Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Sea of Machines

I swung by Auburn Sew & Vac last night to pick up six sewing machines.  Yes, SIX!  Plus there was a seventh that needs an engine overhaul that I didn't get to take home AND I dropped off an eighth.  Our machines were in desperate need of some TLC plus Lisa and I rescued a few machines from the bone yard at Paul's (Whistlestop Junk Shop on Nevada Street).  This is not the point of my story though.

THE MOST EXCITING part of going into Auburn Sew and Vac was the SEA OF SEWING MACHINES that I found there (I wish I'd taken a photo).  Joseph and Julie had told me that they had been swamped with repair work but I had figured it was mostly vacuums.  But, judging from the number of machines that were, well, EVERYWHERE in the shop I'd say sewing is going strong!  I'd love to know if they were mostly quilter's machines or if there were garment and garment repair machines in there too.  I found it very exciting.  :-)  Hannah would have too.  We love our old sewing machines - do you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's patchwork! It's bright! It's a quilt!

Hello T3 readers. It's Hannah writing to you today. How is everyone?! It's been a while since I wrote a blog post for the Thimble. I'm home for winter vacation and am thoroughly enjoying my time here at the shop. Stop in and say hello! Yes, yes indeed that IS a quilt. Mom, Emma and I love the line of fabrics called "The Woodlands" by Anthology fabrics (available on our Etsy shop, here, for those of you interested!) Inspired by the very chilly weather and the longing for summer warmth and color, I decided to make a small quilt with those cute fabrics.

With that decision made, the rotary cutter and I decided to be on agreeable terms, I saved up some patience, and painstakingly cut out 216 5"x 5" squares. The logistics went something like this: 1/2" seam allowances, little (to no) concern over matching corners, a flannel middle, cotton backing, cotton extra wide double fold bias tape, and embroidery floss used to tie the quilt roughly every other square.

I am not a quilter. I've never claimed that, nor do I ever plan to. I want to make this clear to everyone: quilting can be fun and finicky-free. Sometimes customers come into the shop who are so concerned that their quilt will be judged if the corners aren't matched perfectly, if the colors don't match exactly, and if it's not a fancy pattern. Ladies (and gents, if you're reading) take that quilting stigma, crumple it up and throw it away with those precision laser-cut squares. Quilting is a beautiful art form that doesn't have to center around perfection. Look closely! Do my corners match? Nope. Does my binding twist a little in some areas? Sure does. Is it sized precisely for a twin bed? I dunno. Probably not. 

Long story short, if you've never tried quilting you really should. It's fun! It's a great way to use up fabric and you can make endless color combinations. Don't get caught up in worrying about the perfection or complexity of it all. Some of my favorite quilts are a jumble of mis-matched fabrics that have been sewn together with no rhyme or reason.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Melissa Arnold and Embellishment Machines.

We are thrilled to have Melissa Arnold returning to The Tin Thimble Classroom to teach "The Embellishment Machine Unplugged" in February.  Here in the shop I must admit we've all been a bit skeptical of embellishment or felting machines - go ahead, you can call us felting purists.  ;)  Melissa assures us that our skepticism isn't completely warranted - that an embellishment machine can allow you to felt onto fabrics that you wouldn't usually even CONSIDER felting with.  You can felt onto recycled sweaters, silk charmeuse and a plethora of heavier fabrics that would take HOURS to hand felt onto.  Once you've used the embellishment machine to do the hard work, Melissa will teach you how to apply wet and nuno felting techniques to the fabric to give it that finished, hand felted look.  Below are just a few examples of what Melissa has been doing with her machine.  

The Embellishment Machine Unplugged with Melissa Arnold OR How to Create Couture Art Wear and/or One of a Kind Textiles Using the Embellishment Machine- Saturday, February 9 - Sunday, February 10 10:30-5:00

Through a series of samples we will uncover the myriad of possibilities this little machine has to offer. Come prepared to play, experiment, and to be very pleasantly surprised! Day one will introduce you to the many possibilities thru sampling and Day two will be used to design and create a finished scarf or a piece of fabric to be used as part of a garment. A materials list will be available upon registration.

Melissa Arnold has been creating textiles for the last 30 years. She has been collaborating with Fashion Designer Catherine Bacon professionally for the last 10 years. She is a master dyer, felter and surface designer. You can see her work at

Instructor: Melissa Arnold
Class Fee: $250

Melissa wants each student to have their own embellishment/felting machine (and they need to be a specialized machine, not a sewing machine with a felting attachment).  Please give us a call at 916-652-2134 if you would like to register or have any questions.