Category: Sewing, Quilting

Quilty Math Workbook Released


I always wondered if any of my children would take up needlework when they became adults. They all learned basic sewing skills (as well as basic carpentry skills, cooking skills, etc.) as children but you never know which they will enjoy as adults. My oldest daughter, Carrie Merrell, has taken up quilting and her grandmother, Laura Nehring, would have been pleased. I think one of the things that appealed to both of them (and to me) in quilting is the math.

Carrie has just released her first ebook, the Quilty Math Workbook. It’s one of those books you look at and wonder Why Didn’t I Think of That? When I design a quilt, I spend hours figuring out how much of each fabric I need. And the next time I design a quilt, I start all over from scratch figuring out how much of each fabric I need. Carrie has organized the designing and math of a quilt into graphs and tables that you fill in as you go. The graphs help you visualize your developing quilt first as blocks and then as an entire quilt top. Then, as you work down each table, she has you apply simple math to the measurements of your quilt block to figure out how much fabric you need. And I use to figure out the math from scratch every time I designed a new quilt – Never Again! I’m using her workbook to keep my designs organized and the fabric calculations as simple and fast as possible.

The Automated Dress Pattern for the Apple II

floppy rom 2 800px

Recently I was looking at an old Interface Age magazine (Sept 1978, p. 76-81) and I ran across this gem. It’s a program on a vinyl record, called a Floppy Rom, that prints out McCalls sewing pattern 6066 for the dress pictured above in sizes 9-13. The program is designed to print out the pattern on a 132 character wide printer in multiple long strips that you tape together. The pattern is mapped as it was sized on the pattern sheets. There is no provision to dynamically adjust the pattern.

For you geeks out there, a bit about the Floppy Rom. The Floppy Rom is a 33 1/3 rpm vinyl record that is thin enough to be bound in a magazine. Usually these records held one song or some audio advertising but a technique was developed so that the vinyl record could store digital data in the Kansas City standard, a format originally developed for audio cassette tapes.

Click on the link to see the full article The Automated Dress Pattern for the Apple II by Wm. V. R. Smith III, (c) Artsci Publishing. It is reprinted here with permission of the author. You can follow Bill’s current company and learn a little more about how the pattern program was developed under the history section at Artsci Publishing and learn a little more about Bill on his web page William V. R. Smith.

Heirloom Buttons in Threads


My upcoming article “Make Your Own Heirloom Buttons” in Threads magazine #169 is featured on this week’s Threads’ blog. The blog post shows how to embellish your completed Dorset and Shirtwaist buttons with embroidery and beads. You can also learn how to make variations of two types of toggle buttons – a cord toggle and monkey’s fist.

Barn Quilts in McLean County, Illinois

Louise and Larry Reeser, friends of mine in McLean County, Illinois, just installed their new barn quilt this week and Louise sent me this photo.

Reesers barn quilt 800px

Here’s what Louise told me about their choices for their quilt.

The pattern is “hands all around.”  We need all hands to work on the farm.
Orange for “Case” tractors
Blue & Orange for Illini
Dove in center for “peace”.
Someone has written a poem about us and the quilt, but we will not hear it until the kickoff ceremonies next weekend.

The barn quilt (8′ x 8′ painted on wood) is part of the McLean County Barn Quilt Heritage Trail. You can get information and a map here The Reesers’ quilt and 19 other new ones added this year are not listed yet but should be soon. If you want to drive by the address is 16838 E. 775 North Road, Heyworth, IL 61745.

Tulip Makes Crochet Hooks

I don’t often link to other web sites because the links often break after a few weeks or months but this web site has been in place since at least 2002 so I’ll give it a try. It is a web site for Tulip and it’s parent company and shows how crochet hooks are made today.  The web site also shows how sewing needles and straight pins are made.



Needle Making

Historically many companies in the textile field produced educational/promotional material about how their products were made. The practice was popular in the first half of the 20th century but began to loose favor after WWII as manufacturing processes became more sophistocated and patented processes and trade secrets in manufacturing became more common. Targeted audiences for this educational/promotional material were Home Economics teachers and their classes and salesmen and their clients. Boye® made this educational card showing how needles are made sometime after 1921 when they started producing needles.

You can read most of the information directly off of the card but I have a few close up photos of the steps that form the eye of the needle. Excuse the rust in some of the photos – the card is old!

Step 5   impression of eyes for two needles


Step 6   eyes punched through


Step 7   broken in two


Step 8   ground


FanimeCon 2011

Posted by June 9, 2011

I’ve been interested in costuming for a long time. I did most of my speech credits in college sewing costumes for the theater department, did some costumes for my daughters’ ballet recitals over the years, taught at costuming conventions and crocheted themed garments for fashion shows.

Fast forward 30 years. Two of my children have been attending FanimeCon for a few years now. FamineCon is a convention centered around Japanese anime although it also includes mangas, videos, video games like the ones on, movies, TV programs, comic books, etc. One of the main events is the Cosplay Gatherings. Cosplay Gatherings are convention attendees dressed up in costumes of their favorite characters from specific books, games or movies specifically for a group photo shoot. This year my son and I volunteered to be Cosplay Gatherings staff photographers. I was specifically interested in getting some photos of Steam Punk costumes and Steam Punk was the theme for the convention this year.

These costumes aren’t your typical Halloween costumes. Although most are made by amateurs, the quality and attention to detail is amazing. Costumes are generally custom made by the cosplayer for him or herself. Many of the cosplayers make one new costume a year. Some have been at it for several years and you see the same person in a different fabulous costume each day.

You can view my Fanime photos on my photography website Nancy Nehring Photography. In the left sidebar under Galleries you’ll see a page for FanimeCon 2011. Click on it to see my Famine photos. FanimeCon requested that I post all of the photos that I took. That’s a lot of images to go through unless you have a specific interest in cosplaying. For just a brief taste look at the folder Favorites(under FanimeCon 2011) which shows a sampling of my favorite images.