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Merry Christmas!

23rd December 2010

Merry Christmas!

EnMart will be closed on Friday, December 24, 2010 for the Christmas holiday.   We wish you all a happy and safe Christmas.

We will reopen on Monday, December 27, 2010.

All orders placed on Friday, Saturday or Sunday will ship on Monday when we resume normal operations.

Happy Holidays!

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10th August 2010

Know Your Needles: Needle Basics

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I’ve done blog posts about needles in the past.   It has been a while, however, since I covered the topic,  and I thought today would be a good time to go over some of the basics facts about machine embroidery needles.  I know new people are coming into the business all the time,  and this information may be helpful to them, or to established business owners, simply as a refresher course.

First, I wanted to discuss something that I didn’t know,  just because I think it’s a neat piece of information.  I’ve wondered, for a while now,  why needles are numbered the way that they are.  As it turns out,  the needle numbers are a combination of the American and European needle numbering systems.  The American system numbers needles from 8 to 19.  The European system numbers needles from 60 to 120.  The smallest numbers are the lightest needles,  the largest numbers are the heaviest.   So, for instance,  a 65/9 needle would be lighter than an 80/12.   Apparently how the numbers are listed is a matter of preference.

Second let’s talk about the needle shank.  There are two types of needle shanks,  flat and round.  As a general rule,  flat shank needles are used in home sewing machines and round shank needles are used in commercial embroidery machines.   Round shank needles generally have a larger eye which allows machine embroidery thread to pass through the needle more easily.   In either case,  whether your needle shank is round or flat,  the shank is the thickest part of the needle and fits into the needle clamp.

Third, we should probably examine the difference between ball point and sharp point needles.   Sharp point needles are exactly what the name implies, needles with a sharp point.  The needles create more a cutting action when they are used to embroider fabric.   The sharper tip makes it easier for the needle to penetrate densely woven fabrics.   By contrast,  a ball point needle has a rounded tip.    The rounded tip of the needle offers less of a cutting action which makes these needles ideal for loosely woven fabrics or knits.

Finally,  we should discuss how often to change your needle.   According to Schmetz Needles,  the manufacturer that makes the needles that EnMart sells, a good rule of thumb is to change the needle every 8 hours or at the beginning of each project.   Of course,  how often you elect to change your needle will depend on the type of fabric you sew and your machine.   As you get to knwo the machine better, you’ll be able to determine what schedule of needle changes is right for you.

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7th May 2010

The Friday Blog Round – Up 5/7/10

This week I’m thinking I might branch out a bit and touch on some blogs that aren’t directly related to garment decoration.  There are a lot of great business and marketing blogs out there as well, and those are worth a mention too.

First, however, I wanted to talk about a great idea from the GSSA blog.   Everyone knows a picture can be worth a thousand words,  but we don’t often think about how much samples can say.   Jaime on the GSSA blog suggests that you can sell more with samples,  and  gives you some ideas for doing just that.

Second,  in the support another garment decorator category,  I wanted to let everyone know that the Odd Guy Art website launches today.   This company has a quirky sense of humor and some great products, so go check them out and help make their grand opening a success.

Third on the list this morning is this post from Seth Godin’s blog.  I don’t read his blog every day,  but his words about artists not being pushed but leaping instead struck a chord with me.    Embroidery and sublimation (or in my case writing) are all arts, so were you pushed or did you leap into the work you now do?

Fourth is another small business blog I like, Duct Tape Marketing.   There is a great post there about building a local partner team.  Everyone knows that referrals are a great way to increase your business and get the word out about the products and services you offer.  The best part is that a lot of these tips can be used to build an online partner team as well.

Fifth is a blog I love although I don’t sew or embroider.  Anna Maria Horner’s blog is a riot of color and patterns, plus she has an adorable family.   This post features pictures that didn’t make it into her latest book.  How cute are those kids?

Sixth is something that a lot of retailers that do business locally don’t consider, but which should not be ignored.  The Internet can be a great tool to bring in local business, and every local retailer needs to take advantage of it.  The Retail Minded Blog spotlights six web tools that will help you get in touch with your customers.

Finally, I wanted to throw out a plea for recommendations for blogs that I should be reading.   I’m especially interested in garment decoration blogs, whether they be embroidery or sublimation.   I’d love to plump up the blogroll, so if you have any ideas or recommendations, please do let me know.

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26th March 2010

The Friday Blog Round-Up 3/26/10

For those who are unfamiliar with this series, I try to do a round-up every Friday of blog posts I’ve found helpful during the past week.   Mostly I stick with the blogs on our blogroll.  If you have a blog you would like us to consider including on our blogroll, you can always leave a comment here, or e-mail me at kristine dot shreve at myenmart dot com.

Now on with the round-up.

I love a good machine embroidery tip and have given out more than one on this very blog.  Apparently I’m not the only one dispensing advice.  Kathy at the Common Threads blog has a great post which offers some machine embroidery tips and tricks.

Kathleen from Fashion Incubator brings us a tool for calculating fabric use.   Apparently it is an Iphone App which allows you to figure out yardage conversions.  If you have an Iphone and you embroider, this may be worth checking out.

Sewing for Cash has a post about some great ideas for ways to display your work and promote your business.  From digital keychains to digital photo frames that run videos to using photos on your cellphone,  this post suggests some neat ways to display your wares.   Technology really is amazing.

If you’re looking for some cool promo items or giveaways for Earth Day, check out Tim from ASI’s latest blog post.   Some of these ideas are pretty cool, but I don’t think I’d be up for receiving an elephant poo notebook.  I’m all for Earth friendly items, but I draw the line at anything made of poo.

As some of you may already know, EnMart exhibited at the NNEP Embroidery Mart this past weekend.  It was a great show and we had a great time meeting our customers and educating people about EnMart.  In addition to being a great place to meet suppliers and learn new things, the show also apparently does a lot of good.  The Do Duds Apparel Drive generated 960 pounds of clothing and other items which were donated to women’s shelters in 9 locations across the country.   I think that’s pretty awesome.

Finally, I wanted to introduce a new blog that’s been added to our blogroll.  It’s not specifically about embroidery, but it does have a quirky sense of humor that I enjoy.  The blog is Odd Guy Art.  If you have a second, check it out.

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20th March 2010

Live Blog Embroidery Mart – Day 2

9:26 a.m.  Second day is starting.  People are already coming in.  Should be a good day.

9:40 p.m.  It’s fun watching people gravitate toward the thread bins.  People love the colors!  I’ve had a lot of conversations about how pretty our thread colors are.

10:27 a.m.  So fun seeing customers in person.  I’ve met Dan from JazzyGear, Nancy from NJT Threadworks and a few others.   It’s nice to put faces with names.

11:09 a.m.  Best recommendation for our company, current customers telling new customers how great our products and service are.  It’s wonderful.

12:23 p.m.  Just had a great opportunity to help someone who is just starting out in the business.  Feels great to be able to pass along what we’ve learned and help someone new get started.

11:34 a.m.  Best 50s are selling like crazy.  Guess people know a good bargain when they see one.

12:55 p.m.  Just saw the Stitchin Chicks from Texas.  They’ve been our best publicity at this show.  We’ve heard several times that they’ve been talking up our company and our thread.  Thanks, ladies!

1:23 p.m.  Finally got some lunch.  Thread in the bargain bins is almost gone.  All the best 50 kits are gone.  I’d say we’ve had a good show and it’s not over yet.

2:23 p.m.  Tom has been having sublimation seminars in the Sublimation Suite all day.   It’s like a class in how and why you should do sublimation.

3:09 p.m.  Show is over.  We had a great show.  Thank you NNEP and thank you Dublin!

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19th March 2010

Live Blog NNEP Embroidery Mart – Day 1

9:40 a.m. – The show is just starting.  Our rooms are packed with bargains and we’re ready to sell.   We’ve got bargain thread, backing, bobbins, thread palettes and more.  Also stop by and see Tom in the Sublimation suite for all your sublimation needs.

9:51 a.m.  Both rooms are rocking.  Love to watch the Toms at work.  They’re very knowledgeable about our products.

11:45 a.m.  Most popular thing so far, the bargain thread bins.  People love the colors.  Backing is going fast too.

12:10 p.m.  So much fun introducing people to Iris thread.  Talking colors is great.  I love it when someone finds the exact color that they needed.  Also cool seeing what people are embroidering.

1:05 p.m.  Got a nice lesson in sublimation techniques from Tom Chambers our sublimation expert.  I learn something new from him every time we do a show together.

2:04 p.m.  One thing about these shows, it’s hard to eat lunch and take bathroom breaks.  It’s unromantic to admit it, but people do need to do both.

3:07 p.m.  Been meeting a lot of our current customers.  So fun to be able to put a face to the name.

3:49 p.m. Finally had lunch.  Kind of thinking I should have just waited until dinner now.  Still is nice to eat something.

4:07 p.m.  Things are starting to slow down a little.  I think people are starting to tire out.

4:24 p.m. One interesting thing about a hotel with an atrium, people think nothing of yelling down to people on other floors.

4:39 p.m.  Getting prepared for tomorrow.  Sold a lot of stuff and made a lot of good contacts today.  I’m excited to see what tomorrow will bring.

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27th January 2010

Why Buy Blank Patches from EnMart?

If you do a Google search for blank patches you’ll find 2,150,000 results. Even if you allow that some of those results will come from the same site, that’s still a lot of potential places from which you could purchase blank patches. We realize that EnMart is one of many potential suppliers, but we also know that choosing EnMart is a wise decision. Today I wanted to explain a bit about why we think buying your blank patches from EnMart is a wise move.

First, let’s talk about construction. EnMart blank patches are made of 100% polyester, not a blend. They’re also designed to meet the standards of industrial laundries, which can have very harsh wash and dry cycles. Our blank patches have to stand up to far more rigorous standards than would every occur in most home washing and drying cycles and they have to do it repeatedly. These patches are made to last, and look good, for the long haul.

Second, these patches have been tested. Recently an independent third party ran a wash test using EnMart blanks sewn with Iris thread. Our blanks were tested against blanks made by competitors and sewn with other brand name threads. EnMart blanks and Iris thread easily won the test. Our blanks didn’t crumple under pressure and our thread didn’t run. Ensign Emblem, our parent company, has been manufacturing these blank patches for 35 years and they’ve been tested many times. We know they’re tough because we’ve seen them endure tough conditions.

Third, we offer a wide variety of colors and sizes. Some companies that sell blanks offer white fabric only, or have a limited number of sizes. When you buy EnMart blanks, you can either purchase blanks in standard colors, which are comprised of white polyester fabric and specific border colors, or you can purchase blanks in custom colors, which encompasses a much wider range of border and fabric colors. We offer a large number of color and size combinations, which means you have many more options for how and where to use patches on the items you sell.

The final and fourth reason to buy your blank patches from EnMart is simply this, we give good customer service and sell good product. If you have questions, we’ll respond quickly. If you have a special request or need, we’ll work with you to fulfill that request or meet that need. Our customer service and manufacturing staff are dedicated, our product is high quality and reasonably priced and we offer a wide variety of colors and shapes, at least one combination of which is sure to suit your needs.

Given all the reasons why you should buy blank patches from EnMart, it seems to me the question in the title is wrong.

The real question is “Why Buy Your Blank Patches from Anywhere Else?”

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18th November 2009

What’s The Answer Wednesday: Dry Weave Fabric and Holes

dry-weave-fabric1

Why do I get so many holes in “dry-weave” types of fabric when I embroider on them? What type of needle should I be using?

This question came to us from Jenny, who has been having some frustration with dry weave fabrics.  She have been averaging 1 -4 holes per shirt right by where the lettering is embroidered.  Jenny also tells us that they use a substantial backing and make sure that they hoop the fabric extremely lightly, but the backing is kept taut. You can see the type of fabric about which she is talking in the picture to the right of this text.

Fortunately, we do have a few suggestions that might be of help.

The first is to check the needle that is being used.  For fabrics like a knit or dry weave fabric,  you should use a needle that won’t punch holes quite as aggressively.  A sharp needle may be too hard on the garment and sever the threads of the fabric, leaving holes.  These type of fabrics may respond better to a ballpoint needle.  Ballpoint needles have a blunter and more rounded point and push through the fabric, rather than cutting the fabric as sharp point needles do.  Ballpoint needles tend to be gentler on more fragile fabrics and are less likely to leave holes.

Another idea might be to change the backing that is being used.  EnMart offers a Super Poly Mesh backing that is designed specifically for knit and dry weave fabrics.   It is soft, sheer, stable and translucent, presenting a better look for a finished garment.   It also works much better with a ballpoint needle.  Since the stabilizer is thinner,  the needle is able to peirce it with a lot less force.  Even though this stabilizer is soft and is much more comfortable for the person who ultimately wears the garment, it is thick enough to stabilize the fabric and to help keep outlines on track.

Finally, make sure to check the digitizing of the design you’re sewing.  If you are putting too many stitches into the fabric, you may be pulling it too tight and creating small rips which turn into holes.   If the problem occurs consistently with the same design, it might well be worth looking into getting the design redigitized.

As a little side note, I do want to apologize for the tardiness of this post.  It was scheduled to be written at the end of October, but some health issues occured and I was sidelined from writing for a while.  I’d like to thank Jenny for her patience in waiting for an answer.  I hope these suggestions are of help.  If any of you have additional suggestions for Jenny, please share them in the comments.

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21st October 2009

What’s the Answer Wednesday: Blank Patches

people-questionThis Wednesday we’re going to discuss a question, or perhaps the proper term is a request, from Ida.  She writes:

I’m looking to make patches. I don’t know how to do them if you can help me i would be so greatful. Ida

If you need blank patches there are really two ways to go about getting them.  One, as Ida mentions in her comment, is to make them yourself.   While we don’t currently offer instructions for creating your own patches from scratch,  I have found some resources that may be of assistance.

How to Make Patches with an Embroidery Machine

Making Custom Patches

How to Make an Embroidered Iron On Patch

How to Sew Patches and Emblems

Patch it Up – Urban Threads

If you’re looking for supplies so you can make your own patches, give us a call.  We can probably get what you need if we don’t already have it in stock. We do sell the Fabric Sheets you could use to make patches and, should you have a merrowing machine, the merrow thread,  and we can also sell you heat seal backing should you need it.   If you’re looking to make applique type patches, our Badgemaster product could come in very handy.   We also offer adhesive backing.

The second method of obtaining a blank patch is to buy them from a company, like EnMart, that produces them. Once, however, you buy the patches, you still have to figure out how to hoop and embroider them.   EnMart has provided instructions on how to do that.   I have also written some blog posts on the subject.

Blank Patch Embroidery:  Step by Step Instructions

Embroidering Single Patches: Deciding on Size and Type

Embroidering Single Patches: The How To Post

I hope this helps answer Ida’s question.  If any of you need more information about embroidering blank patches, or about what sorts of blank patches EnMart offers, please feel free to contact us.   You can also DM me on Twitter if you have a question you would like to submit for What’s the Answer Wednesday.

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6th July 2009

What Do You Want?

people-questionOne of the best things about setting up a new store is the fact that it makes you examine how you’re doing things and points out some possibilities for things you could start doing or could do better.  Setting up our new EnMart store required that we examine all of our processes, from how we fill an order, to what we carry on our site.  It is a great exercise for anyone who runs a company.  You can learn a great deal.

Going through this process basically left me with one major question, what do you, our customers, want?  We’re currently reviewing a wide range of products with the view of adding them to the store, but it would be helpful to know what our customers need and would like to see us carry.  We have connections with a large number of suppliers which means we have a wide array of potential products to consider.  Sorting all these options out can be difficult.  Knowing what our customers need and want could make our decision making process a lot easier.  So, if there is a product for which you’ve been searching, or just something you use that you would like us to carry, please let us know.  You can leave a comment here on the blog, or e-mail me and tell me what you’d like to see. We would greatly appreciate the suggestions.

Another area where I could use your input involves the content of this blog. There are a lot of people with a great amount of embroidery expertise at this company, and I’d like to start tapping into that knowledge here. What I need to know from you is what tips or information you would like to see. There are a lot of topics I could cover, and having some guidance from all of you as to what would be most helpful would be terrific. Again, if you have a suggestion, leave a comment here on the blog or contact me with your idea.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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