic door prizes.  There is also the option to buy raffle tickets to win raffle prizes and 100% of the funds will be donated to Operation Homefront.

While SewCalGal rarely shares personal insights, to start this party I thought I’d do a little introduction and share some holiday insights.  I just hope I don’t bore you, as I really don’t have a very exciting life.  Here are a few things you may not know about me:

How long have I been quilting? 40+ years

Favorite style of quilting?  No favorites  – love them all (applique, piecing, handpiecing and more recently free-motion quilting.

Favorite Christmas Memory ?  The year I received a new 3-speed bicycle, not a hand-me-down.  I crept out in the middle of the night, to find a fire in the fireplace, lights on the Christmas tree and a “tire”.  Confused, I went back to bed.  Later, there was a bicycle frame and a tire.  Later, the frame and two tires.  Eventually a completely assembled bicycle.  I never did spot Santa!

What do I most enjoy about the holidays?  Spending time with friends and family.  It can be as simple as time spent taking a walk on the beach, enjoying coffee, or sharing a meal.  “Time” shared is the best gift.

Do I give handmade gifts?  I love to receive handmade items, as well as give them.  This year I’ve been too busy to make many handmade gifts.  Well, I have made many charity gifts.  I’m currently working on making luggage tags for a number of friends, using a great tutorial that I found at I Have A Notion.   They are fast & fun to make and also make great stocking stuffers.

Ok, I shared a few insights about me.  I could spend more time sharing quilting tips, tutorial, or inspirational quilts, but as I’m also the host for this party, I think I’ll keep my part short.  Still, I hope you’ll share insights to help introduce yourself to others.  No need to answer questions that I covered, but share what you want to.  Some will be sharing tips, tutorials, insights on what they are doing for the holidays and inspirational projects.

For bloggers, it is pretty easy to write a post and add a link. Just be sure your post reflects you are participating in the Quilter’s Christmas Party with a link back to this post.

For non-bloggers, you have several ways you can link up and join this party.  Here are a few:

  • Upload a photo to any site that will allow you to add text and allow the photo to be shared publicly to anyone on the internet. This could be via Google Images, Photobucket, Flickr, etc..  Be sure your text shows that you are
  • Download free software from smilebox.com which will allow you to upload photos and add text. You can create a slideshow that you can get an url that you can add to the linky to enter.
  • Consider creating an MSWORD document or create aPDF that includes photos and text and uploading it to Google Drive (aka Google Docs) where you can also share it and get the link
  • Search the web, as there are many sites that will allow you to upload photos and create a text while also giving you the ability to share, by way of giving you an URL that you can add to the link.  You just need to make sure that the link is viewable by those that may not have access to that same forum (or program).
  • Be able to validate what you do is viewable, or you risk being removed.  Sorry, but we don’t have a techy available to walk you thru it today, but if you’ve linked up to prior linkys as a non-blogger you should probably be fine…otherwise do be sure to validate your link.  There will also be a red x next to your link that you can click on to edit your link, if you have problems.

Note:  As this Party is also a fundraiser for Operation Homefront, all prize winners will be asked to pay for postage of their respective prize(s).

Once you are “linked up” you’ll be given a Door Prize Ticket, where you’ll automatically be entered to win a door prize (assuming you meet the rules).  Note:  Deadline to purchase raffle tickets is Thursday, December 13th.

Be sure to read this entire post, before add a link.  And, check back as this post will be updated a couple of times.  SewCalGal is hosting this virtual party and a physical party in So. Cal. today.   I’ll be updating this post later today, to share insights on both parties.  I’ll update it again, in a few days, to announce the winners of the door prizes.  And, about December 15th, I’ll be given a report from Operation Homefront that will show donations with comments that reference “SewCalGal”, that essentially buy raffle tickets (more ways to get a raffle ticket listed below).  This post will be updated to announce raffle prize winners about December 16-20th.  And, a special post will be made at that time, with this post being updated to provide a link, to a special Silent Auction that will also benefit Operation Homefront. While it was originally planned to only have door prizes and raffle prizes, as more prizes have come in, we’ll also have a Silent Auction fundraiser in December. All will have great prizes.

SewCalGal wishes to thank the following Sponsors that have generously donated prizes for the Quilter’s Christmas Party:

ASF/Lightware Solutions/The Reading Light (Beam N Read), Kelly Jackson of I Have A Notion (IHAN), Island Batik,  Martingale
MyMemories,   American & Efird LLCSewEZI QuiltingLark CraftsCozy Quilt DesignsCraftsy, Judy Chain of Sew Fun QuiltsNew Leaf Stitches, Rebecca Goldsmith of  Piece O’ Cake DesignsFabric.com, Ebony Love (Love Bug Studios),   Lily Patch Quilts and Sizzix.

Here are a few peaks at some of the prizes that may not be shown on the previously published list:

The Giving Quilt, by Jennifer Chiaverini

Beautiful bundles of fabrics and quilt kits from Hoffman California Fabrics.

Lovely threadpacks from American & Efird LLC.

Kelly Jackson (I Have A Notion) donated items for one of the Golden Ticket Gift Baskets.  And items from just about all the sponsors were used to create the other basket.  Both baskets are packed full of wonderful prizes and each exceed an estimated value of $200.

To see more info on Door Prizes and Raffle Prizes click here.  Don’t forget that more prizes have been donated and not all are currently reflected.  With luck, I’ll have them all updated by the end of day today.  But, I think you’ll agree their are many amazing prizes.

Win a Raffle Prize by donating a $1 or more to Operation Homefront.  Each $1 donation gets you an entry to win a Raffle Prize.   Note:  The last day to purchase raffle tickets is Thursday, December 13th.

 

Win one of two  Golden Ticket Prize Bundle by getting a Golden Ticket for every $10 you donate to Operation Homefront.

 

There are many ways you can donate to Operation Homefront:

Quilters that make cash donations to Operation Homefront can do so by visiting their website and submitting an online donation (click here).  Any amount is appreciated and can help to make a difference to a Military Family in need of special assistance. 

And, be sure to enter “SewCalGal” in the comments so that I can recognize your donation accordingly. Operation Homefront will provide SewCalGal with a list of donations that will be used to assign raffle tickets/Golden tickets for the drawing of prizes!

 
Operation Homefront will be providing a report that I’ll use to generate raffle tickets for each $1 donation and the winning raffle tickets will be randomly drawn and announced by mid-December.
 

 

Quilters that make cash donations to Operation Homefront can do so by visiting their website and submitting an online donation (click here).  Any amount is appreciated and can help to make a difference to a Military Family in need of special assistance. 

And, be sure to enter “SewCalGal” in the comments so that I can recognize your donation accordingly. Operation Homefront will provide SewCalGal with a list of donations that will be used to assign raffle tickets/Golden tickets for the drawing of prizes!


If you do not want to use the donation form on the Operation Homefront site you can also send me a check, made payable to Operation Homefront, or donate via my PayPal account and I’ll gladly give 100% of your donation to Operation Homefront. Again, any amount is appreciated.


You can also include the State in the comments, if you wish your donation funds to be used in a specific state, otherwise it will be used at the National level and allocated as they feel appropriate.
 

If you don’t want to use the online form you can send a check made payable to “Operation Homefront” to SewCalGal and your check will be given OH!

OR you can write a check to “Operation Homefront” and mail it to SewCalGal.  I will hand deliver it to a representative of Operation Homefront.

OR you can issue a PayPal transaction using  my mailing address  and specify funds are to be used for Operation Homefront, but please note this PayPal transaction will not qualify you for a tax deduction, whereas donations direct to Operation Homefront are tax deductible as it is a 501c3 non-profit program.   I will issue a check made payable to Operation Homefront for 100% of any donations received in this manner and deliver the check to a representative of Operation Homefront.


You may also be interested in seeing my original announcement post about the Quilter’s Christmas Party, where I share more insight on Operation Homefront.


Want extra entries for door prizes?

SewCalGal appreciates PR Angels.  If you posted a badge and/or a blog post prior to December 9th, please leave a comment on this post to let me know you did and share the link, for an extra entry for a door prize.  With your help, we’ll have more people come participate in this party. And, even better if more people buy raffle tickets (donate to Operation Homefront) for chances to win raffle prizes.  And, your help to increase awareness of the upcoming silent auction, to benefit Operation Homefront, is also greatly appreciated.  SewCalGal values PR Angels.  I couldn’t do what I do without your help and encouragement.

Visit all of the blogs and non-bloggers participating in this Christmas Party (linked up) and leave a thoughtful comment on their blog.  Come back here and leave a comment to claim this extra entry to let me know you helped to spread good holiday cheer and you’ll get an extra door prize entry!

Virtual Party Highlights:

Martha (Quilt to the Edge) shared a great tutorial to make really cute quilted coasters.

Nina Lise (Mrs Moen) shared a tutorial on how to make really cute pillow covers.  And, her post today (12/10) is for a giveaway where you could win one.  Her giveaway is open thru December 16th.

Terrie (Bits and Pieces) shared a tutorial to make really cute bookmarks.

Kelly Jackson (I Have A Notion) created captured on video some of the party participants dancing a fun jig.

And she also shared that she is donating a Beam N Read Light as an additional raffle prize. Thank you Kelly!
Beam and Read LED6 Deluxe Hands Free Light-

Dana (Stormy Days) shared a wonderful story that I hope everyone reads.  It is really what Christmas is all about!

Physical Party Highlights:

Insights on Operation Homefront:  Gayle Morelan, from Operation Homefront shared insights with everyone about this Nationwide program.  SewCalGal’s summary is that this program typically helps low-level enlisted soldiers and their families.  They work with various banks to help provide mortgage free homes where the need is great and funds can be raised to assist.  Typically, as wives are often in a location where they do not have friends or family to throw them a baby shower, group baby showers are frequently held where the wives are invited and given baby gift baskets and/or items appropriate for babies.  Many states, offer homes where a wounded soldier (and their family) can live as they exit the Military until such time they are well enough to get a job and find a place to live on their own.

The Operation Homefront also showcases emergency situations on the respective state website, where you can essentially help Military families with special needs.  For example, a Military family of a wounded veteran is struggling with finances to cover rent, after a death in the family has resulted in them taking on caring for two more children, expanding their family of 5 to 7.  While donations to Operation Homefront are always appreciated, they also share such insights where you can donate to directly help situations like this.

And, 94% of every dollar donated to Operation Homefront goes to needs defined in their Mission Statement.  To clarify, only 6% is used to cover rent of their warehouses, printing flyers, website maintenance, or other administrative costs.  Few non-profits are that efficient!

As they also are in need of toys, for a Christmas Party for kids of special needs Military family, many attending this party also brought toys to this party to donate to OH.

A few members of Champagne Quilters attended the party and shared insights.  This is not a quilt guild, but a group of quilters, that belong to various quilt guilds.  Monthly they meet to work on making baby gift baskets that are donated to women, about to have babies, when their spouse is off in a war zone.  More volunteers in every state are needed to help in this manner.  It might be a good opportunity for quilt guild’s, or individual quilters.  Anyone interested can contact their local Operation Homefront to drop off such donations.

And many attendees brought items to donate for these baby gift baskets.

Julie Herman (Jaybird Quilts) attended the party.  She recently moved from Philadelphia to Southern California and SewCalGal was delighted to have her attend.  She also generously helped to create fun at the party, by decorating the tables with oodles of quilt magazines and patterns, which attendees were allowed to take home for free.

Linda Nitzen of Sizzix gave an insightful demonstration of cutting fabric with the Sizzix Big Shot and Big Shot Pro.  Plus, we were all treated to a wonderful show of beautiful quilts, table toppers and wallhangings that had been made using Sizzix die cutting tools.   



Linda also donated a Sizzix Big Shot and dies that will be used to help raise funds for Operation Homefront, by way of a Silent Auction that will be announced by SewCalGal shortly.

SewCalGal also did a quick sharing of the Silhouette Cameo, SLICE Fabrique and the AccuQuilt GO!.



We had a yummy potluck lunch.




There were plenty of door prizes (oops, I forgot to take pictures of all the door prizes wrapped and under the Christmas tree).


Wonderful raffle prizes.



And the Grand Prize (aka Golden Ticket Prize) was definitely a prize everyone wanted.  Packed full of notions donated by Kelly Jackson (IHAN),  a Beam N Read Light, threads donated by American & Efird LLC, and multiple packs of beautiful fabrics donated by Hoffman California Fabrics!



Everyone at the physical Quilter’s Christmas Party and virtual party all had fun.  I’ll be sharing more insights, announcing the winners for the door and raffle prizes, as well as the winner of the Golden Ticket Prize (virtual party) the week of the 15th, as well as more info on the Silent Auction fundraiser for Operation Homefront.




 

CHA Winter Trade Show 2011

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the CHA Winter Conference & Trade Show 2011 in Los Angeles, Ca..  This show is packed with excellent conferences appropriate for anyone in the craft & hobby business, including quilting, sewing and embroidery businesses.  The Trade Show that is held along with the conference is also a fantastic trade show, with vendors and attendees coming from around the world, representing a large variety of craft & hobby businesses (e.g. quilting, sewing, embroidery,fibre-artists,  jewelry, scrapbooking, etc.).  It is fun to see so many talented people and amazing businesses come together under one roof and share their insights to inspire creativity and business health.

I’m excited to have an opportunity to share with you some of the items that new products at this show, which I think will make a difference in our world of quilting, sewing and embroidery, as well as related items that you may be interested in for yourself, or for gifts.

Many of these items I hope to be able to research and share more insights with you in the future, but for now I wanted to provide you a summary of what I found at the CHA Winter Trade Show:

Cutting Tools:

Making Memories’ new Slice Fabrique is a lightweight cordless cutting tool that can really make it easy to create quilts with applique designs and fonts.  While the Slice Elite is designed to cut paper and capable of cutting fabric, the new Slice Fabrique also cuts both, but has some features that make this new product better for those that will primarily be using it for cutting fabric.  There are many new dies memory cards designed specifically for quilters that compliment the Fabrique model, but are also compatible with the Slice. While typical Slice memory cuts max out at a 4″ cut, these new designs enable an applique design using multiple pieces that can result in a large than 4″ applique design.  Each design can also be created with a shadow feature, as well as mirroring image.  The new Fabrique also has a special holder that essentially weights down the cutting device to make it a hands free device, unlike the earlier Slice.  And, the new Fabrique can also cut items popularly cut by the Slice (e.g. paper).  I’m excited about the new memory cards, with designs by popular designers, that will soon be on the market.  And, I hope to be sharing more insights on these new products with you very soon.

Creatopia by Xyron is a new cutting system that will cut fabric, but is primarily a paper cutting & embossing tool.  It can use any AccuQuilt GO! die that works with the GO! Baby (e.g. up to 6 1/2″ wide)  and what I found really cool is that it uses 3 normal rotary blades that you can align to cut fabric strips of any width!  This is a big plus for those that primarily want to cut strips and don’t want to buy or store a die for each size of strip that they want to cut, up to any strip combination of 12″ wide.

eCraft by craftwell has several electronic cutting systems to cut & emboss paper, and cut fabric without the use of a mat.  The rep giving the demo did not appear to be that familiar with how quilters use cutters, as many answers to my questions did not make sense.  Still, this looks like a cutter that is worthy of consideration for those looking for an electronic cutting system. It can also cut adhesive vinyl.  And it comes with software that allows you to create your own designs. I’m definitely wanting to investigate this tool further and plan to share insights with you.

silhouette is a versatile product that comes bundled with software where you can create your own designs to cut designs on paper, vinyl, and fabric.  They have recently introduced a printable heat transfer product that comes in two forms:  Clean cut and sewable.  This is a fun and versatile cutting product that is great for home decorations, scrapbooking and I believe will become very popular with sewing, quilting and embroidery enthusiasts in the near future.

AccuCut was at the show, promoting their cutting system to cut paper.  The AccuQuilt side of their business, focused on cutters for fabric, sadly, was not represented at this show.

SizzIx
It was fun to see Tim Holtz demonstrate his new Vagabond cutter, which is an electronic cutter primarily targeted at scrapbookers.  There seems to be some potential for cutting fabric, but the demonstrations and informations that I’ve obtained to-date from Tim and/or Sizzix have not been able to answer all my questions, thus I’m holding off on forming an opinion on this product at this time.  While I have previously seen demonstrations of the Sizzix Big Shot and Big Shot Pro, I liked to see more emphasis by Sizzix on what these products can also do for quilters.  While I’ve not been able to use one, the versatility of these products to use a variety of manufacturer’s dies is a big plus.    Still, I’m holding off to forming an official opinion until I have more hands on time with this Big Shot Pro as I’ve heard a variety of opinions from fellow quilters and Sizzix appears to have their focus on scrapbookers vs quilters.  But, like some of the other cutters, both of the Big Shots are able to use dies from other manufacturers (e.g. AccuQuilt GO! and Studio dies).

Simplicity has a fun booth packed with their products.  While their Rotary Cutting Machine has been on the market for awhile, I wanted to include it in this group.  I was able to see it demonstrated cutting fabric strips from 3/8″ to 2 3/4″, of any length.  I also saw a demonstration of using craft blades to cut and/or mark metal tape for use in fibre-arts and liked this application very much.  The price for this product is very reasonable, making this a good product for someone primarily interested in cutting strips.

Fiskars introduced many new products, including some very cool new Titanium Comfort Loop Rotary Cutters (45mm and 60mm) with a new updated handle to reduce hand fatigue.  And the blade has new titanium coating for improved durability and lasting sharpness.

Publishers:
CT Publishing had a nice collection of the STASH books.  I also caught a demo of their new TAP media which I found to be an exciting way to transfer images to ATCs, t-shirts and other medias.  I’m definitely looking forward to trying out this media and will certainly share more insights when I do.

Random House was introducing many new books at this show.  “Modern Log Cabin Quilt“, by Susan Beal will be on sale in March, along with other new books that I’m not able to share insights with you at this time.  And do be sure to check out “Dare to be Square Quilting” by Boo Davis.  I had a chance to check out this book at this show, and it really has some fun designs and excellent tips.

Leisure Arts
There were some wonderful new books introduced at this show.  So new, in fact, I can’t share much info with you at this time.  But keep an eye out for a new release from Leisure Arts called “3 Times a Charm”.  And I hope to share more  insights on this new book, as well as others, as soon as they are officially release.

Storage & Organization:
ArtBin is celebrating their 35th Anniversary this year with some wonderful new product introductions.  New color collection solutions boxes can are available in purple, rasberry and teal, along with a translucent clear.  They also have a cute new Magnetic Slime line case that is perfect for those that like to keep needles, scissors, bobbins and/or pins in a small case.  Their Tote Express originally targeted for scrapbookers, now has a version to carry small sewing machines.  I am a big fan of ArtBin Super Satchel Series,  and was drooling over their Super Satchel Cubes to help organize your sewing room.  They also have a new Super Satchel Thread box and an option to help store 20mm, 32mm and 45mm spools in a large Satchel.

DBest Products has a  Smart Cart that is lightweight, yet durable,  cart that collapses to take up minimal storage space.  While originally designed to help scrapbookers, I think this cart will also be of interest to many quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts.  It comes in black, blue or navy and holds 12″x12″ paper (or small sewing machines and other sewing items that do not exceed this width.  The wholesale price is $12.50, with a retail at $25.  I also understand they have a wider version, but it was not exhibited at this show. This is certainly a cart that has caught my attention. When I can get some hands on time with these carts, I’ll certainly share more insights.  I the meantime, I hope you’ll get to check out DBest Products’ Smart Cart.  And, I also think this could be a great product for quilting & sewing stores to consider as a product for their customers. After all, we all like great storage that also helps us take our projects and tools to classes and retreats.

Fabric Manufacturers/Designers
Adornit is a new manufacturer of beautiful 100% cotton fabrics and pattern books.  With their business background firmly established in the world of scrapbooking, they’ve used their creative talents to expand out into the world of quilting.  They launched fabric line at Spring Quilt Market 2010 and they continue to expand their product offering.  This is definitely a brand name that will soon be familiar with every quilter.  Beautiful fabrics, lovely pattern books (aka quilt books and more).  I look forward to sharing more insights with  you on Adornit in the near future.

Eco-Fi, a product of Foss Manufacturing Company, LLC, produces engineered, non-woven fabrics and specialty synthetic fibers.  These fibres are all high-quality polyester fiber made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, completely made in the US.   An ecotote fabric that also looked excellent to machine embroider on or embellish to make beautiful totes and an ecofleece fabric that looked wonderful to make stuffed toys, pillows and other fun sewn items from.  I definitely am planning on doing more research on their products as I’d like to find more ways to go green, in the future, with my love of sewing.

Oil Cloth By The Yard  is the largest oil cloth company in the country.  They offer beautiful oil cloth by the yard, as well in a number of kits (to make lunch bags, pennants, tote bags, market bags, pouches and more) Freckled Sage is the side of their business with pre-made products (e.g. totes, aprons, placemats, bibs, tablecloths, etc.).  They also take custom orders.  The oil cloth was of excellent quality with a large range of spectacular designs.

Notions & Accessories
Prym Consumer USA (Dritz Sewling Notions) introduced many new products.  Their new OmniAngle 6″x14″ Wedge Ruler (RA624) allows you to create fans, circles, wedges and spirals making it a handy to make table runners, wall hangings and tree skirts.

DMC introduced several new products: ready-to-stitch plushed stuff animals (Monkey, Duck & Pig),10 new beautiful Color Infusions Memory threads which looked like they’d be fun to use in a variety of fibre-arts and 3D quilts.  They also had fun kits to learn to crossstitch in half the time. I also liked their project books for tweens to help them learn the art of sewing.

The Knit Kit is a handy new accessory that is a great product for knitters on the go, of all levels.  In a cute little case it includes a stitch counter, measuring tape, thread cutter, scissors, darning needle and more.   They also have a new Quilt Kit for quilters that includes a seam ripper, measuring tape, pins, sewing needles, bobbin, thimble and scissors.  Great price @ $22-25, making these also good gift ideas.   Both portable kits are  also TSA approved and are reasonably priced.

Offray
Offray always has beautiful ribbons and had many new ones introduced at the show.  Of course, I really enjoyed seeing Cat In The Hat  showing off his favorite ribbons.

Embroidery Items
Quick Stitch Products, from Neil Enterprises, Inc. has a beautiful collection of embroidery papers and gifty blanks that any machine embroidery person could have fun making beautiful items for their home and gifts with.  All reasonably priced.  I also think their papers and blanks would be wonderful products for any store that has machine embroidery customers, but anyone can also order directly from their online store too.  I am certainly looking forward to doing some ME products with their products and blanks.

Knitting items
The Art of Knitting had a variety of kits and videos to help teach people to knit. I was very impressed with their collection for kids, including their dvd “The Art of Knitting for kids” that helps teach kids ages 5+ how to knit.  All reasonably priced and would also make great gifts for those looking for a crafty gift idea for kids.

Other Items
Frank A. Edmunds Co. had beautiful quilting frames and hoops that looked to be high quality and reasonably priced.  I liked their full size quilt frame fashioned after frames from the past.  Perfect for the single quilter or a group.  These frames can easily adjust from a baby quilt up to a full size or King quilt.  They also offer a large selection of round, oval and half boarder hoops.  These would be excellent hoops for any hand quilter.

Michaela Laurie (I Love Paper Quilting), from Australia, was vending her line of “Made by You” which are beautiful quilts made from paper.  This talented designer has created an interesting style of quilt art that I hope you will take time to view more on her site, and consider making on your own.  She also teaches and is willing to travel to teach or give presentations.  I anticipate seeing her work at Quilt Shows and in Quilt Museums in the very near future.  Absolutely beautiful!

Halcraft USA had several booths, some filled with beautiful glass beads perfect for jewelry and fibre artists.  I was drawn to their booth that was full of quilts, fibre-arts, and other sewn items.  While there I was able to learn of some new stablizers that have been manufactured by Halcraft and will hopefully be picked up soon by a large retailer (e.g. JoAnns, Hancocks, etc.  I really liked what I saw and plan to follow this product and hope to share more insights as it is introduced in the retail market.  Definitely a product that is going to be popular with applique quilters, machine embroiders, fibre-artists and more.

As I have enjoyed creating fabric thru the use of sewing fibers and using stablizers, I was very excited to see the new products by Halcroft also included stablizers to support such projects.  And it was fun to see that they also utilized AccuCut products to cut such sewn fabrics for applique’.  Again, I look forward to sharing more insights with you on their products, as I research more.

I hope you are able to check out these new products in your local sewing & quilting stores soon.  And if you don’t find them, let the respective owner (or buyer) know that you are interested.

You may also want to attend the CHA Craft Super Show, as I think you’ll have a lot of fun checking out new products and participating in a variety of make-n-takes too.  It will be held July 21-24, 2011 in
Rosemont (Chicago), Il

http://www.jfashow.com/
http://www.craftsupershow.com/

Road to California 2011 Quilters Conference and Showcase Is A World Class Quilt Event

When you do something extremely well, it is difficult to imagine doing it better.  But, every year the Road to California Quilters Conference and Showcase gets better and better.  And the 2011 show has gone above and beyond with being well orchastrated, having an amazing list of workshops, lectures, beautiful quilts brilliantly displayed, and wonderful vendors.  This is truly a World Class quilt show, at an amazing value, set in sunny Southern California.  What an amazing oportunity.

This week I have had the opportunity to observe quilt show judges, to understand the judging process.  Watch photographers document every quilt and sewn item entered.  Understand the behind the scenes work that goes on to coordinate logistics and beautiful displays.  And spend a day at this exceptional show.  The only bad news I can say, is that I can not report all my findings at one time.  There is just too much great information to share, thus I’ve decided to share insights with you over the next couple of days, with plans for some follow-up articles as I spend more time sharing in-depth insights on my findings. 

Today, I want to heighten awareness on some new products that I found at this show, as well as increase awareness on some fantastic vendors.  If you are able to go to the Road to California show this weekend I hope you’ll take time to visit these vendors. And, if you are not able to go this weekend, I hope you will be able to visit their stores,  check out their online stores, or even ask for their products at your local quilt store, as appropropriate.

Here are highlights of my observations with some amazing vendors at this show today.  Sadly, too many wonderful vendors for me to share insights on all of them today, but I do want to encourage you to check them out.

Kaleidoscope Collections is a fun software package that allows you to turn any image ito a Kaleidoscope, change the background to look like fabric (and more) where you can print on fabric to create spectacular designs for your quilts.  They have released two new add on packs to create “Filigree” or “Snowflake” based designs. 

SewEzi tables  has wonderful portable sewing tables.  They’ve come out with several new products, including extension tables to provice more surface area to work on, but for those that use SewEzi tables on multiple sewing machines you will want to check out their new “Quick Change” kit that lets you quickly adapt your table to a variety of sewing machines.

Quilt in Clay has released several new designs of spectacular jewelry made with polymer clay.  Jennifer continues to create beautiful quilt art jewelry that amazes and delights the eye.  The details of her quilt blocks are always spectacular.  I do belive she deserves a special award for all her contributions to our wonderful world of quilting.  Please email me if you are also a fan of Quilt in Clay and have ideas for how to recognize her contribution.  In the meantime I’ll will continue to admire her work and be delighted when I see quilters wear her works of art.

Quilt Album software has a very easy to use software package that helps you catalog your quilt photos (or any photo) and easily create your own quilt album, greeting card, quilt label, or more.  The ability to see the demonstration at the show is definitely worth your time, and they have a great show special price too.  But either way, this is a very reasonably priced software package that is very easy to use.

Cozy Quilt Designs is always a “Star of the Show“.  Their booth was packed with beautiful patterns, fabrics, kits, books and more.  Daniela Stout, shared insights on many new patterns that are available at this show.  Be sure to ask about their “Transitions kit” with new Robert Kaufman Fabrics and their Braidwork Pattern with “Stonehinge Strip Fabric.  Absolutely brilliant! 

And what ever you do, don’t miss a chance to chat with the talented Sharyn Craig and hear about her new Cutting Corners Ruler.  If you buy one thing this year, I recommend that it is this new ruler.  You’ll love it!

Fabric Patch has a cute booth full of wonderful quilting items.  Within their booth, I had the pleasure of meeting Cherry Good, of Cherry Good Quilt Designs.  She has a number of beautiful quilt designs, all well written with great visuals and color instructions on all pages, that look to be very easy to follow.  She is also designing patterns for new lines of Hoffman fabrics.  I think this talented designer is one that you’ll want to make many beautiful quilts with her designs and I’m certainly looking forward to making quilts with her designs and seeing more quilts made by fellow quilters with her designs too.  Do talk to your LQS if you do not find her designs.  

Irena Bluhm Designs was an absolute delight to find at this show.  This was my first opportunity to meet Irena, and gain insight on what this talented designer and teacher has contributed to our wonderful world of quilting.  I was automatically inspired and looking forward to the opportunity to take a class with Irena.  She has an amazing number of books on free-motion quilting, and a few DVDs.  While I’ve not had the chance to read her books or watch her dvds, I must say that what I saw at this show is that they are excellent.   She is a brilliant free-motion quilter, and she has a wonderful style of painting on whole cloth fabric, enhancing beautiful quilting designs.  From my brief time chatting with her, I think she should be a must presenter to any guild and teacher at any quilt shop that wants to inspire others for free-motion quilting and painting on fabrics. Very talented quilter and I do hope you get a chance to meet her at this show. 

Quilt in a Day had an excellent vendor booth, with Eleanor Burns answering questions, inspiring quilters and delighting everyone.  I am always amazed how this talented woman can continually bring good cheer and inspiration to quilters, throughout the world.  She is “Lady Eleanor”, and I clearly understand why she won the “Lifetime Achivement” Award in the 2010 Golden Quilter Awards. 

Her booth was full of beautiful thread kits, fabric, patterns and books.  And, she also had demonstrations of the new AccuQuilt GO! Baby which I wanted to cuddle and take home.

And remember to print a copy of Quilt In A Day’s 30% off coupon, if you are going to the show.

Luella’s Quilt Basket always delights.  I learned that they have become a licensed distributor of some fun new machine embroidery designs by Purely Gates Embroidery that has some beautiful whimsical designs that are adapted to mylar.  I hope to be able to share more insights about these fun new designs soon, but if you have a chance, do visit Luella’s and be sure to ask about Purely Gates Embroidery designs.

John Flynn is the featured artist at this show. There is an amazing exhibit of his beautiful quilts at this show, and I enjoyed my opportunity to meet with him and see him work on a spectacular quilt.  I could have easily have had a wonderful time at this show, sitting by John all day long, watching him quilt, and asking him questions.  I only hope I have more opportunities to meet with John, and take a class with him in the future.But as I also love seeing all his wonderful products that he has in his vendor booth, at this show, I can truly recommend that every quilter stop by his booth and check out his amazing kits, rulers and quilt frames.  And I do hope you are blessed with an opportunity to meet this talented man in person. He has certainly given the quilting world so many gifts.   

Sizzix has an excellent demonstration on using their fabric die cutting machine, which will cut multiple layers of fabric using Sizzix, AccuCut, and  AccuQuilt dies. 

beyond the reef has some wonderful patterns designed by Natalie Barnes.  I can’t wait to make her Aloha Bears and her Aloha wallhanging, along with many of her other patterns.  She also has many wonderful books and other items, but I will confess that I love her tropical fabrics, all at great prices.

Honey Run Quilters was named as a Top Ten Quilt Shop by American & Quilting Quilt Sampler Magazine and featured in the Fall 2009 issue.  While I’ve not been to their store, their vendor booth is delightful and I can understand why they were recognized by A&Q Mag as being a Top Ten Quilt Shop.  They have beautifully coordinated fabric bundles, yummy fabric by the yard, and “must have” jewelry and items made by Pam Bush.  I do hope you have a chance to visit their booth at this show, or their shop in Chico California (or online).

Again, I do  hope you have a chance to visit the Road to California Quilt Show this weekend. This show is packed with wonderful vendors and amazing products.

The show runs thru this Sunday and is at the Ontario Convention Center.  And, if you can’t make it this year, I hope you’ll plan on attending it next year.  If you live out of the area, please remember this is a wonderful quilt show to attend, with broad range of workshops and an excellent show, all in sunny Southern California. 

Quilters  from around the world come to this show.  I even met one woman who came from the North-East US, and shared that she had been walking around her hotel to find the pool.  She soon found out that in Southern California that the pools are “outside”, and she was happy to take her swim in weather that can be high 70’s/low 80’s in the middle of winter!  so, please come and enjoy a wonderful quilt conference and show, along with some sunny Southern California weather. 

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