Check Out These Beautiful Point Perfect Tools made from Curly Maple

Happy Weekend Everyone!   I was cleaning my desk and I uncovered the current issue of Threads Magazine… I was so excited when the issue arrived in the mail because the Point Perfect  Pressing Tool was included in the Notions column.  Then in the next few days, I had a disaster with my website because it got a virus.  It was such a process to fix my website and then catching up on the stuff… I didn’t have time to share this with you.  Here’s a peek of the article… I think it looks great 🙂   It makes me stop and think about the adventure this little piece of wood has caused me to embark on. 

When I first starting playing with the design for the Point Perfect, my Dad was making my prototypes.  Then I started working on them with Dan from Dan Tracy Designs.  I met Dan last year at Sitches United.  His booth was right next to  mine in the vendor hall.  He makes beautiful wooden tools for knitting, crochet and weaving.  One of my favorite things are his yarn bowls.  You can see the variety of hard wood he uses.  Each bowl is functional piece of art.

The same thing is true about our Point Perfect Point Turner.  Usually he sends me a nice variety of tools made from different woods.  When I opened this shipment, most of them were made from Curly Maple.

I’m not the expert, but I’m guessing that Curly Maple gets it’s name from it’s curly grain.   Dan and I  have been working on fine tuning the design to make it the best, most useful tool possible.  The fine hard woods, the curved shape and the craftsmanship all contribute to making it a joy to use.

It’s rare that I get a batch that are mostly one kind of wood.  This makes it hard for me to give you a choice about which kind of wood you would prefer.  So, I decided to share these with you… in case you like them too.  If you order a Point Perfect Pressing Tool in the next few days, I can guarantee that you will receive one of these Curly Beauties <3.

Below is a link to a Video Tutorial Showing how to use the Point Perfect Point Turner.  In addition to using it to make collar tips nice and crisp, I’ve used it to make perfect corners on pillows and I’ve used the curved edge to help shape seams.  If you already own one, I’d love to know what you think about it.

Decorative Reverse Flatlock vs. Decorative Flatlock

Hey Everyone.    I’m so excited about my new Yoga Pants Pattern.  I’m busy working on the instructions and pattern.  Also, I want to have some video tutorials ready to go when I release the pattern.  When I was making my samples, I played with decorative seams.  Today I want to show you how to do a decorative reverse flatlock.  In today’s video tutorial, Decorative Reverse Flatlock vs. Decorative Flatlock I’ll show you how.  Plus, I thought it would be fun to show you that these two stitches are two sides of the same coin.  This is one of my favorite techniques  because it’s both attractive and utilitarian.  I did a little color blocking to make my first pair.  Using a black and metallic silver Woolly Nylon with a decorative reverse flatlock added something special to the seams.  I think it helps make a nice transition along the color blocked seams.

I had some scraps of my black Performance Sports Knit that I used to color block with the new gray color.  The pattern pieces are rather skinny because there are three panels for each leg.  If you have leftover black from making the original yoga pants pattern… you would only need a yard of gray (or other contrasting color) to make this version.  The length of the back leg (size xl) is 33″ long.  I cut the side pieces out of black and the center front and back pieces out of gray.

To sew the pattern pieces together, I used a decorative reverse flatlock stitch.  The decorative reverse flatlock stitch is really just the reverse side of the decorative flatlock stitch.  The reason why I like it is because it shows as a delicate ladder created by the needle thread.  The decorative flatlock stitch is formed by the upper looper thread and the needle thread.  This is pretty too… just more pronounce.  In addition to the appearance of the decorative reverse flatlock, the stitch lays flat so the bulk of the seams is minimized.

Originally, I was just going to show you how to do a decorative reverse flatlock.  Then I thought it would be fun to compare these two stitches.  The only difference between them is where you put the decorative thread.  Join me for today’s tutorial –  Decorative Reverse Flatlock Vs. Decorative Flatlock to check out all the details.  …And one little plug for my February Workshop… If you live in Florida and you have President’s Weekend free… consider joining us.  This is one of the patterns we’ll be working with!  The amazing price for this workshop includes gray sports knit and the patterns!!


 

Draft Pants from a Jeans Pattern

Hey Everyone,  I’m so excited to write my first blog post in my new blog!  Today I want to show you how to draft pants from a jeans pattern.   This is a Q&A from one of my students in my Craftsy Class – Perfect Jeans for Every Body.  The big thing is to put the back yoke back on the top of the back leg.  Because I’m a pattern drafting geek, I think it’s interesting that the seam between the back yoke and the top of the back leg is a style line.   Kinda like a princess seam for your butt 🙂  When you put the yoke back on the leg, the style line is traded in for waist darts.      

The back yoke is created from the top of the back leg.  Basically, the bottom edge of the back yoke is defined by drawing a line from the CB edge to the side seam edge.  The width of the yoke is determine by the position of this line.   After slashing the pattern along the line the darts are closed.  This is what creates the curved shape of the back dart.  The amount of curve the back yoke has is dependent on the size of the back waist darts.   The larger the back waist darts, the more curve the back yoke will have.  I used my fitted Ponte Knit Jeans Pattern in this video tutorial.  The back waist darts I ended up with were very small because my waist and hip measurements are very similar.

 

I recommend working with your tried and true jeans pattern.  That way the curve in the back yoke pattern piece will create appropriate sized waist darts for your shape.   The more defined your waistline is, the more curve your yoke will have.  More curve will make larger waist darts.

In addition to putting the back yoke back on the top of the back legs, there are a few other things to check.  Some jeans pattern have a longer front inseam between crotch and knee.  This helps to smooth the back leg when you are making snug jeans.  For pants, the front and back inseams should be an equal length.

The other thing to think about is the position of the crotch curve.  If you jeans fit snug to your shape, you may want to lengthen the rise.   Pants usually have a little space between your and the crotch seam.

Check out today’s video tutorial for all the details.  Please let me know if you have questions.

 

 

Kicking Off 2018 with a Super Fun Workshop @ Cool Stitches Pop Up Sewing Lounge

Happy New Year Everyone!! I can’t believe it’s New Year’s Eve already. I’m spending the weekend shooting preview videos for my upcoming workshops. I’m so excited to have so many fun things scheduled for 2018 – Starting with Comfy Clothes in a Weekend. Debbi Gray of Cool Stitches and I planned a really fun event. It will be held at the Cool Stitches Pop Up Sewing Lounge at the Fleming Island Ballroom, right next to the Holiday Inn Express on Fleming Island, Florida on February 18-19, 2018. (Yes…I’m going to get to escape the Connecticut Cold!).

We are going to be working with my Easy Fit and Sew Tee Twin Set and Yoga Pants patterns to make your new favorite outfit. I taught the Tee and Yoga Pants Workshop at the National ASG Conference in Orlando this past July. If you missed it, I hope you’ll join us. This workshop is designed for beginners and beyond. If you’ve never worked with knit fabric before, no worries… the first thing we’re going to do is rev up our sewing machines and practice using sample fabrics included in your Workshop Kit.

Participants try on sample knit garments to quickly figure out what size is best. This takes all the guesswork out of the fitting process. We’ll take note of any necessary fit adjustment you need. Then I’ll demonstrate how to adjust the pattern pieces for a perfect fit. Learn how to figure out how much stretch your fabric really has and how it will affect the fit of your garments. After cutting out the pieces it’s time to sew. Discover notions that make finishing your necklines and hems a snap.

Because this workshop is being help at the Holiday Inn Express… where we are also staying, we can Sew After Dinner on Sunday!!! (So exciting!)

For all the juicy details check out the preview video below.


 

My Mom… and Alice’s Embrace

Hi Everyone, I want to wish you a very happy holiday and New Year. I hope that you get to spend time with your family and friends. As I think about Christmas this year, I’m reminded of all the things that are really important and how blessed I am. My family (parents, brother Scott and sister Joanna) are very close. Last year my Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. We talk on the phone most days… if I miss calling a couple days in a row, my Mom addresses me as “her long lost daughter”. I had started to notice subtle changes in our conversations over the past few years. After my Dad took her to the doctor he called to share the news with me. I wasn’t surprised because I felt like there was something wrong… but putting a label on it made it devastating.

The good news is that my parents are amazing, and my Dad has this special way with my Mom. When I call to check on how things are going, my Dad will tell me that they spent the afternoon laughing. Before all of this my Mom was so busy, volunteering at the Senior Center and at church. She loved gardening, cooking and she was a “wanna be” sewer (The evidence for this was in her closet where she lovingly stored her pre-washed fabric stash.) Last year for Christmas my Dad got my Mom these really cool raised garden beds so she could garden without having to kneel down. Now, it’s hard for my Mom to do things with her hands, my Dad stepped up and filled most of these beds with vegetables and flowers.

Dad has made room for my Mom’s every day activities–they have become new adventures for him. For example, Mom decided she wanted to bake some Christmas cookies ahead of our scheduled Baking Day…. Dad sent out a group text to me and my brother and sister asking us to pray for him because “your mother wants to bake”… After she gave a list of instructions she drifted out of the kitchen and went to take a nap. The next text message urgently asked us to pray harder because the recipe said that it would make 3 dozen cookies and they barely got 2. I called to assure them that I almost never get the total number of cookies that the recipe promises.

Meanwhile me and my brother and sister keep in touch with each other and keep each other updated on what’s going on. I’ve made Thursday the day that I go down and spend time with my Mom…while we’re having fun, my Dad gets a moment to himself. Luckily my brother lives in town and can drop in to check up on them. It’s weird how I notice or hear the words “Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s” everywhere now. TV commercials, billboards and on the radio… I’m pretty sure that this is not new, it’s just that I notice it because I’m so sensitive to it now. I’m sharing this with you today because I was looking for a way to support and maybe bring some awareness to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

My sister and I were on the phone the other night and we were texting picture of our knitting projects back and forth. (I love it that we have this in common… We tried to get her into sewing but that didn’t stick.) I’ve been working on hats and she is working with chunky yarn and big needles to make blankets. My sister was so happy that she finished a lap blanket to give to our Mom for Christmas and we were talking about new projects. She told me that she downloaded a pattern for a lap blanket and she was making it to give to an organization that helped people suffering fro Alzheimer’s disease. My ears perked up… I asked her where she found the pattern. She told me it was a non-profit organization called Alice’s Embrace and they are looking for volunteers to knit and crochet the patterns that they have created. I went on their website Alice’s Embrace. and I could see immediately why it spoke to my sister because I felt the tug too.

I perused the pattern selection while Joanna told me the story behind Alice’s Embrace. Diane Lewis started Alice’s Embrace to celebrate her mother, Alice. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in November of 2005. Diane and her two siblings kind of became her mom as the disease progressed. They made sure she was healthy and happy. Making her smile was always a highlight of our visits. The thing that really got me was that Diane described being with her Mom as being in the most comfortable place imaginable… It was HOME. I felt an instant kinship with a woman I have never met. Joanna told me that she was touched by the fact people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease are comforted when they intertwined their fingers in the stitches of their blanket. Knitted and crocheted blankets not only provide comfort, but also keeping hands busy.

Joanna had already picked out a pattern to make a lap quilt. She was drawn to it because it’s titled “Faith“.

There were so many pretty designs to choose from, I had a hard time picking out one out. I decided that I’m going to work on “Cross Stitch”. It reminds me of one of my past passions. Before I started J Stern Designs I spent a lot of time working on Lavender and Lace Counted Cross Stitch Patterns. This is the first one I did… Of course I gave it to my Mom. It hangs on the wall in their dining room.

Both Joanna and I are newbie knitters. The cool thing is that there are knitting/crochet patterns for everybody. Plus, they help you pick out your yarn… what’s good and what to stay away from. I’m going to download my “Cross Stitch” pattern and go get my yarn. Our Mom has spent her life doing for others… If she could work the knitting needles, I know she would join us.

Alice’s Embrace is a non-profit organization devoted to providing hand-knit and hand-crocheted prayer shawls and lap blankets to those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. We seek volunteers to knit and crochet the patterns that we have created. Through the loving hands of many generous and talented people, this endeavor will help warm, comfort, and soothe these dear folks facing the daily challenges of the disease. Together, we’re making a difference.

If you feel like this is something that speaks to you, please join us. Visit Alice’s Embrace for all the details. You can pick out a pattern to work with and get suggestions for picking out your yarn. They have a list of specific colors that they currently need. I’m going to pick out one of them.

 

Alice’s Embrace is a non-profit organization devoted to providing hand-knit prayer shawls and lap blankets to those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease

 

Hello world!

Hey Everyone,  Welcome to my new blog.  My original website was attacked by a virus and some computer bots…  We tried to fix it but it became overwhelming and I couldn’t be sure if I would be able to completely remove all the cooties.  So, I’ve started from scratch because  I want to assure you that my site is completely safe and secure.  I’ve upgraded my hosting to include site security and now I have the cute little lock by my web address in the address bar.

Unfortunately,  I was not able to save all my blog content.  I had over 400 blog posts that I’ve deleted. The good news is that I have a video tutorial for many of the posts that featured a new technique, fitting adjustment or design idea.  If you’re looking for something, you will probably be able to find it on my YouTube Channel.

I did save the last few blog posts before I deleted my site.  I will be adding those back in.   I will also be adding thing back into my store, workshop and events pages.  If you’re looking for the Point Perfect Point Turner.  I’ve added that to my Store already.

I’m hoping to get everything back into place in the next day or so.  Thank you for your patience.  Jen