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Getting Hands On with Floriani

Emily Achondo

Floriani“If you were stitching 40 years ago, you probably were not stitching because you were mesmerized by watching your machine run.  If you were stitching 30 years ago, you probably weren’t stitching because you were mesmerized (by) watching the needle move and what it was producing. My heart goes out to you because you were doing something because you had to do it most likely. Because that’s where we started with sewing, right?”

That is what Ricky Brooks, of RNK Distributing, said as he addressed the group of Meissner Makers in attendance at the Floriani Hands On Event that began Thursday and lasted through Sunday.

“There are some that loved it from the beginning. You may be one of those people. Your mom may have been one of those people. Your grandmother may have been one of those people. They loved the art, they loved the skill, not necessarily the machine. But they loved what they could do with the machine."

But things are a little different now, he continued to explain.

"In the 90's everything changed in our industry. There were some dark ages prior to that, but in the 90's we saw something happen that we never experienced before. It was spelled in three letters. F-u-n. Fun. Fun began.”

He went on.

“We live in a day in time where this craft, this hobby has turned into something that’s enjoyable, and you’re able to have not just one (machine), three of them, four of them! And I salute you because when I got into this industry, a lot of times ladies couldn’t have one. They had to wait and wait and wait to have one. And now it’s so awesome that you can do that because I know now what it means to you. It’s your joy, it is your pastime, it’s your therapy…You love your hobby, and you cannot put a price on that. You cannot put a price on joy.”

And this weekend was marked by plenty of joy as Meissner Makers gathered at the Sacramento Meissner Sewing and Vacuum Center to partake in an embroidery extravaganza. Brooks, along with educator Kathi Quinn and other special guests, arrived at Meissner’s with their embroidery knowledge, plenty of jokes and several prizes ready to share.

The event consisted of two, two-day sessions where, similarly to the Embroidery Gardens event back in early August, guests were provided with the opportunity to sit down in front of the new Baby Lock Destiny II and Brother Dream Machine 2. Each session began with a special meet and greet reception the evening prior to the first day.

During the two days spent in the store, Quinn guided the Meissner Makers in attendance through various projects, addressing common issues with stitching, teaching new techniques, cracking jokes and, of course, using Floriani threads and stabilizers.

Ricky Brooks, the R in RNK Distributing, was also present to provide background on the company and on the products, as well as comic relief.

Brooks and his wife Kay, the K in RNK, sold their retail business years ago when embroidery machines were increasing in popularity in order to create a product that could match up with the sophistication of these new machines, he told the Meissner Makers.

“You don’t just stitch on shirts and jackets and caps. You will stitch anything that will fit under your needle,” he told the group. “You will sew on wood, you will sew on nylon, you will sew bars of soap. You will sew anything you can get under that needle, right? So we went to work, and we found out it didn’t exist. So we were determined to make it exist.”

They traveled and tested, step-by-step, products and materials on Kay’s machine until they found what would work, Brooks said.

“We worked it out and we created a line of products that hopefully some of you’ve gotten to experience,” he continued. “And then we needed a name for it.”

That’s where Walter Floriani comes in. Brooks informed the group that the Floriani family began embroidery in Europe and brought mechanized embroidery to the United States in the early 1900's.

So the name of these new products from Ricky and Kay had live up to a high standard of embroidery.

“We wanted to name our products after a family whose name meant beautiful embroidery and they did,” Brooks announced.  “And we did and it’s called Floriani products.”

The Floriani products will continue to evolve as technology and interests develops, but, now, the fun that began in the 90’s can always continue and will remain unchanged.

Another opportunity to work with embroidery experts and Floriani is coming soon, as Meissner's will host a Floriani Software Gala. Find out more and sign up on our website at:

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