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Just for Fun Stitching Sisters

Current of gratitude

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I look at birthdays as a celebration of gratitude because they make me count and share my blessings. Summer in my house is the season of gratitude because all of us have summer birthdays. My mid-July birthday is sandwiched between my son in June and my daughter on July 30.

July 30 is always a special day for me because it’s the day I became a mom. Oh, I know my daughter Janelle thinks it’s her special birthday because she’s turning 21 this year. But my heart is just leaping with gratitude – my firstborn is 21, about to enter her senior year of college and she’s a fine, healthy, young lady! Can you ask for anything more that?

During our month-long birthday celebration, I like to spend time with family. In fact, we just returned from a family reunion on the beach in New Jersey (surely next time there will be flattering lighting and clothing to camouflage the aging process!). There were 30+ of us, four generations, all grateful to be together, to catch up on old times and to wonder at what the future holds. I kept hearing this current of gratitude from all the family members. Grateful for the elderly who could attend, grateful for the laughs left by those who passed ahead of us, grateful for the cooperating weather and the beautiful Atlantic Ocean that tossed us around like seaweed.

That current of gratitude makes its way into every phase of my life. As the summer winds down and my kids prepare to go back to college, I start itching to share my gratitude with other embroiderers. Even though I get to do that in the pages of Designs, there’s really nothing like sharing my gratitude in person. And the only way I know how to do that is by sharing what I’ve learned about this fun hobby in person. My Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, and I hit the road again in September. We kick off at the Creative Sewing Center in San Antonio, TX (Sept. 10-11) then head to Sewing Machines Plus in San Marcos, CA (Sept 17-18). October finds us at Missouri Sewing in Kansas City (Oct. 1-2) and at Kingdom Sewing in Simi Valley (Oct. 15-16). Our last stop for 2010 is at Sprinkles Sewing in Pueblo, CO on Nov. 12-13.

If you want to learn more, click on the new tab at the top the blog, Stitching Sisters Events. You’ll also find the schedule for 2011. Check it out and mark your calendars.

In the meantime, the Designs team is busy compiling a list of all your comments from last week! I love hearing from you and last week’s comments will really help us steer the direction of the magazine.

Last week’s lucky winner of the Embroidery Tool Kit is…Sonya Porter!

Sonya Porter   I am interested in embellishing blanks for casual wear. This includes baby’s & kids clothes, as well as for the mature woman. I have a new niece (just turned 1 yr) and a new great nephew (just turned 1 month). It is so much fun to make things for them.  I’m also interested in making practical quick gift items for Christmas, birthdays, house warmings, baby showers, etc.  Quick tips on techniques and organizing are always welcome, as well as reviews on the latest software, gadgets to use with my Singer XL6000 (or any machine).

Congratulations, Sonya!

Didn’t win the Embroidery Tool Kit? Don’t be sad, just tell us what kind of embroidery editing software you use. If you don’t use any, tell us that too! Leave your comment and you could win Magna-Hoop Software.




  • Susan Burns

    I am learning to use my Bernina Designer Plus 6 software, and am falling more in love with it as I discover all I can do!

    • eileen

      Oh the possibilities are endless with the Bernina Designer Plus 6! Have fun!

  • Bette Gove

    I use the 4D software that Viking sells.


  • Shirley Rawlinson

    I use Designer’s Gallery Master Works II and I really like it for combining designs, but need to learn more about digitizing as I am now only using it with purchased designs. I like to have the ability to resize the designs I purchase, so I also bought Designer’s Gallery Sizeworks. I am a big fan of “anything Babylock” so these programs were a natural choice for me. I have a Babylock Ellegante and simply love embroidering with it!

  • Enis Blizman

    Thanks for an opportunity to win a fantastic prize! I use Vikings 4D Extra Software and love it. It never gives me any trouble and I can edit existing designs and make my own creations.

  • Sharon

    I don’t currently own any embroidery software. I’ve started doing research and I may purchase the Bernina software as I have a Bernina 640. I’m looking forward to being able to digitize and create my own unique designs. In the meantime, I enjoy shopping for designs for baby items, quilts and women’s apparel.

  • JoAnne

    In the past I purchased Creative Digitizing and Creative Customizing software that I purchased with my Brother ULT. Unfortunately I needed to upgrade my computer system only to learn that the software won’t work on the new computer systems. At this time I am carefully studying the many options available. I miss the unique expression of creating my own designs.

    • eileen


      I’ll put my 2 cents in – buy software from a local dealer where you can receive training. Software classes will get you on your feet in no time and are well worth the investment.

  • Wendy

    I have Viking 4D Pro. My laptop is off limits to games, my DH used to download $20 games that would change the configuration and make my Viking software stop working. I enjoy having the ability to make my own variations of designs. My mother drew and I digitized some of her artwork.

  • Mitzi Barker

    I also use Bernina Designer v 6 …..still on a learning curve

    • eileen


      Oh you’re not alone on that learning curve! The Bernina Designer v6 is so powerful it’ll take years to get bored with that software!

  • Janice G. Hajek

    I have a Husqvarna Viking SE, and it comes with the 4D software. I truly do not know how to implement it. That is so sad, as I am sure that I could really use it.

    • Eileen Roche

      Don’t be so hard on yourself! Software can be intimidating for many of us because it takes time to learn! The only way over the hurdle is to open the box, install the software and play with it for an hour. Then schedule a training session with your dealer! Best of luck with it, when you’re ready, it’ll be there for you.

  • Rhonda

    Digitizer MB

  • Peggy

    I have 4 D embrodery software and will never live long enough to use all that it is capable of doing. But I am having great fun with it.

  • Alice Harmon

    I have 4D from Viking and Stitch Era Universal. What a challenge to keep me busy and learning. I’m designing some Tee’s for our Nursing Home Activities for next January. We want something original. When I am busy learning, time flies and I feel like the night before Christmas with the expectations of opening up all the gifts and finding out just what I really got! Usually some surprises that I didn’t expect. But then- on to more adjusting and see if I can really make my ideas come to life at the sewing machine. I have a Husqvarna Diamond. Love your magazine!

    • eileen

      Hi Alice,

      I know about that ‘night before Christmas’ feeling! I often experience it after working diligently on a challenging project, then voila! the solution appears! I get so excited to stitch it out and finish the project.

  • Cy Swendsen

    I’m still using PE d vs 6. Thinking about upgrading to vs 8, but not quite ready.

  • Linda Lee

    Hi Eileen – I am currently using the Digitizer Pro V-3 for my Janome 11000. I learn something new almost everyday. My next purchase and thing to learn is the Magna Hoop for the 11000…but I am wondering if I should hold out for a snap hoop that will be compatible with the Janome 11000 either B hoop or SQ hoop. I love this blog and reading what others have to say. Thank you.

    • eileen

      Hi Linda,

      We don’t have Snap Hoops for Janome on the drawing at this moment. But things change rather rapidly here at Designs. As requests for new hoops come in, we’re hoping to answer the demand.

  • Ann H.

    I currently have the Bernina Designer v5, which I purchased when I bought my 730. Almost have enough saved up for the v6 edition, and have been drooling over the cutwork tool, as well. Being new to embroidery, it sometimes gets a little overwhelming with all the choices I have, but fun to try new things and stretch my creative wings!

    • eileen

      Oh there are so many great tools out there! You’ll love the v6 edition but the v5 is a great program too! Enjoy!

  • Vicky Morrow

    I don’t currently have any editing software. I’d like to be able to pull up a design on my computer – both to see what that particular file is, and to be able to edit and resize it. Had I known I’d be laid off about 6 months after I upgraded my sewing machine from a fairly basic machine to a computerized whiz, I probably would have bought the software at the same time as I bought my Brother 4500D. Hindsight is great, isn’t it?

  • Susan Spiers

    I have a Singer Futura which came with embroidery editing software. So far this is the only one I have tried & works well for me with my limited knowledge of machine embroidery!

  • Heather

    I have a Bernina 200E that I absolutely *love* as well as the Designer Plus v.5.0 software. I just purchased your Stipple! Butterflies software and designs for use on a set of baby quilts I’m making for someone and they are EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED! They stitch out so beautifully using both the outline and stippling as well as the applique styling. What a great way to incorporate two different techniques onto a single project to look unique and most importantly EASY! I can’t thank you enough for providing these great designs and I will definitely be purchasing more of the Stipple! products for future items! They’re just so easy to use and stitch out wonderfully! Cheers! Heather Young

    • eileen

      Hello Heather,

      Thank you for your kind words! i understand your delight as I love this technique too, it’s so easy and satisfying! In fact, I’m enjoying this technique so much, I’m writing a book on it. The book will be out in late spring 2011 and I just finished all of the projects (yesterday!). Now’s the hard part, finishing the manuscript then waiting for it to be published! In the meantime, you’ll find new Stipple collections available from Designs in the next few months.

  • gloriawr

    I use Janome 11000 Customizer and I also have the Viking 3d software with tablet. I am interested in learning more and enjoy everyone comments and suggestions.

  • beverly breidenstein

    Love the magazine and web site i’m new to the world of embroidery and i get so much inspiration form you
    thank you

  • Heather

    OOOH … and noticing that you have Carolyn Nunn’s cupcakes on the cover picture of your blog here … These are just wonderful (and so is Carolyn – aka, ZippyZ)! I’ve done up a whole batch of these for sewing themed birthday parties for some local little girls (my kids are grown) and they’ve also been a hit! Too cute and lots of fun!!

  • Hope Kehrhahn Hyatt

    I use Bernina v5. still learning how to use it.

  • Patty Ojeda

    I have a Babylock Ellegante and I love doing embroidery with it! I currently don’t have an editing program, but would love to learn and play!

  • Kandy

    I don’t use any software program to make the design anything extra or being able to take away. I’m using Designer’s Gallery to store patterns but I use the machine to make things some smaller and stuff. I’m still too new at learning exactly how to make things how I’d like them. I love simple projects I can get done fast.

  • Kathy Smith

    I use Embird. I find it has all the tools I like for a great price! I am just a beginner at embroidery really. I hope to really dig in and get better at it over time. I have grandkids needing cute stuff from their Grammy!!

  • nancy nebeker

    I am a “Babylock” person also and Use Designer’s Gallery Masterworks. My big goal is to digitize a logo from my husband’s work. It is a unit logo from a med unit in the Army. Once I figure it out I am sure I can do a better job than what they have been paying for on their t shirts. A detail article in your magazine about converting from jpeg to vector art or ? would be perfect for me.
    Using my machine and manipulating designs to match my mind’s eye is the most fun. Thanks for the inspiration from your magazine!

  • Virginia

    I use SewWhatProXP with my PR600II and love it! Easy to use, easy to learn, not costing $$$$ and comes with great support. In conjunction with their other programs, SewCatXP and SewArtXP (the digitizing program) I feel I have all the tools I need to edit, size, combine and design.

  • Jolan Dallatore

    I have PE Design 8. I’ve considered going to something else based on all of the ease of use articles I see on different web sites, but as I mostly just resize and add words, or do easy digitizing things I really don’t want to pay for another program to learn to use. I may at somepoint decide my passion IS digitizing, though-who knows? As Nancy said above, matching ‘my mind’s eye’ is the most fun. I mostly do baby blankets personalized to the couple-a golfing family, for example, would have some sort of baby golfer with name and birth date. These gifts are most appreciated today where so many new babies have different sorts of names-no Suzy, Sally, Johnny or Billy!
    Your magazine provides much inspiration-and sorry for the book!

  • Beth

    I use the 4D Pro software. A bit intimidating at first, but going through the tutorials and taking some classes and workshops helped tremendously. Creating your own designs is great fun, though very challenging!

  • Carolyn Langham

    I use Embird and It is very easy to use. Does everything I want to do.

  • Clyde Sanders

    I use Designer’s Gallery, Letterworks, CustomWorks, and Size Works. These have been great to use once I learned all the ins and outs of the software; however, I know I have much more to learn and continue to go to classes to learn new techniques. I loved the apron made from a kitchen towel in your last magazine issue. I have made 3 already and have embroidered different designs on each and adorned them with ric rack, ribbon, crystals, etc.

  • Barbara

    The link to the free designs on your website is broken. Maybe it’s me, but I tried it twice.

  • Denise

    I currently do not have software just the designs that came with the machine. I hope to have it one day! I too am just learning! It is a lot of fun to see a design all stitched out! Especially when there are no complications!

  • Penny Kitzmiller

    Hello, I don’t have any editing software, but I hope and dream one day when I can have all up to date sewing equipment. I have a Singer Futura now and love it but every sewer wants a bigger hoop. I have a dream and I know that dreams can come true, I see it happen for everyone else around me, just not mine yet. You and other sewers like Nancy Zieman are an inspirations to me and I hope to one day sew just like you guys. God Bless You for what you do.

  • Vickie LeBlanc

    I use the Digitizer Pro with my Janome MC 11000. Still learning things on it all the time, but wish I could upgrade to a newer version or something even better.

  • Wendy M

    I use the PE Design 6, but not nearly enough! I can’t wait to read everyone’s posts to see what software is the most popular and the special features that make it desirable.

  • Jean Beckstrom

    I love your yummy looking cupcakes. My birthday is July 14. My husband always likes to bake me a birthday cake. It is usually his only time in the kitchen each year and he goes to a lot of trouble baking a layer cake and frosting it. July heat here in the south causes him heart palpitations over the frosting. Layers want to slip and slide. I finally had him give in to bake a 9X13″ cake so this would not happen to him. That helped so much.

    I wanted to comment on stitching sisters. My sister and I both did stitching learning at a young age from our mother and from necessity to save money. We both shared this love. Most of our adult lives we did not live in the same city to be able to sew together. When my husband and I were stationed on a small island overseas where I had no fabric shops, my sister would shop in the states for me and mail the fabric etc. to me. She enjoyed the shopping and I the receiving of surprise packages. This was long before computers and internet shopping. Sewing certainly was the thread of life for us.

    • eileen

      Happy Belated Birthday, Jean. You and I share two things – the same birthday and a stitching sister! Isn’t sewing so much more fun when it’s shared with someone you really care about? I think what I like best about sharing a love of sewing with my sister is the sheer joy of sharing the process – the design stage, the gathering of supplies, the stitching and finally the finishing. Of course, I don’t get to share all of those stages in person with my Stitching Sister, Marie but a sister brainstorm is only a phone call away.

  • Jacqui

    My Brother allows me to use designs downloaded from internet, but I cannot do any editing. I just got this embroidery machine last year, but now I want to upgrade to the fancy ones where I can edit, too….but they are out of my price range right now….but I can dream!!!!

  • LeAnne Law

    I use Embird for editing. It does everything I need for splitting and rearranging designs.

    If I need to digitize something from scratch, I use Janome Digitizer, but I don’t know the program very well and really don’t have the inclination to learn it since I don’t plan on digitizing my own designs.

  • Judy Moon

    I use the Designers Gallery from Babylock. It came with my machine. I have lots of designs on it that I have gotten off the internet, but I am sure I am not using it to it,s full capacity. Just not enough time in the day to do everything. My main love is making quilts, but I like to quilt them with the embroidery machine. I have 3 different CDs with quilt designs on them!

  • Deb Fischer

    I do not have any editing software. I wish I did. I have 10 grandkids ranging from 2 to 12 and it would be nice to learn how to alter the designs I do for them just a little; enough to be the same but different…

  • CeCelia M. Cantie Soule

    I have a Pfaff 2140 upgraded to a 2170 and I use the Creative File Assistant. I don’t know how to use it well but I will keep on trying. I would like to do more with my embroidery when I quilt especially doing the quilting.

  • Katrina

    I use drawings3 pro

  • Susan Adams

    I am looking forward to the event in San Marcos.

  • Jean Beckstrom

    The books that I like to buy are project books because they also inspire my creativity. I often change or get new ideas from these projects. But I also like a book to have good information so that I am also learning something new. That is what keeps me going.

  • Kathy

    I am in between software. I used to use Customizing Plus but my dog ate my dongle so I have had to upgrade to 4D Plus but I am awaiting delivery. I did a trial of Embird and found it satisfactory but as expersive as 4D after I added all the features I wanted.

  • Anna-Marie

    I use Bernina v6. I love to play with all the tools and try new looks on my designs. I digetize mostly logos for my daughter, doing corporate embroidery.

  • Lesley

    I know I am late with this comment but I have 4D Pro, I know I will never get the full benefits of it ( due to the time factor which is nil) but I love it, I cannot wait for the 5D up grade ( I believe it is coming to Australia early November ) sometimes it is not a good idea to live “Downunder” !!!!

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