Quilting in the Valley

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #80, August 2020. Written by Rita Farro.)

Lisa Furleigh, Quilting in the Valley Owner.

This story sounds so much like a fairy tale, it should start with Once upon a time . . . .

In 2014, a woman who loved quilting decided to cash in her 401K and open a little quilt shop in a small town in the middle of the country. Business was so good, Quilting In The Valley in LaSalle, Illinois was forced to move to bigger quarters not once, but TWICE. Quilting In The Valley has become a BRAND, and by the end of 2020, QITV will have stores in four cities. Plans are in place to expand to 12 locations.

Really. This is happening.

To understand the secret sauce that is Quilting In The Valley, you’ve got to meet Lisa Furleigh. She is a Midwest girl born and raised. She was born in Indiana, attended the University of Iowa, and followed a then, now ex-husband to Illinois.

Growing up, she was passionate about music. She plays the classical flute. She had a double major at the University of Iowa in liberal arts: Flute Performance and French. At the time, her idea was to become a music librarian, which requires a master’s in music.

As a college student, she worked as a shift manager at a local Pizza Hut. At some point, she discovered that there were approximately 12 music librarians in the country, and they all made less than she would make if she accepted the promotion Pizza Hut was offering her.

Pizza won . . . .

Click HERE to read the whole story of how Lisa went from pizza to quilts.

Jodie Davis – From Quilts to Clocks

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #70, October 2019. Written by Rita Farro.)

Jodie Davis has one of the most impressive resumes in the quilting industry. She has written over thirty books on crafts and quilting. She has produced, hosted or co-hosted the most popular TV quilting series on the internet, QNNtv.com. Jodie was president of QNNtv.com, referring to herself as the “Chief Quilting Enabler.”

So, how does a girl, raised in Rhode Island, head off to college to become an electrical engineer, eventually rise to the top of the quilt world? Then, after achieving great success in her chosen field, find herself unemployed, living off her savings on a secluded Georgia farm, worried about how she was going to buy hay for her horses next month?


Click HERE to read the full story at www.issuu.com.


Do SCHMETZ Needles Work With My Machine?

Machine_LogosSCHMETZ works with all these sewing machine brands!  SCHMETZ engineers work with sewing machine manufacturers around the world to ensure that the SCHMETZ needle performs properly in your home sewing, embroidery and quilting machines.  Most home machines use needle system 130/705 H, so check your machine’s owner’s manual or ask your machine dealer.




Quilting on the Next Level: What are the Judges Looking For?

Klaudeen Hansen, May 2014, National Quilt Association Show, Columbus OH Quilt in background Saffron Splendor by Pat Holly

Klaudeen Hansen, May 2014,
National Quilt Association Show, Columbus OH
Quilt in background Saffron Splendor by Pat Holly

So, what are the judges looking for? To figure that out, we turned to Klaudeen Hansen, who has judged over 38,000 quilts. Nancy Zieman credited Klaudeen with the standardization of quilt judging, and called her the “mother of modern quilt shows.” Klaudeen is in the Who’s Who of American Quilting, and her quilts have been in invitational shows in the US and Europe.

Klaudeen says, “I grew up with 4-H, and was used to having my work judged. I was the helper person at the county fair, pinning on the ribbons, etc. I often thought the judging was completely arbitrary. There really was no rhyme or reason to how they picked the winning quilt. Even as a kid, it seemed to me there should be criteria.”

In the 1980’s, Klaudeen was teaching quilt making and encouraging her students to enter quilt shows. The AQS began to offer some very big prize money. Klaudeen was making quilts and entering them into contests. The National Quilting Association wanted to develop a pilot program to certify judges, and Klaudeen submitted a syllabus. She spent the next twelve years teaching people all over the United States how to judge quilts.

In an interview with Nancy Zieman (https://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/Video/nancys-corner-klaudeen-hansen), Klaudeen discussed the judging process for quilts and the five basic things judges seek:

  1. Cleanliness
  2. A balanced composition with a sense of proportion and scale
  3. Quiltmaker’s expertise
  4. Alignment – straight
  5. Finishing features

So, are you ready to take your quilting to the next level? You may be surprised to find out what’s in it for you.


Quilting on the Next Level: Enter a Quilt Show

Quilting on the Next Level: How Do You Start?

Quilting on the Next Level: What are the Judges Looking For?

Quilting on the Next Level: Example Quilt Exhibits, OSQE

Splendid Sampler II

Rhonda Pierce Holding SCHMETZ Super Demo NeedleHello dear Splendid Sampler II fans! My name is Rhonda Pierce and I love to sew & quilt. I am spokesperson for SCHMETZ home sewing needles North America. Yes, in this pic, I’m holding a giant needle, the SCHMETZ “Super” demo needle. We travel together when I give SCHMETZ classes. In The Splendid Sampler 2, you will find my block Get To The Point on page 111.

To complete Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson’s sentence, I’m living my best quilting life when… I’m sharing needle facts, and at the same time learning from my awesome creative sewing public. That little 2” piece of steel, the SCHMETZ needle, has provided me with an awesome career and friendships around the world. I am forever grateful. Because of listening to YOU, I pushed SCHMETZ to color code needles by needle type and size. Color bands make needle identification so much easier. No longer do you need to squint to read the size imprinted on the needle shank. Check out the chart below. The upper color band identifies the needle type (left column) and the lower band identifies the SCHMETZ Needles Color Code Chartneedle size (right column). Universal needles have only one band of color to identify size. Feel free to download this handy chart: https://www.schmetzneedles.com/schmetz-color-code-chart/

SCHMETZ Microtex NeedlesMy favorite needle is SCHMETZ Chrome Professional Grade Microtex size 80/12. Using the chart to the right, the top color band is purple for Microtex and the bottom color band is orange. On this project, I first used SCHMETZ Chrome Microtex 80/12, but found the needle a bit heavy, so switched to a smaller needle, size 70/10, lower green. SCHMETZ Chrome Microtex 70/10 and Aurifil are perfect partners with Moda Fabrics.

On this project, what needle type are you using? What size? Popular needle types are Microtex, Quilting and Universal. Popular sizes are 70/10 – 80/12. With SCHMETZ you have options! Post pics of your Get To The Point block on the Splendid Sampler website to be in the running for a SCHMETZ giveaway. Sew SCHMETZ!

Get To The Point Block, SCHMETZ Chrome Microtex 70/10, Aurifil, Moda Fabrics
Congratulations to Pat and Jane for another awesome Splendid Sampler! Thank you everyone for making SCHMETZ needles a sewing room essential.

PS: Two more things –

  • Enjoy my free monthly SCHMETZ newsletters. Each issue includes new products in the marketplace and a needle fact that you can copy & paste into your own newsletters and websites. Sign up here: info@schmetzneedles.com.
  • Check out my new personal blog: www.sewmorestitches.com/blog. Get a glimpse into my world with creative & awesome friends… sew like you! 😊

Here is a link to their website. Enter the giveaway and learn more about their project:

The Splendid Sampler ™ 2 sew-along and giveaway Feb 21

Sew SCHMETZ & Grabbit® Too!