Featured in the WS Journal: Local people come up with crafty ideas for their businesses

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As featured in the Winston-Salem Journal on Local people come up with crafty ideas for their businesses:

Rather than keep her collection of Alabama band T-shirts packed away in a drawer, Mitzi Cusack decided to turn all 30 of them into a quilt.

Cuzack took the concert T-shirts, some of which had become worn, to Sew Fabulous Inc., a quilting company based in Winston-Salem.

“This is a great way to preserve the T-shirts and create this fantastic memory. I just love it,” Cusack, who lives in Walkertown, said of her finished quilt.

The overall crafting industry is doing well, according to the Craft & Hobby Association, based in Elmwood Park, N.J., because of several factors. The association’s members are designers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers of all shapes and sizes in the craft and hobby industry.

Lauren Carroll / Journal

“When you look at the entire Do It Yourself and DIY movement, the younger generations are engaging in crafting and really doing it in a variety of different fashions with a variety of different crafts’ said Andrej Suskavcevic, the association’s president and chief executive. “It is strong.”

He didn’t have specific numbers to size the market, but said that a lot of the growth is online as many stores look to the Internet for craft sales. He is also seeing an increase in other online communities starting to form around the craft industry, some of which offer online learning tools for people wanting to make crafts.

“I think that speaks to the robustness of the industry overall,” Suskavcevic said.

He said that crafting allows people to have family time as they come together to do activities.

“I think the recession over the past five years had an impact on people’s budgets,” he said. “They will turn to crafting and doing things together as an alternative to going out and spending money elsewhere.”

He said some social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest give people a place to share their creativity and inspire others.

Lauren Carroll / Journal

He has also noticed that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is starting to bring back crafts somewhat in its stores.

Walmart stores stopped carrying cloth in the late 2000s but still sold crafts and fabric supplies. In April 2011, the discount retailer announced that it was broadening its product assortment, including the expansion of fabrics and crafts. A Wal-Mart spokesman was unavailable for comment.

Suskavcevic said that new products are coming out in the quilting and knitting category, including knitting yarns and online tools, which are inspiring people to learn crafts.

Sew Fabulous Inc. got its start in 2006 with the company’s Dreamin’ Deacon Quilt design, which can be personalized.

“We became licensed with Wake Forest (University) and we have a copyrighted quilt,” Stickney said.

Sew Fabulous started making T-shirt quilts in 2009. Customers have brought T-shirts for an entire family – from infants to grandparents – to make one quilt.

The company also offers custom quilting services and other products, as wells as quilting classes.

“We specialize in creating quilts for those that don’t sew and making memory pieces for them,” said Gloria Stickney, who owns the business with her husband, Bob.

Stickney works full time as a business manager for the Physics Department at Wake Forest University, and her husband is a social studies and science teacher at Walkertown Middle School. They have always worked out of their home, first in Kernersville and now in Winston-Salem.

Stickney has been sewing since she was a child. In addition to regular sewing machines, she uses computerized long-arm quilters.

“I have a friend who calls them a sewing machine on steroids,” she said laughing.

The company sells its products online, and at quilt shows and school events.

“Our plan going forward is that we will continue to grow,” Stickney said. “We have a mechanism in place to be able to increase the number of quilts that we can make, and be able to reach out to the Wake Forest community and be able to market the products that we have.”

She declined to give exact numbers but said Sew Fabulous’ sales rose about 25 percent in 2012 from 2011.

“We’ve grown every year that we’ve been in business,” she said.

Stickney said that quilting was almost a lost art back in the 1960s but started making a comeback in the 1970s.

She said that many quilts are being done in elaborate designs and color schemes. Quilted wools and art quilts in which pictures are painted with thread are popular.

“Quilting, I think, is here to stay because it’s relaxing,” she said. “It’s challenging. It’s an avenue that men and women are able to funnel their creative styles to.”

She also said that crocheting and knitting have also seen a revival, especially with the availability of different yarns.

Mary Alden Luttrell, 9, and Mayah Ding, 8, have been knitting for the past several years. The friends met at a July 4 party this year and decided a week later during a play date to start their own knitting company, Needles Knit for Peace.

“We were bored so I came up with the idea to do a business,” said Mary Alden of Winston-Salem.

She figured they’d just make and sell products in their neighborhoods, but Mayah wanted to sell to a much wider market and do something different with the money they made.

“I thought we should give the money we make to charity,” said Mayah, who lives in Clemmons.

Mary Alden said they keep just enough money to buy two balls of yarn after a sale. She focuses on the marketing, typically posters, and Mayah makes the majority of their products.

Rosemary Luttrell, Mary Alden’s mother, recalled the girls’ first play date. She found them on the top bunk in Mary Alden’s room. The girls had written a business plan that included how much their venture would cost and their initial market.

Yongmei Liu, Mayah’s mother, said she is so proud of the girls.

“They are really creative,” she said.

For example, she said that the girls made a beautiful poster and created custom order sheets for people who were able to come to their first sale.

The girls sold enough knitted products, including a purse and head band, to make $60 in their first sale. They gave $50 of it to SciWorks Science Center. The money will be designated for the museum’s Adopt-an-Animal program to help provide food, housing, medical care and enrichment for its animals. The girls specifically want to help fund SciWorks’ new outdoor enclosure for Rascal, a raccoon.

“They’re industrious and generous young ladies,” said Ally McCauley, the marketing coordinator for SciWorks.

McCauley said that museum officials have given the girls permission to sell their products on consignment in the SciWorks gift shop.

They have also been invited to set up a table where they can sell their goods at SciWorks’ Festive Family Friday event on Dec. 13.

Mary Alden and Mayah’s plans are to give proceeds from other sales to Brenner Children’s Hospital and a local backpack program to feed hungry school children.

The girls are planning their own website and want to eventually expand their line of products. They make other specialty crafts including rag dolls, key chains and friendship bracelets. They also want to start knitting workshops to help children learn to knit.

The girls have decided that no matter how big their business grows, something will never change.

“We feel like it’s going to be one of those businesses where we can make money for ourselves, but we’re never going to give money to ourselves,” Mary Alden said. “We’re going to keep giving to charity.”

Preserving Today’s Memories for Tomorrow

Gloria Stickney and Sew Fabulous, Inc. featured in October 2106 issue of Forsyth’s Woman’s Magazine

When I was a little girl, I remember days quilting with the church ladies, sitting around the quilt frame, watching each stitch and piece of fabric brought together by the hands of women who probably didn’t realize it at the time, but they were preserving the memories of those days for tomorrows to come. Today, quilting, like many other pastimes and hobbies, has evolved with new technologies, taking the work once done by hand with a needle and thread to digitized patterns programmed into a computer and long arm sewing machines, creating beautiful and elaborate quilts, but still telling a story with each stitch like the quilts of yesterday. Gloria Stickney, who has a home-based company, Sew Fabulous, Inc. in Winston-Salem, NC, learned to quilt the old-fashioned way with her mother, Clara Kellar, in Tennessee and developed such a love for quilting that it has now become her business.

‘The Quilt Lady’

Gloria Stickney, by day, works as the business manPreserving memories today for tomorrow.ager of the Physics Department at Wake Forest University, but in the evenings, she comes home and gets the sewing machines humming, creating quilts for people, and helping them preserve special times of their lives. “I started my business, Sew Fabulous, Inc., in 2006. For two years, I would do the work on the quilts at home with a Singer sewing machine and then travel on weekends to my aunt, Wanda McCarter’s home in east Tennessee to use her long arm to do the quilting; she owns Dizzy Diva’s Fabric Shop in Knoxville, TN. I would go there about once every 6 weeks and work with her from 6 am to midnight and then get up and work 6 am to noon, returning home to bind and finish them. At WFU I became known as ‘The Quilt Lady,’ because I made quilts with the design of Dreamin’ Deacon © for the annual WFU Artisan’s Fair, and I licensed my products with the University. Those first products used fabric with the WFU logo and the Deacon, now no longer available, which have evolved into the ‘Deacon on Parade’ design. For Wake Forest’s Homecoming Weekend 2008, just after an article on us was published in the Winston-Salem Journal, we set up a tent outside of the campus bookstore. The word was out, and I had a line of people waiting to talk to me about quilts that day! It was that weekend that truly launched my business, and I was able to buy my first long arm machine from a Greensboro store that was closing. My business has since continued to grow,” recalled Gloria. With a strong faith in God, this new venture was one that Gloria had a belief in because as she said, “Long arm machines are very expensive, so buying one with all the supplies I needed was a big investment. My husband and I know that God wouldn’t lead us to a place where He didn’t want us to be, so I prayed for the courage to walk through the doors that He would open.” Now with a team of 15, Gloria and her husband Bob, a former pastor and retired teacher, are making not only quilts for WFU fans, but those who have special memories they want to preserve, too.

T-Shirts Can Tell a Story of Their Own

Whether you played sports in high school or college, or have run in many 5 or 10Ks, you probably have a bag of t-shirts from activities you have participated in over the years. Where do most of those shirts end up? In a bag, in the corner of a closet, too important to be thrown away, but yet not usable for anything else, right? Not so fast!

“So many memories come to mind when you look at a t-shirt; most are from a time that meant something to you. At Sew Fabulous, Inc., we can take those t-shirts, 12-49 of them, depending on the size you want, and make a custom memory t-shirt quilt. On our website, we have over 50 t-shirt quilt designs to choose from. The t-shirts preserve your memories, but the stitching pattern tells the story! If you played soccer, we can quilt a stitch pattern of soccer balls in the background. From a distance, in quilts you see one thing, an overall piece; but when you get closer, you see the story told in the stitching. I’ve made quilts from shirts of loved ones that have passed away for their family to remember them by. When you see a t-shirt quilt, there’s an instant recall of a precious memory and that’s always worth preserving,” Gloria commented.

Gloria’s love for WFU and her passion for quilting keep her busy at special WFU weekends like Family Weekend and Homecoming, as well as local art/craft events, as she continues to help people remember their lives through her products. “I have parents who contact me and say they’ve had my brochure or card since their son or daughter started at WFU, and now four years later they want to have a quilt made for them. To know someone thought enough about what I do to keep me in mind all those years later is very touching,” said Gloria.

Sew Fabulous Quilts is located at 5011 Queensway Rd., Winston-Salem, NC. For more information on Sew Fabulous. Inc., visit sewfabulousquilts.com, email Gloria at [email protected] or call 336-499-0167. Custom embroidery is also available, and orders for WFU products and quilts can be placed online. ‘Like’ on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SewFabulous and https://www.facebook.com/gloria.stickneyquiltlady.

Forsyth Piecers and Quilters Show

Sew Fabulous, Inc. will be  a vendor for the 2016 Forsyth Piecers and Quilters Show Friday & Saturday, May 20-21, 2016 held at the Old Clemmons Gym, 6031 Stadium Drive, Clemmons, NC.

Items featured in the booth will be hand turned stilettos and seam rippers created by Sew Fabulous. Check out our wide selection of jelly rolls and 108″-118″ wide backing. See our Square in a Square demonstrations and sign up for our next beginners class. Plus lots more! Hope to see you there!

More details can be found here: http://forsythquilters.org/

Winter Blast 2016 Open House

We’ve shown you some stitches to help you sew,
And we’re grateful you’ve helped us grow!
Keep reading each row by row
and you’ll find some treasures in the details below!

WINTER BLAST Sale Date: Saturday, February 27 2015, 9:00 – 3:00
Goodies: Bring this email linked above for a free fat quarter. Bring a friend and receive 2 fat quarters each!

Free Prizes!! Enter a drawing for a free Square in a Square Class! Must attend the sale to enter the drawing but you don’t have to be present at the time of drawing to win.

Free Gift with every purchase of $20 or more! It’s a Surprise!
Free Quilt Pattern with purchase of $75 or more.
Read the Newsletter for MORE exciting deals!!

A Jelly Roll for a fast quilt!

Please feel free to share this email with your quilting friends.

Where: Our shop is located in our home at 5011 Queensway Road, Winston-Salem, 27127. We are 3 blocks from the Walmart on Peters Creek Parkway. Shop entrance is at the sliding glass doors.
If you need directions. please feel free to call us at 336-499-0167.

SEE YOU SATURDAY, February 27, 9:00-3:00!!! 

2014 Forsyth Piecers & Quilters Show

Visit Sew Fabulous at the 2014 Forsyth Piecers & Quilters Show!

This year’s show is May 16-17, 2014 and will be held at Held at Parkway Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, NC.

Stop by and present the coupon below for a FREE FAT QUARTER!

We look forward to seeing you there!

fat-quarter-coupon

Heart of the Triad Quilt Guild 2013 Show

Heart of the Triad Quilt Guild 2013 Show is an annual quilt show with hundreds of quilts that takes place just west of Winston-Salem, NC in Colefax – just before Greensboro NC.

The show happens October 18th – 19th 2013.

Friday 9:00-6:00
Saturday 9:00-5:00

quilt-show-2013

Sew Fabulous will be presenting at this wonderful quilt show.

The show is located at:

1203 Frances Daily Court, Colfax, NC 27409

Heart of the Triad Quilt Guild 2013 Show

Get our coupon to use at the show: