Monday, April 21, 2008

News from Sweden!

We arrived in Sweden to a beautiful sunny day. Two days later it was snowing and we were thankful for the studded snow tires still on the car.

I went straight to the factory for a meeting and then my first real “long sew” on the new Husqvarna Viking top-of-the-line! Wow! You are going to be amazed! This blog is a special way for me to leak information about the new top-of-the-line to you so here goes! This new Husqvarna Viking has several features that are the biggest in the sewing machine industry! You may wonder if you will still be able to take your new Husqvarna Viking to class or move it around. Yes! You know Husqvarna Viking Listens and one of the things you have asked for is even more portability and you will have it.

Here you see part of our testing team celebrating Herb’s birthday on Saturday with cake brought to us at breakfast by the young couple that own the hotel, Annie and Robert. From left, Herb, Sue, Cathy Bansky, Stephanie Dilworth and Lynn Lunoe.

We have been testing all the functions of the new Husqvarna Viking top-of-the-line all week including stitching all the embroideries and they are “out of this world”! We are also very excited about new stitches!! Can’t tell you more yet, but soon I hope!

We also have been finalizing the Education Package. Every Husqvarna Viking sewing machine comes with a complete Education Package and of course we want every piece to be perfect for new Husqvarna Viking owners. It is hard to explain how much goes into creating the User’s Guide with step by step exercises, fabulous Quick Guides for instant reference at the machine, built-in Quick Help with the touch of a stylus or a mouse, the Info step-by-step User’s Guide, also built right in, the wonderful Accessory User’s Guide that not only shows you all the optional accessories that will save you time and make specialty technique sewing easier but also includes instructions on how to use each foot.

We have a wonderful group of people at the factory in Huskvarna working on these materials. They start them in English and it is our job to proofread all the text and go through the exercises on the new top-of-the-line to be sure that everything is just right for the new owner. Once we finalize the English version, then it goes to translation for 14 other languages. Quite a project!

So, we have all been very busy, sewing, embroidering, reporting, testing, proofing, and “sew” much more getting ready for the launch of this fabulous new top-of-the-line Husqvarna Viking in June!

Sunday was our day off and Stephanie Dilworth, Director of Education and Training for the USA was leaving the following week so we went to the Husqvarna Museum. Ihad to go wearing my “where’s Sue hat”!

Below is Stephanie at the foot of the Huskvarna falls, however, there is virtually no water coming down the falls. Go back to the first blog to see the falls with water. These falls are why Husqvarna began here—because the falls created the power to run the machinery.

Today, the falls are in this pipe and the water goes into huge generators near the entrance to the museum to provide power for a large area of the Smaland. As you look up the road, you see the Husqvarna Museum on the left in the building where sewing machines were manufactured in the early 1900’s. Today, this building is right next to the huge Husqvarna factory complex.

On the walls of this room, just inside the Husqvarna Museum, you see all the logos of Husqvarna from the very beginning. The one on the left, the first, was designed from the image of looking down the barrel of a rifle because manufacturing arms is how Husqvarna started on this very site in 1689. Today, a several of the retired employees from the Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machine group play a very active role in managing the Husqvarna museum including Ingvar who was the lead mechanical engineer for many years and responsible for many of the innovations and Husqvarna Viking “firsts” we enjoy today. Also, Rolland who produced the early video tapes that came with Husqvarna Viking sewing machines to teach people how to use them. Husqvarna Viking was the first to include a step by step Video Handbook first in Beta then in VHS and of course more recently as a CD, DVD, and online. Innovation at its best!

In the lower part of the picture, there is a glass cabinet with a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 870 Quilt Sewing Machine. The beautiful log cabin quilt around it was created by Shar Jorgenson from Starbuck, Minnesota, USA. The new Sapphire series of Husqvarna Viking sewing machines made history in the industry when it was introduced last year by bringing top-of-the-line features to the consumer at a very affordable price. All Sapphire models feature the exclusive Husqvarna Viking Sensor System and the exclusive Husqvarna Viking Sewing Advisor—until now only available on top-of-the-line models, plus the largest sewing area and longest free arm, dual lights and much more. Of course, every Husqvarna Viking is jam proof, winds the bobbin from the needle, automatically brings up the bobbin thread, and sews like a dream! Many entry level sewers and people coming back to sewing and quilting now can afford to make their sewing easier and much more fun with a Sapphire! A new Sapphire is a wonderful gift for Mother’s Day, Graduation or a special wedding.

We enjoyed seeing many of the home appliances Husqvarna has manufactured through the years.

We really got a kick out of the early stoves and couldn’t help thinking how wonderful it is that we no longer have to cook with stoves like this today.

Even the orange cast iron pots were made by Husqvarna!

How about the big rollers covered by a net in the hair of this homemaker?

And here is her sewing machine. What do you think of the light? Light is so important when we sew and of course we know the E-Light on the Husqvarna Viking Designer SE gives you the most light of any sewing machine and the brightness and the color are adjustable for your sewing environment and for the color and type of fabric you are sewing. Wow! If you are wondering, your new Husqvarna Viking top-of-the-line will have even more light featured!! Can’t say more!

This first microwave from Husqvarna manufactured in the 1950’s was way ahead of its time. It wasn’t until about 25 years later that the microwave really took off in the states. Can you imagine your kitchen without a microwave today? That would be like not having a Husqvarna Viking Huskylock serger in your sewing area! While the microwave will never replace the stove or oven, it certainly has a place in quick food preparation. I feel the same way about my Huskylock 936. It will never replace my Husqvarna Viking Designer SE but I don’t know how I ever sewed without it!

Aren’t we glad we don’t have to wash clothes in one of these early Husqvarna washing machines!

As Stephanie and I entered the sewing machine area of the museum, we were still talking about the early stoves, kitchens, and other appliances and thinking about how many people are still sewing on their older sewing machines. When they redo their kitchen, they replace the appliances, however, too often their sewing machine is not replaced. I truly believe that more people have been discouraged from sewing by their old sewing machine than by anything else. Those of us that own a Husqvarna Viking Designer SE know the joy that sewing on a quality top-of-the-line Husqvarna Viking brings to us and to those we share it with whether it be with gifts we have made them or letting them create with us. I told Stephanie, Herb can’t wait for the new top-of-the-line to come in June because he thinks he is getting my Designer SE (you see he got my Designer I when the Designer SE came out). Maybe you have someone special in your life that would enjoy your Designer SE when you bring home the new Husqvarna Viking top-of-the-line!

I must share an e-mail I received this week. It is from Roberta in Florida. Early last year, Roberta sent me a package. Roberta owns a Designer SE and her husband saw her hooping fabric and had an idea. Together they made the first Hoop Base. If you have not seen the Hoop Base, which is designed to be used with the Hoop Grip (sold separately), visit your Husqvarna Viking dealer. When I opened my package, I called Herb at home and asked him to bring over my Hoop Grip which was mounted on a heavy wood cutting board. He came right over, unscrewed the Hoop Grip and quickly screwed it into the predrilled holes on the lightweight white Hoop Base that has non slip feet on the underside and specially placed “holes” for tightening the screw on every hoop size. I loved it and immediately our Notions Buyer, Theresa Robinson and I called Roberta and began arrangements to have them make the Hoop Base for us to sell as an accessory with the Hoop Grip.

I had to tell you the story because Roberta’s e-mail this week asked about the new Husqvarna Viking top-of-the-line and how they would like to have a Hoop Base ready for it. I appreciated that she recognized the need for confidentiality and asked me my thoughts. Well, Theresa and I figured out a way to give them enough information to make it happen without revealing any “secrets” but here was part of Roberta’s reply. (“I’ve been telling my SE that I love her, but her days are numbered because there is a new baby coming LOL”) Don’t you love it!!

I have to share a couple of the Husqvarna Viking machines from the museum. The knee control on this zigzag model is amazing. You would pull down the silver wire knee lift and operate the machine that way.

And look at the tension dial. I am “sew” glad Husqvarna Vikings today have automatic tension!! Another Husqvarna Viking first!

I had to share this picture because it shows how innovative the Husqvarna Research and Development Engineers really are. This is a working model of an embroidery unit developed many years before we ever saw embroidery on a Husqvarna Viking sewing machine. Isn’t it fabulous that Husqvarna engineers are always working on the next generation and new features! I can tell you it has been a joy this week to be visiting with them and having the opportunity to “experience” the next generation of Husqvarna Viking top-of-the-line!!

Husqvarna Viking has led the way in innovation and “Firsts” in the sewing machine industry.
Pictured above is the “World’s First Writing Sewing Machine”, Husqvarna Viking model 6690. The year was 1980 in the USA. Talk about “Firsts”! The Husqvarna Viking 6690 was the first programmable computer sewing machine! This opened up so many new opportunities with interchangeable cassettes for lettering, decorative stitches, utility stitches and all could be programmed into combination.

The special Limited Edition Linnea model pictured above commemorated the 100 Year Anniversary of Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machines 1872-1972, and one was presented to Queen Silvia of Sweden.

Quilters loved the programmable letters and numbers to create labels for their quilts. Moms would identify kid’s clothing and some were even using the letters as a decorative trim. Little did we know then that this was just the beginning of Husqvarna Viking “Firsts” that would lead the way in embellishment and innovative creativity!
Speaking of Husqvarna Viking Firsts, this model 960 introduced in 1982 was the first Husqvarna Viking to feature the exclusive Sewing Advisor. We called it the “World’s First Thinking Sewing Machine”! I remember well how excited sewers would get when it was demonstrated. I would ask them “Do you ever wonder what stitch and stitch settings to use for a certain technique?” Just tell your Husqvarna Viking what type of fabric you are sewing and what technique you want to sew, Seam, Seam Overcast, Baste, Blind Hem, Buttonholes, etc. and your Husqvarna Viking automatically and instantly sets everything for you! I’ll never forget my daughter-in-law inviting a friend over to Blind Hem a skirt because her friend knew her machine could do a blind hem but had no idea what stitch to use or how to set it. So she came over and touched Blind Hem on Lori’s Husqvarna Viking and hemmed her skirt with great success.

The Exclusive Sewing Advisor is still found only on Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machines and your new top-of-the-line will be no exception. Stephanie and Jill have been checking all the stitches and settings to be sure that when you sit down to sew, you will save so much time by just touching a button. Automatically the stitch, stitch length, stitch width, tension, sewing speed and sensor foot pressure are set for you. You do not need to know what stitch to use for what and where to set them. Plus, the best presser foot, needle, stabilizer if needed, etc. for your technique and fabric are pictured. Your Husqvarna Viking Sewing Advisor does it instantly and takes all the guesswork out of your sewing! What a timesaver!

What fun to bring you this blog. I hope you are as excited as I am about the next few months! I can’t wait for you to sew and embroider on the new top-of-the-line Husqvarna Viking!

Until next time,
Happy Sewing,

Friday, April 11, 2008

Moving Up to Canada

We flew home from Philadelphia to drive to our next stop presenting America Sews on the Road at SewBiz Marion, Indiana. It was April Fool’s Day, but over 60 people came to learn new tips and techniques. They really pumped me for information on the new Husqvarna Viking! Several of them are already on the list. I know they will love the new most brilliant (in many ways) sewing machine in the sewing industry! (Get it Brilliant?!) Husqvarna Viking listens and many of the new features are things you have asked for. I can’t wait for you to sew on it! On April 29 sneak previews will begin on!

Donelle McAdams is the owner of SewBiz and here she is with her great people. They planned a wonderful day for their customers. It was exciting to see so many go home with new Husqvarna Viking accessories, Fab-U-Motions, Huskystar ER10 needle felting machines and plans to have the new top-of-the-line!

Abbotsford Canada show April 3-5 Herb in Columbus with Micah
We drove back to Cleveland so I could hop on a plane the next morning to travel to Abbotsford, Canada. Herb had planned to go with me, however, our son Herb and his wife asked him to come to Columbus to care for Micah age 10 while they went on a trip Herb Jr. had earned in his job. Herb and Micah had a fine time with a special lunch time at school, baseball tryouts, and more.

As we approached Abbotsford, the snow capped mountains were so fabulous I had to take a picture out the plane window to show you. Wow!

Abbotsford is very close to the United States line above Washington state and east of Vancouver, Canada. It is a farming community with quite a bit of development going on. There are ski lodges not too far away and I’d really like to go back to visit and spend some time seeing the sites of British Columbia!

The 16th Annual Sewing and Crafts Show brought people from great distances. Some flew in for the show, others drove. Below, this group of ladies enjoyed their day and kept track of each other with the bright orange berets they had knit. It seemed appropriate that I wear my “where’s Sue hat” too.
There was a great deal of interest in all Husqvarna Viking machines, sergers and products. My program was on the free stage and attended by large groups. They especially liked the needle felted embellishment with free motion and many of them bought Huskystar ER10 needle felting machines. There were quite a few people new to sewing looking for a machine and the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire series was perfect for them. Above, you see Judy owner of The Sewing Room, the Husqvarna Viking dealer at A Great Notion’s Quiltworks in Abbotsford,
B.C. demonstrating and selling Huskylock sergers. Their motto, A Quilt Store & Sew Much More!

I enjoyed meeting Della, the new owner of Sundrop Textiles Inc., the Husqvarna Viking Dealer in Port Coquitlam, B.C. Her store specializes in beautiful fabrics and classes on how to create fashion. The store motto “Let Sundrop keep you in stitches”!

From Canada, I stopped on the way home (it really wasn’t on the way at all!) to visit our youngest son Bruce and family in Simi Valley, California where little Brooke Elaine is three weeks old and now weighs 7 pounds 4 ounces. I just couldn’t go to Sweden for over a month without seeing our tenth grandchild first! Big sisters Amanda and Sage and I walked to the park for the afternoon while Mommy and Brooke took a nap! What fun. I also accomplished taking a picture of Brooke with her eyes open. She is the newest member of our growing family and soon I’ll be able to tell you about what I’m working on. This is something I know you will want to do for your family too! “Sew” much heritage and love!

I’m eager to get to Sweden tomorrow to sew again on the new Husqvarna Viking top-of-the-line and report back to you!

Until next time…..
Happy Sewing,

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Visit with Martha Pullen

I can’t wait to tell you more about the new top-of-the-line Husqvarna Viking sewing and embroidery machine coming in June! I’ve been traveling and “sew” many people have questions. Some even think they have answers! I’m on my way to Sweden tomorrow to work out of the Husqvarna Viking factory and offices for over a month and will be sending more information as often and as much as possible! Be sure to watch the Husqvarna Viking website too!

Herb and I flew to Philadelphia for the Martha Pullen Extravaganza Mar 26-29. The Husqvarna Viking host dealership was Stony Brook and in this picture we are at a special open house at one of the Stony Brooke stores. We had such a fun evening visiting with many Stony Brook customers and many of the people from the Martha Pullen Extravaganza and their husbands and one even brought her tiny doggie, Daisy in a carrier. We enjoyed great goodies and wonderful fellowship.
I had the opportunity to sign Cactus Punch Happy Sewing Embroidery Collections and America Sews books and to demonstrate the Husqvarna Viking Designer SE Limited Edition to many of the husbands. They were really impressed with the technology and ease of operation, the Designer SE Limited Edition upgrade exchange offer and $1000 shopping spree. Many of these ladies purchased a new Designer SE Limited Edition during the school and quite a few used their $1000 shopping spree to purchase their Huskylock 936. I know some of them are already planning to exchange/upgrade to the new top-of-the-line and put their names on the list!

Below you see Howard and Elizabeth Anderson, owners of Stony Brook Sewing Centers with Martha, Herb and me. It was especially fun to ask Howard and Elizabeth to share the story of how they met and got married. Howard was hosting a hands-on special sewing event and suddenly the Sewing Star Teacher was unable to come just two days before the event. He called me and I hooked him up with Jim Suzio to fill in. Jim and Elizabeth had worked together and when Howard was trying to put together kits and Jim suggested he call Elizabeth who had recently moved to the Philadelphia area. Wow, the rest is history. Howard and Elizabeth were married on a Husqvarna Viking Dealer trip in Hawaii.

The fantastic classes at the Martha Pullen Extravaganza events are taught by Husqvarna Viking Educators who have been licensed by Martha to teach her techniques and the special classes and projects for this event.

Jody Hooker and Deborah Yedziniak are demonstrating a beautiful silk embroidered pillow with Madiera Applique. Jody is known for all types of heirloom sewing on Husqvarna Viking and especially for serger heirloom sewing on the Huskylock 936. She recently made a guest appearance on America Sews series 2600 and taught a fabulous Huskylock pillow which demonstrates many techniques including putting in the zipper by Huskylock! Go to, series 2700, click on the tab for projects to get complete instructions! Jody also has made an excellent DVD on Serger Heirloom and several great patterns. Look for them at your Husqvarna Viking store.

Deb is a very talented hand stitchery artist as well as machine. I love to share that quite a few years ago, Deb developed the special smocking stitches found on Husqvarna Viking sewing machines. You see, she had a dream to teach the whole world to hand smock. She found out the whole world did not want to learn to hand smock! While many really enjoyed the beauty of smocking, they weren’t willing to put the time into a garment for a grandchild that might spill ice cream on it! Enter Deb with her technical knowledge of the technique and the sewing machine. In the beginning, Deb gave programs to program the stitches, but then she worked with our R & D Engineers in Sweden to get the stitches built-in to Husqvarna Viking sewing machines. And yes, you will have the wonderful smocking stitches, the waves, cable and all on the new Husqvarna Viking! Deb has books to teach you how to smock the Husqvarna Viking way! Ask your store.

Connie Palmer is one of these special Educators teaching the beautiful projects. Connie is also the one who perfected appliqué and embroidery on sweaters. She has a DVD demonstrating how to stabilize and embroider sweaters. Below she is wearing beautiful designs from the Husqvarna Viking Thread Art Tapestry Embroidery Collection number 183. Artist Sue Patten has been a guest on America Sews demonstrating this technique free motion on the Mega Quilter and Next Generation Frame. Sue Patten did the art for this design collection and worked with Robison Anton to create the Thread Tapestry thread collection so that the designs stitch out with the perfect colors and color variations.

Connie also has created special children’s wear patterns and design collections, but my absolute favorite is the Husqvarna Viking Heirloom Insertion Embroidery Collection number 189 because it is so easy to create this technique in the hoop with no lace shaping! Beautiful!

Peggy Dilbone is pictured below with a crowd of students around her. They are watching a serger technique before going back to “their” Designer SE machines to stitch it on their projects. Connie has created DVDs on heirloom serging and sewing including one that teaches you to create a “pet screen” tote bag and includes embroidery designs for embellishment with “flip flop” shoes (or do you call them thongs?—but that is another story!). Peggy’s DVDs and patterns are available at your local Husqvarna Viking store too.

Go to, special events to find out where these talented Educators will be in the future. They teach special Martha Pullen licensed schools at Husqvarna Viking dealerships all over the country. Be sure to attend one near you!

Key to the teaching is master teacher Kathy McMakin. Kathy is Vice President of Martha Pullen Co. and the best teacher I have ever had the privilege to take a class from! Here she demonstrates a technique to a student!

One of the traditions at the Martha Pullen events is that Martha and I autograph the Husqvarna Viking sewing machines and Huskylock sergers that are purchased (if the new owner wants it signed!). We sold many Huskylock top-of-the-line 936 models and below we are signing them. So many ladies told me they had an older serger at home, but it was a challenge to thread and to get the tensions right. They loved the Sewing Advisor that takes the guesswork out of setting up for any serger technique and the ease of threading and smooth feeding and speed control!

It was wonderful to talk with two ladies who were in their seventies and told me they had never sewn until after they turned seventy. One is making quilts for all her grandchildren! Both had owned entry level machines and purchased the Designer SE Limited Edition and used their $1000 shopping spree to purchase their Huskylock 936. They were “sew” excited and looking forward to coming to Stony Brook for lessons and classes. One other young woman told me she bought her first machine a few years ago. It was an entry level White and I was on the video teaching her how to use it. She has enjoyed sewing and was really excited to be going home with a new Designer SE and Huskylock. Of course Martha and I signed them.

I hope you can see the signatures on the back of these Designer SE sewing and embroidery machines! They also have “I’m adopted” signs hanging from them. Don’t you love it! I know they are going to a great home!

One of the fun things that always comes up at Martha Pullen events is that Martha absolutely loves D7, the entredeux wing needle hemstitch. She thinks it is the best entredeux stitch she has ever seen. Now Martha calls D7 “her stitch” and she wanted to be sure it will be on the new Husqvarna Viking. I assured her that this would most certainly be there and she could continue to call D7 “her stitch”!

It was really exciting to demonstrate the Husqvarna Viking Fab-U-Motion with Stitch Regulator to Martha. She had never seen it in action and was very interested in how it stitches so effortlessly! After a quick demo, I asked Martha to try it and she was amazed how easily she stitched free motion with even stitch length and none of the stress in her neck and shoulders! Several ladies used their $1000 shopping spree for the Fab-U-Motion! If you have not had the opportunity to use the Fab-U-Motion for free motion quilting or free motion art, visit your Husqvarna Viking store and sit down and stitch. You will be amazed how it changes the way you feel about free motion.

Tip: Use your left foot on the foot switch! Your right foot knows how to sew and instead of holding the switch down, your right foot wants to control the sewing speed! No need to control sewing speed, the Stitch Regulator “brain” does it all for you!

Martha had invited me to be the “key note speaker” at the special banquet Friday night. I titled my talk “Are You Fun To Live With?” and tried to combine some humor with life experiences and life lessons. We sang God Bless America in tribute to service men and women serving our country.

Many people shared personal stories and life experiences with me. It is always so wonderful to make new friends and to spend time with people we already know. I “sew” enjoyed spending time with a friend Pat Brown. She was a quilt shop owner and Husqvarna Viking store owner many years ago and I hadn’t seen her for such a long time. It was good to catch up. Pat took home a new Husqvarna Viking Designer SE and Huskylock 936 so I look forward to seeing more of her in the future.

WOW - another blog as sped by. More to come in Part 2

Happy Sewing!