Author Archive

Live or Taped? Two Options for Software Training

Inspiration Webinars are chockfull of information – so much that’s it often hard to absorb all the details. But don’t fret, I’ll show you how I get the most out of webinars. My secret is to watch both the taped and live versions.

The benefit of watching the live version is you can ask a question and get an answer while the taped version allows you to follow along with the instructor.

Sometimes, webinars move quickly and it’s hard to grasp all the information during the live session. Set yourself up for success for a live webinar. Follow these simple steps: find a quiet location to take the webinar, arrive early to download the link, check your connection and finally, pay attention!

If you feel you missed some key points, then take the taped version. Here’s how to get the most out of the taped version. Go to http://www.InspiredbyDIME.com. Click on Webinars on the right column.

Scroll down to view the list. Select Changes are Good! Web2psbl

Click on the link, it takes you to YouTube and the webinar (video) begins to play. Use the pause/play button to stop the video. Web3psbl

Then minimize the window by clicking on the icon at the top right of the screen. The webinar is now paused and the window is resting in the tray.Web4psbl

Locate Perfect Embroidery Pro on your computer and open the program. Go to File, Open to open a new screen. Now let’s get both screens up at once.

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Watch this video to see how to do it.

If you can’t view it here on the blog, use this link to YouTube.

Don’t miss May’s webinars: True Type Tutorial on May 5, 7:00-8:00 CST in Perfect Embroidery Pro with Katherine Artines and May 19, 7:00-8:00 CST is Text, Borders and Florishes, Oh My! in My Block Piecer and My Quilt Embellisher.

Sign up here: http://www.Inspiredbydime.com

 

 

 

A Moment with Your Mom

FreeDesigns

This year marks my first Mother’s Day without my mom as she passed away on Nov. 16, 2014. My mother and I were separated by 1400 miles but I always felt that we were just moments apart.  In just a moment I could pick up the phone and hear her voice – catch her upbeat contagious joy and gratitude.  Listen to the latest family news, laugh at her funny anecdotes and marvel at how she continued to remain so happy despite her failing health.

My mom was 5’1”, nimble on her feet and in her mind. She often hurried across the floor anxious to reach a chair. When she landed, she lit up the room with her smile. She had a kind word and favorite memory for everyone – let me make that clear – e v e r y o n e!  She could connect with anyone. She found common ground with all people and immediately put strangers or newcomers at ease.

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Not really a fashion icon, Mom had a sense of style and color that was perfect for every occasion. She eschewed the latest trends opting instead for fashions that complemented her figure and lifestyle.  She had class.

She was smart – she read three newspapers a day – and she remembered everything, I mean everything! She could recall the name of your childhood best friend’s uncle – and his wife’s name! She remembered the weather and what she wore to an anniversary party in 1978. She was the best Trivial Pursuit player – ever! We all fought to have mom on our team. And crossword puzzles? She completed one every day for over 30 years.  She knew stuff we never even heard of!

My mom was always there for me, for my five sisters and my father.  Yet, somehow, she managed to keep her distance; she didn’t intrude on our marital relationships and yet was always just a moment away. What I wouldn’t do for one of those moments right now.

Happy Mother’s Day to you and to your mom. Count your blessings this year and steal a moment with her if you can. And if you’re lucky enough to celebrate with her, stitch a lovely ‘something’: a small pillow or linen tea towel to acknowledge her importance in your life.

Click the images below to download the lovely designs – my gift to you in memory of my mom and in honor of your mom.

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

“Every sewing studio runs more smoothly with embroidery essentials. For today’s blog, Eileen reached for Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to complete the garment. What’s your favorite go-to Sulky product? Post a comment and one very lucky winner is going to score BIG courtesy of our friends at Sulky!” And the winner is:  Sharon – “As a newbie embroiderer I find your tips very helpful. It’s a case of “I don’t know what I don’t know.””

Inside Scoop on Placement Marks

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Want to look like an embroidery rock star? Learn how to stitch continuous embroidery designs. Many embroiderers are afraid to stitch continuous embroidery although it’s not difficult; you just have to set yourself up for success.

There are several approaches you can take but my favorite is the addition of placement marks. Placement marks are stitched around the embroidery design to help in placement. They are removed after the project is complete.

Here’s how to add them in all of Inspiration’s software programs: Perfect Embroidery Pro and My Quilt Embellisher.

Open a design in PEP and select it. I’m using a strawberry design (53688) from January’s free designs.

Click on the Placement Marks icon.AM2bl

Click on the mark in each corner. If you’re using a large design, you might find it helpful to add the center marks.  Click OK. AM3bl

Move the marks away from the design for increased visibility and easy removal after they are needed. Select the top two marks. AM4bl

Move them up and away from the design. It’s important that you do not move them left or right, just straight up. Use a keyboard shortcut to ensure the marks will not move to the right or left. Hold the Control key and click on the keyboard’s up arrow to move the design. Continue to click until they are about ¼” away from the design. AM5bl

Repeat the same process for the marks on the bottom.  AM6bl

Now let’s take a look at the color sequence, the placement marks are now the first color – the software automatically moves them to the beginning of the color sequence. I like to tweak that a bit. AM15bl

Select the two marks at the right of the design (if you are stitching from left to right). AM16bl

In the Properties Box, select the command tab and type in the number 9 in the color field. Click Apply. AM17bl

Left mouse click on the number 9 in the color sequence. AM18bl

Move it to the end of the sequence.  AM19bl

Now, let’s take a look at multiple repeats of the border design. AM20bl

Here’s how to make it happen on fabric. Stitch the first design of the border on hooped fabric. When stitching the second design, stitch only the first color (the placement marks at the left) on hooped adhesive stabilizer. AM21bl

Place the hoop under PAL (Perfect Alignment Laser), aligning the laser’s horizontal line with the stitched placement mark.  AM22bl

Then simply slide the embroidered fabric under the beam, aligning the beam with the stitched placement mark on the design.AM23bl

The designs will align perfectly!  Continue for the entire border. You’ll look like an embroidery rock star! AM24bl

If you attend an Inspiration’s Hooping Clinic, you’ll get to learn this technique hands-on! Our education consultants are embroidery wizards – experts all things embroidery – you’ll learn tons of new techniques, tips and tricks! Click here to see where a Hooping Clinic is scheduled near you.

Embroidering for Small and Plus Size Figures

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In my first attempts at embroidering a blank garment for a small child, I must admit I struggled. I often made the design too large for the small figure and it always landed in the wrong place. Oh, it looked great when the garment was flat but when worn, it was an entirely different story. The design usually hit closer to the belly button than up near the neckline. And a good portion of a left chest embroidery pretty much always wound up in the armpit.  Once the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit was available, I was saved. I just rely on that handy tool to get the embroidery in the right scale and location for young ones.

At the other end of the scale, embroidering for plus size figures gave me the same trouble.  So what’s my problem? Familiarity. I know what works on a garment that fits a person about my size, give or take a few sizes up or down the scale. But adding a left chest logo to say a man’s XXXL shirt, is not something I do every day.  So finding the right location is difficult. I was relieved when the Embroiderer’s Big Helper was released.  Everyone deserves to look their best when wearing embroidered garments and it’s up to embroiderers to make sure they do. After all, it’s the stitchers who set the look. The common man (those poor souls who don’t stitch) don’t know any better. They need to be led, steered in the right direction when it comes to embroidered garb. After all, they are a walking advertisement for your skills. So help them look their best – use the Embroiderer’s Big Helper when stitching on plus size shirts.

Let me show you how easy it to use.

Fuse Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to the wrong side of the design area. Use enough to fill the hoop – you can trim the excess after stitching.

Place the shirt on a flat work surface. Align the Helper’s straight edge with the center of the placket and position the curved cutout at the neckline.  Align a target sticker to the corresponding size notch.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the Helper and stitch the design.

Remove the shirt from the hoop. Turn the garment inside out and place it on a terrycloth towel on a pressing surface.  Press the stabilizer. Once it’s heated, gently lift it away from the shirt and trim away the excess leaving about ½” stabilizer around the design.  Press again to fuse it back to the garment.

Present the shirt to the lucky recipient!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

Every sewing studio runs more smoothly with embroidery essentials. For today’s blog, Eileen reached for Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to complete the garment. What’s your favorite go-to Sulky product?

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Post a comment and one very lucky winner is going to score BIG courtesy of our friends at Sulky! Prize includes:

  • 8” roll of Tear Easy
  • 8” roll of Solvy
  • 8” roll of Soft ‘n Sheer
  • 1 can of KK 2000
  • A set of 12 Rayon Threads

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The retail value is approximately: $105

 

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

Which approach do you most identify with? Are you the experienced machine embroider that begins a new quilt like Eileen or a more novice embroider like Denise who used the quilt designs to finish existing projects? Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win Windmill Garden Quilts designs. And the winner is:  Beth R. – “I am more of a novice type – plus I have plenty of existing projects to finish!”

Digitizing a Mylar Design

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Want to add sparkle and sheen to simple images? Try Mylar applique. When using Mylar, let the Mylar shine through the stitches. Plan on using a motif fill that mimics fish scales. MylarFish Start with a drawing of a fish – I drew this simple shape in Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro. There are six elements: the main body, the three fins, the head and the eye. Fish (1)

Select the body, right click and select Complex Fill. Fish (2)

With the body selected, change the Fill Type to Motif and the Pattern to #135 in the Properties Box (Fill Tab). Change the Pattern length to 2.5, put a check in the 3D effect box and click Apply. Fish (4)

Select the head, right click and select Complex Fill. With the head selected, change the Fill Type to Wave, Stitch length to 2.8 and the Density to 3.10. Click Apply. Fish (5)

Select the eye. Right click and select Complex Fill. Leave the default settings. Fish (6)

Select the eye, right click and select Create Border. Fish (7)

Select the border, right click and select Steil. Fish (8)

Change the width to 1.5 in the Properties Box (Steil tab). Fish (9)

Select the three fins. Right click, Convert to Run. Change the length to 2.4. Fish (10)

Select the head and the body, right click and select Create Outline. Change the distance to zero, click ok. Fish (12)

The outline is artwork at this point so select it, right click and convert it to Run. Change the run to a Bean stitch, 2.4 stitch length, 3 repeats in the Properties Box, Run tab. Fish (14)

Now let’s change the stitch order as you’ll want the outline to stitch last. The order should be: body, fins, eye and outline. One last step: add a placement guide for the Mylar. Select the last color, the outline, Copy and Paste. Select the copy, change it to a run stitch (from a bean) and set the stitch length to 3.0. Renumber the colors place the run stitch outline as the first color. Fish (15)

How fun is that? Perfect Embroidery Pro makes you look like a digitizing whiz!

 

 

 

 

Two different approaches…same results!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Preface:  One of the most enjoyable aspects of surrounding yourself with other stitchers is the opportunity to see different uses for the same design collection.  Designs Editor, Eileen Roche and Managing Editor, Denise Holguin, did just that in today’s blog. They took one embroidery collection, the new Windmill Garden collection, to make their own unique creation.  Both individuals took different approaches – drawing from their own experience for inspiration.  Whether you’re an experienced machine embroiderer like Eileen Roche, or a more novice embroiderer like Denise Holguin, you’ll gather some tips and information that will keep you inspired.

Take a look at Eileen’s approach to using the Windmill Garden collection…

It’s all about the Stitches – By Eileen Roche

When I saw the Windmill Garden designs, I was lured into the pretty stitches. I just couldn’t wait to see the designs stitched on plain fabrics. So I grabbed some aqua and orange fat quarters, pieced a simple – oh, very simple, table runner and then added the lovely stitches. I enlarged the designs right at the machine so that they would fill the 5″ blocks.  It was so simple that I actually cut, pieced and quilted this 22 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ sample in 90 minutes!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Making this sample taught me several things – first the designs look luscious in a contrasting – eye-popping thread. Second, they enlarge beautifully. Third, they are continuous run designs – no tie-offs in each color.  So the back looks as good as the front since I used polyester machine embroidery 40 wt. thread in both the needle and bobbin. Last, I can now plan on using these designs on future projects with confidence.

A Novice’s Approach – By Denise Holguin

I have a confession to make.  I have quilt tops in my closet that are 15 years old.  At last count I had somewhere around 15-20 quilt tops—varying in sizes.  This doesn’t include quilt blocks in various shapes and sizes that need to be pieced.  I concluded long ago I only like to make quilt tops—not actually ‘quilt’.

But now I’m a reformed quilter.  I discovered a new method of quilting that actually makes the process fun.  The Windmill Garden Quilt collection features 7 quilting embroidery designs that are easy to add to just about any quilt!

Unsure of my ability, I started with a small scrap quilt – large enough for a doll blanket. If I messed up it I’d consider it an opportunity to learn.  I printed a template and placed the template on each strip of fabric. Easy!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Stunned by the ease of placing the embroidery and the speed of the stitching, I was eager to experiment some more.  This time with a lap quilt.  First I made a quilt sandwich with my quilt top, batting and backing.  I pinned the edges to keep everything together.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I began by using the Windmill design.  I clicked on the monochromatic button to reduce the two colors to one color.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

I stitched my first quilt design with ease!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

My goal was to do a random effect with the quilt designs – so I continued adding the Windmill design throughout the quilt.

Enamored with the results – I experimented some more.  What makes this collection so doable is the ability to place the designs easily.  I used the corners of the blocks as my center for the embroidery designs.  As long as I can position my needle in that center, I’m good to go!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Late night quilting has never been this fun!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

With every stitch my confidence increased.  Don’t you love that feeling?

I decided to add designs to the center of the fabric squares.  I used a Target Sticker to designate the center.  Then I stitched the design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The end result – I have a quilt top finally quilted after all these years!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

No matter your skill level or approach we encourage you to try!

Here’s your assignment this week:
Which approach do you most identify with? Are you the experienced machine embroider that begins a new quilt like Eileen or a more novice embroider like Denise who used the quilt designs to finish existing projects?  Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win Windmill Garden Quilts designs.
The winners of last week’s assignment answered the following question: I had so much fun working with the Glitter Sheets from BFC- Stash on this project. The wide range of sheet color choices is my favorite aspect of the product. What is your favorite color Glitter Sheet to use? Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website. The winner is: Karen P. – “I’ve only used the gold but all of the colors are great!! There are so many things you can do with them and if I had a scan and cut, I’d be using appliqué on so much more!! Even my dogs bed. It’s one of my dream gifts that I’m hinting for.”


 

 

 

 

Software Saturday – My Quilt Embellisher Labels


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When you stumble across a family heirloom, don’t you find yourself yearning for some background behind the object?  Don’t you wish you knew the date it was created and by whom? And where?  I sure do.  So I think we should take that into consideration when we make quilts and include a label.

Of course, labels are as individual as signatures but here are my self-inflicted rules for quilt labels – with the emphasis on self-inflicted!  I think it’s important to document the title of the quilt, the recipient (if there is one), the quilt maker’s name and hometown, the date of completion and…how to care for the quilt.

Two more rules that I have are to make the label visually appealing and add it to the quilt before the quilting is complete. I’ll explain how I add it to the quilt in a future post but for now, I’ll concentrate on digitizng.

My Quilt Embellisher has 99 different labels to get you started.  Open a new file in My Quilt Embellisher, click on the Border icon and select a favorite – I like Border 74. label1

It has adornments at the top and bottom; an inner bean stitch outline and an outer satin stich outline.  Select the design, right mouse click and Ungroup. Now, delete adornments and the satin stitch outline. label3

Select the Text icon and click inside the frame.  Move the cursor to the Properties box and type the title of the quilt. Select a font from the drop down menu, I’ve selected Bauhas.  Click Apply. label4

Select the Text icon again and click inside the frame.  Move the cursor to the Properties box and type your name, click on Enter and then type your hometown on the second line. Click a different font from the drop down menu – Cursive in this sample. In the Line Spacing box, enter -5. Click Apply. The negative number automatically pulls the letters close together mimicking handwriting. label5

Just a little more information and we’ll be done. Select the text icon again, click inside the frame and move the cursor to the Properties box.  Type the date on the first line and the care instructions on the second line.  In the font drop down menu, select Arial 4mm.  Click Apply. label7

Select all of the elements, right mouse click and select Align, Horizontal Center. label8

Once you’re satisfied with the layout, reorder the color sequence. In the Sequence window, select the first color, the frame. label9

Move it to the last position. The label is ready to be stitched! label10

On Wednesday, I’ll share the next steps – applying to the quilt.

I love how easy it is to customize a label in My Quilt Embellisher.

Glitter Princess!

Glitter Princess!

You’re never too old or too young to celebrate a special birthday!  Recently, Stephanie Sanders, my loyal employee of 14 years, approached me with a request to stitch a shirt for her daughter’s upcoming 2nd birthday.

We discussed options and thought it would be fun to stitch an applique crown and a number 2.  Since little girls love sparkles we knew the applique fabric would have to be something glittery and fun.

This was the perfect opportunity to use Glitter Sheets from BFC-Stash.  The sheets are available as sets and individual sheets in countless colors.  Instructions are included with the Embroidery Glitter for steps on how to use and care for the product.  

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I used embroidery software to create the embroidery design.  If you missed the Software Saturday lesson on the blog click here.

I could have placed an entire square of the Glitter Sheet on the applique then trimmed it away once the tack down stitch was complete.  But this was a great opportunity to use the Brother™ ScanNCut to create pre-cut applique shapes.  So I sent the applique artwork files from Perfect Embroidery Pro to my Brother Scan N Cut.  I loaded a gold glitter sheet, pressed the button and Voila! A gold crown, perfectly cut!  IMG_0655

I was so excited I quickly picked up a pink glitter sheet and repeated the steps for the digit.  Gee, that stuff is addictive! IMG_0659

Once the design was created I fused Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer™ Extra cut-away stabilizer to the wrong side of the t-shirt. Then I hooped the t-shirt in Snap Hoop Monster.

When it was time to stitch the design I placed the pre-cut Glitter sheets on the placement stitching.  The sheets were tacked down then finished with the satin stitching.  The final step is to use a Teflon pressing cloth to iron the embroidery using the linen heat setting.  (330-365 degrees).  Complete care instructions are included with the Glitter Sheets.

The Glitter Sheets are light-weight and move with the garment.  Perfect for a little one that is always on the move!

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The final step was to finish the back of the garment with Sulky Tender™ Touch.  This added step makes the shirt more comfortable for little ones to wear by covering the bobbin stitches.

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Now the little princess is ready for her party!

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If you’ve missed out on this month’s Designs Plus Newsletter, be sure to stop by for a visit.  Sulky is offering 3 free embroidery designs and a limited time special offer on their products.

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

I had so much fun working with the Glitter Sheets from BFC- Stash on this project. The wide range of sheet color choices is my favorite aspect of the product. What is your favorite color Glitter Sheet to use? Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

Numbered Patches in My Block Piecer

Welcome Software Saturday readers!  Recently, I had a conversation with an avid My Block Piecer user. She loves this software and makes large blocks and mini blocks – really, really mini blocks!  She told me she struggles with one thing – the numbers that are stitched in each patch. On the one hand, she loves the numbers because they tell her where to place the next piece of fabric. But…sometimes she doesn’t want the number to actually stitch. She would prefer to skip the numbers when using light colored fabrics or when stitching mini blocks. Since the numbers are part of the schematic (the outlines of the patches), she can’t just skip the colors at the machine.  So here’s how to get rid of them in the software.

First, open My block Piecer and go to File, New.  Click on the Block Library icon and choose from over 1200 blocks. 4_3_9

Select your block and click OK.  4_3_10

Left mouse click and drag the cursor around the block.  4_3_11

Select the Workflow tool. 4_3_12

In the Workflow window, set the size of the hoop, click on Auto Build.  4_3_13

Click Preview. 4_3_14

Click Save and name the block.  The software automatically saves the block (stitch file) and the artwork in a folder. Open the stitch file. 4_3_15

In the color Sequence window, click on a color. You’ll see the design is grouped so right click and select Ungroup. 4_3_16

Now, move the cursor back to the design. Drag the mouse around each number and delete them one by one. 4_3_17

What remains is the block schematic – sans numbers! 4_3_18

Go to File, Save As and assign a new name to the design. Use this design to stitch and the original design to print the schematic and instructions.

Don’t you just love this software? It gives you so much freedom when creating blocks to piece in the hoop!

Easter Egg Hunt!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

You are invited to participate in an Easter Egg Hunt!  We have hidden 5 Easter Egg graphics in Eileen’s blog posts.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

If you find all the Easter Eggs, you’ll receive 3 free embroidery designs!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

How to play:
Use the clues below to locate the blog post where each Easter egg is hidden. When you find the Easter egg, click on the image so you can get credit for finding it!

Once you find all 5 Easter eggs, you’ll be taken to a page to download your free designs!  Have fun!

 

Clues:

  1. Eileen discusses an unexpected use for a toilet brush.
  2. Once you read Eileen’s tutorial you may find yourself zipping over to your favorite sewing store to pick up some of these. She even gives you two free designs – one in a 7” length and one in a 9” length.
  3. You might have to avoid this carbohydrate in your diet but who doesn’t love fries, mashed potatoes, potato chips, bread and pasta?
  4. Eileen is willing to wager most of us wear this type of fabric four out of seven days.
  5. Hans brings Jan to safety with the use of Madeira thread.

 

Tips:
Use the search box on Eileen’s Machine Embroidery blog for key words or phrases.

Here’s your assignment this week:

What holiday inspires you most to embroider, sew and craft?  This week everyone is a winner when they go hunting for Easter Eggs!
The winners of last week’s assignment answered the following question:I’m fortunate to have friends and coworkers that challenge me to try new things – like crazy quilting.  Who in your life pushes you to be your best and try new things?  What activities have they encouraged you to try that you discovered you loved?  Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.The winner is: Terri – “I have a sewing buddy, Ellen and we meet weekly. We both challenge each other to try new things. Last fall, we were working with wool in our projects…currently we are working with crazy quilting by hand. Now, I’ll have a new challenge to throw at her– crazy quilting using our sewing machines and more specifically using the embroidery function of our machines!”

 

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