Thoughts from the other side of the counter

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Oh Brother! Part III: A Bundle of Joy and the New Midlines!

We need to talk.  Brother is delivering. Yes, Brother is delivering a Bundle of Joy (aka some really nice goodies)!  Have you read our previous posts on the new Dream machine?  In case you missed Part I and II, here are the links:
As mentioned before, dealers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Dream machines in dealerships across the country, and we are no different here at Pocono Sew and Vac. 
We are currently taking orders for this incredible machine, and Brother is going to bundle it with goodies IF...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Oh Brother! Part II

Coffee anyone?  This cup
is just about the right size.
The view from the breakfast
counter at the Brother B2B
in Nashville.
             A business trip is an interesting experience.  It’s like a fun, educational break from the “real world” combined with lack of sleep.   It sure seems that the older we get, the harder it is to fall asleep outside our own home, our own bed, with our own comfy pillowcase.  So the next morning at the Brother B2B in Nashville, the person in the mirror looking back at me said, “Coffee.  You NEED strong coffee.  A big cup!”  The second day of our business trip was not much different from the first lol.

            Okay.  Now for a recap of our previous post in case you missed it, with a few extras features thrown in the mix before doing a review of our second day attending the Brother B2B.  Just in case you missed the first post (You can go back and read it here!), some of our staff were able to preview the new line of  Brother machines at the B2B convention which included their new TOL Dream machine.  Also, shown below is an awesome video by Brother on their ultimate machine. 

Dreamy it is!  It features:

1.       A 9.5” X 14” embroider field (38% larger than the previous largest frame for their single needle embroidery machines).

2.      A new Stability Plus Frame with rubber, ribbed edges for less slippage.

3.      New Zoom and Adjustment Features:  up to 400% within My Design Center and up to 200% in other modes.

4.      A new, yet familiar interface with a 10.1” built-in, hi-def LCD screen—the largest on the home-sewing market.

5.      Expandable library of Built-In Tutorial videos.  (You can even use the screen to watch videos or listen to music when you’re not sewing.)

6.      Improved scanning with the Innoveye 2 Technology.  Scanning speed is up to 2X as fast as previous models and has virtual stitch preview and width adjustment an industry first (we’ll talk about that later!).    Alignment of embroidery designs is easier than ever with the built-in camera and scanner.

7.      My Design Center.  Now you can draw or doodle directly on the LCD display or use the Scanimation scanning frame to scan line art, handwriting or printed clip art and allow the machine to auto digitize it into embroidery data.  Even better, you can scan a JPEG from a USB stick and turn it into stitch data for embroidery using the machine.  No software is needed!

8.      Stippling and Freehand Quilting. Could Brother have made it any easier?  You can define the stippling area, choose a stippling design, perform an inside and/or outside stipple of an embroidery design, or create custom draw stippling.  Yes!  Create your own stippling pattern!  How exciting.

9.      Improved Color Shuffling and with more color possibilities at your fingertips along with a LED thread color and monitoring system much the Brother commercial embroidery machines.

10.   Designs and LOTS of them!  930+ built ins and over 166 Disney designs at your fingertips.

11.  The J foot—a longer foot AND longer feed dogs for improved fabric feeding with box feed.

12.  And the finale…did I mention undo’s?  A user can undo a whopping 50X!  That's a super feature for those of us who like to change our minds a lot.

Our first project in Oh Brother, Part I was about mostly about Scanimation, Borders,
Fills, and Stippling.  Now we’re moving on to project #2 on the DREAM machine, which was the Couched Clutch.  Brother has a new foot for couching that can be used with the MuVit Digital Feed foot.  This foot was used to complete this project shown below:
The new couching foot by Brother that can be used
with the MuVit Digital Feed foot.

The men at Pocono Sew and
Vac can talk the talk AND
walk the walk! 
Paul's pretty good at this!
 It’s always fascinating how people can dream up ways to create simple projects that are a snap to stitch up, and the Couched Clutch is one of them.  It would be a perfect party favor for a group of young girls or a simple, crafty tote.  Each group was given a placemat (the inexpensive dollar store variety), along with a stencil, measuring, and marking tools.  At right, Paul doing a trace off of a stencil with a disappearing marker onto the placement.  Measurement lines for fabric folds were added as shown at left.  Next we set up the machine to couch yarn on the stencil design.  It’s a quick and easy process.  Notice the guide attachment we installed on the side of the machine for the yarn which was then guided directly into the hole on the couching foot as shown below.
Guide attachment for the
Couching Foot.
The couching foot/technique is very easy, but it’s important to make sure enough yarn is loose so that it feeds freely from the skein.  Also, you can understand the importance of the pivot feature when examining the curves of the flower design.  Thank you, Brother, for that fab function!
 Two features, exclusive to Brother machines, which were especially useful on this project, were the laser line and virtual stitch functions.  The serpentine and blanket stitches were chosen to stitch the ribbon in place on the placemat.  Sometimes when a sewist is using a ribbon along with a decorative stitch, the width needs to be customized to tack down the ribbon to the fabric.  The following pics illustrate how the chosen stitch image is superimposed in real time over the ribbon.

This Virtual Stitch Preview.
SEW cool!
Virtual Stitch Preview with the serpentine
  This is what Brother calls, “Virtual Stitch Preview" shown at right and left.  It’s easy to see if the stitch needs to be widened or narrowed.  This is such a super useful feature!  No more guessing games and test stitchouts to see if a stitch width fits the sewing task.  Simply view the stitch pattern on the ribbon in real time and step on the pedal or press the <GO> button.  And as for that laser guide, we used it when stitching this project for a perfectly straight sewing guide line as show to the left.  Not necessarily a new feature for Brother users, but it’s still amazing!  See that laser guide in action as shown at left.
That laser guide sure comes
in handy!

Moving on to the task of creating a custom stitch.  It’s probably an underutilized feature for many users, but it’s nice to mention that it does exist and allows for stitch patterns beyond the built-in machine stitches.  It was really easy for us to create a custom stitch, however, it was not without errors.  Rest assured, error-prone users or ones that change their mind a lot, the 50X's undo feature is especially handy.  So don’t worry about getting into a jam and wanting to change something with a very limited number of undo’s.  An ample allotment of undos will get you out of virtually all tricky situations. .
The Custom Stitch feature.  It's actually very easy to
create custom stitches.
We're working on our
customer stitch.
All in all, the clutch project took about 15-20 minutes and about 30 if one adds in creating a custom stitch.  We did use our customized, decorative stitch on the clutch.  Our finished clutch will be on display at the store when the DREAM machine arrives in late September/early October. 

Note:  Go easy on us ;) .  We stitched fast to complete the project.  It’s not perfect, but the workshops move very quickly to cover the highlighted features.
The finished Couched Clutch!  Not perfect, but everyone has to work fast
in order to take home a finished project.
Overall, the DREAM machine features utilized on both the embroidery and sewing projects were very impressive and a breeze to use.  Brother thought of just about everything. Here at the store, we can’t wait to have this awesome machine delivered and setup on our showroom floor.   Come in and ask for demos on the great, TOL machine.  We have already taken several pre-orders and are taking trade-ins in order to help you take home the machine of your dreams.  Yeah, it’s THAT good!  By the way, shown below is one of the best souvenirs I saw in Nashville!  Feel free to take it to heart :) .
Now how about that DREAM machine!
Stay tuned for Oh Brother, Part III. 

As always from your friends at Pocono Sew and Vac, have a Great Day and Happy Sewing!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Janome's here to help!

Hi Everyone!

Here's an update about what's new at Janome.  Now helpful videos are right at your finger tips for sewing, quilting, embroidery, software, or simply general info about Janome.  We've included a link so you can view some of the helpful vids as well as an instructional PDF so you can download the web app on your Android or iOS device.  You can now view helpful videos on an array of topics from various feet to accessories and software like the Clothsetter, AcuFil, and Horizon Link.  Also included are videos on how to use various serger feet and setting up a Janome serger for a rolled hem.

We hope you find this useful :) .

Happy Sewing from your friends at Pocono Sew and Vac!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Oh Brother, Part I

Some of those amazing DREAM
machine features!
            Hello, y’all!  (That's an appropriate Nashville salutation.)  Some of our staff experienced that firsthand walking through the airport in Nashville on our trip to the Brother B2B conference a couple of weeks ago.   What were our thoughts about going?  Exciting!   Just like all of you, we were excited to find out what the deal is on THE Dream machine.  Believe it or not, dealers don’t know either.  It’s all very hush, hush.  I even tried to get something, ANYTHING, out of one of the presenters when she visited our store and nada.  Nothing.  It wasn’t happening.  So you can imagine how we felt about this trip with Brother unveiling their new Dream machine, as well an assortment of midlines in which a few TOL features have been incorporated into the machine and user interface.   
"Stay Awake" juice!
The Brother B2B conference was held over a period of 4 days with a multitude of  breakout sessions designed to provide the dealers with pertinent and exciting info on new machines and software.  First things first…a couple of people on our staff found it necessary to get started with a cup of Joe in the late morning hours.  Waking up at 2:30 a.m. to catch an early flight and gaining an hour in the day lends itself to an afternoon slump.  Some of us had to take preventative measures so we could keep our energy level up prior to an afternoon/early evening registration session.
Kathy is holding the large 9.5"X14" frame to illustrate
the size, and Heather is displaying our finished project
from the DREAM machine session.
To illustrate the "super-sized"
hoop--a hand comparison.


Moving on to Day 2.  It was exciting to find that our first breakout session was a demo project which highlighted the awesome features of the new Dream machine!  The first visual as we sat down was the hoop size.  One word for it—WOW!  The massive 9.5” X 14” was really impressive.  To illustrate the size, Kathy’s hand gives a size comparison in the hoop, and Kathy and Heather show they can easily fit both of their heads within the perimeter of the hoop.  Speaking of the hoop, this particular attendee was really impressed with the “gripper” sections around the hoop which are rubber areas designed for easier fabric hooping.
The DREAM machine's style is
familiar for Brother owners so it
definitely makes for an easy-to-use and
easy-to-learn machine upgrade.
Brother's Stability Plus
      Next, we turned on THE Dream machine!  If you’re a current Brother machine owner, it’s a comfortable, familiar design.   Look at this beauty J .  It’s glowing.  The front label lists some of its highlighted features.  The 10.1” hi-def screen size is impressive along with its faster processing speed.  We’ve already talked about that gigantic hoop, so we’re moving on to the scanner—almost 2X as fast!   It’s a beautifully designed machine and notice that last software option on the screen…My Design Center.  The features in My Design Center were pretty impressive. 
Our class project
on the DREAM
Our class project
as it was stitching out.
        We moved right along in the breakout session creating a custom design with stippling.  Here’s a pic of our design on the screen along with another one as our design is being stitched out.  It was super easy, super quick, and our sample will be on display next to THE Dream machine when it arrives in our store. 
       We experimented with the scanner and found the user interface in My Design Center very intuitive and very easy to use.  The Scanimation features were particularly impressive with designs, line drawings, and stippling.   The Brother website has a nice You Tube video highlighting the stippling and scanimation feature shown below: 
Hmmm…that sample in the vid looks pretty familiar, huh?!?!  ;)  .  To describe all the features for this awesome machine would be an incredibly long blog post, so I just narrowed down a few that we utilized and discussed while we were there:  That super large 9.5"X14" hoop, 10.1" screen, Stability Plus frame, JPEG to Stitch data, the ability to draw on the screen and convert to stitch data, and the Scanimation feature. Definitely impressive! Be sure to stop in when THE Dream machine arrives in our store, ask for a demo, and play around with “dreamy” machine.  If Brother can dream it, so can you!
     We’ll finish up this post today with plenty of inspiration pics that were displayed from this Breakout Session on THE Dream machine.  Click on any pic for a larger image.
This frame was used for
scanning images.
During class, we learned how to use the stipple
fill feature and "erase" it from the centered,
embroidery design.

Sample closeup.  What beautiful embroidery and stippling!

These three pics show variations of the same design with the default and changes as noted.

Playing around with some shapes and the
fill feature.
Border or no border--the decision is yours!
Stippling sample with wider and narrower
Scanned and embroidered designs.

Various display samples using the same design.

Same overall look,
different effects.
 It was great to see the same embroidery design stitched several times with various effects applied to the same, overall design as seen in the remaining pics.
That's all for now!  Stay tuned for Oh Brother, Part II.  In the meantime, Happy Sewing from your friends at Pocono Sew and Vac!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fearless Fridays...They're coming!

Interested in getting started sewing?  Having trouble reading a garment pattern?  Want to know or reinforce sewing basics so you can feel comfortable and confident with your machine and/or garment, accessory, or home dec abilities?  Need help sewing different types of fabrics?  Or perhaps you just can’t seem to get your machine going on your own.  
Our Fearless Fridays begin: 
Friday, August 22, from 4:30 p.m. – 6:40 p.m.
at our new location directly across the street
564 Main Street in Stroudsburg
(the former Main St. TV & Appliance building)
and will continue every other Friday from the end of August until Thanksgiving. 
Learn or brush up on your sewing skills so you can sew garments, accessories, and home dec projects with confidence.  One of our staff members will be available at this time to provide a stress-free, fearless sewing environment designed to give you confidence in your sewing skills.  Our instructor will have optional projects for you to work on to learn or improve your skills or feel free to bring your own projects to each session.  The environment will be relaxed and casual, and everyone will have the opportunity to interact with, learn from, and be inspired by the projects of each attendee.  Space is limited so you must call ahead to register.  Bringing your own machine is preferred, however, we will have a limited number of machines available as loaners for use during the sessions.  No worries about getting your machine in the door--give us a call on your cell when you're at the back door, and we will pick up your machine for you and help you load it in your car after class.
Now here’s the best part!  Our first two Fearless Fridays are absolutely free with a nominal participation fee for subsequent Fearless Fridays.  Again, you MUST pre-register in order to participate.  Please stop in or call the store so we can get you registered for the class.  Classes will be held whether there is one participant or the maximum count.  Spread the word J .  We’re hoping to see the new generation of sewists along with some familiar faces!  As always, share the love of sewing. 
--Your friends at Pocono Sew and Vac

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Wonderful.

Wow!  What a week.  We experienced the bad.  Now for the good. We’re headed into the second week and quickly in the process of getting back to business better than ever.  Thank you to all our friends and customers who have given us words of encouragement and offers of support.  We can’t thank you enough.  Pocono Sew and Vac is taking it day by day, week by week, and we’re planning on coming back better than ever to help serve our customers.  Our Service/Repair dept. was up and running the Monday after the fire, and new inventory is arriving every day at our temporary location, 564 Main Street, which is directly across the street from our storefront.  Our staff is busy arranging displays, preparing fabric shelves, and setting up inventory.  Our telephones and Internet are working so feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.
Brother dealers congregate in Nashville and await (just like
you :) ) the unveiling of THE Dream machine.  Mood
lighting, music pumping, and the crowd's getting excited to
hear about the latest and greatest Brother has to offer!
            Now for some Wonderful.  Not only is new inventory coming in every day along with giving you the best deals ever, but a new line of machines by Brother has been introduced and we’re taking pre-orders.  Some of our staff attended the Brother event in Nashville which highlighted the launch of THE Dream Machine and exciting mid-line machines with TOL features.  We’re really excited to give you details of the trip and will be featuring some of the projects and machines in a blog series over the next week or two.  Stay tuned, and you’re sure to be as excited as we were to see the fabulous new Brother lineup.  Yes, it IS that exciting!
Happy Sewing from your friends at Pocono Sew and Vac!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pocono Sew and Vac Embraces Social Media!

It’s time.  Pocono Sew and Vac is embracing social media to bring you more info, more inspiration, more ideas, and simply more of everything sewing, embroidery, and quilt-related.  We love keeping our customers up to date via our emails and Facebook, and now we are on: 
Instagram (@pocono_sew_and_vac)
Twitter (@Poc_Sew_And_Vac)
And soon Pinterest!
We're planning on giving you more of what we do best.  Check out Instagram every week for Fran’s fabric pics and Twitter for weekly updates on our repair shelf status along with other tweets and posts that are sure to inspire and peak your interest.  We’ll also be here on Blogger posting about what’s going on in the store, new events and classes, new machines, new accessories and any items or ideas which we feel may be of benefit to you, our valued customers.  Can YouTube be far behind?  Not for us :) .  Don’t forget our hashtag  #poconosewandvac  so you can follow us. 
Keep busy with those machines and have a great day quilting, sewing, and embroidering!