Stitch-Off Turns 20
Stitches Magazine
Jun 1, 2006

By Gary Snyder

The continuing purpose of this competition is to encourage embroiderers to push the limits of their craft.
This year's Stitch-Off certainly embodied that goal. Not only were entries way up, they were across the
board. As a result, competition was much tougher to adjudge, as reflected by ties in four different
categories. Each contestant was scored on creativity, technical execution, use of color, suitability of
design and overall appeal. This year's arbiters were: Joyce Yost, owner of Digitalflash in Golden, Colo.;
Donna Lehmann, owner of NeedleUp in Henderson, Colo.; and Scott Adcock, sales and marketing
director for Ackermann in Denver.  Grand Prize unanimously went to Eve Kovacs in Woodbridge, Ill., for
her single-color plum tunic.

The judges deemed every aspect of the dress exemplary from concept through execution. Her efforts
won her a Tajima DG/ML Pulse Maestro system from Pulse Software in Mississauga, Ont., valued at
approximately $17,500. The Creativity Award went to Nancy Sedar Sherman of Nancy Sedar Designs,
Denver, for her intricate framed piece. Sedar Sherman won a Wings modular digitizing and editing
package, courtesy of Wings Systems Ltd., Thessaloniki, Greece valued at $5,000. The People's Choice
award will be determined by votes cast by the attendees at NNEP Show in Nashville on August 4-5. That
winner earns a Wings XP Pro software package, also provided by Wings Systems Ltd. worth about
$10,500.

First-place winners in each category were awarded $500 gift certificates from the following industry
suppliers: Madeira USA, Laconia, N.H.; Tajima USA Sales & Support by Hirsch Corp., Hauppauge, N.Y.;
Brother International Corp., Bridgewater, N.J.; Melco Mart, Westminster, Colo.; Wings Systems Ltd.; The
Embroidery Store, Greensboro, N.C.; Otto Cap, Ontario, Calif.; Robison-Anton Textile Co., Fairview, N.J.;
Stahls', St. Clair Shores, Mich.; Bella, Los Angeles; and Stitches Magazine. Second-place winners in each
category received $100 in cash while third-place winners received $75.

First Place:
Investment Hunters Safari-Themed Guides To Wealth
Andrew Coufal
Sew & Sew Embroidery, Akron, Ohio

“I wanted to design and embroider a fairly difficult 290-degree cap to showcase our embroidery abilities
and what is possible,” says Coufal. The digitizer and embroiderer is a first-time entrant who was
encouraged by a local technician who works on his machines.

The Australian bucket cap was a natural top to the safari theme. Coufal manually digitized the color
blends and put the bulk of his time into addressing alignment. “One of the challenges for me, as with
any hat, was registration,” he says. The difficulty was enhanced by the fact that the design stretches to
the extreme limits of the frame. The success of Coufal's expedition speaks for itself.