Coping with the Pandemic – Annie Unrein

By | 01/20/2021

Annie UnreinIn late March, Utah authorities encouraged everyone to work from home, if possible, and told all high-risk individuals (including those over 60, me!) to “avoid contact with any other person.” Having watched as my daughter-in-law’s family in Spain dealt with hospitalizations and deaths, I was definitely ready to self-isolate. I was also confident that I would be SO much more productive and that I would really get ahead of the game. Assuming that we might be in isolation for about a month, I made a tentative schedule:

  • Week 1: Finalize all five new/updated patterns, making at least one model of each to ensure testing is complete.
  • Week 2: Write scripts for add-on and marketing videos for those five new patterns.
  • Week 3: Sew step-outs for filming for all videos.
  • Week 4: Begin filming (if allowed back to work) or begin work on new patterns for Fall Market.

It is now 10 weeks later and I am still working primarily from home. Progress on my schedule? I’ve mostly completed the Week 1 and Week 2 projects. We did begin filming a couple of weeks ago but are only about halfway through that process. Not only am I a very-overly-optimistic judge of how long something will take, but I was also surprised by how much time went to dealing with effects of the shutdown: reviewing regulations and programs, communicating with staff who were working in several places, trying to make sense of all the news, and working to make good decisions when everything was so unsettled around us.

Fortunately, I also added a few fun things to my list. Most enjoyable was participating in several Facebook Live events with stores and companies who were also dealing with shutdowns. For example, I presented a five-week series with FreeSpirit Fabrics which focused on projects we’ve made using their fabrics.

We shared tips and techniques for bag making, from choosing fabrics and coordinates to making smooth, wrinkle-free bindings. Preparing for those events each week took MUCH more time than I’d expected (no surprise there), but feedback and engagement made it all worthwhile. Being able to connect with makers around the world, even when we were all stuck at home, was definitely a highlight of the shutdown for me!

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

Do SCHMETZ Needles Work With My Machine?

By | 01/15/2021

Sewing Machine Logos

SCHMETZ 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.



Coping with the Pandemic – Deanna Springer

By | 01/13/2021

Deanna SpringerBeginning in early March, here at NZP (Nancy Zieman Productions) in Wisconsin, our office went on lock-down to visitors and we implemented no-contact deliveries. We began ramping up cleaning commonly touched surfaces–including every rotary cutter, ruler, marking pen, and sewing notion in our sewing room and studio. Our team meetings moved from the conference room to our large sewing room, with Dana, Denise, Sarah, and me located in separate corners of the room.

On March 17, 2020, our small but mighty team packed up and began working remotely from home. I’ve carried on and continued to head into the office every day. Solo. My daily routine hasn’t changed much as I still dress for work, make my lunch salads, order groceries online for local pickup, prep dinner, and catch up on email before heading to the office to work on our many new projects and manage a team remotely. Dana and Sarah rotate days picking, packing, and shipping NZP orders. Denise continues to work from home on our new patterns, books, and rulers. In May, I recorded the final three episodes of the 100 Series of Stitch it! Sisters. I was solo on camera—with a scaled-back production crew.

I haven’t yet experienced wearing casual sweats or PJs. However, I have noticed M&Ms often found their way into my grocery orders. They’re the M&Ms with almonds in the middle, so these are a healthy snack, right? Unexpectedly, I’ve not had a haircut for over three months and I now have the Farah Faucet hairdo I tried so hard to achieve in my youth. Who knew all I had to do was wash and blow-dry? There was no need to put products and efforts into achieving this iconic look! Charlie is that you calling?

Also, unexpectedly, my hubs, Dennis, and I had to temporarily close our family campground in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. We typically enjoy gathering with family and friends, beginning summer with our annual Memorial Day Weekend camp out and potluck picnic. We toast the beginning of summer (and a grateful wave goodbye to winter)! But not this year. I miss my daughter, parents, family, and friends, but I know we’ll be spending time together someday soon.

Our full work schedule has shifted to accommodate plans for taking The Great Wisconsin Quilt Show online, to a new and exciting digital experience. Stay tuned!

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

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Coping with the Pandemic – Pat Sloan

By | 01/06/2021

Pat SloanOn March 1st, I started doing daily Quilt Challenge videos and I created a project calendar for everyone. It’s been wonderful to have a focus on our quilting each day and super fun to see everyone participating. I also have been involved in several collaborations doing trunk shows and the most recent is a group of us did a studio tour. My new fabric line had just arrived from Benartex. Great timing for my tours!

Watch and then tour the other studios at

Please click on the following link to visit my web site:

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 – Heidi Proffetty

By | 12/30/2020

Heidi ProffettyWhen our world came to a screeching halt, I naively thought this can’t go on for long. So I decided to tackle a few of those dreaded projects from my To-Do list.

We’ve lived in our house for 22 plus years and you can imagine the STUFF we’ve accumulated. So this became my quiet mission for more than two weeks. I cleaned, purged, and organized. I found tears and joy as I went through my daughters’ baby clothes, toys, school papers, and gymnastics photos.

Next, my husband (whose business also came to a sudden stop) and I joined forces just like we did 22 years ago when we first built our home together. Each day we started with coffee and conversation and turned our focus to fixing up the outside of our house. We planted 35 small trees, put in our garden, painted the exterior siding and trim, stained the deck, and rebuilt the side stairs. We also installed our new bees into our two beehives.

As I look at how nice our home looks again, right down to the pretty flowers in the flower boxes, it makes me smile. My husband and I feel pleased.

But we had an even more important job to focus on and that was our kids. Our girls are teenagers and with no school except for virtual classes, no friends, no prom, and no gymnastics, they were feeling the impact. We let their normal routines slide. They slept more during the day and stayed up late at night talking to their friends on social media. We let them find their happiness where they could. If that meant a bowl of cereal in the bedroom or repainting the walls of their bathroom or giving dad a much-needed haircut, we were okay with it.

As far as quilting, well, I finally got back in the swing of things. With my teaching jobs canceled, I had free time to play with my embroidery machine. I learned a new digitizing program and created some beautiful designs. I gave my first Facebook Live presentation for Janome Sewing Machines. It was exciting to take part in this opportunity and admittedly it felt great getting dressed up and putting makeup on again.

I also completed another in my series of Moroccan mosaic quilts. It took almost five months to finish it, but as I look at it I feel again that sense of happiness and accomplishment.

Most recently, I took an 11-hour road trip south with my daughters and two of their friends. We visited a great spot, the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The days were filled with lots of laughs from my kids which made my heart happy and I spent a few days of much-needed relaxation on a long stretch of gorgeous beach. During these trying times, I did not ignore the sadness going on out there but I did turn inward to care for and appreciate my family. I feel very blessed to say my family is my rock and I am theirs.

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 – Pati Palmer

By | 12/23/2020

Pati PalmerMy COVID experience was a bit unusual. Paul and I went to Mexico in early March. My daughter, Melissa Watson, asked if she and her husband could get out of NYC and stay in our Portland condo while we were gone. Of course! We wanted them to be safe. After a month, our resort closed and we flew home. But, we were homeless, as Melissa and Roland now occupied our one-bedroom condo. My friend Marta Alto gave us the keys to her Cannon Beach cabin where we were for nearly two months.

So what to do when you have no sewing supplies or machines? Paul was reading a book called How Not to Die and decided he wanted to try being a vegetarian. I ordered three vegetarian cookbooks from Amazon and started sorting out how to do that. I’ve never wanted to eat this way nor try. But, when you have prostate cancer, (that is, my husband), you take a doctor’s advice and give a plant-based diet a chance. What I learned is that you can make the tastiest and most colorful meals on earth using only plants.

After three months, Paul and I are back home, Melissa and Roland are back in New York City. I discovered a nearby New Seasons grocery, which is now my go-to store for organics and vegan products.

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 – Mary Mulari

By | 12/16/2020

After Rhonda Pierce described this Life Shift as a “gift of time,” I thought about one thing I like to do when I have free time. It used to be on a long plane flight when I’d take out a note-card or two to write to a friend or family member. Now I have TIME to write to lots of people while seated at my table at home!

It’s a pleasure to have nice note-cards, paper, and postcards and a smooth flowing pen. My personal philosophy is that a handwritten note sent in the mail is ALWAYS welcome, and often a wonderful surprise because we just don’t receive them very often anymore. And, handwritten thank you notes are the best way to be positively memorable in the mind of the recipient. (If I was asked to give a graduation speech, that’s what I’d share.)

So I’ve written to most of the people in my address book. A letter or note is a gift and shouldn’t be sent with any expectations, but I have happily received a few letters in return. In fact, if you write to me, I’ll send you a note in return on a card from my vast collection of stationery. Box 87, Aurora MN 55705.

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 – Kenneth D. King

By | 12/09/2020

Being lock-downed in New York City found me doing many different things:

  • Teaching online to finish up classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology,
  • Recording episodes of my podcast,
  • Writing an article on the flange shoulder for Threads Magazine,
  • Making myself a copy of a jacket I had loved and lost,
  • Preparing video lessons for my fall classes at FIT.

But most importantly, it showed me the value of having an assistant. (if you follow Kenneth, you know his assistant is a Barbie doll). My assistant has been working by remote video with my customers, creating the couture they need. Our circle of customers and friends have been going on with their lives while social distancing. I watch their activities with enjoyment. For those who don’t watch my Instagram account (kennethdking), I sew couture Barbie clothes to stave off panic attacks. Focusing on a tiny garment allows me to tune out all of the mayhem that surrounds me.

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 – Judy Kessinger

By | 12/02/2020

I found my bread machine, I am sorry to say. I had no idea how much I still enjoy making bread. Since the calories added up, walking was the next “step” in my quarantined life. We moved to a new development last year and it has been fun to see the transformation up close.

Zoom has become a big part of my personal and teaching life. Just learning to adapt from standing in front of ladies to doing demonstrations online has been a challenge. Ladies are loving the new instructions or reviewing what they learned before. This is one part of the quarantine I will keep.

I have enjoyed hearing so many fantastic comments from ladies that could never attend one of my classes in person. I figured out how to do my “one lady fashion show” and that was always my favorite part.

During this time, I was able to start on Book Three!

My husband and I got to bond with our new grand-baby because my son, Matt, does Good-Morning and Good-Night Facetimes with us. I really think she knows our voices and faces.

We are blessed!

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 – Marianne Fons

By | 11/25/2020

I made masks, but not nearly as many as other people did, and also started a new quilt. My husband and I are moving soon from our current home to a cool storefront/apartment just off the Winterset town square, a distance of a block and a half, so I spent A LOT of time sorting through household belongings, a worthwhile process though sometimes painful.

A unique thing I did was help hang a new exhibit at the Iowa Quilt Museum here in Winterset, Iowa, on April 20, when the museum was, of course, closed. The exhibit, titled “Man Made,” was curated by Tony Jacobson, a talented designer in his own right, manager of Piece Works quilt shop, and a member of the IQM Board of Directors. Museum director Megan Barrett, Tony, and I did it in one day, keeping our distance (which is pretty easy when one person is on a ladder!). From then until June 1, when we reopened (with restrictions) IQM hosted several online interviews with the makers, all of them wonderful. The show ran through July 5. Visit

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