We are in the final week before Christmas and like most of you, are trying to get everything done. For those of us that live in the Lower Mainland, we have seen snow covered streets in some areas and green grass in others. Today the sun is out and the snow is slowly melting, traffic to and from work is lighter, but the streets and parking lots at all the major Malls is crazy with traffic. My final installment in ideas for Christmas come in the more than $50 category and finally the big ticket items “Sewing Machines”!!! We have so many great notions and storage items for anyone that sews or quilts or embroiders on your list, but they will probably have all those great gadgets to help with everyday projects. Why not get them that fabulous iron to take to class, or the Oliso Smart iron which makes ironing a pleasure or a larger cutting or rotating mat. We tend to not want to spend the bigger dollars on ourselves, but deep down would love to receive them as a gift. I think the item I would LOVE to receive this year as a gift are the 9″ KAI cutting shears!! I do a lot of garment sewing, especially with finer fabrics and these scissors would be an excellent addition to my sewing basket. Might have to put those in my letter to Santa!!
I have saved the biggest and best items for last. Do you have or do you know anyone that is in the market for a new sewing machine this Christmas? We have so many machines to choose from and in every price range as well. We not only would like to sell you a machine, but we care about your success with that machine. With every machine sale we offer one on one instruction in order for you to get to know and master the machine. These lessons are usually about one hour in length and are available during the first year of you owning a machine purchased from A Great Notion!! All you have to do is give us a call, set up an appointment, and you will be on the road to mastering your machine.
We also offer other classes, depending on which make and model of machine you purchase from us. We offer “Master” classes, which we go over everything from threading, to maintenance to what all those feet are used for. We offer sewing and embroidery clubs; a monthly 2-hour class getting to know even more about your machine, even doing a little project in class, but most of all we offer our in house expertise from our staff. We have staff that are experts in the machines that we sell, and above all else, we want you to succeed with your machine and use it to its full capabilities.
We sell Baby Lock, Bernina, Husqvarna and Elna machines at our Surrey/Langley location and at our Abbotsford location we sell Baby Lock, Bernina, Husqvarna and Pfaff.
Here is just a small picture of some of the amazing machines we have to offer.
So whether you are just starting off, or upgrading to a bigger machine, or you need to add a Serger to your ever growing list of machines that you own we have something that would suit your needs. We even have a Long Arm quilting machine with frame and software just waiting for a new home!! Why not surprise that special someone with a new machine!!
Wishing you all the PEACE, LOVE and JOY this season has to offer!!
Until next time,
Here is my list of some wonderful items that are priced between $20 and $50!! The Jumbo Click Box will hold almost everything that is needed for class, and the Folding Desk Lamp gives you the light you need and then is compact enough to store away! the Thread Cutter pendant is not only a lovely piece of jewelry, but also has the notch edges that can cut thread and is safe for Airline travel. I have the Hoopscissors and I love them; they are curved just enough and have a very sharp point to get up close to your fabric and thread to cut. The Go Travel Iron is great not only for travel, but also to take to class!!
Until next time,
Here is my list of useful and wonderful items that would be a great addition to anyone’s sewing basket. Most of these things I own myself and have used over and over. My newest favourite is the Bobbin and Supply Box. I have it filled with all the notions, bobbins, thread and even candies that I need to get the projects and samples done at work. Everything is neat and tidy in its own compartment. My EZ snips are always within an arms reach, especially when I am doing embroidery and the Mini Wonderclips truly are one of my all time favourite items!! We have so many more great notions in the store that are reasonably priced for that sewer or quilter or embroiderer in your life. Don’t forget we also offer gift cards when you are just not sure of the perfect gift to give.
Until next time,
This is my list of some awesome notions, all under $10 that would be great to put in that certain someone’s stocking. This is just my first of many “gift” blogs I will post about in the upcoming weeks.
The next blog will be my all time favourite items priced between $10 and $20!!
Until next time,
This product is wonderful and easy to use. It is from June Tailor and it is the “Quilt as You Go” Sophisticated Strips Quilt Pattern on pre-printed 80% cotton/20% polyester batting. Perfect for either the beginner or the experienced; someone that needs a quick and easy project to finish. It is easy piece-by-number construction which allows you to automatically quilt as you sew.
(item QAG-405 $21.99)
Selecting the fabric was easy as I wanted to get a quick quilt done in a Christmas theme for a child. We have a great selection of cute fabric with winter animals. Aren’t the foxes cute?? Then I cut the 10″ and 5″ strips needed and pieced them on the pre-printed lines on the batting. Because I was quilting as I went along, it recommends a 1/2″ seam and not to use an iron but rather finger press the seams in place.
Once I finished all the piecing and everything was in place, I could have just squared it up and then added the binding, but I decided to use another product that I had used before and just love. I used expansion pack number 5 from Edge-to-Edge Quilting by Amelie Scott designs. This is an open quilting pattern, but is all done on an embroidery machine. Once you master this technique, which takes no time at all, you will want to do all your quilts this way. Using a template, I just kept hooping the quilt, matching up the start marks on my template and then after all is complete I bury the thread tails. Very easy and very impressive. (item ETE-600 $28.99)
The quilt was then squared up, the binding was added (thanks to Celeste) and here is the completed quilt!!
I love it and it only took me 2 days to complete.Come on into the Surrey/Langley store, it is hanging with the samples.
I would like to introduce the employees of the Surrey store, or as many of you call it, the Langley location. First off, there is Carol and she has worked here for 7 years. She began sewing when she was in grade eight and has continued ever since. She mostly likes to sew garments and is constantly taking classes to improve her garment making skills so she can pass that knowledge on to her students. She teaches Learn your Machine, Beginner Sewing, Intermediate Sewing and Sewing Club. Carol is a specialist in all things “garment” related and if you need some advice about a technique or fitting, she is the person to ask. Carol would say the “French curve” is her favourite notion; she uses it all the time for pattern drafting and pattern changes. You can find Carol in the machine department, ready to show off the latest and greatest sewing, embroidery, and quilting machines. We are glad Carol has been with us for so long.
Nancy has been with us for about 4 years and brings a vast knowledge of sewing machines, notions, quilting and garment sewing. She began sewing on her Mom’s treadle when she was 8 years old. Nancy teaches a variety of classes; free motion, quilting, applique, machine embroidery and landscape quilting. Nancy is our “specialist” in anything sewing machine related, which also includes knowledge about all the machines we sell, older model sewing machines, the presser feet, and techniques using the machines. She also knows a lot about free motion, stitching and thread painting. Picking only one favourite notion was hard for Nancy so here is her list of favourites and why; Clover mini iron- useful to iron small sections at a time, also great for marking a sewing line, Rotary Cutter- very useful for any kind of cutting be it curves or straight edges and easy to use even without a ruler, Magnetic Pin Bowl – the best pin catcher ever, Finger presser- crease a seam without heat and lastly a Stiletto- helps to evenly guide multiple layers of fabric through the presser foot. Wow that is quite the list!!
Mariann has been with us for a few years now, but lately she has decreased her hours and mostly just teaches classes. She is our “Bernina” specialist and has a vast knowledge of all things Bernina. She teaches All About Machine Embroidery, Master Your Bernina, Virtual Bernina and Design works. Mariann takes her classes seriously and you can always tell when she is in the building by all the things she brings to show off in class. Glad to have Mariann with us.
Nicole has been with us for just under 2 years. She has been sewing since she was 13 and most recently began quilting. Nicole took a Beginner Quilting class from about 2 years ago and then when a job opportunity came up she was ready for the challenge. Nicole has started teaching for us and does anything baby or young child related. She teaches the re-useable snack bag class, wet bags, baby change pad, Rag quilt, and paper piecing. Nicole would consider herself a specialist in PUL fabric, how to sew with it and what it is used for. She also knows our fabric, what collections we have and how to select and match fabrics. Her go to notion is the “Seam Fix” seam ripper and says it is SHARP!! It has the rubber “beehive” lid to pick up the threads after they have been ripped out!! Nicole is a great fit in our store.
Just over one year ago, Connie joined the team. She is another one of our Beginner Quilter graduates and just loves to quilt. She began sewing at 7 with her French Canadian Grandmother who taught her how to hand quilt. Connie enjoys Modern Quilting, t-shirt quilting, Folk Art Wool Hand Quilting and Colonial Quilts. She also likes to make bags. She has just started teaching for us and has taught a “Quickie” Quilt class, lunch bag class and will be teaching an upcoming Wool Folk Art hand stitching class as well as the ever popular “Jelly Roll Race”. Connie would consider herself a specialist in Modern Quilting, Folk Art and colour theory. Her favourite notion is the ¼” presser foot for her machine and the White Chaco liner-pen type (nice for that fine line and rubs off easily). Connie has travelled the world and has brought back fabric from everywhere including India, the UK, Japan, Brazil, New York City and New England. She loves colonial replica prints!! Come in and say hello to Connie, she is always helpful and has a story to share.
Celeste came to us just under one year ago and LOVES to quilt. She has been sewing since she was 13 years old, learning when she was in grade 8. Celeste is about to embark on teaching her first class. When the Fold n’ Stitch wreath pattern came in, she was so excited when asked to make a sample, and with that she will now teach it as a class. Celeste would consider herself a “specialist” in Quilting; I would consider her a specialist in the “Fold n’ Stitch wreath!! Her favourite notion is a Metal tip thimble, as she loves to hand sew and this keeps her fingers from getting injured. Welcome to the team, Celeste
Another Newcomer is Joan; coming to us about 9 months ago. Joan learned to sew when she was 14 and now does mainly quilting. Joan was not interested in teaching classes when she first started, but this fall will be teaching her first class; Introduction to T-Shirt Quilts. She would consider herself a specialist in quilting!! Her favourite notion is “Thread Heaven” for hand stitching; it keeps the thread from breaking and twisting. She claims to love all the “gadgets”!! Joan says “I use to love sew garments when my girls were small, but now I just love to quilt”. Keep up the good work Joan, and keep quilting!!
Our latest hire who has been with us for about one month now is Valerie. She likes to do all sorts of sewing and quilting and making bags. Valerie’s Mom told her when she was 8 she had to make her own doll clothes and so that is when she started sewing. Valerie is still trying to figure things out with the store and find where everything goes and so as of now she is not teaching, but would love to in the future. If you notice all the wonderful silver jewelry Valerie wears, it is all handmade by her. Very talented!! Her favourite notion is the ruler!! Welcome to the team Valerie.
I am so very happy to have these diverse, knowledgeable, and very personable ladies working for me in the store. My name is Susan Morse and I am the Manager of the Surrey Store. I have been with A Great Notion since October 2010, working part-time in the shop as a sales associate until July 2015 when I took over the full-time Manager position. I love my job, I love the ladies I get to work with every day and I love the challenge. I began sewing when I was about 8 years old, first on my Granny’s treadle and then moving onto my Mom’s Viking. I then took sewing for 5 years throughout high school learning the basics, then on to pattern drafting and finally with tailoring. I even made my Dad a sports jacket in high school. I have always sewn clothing, from sewing for myself, my wedding dress, and then moving on to sewing for my 3 daughters. I was not a quilter when I took this job, but have since become one. I love to teach classes and have my special group of ladies that keep returning to learn something new in “Sew Creative”! I also teach an embroidery software class as well. Some of my other duties outside of the store have to do with social media. I post every day, yes every day on Facebook!! I make up reference materials, promote classes, show off new fabric collections, post the odd funny cartoon, re-post things from other pages that are of interest to our readers and just keep you up to date with the newest sewing trends. The thing I miss the most about not being in the store as much is the customers. I have gotten to know some amazing people over the years, gotten to know about their families, and helped them with their projects. Outside of work I go for walks whenever I can. My husband and I made a list of all the Surrey Parks with trails this past spring and summer and one by one we hiked almost all of them.
I have now moved on to keeping this blog current. I will be publishing a post every 2 weeks, so if there is something you would like to see me write about, drop me a line and let me know.
Until next time,
This is my completed rag quilt. It was the very first one I have ever done and it turned out great. I used the Robert Kaufman collection of Cozy Cotton in flannel and am very pleased with the results. I didn’t follow a pattern, just got some advise from some of the ladies here at work and then spent a day cutting and sewing it all together. The blocks are 6″ finished and it is the same on the front as the back with a layer of Heirloom blend batting in the middle. I cut everything to size, sandwiched the fabric with batting and then stitched the cross out on each square. I then sewed each row together and then each column. I then did two rows of stitching around the outside of the quilt. Overall it only took me a few hours to complete. I then bought a brand new pair of scissors, and began to snip. I also asked everyone’s opinion of the type of scissors to use and decided to try the Fiskars Softouch 5″ Micro tip Scissors. I was very happy with their ease of use and even though I was clipping for a few hours, the spring action of the scissors helped a lot!! I thought it would take me a long time to cut the seams, but a few hours spent in front of the TV and it was done!! All I had to do now was wash it and wrap it up for the Baby shower I went to on the weekend. My hope is that baby boy “A” spends hours and hours cuddled up under this beautiful rag quilt.
Until next time,Susan
Meet Pam Chapman, she is the store manager at our Abottsford Location. She has been with the company for almost 11 years. She comes with lots of experience and loves to sew, quilt and embroidery. She has been sewing since she was 6 years old. She is one of our busy instructors and teaches a variety of classes including embroidery, embroidery software, machine quilting, sewing and serger. Pam would consider herself an expert in Machine Embroidery and Embroidery Software and is ready to answer any question you may have about those or any other kinds of sewing related concerns. With so many notions to choose from her two all-time favourite would be “Wonder Clips” because they hold things in place and she loves the “Oliso” Iron because you do not have to stand it up, making her shoulders and wrist very happy. Pam has met some amazing people in her job and each of them has enriched her life. When not at work Pam enjoys hiking, kayaking and the great outdoors.
Laura has been with the company for about 15 years!! She likes to sew just about anything. Laura claims to have begun sewing by hand and making doll clothes when she was 8 years old and moved onto a sewing machine at age 12 making a top with decorative stitching and buttonholes. Laura teaches Beginner Sewing, Serger Start-up and sometimes she teaches a clothing class. Laura is not one to shy away from a difficult and/or an unusual sewing question. She would have to say her favourite notion would be the Clover Premium Seam Ripper because it has such a fine tip and is so very sharp. (She has tested quite a few over the years). We are happy to have Laura as part of our staff.
Lorraine began working at our Abottsford location in January of 2007, almost 10 full years of making new friends, learning new things and trying to be of service to both the customers and the manager, Pam. Lorraine loves quilting and has taught many happy beginner quilters over the years, but she would have to say that her first love is embroidery, both doing it and teaching it. Not only does she loves selling machines to happy customers, but she loves to teach them how to use them. She loves to see the look in their eyes when they have that “ah ha” moment and they finally get what their machine is all about. Lorraine would like to thank everyone for making the past 10 years such a joy!! Can you tell how much she loves her job.
Sonya has been at “A Great Notion” for 8 and a half years now and claims she just started sewing when she was 48 years old. She likes to do things that are quick and easy. She does teach classes and stated that she would teach just about any class as long as it is not a garment!! She would consider herself a specialist in “Frogging”. She says she is always rip, rip, ripping out something!! Her favourite notion is the Seam Ripper because she specializes in Frogging and uses one a lot. “A Great Notion is a great store to work at and I think we have a great team in Abbotsford” quote from Sonya! Keep up the good work frogging and helping customers, Sonya!!
Becky has been with the company for 5 years now. She has been sewing since she was 6 years old and loves to make garments. She also teaches clothing classes as well as quilting classes. Becky would consider herself a specialist in lingerie sewing as well as costume making. Her all-time favourite notion is the “Thimble It”, because she does a lot of hand sewing and she can’t wear a regular thimble because of her long nails.
Heather joined the A Great Notion family in October of 2015, so she has been here for almost one year. She has tried a lot of different types of sewing, but what she gravitates to and has done the most of is quilting. Quilts of all sizes, from mini, all the way up to king size quilts. Heather took her first sewing class in grade 8 and didn’t really think too much of it. She then started sewing and quilting on her own in her 30’s, when her kids were little and she was at home with them a lot. Heather does not teach any classes at this time. As far as quilting, she is still learning and is slowly getting better at machine quilting itself, but would consider herself to be a specialist in careful piecing. She likes to make sure that everything is a close to perfect as possible, which includes pressing and seam allowances. Her favourite notion is “Best Press” and she uses it in almost every project. It gives just enough crispness to the fabric which helps in piecing and also helps to control fraying of the cut edges. She loves all the different scents. We are happy to have Heather with us!!
Sandy is one of the newcomers to the store, starting in March of this year. She enjoys helping customers and although she has been sewing for a number of years, she still continues to learn something new about the industry almost every day. Sandy has been sewing since the age of 14 and now sews mostly clothing, but she also enjoys creating handbags and other non-garment types of items. Sandy loves the wonderful selection of fabrics our store has and the fabric inspires her to delve more into quilting. She has gathered so many different notions over the years, that it is difficult to choose a favourite, she does, however, love her Rotary Cutter and her cutting mats (yes she has several of each) and cannot imagine beginning a sewing project without them. At this time Sandy is not teaching any classes.
Rosemary has only been with the company a short 4-5 months. She loves to sew both garments and quilts. She began sewing at the age of 8 and began quilting at the age of 18. She does teach classes in quilting, sewing and also knitting, crocheting and cake decorating. Sounds like she is one busy lady. Rosemary would consider herself a specialist in quilting, patchwork piecing mainly. As for a favourite notion, she has so many favourites and they change from day to day and project to project. Today’s favourite would be the Olfa Rotary Cutter with the deluxe ergonomic handle for ease of use and comfort. Tomorrow, perhaps the Clover Awl for guiding fabrics and seam allowances while sewing. Rosemary feels more like a “Jack of all trades, master of none”!!!
I have a baby quilt I have to do for a friend’s new grandson, arriving mid November, and have decided to do my very first rag quilt. I have bought the fabric, a lovely collection of “Cozy Cottons” by Robert Kaufman for the project. I may still add some more pieces of fabric for this quilt. What do you think of my fabric choice??
I have been given lots of tips from my colleagues in the store, but decided I needed a chart to show just how many squares I need, depending on how big the squares are to be. That way I could follow the chart and cut just the right amount of blocks. It is a great reference sheet to go shopping with when deciding how much fabric to buy. I will add batting, sew an X across each square, sew them all together with a 1/2″ seam and then clip, clip, clip the seams. I am ready to get started!!
I will post pictures of my finished quilt!!
Here is the chart.
Until next time,