Author Archive

Volume 104 Subtle Tees – Leaf Lesson Part 1 of 2 – Software

By Denise Holguin

This is expanded coverage of the Subtle Tees project featured in Volume 104 May/June 2017.

Lesson Highlights:
Copy, paste and rotate designs in embroidery software to suit your needs.


Design:  Leaves & Branches Garland Frame
Company:  Stitchtopia / http://www.stitchtopia.com

I like to let the creative process unfold.  Initially, when I purchased this design I planned on placing a word in between the frame.  But the more I thought about it, I decided to transform the design to a 4-sided frame to showcase a spray painted leaf.

I think the process of creating and transforming is the most enjoyable part of stitching a t-shirt.


Open the Leaves & Branches Garland Frame in Perfect Embroidery Pro or similar design editing software.  I used the 4” frame to accommodate the scale of the shirt and the size of the leaf stencil I will be using.  (This very generous collection includes multiple sizes including:  4”, 5”, 6”, 7”, 8”, 9” and 10”.)

It’s easier to group each row of garland separately before we start rearranging and copying.  To do this, select the top garland.  Right click with the mouse button.  Select Group.  Repeat this step for the bottom garland.  If you choose not to group, it can be a little tricky to select the correct elements that make up a single garland design.

Select the bottom design.  Copy and paste. Slide the design to an empty space.

With the newly copied design still selected, go to the Transform Tab.  Type 270 in the Rotate box and click Apply.

Reposition the design so that it is to the left of the original frames.

Slide the top and bottom garland designs to make room for the new vertical garland.

Select the left garland.  Copy and paste the garland.  Slide it to the right side of the design.

Go to the Transform tab.  Click on Flip horizontal.  Press Apply.

Rearrange the garland designs as needed until you have a pleasing shape.  Once finished, go to Edit / Resequence by color.

Save the design, print a template and send to the embroidery machine.

Frame or Fill? Have It Your Way

A simple way to transform a shape into a satin frame in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro is to use the Create Outline tool.

Select the Star from the Artwork tool menu.

Drag the cursor across the screen to draw the star.  It’s a natural step to select the star, right click and select Convert to Satin.  But here’s what happens:

 

The satin stitches fill the star instead of outlining the star. Click on the Undo key. Select the star, right click and select Create Outline. The default setting .08”, that’s fine for this exercise. Click OK.

The points of the outline are squared off so let’s remove a stitch point from each leg of the star to create sharp points.  Select the Shape tool, click on a point, right click and Delete Point.

Select both stars, click on the Combine tool (the paper clip).

Select the star (it’s one unit now), right mouse click and select Convert to Satin.

 

Boom! There’s your frame!  It’s so easy, give it a try.

 

I Should Know Better!

Often, I have very large and complex projects to design, digitize, test, photograph and write the instructions.  These tasks are intense, highly-technical and deadline-oriented. Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I’ve been doing it for a long time, a realllllly llllllong time. So I know what I’m doing. And I relish digging into a big project. Recently, I set aside a whole day to work at home (way less interruptions!) to tackle this new project.

I was pumped because I was at the testing stage. All designs were digitized and critiqued in software. It was time to stitch the designs on fabric before moving to the actual project – a full size quilt. I’m never satisfied until I actually stitch the design on fabric.  I see results during the stitch out that I never catch in software. So I grabbed a quilt sandwich for testing and popped it into a Snap Hoop Monster.  And pressed Start. Thirty stitches later and I see skipped stitches. And again, and again.

Then the thread breaks.  I rethread. Same result.

I check the bobbin and reinsert it. Same result.

I change the needle. Same result.

I put the thread on a vertical thread stand. Same result.

I call my sister Marie and complain. She listens and laughs. I’m not laughing, good thing she’s 1200 miles away.

I start the machine again. Same result.

I change the bobbin. Same result.

I change the thread. Same result.

I CHANGE DESIGNS. Same result. By now, you can imagine, I am F U R I O U S.

I exhale, several times. And then I call Scott Goodman, author of the Great Scott column in Designs, and explain the situation. Scott is like a good therapist; he listens intently and asks thought-provoking questions.  But this time, none of his questions provide the answer I need – how to make the machine work!  So he gently suggests that I have my dealer take a look at the machine.  That’s the kiss of death. Now I love dealers and totally respect all technician’s abilities but I DON’T HAVE TIME TO GO TO THE DEALER today. So I thank Scotty and just when we are about to hang up, he says, “Well, flagging can cause that.” I said, “Flagging?”

He responded, “Flagging, when the fabric is not secure in the hoop, the needle can lift the fabric off the bed and the needle and bobbin threads do not connect to make the stitch.”

I turned 10 shades of pink. I was so glad Scott wasn’t actually in my sewing room because I know what flagging is and what causes it. You see, in my haste, I grabbed a quilt sandwich that did not FILL the hoop. And I know that the fabric should fill the hoop but I did it anyway.  Then when disaster struck I didn’t connect my mistake with the skipped stitches. I blamed every variable except the user.

Shame on me!  Scott and I had a good chuckle over that. The fix was so easy – I hooped another quilt sandwich – larger than the hoop – and it stitched perfectly!

I’m grateful for Scott’s long-distance diagnosis – he’s a gem. Connect with him on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GreatScottSews/

I’d love to know if you’ve ever had an experience like this. What do you do when you ‘hit the wall’ with an embroidery project?

Vintage, Old School, Retro – Get the Look!

Last week, Sew Much More, Austin, TX, hosted the first Vintage Chic event and wow- it was a hit!  Attendees were fascinated with the look of this trendy embroidery.  Inspirations Education Consultant Ashley Jones repeatedly heard, “Did you embroider your shirt?  Can I do that too?”

Ashley Jones, Inspirations Education Consultant

They were captivated with the new techniques Ashley shared.  The four-hour class went by in a flash.  Ashley freely shared her samples and knowledge so that attendees could go home immediately and have success. She even shared how she used the threads on her serger.

Dime’s Rope 15 wt. polyester thread stitched on a serger!

And how to mix these chunky stitches with prints – like a powerful black and white stripe!

It even pops on prints!

There were so many happy faces in the crowd.

Who said embroidery is a solitary sport?

They couldn’t wait to get started on their own vintage creations.  Attendees exclaimed, “Finally!  I can duplicate this look on my home embroidery machine.”

Ready to get started!

Not only will they have immediate success with these techniques but you’ll two very informative videos on the Inspired by dime YouTube channelOur stitching wizard, Katherine Artines, posted these Vintage introductory videos on Friday.  If you’d like to learn more about the software, click here to watch Katherine’s videos.  While you’re there, subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get all of the latest information on the Inspirations software line.

Dealers across the country are hosting Vintage Chic events.  Click here to find an event near you!  Join in on the fun because the embroidery rules have been rewritten!

 

The Embroidery Rules Have Been Rewritten

For years, I’ve been making embroidered gifts for two special men in my life. I don’t want to ‘throw anyone under the bus’ so let’s just call them – the boys. The boys are always grateful and charming when accepting these items from the work of my hands.  It’s a lovely moment. I’m touched by their gratitude and they’re touched by my thoughtfulness.  And then….I never see the items again.  I mean, NEVER.  But that’s changed because now I’m using Inspirations newest software – Vintage Embroidery Software – and the boys love the results!  One jacket I created for one of the boys has become a wardrobe staple. I’ve seen him wear it at least once a week. Wow! I’m so impressed with the possibilities this software offers, it’s a real game-changer.

So what’s so different about it?  Well, it’s not traditional embroidery – the rules have been re-written to give the look of yesterday’s hand stitches coupled with today’s digital products and high performance threads.

This software was inspired by what you see in retail stores: big, bold stitches in matte threads on knits, denims, cotton and linen.  The long stitch length and thick threads result in low-stitch count designs making garments so comfortable.  There’s no need for heavy cut-away or fusible stabilizers; just lightweight water solubles or tear-away wash-aways give all the support that’s needed.  Vintage embroidery is fabric-friendly and embroiderer-friendly!  The designs are low stitch count (because the stitches are big and the polyester thread is chunky). And the boys love to wear it because it’s comfortable and mimics what their friends are paying big bucks for.

This t-shirt and hat combo stitched in under 20 minutes – including hooping!  Love that!This backpack stitched in under 8 minutes.  Vintage Embroidery Software takes gift-making to a whole new level.Up until, a home embroiderer couldn’t get this look on an embroidery machine without some serious digitizing skills.

The best part of Vintage Embroidery software is you don’t need digitizing skills. You get to select from over 1500 built-in designs and 18 fonts.  It’s so user-friendly, it even tells you what thread weight to use for each color so you can duplicate the look.   The software gives you tons of editing and conversion tools, it’s quite robust without being overwhelming.

Next week, I’ll show you more and share a link to Katherine Artines how-to video on YouTube.  For now, you can ask your location Inspirations dealer for more information. They received their shipment of the software last week!  And you can attend a Vintage Chic event to learn more about it from one of Inspirations expert embroidery educators.

Click here to find a dealer and here to find an event near you.  In the meantime, take a look at what the software can do to a tired, denim jacket.

 

Sewing Friends are the Best Friends

I’ve met so many wonderful women who share my passion for sewing and machine embroidery. Often, strong friendships develop because of this common bond. All it takes is a mutual love of creating with fabric and thread and everything else falls in place.  Age, race, sex, politics, religion or geographical location don’t matter because the connection is through a love of fiber.  If we’re really lucky, we learn about each other’s lives outside of sewing.  For instance, my good friend, Nancy Zieman, danced at my wedding and I played bocce ball in her backyard!  Great memories!

One of my favorite sewing friends

Sewing and embroidery are solitary endeavors so when you do meet someone who shares this passion, make the extra effort to find out more about them. Start with the common bond you already share.  Does the encounter occur in class? Perfect, start the conversation there.  Ask how long they’ve been coming there, what other classes have they taken, and would they recommend another class.  People are always flattered when asked for their opinion or recommendation.

If you work in the industry, a new friend may just be an email or two away. In today’s digital world, many of us never meet, yet, we connect via email. We have deadlines to meet, criteria to fulfill and materials to send back and forth.  We learn that we share the bond of creating.  It’s happened to me and I’ve watched this happen to others. Take for instance, Denise Holguin and Joanne Banko; two talented ladies who met through their connection at Designs in Machine Embroidery, DIME. Through the years, they’ve learned and laughed together. Take a look for yourself, Joanne is the chief needle threader at her blog, Let’s Go Sew, and a regular contributor to DIME.

Joanne Banko on the set of It’s Sewing Easy TV show

Denise, Blue Hair Girl, is the managing editor here at DIME.

 

Click here to read Denise’s behind the scenes journey at DIME: http://www.letsgosew.com/joanne-bankos-blog

How about you, have you been blessed with sewing friends?  How have they changed your sewing experience?  Share your thoughts – we’d love to know how you’ve enhanced your life with sewing friends.

 

 

Fun with Symbols!

The built-in Symbol designs in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro are tiny and intended to be used as border accents.  But you can do so much more with symbols.  Their small stature makes them perfect candidates for stitching fields of flowers, flocks of birds and schools of fish with just a few clicks.

Open a new screen in Perfect Embroidery Pro and click on the Symbol icon. Scroll down through the menu and select the Fish. Click OK. 

In the color sequence window, change the first color to blue, same as the second color.  

Recolor the blue and white to something you’d like. I chose blue and yellow.

Select each color, click on the Command tab in the Properties Box and change the End command to trim from normal. Click Apply. Make sure you do this for all three colors.

If you don’t, you might wind up with a mess like this:

Select the fish, click on the arrow next to the Circle tool and select Scatter.

Change the Area to 100mm x 100mm.  Remove the check in the Auto Rotate box and click Apply because fish in schools all swim in the same direction.

Click Apply again if you’d like a different layout.  These layouts are random so if you see one you like, click OK.

Select the design and Ungroup.  Reposition any fish if you’d like. At this point, there are 162 colors in the design. Yikes!  That’s a nightmare but an easy fix. Select all of the fish, go to Edit and select Resequence by Color.

The design is now three colors but it appears the needle will be jumping all over the hoop. 

No worries.  Go to File, Optimize Sequence. 

Now the design will stitch logically and your one fish has multiplied into a whole school!

What Can You Learn in 60 Minutes?

In 60 minutes, you can learn everything you need to know about quilting with your embroidery machine. When can you do that? Tomorrow’s the big day!  if you’ve been wanting to learn how to quilt with your machine, register for my webcast with Sulky on Thursday evening (March 23, 2017) at 9:00 PM EDT, 8:00 PM CDT and 7:00 PM PDT.

You’ll learn everything from raw edge applique to custom quilting to overall quilting. I’ll give you three options for handling the quilt bulk while achieving perfect placement on every hooping.  Plus, you’ll learn what type of designs work on blocks and large negative spaces.

Included in this hour of education, is a downloadable continuous line design for 6” x 10” hoops*, a downloadable guide to my secrets of continuous line quilting on an embroidery machine plus a question and answer period at the end of the webcast.

Michelle Umlauf, Sulky National Educator, will be our webcast coordinator (which means she’s been keeping me on track for several weeks). She’s a stitch wizard herself as you can see if you visit her blog at http://www.SewingMachineArtistry.com.  She’ll be joined by Sulky veterans Patti Lee, Ellen Osten  and Kelly Negal (like I can teach them anything!).

I conned, I mean asked, my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, to help with questions during the webcast. So if you’re on the webcast and know Marie, give her a shout out. And while you’re at it, ask her a trick question – like how many inches of thread are on a Sulky 820 meter spool!  Oh boy, am I going to pay for that!

Today, we had a run through to make sure your experience is educational, comfortable and informative. It went very well with a ‘mock’ audience of 5 or 6 attendees. Intentionally, mock questions were sent and fielded by Patti, Kelly, Marie and Michelle. At one point, I had a vision of the infamous Lucy & Ethel episode at the chocolate factory.  You remember the one, the chocolates fly down the conveyor belt so fast, Lucy and Ethel can’t keep up with it. That was my vision today and hopefully, it won’t be like that tomorrow night.

Sounds like a funny moment, right? Well, the spirit at Sulky is one of fun and lightheartedness. I guess they were just trying to ease everyone’s jitters (technical difficulties can really rattle the nerves) because the first question that appeared on the screen was, “Who let the dogs out?”

I howled (no pun intended!). That moment put everyone at ease, now we’re ready and excited!  Sulky has some great product specials that they will announce towards the end of the webcast.  Two coupons (of the many specials they are featuring) will expire at Midnight EDT, Sept. 23, 2017. To take advantage of the specials, register for the webcast now, watch the webcast then make your purchases before Midnight EDT.

We are packing a ton of information into this webcast but don’t worry, after the webcast, you’ll be able to review it whenever you’d like.  Join us for this live webcast and later you can watch at your own pace.  Sign up now because seats are limited!  Just click here: http://www.sulky.com/   You’ll learn a lot in 60 minutes!

*Formats included are C2S, DST, EXP, HQV, HUS, JEF, PCS, PES, QLI, VIP AND VP3.

 

Free Webinar!

I’m so excited to present a live webcast (my first!) with my good friends at Sulky.  They spotted my recent book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons, and thought it would be a hot topic for their webcast offerings. I was flattered to be asked, so of course I said yes!

So what should you expect in this webcast? I’ll share my 20 years of quilting with an embroidery machine experience with you.  I’ll cover everything from raw edge applique to custom quilting to overall quilting.  I’ll show you how to manage the quilt bulk while achieving perfect placement on every hooping.  You’ll learn what type of designs work on blocks and large negative spaces.

Included in this hour of education, is a downloadable continuous line design for 6” x 10” hoops*, a downloadable guide to my secrets of continuous line quilting on an embroidery machine plus a question and answer period at the end of the webcast.

You’ll get an in-depth look at my patented quilt and applique as you go technique, the difference between custom quilting and overall quilting. And I’ll cover selecting shape designs, connecting continuous line designs, working with magnetic hoops and three options for handling a full size quilt on a home embroidery machine.

We are packing a ton of information into this webcast but don’t worry, after the webcast, you’ll be able to review it whenever you’d like.  Join us for this live webcast and later you can watch at your own pace.  Sign up now because seats are limited!  Just click here: https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1138339&sti=eduction_webinar_banner

*Formats included are C2S, DST, EXP, HQV, HUS, JEF, PCS, PES, QLI, VIP AND VP3.

The winner of last week’s blog post answered the following question: 

Leave a comment explaining what quilting project you’re working on right now.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of my latest book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons. It’s finally back in stock so I’m happy to give one away.

The winner is: LAURI WINTERFELDT: I just completed a whole cloth quilt to practice quilting on my machine. I have two more lap quilts basted and ready to go.

Thank you, everyone for taking the time to comment.  I love hearing from you and hope to see you in the webcast on March 23, 2017, 9:00 PM EST.

Why Did It Take So Long?

Why did it take 20 years to master the art of quilting with an embroidery machine? Well, 20 years ago, sewing fields were 4″ x 4″, machines had little or no rotation ability and there were no ‘quilting designs’ available for the home embroiderer. Machine embroidery has evolved beyond our wildest dreams (well, almost, I know some very creative people!).

Now, we can quilt king, queen, crib or lap quilts on our embroidery machines.  If you have a big hoop (larger than 6″ x 10″), then it’s a breeze. Many students ask if they can quilt with a 5″ x 7″ hoop.  My response is, “Yes, you can but it’s not the right tool for the job. It’s like painting a dining room with a 1” brush. You can do it, but it will take forever!”

So if you want to quilt with your embroidery machine, buy one with a large sewing field and while you’re looking for a machine, make sure there’s a compatible magnetic hoop available.  Why so?  Magnetic hoops simplify the rehooping process.  A large quilt will take 50 or 60 hoopings, imagine removing the entire hoop and quilt from the machine to rehoop – 50 times!  Too much effort. With a magnetic hoop, you just lift the top frame, advance the quilt, drop the frame in place and stitch.  It’s still 50 hoopings but what a time-saver.

And yes, I am very partial to magnetic hoops because I invented Snap Hoop Monster. Without it, I would have never written three quilting books, designed over a dozen quilting collections and quilted dozens and dozens of quilts.  In fact, I probably would have given up trying to quilt with my embroidery machine years ago.

But that’s not all that’s made the process easier.  I made this short video to show you a couple of other products that really streamline the process.  Take a look.

 

Leave a comment explaining what quilting project you’re working on right now.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of my latest book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons. It’s finally back in stock so I’m happy to give one away.  Happy Stitching!

 

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