SCHMETZ Serger Needles

By | 04/07/2021

Universal Household Sewing Machine Needle versus ELx705 NeedleConsult your owner’s manual!  Many new sergers use home sewing needle system 130/705 H (flat shank with a scarf). SCHMETZ Stretch, Jersey, Topstitch, and Universal are popular needle choices. Some older sergers use needle systems BLX1 and DCX1.

SCHMETZ Overlock Needles

ELx705, ELx705CF, and ELx705CF SUK are popular serger needle systems. Check your owner’s manual! Here’s how these needles are different from home sewing needles (130/705 H):

  • Serger needles have a groove on the front and back sides of the blade to reduce skipped stitches.  The second long groove is necessary to create chain stitches like overlock or coverlock stitches.
  • ELx705, ELx705CF, and ELx705CF SUK have increased strength due to a reinforced blade leading to less needle breakage and straighter stitches.
  • ELx705 and ELx705CF have a slightly rounded point for universal use.
  • ELx705CF SUK has a medium ballpoint suitable for many knit fabrics.
  • ELx705CF and ELx705CF SUK have a Chrome Finish (CF), increasing wear resistance.
  • ELx705 ZWI – Special double needle with one mounting shank. The needle is grooved in front and back. The needle is off-set with the right being slightly longer than the left. Designed for some Elna serger models.

Check your owner’s manual!  SCHMETZ ELx705, ELx705CF, ELx705CF SUK, and ELx705 ZWI (for some Elna sergers) are used on overlock or coverlock machines.

ELx705, Carded
ELx705, Bulk
Elx705, Bulk, Chrome
ELx705, Chrome, Loose Pack
ELx705, Chrome, SUK, Loose Pack
ELx705 ZWI, Loose Pack


Peter Byrne

By | 03/31/2021

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #84, December 2020. Written by Rita Farro.)


Peter ByrneImagine this unlikely scenario; a man in Toronto, Canada, (who, in 2009 didn’t even know there was such a thing as batting), enters his first competition quilt at the gigantic, prestigious 2020 Modern Quilt Guild Show (QuiltCon), and walks away with TWO of the top four prizes.

Peter Byrne hit the modern quilting world like a meteorite. How did this happen? What’s so special about his quilts? Did he really, overnight, become an international award-winning, published modern quilter and teacher?

To understand the secret sauce that is Peter Byrne, we have to go back to his childhood. (Isn’t that always the way?)

Raised in a family of five children by a very creative mother and a hard-working father, Peter was four when he started to exhibit artistic talent. The next-door neighbor taught him how to draw and paint. They spent countless hours creating in his garage.

When Peter was 8, he took a leatherwork class, and the instructor encouraged his parents to supply him with the best tools because he had never seen such talent in a student. Peter went on to teach leatherwork at his local Boys Club.

Hair dressing was Peter Byrne’s first passion, but this did not fill 24 hours a day.

Hairdressing was Peter’s first passion, but this did not fill 24 hours a day.

At age 11, Peter learned how to macramé. He turned that passion into his first business and supplied the local gardening store and department store with macramé plant hangers. He took custom orders and made plant hangers that hung in 20-foot foyers.

Throughout his life, he has loved creating and learning in equal measure. After high school, he enrolled in a hairdressing school. He finished his apprenticeship and opened his first hair salon at the age of 20. He enjoyed his work and opened several successful salons over the next 25 years. Although hairdressing was his first passion, it could not fill 24 hours of his day.

In his 30’s, he developed a passion for gardening. His specialty was designing and installing perennial gardens. He and his team of landscapers planted growing beds throughout Toronto. Every spring he would harvest 50 percent of the plant material, pot, and sell them. Eventually, Peter Byrne Gardens decorated every neighborhood in the city.

However, gardening was seasonal, so in the winter, he would change hats and move into construction. Over the years, he enjoyed learning new trades and became very good at designing and installing bathrooms and kitchens.

Throughout his adult life, he had his fingers in many pies, but there was always a common theme. Design and Installation. In 2009, he was dealing with serious health concerns and decided it was time to retire.

He was only 45 years old, and he had to reimagine his life. He decided to simplify his lifestyle. He sold his house in the East End, the cars, the businesses, and moved to an apartment in the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada.

Click HERE to read the whole story of Peter Byrne.

Singer & Clark – The Unlikely Partnership

By | 03/24/2021

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #83, November 2020. Written by Rita Farro.)


Isaac Merritt Singer

Isaac Merritt Singer

Edward Cabot Clark

Edward Cabot Clark

There are very few examples of a brand that is so well known, the NAME of the brand replaces the actual thing the brand represents. Still today, 150+ years after the patent was registered, the name “Singer” is synonymous with “sewing machine.”

In many ways, the story of the Singer brand reads like science fiction, it is simply unbelievable on many levels. But, at its core, it is about an unlikely partnership between two very different men, Isaac Merritt Singer and Edward Cabot Clark. Together, they changed the world we live in. But, as partners, they were not well-suited. Instead of a complimentary pairing, like salt and pepper, Singer and Clark operated much more like oil and water.

Isaac Merritt Singer was a free-spirited man who marched to his own drummer. Lucky for us, he was a creative thinker, but there is no question he was one of the most uncouth men in the history of business. He was equal parts con man and inventor. His personal life was scandalous, to say the least.

Because Singer became so rich and incredibly famous, stories about his early life have taken on a mythical quality. Like Buffalo Bill or Davy Crockett, it’s hard to know what’s true and what was fictionalized by Singer’s public relations team.

Click HERE to read the whole story of Singer & Clark.

What Needle Should You Use?

By | 03/17/2021

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #62, October 2020. Written by Rita Farro.)

Rhonda Pierce casually reveals the new SCHMETZ combo packs.

What needle should you use? When sewing, quilting, or crafting, it’s a question many of us ask. Our Sewing Educator, Rhonda Pierce, always likes to say, “with SCHMETZ you have options.”

New SCHMETZ combo packs make needle selection easy. Eight needle assortments for different types of sewing. In this blog, you’ll find one page devoted to each SCHMETZ combo pack paired with suggested fabrics.

When making your needle selection, ask a couple of questions: What fabric is being sewn? What thread is being used? Does the sewing machine have an attitude? Maybe it doesn’t like a certain thread or technique. The answers determine your needle choice.

Selecting the needle type & size seems like a small decision, but its impact can make a huge difference between frustration and sewing joyously without incident. Let’s sew!

Click HERE to read the full story at

Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion – Does this Notion Really Work?

By | 03/10/2021

Join Sue O’Very-Pruitt, Sookie Sews, as she puts the Grabbit® Magetic Pin Cushion to the test. She answers the age-old question, Does it work?


Grabbit® Magnetic Pin Cushion

Mini Grabbit® Magnetic Pin Cushion


Sookie Sews

Needle Eyes, Points, and Tips Matter!

By | 03/03/2021

Universal Needles

Color Code:   None
Feature:    Slightly rounded point.
Fabric Use:    Numerous – wovens and knits. A great general purpose needle. Works with all household sewing machine brands.

Carded, 10-Pack
Carded, 5-Pack
Carded, Chrome, 10-Pack
Carded, Chrome, 5-Pack
Bulk, Chrome


Embroidery Needles

Color Code:   ORANGE BROWN
Feature:   Medium ballpoint.
Fabric Use:    Knits and some stretch fabrics. Made especially for sewing on knits. The medium ballpoint does not damage or break knitted fibers. Also known as Jersey Needles.

Carded, 5-Pack
Carded, Chrome, 5-Pack
Bulk, Chrome


Microtex Needles, Chrome

Color Code: PURPLE
Chrome plated. Very slim acute point.
Fabric Use:
Micro fibers, polyester, silk, foils, artificial leather, coated materials. Very thin acute point creates beautiful topstitching and perfectly straight stitches for quilt piecing when precision is paramount.

Carded, Chrome, 5-Pack
Bulk, Chrome


Super NonStick Needles

Color Code: None
Features: A Super Universal Needle with a non-stick coating of NIT (Nickel-Phosphor-PTFE). Extra-large eye is suitable for embroidery work. The eye corresponds to a needle two sizes larger (i.e., the 70/10 NonStick eye is similar to a size 90/14 regular Universal eye). A distinctive scarf with a special design of the eye ensures the prevention of skipped stitches. A slightly rounded point provides trouble-free sewing on most materials. Strong conical blade reinforcement easily handles thick fabrics like denim.
Fabric Use: Machine embroidery; hook and loop tapes; general sewing.

Carded, 5-Pack


Metallic Needles

Color Code:   LIGHT PINK
Feature:   Elongated eye.
Fabric Use:   Metallic and other specialty threads. A “must-have” for sewing with sensitive metallic threads. The elongated eye prevents shredding and breaking of metallic threads.

Carded, 5-Pack
Twin, Carded


Hemstitch Needle

Color Code:   None
Feature:   A wing on each side of the needle.
Fabric Use:   Light or medium weight loosely woven fabrics. Popular for heirloom sewing and to create decorative cutwork.

Carded, 5-Pack
Twin, Carded

Quilting in the Valley

By | 02/24/2021

(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.

Buttonhole Cutter Set

By | 02/17/2021

Buttonhole Cutter Set

Buttonholes made easy!

For straight and keyhole buttonholes. Cutters make sharp, clean cuts for professionally finished buttonholes. The circular cutter can also be used for cutting English eyelet embroidery. Made with hardwood handles and hardened steel blades.

Set contains Buttonhole Cutter Knife, Circular Cutter Punch, and Hardwood Apple-Shaped Cutting Block in a plastic bag.

Click HERE for ordering information.


Gingham Square Logo


Coping with the Pandemic – Gail Yellen

By | 02/10/2021

Gail YellenAfter a February serger workshop for the Sarasota, FL ASG Chapter, the whole country shut down. Like thousands of sewists around the world, I made masks (between 150–200). My husband and I did a quilt themed jigsaw puzzle.

Then I decided it was time to get back to work. I did a couple of new YouTube Serger Tip Clips, but, due to social distancing, without my terrific videographer. It was quite a challenge!

Zoom has been a great tool for sewists to keep learning and stay connected. On Memorial Day weekend, I did a Zoom mini serger workshop “Decode the Stitch.” Here’s a link if you haven’t seen it yet: I also did a Zoom interview and demo for the Plano, TX ASG, and have a couple more scheduled for ASG National and the Chicago Chapter.

I’ve been trying to exercise daily and get in a bit of gardening along with sewing/serging adventures.

Hope everyone stays well and that we can get together in-person when safe!

If you can’t wait to read the individual stories, you can view SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #79 by CLICKING HERE.

Coping with the Pandemic – Angela Wolf

By | 02/03/2021

Angela WolfBeing home for the past few months has been a huge lifestyle change; going from traveling every other week for events to working out of my studio and staying home. Ironically, I have come to cherish this time. Not traveling has allowed so much more time, time to write music and play the piano again (although I really wish I had the thing tuned before the quarantine). I gave a try at cooking, but I think I will leave that to Winn for now!

Thanks to today’s technology, I was able to continue working, hosting daily live Facebook and YouTube shows and virtual classes to stay connected with friends and fans. Although the reason for the quarantine is a tragedy, the time I was able to spend with my husband, enjoying coffee in the morning, dinner at home, and walks in the evening will be forever cherished.

If you can’t wait to read the individual stories, you can view SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #79 by CLICKING HERE.