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Nancy Zieman Receives First Annual
 Sewing Hall of Fame
by Robbie Fanning, Creative Machine


At an annual dinner for "Sewing Stars" hosted by Husqvarna Viking during the Sewing & Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA, Nancy Zieman received the first Sewing Hall of Fame award.

Nancy is well-known for her long-running TV show, "Sewing With Nancy", and for her company, Nancy's Notions. She also designs patterns for McCall Pattern Company and writes books for major publishers.

"This is a wonderful surprise for someone who grew up on a dairy farm in Larsen, Wisconsin," Nancy said to enthusiastic applause from her colleagues in the audience.

Nancy's success has grown from a simple seed: her love of sewing. Her mother, Barbara Luedtke-Eckstein, was a 4-H leader for 24 years. She says, "Nancy started sewing for 4-H when she was 10, and I can still see that first gathered skirt she made. 4-H was good training, because you have to keep track of what you do---put little swatches of fabric on cards and document everything."

Nancy majored in clothing and textiles at the University of Wisconsin--Stout. Her first job out of college was as home-economist for a Minnesota Fabrics store in Chicago. Rich Zieman, with a college background in business and economics, was manager of the store, Before long, the two married.

In 1979, Rich, now working for a furniture company, was transferred to a small town in northern Minnesota. Nancy had no employment opportunities there, so she began freelance lecturing about new sewing techniques. As part of her lectures, she demonstrated the latest tools and notions. People always asked where they could buy the tools, so on October 1, 1979, Nancy's Notions was founded, with an 8-1/2" x11" flyer. 

By 1983 Nancy had opened a warehouse and Rich had joined her full time in the business. In the meantime, Nancy had tired of traveling to lecture, especially with new baby Ted. An opportunity to film a cable-TV show on sewing arose. Nancy realized she could communicate her love of sewing to a wide audience without the strenuous travel.

Today "baby" Ted is heading to college, while Nancy, Richard, and second son Tom live and work in Beaver Dam, WI.  Nancy's Notions has grown to contain thousands of products and is mailed to several million people a year. Her state-of-the-art website contains even more products, as well as articles to help her customers sew and quilt better. The TV show was picked up by public television and is shown in the United States and Canada. Her books include "Quick Gifts and Decor" (with Carol Brown), "10-20-30 Minutes to Quilt", and her latest with Carol Brown, "Creative Kindness".

And in spite of the pressures of running a business, filming a TV show, designing patterns, writing books, and being a family member and contributor to her community --- Nancy still loves to sew. 

(Note: Vote for the 2002 Sewing Hall of Fame by sending your vote to PO Box 2634-R, Menlo Park, CA 94026-2634. Your optional $1.00 donation to Sew for the Cure™ will be given in the winner's name.

"Reprinted with the permission of The Creative Machine Newsletter, PO Box 2634-R, Menlo Park, CA 94026-2634, 800-906-6788 or 650-366-4440, fax 650-366-4455"


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