RTS Blog

Featured Notion - Tulip Needles September 20 2016


My favorite hand sewing needles by far are Tulip Hiroshima needles. Slightly more expensive than other hand needles on the market, Tulip needles have a reputation for being stronger, more flexible and less likely to bend or break. Based on my experience, I couldn’t agree more.

The tradition of Hiroshimabari (Hiroshima needle) production in Japan stretches back for more than 300 years. Tulip is based in the Hiroshima region and since 1948, has manufactured sewing needles blending traditional techniques passed down from older generations with cutting edge technology available today. Tulip also makes beading, wool felting and knitting needles as well as crochet hooks.

Based on the principle of ‘Quality First,’ each Tulip needle goes through 30 different processes when made to ensure the needle is safe and of the highest quality. The needles are polished lengthwise to ensure smooth piercing. The large eyes are optimally designed to allow for easy threading and to prevent snagging. Each and every needle eye is inspected.

While many think of sewing needles as disposable, Tulip believes that a really good, quality needle is never thrown away. Tulip recommends wiping down the needle after each use and storing it inside its case to maintain good performance.  (Did you know that each year in Japan, seamstresses pay homage to their needles in the Festival of Broken Needles (Hari-Kuyo?

To top it off, these sewing needles are beautifully packaged in small cardboard boxes with a cutout window one the front and encased in a clear tube that is secured with a cork stopper. Each tube is labeled with the needle size helping to keep your needles organized.

Check out my favorite Tulip hand quilting, appliqué and embroidery needles here:

What are your favorite needles?

2016 Spring Market Review June 13 2016

Hard to believe that three weeks has already passed since Spring Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, Utah!

As many of you may know, Quilt Market is a bi-annual trade show for the quilting industry that is not open to the general public.  On the show floor, you will find shop owners, fabric and pattern designers, fabric companies, distributors, media, publishers among other industry professionals all in search of new trends and ideas....and of course, on a mission to pet and fondle pretty fabric!

 Spring Market 2016 - Salt Lake Convention Center

Unlike Fall Market 2015 where I braved 28 aisles of vendors alone, I was able to share this experience with my Mom.  Now she can truly understand the method to my madness after seeing some of the behind the scenes of owning a quilt shop!

Spring Market 2016 - Me and Mom Collage

In addition to looking for new trends and ideas for quilters on the go, we also had the chance to meet up with some of our past and future Featured Designers to see what they have been up to and to film a fun video.

Left: Lee Chappell Monroe of May Chappell.  Lee is now a Craftsy instructor and will be teaching at QuiltCon East in Savannah, GA in 2017!

Middle left:  Pauline McArthur of Funky Friends Factory

Middle right: Janeene Scott of Passionately Sewn

Right: Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession

Spring Market 2016 - Lee Chappell Monroe, Pauline McArthur, Janeene Scott, Kathy Doughty

Left:  Scrappy Lawn Star from Jenny From One Block

Middle left: Jen Kingwell

Middle right: Happy Birds

Right: One Happy Bird!

Spring Market 2016 - Jen Kingwell

Left:  Alison Glass booth featuring her fabric lines for Andover Fabric

Middle left: Alison Glass

Middle right: Flower #1 embroidery kit

Right: Clover Sunshine Needle Book

Featured Designer - Alison Glass

Left:  Helen Stubbings of Hugs N Kisses

Middle: Razz-A-Dazzle BOM coming to Red Thread Studio in July!

Right: Close up of a Razz-A-Dazzle embroidery block

Featured Designer - Helen Stubbings

Left: Jessica Van Denburgh of Sew Many Creations

Right:  The Diva Frame Wallet

 Spring Market 2016 - Jessica VanDenburghDiva Frame Wallet

There was also several fabric lines that caught my eye.

Free Spirit Fabrics

Top Left:  Mod Corsage by Anna Maria Horner

Top Right: Fast Friends by Juliana Horner

Bottom Left: Folk Art Revolution by Kathy Doughty

Bottom Right: Natural World by Snow Leopard Designs

Spring Market 2016 - Free Spirit Fabrics

Cotton + Steel Fabric

Cotton + Steel's guest designer Rifle Paper Co. created quite a buzz with Le Fleur.

 Spring Market 2016 - Le Fleur

Top Left:  Trinket by Melody Miller

Top Right: Raindrop by Rashida Coleman Hale

Bottom Left: From Porto With Love by Sarah Watts

Bottom Right: Print Shop by Alexia Marcella Begg

Spring Market 2016 - Cotton + Steel

Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Left: Marks by Valori Wells

Middle: Paint Box Basics by Elizabeth Hartman and her pattern Lepidoptera

Right: Euclid by Carolyn Friedlander

Spring Market 2016 - Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Shibori by Debbie Maddy for Moda Fabrics

Spring Market 2016 - Shibori by Debbie Maddy 

Grafic by Latifah Saafir for Me + You by Hoffman Fabrics

Spring Market 2016 - Grafic by Latifah Saafir

Ella Blue Fabrics

Left: Gembrook by Rosalie Dekker and center medallion of Memories of Gembrook

Right: Matilda by Emma Jean Jansen

Spring Market 2016 - Ella Blue Fabrics

And finally, some handwork finds like wool appliqué and surface embellishment and English paper piecing.

Top Left:  Folk Tails by Sue Spargo

Top Right: Bonus pattern from Folk Tails by Sue Spargo

Bottom Left: Wish Upon a Star by Sue Daley

Bottom Right: All Over the Octagon by Sue Daley

Spring Market - Wool Applique and EPP

Do you have any favorites?

Full Circle - Giveaway! March 08 2016 39 Comments

 Stacked Quilt

I generally have a story about most anything, but this one I felt compelled to share.  It is a story of generosity and of paying it forward (or sewing it forward, as I like to say).  It also ends in a Giveaway for you!

This story starts at my first Quilt Market in Pittsburgh in the Spring of 2014.  Here I met Jessica VanDenburgh from Sew Many Creations (and our Featured Designer in December 2014).  I had been overwhelmed with the buying choices, and she graciously gave me her pattern Stacked which eventually became our first quilt kit at Red Thread Studio.

The sample quilt was soon pieced by my mother-in-law, Louise, and quilted by my friend Monica of Diary of a Quilt Maven.

Stacked Quilt Kit

Fast forward to the Fall of 2014 when I was gearing up to launch the website but was in need of a brand logo.  Enter a dear friend from my childhood who also happens to be not only a high school art teacher, but also photographer and graphic designer.  If you knew Andrea, you would know that she is a giving soul.  She worked with me patiently to design the Red Thread Studio logo and would not accept any payment in return.

Now and after nearly a year of vending at quilt shows, we have only one Stacked Quilt kit left and a beautiful quilt that needs a new home.

Stacked Quilt

Well, the Stacked Quilt is on it's way to Andrea, and I couldn't be more excited for her to open the box!  I don't know about you, but my favorite part of making quilts is giving them away!

 Stacked Delivery

And, so that the story does not end, we are giving away the last Stacked Quilt Kit which includes nearly 7 yards of fabric and the Stacked pattern.  Our only request is that you find a way to also Sew It Forward and keep the story alive.

Stacked Fabric 

You can enter the giveaway by simply:

  • Leaving a comment below telling us how you would Sew It Forward with either this kit or another quilt you have made or plan to make.
CONGRATULATIONS BRITA, you've won the Stacked Quilt Kit! Check your email.

The Giveaway is open worldwide and ends March 31st at midnight EST, and the winner will be chosen using and announced on this very post.

Good luck!

In My Backyard February 10 2016

February started with the Port Saint Lucie Crazy Quilters Quilting in Paradise Show February 4-6th.  What made this show extra special was that it was in my own backyard.  I was not only a vendor at the show, but I am also a member of the guild.  I had an amazing opportunity to show the girls what we offer at Red Thread Studio.  As an online retailer, this is priceless.

Red Thread Studio Booth at the Port Saint Lucie Quilt Show

Aerial view of RTS Booth

The show even got some airtime in the local paper, The TC Palm.  You can see some photos of the show in the TC Palm Photo Gallery.

I was also honored to be part of the Member Challenge committee with Nancy S. (left) and Perlie P. (right).  

Member Challenge 2016 with Nancy and Perlie

The theme this year for the Member Challenge was My Hometown.  Since many of our guild members are transplants from other states or snowbirds, we had a a nice sampling of different states (and countries).  My entry was #9 - Aurora, City of Lights (top right). To my surprise, I had a show attendee come to the booth to say hello.  She was from Batavia, Illinois, a neighboring town!

First place Nancy P. with Sanibel #6, second place June C. with Carousel #18, third place Jane G. with Apples #13 and honorable mention Eyvonne S. with Cherries Yum #5.

Member Challenge 2016

We also had some special guests that visited the booth.  Luckily I got the memo to wear red and white polka dots that day!

 Jen with Micky and Minnie

Friday saw record attendance.  A big part of this was the program to celebrate National Wear Red Day and Go Red For Women as February is American Heart Month.  We asked attendees to wear red on Friday, February 5th for a chance to win a gift basket (valued at $1,000).  In addition, three beautiful heart quilts were auctioned to raise money for the American Heart Association.  Here is one of those quilts.

Heart Quilt

Darling, don't I look marvelous?  Attendees could also 'try on' this gorgeous red dress for a photo opportunity.  The Red Dress quilt was on loan from designer and quilter Teri Henderson Tope.

 Jen and Red Dress

As a vendor, I also got to award a vendor ribbon to the quilt of my choice.  With the help of my daughter Grace (age 8), we selected Pebbles by Kathy R. which also got second in the Group category.  We love it, don't you?


I was also honored to help piece our raffle quilt 'You Hosta Love It' and delighted that our very own Margy M, Raffle Quilt Chairperson and Coordinator Extraordinaire won the quilt!

Margy and Raffle Quilt

And the most special part of this show was that on Saturday, I was able to share the experience with my daughter and my grandmother.  As always, my mom Kathy was there helping me.  

So here is my favorite photo:  Four Generations of Quilters

Four Generations of Quilters

Here are a few of my favorite quilts from the show.  Which ones were your favorites?

Best of Show - Summers Delight by Sheila Q.

 Best of Show - Summers Delight by Sheila Quinn

Best Hand Quilting - Almost Amish by Sharon H.

Best Hand Quilting - Almost Amish by Sharon Hendrix

First Place Group - Out of the Box Design Group from Jupiter, FL.

From left to right:  

  • Iris by Nancy I.
  • Bells of Ireland by Waynette P.
  • Lucky Little Lady Bug by Nancy S.
  • Double Delight by Shay K.
  • He Loves Me by Margy M.
  • Sunkissed by Theresa O.
  • Floating Flowers by Elinor D.
  • Butterfly Delight by Barbara U.

Out of the Box Design Group

Second Place Group - One of several quilts in the group Journey Thru Art - Famous Female Faces, I really liked Carmen Miranda by Marian McCoin.

 Carmen Miranda by Marian McCoin

First Place Large/Medium Appliqué - My Whimsical Garden by Margy M. 

 My Whimsical Garden by Margy Merle

Honorable Mention Large/Medium Appliqué - Happy by Joey M. and quilted by Karen M. (Creative Longarm Quilting)

 Happy by Joey Mettley

First Place Medium Pieced - Grape Soda by Theresa O.

 Grape Soda by Theresa Olson

Second Place Medium Pieced - Colorful Selvages by Eyvonne S.

 Colorful Selvages by Eyvonne Smith

Cathedral Windows by Karen Rollins

 Cathedral Windows by Karen Rollins

The Grand Hotel by Valerie Y.

The Grand Hotel by Valerie Yeager

Jen Kingwell Workshop November 12 2015 2 Comments

And after much anticipation, the two day workshop with Jen Kingwell over Halloween weekend had arrived!

It proved to be a beautiful day on the farm for a workshop with Jen.  On occasion, we would hear the roar of jets and planes overhead as they practiced for the Stuart Air Show which was also that weekend.

Jen Kingwell Workshop 

Jen kicked off the workshop with an overview of the class pattern The Circle Game which consists of 16 circle blocks that can be hand or machine pieced.

I am so proud of the class.  All 20 students were open to hand piecing at least the first block.

The Circle Game Workshop

First up, the 'Whirlgig' block.  We put Jen's The Circle Game quilt in front of the window overlooking the garden to not only diffuse the morning light into the room but also to highlight the seams with an almost stained glass effect.

Jen showing us how to line up the individual pieces before beginning to stitch.

The day felt like one big sewing bee.

 Jen Kingwell Workshop

By the end of day one, we had some beautiful whirlgigs to put up on the design wall.

Design Wall

Jen also shared her technique and useful tips for hand appliqué.

Jen Kingwell Workshop

As well as a discussion on color and fabric choice.

Jen Kingwell Workshop

By day two, outer boarders were being added.

 Whirlgig Block

Whirlgig Block

Jen Kingwell Workshop

And students were spending some one on one time with Jen.

 Jen Kingwell Workshop

Day two was also the day we explored hand quilting with Jen.

Jen Kingwell Workshop 

Jen Kingwell Workshop 

Unfortunately, not all of the students were well behaved.  Our guest student was a little sassy.

Jen Kingwell Workshop 

And the day was not complete without lots of Halloween candy and festivities.   We played a handful of games including a pumpkin decorating contest and bocce pumpkin.

Jen Kingwell Workshop

Jen Kingwell Workshop

Winner of decorating contest - Luscious Lips by Bonnie L!

Jen Kingwell Workshop

And Linda S. cleaned up during Bocce Pumpkin!

Jen Kingwell Workshop

Of course, a Halloween party is not complete without dressing up!  This was my attempt to get in on the vampire mania.

 Jen Kingwell Workshop

Anyway, I know I had a blast and I think the workshop participants did too.  Stay tuned for an inside look at some of the tips that Jen shared with us.

Until then, it's a wrap.

Jen Kingwell Workshop 


2015 Fall Market Review November 10 2015

A bit of a lag in reporting to you on the 2015 Fall Market in Houston this October, but hopefully worth the wait.

Quilt Market is a bi-annual trade show for the quilting industry that is not open to the general public.  On the show floor, you will find shop owners, fabric and pattern designers, fabric companies, distributors, media, publishers among other industry professionals.

 2015 Fall Market Houston

With 28 aisles of vendors to explore and only 8.5 hours to do it in, I can truly say that I was on a mission!  I was in search of new color trends and new ideas for quilters on the go, and I can say that I was not disappointed.

Here are the trends that I saw on my whirlwind tour:

Blue hues are heading this way

While there were plenty of bright, modern rainbow colors on display, blue was a dominating theme this Fall.  Whether it be denim, indigo or hues leaning toward aqua and sea glass, you could find examples at nearly every fabric company.  

My mind is swimming of the possibilities for quilting and certainly a modern take on Sashiko!

Left:  Cotton and Steel booth highlighting the new collaborative line BlueBird.

Right: Art Gallery Fabric's new denim line.

 Blue Hues

Left: Boomerang quilt in Kona Designer Palette by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts.

Middle:  Handcrafted Indigo and Sunprints by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics.

Right: Firelights Lane by Sassafras Lane Designs in sea glass.

Blue Hues

Sea creatures and coastal themes join the ranks of elephants and woodland creatures

Perhaps because I am a Florida gal and because of the growing trend of toward blue, the sea life and beachy themes resonated with me this year.  Maybe the harsh winter last year left us dreaming of warmer days.

Top:  Into the Deep by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller Fabrics.

Middle left: Coastline by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Middle right: Surf's Up by Dear Stella.

Bottom: Mendocino by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics.

Sea Creatures and Coastal Themes

Sea Creatures and Coastal Themes

Handwork like embroidery and English paper piecing continue as the comeback kids

This is probably the most exciting trend for me since I personally love handwork and it caters to my Mommy-on-the-go lifestyle.   I also enjoyed seeing all of the texture and new specialty threads.

Left: From Katja Merak's book The New Hexagon

Right:  Adapted from Katja's book, The New Hexagon Millefiore Quilt Along

English Paper Piecing

Top Left:  Samples made using Sue Spargo's Eleganza collection.

Top Right: Thread eye candy at the Aurifil booth.

Bottom Left: Surface embroidery on her new fabric line Abacus by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics.

Bottom Right: More surface embroidery using Cosmo thread on First of Infinity also by Lecien.

Texture and Surface Embellishment

And finally, just because this was a jaw dropper.  An amazing quilt showcasing Mostly Manor by Victoria Findlay Wolfe for Marcus Fabrics. 

Mostly Manor

What quilting, stitching or fabric trends are you loving?

Jen Kingwell Trunk Show November 09 2015

Two years ago, little did I know that my red threads would lead me to an amazing pattern and fabric designer from Australia, Jen Kingwell.  You also would not have convinced me that I would have the opportunity to bring Jen Kingwell to South Florida to share her knowledge and experience with the local (and not so local!) quilting community.  It was a dream come true!

We kicked off the weekend with a trunk show on Thursday, October 29th at Ground Floor Farm, an urban farm and community space. Jen delighted us with 17 of her own quilts and one designed by her daughter Lucy.

Jen Kingwell Trunk Show

She shared her personal quilting journey in three phases:  Pre-book (Quilt Lovely), Book and Post-book.

Here are a few quilts from her pre-book phase.

Steam Punk

Steam Punk

Bring Me Flowers

 Bring Me Flowers

Georgetown on My Mind

Georgetown on My Mind

My favorites from Jen's book Quilt Lovely.

Daisy Do

Daisy Do



And some recent designs since writing her book.

I'm a Farmer's Daughter

I'm a Farmer's Daughter

My Small World which was first released in the Spring 2015 edition of Quilt Mania and is now a stand alone pattern.  Me to Jen, "Are those one inch squares?  And a hand embroidered Eiffel Tower?"  "Yes," she replied.  "527 one inch squares!"

 My Small World

At the end of the trunk show, we had some time to get up close and personal.

What's your favorite Jen Kingwell pattern?

In the meantime, stay tuned for part II of our Jen Kingwell visit when I share photos and stories from the two day workshop.