January 2016 archive

Preparing Files to Send to Janome Machines

If you’re a Janome user, it seems simple enough to send a design you created in Inspirations’ software to your Janome machine. But there’s one more necessary step if you’re transferring a JEF file to a USB stick for your Janome embroidery machine. A special folder must be created on the USB stick in order for the machine to find the design and thanks to the genius engineers at Janome, your machine is programmed to do that instantly. Just insert a USB stick into your Janome machine. Select Embroidery.  Select the USB icon. You’ll notice a warning screen telling you NOT to turn off the machine or remove the USB stick.  When the message clears, you’ll see a folder on the machine screen, titled, EMBf.janome1BL

Remove the USB from the Janome machine and insert it into your computer. Open a design in your Inspirations’ software, I’m in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Go to File, Save and select JEF from the drop down menu.janome2BL

Locate the USB drive. When selected, you’ll find a new folder, EMB.janome4BL

Click on it to open and there you will find the EMBf folder.janome5BL

Open the folder and save the design in that folder.janome6BL

Now, take the USB stick to the Janome machine. Select Embroidery, USB stick and open the EMBf folder. You’ll find your design.janome8BL

That’s all there is to it.  If you need specific Janome model information (some machine models generate one file instead of two), you’ll find a very thorough blog post by a Janome dealer.  Click here to view. That solves the mystery of ‘Why can’t I see my design on my Janome machine?’

Bucket List Checkup!

This is a great year to make a conscious effort to sharpen your sewing and embroidery skills.  Focus on incremental improvement – don’t worry about perfection or trying to catch up to someone else who you think has superior skills.  Focus on your personal achievements, no matter how small! 


A few months ago I was making an embroidery project that turned out really cute… except to complete the project I needed to learn how to install snaps.  I froze.  I didn’t move forward.  What if I ruin my embroidery project?  I stashed the project away…but not before I made a half dozen variations of the same project… and they ALL need cute snaps for closures.  Right now they are sitting in a bin… unfinished….

Then this weekend happened.  I decided to download the cute Snappy Key Fobs design from ZippyDesignZ.  I was drawn to it for several reasons:

  1. It’s a New Year. It’s time I embrace the task of learning how to install snaps.  This is the perfect project to make me learn!Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  2. Turning narrow fabric isn’t on my list accomplishments. It’s time to add it!Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  3. I really enjoy embroidery designs that offer a foundation for me to customize to my heart’s content. These key fob designs not only include a variety of styles (9 quilting patterns in 4 sizes) but I can also personalize with my own collection of designs.  The cherries and the hearts shown below were built-in designs in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Think of the fun designs and variations you can make!
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  4. These key fobs don’t require a lot of fabric! I can use my favorite scraps I’ve been hoarding.
  5. Use what you have!  (Related to #4).  I had a smorgasbord of D-ring sizes.  I like to make the supplies I have work for my needs.  This is especially useful if 1.) the weather is horrible and you can’t get to the store for supplies 2.) you live far away from craft/sewing stores.  This also forces you to think out of the box.

 

Denise’s Newbie Tips and Useful Advice for All Skill Levels
1.  Don’t assume you know it all!  READ the instructions!  I read “In the hoop” and thought, yes, I’ve done that.  Place fabric on top… tape fabric underneath the hoop… blah, blah.  I’m a pro.  That’s what I thought until I trimmed my first key chain and realized this project used a different method.  (Place back fabric on top of hoop, wrong side up, then TURN the fabric).  Oops!Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog2.  If you do add your own designs to the key fob, be sure to double check the color sequence.  For example, you don’t want to stitch your custom designs after you’ve placed the back fabric.  (I didn’t make this mistake but came very close to it!)


This week’s assignment:

Now it’s your turn!  Tell us about a recent accomplishment that you’re especially proud of! This is your chance to share and inspire other readers.  It can be related to machine embroidery, sewing or any other skill you’ve honed!  4 random comments will be selected and each person will win a $25 gift certificate to go on a fun shopping spree at Zippy DesignZ.

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Multi-Needle Monday: On the Set of Sewing with Nancy

What an honor it was for me to tape two episodes of Sewing with Nancy last month in Madison Wisconsin. Sometimes I have to take a moment and think of all the places, experiences and amazing people have met through this hobby turned business of machine embroidery. One of the top moments was to be invited by Nancy Zieman to tape on her PBS show “Sewing with Nancy”.

The brainstorming and planning of what will be featured and taught on an episode can be stressful. As an educator I want to keep things simple and concise as much as possible. As a business owner, I want to showcase beautiful embroidery. I think in these two episodes we covered both of these points.

Once the design selection and products are finalized the real work begins. It starts with stitching out the embroidery designs to see how they will look on camera and how long each design takes to stitch out. I usually test my new embroidery designs on craft felt and keep a reference of each sample. Then I need to source my “blanks”. The blanks used are items I sell through my embroidery business but you need to provide multiple sets of each blank item for the various T.V. shots. So basically 3-4 samples are used for each product show on camera.

The real focus of the program was to teach the new book Hoop it Up and demonstrate the simplified hooping techniques for baby items, tote bags, slippers and a cosmetic case. We decided on a two part series: Baby items and Spa theme.

I arrived at the Madison WI airport in early December and proceeded to drive to the small quaint town of Beaver Dam, WI, home of Nancy’s Notions and Nancy Zieman Productions.madison1BL  Cheese Head Hats! You know you have arrived in Wisconsin when the Cheese Head hats are sold at the first airport convenience store.

Nancy has the most efficient and energetic staff who really help to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Although the guest does the actual sewing and step outs, the producers make sure the step outs make sense to the viewers.madison2BL Can you make sense out of this mess?

After spending a day planning and stitching on two Babylock Destiny machines simultaneously I had all the step outs needed and ready for taping.madison3BL madison5BL

Nancy’s offices looks a lot like the set of her show (and her home too by the way). I love her cool greens and blue paint colors because they are my favorite colors too. As you can see by the way we dressed at our first taping.madison12BL

The set is located at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI. The PBS station also tapes a number of different shows and apparently they are prepared if extra lighting is needed.madison8BL

All joking aside, all of the hard work and planning really paid off. I think the samples turned out nicely and my techniques came across seamlessly (no pun intended). I hope you have a chance to watch the episodes. You can view them online here  or check your local PBS listings for Sewing with Nancy-Hoop It Up series with Marie Zinno.madison6BL madison17BL

 

I hope you can join me in my Craftsy class “ How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” Clink the link below for a special coupon.

https://www.craftsy.com/ext/MarieZinno_4963_H

 

Multi-Needle Monday: My Favorite Feature on My Multi-needle Embroidery Machine

Everyone makes a mishap at one time or another in machine embroidery. Fortunately for me, I am an owner of a super sophisticated embroidery machine. Have you ever had the pleasure of showing your embroidery machine to a friend who has no idea what you do in your sewing room? If you are confident to take friends into your sewing room (quickly straighten up and hide the stabilizer mess) I’m certain they are amazed when they see your high tech multi-needle embroidery machine. Am I right? I always show off the live camera and scanning feature that my multi-needle machine has. To me, these features have paid for themselves many times over. It really is a must if you own a machine embroidery business.

One of my customers ordered two navy blue bath sheets with his last name embroidered. He has ordered from me many times but for some reason I did not have him sign off on the order form. To my memory his last name was “Kaiser” but at delivery time he notified me it was actually “Keiser”. Removing one letter is not a huge deal, but lining up the single letter definitely can be.

Let me share my latest mistake and how it was fixed by using the scanner on my embroidery machine.

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Step One: Remove the stitching (letter A) from the back of towel carefully. blue towel2BLSend the correct letter “E” to the embroidery machine from your embroidery software or save it on a USB stick.blue towel3BL

Step Two: Hoop the towel in Monster Snap Hoop for multi-needle machines (5×7), make sure the towel is taut and centered in the hoop. Assign the correct colors to the design and touch the “scan” icon on the touch screen.blue towel5BLblue towel6BLblue towel7BL

Step Three: Adjust the “E” as needed to line up perfectly in the text using the jog keys as shown.blue towel8BL

Another embroidery miracle!blue towel9BL

Join me in my Craftsy class: How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business with Marie Zinno.

https://www.craftsy.com/ext/MarieZinno_4963_H

An Expert’s Tip on Text on a Path

Leave it to Inspirations Education Consultant Ashley Jones to teach me another shortcut on digitizing text on a path. Previously, she taught me (and you) how to instantly place text around the perimeter of a shape (artwork).  You can read up on that tip here.

Today’s tip is applicable to the Inspirations’ software program that includes the text on a path feature (Perfect Embroidery Pro and Word Art in Stitches). Select the Text tool and type a sentence into the Properties Box. I wrote: Once upon a time, in a land far away. Click Apply.TP1BL

The text appears on the screen. Right click on the text and select Path from the dropdown menu.TP2BL

Right click again and select Edit Baseline.TP3BL

Right click and select Add Point.TP4BL

Place the cursor under the n in upon and click to add a point.  Do the same under the w in away.  Now move the new modes up to create a curved line.TP5BL

Left mouse click and the words are on the curved path. Use the blue nodes to slide the letters and words along the path. (Black nodes allow you to move that letter independently).TP6BL

But moving the whole line doesn’t seem to work because the first letter, O, does not have a blue node. Ashley showed me a simple fix for that. Just add a space in front of the first word of the line in the Properties Box.TP9BL

Now a node appears (blue diamond) to the left of the line.TP11BL

Use this node to slide the entire sentence.TP12BL

Gee, I just love a tip like this; it simplifies what used to seem like a laborious task into a breeze. Thanks Ashley!TP13BL

Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes

When you get the opportunity work with a friend, work doesn’t feel like work.  My last big sewing adventure in 2015 was no exception. I had the pleasure of working with my good friend, Nancy Zieman, on our latest joint venture – Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes on Sewing with Nancy.  What a fun way to end the year!headshotBL

It all started last April at Nancy’s home in Wisconsin. During a social visit, we started brainstorming about a new project – an updated version of our popular Designer Necklines collection. A few sketches, a page or two of notes and we were off on a new journey.  Of course, the process takes a couple of months and is all done by long distance (thanks to email and text messages!), but before you know it, we had the makings of a fun new technique – Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes.blueBL

And then of course, it was time to shop. We sampled tons of t-shirts to find the right ones for this technique. We wanted to make sure the technique would work on readily-available blanks so we designed around ladies’ shirts at Kohl’s, Target and WalMart. We figured just about everyone has access to one of those three retail stores.  When I look back on the receipts, it looks like I was outfitting a softball team – I was buying t-shirts by the dozen!blackBL

But it was well worth it because this is my absolute favorite collection that I’ve ever designed. I love how wearable it is. When we photographed the samples at our studio here in Dallas, the stylists wanted to know where they could buy the embroidered shirts. I took that as a good sign. And Nancy and I had similar reactions when we presented the program on Wisconsin Public TV. Another good sign!grayBL

So what’s so different about this collection? It features classic designs that mimic ready-wear and a nifty finish that’s completed in the hoop for professional results. There are neckline, sleeve and side seam designs so you get a total package.  You can watch the series on your local PBS station or online at WPBS. Just click here to view.  http://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/Video/simple-chic-t-shirt-remakes-part-one

And if you’d like to purchase the collection, just click here.  http://www.shop.dzgns.com/collections/elieen-roche-nancy-zieman/products/simple-to-chic-t-shirt-remakes
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Here’s your assignment this week:

Last week, Nancy asked her blog readers what t-shirt they liked best. How about if you do the same here so we can see if both sets of readers have similar taste?  Just tell us what t-shirt is your favorite and we’ll pick a random comment to win a copy of Simple to Chic T-Shirt Remakes!

Multi-Needle Monday: Fresh Start in the Embroidery Studio

Happy New Year! I’m sorry it has been a few weeks since my last post. You know how it is with the holidays; shopping, baking, embroidery (endless embroidery if you own a multi-needle machine), entertaining company and now cleaning up and organizing. I would like to help my multi-needle readers plan ahead for a more organized embroidery studio in 2016.

Machine embroidery requires many tools, notions, stabilizers, hoops and fabric to say the least. All of these items are absolutely needed; however some of us might have a bit more than most LOL.  I know most of you have a substantial fabric collection because you probably started sewing first and then it evolved into machine embroidery which is great.

You can easily start to tackle organizing your sewing/embroidery room by spending 15 minutes a day just focusing on one problem area. If it is fabric, start by sorting it into three separate boxes. Label the boxes as “Donate”, “Trash” and “Keep”. Try working with a friend or family member who will really make you stick to your plan and search online for local charities that need fabric.

I know what you are thinking… where should I start? How about the thread rack? I know my thread wall rack is in need of serious organizing. I love my wall rack display for thread and it does help to see exactly what color is running low or is completely out. My suggestion to you is to utilize as much vertical wall space as possible and keep the sewing thread separate from the embroidery thread. Throw out old thread that has not been used in the last year or two.thredwallrackBL

Our multi-needle embroidery machines are amazing work horses but with a little effort and planning you can keep them in tip top shape by following the manufacturers suggestions for cleaning and care. Start out the New Year with the mentality of efficiency. Change needles as often as possible and especially when starting an important project, oil the rotary hook, dust the top thread area, remove the bobbin case and clean inside (I like to use a flash light so I can see better and a pipe cleaner to really get behind and between), remove the bobbin plate to clear thread and lint, and organize the counter or table top to give you more needed space.cleaning6BLcleaning1BLcleaning2BLcleaning3BLcleaning4BLcleaning5BL

Take an inventory of your stabilizer; label clear containers with contents (tear away, cut away, fusible and water soluble etc) decide what needs to be reordered and do it now. You know you will need it for the next project and you might be out of it.stabilizerremnant1BL

Take a photo of your newly organized sewing room and print it out, look at it often and try to control the clutter in 2016!

All of these helpful tips are available in a book Eileen and I wrote together called: Embroidery Studio Organization in 6 Easy Steps.

Join me in my Craftsy class: How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business with Marie Zinno.

https://www.craftsy.com/ext/MarieZinno_4963_H

Perfect Embroidery Pro January Updates pt. 2

Last week, blog reader Vickie Deanglis wrote, “I only have PEP…other than snap to grid were there any other changes made to Perfect Embroidery Pro (PEP)?” Yes, Vickie, there are two more improvements to PEP that I think you’ll find very helpful.

Retrieving designs from the design library has been streamlined. Now, when you select and drag a design from the library onto the current open design page, it will instantly appear on that page. If you drag the design away from the library and towards the Properties Box, the design will open in a new file. Watch this 25-second video to see how easy it is.

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Artboards is a new concept in Perfect Embroidery Pro that allows you to define multiple hoop areas on your screen. Watch this quick one-minute video to see how it works.

Software Update – January 2016

mothershipSoftware Update - January 2016

The new year brings exciting new features in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. On Monday, January 4, 2016, update your version of Perfect Embroidery Pro to the latest version: 8.62. Once you update, you’ll find new access to all other Inspirations software programs that you’ve purchased and installed on your computer. If you’re like me and have them all – you’re going to love the speed at which you can work now. Perfect Embroidery Pro is considered the ‘mother ship’ of all our software programs and it’s the program where you find every digitizing feature that we’re known for. Now, instead of opening separate programs to perform different functions (like block piecing, quilt layout planning, quilt block embellishment or fun lettering), you can do it all from one screen. Take a look:

On the right of your screen, next to the Properties Box, you’ll find icons for each Inspirations’ program you’ve purchased and installed. Hover your mouse over each icon to reveal its identity.PEP1

 

Click on the Word Art in Stitches icon to instantly access the bubble text window.WAS2

Need more Word Art in Stitches features? Just click on the arrow under the icon to access the other features of Word Art in Stitches.WAS1

 

Click on the My Quilt Embellisher icon to access the block library.MBP

Select a block and click on the arrow under the icon to access all of My Quilt Embellisher’s rich features. MQE2

 

Click on My Block Piecer icon to access its block library. Then click on the arrow under the icon to access all of My Block Piecer’s features. MBP2The My Quilt Planner icon works the same way. Click on it to access the main quilt layout window. MQPThen access more tools under the arrow. MQP2All of this is happening while you’re still in Perfect Embroidery Pro! This new feature saves so much time and gives you access to dozens and dozens of tools. For instance, if you’re designing an applique in Perfect Embroidery Pro and want to use your digital cutter to pre-cut the applique pieces. Just click on the arrow under the My Block Piecer icon and select Cutter. Boom – there’s the Cutter window. Sweet! MBP3-smWhat else has been updated? The Snap to Grid feature is now more precise than ever. If the point, object, or design is within 10 pixels of the horizontal, vertical grid and/or guidelines, it will snap to the grid. Of course, you still the option of turning this off under Tools/General Options/Grid.

All you Handi-Quilters will be happy to know our software programs now read and write to HQV files.

In order to protect your software license, the registration/activtation process has been streamlined. As before, each serial number can be activated one time via the web in each of the software programs. If you wish to receive a second activation, you will need to contact customer support. You can now unregister the software from any computer and the system will add another activation so that you can install it on a new computer without contacting customer support.  NOTE:  Users can unregister/register up to 5 times after that, they will need to contact support.

There is a limit as to how many sites (computers) you can have live at one time. As a default, each serial number will have a limit of one site (computer).  What this means is, only one computer can be used with any serial number at one time.  If the customer wishes to receive a second activation and site (computer) in accordance to the license agreement, the user will need to contact support as described in above.

Next week, we’ll cover some of the other updates that have been included this month.