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Editor's Note: We have reproduced the December 97 issue of the Get Creative! Newsletter here for your convenience. However, most of the articles are elsewhere in the site with illustrations and are indicated with links to the pages in question. Features such as calendar info which is out of date is not included. If you would prefer a complete copy of this newsletter (does not include illustrations) via e-mail please send a request to info@getcreativeshow.com

Get Creative! Newsletter, Issue 4

Issue Date: December 13, 1997


Well, the countdown to Christmas is already in progress! We're in those last "twelve days" and no doubt you are probably too busy to even read this! Just in case you do :-) we have some last minute ideas and projects for you to tackle in this issue. If you don't have time -- don't feel guilty -- just file these for next year!

There's a saying that I practically live by when it comes to Christmas -- "If it wasn't for the last minute I wouldn't get anything done!" Unfortunately that's all too true -- I've spent more December 24th's at my sewing machine (or in the kitchen) than anywhere else. This year isn't shaping up to be any exception to the rule :-(

BUT, just in case you are SO organized you don't have anything to do, and you want to get a head start on next year, or you are counting down the days, we have a Christmas Calendar project from Elna USA Inc. Since we've already passed the 1st of December, I think this would be a perfect project for all that free time you are going to have between December 26 and New Year's Eve! Use up your Christmas prints or get some on sale after Christmas and you'll have this calendar sewn up in no time, and all ready to enjoy next December!


Christmas Calendar

Elna USA Inc.

Count down the days 'til Christmas! Fill the pockets with small gifts and treats for loved ones. Each pocket represents one day closer to the big event. This project offers several new sewing and serger techniques.


If you are looking to keep the kids busy, or need a few more decorations, these adorable sheep ornaments from Karen Booy are quick to make, and very cute! The sheep family consists of a ram with curly horns, an ewe and a tiny baby lamb. They are part of a new Nativity pattern collection from Karen, and she hopes to have them in a book by next year. If you would prefer to hang these on your tree, just hot-glue a plaid or other ribbon bow in Christmas colors in back of the sheep's head, and with a large needle run a length of fishing line behind the neck and tie in a loop to hang on the tree.


Ewe & Me & Baby -- Sheep Family

Karen Booy, EWE & ME Pattern Company


Mary Asper is a very talented pattern designer whose information is coming to the web VERY soon! We are working on her web page and site right now, but unfortunately it's not quite ready!! You'll be able to access her web site through the Green Mountain Designs in our Exhibit Hall

Her company is called Green Mountain Designs, and specializes in appliquéd or quilted garments such as jumpers, jackets, vests, and coats! Mary's designs feature what she calls her "Country Living Look;" rich timeless colors, classic shapes, and understated but elegant embellishments. One of her most popular patterns is a Christmas Patchwork Vest, and she's drawn on that pattern for inspiration for the following Quick Christmas Vest. It's a great last-minute gift idea for someone special, or as a festive addition to your wardrobe!! Mary also gives some suggestions if you want to make this a special year-round garment instead of a seasonal item.


Quick Christmas Vest

By Mary B. Asper, Green Mountain Designs





If you are feeling creative but can't get started, this ONLINE CLASS may be just the thing to get you going! Even better, the class is FREE, you just need to buy the pattern to join and follow along. Mary Asper, the Designer of Green Mountain Design Patterns is offering this fun wearable art class on wool patchwork and appliqué. Classes run approximately every six weeks.

Contact Green Mountain Designs for information on how to register.

You'll learn to work with wool as you follow along with the designer. Each week, she will offer a different aspect of completing the project, starting with choosing your color and preparing the wool. Lots of extra 'tips" and information will be given as Mary "holds your hand." Lessons will be delivered via e-mail and will run from six to eight weeks, depending on how everyone is doing. If you prefer, you can work at your own pace, just save the messages and refer to them when you have time.

Pick your choice of the "Woolly Patches" Jacket or Vest Pattern. Made from new or recycled wool, these projects are embellished with appliqué. Patterns are sized XS through XXL and cost $8 plus $1.50 S&H. Kits are also available which include the pattern and new and hand-dyed wool for all patchwork and appliqués. Vest Kit $65; Jacket Kit $90.

If you would like more information on the patterns, kits, and class, please



If you are looking for a quick embellishment project to dress up some outfits for a toddler, the following Quick Patch Pockets and Appliqué workshop from Sallie Jo Russell of SJR Sew with Class might be just the ticket!! This turtle appliqué that doubles as a pocket is a great project for boys or girls. The concept can be adapted to just about any appliqué with a large central shape, so get out your coloring books and head to the photocopy machine!!


Quick Patch Pockets & Appliqué

By Sallie Jo Russell, SJR Sew With Class

This quick pocket construction technique can be used for any patch pocket. Any appliqué design that has a large central shape can be adapted to this technique.


If you plan on making any of the previous embellishment projects, you will probably find the following information useful, not to mention entertaining!!

I am reprinting this with the permission of the author, Cozy Bendesky. I originally read this as a post on one of the wearable arts mailing lists, and I enjoyed it so much, I asked Cozy for permission to reprint it here! I didn't know it at the time, but Cozy is an extremely talented textile artist who has mastered many of the traditional needlearts including lace-making, knitting, hand-sewing and quilting. Her web site at http://www.erols.com/cozy/ is a treat! She will be teaching at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival in Williamsburg this coming spring. Contact her for class details at cozy@erols.com

For a little background, Cozy's original post to the Wearables List was in a response to someone who was having troubles with metallic thread breaking, skipping and looping. Sound familiar?? Read on . . . .


The Midnight Miracle

By Cozy Bendesky

Hello, hello, I'm back (I do lurk now and then) and ready to talk. I won't go on and on, but about metallic thread, I could.

Yes, It's a bit of a pain, due largely to the stretch of the filaments. Number one, use a needle that has an eye shaped like a slot (or a door) and a deep scarf in the back. This protects the thread from the many ups and downs it has before it finally rests in it's new home as a stitch in your work. Needles that qualify are topstitch needles, Metallica and Metafil. Jeans needles are really, really sharp and strong, and have a deep scarf, but I really prefer the hole in a topstitch needle.

For fine fabrics, embroidery needles have the same configuration in a lighter weight.

Number two, make sure it's a NEW needle. I think you already tried that, but with expensive thread, this is no time to get cheap about the needle.

Number three, stabilize, stabilize, s t a b i l i z e! Even under a piece with batting, sometimes a satin stitch needs a piece of tear-away, or dissolve-away, or heat-away stabilizer. Or heavier backing fabric, if that's an option. The "loopies" and skips you mentioned sound like a stabilizer need to me. (Let me hold this modem to my forehead and diagnose your problems, dear. . .)

Number four (everyone hates this, but no-one more than me), go slowly. Sew slowly. Don't go fast. Keep the speed even, not up and down. Go slowly. 25mph zone. Did I mention stabilize and go slowly?

Number five, the Midnight Miracle: This is what I tell my students, if you take a sewing class with me in Williamsburg, you will hear this story: "You know when you are sewing those Christmas pajamas and it's 2 am and you've watched "It's a Wonderful Life" 3 times on cable and your mother and all your old aunts will be there in the morning and the thread keeps breaking, and breaking, and breaking . . . so you grab it and throw it across the room and start to cry, then you get up and go look at the kids and try to decide if you are going to wake them up as soon as you finish the pjs, or just quick change them in the morning, and then you realize the pjs aren't done yet, you may have to complete the stitching by hand and that means you'll be lucky if they all match for the photos by lunch (and how long can you keep them in pajamas anyway? Don't they have to put on those awful rhumba pants your mother got?), and heaving a sigh, you shuffle back to the machine, find the thread under the lamp where it landed, thread up the machine one last time and -- IT WORKS!!

You complete the pjs in 20 minutes, hit the sheets by 2:45 and get all the rest you need in just 4 hours... but all Christmas day it nags you . . . WHY did the thread stop breaking all of a sudden? What if it happens again? Do you have to throw it across the room the strengthen it? Was it the higher humidity from crying? AUGH!!! Why???

(It occurs to nasty old me that I should leave you all hanging and make you sign up for my classes!! Just kidding, really.)

The Midnight Miracle is this: The reason your thread (any one, not just metallic, but it goes double for them) keeps breaking and then suddenly stops is: winding tension! The outer half of the thread on that spool is a little more stretched than the thread wound closer to the spool middle. Manufacturers take care to try to prevent as much of this as possible, but it still seems to happen a bit. Thread under tension breaks. The thread on the inner portion of the spool (which is all you have left by the time you've fussed with it for 6 hours...) is under less tension, less likely to break. That's the Midnight Miracle. Not throwing the spool, not humidity. You can give any thread a chance to relax by getting it farther away from the needle as you sew. I put Sliver on that little Dritz stand, but before that, I just tossed it in a salad bowl across the room. This was in my pre-cat days, that would never work now. It made a racket, but it wasn't as loud as me crying.

Ack! I did go on and on. Well, this was hard won knowledge, and my solutions work well. If you saw the Fairfield garment in Houston that was about my morning coffee, you know I've tamed the metallic beast.



A P.S. from Cozy: She does not use any kind of thread lubricants, mainly because she doesn't want them on her tension disks, which rely on friction to work with all threads.


As we all know by now -- the fabric of choice for sewing gifts this season HAS to be polar fleece. BUT in case you're stuck for ideas, Linda Beer offers a pattern review of her top picks for fleece. Most of these patterns are her designs, so she's qualified :-) Have a look at the pattern pictures on the Sundrop Page for a look at the design ideas. Linda's designs are anything but boring!

(Even if you don't get these sewn for Christmas, we still have January, February and March to weather!!)


Sew it in Fleece! Pattern Review from Sundrop

Linda Beer, Sundrop Outerwear Textiles

As Christmas fast approaches, a sewing enthusiast's stress level increases as her machine becomes buried deeper in mounds of fabric! To help alleviate that stress, here are four little words "Sew it in Fleece!" Beautiful and useful gifts can be created in fleece in a matter of minutes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Mittens -- Quick, easy, and fun to make, fleece mittens are a favorite with everyone. I like to use Sundrop Mitten Pattern #603. It has 11 sizes, 7 style variations -- 77 different mittens you can create! Try views 1 & 4 for a fast easy mitten, or view 5 to use up all those tiny bits and pieces.

Hats -- Fast and fun! What more could you ask for? Three of my favorites are: the Dragon Hat #601 (three views) Great fun with spikes and a tail! I did this one up in Christmas colors and my Dad never leaves home without it during the Christmas season. Starburst Hat #605 is a sure fire hit. With bells and points all over its definitely a favorite with the tot through teen crowd. Of course, there is my personal favorite -- the Magpie Hat #601. I like all views on this one and it sews up in a minute! All Sundrop patterns are multi-sized, preemie to large Adult.

Fleece socks are another fast favorite to make. I use Rainshed patterns #220 , I find the toe a little boxy so I round it off a bit. For gift-giving you can finish off the top with a bit of activewear fabric but for more comfort I leave the top edge raw. Try using a "butted seam" (lay pieces right side together and zigzag onto fabric and off edge) for a smoother seam. The pattern suggests regular fleece or fleece with LycraTM but I really prefer the fleece with LycraTM.

If you are feeling like you have more time -- you could add a vest or jacket to match the hats and mitts. Kwik Sew and Stretch & Sew have some terrific patterns and Sundrop has a great selection of everything you need to create some terrific gifts!

All supplies are available at Sundrop:


Top-line fleeces


Lots of samples to view

Beautiful braids and trim

LycraTM Edging


If you are really short of time -- checkout the No-Sew Polar fleece scarf in the November Get Creative! newsletter and the Almost No-Sew Blanket at:


Any time of the year is a time to practice safety in the workroom, whether you are a professional or a hobbyist, and when things get hectic or stressful it's even more important. I think everyone knows what the consequences of leaving an iron on can be, and sewing through a finger can be darn uncomfortable!! (Ask me how I know!!) But seriously, Karen Maslowski brings up some good tips that apply to all of us in the following article about practicing safety in the workroom.


Safety in the Workroom

by Karen Maslowski, SewStorm Publishing

Considering the number of sharp, heavy, and hot objects in a workroom, some safety rules come naturally to us. We know not to have liquids on the sewing machine table, and we know that having an iron set up in a walkway is a dumb idea. But how often do you think of other hidden dangers, both for you and for your employees?

Do a safety check to determine what needs to be "tuned up" in your workroom. Look at the electrical outlets. Are there enough of them in the room to eliminate cords snaking all over the floor? Do some of the outlets look like octopi are springing from them? If so, get an electrician in to do a little surgery. Have him check for the proper amount of voltage, too, and make sure there's enough juice to power your heavy machines and pressing equipment without causing a fire.

Purchase surge protector strips with on/off switches and circuit breakers, and use them for pressing equipment. In case of a short the power cuts off, and when you leave the room always turn off your iron by turning off the strip.

Is there a first aid kit anywhere nearby? If you don't have one, make up a basket of some of the following items to keep handy: Bandages, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, tweezers, antiseptic salve (like Neosporin) or spray, butterfly bandages for cuts, cotton balls and swabs, a bottle of clean water, and an emergency chart with lifesaving information (available at any drug store).

Make a rule that no one walks into the room without shoes. Supply safety goggles if you are working with heavy fabrics. Flying needles can cause all kinds of damage.

Make sure no one smokes in the workroom. This sounds pretty obvious, but a butt tossed in the trash with scraps can be a disaster. An easily accessible fire extinguisher, one that is checked annually, is a must. (Most fire departments can check them, and will advise you on which kind to buy.) Smoke detectors, and a clearly marked, unblocked escape route are also important to survival of a fire. An entire building can become engulfed in flames in less than two minutes, so having these preventive measures in place ahead of time can be vital.

Remember: the day you don't carry the umbrella is usually the day it rains!


I've decided to add a Q & A column to this newsletter!! I get a number of requests for information each month either from subscribers or casual visitors to the web site, and I definitely don't know all the answers!! So I've decided to publish the questions here. Hopefully someone will have the information, e-mail me, and I will publish the answers next month!

Here goes:

Q -- From Lori -- I am trying to locate the EZ Bowmaker in Greater Vancouver Area of British Columbia. I have seen this item on Aleene's Creative Living Show on The Nashville Network. It is a wooden tool with inch markings to measure your loops, dowels to hold your ribbon and a spool dowel. It comes with an instructional video and booklet. I would also be interested in any books on the EZ bowmaker.

Q -- From Barb -- I'm looking for Polar Tec 100 fleece. Do you have a list of where to find it in my area? I live in western New York.

Q -- We also had a request for online sources and information for macramé.

Send your answers to info@getcreativeshow.com

Thanks for your help!!



Birch Street Clothing -- Birch Street Clothing is a pattern company with an eclectic mix of designs that are attractive, extremely wearable, functional and easy-to-sew!

Conselle Institute of Image Management -- "The world's most comprehensive books on fitting and alteration. Introducing the incredible new seam method of pattern alteration."

Creative Inspiration Sewing, Quilting & Needleart Expo -- Offers 3 days of hour-long seminars, hands-on workshops, free demonstrations and fashion presentations as well as exhibitor booths. Next dates: January 29 to 31, San Antonio, TX . . .

Jet Handcraft Studio -- full range of Appleton Yarns, both crewel and tapestry weights, used by leading designers worldwide. . .

The Path Less Traveled -- explores methods of curve-piecing through a line of quilting books and patterns . . .

Peggy Sagers' Silhouette Patterns -- Peggy Sagers produces a line of videos, books, and patterns that concentrate on making you look your best no matter your figure type!

Timber Trail Kits -- Designs include casual sportswear, accessories, and sports bags, all available in pre-cut kits. These pre-cut kits include all notions, labels and well-illustrated and easy to follow instruction booklets. . .

Unique Patterns -- custom-designed patterns to fit your body.

Unique Techniques -- a company dedicated to teaching sewing enthusiasts and professionals unique methods of accomplishing traditional projects. Unique Techniques carries a variety of instructional materials and specialty notions . . .

West Coast Paint-In -- Decorative Painting Conference -- Victoria, BC; Great Teachers; Decorative Painting for all levels; Faux Finish & Educational Seminars; Special Events; Demonstrations; Trade Show . . .


Keeping You In Stitches -- New PBS TV Show! This show is about garment sewing. Sewing is full of F's -- Fun, frustration, fantastic, fear, but NEVER Fatal . . .


Whew! I think this issue is definitely longer than usually! I hope you will find it interesting, informative and useful -- even if you have to file it away for next year :-)

In closing, I know that not everyone who will read this celebrates Christmas, but everyone CAN spend some time reflecting on the true spirit of the season. After all, when the gifts are unwrapped, the turkey eaten, and the decorations put away for next year -- what's left? The things that are with us all year, our families, our friends, and loved ones. In the end, that's what really matters -- and not that your threads break on Christmas Eve!!


See you in 1998!

Lisa Cahoon


The Get Creative! Newsletter is published monthly by Virtual Advantage New Media & Marketing Inc Copyright 1998-2002

This newsletter can be freely redistributed in its entirety only. Any articles are the property of the original author and can only be reprinted or published with the express permission of the author.

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