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The Stitchin Chicks and Iris Thread

28th September 2010

The Stitchin Chicks and Iris Thread

From the very beginning one of the biggest boosters of EnMart has been a company called Stitchin Chicks.   These two wonderful ladies, Penny McClurg and Lynda Morgan, knew of Iris thread before we started selling it,  and Stitchin Chicks was one of the first machine embroidery companies to make a major purchase of our thread.   They’ve also been one of our biggest boosters at the NNEP Shows where we exhibit.   We’ve been very grateful for their support.  We also have a serious admiration for their work.

One of the best things about selling a product like Iris thread is getting to see the fantastic embroidered garments that those who buy the thread create.    Work done by the Stitchin Chicks was on display this summer at the NNEP Embroidery Marts in Houston and Nashville.    We are proud to say that all the work on display,  with the exception of the hightop sneakers was sewn with Iris thread.  I wanted to share some pictures of their fabulous work with all of you.

The Pink Peacock Dress

The design was originally digitized by Hatched in Africa.  Lynda edited it.  Penny    sewed the design with Iris Polyester thread and 350 Swarovski Crystals from Rainbows of Light.   The sew out too five hours and applying the crystals took six hours.

The Purple and Cream Casual Work Outfit

The design was original digitized by Anita Goodesign and edited by Lynda. Sewn and crystalized with 21 Swarovski Crystals by Penny.  It was sewn with Iris Polyester Thread and took 2 hoopings for the skirt and 1 hooping for the jacket.

The Flaming Guitar Jeans

Original Designs by Urban Threads, Anita Goodesign and Embroidery Library.   Editing, digitizing and addition changes by Lynda. The jeans had to be unsewn and restitched to hoop. It took about 2 hours to stitch out and 2 sew outs for each leg.  Design sewn with Iris Polyester thread and has 100 Swarovski Crystals from Rainbows of Light.

It is worth noting that Lynda was in the hospital as a result of chemo associated with breast cancer when most of this work was done.   Not only is it fabulous work,  but it was done under less than ideal conditions.   It should also be noted that all information about the sew outs and materials used was taken from the descriptions of the garments that were handed out at the NNEP shows.   EnMart and Iris Thread are proud to have played a small part in these fabulous garments, and we’re grateful to the Stitchin Chicks for sharing them at the NNEP Shows.

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27th September 2010

Happy Third Birthday EmbroideryTalk (A Little Early)

This Saturday, October 2, 2010, will mark three years since I wrote the first post for EmbroideryTalk.   The first post was mostly introduction.  I explained who I was and what the company was about and also talked a little bit about what we hoped to do with the blog and with the company.   In the second to last paragraph of that first post,  I said this:

We think of this blog as the beginning of a conversation. We’ll talk and, hopefully, you’ll talk back. We encourage discussion and questions, and will do our best to be a useful resource.

Luckily for me, and for EnMart,  that first post was the beginning of a conversation that has lasted for almost three years now.   Since the initial post I’ve written, including this one, 355 more, which comes out to roughly 119 posts a year.  At an average of 400 words per post I’ve written approximately 47,600 words a year,  just on this blog alone.   That’s a lot of words,  and I can only hope that some of them have been helpful to those who read this blog.

Over the last three years I’ve written about a lot of topics.  One of my main topics, of course,  has been Iris thread and I’ve written about everything from Hilos Iris,  the company that makes the thread,   to why thread weight matters,  to choosing the right machine embroidery thread.   I’ve also written about backing, needles and blank patches.

There have also been posts that covered topics other than the products EnMart offers.   I’ve talked about building a website.   For a while I did a series called Marketing Monday,  where I discussed various aspects of marketing a small business.   This blog has also offered a lot of machine embroidery tips.

Of course, there have also been a few posts that really didn’t fit into any category,  which were written just to stretch my writing muscles,  or just for fun.   That would certainly be the category into which The Alphabet of EnMart falls.  Just for fun is also why I write The Friday Blog Round-Up series.  Spotlighting great work by other bloggers has long been a passion of mine,  as is building community.  The Friday Blog Round-Up is my attempt to do both.

As we get close to embarking on our third year with this blog,  I mostly wanted to write this post to say thank you to everyone who subscribes to and follows this blog.   Thank you to those who comment,  whether it is here or on Facebook.  Thank you to those who retweet my posts on Twitter and who write lovely comments about them there.  Writing is primarily a solitary endeavor,  and it is feedback that keeps the words coming.  I’m grateful to all of you who have let me know you find the blog helpful and enjoy it.  Your support means a lot,  and I hope you’ll keep reading as we move forward into our third year.

posted in About EnMart | 2 Comments

24th September 2010

The Friday Blog Round – Up 9/24/10

First up today,  I wanted to introduce a great new blog about Social Media.  It’s called Robin’s Edge, and it is written by Robin Wilson of Wilson Edge fame.   I’m a huge fan of Robin’s work and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.  I’m so excited that she has a blog and can now expand on her thoughts and theories.   If you want to learn how to do social media right,  check out Robin’s blog.   You can find a link to it on our blogroll.

Second on the docket today, is a useful post from the NNEP blog about how to disable Facebook Locations.  For those who don’t know,  Facebook Locations broadcasts your location automatically.   For some people this might be a nice feature,  but not everyone wants their location available to anyone who might be interested.    If you want to disable this feature,  check out the NNEP post.   You will find instructions on how to disable the feature there.

Third up today is a terrific post from the Retail Minded blog about merchandising details you can’t ignore.  This post contains great advice if you have a brick and mortar store,  but a lot of the tips can also be applied to an online presence.   “Keeping It At Eye Level” becomes “Keeping It Above the Fold”  and “Staying Clean” becomes “Get rid of Extraneous Clutter”.    If you think about it,  your presence whether real or virtual needs to follow many of the same rules if it is going to be successful.

Fourth on deck this week is a post from Joyce Jagger.  She gives some useful tips for what to do when you have a special thread order from a customer.   Figuring out how much thread you’ll need may seem pretty complicated,  but following Joyce’s tips makes it easier.

Finally,  we have a sort of last minute announcement of a contest.  Urban Threads is holding a contest on their site.  They’ve hidden four of the characters from their Primitive Macabre Designs around their web site.   You have until September 26 to find them.   E-mail the locations of all the characters to Urban Threads to be entered into the contest.  You can find all the details and some hints about where the characters are hidden on their blog.

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23rd September 2010

Adding to the Inventory

It always starts with a meeting.

We’re sitting around the table in the conference room discussing whatever the subject of the meeting is,  and someone makes a segue and suddenly we’re discussing adding some new product to the EnMart inventory.   What the product is doesn’t really matter,  it’s the discussion that counts.  Suddenly we’re ranging over a list of the pros and cons of adding this new product or category of products and then, inevitably, it happens.  Someone says the magic words “You should really put this on the blog”.   You can also substitute the words “the forums”, or “Twitter” or “Facebook”  in place of “blog”  but the intent of all the suggestions is the same.

We want to know what you think.

The question we would like your thoughts on today is one of what new items we should add to the EnMart inventory.  One thing we’re considering is rhinestones and associated rhinestone equipment and supplies.  I’ll be honest,  we don’t know a great deal about rhinestones at this point,  but we’re smart people and we learn fast.  Rhinestones also seem like a logical addition to our inventory, since we already offer a lot of garment decoration supplies.  We may think adding rhinestones is a logical progression for our inventory,  but what I’m more interested in is what you all think.  Would our lack of experience in the use of rhinestones concern you?  Would having rhinestones among our product offerings make us more of a one stop shop?

Another inventory category we want to expand is scissors.  I know some people prefer one brand over another,  but I’ve never quite understood why.  I also know there are certain types of specialty scissors that people like to use,  but I’m not sure what they all are.    If we were to beef up our inventory of scissors what types would you like to see us add and why?   Are there particular brands you think we should carry?

Finally,  I wanted to touch on thread for a moment.   Specialty thread is something we contemplate adding on a regular basis but, other than colored metallic and variegated we haven’t expanded our specialty thread inventory any further.  We do get asked occasionally for Fire Retardant thread and glow in the dark thread,  so those might be specialty thread options to consider.   What I’m wondering is if there is any other type of specialty thread that we should contemplate adding to our inventory.   Color changing thread?  Variegated metallic thread?  What would you like to see us add?

As always,  we value the input from our customers and fans.  If there is something you would like to see us carry, please do make a suggestion.  We do listen and we do take your suggestions into account when we’re planning inventory updates.

posted in About EnMart, Machine Embroidery Supplies | Comments Off

20th September 2010

Location, Location, Location

By now I’m guessing that most of you are familiar with the fact that EnMart has four locations.  There is EnMart Corporate in Michigan,  EnMart East in New Jersey,  EnMart West in Nevada and EnMart South in Georgia.    Our locations were strategically placed to ensure that we are at most a two day Ground Shipment from a majority of locations in the United States.   These locations also allow us to offer local pick-up to customers who are within driving distance of one of our facilities.

One of the things that has always been a bit confusing for some people is that fact that our locations are not stores,  they’re warehouses.  Each location does double duty as a production facility for our parent company, Ensign Emblem,  so our locations tend to be located in industrial parks,  not in strip malls.  The EnMart locations are not showrooms,  where product and equipment are on display,  they are warehouse and production facilities with offices attached.  Viewings of product samples or equipment demonstrations can be scheduled upon request,  but the facilities are not set up for walk in visitors.

We do, however, welcome scheduled visits.  If you are interested in picking up an order on site,  or want to view a particular item before you buy,  simply call 866-516-1300 and schedule on on site visit with on our Customer Service personnel.    To make it easier to find our locations,  we have also updated our Locations page.   This page now contains street maps showing the location of each facility.  It also provides the ability to enter your location and get precise step by step directions to the EnMart facility of your choice.

Our goal,  as always is to make it as easy for you to do business with us as possible.  Offering interactive maps and precise directions will help our customers find us faster.   On site pick-up means that customers who live in close proximity to one of our locations can pick up their orders and thus avoid shipping charges and longer waits for their merchandise.  Quick and easy scheduling of appointments and processing of orders means that you won’t have to wait if you do decide to visit an EnMart location.  Advance scheduling will ensure that everything will be ready and waiting for you when you arrive.

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17th September 2010

How to Procrastinate: My Top 8 Methods

I write for a living.  That’s not all, of course, that I do for EnMart,  but it is one thing.  Most of the time I love it.  I’ve been writing since I was six years old,  and I can’t imagine doing anything else.   Still, there are days when I stare at a blank screen and dread the fact that I have to make all those letters into words, and all those words into sentences and all those sentences into paragraphs until I finally have a post.

On days when I’m feeling the dread and the ideas aren’t coming easily,  I have been known to procrastinate.  I think anyone who is in a creative profession  like writing or garment decoration  faces the dreaded blank at some point and realizes they will have to come up with something to fill that space.   If ideas aren’t coming easily,  the lure of procrastination can be very seductive.   Because it’s Friday and I’m in kind of a silly mood,  I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite ways to procrastinate.

Method #1:  Call and ask my colleagues questions I’d already asked them in hopes of striking up a conversation.  As you might imagine,  those I work with love this!

Method #2: Start cleaning out my e-mail inbox.   I have multiple e-mail accounts that all feed into folders in one central location.  Cleaning out e-mails can take hours particularly if I need to read and contemplate each one.

Method #3:  Ask those around me what I should write about.   Most of the time whomever I’m asking just shrugs and looks at me blankly,  but the question does sometimes spark a discussion.

Method #4: Say you have to go finding something in another building.  We have three buildings on our campus.   Finding something in the warehouse, despite its organizational scheme,  can take hours if you do it right.

Method #5: Decide my desk is too messy.  My desk is actually relatively neat most days,  but I do have a lot of paper and files.  On days when I don’t want to write,  I have been known to decide to do a wholesale tidying.

Method #6:  Update my to do list.  My to do list is generally quite long, so I can spend a good bit of time removing and adding tasks and prioritizing.

Method #7:  Google.  I’m guessing almost everyone has typed search terms into Google in hopes of finding something inspiring at one time or another.

Method #8: Twitter and Facebook.

So that’s what I do when I’m not feeling inspired.  I’m always looking for cutting edge procrastination methods,  so if you have one I didn’t mention,  please share it with me in the comments.

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15th September 2010

The Alphabet of EnMart

I mentioned it on Facebook this morning,  so you know I had to try and write the post. I apologize in advance and profusely for the really bad rhymes.

A is for adhesive backing, useful for garments both thin and thick.

B is for Bobbins, in paper sided and magnetic.

C is for Cutaway,  which won’t generally tear.

D is for Direct to Garment Ink, to print on shirts you can wear.

E is for EnMart with great service and products galore.

F is Flags and a great deal more.

G is for Gray thread in shades of and cones.

H is for heat presses which all sublimators should own.

I is for Iris,  the best brand of thread.

J is for jewelry boxes,  in mahogany red.

K is for Knight,  a  heat press brand we carry.

L is for lint brush, a useful accessory.

M is for Metallic Thread all sparkly and shiny.

N is for Needles, which are sharp, but quite tiny.

O is for ovals in blank patches you can sublimate.

P is for Poly Mesh,  a backing which is very light weight.

Q is for the quality we offer, and that’s not just spin.

R is for rectangle, a shape that many like their blank patches to be in.

S is for Sublimation, a decoration process many seek.

T is for Transfer,  our Ntrans is unique.

U is for understanding,  which helps us avoid folly.

V is for Vapor Apparel,  with garments of poly.

W is for water soluble stabilizer at a great price.

X is for extra,  as in service and care, and as in nice.

Y is for yahoo, we’re near done,  because my brain is quite dead.

Z is for Zebra,  embroidered with our black and white thread.

posted in About EnMart | 1 Comment

14th September 2010

Choosing the Right Machine Embroidery Thread, Part 2

I wrote the first part of this series on September 2.   At the end of that post,  I promised the next part of the series would cover machine type, material type and also offer a few tips.    There has been a longer delay than I had planned in writing the second part of this post,  but I figured I’d make good on my promise today.

Let’s start with machine type.  I’ve spoken with people who swear up and down that their particular machine only runs properly when a certain type of thread is used.    Leaving aside the personification of an inanimate machine,  I’m willing to bet that the machine runs best with a particular type of thread because the operator has discovered the settings that are optimum for that brand of thread.   Running a new thread on your machine will require some test runs and some adjustments of tensions and other settings.   Be prepared to endure a bit of trial and error before the thread starts running smoothly.

When it comes to material type,  it is probably more the effect that you want than the type of material which will dictate which thread you choose.   Glittery embroidery will require metallic thread.   Special effect embroidery will require special effect thread.    The weight of the material may have some bearing on the weight of the thread you choose to use,  since a very heavyweight thread could damage delicate materials, or at that very least pull the embroidery out of shape.    Your choice of stabilizer can also have a impact on how the thread sews into the material you’re using,  so make sure you choose a stabilizer that is suited to your chosen material and to the density of your design.

Another thing to consider when choosing thread,  particularly if you are considering switching from one brand of thread to another is color matching.  Luckily most thread manufacturers and distributors have made the process of switching relatively easy.  Some, like EnMart, offer online conversion engines.   Others offer a library of conversion charts.   There are also software options like MyThreadBox.   Please keep in mind that the matches available from all these options may well be the closest possible and not exact.   In most cases, however,  the match should be close enough to be suitable.

Finally,  once you’ve chosen the embroidery thread you wish to use,  you need to remember a few simple things to ensure that your thread will run properly.  One very important item is machine maintenance.   A machine that is clean and lint free and properly oiled will be more likely to run thread smoothly and without breaks.   Another thing to remember is the importance of good digitizing.   A properly digitized design is a design that will run smoothly and sew into the fabric as it should.

I’m sure there are many more tips and hints out there about choosing the right machine embroidery thread,  but this post has to end at some point.  If you have a tip or hint to share,  please leave it in the comments.

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10th September 2010

The Friday Blog Round-Up 9/10/10

First up today,  Kathleen Fasanella has an interesting discussion on intellectual property, and if it is even possible to protect yours if you send most of your work overseas.   This isn’t necessarily a discussion about if it’s a bad thing or a good thing to send work overseas,  it’s more a look at some of the consequences of doing that.  I think the whole issue is interesting and she examines a side of the question I hadn’t considered.

Second,  we have a reminder from Jennifer Cox of the NNEP about the importance of preserving and protecting your domain name.   We own several domain names as a corporation,  and I own several domain names for personal sites that I run,  so I’ve seen those letters that she mentions in her post.  Her advice on this is good,  make sure you only renew your domain name through a reputable provider,  which should be the same one through which you purchased the name in the first place.

Third on the docket today is a great post about employee education.  If you have employees,  you know that one of the big challenges is making sure they are current when it comes to information about your products and services.   Regular employee meetings are one way to do that,  but they must be conducted in the right way if they are to be effective.  In this post,  Nicole gives you some tips on how to conduct a useful and successful employee meeting.

Fourth up this week I wanted to mention Scott Stratten and the UnMarketing Book, which has just come out.  I follow Scott on Twitter and I like what he has to say.   His blog is great and from what I’ve heard his book is very good as well.  Let’s face it,  all of us who own and run businesses can stand to learn more about how to market and interact with our customers.  Scott has some great information that will help us do just that.

Finally,  since this is the blog round-up,  I wanted to follow up on a few pieces of EnMart blog business.  First,  for those who were waiting for the second part of the “Choosing the Right Machine Embroidery Thread” series,  that will be posted next week.  Second,  I wanted to point people to my latest post on the DecQuorum blog,  mostly because I’d be interested in some feedback on it.   Third,  I wanted to remind people about the SubliStuff blog,  which I believe is becoming a pretty good piece of sublimation education.  I also wanted to,  as I end this post,  throw out my usual plea for more recommendations for blogs, either about embroidery or sublimation,  that I should be reading.   I’d like to expand my blogroll and I love getting recommendations.

posted in Around the Blogosphere | Comments Off

9th September 2010

In Which Erich Practices What I Preach

Yesterday I wrote a post about avoiding boredom in life and in machine embroidery  and a scant few hours later I got notification that a series of pictures were waiting to be downloaded.  The pictures were of the falcon jacket that Erich Campbell from Black Duck Inc had created for a Stitches photo shoot.   Unfortunately,  the jacket was not used in the final spread in the magazine,  but Erich is graciously allowing me to share with you the pictures of his work here.  I’m very excited because the design was sewn with EnMart’s colored metallic thread and I think it’s just awesome.

Let’s start with a full back picture,  because I think the full effect of the embroidery is pretty cool.   As far as I know,  all the metallic thread used in this piece was from EnMart.  When Erich first told me about this project,  I offered to send him some of our colored metallic threads to try if he would share pictures of the finished product with us.   I wasn’t expecting anything as elaborate as this.

When you look up close at the design, you really get a sense of the intricacy of what Erich has done.  I can’t imagine the digitizing and work that went into this.  Plus,  sewing something this elaborate with an average metallic thread would give most people heartburn if not actual heart failure.

Erich also managed to incorporate one of my favorite colored metallic threads into the design.  I’m a huge fan of the turquoise metallic,  and Erich used that quite extensively for one of the paisley designs.

I’m quite overwhelmed by what has been created here and it pleases me no end that EnMart products were part of it.  I think everyone who works in the garment decoration business knows that creativity and originality are part of what we do,  but sometimes you need to see something really special to be reminded.   Thank you to Erich for sharing his design with us and for all the time and effort that went into creating it.  Thank you also to his wife,  Celeste Schwartz,  who took the photos that were used in this post.  You can see more of her work here.

posted in Thread | 4 Comments

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