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  • This Week at Meissner Sewing: Long-arm Quilter Natalia Bonner

    Tomorrow begins five-days of events featuring long-arm quilting at our Sacramento Super Store.  Tuesday through Thursday, Long-arm Center manager, Tonja McCarthy will be leading a Try Before You Buy Event, where attendees can get hands-on experience with long-arm machines by Gammill, Baby Lock and Janome.  On Friday, Gammill Quilt Artist, Natalia Bonner will be here for a series of events that will surely inspire your free-motion and machine quilting. Continue reading to learn more about Natalia's journey becoming a long-arm quilter, Craftsy Instructor, and author.

    Natalia Whiting Bonner has enjoyed piecing quilt tops for more than twenty years. She learned how to quilt on her conventional home machine. She felt good about it, but decided that if she really wanted to take her quilting to the next level, she needed to invest in a long-arm machine.
    In 2007, when she was pregnant with her daughter, she got the crazy idea to quit her job as a dental assistant and become a long-arm quilter. Without really knowing what a long-arm machine was, she spent a day at a long-arm dealer’s shop and walked out after purchasing a Gammill machine. Natalia’s passion for quilting and being creative has grown each day since.

    "I actually originally designed it a while back, it's the same quilt that's on the cover of my book; Visual Guide to Free-Motion Quilting Feathers. I loved it so much that I've been dying to create the pattern," says Natalia of the Farmer Stars Quilt, a pattern she designed with Kathleen Whiting.

    Whether it’s working on an intense show quilt or a simple baby quilt, Natalia has become a real quilting addict. She teaches at quilt guilds and shows, including Road to California and QuiltCon East, and has filmed TV shows with Nancy Zieman and Jodie Davis. She has won numerous awards for her work and has been featured on Moda Bake Shop, in Quiltmaker Magazine and American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine, and in books such as Fresh Fabric Treats, Modern Blocks and Sweet Celebrations with the Moda Bake Shop Chefs, Modern Quilts From the Blogging Universe.

    Bonner is an accomplished author of several quilting books available at your local Meisser Sewing location.

    Natalia is the author of Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting, Next Steps in Machine Quilting and Visual Guide to Free-Motion Quilting Feathers. Natalia is also co-author of Modern One-Block Quilts and Cabin Fever: 20 Modern Log Cabin Quilts.
    Natalia will be bringing her knowledge, creativity and passion for all things quilting to our Sacramento Long-arm Center Friday, September 15th and Saturday, September 16th for a series on hands-on, half-day events. Each hands-on workshop has limited spaces available, so register today to reserve your seat. Plus, receive Free entry to Natalia’s Trunk Show on September 15th from 10am - 11am when you register for any of Natalia’s hands-on workshops! Register at for more information.

  • Know Your Seam Ripper

    Used to remove unwanted stitches and open buttonholes on sewing projects, the seam ripper is a must have in every sewist’s sewing basket. The earliest seam ripper patent dates back to 1871. It was a multipurpose tool with a slot that could be used as a wrench on one end and a protected blade for cutting through stitches on the other. Today’s current seam ripper design was patented in 1953 by Herman Ament for the Boyd Needle Company. Before the modern seam ripper many sewists would use a razor blade or needle to pick out stitches. Many names have been given to the trusty seam ripper, but did you know that it also has many uses?

    Anatomy of a Seam Ripper

    The basic seem ripper has remained unchanged since the mid-1970’s. However, there have been several upgrades that have taken place over the years. For instance, the Seam-Fix seam ripper added a silicone beehive head to pull out and “erase” loose threads from opened seams. Ergonomic handles aid in the comfort and use of the seam ripper. Curved blade seam rippers have an exposed blade for opening serged seams.

    Have this information close at hand and download the this handy guide!

  • 3 Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Starting a Hobby

    If you are busy and feel as though you don’t just need more hours in the day but need more days in the week, you probably laugh when people tell you that you need to slow down and pursue a hobby to improve your mental and physical health. How in the world can you make time for hobbies when you don’t have enough time to do all that you need to do for your family, your work, or yourself?

    In truth, engaging in a hobby can help you move through the rigors of your day more successfully. When your mental and physical health are at their best, you have the focus and energy you need to make better decisions, complete tasks, and handle the stresses of your day.

    1. Give Your Mind a Break

    When your mind races or you have so much to do that you constantly make plans and worry about everything, you’re not in the healthiest mental state. But, when you focus on a hobby, you clear your mind and give it the break it needs. If your hobby includes repetitive moves or rhythmic motion like knitting does, you enter a relaxing, meditative state, according to knitting therapist Betsan Corkhill. A hobby that challenges you forces you to concentrate so much that your mind cannot think about anything else, making it possible to shut out other things that you had been focusing on throughout the day.

    The goal is to choose a hobby that helps you enter what women’s health and success coach Jennifer Racioppi refers to as a flow state. A flow state is similar to meditation, putting you in a state of mind that combines action and awareness so you can stop worrying about everything other than the task (in this case, a hobby) before you. If you find a hobby that is so engaging and enjoyable that you lose track of time, you have achieved the flow state.


    1. Hobbies Bring Joy

    All too often, we become so busy that we forget to take the time to pursue activities that bring us joy. Doing something simply because you enjoy it promotes positive stress, or eustress. Eustress is healthy stress that benefits our bodies by increasing our brain power and improving our immune system. This positive stress drives us to be successful and happy and gives us the motivation we need to pursue activities that we find exciting and fun. That’s the benefit of finding a hobby that you love; it improve your mental and physical health through the excitement and joy it brings. Not sure what hobby is best for you? Check out this site, which helps you match your interests and skills to different hobbies.


    1. Hobbies Help You Challenge Yourself

    Challenging yourself is one way to keep life interesting and keep your brain active. Hobbies are ideal challenges because they give you the opportunity to try something new and experience new things without much risk or pressure. You will learn your new hobby as you go, and you will recognize that it is okay to be unsuccessful at first.

    However, a new hobby should not challenge you to the point of putting your health or safety at risk. The point of taking up a hobby is to improve your health rather than harm it, after all. If, for instance, you take up rock climbing, you should undergo some training and ensure you have the proper equipment and safety gear before your first climb.

    If you’re more interested in a trades-related hobby that requires the use of tools or special equipment, spend time learning about safety tips. Examples include wearing safety goggles, reading user manuals, and asking a friend who is familiar with power tools how to use them safely. More DIY safety tips are available online, such as this guide provided by Redfin.

    Pursuing a hobby improves your mental and physical health because it gives your mind a break, brings you joy and promotes eustress, challenges you, and keeps your brain active.

    Article submission by Maria Cannon of

  • 5 Tips for Designing Your Own Quilt Blocks

    AccuQuilt's 8th Annual 2017 Quilt Block Design Contest is under way and if you have been searching the internet for inspiration, you are probably overwhelmed by the thousands of images that appear. Don't worry, Ellen Schmidt, Meissner Sewing's resident Accuquilt expert has outlined five basic tips to help you design a quilt block that is uniquely you.

    Click here to view the contest rules.

    #1:  Use a Design Board to create your block. Wrap 100% cotton batting around white foam core board. Quilting fabrics stick and can be easily re-positioned while designing your block.

    #2: Work with fabrics that inspire you. When you love the fabrics, you will be more likely to love the results. Using fabrics and colors that inspire you will help your creativity bloom and make the design process more fun.

    #3: Modify an existing quilt block. Without a place to start, looking in books or online for ideas can be intimidating. Begin the process by creating a classic, existing quilt block pattern from your AccuQuilt dies. Then begin making adjustments one at a time.

    See Ellen Schmidt's Complete Schedule of Classes

    #4: Try out different shapes. Turn squares into half square triangles, or merge those squares into a larger rectangle. Changing the balance of the quilt block can have a big impact.

    $15,000 worth of Prizes up for grabs in AccuQuilt Contest

    #5: Turn up the volume on your inner critic. Don't be afraid to ask "What if I change something else?" Then work to answer the question to further the design process. Take photos along the way, so if you stumble, you can always go back to what you had before.

    So now that you are armed with how to start designing your quilt block, we can't wait to see what you come up with.  Good Luck!

    Enter Your Quilt Block Design by August 21st

  • Creating Community in the Heart of the Napa Valley

     Hello everyone! I am so honored to be a guest blogger on the Meissner’s Blog!

    My name is Pokey Bolton, I am the founder of Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines, and founding host of Quilting Arts TV on PBS. I then went on to be the Chief Creative Officer for the International Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival in Houston…but having been out of California for 24 years, I have always dreamed of coming back home.

    So in 2015, armed with my experience in quilt publishing, media, events, and craft adventures, I moved to Napa and founded Crafting a Life, LLC, a media and events company.  I also accomplished my forever dream and built an art barn on my property to host small sewing, quilting, and mixed media retreats. It is also my studio where I like to spend my days dyeing and printing my own fabric to then put into quilts.

    In this day and age of digital media--of learning anything we need to know online--I have felt something missing and I don’t think I am alone: missing community. Online education and social media can only provide so much interaction and connection, and I have wanted to create a sense of actual community, a physical place where a variety of arts could come together in one venue and people could learn side-by-side, face-to-face. In January 2016 I launched Craft Napa, a multi-day, multi-class retreat hosted at The Embassy Suites/Napa where students can take workshops in quilting, sewing, collage, mixed media, art journaling, watercolor, and surface design. And, of course, being in Napa, we host a wine-blending event, too.

    This next edition of Craft Napa takes place in January 11-14, 2018, at The Embassy Suites/Napa, and this time it will be expanding to a four-day retreat with 17 teachers and 41 workshops—everything from free-motion stitching, modern quilting, improv piecing, art journaling, bookmaking, mixed media,collage, lettering, and assemblage. (And yes, wine blending!)

    Having been a BERNINA ambassador for years, it is truly an honor that both BERNINA USA and Meissner Sewing & Vacuum Centers are sponsoring this event by generously providing sewing machines for classroom use. This is a great collaboration and a terrific way to kick start a creative new year!

    I hope you are able to join us for Craft Napa. More information can be found at


    Happy Stitching,


    Pokey Bolton

  • Bernina University 2017 Recap

    Last week, we returned from BERNINA University in Las Vegas, Nevada. For those who haven't heard of it, BU is the annual BERNINA Dealer Conference where we learn about all the new technology, innovations, and products coming your way. There is always a lot to learn in a very short time, our heads are still spinning from all the new information, but we wanted to share a quick recap of what happened during the four day event.

    Product Announcements

    Both the new B 880 PLUS and the new B 790 PLUS are expected to arrive in September.

    There are some exciting changes happening to the top end models. Coming in September are the new B 880 Plus and B 790 Plus sewing and embroidery machines. These popular machines include all of the current BERNINA top end functions PLUS the latest in embroidery technology.

    New functions include Group/Ungroup, Pinpoint Positioning, Undo/Redo and Rearrange Design Stitch Order. Coming in November, the new Midi-hoop will be available to accessorize your B 880 Plus and B 790 Plus. The 10.5 x 6.5 Midi-Hoop features the twist lock hoop release we love on the Jumbo/Maxi Hoops.

    For those who own the current B880 or B790, coming soon is the BERNINA Embroidery Plus Upgrade Pack. Made exclusively for the B880 and B790 machines, it adds Group/Ungroup, Pinpoint Placement, Undo/Redo, includes 58 new designs, 10 new alphabets and the Midi-Hoop.

    Upgrade packages are expected in early August.


    Upcoming Events at Meissner Sewing

    While at BU we also caught up with some friends that wanted to say hello.

    Jeremy Jeffries will be in Santa Rosa, Roseville and Sacramento this week to share the history and traditions of batik making.
    Click Here to register for Journey to Indonesia.

    Save the date in early December for Amanda Murphy’s first visit to Meissner Sewing’s Santa Rosa and Sacramento locations. More details on this event will be released in the fall edition of the Meissner Magazine.

  • What you need to Know: Embroidery Garden 2017

    We are so excited to welcome Reen Wilcoxson of Embroidery Garden this week at Meissner Sewing in Sacramento! If you are lucky enough to be attending this sold out event, this blog will tell you everything you need to know in order to maximize your stitching time while at the event!

    Click Here to read a letter from Reen Wilcoxson.

    General Information for All Attendees:

    Event Dates:
    Session 1: Thursday & Friday: July 20 - 21
    Session 2: Saturday & Sunday: July 22-23
    Session 3: Monday & Tuesday: July 24-25

    • Doors will open at 9:00 am for registration
    • Please note that the event runs from 10am - 4pm daily.
    • Please bring the following items:
      -  Your favorite trimming and applique scissors
      -  Turning tool
      -  Seam ripper
      -  Straight pins
      OPTIONAL: An assortment of embroidery thread will be provided, but you may wish to bring a selection of thread with you.  Below is a photo of the projects, in the same colorways as the project kits for the event.
    Embroidery Garden 2017 project samples

    For Attendees bringing their Dream Machine or Destiny model machines:

      • Trolley/machine tote parking will be available in Classroom 1
      • If you need assistance bringing in your machine, let us know at the Registration Desk
      • We will have 20 labels for you at the Registration Desk so that you can label each of your machine's items for ease in identification during pack up.
      • Please bring the following items:
        -  Machine
        -  Embroidery Unit
        -  Power Cord
        -  Embroidery Foot
        -  Hoops in the following sizes:
        -  9.5" x 14"
        -  8" x 12"
        -  5" x 7"
        -  4" x 4"

    We can't wait to see everyone at Embroidery Garden!

  • Fireworks for July

    Happy Independence Day from Meissner Sewing!

    The month of July features a few exciting opportunities for our favorite Meissner Makers to express their creativity.

    The 2017 Row by Row Experience kicked off in late June and will run through early September. All Meissner Sewing locations are participating, so visit all four of our stores this month to pick up a free pattern for a unique quilt row. (Kits are also available for purchase!) With all stores participating, you can combine your rows to create a unique Row by Row Quilt! Remember to share your rows with us in our stores and on our Facebook page!

    Learn more about the Row by Row Experience >

    On Saturday, July 8th, we are opening our Folsom Store up for an Open House! Join us from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. for exclusive savings, product and technique demonstrations, prize drawings, snacks and more! See you Saturday!

    Learn more about the Folsom Open House > 

    Later in the month, Meissner Sewing is pleased to welcome Reen Wilcoxson back to Sacramento. Reen is  the owner and founder of Embroidery Garden, and she is the expert in all things in-the-hoop. She joins us in Sacramento for the second time to host our Embroidery Garden event, a two-day, hands-on embroidery retreat.

    Read Reen's letter to Meissner Makers > 

    July also boasts a full calendar of exciting sewing, quilting and embroidery classes. Check for the most up-to-date list of courses available this month!  Also make sure to stay in-the-know by following our Facebook page and watching your emails for news from Meissner Sewing!


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