Author Archive

Skip the Numbers in My Block Piecer

Welcome Software Saturday readers!  Recently, I was creating a Flying Geese border in My Block Piecer. I stitched 16 repeats and after the third or fourth one, I knew the patch sequence by heart. Since I’m always on a mission to find time-saving steps, I figured if I omitted stitching the actual numbers in each patch, I would save some precious time. Here’s how to do it.

Open a new file in My Block Piecer. Click on the Block Libraby icon and enter Flying Geese #7 in the box. Click the green down arrow to jump to Flying Geese #7.  Click OK.N1BL

Select the block, right mouse click and select Ungroup.  Delete both side panels. N2BL

Select the remaining patches and click on the Workflow icon and Autobuild. Click Preview.  There are 12 patches in this unit.  Click Save and close. N3BL

Copy and paste the unit to stitch two in one hooping.N5BL

Select all and Ungroup. Now click on each individual letter and delete it.N6BL

You’ll be left with everything but the numbers.N7BL

But don’t worry, when you saved the design earlier, a PDF was created with a visual guide to the block. The first image includes the numbers on each patch.N8BL

The second shows an image of the design with the numbers.N9BL

And finally, there’s an instruction sheet which guides you through each patch.N10BL

Save this edited design with a new name and use it to stitch the block. Don’t you just love this software? It gives you so much freedom when creating blocks to piece in the hoop!

Mega Monograms

Mega Monograms by Eileen Roche

On the cover of the January/February 2017 issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine, mega monograms were shown.  The monograms are huge – 8″ tall – and are complex fill letters.  They were created in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro are the magazine included the step-by-step directions for some of the pillows. Recently, I had a reader ask how to transform the letter B into complex fill.

Here’s how. First, select the Text tool and type in the letter.  Enlarge the letter to the size you want, my sample is 8″ tall.  Select the Run tool and trace the outside of the letter B.Trace around each opening.

Select all three lines and click on Combine.

Select the letter, right mouse click, and select Convert to Complex Fill from the drop down menu.Once the letter is converted, you can add a border. Select all three elements and click on the Combine tool. Now the letter is filled.

Select the letter, right mouse click and Add a Border.You can change the border to Steil for a crisp outline on the letter.  If you’re wondering why we didn’t add an outline, here’s why:

Who has the Most Quilt Tops?

I really hit a nerve last week when I asked if you had any quilt tops that need to be quilted.  Most readers admitted having more than three tops ready to be quilted from over 200 (and counting) responses. Not that it was a competition, but wow, we all seem to have quilt tops that need to be finished!

Blog reader Eileen Gorzelic summed it up when she wrote, Wow! Seems like a lot of us are in the same boat. Honestly I am not sure how many I have to quilt. I really enjoy the piecing part and when I get to the quilting part I become paralyzed and anxious. For some reason I have a problem with making small pieces and end up with twins, queens, and kings and the cost of having someone quilt it has become so expensive that I end up dragging my feet and end up start a new project…….Thanks for giving us an avenue to completion!

On January 31, Nataly Poire shared, “I have 3 boxes of tops that need to be quilt because I don’t like the quilting part…have to try your method.”

I know exactly how Nataly feels. I’ll share a little of my quilting journey (it’s taken 20 years so I won’t bore you with all of the details). When I first started quilting, I didn’t know a thing about precise piecing skills so instead of focusing on learning how to be precise and consistent, I took another path. I just came up with my own ways, like wider seam allowances, raw edge applique, fabrics that hid mistakes and more.  Then in 2014, I invented the shortE, the embroidery short arm with a long reach. It’s a frame that holds a quilt above the machine bed so you can quilt with an embroidery machine.

At first, I used cheater panels and whole cloth quilts to learn the ‘machining’ part.  The ‘machining’ part is the actual quilting of the quilt.

After a while, I got good at the ‘machining’ part and I fell in love with the end result – quilts that I wanted to wrap myself (or a loved one) in.  They were not only soft and supple; they were also interesting to look at. The stitching was beautiful and the texture was what I had always longed for. They were finally like the samples in the quilt shops that you just want to pull off the wall and lie under. They were, well, real quilts! 

The end result made me want to create beautiful tops so I finally paid attention to the piecing.  Believe me, I’m years away from entering a top notch quilt show but I’ve found I enjoy the quilt top making process so much more because I know the ‘machining’ part is doable  – the machining is not going to ‘ruin’ all of my piecing efforts. And isn’t that what we’re all afraid of? Ruining our beautiful quilt tops with the quilting (machining) process?  Well, fear no more – help is here! 

Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons breaks all of the ‘machining’ down into manageable steps.  I feel like I’ve made (and overcome!) every challenge that you could encounter in quilting with an embroidery machine.  I’ve learned an awful lot on this journey and I’m happy to share it with you in Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  Remember, you can watch it on Sewing with Nancy at http://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/ or check your local TV listings to watch on PBS.

Last week’s lucky winner is Joanna Cook!

Want to be winner this week? Just tell me the size of your largest hoop (and machine model) and you could win a pack of Print & Stick Target Template paper – that’s a $19.99 value

Advanced Tutorial for Perfect Embroidery Pro

My good friend, Katherine Artines, recently posted a new video tutorial on the Inspired by Dime YouTube channel.  Katherine’s topic, Push/Pull: Distortion and Compensation, is an advanced discussion of this often misunderstood embroidery feature. If you’ve wondered why what you see on screen does not match your stitched sample, then you’ll really enjoy Katherine’s breakdown of Push/Pull.

She starts with a clear explanation of exactly what push/pull is.

She then goes on to explain the difference between stitch direction and sewing direction and how they affect the end result.  The stitch direction is the angle of stitches while sewing direction is where the needle starts, the direction it travels in and where it finishes.

We learn how size actually does matter on how a design will stitch. Of course, she doesn’t just point out the problems, she gives you solutions.  Each issue is clearly illustrated so you can follow along.

And she critiques stitched designs to show you the problem and gives you the solution.

She brings this same methodical approach to lettering.  Many of us are perplexed about the baseline of text.  Listen to her explanation and you know why the screen shows one thing and the stitch out another.

Don’t you hate when you digitize a complex fill area and spot a row of missing stitches? Ugh!  Katherine explains why this happens (yep, push and pull) and how to fix it.

I encourage you to spend an hour (or break it up into shorter segments) watching Katherine’s video. Your digitizing skills will improve!  I hope you’re already a subscriber to our YouTube channel, if not, sign up today and you’ll never miss a new opportunity to learn more about embroidery.

Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons

I’m excited to announce (and give away a copy to one lucky reader) my new book: Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  This book has been the culmination of over 20 years of quilting with an embroidery machine. I’ve done everything from embroidered quilt tops to quilt as you as go to quilting king size quilts on an embroidery machine.  I’ve learned an awful lot on this journey and I’m happy to share it with you on Sewing with Nancy.  You can watch it online at http://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/ or check your local TV listings to watch on PBS.

This book teaches you several different methods for quilting with an embroidery machine: quilting and appliqueing in one step; custom quilting and allover quilting.  Quilting and appliqueing in one step is a patented process that I designed in 2008.  Since then, I’ve created 16 Stipple Collections, and in this book you’ll find two projects that incorporate that revolutionary technique.

Custom quilting is no doubt the type of quilting that makes your jaw drop at quilt show competitions.  The quilting is designed to specifically enhance and fill a shape (block), applique or area. To be honest, custom quilting is probably best achieved through expert free motion quilting. When custom quilting is done on an embroidery machine, you do not have the ‘freedom’ to move the needle as you do in free motion quilting so the results are not as ‘customized.’  However, custom quilting is how many of us want to finish our tops. I show you how to do it in the Patriotic Pillow and Diamond table runner.

Allover quilting is often the result you get when you ‘quilt by check’. Quilt by check mean you pay someone else to quilt your quilt. When you send your quilt to a longarmer, they select an allover pattern that complements your quilt top unless you have specifically requested (and agreed to pay for) custom quilting.  There are two types of allover quilting: nesting and linking. You’ll learn the difference between the methods with two projects.

You’ll discover three different ways to handle the quilt during the stitching process: furniture you have on hand, the shortE and the Weightless Quilter.  My goal for this book is to help you expand your embroidery skills into the world of quilting and get more out of your machine.  I hope you find quilting with an embroidery machine as rewarding as I do. 

Want to win a copy of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons?  Just leave a comment and tell me if have any quilt tops that need to be quilted.  Do you have one, two, three or more?  One lucky winner will be selected to win the book and the accompanying collection of 20 embroidery designs.

 

Want to order your copy now?  This week you’ll find free shipping on all autographed copies of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  Click here to order.

Embroidering on Onesies

Is there anything sweeter than welcoming a new baby into the family right at the holidays?  It brings the meaning of Christmas home…time to focus on the important things in live and leave the mall hustle and bustle to others.  One of our team members, Sandy Griggs, became a first-time grandma on Dec. 18th to Bo Braun – a beautiful, healthy 8.3 pound cherub.

We couldn’t be more thrilled for her family and since Sandy is a previous collegiate softball star, I thought it was only appropriate to stitch a onesie for Bo.  It’s a little cold up there right now but come spring training, he’ll be ready for batting practice!

I purchased a baseball applique design at Applique For Kids and added lettering to personalize it for Sandy. 2016-12-28_15-27-17

Here are the easy steps for stitching an onesie. Fuse polymesh cut-away stabilizer to the wrong side of the onesie.  Place the onesie on a work surface and position the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit Center Chest template on the shirt. Match the shirt’s vertical center with the template’s vertical line and the curved neckline at the bottom of the ribbing. Place a target sticker in the opening. one1

Turn the onesie INSIDE out.  Slide the top magnetic frame of Snap Hoop Monster into the shirt, centering the target sticker. You’ll have to peek into the garment to see if it’s centered.  Attach Hoop Guard to the frame and pull the shirt over the Hoop Guard as shown. one2

Carefully transport the hoop to the machine (use the magnetic shield that came with the hoop). Attach the hoop the machine.  Use the machine’s editing features to center the needle over the target sticker.  Rotate the design so that it will stitch in the proper orientation. one3

Stitch the first color, the placement guide.one4

Place the applique fabric over the outline and stitch color 2, the tackdown.  Trim the applique close to the stitching and continue with the embroidered details. one6

Remove the hoop from the machine, turn the onesie inside out and trim away the excess stabilizer. Fuse a soft, tricot knit interfacing over the wrong side of the embroidery to protect the baby’s skin. one7

If you like this baseball applique, then there’s a good chance you could win a $20 gift certificate at Applique For Kids. Just leave us a comment and we’ll pick FIVE winners next week!  Since Applique for Kids designs are just $2.00, that’s 10 designs!  Pop on over to Applique for Kids and tell me what’s your favorite category of designs – they’ve got plenty!5winners

Happy New Year!

 

 

Monogrammed Journal with It’s Sew Easy TV

Fashion and technology combine to create today’s greatest looks.  See how to create them yourself on It’s Sew Easy episode 1113. It airs on the It’s Sew Easy website starting at noon on Friday, December 16, 2016 http://www.itsseweasytv.com/

 

Design options explode using today’s technology.  With the most current sewing and embroidery software and machines, embroidery designer Eileen Roche adds flair to a traditional skirt. In the style tip, she’ll show how to place embroideries in a flattering way. Then, fabric artist Kim Montagnese combines computer technology with traditional sewing techniques to capture vacation memories in a pillow.

You can catch Eileen Roche’s embroidery artistry from episode 1113 on the It’s Sew Easy YouTube Channel, too.

And see how fashions from the past influence today’s hottest looks on It’s Sew Easy series 900. A new episode from the 900 series airs on Create TV at 6 a.m. and noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of December.

Tacky Christmas Sweaters

The other day I received an email with the subject line: Deck the Halls with Ugly Sweaters.  It was from one of my employees and it was an invitation to my company’s holiday luncheon.

Tis the season for Ugly Sweaters!

Join us for an

Ugly Sweater Christmas Lunch

Wednesday December 21st

~Wear your ugliest Christmas sweater~

pic

As one of the company owners, I was consulted about the date, location and menu but not the theme. Now I know tacky holiday sweaters are all the rage.  So popular that Madame Tussauds’ most recent exhibit includes the Royal Family in holiday sweaters.  I especially love the double sweater for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

2016-12-07_8-59-28

Madame Tussauds/Instagram

But it wasn’t too long ago that we TAUGHT embroiderers how to stitch holiday sweaters. I think those very same sweaters (that we labored hours and hours on) inspired the tacky trend. Should we be insulted? Should we laugh?  What’s the appropriate response?

Here’s my take – don’t be insulted. Pat yourself on the back for inspiring an entire generation of bland-attire owners.  They only had to look to us to know how to really celebrate the festive season.

Should we laugh? Definitely. Because as hard as they try, they’ll never understand the difference between wool felt snowmen and craft felt snowmen.

What’s the appropriate response? By all means attend the party in your holiday finery. Your not-so-tacky holiday sweater will be more comfortable, more cherished and possibly worthy of a trophy. (Apparently, there are awards involved – kind of like a costume party).

Now, if they attend the party in a sweater that you made for them, make sure you take a picture; I mean a “selfie”, with them so you can remember to take them OFF your gift-making list.

So tell me, what are your thoughts about the tacky sweaters?

Last week’s winner was Melinda, congrats Melinda! Your prize will be arriving shortly!

Stitch Insurance

I enjoy virtually creating quilt blocks using my fabrics, threads, embroidery designs and quilting stitches before making that first cut into my fabrics. Call it stitch insurance. My favorite method is to use Inspirations’ My Quilt Embellisher (MQE) for this task.

 

My first step is to load fabric images into each segment of the block and then lock the images in place so that I can debut various stitches.

 

Follow these easy steps for your own insurance. Open the Block Library and choose a block. In this example we used the Diamond from the Connector Blocks folder.

blockphoto1bl

First, we need to virtually fill the block with fabrics.  Using the Select Tool, select a patch in the block to fill with fabric. Click on the second icon in the Tool Bar, the Fabric tool. Once the dialog box opens, choose your fabric. Select Ok. (It’s easy to update your fabric swatches, just follow the steps in this blog post: http://dzgns.com/blog/?s=add+fabric )

blockphoto2bl

Your highlighted pieces should now reflect the chosen fabric.

blockphoto3bl

Repeat this process until your block is completely filled with fabric. Notice that in the Sequence Viewer each piece is still artwork. Left click on All Items to select the entire block then in the top Tool Bar, select Copy, Paste.

blockphtot4bl

In the Sequence Viewer, left click on the small padlock icon next to the top two items.

blockphtot5bl

Now we can add stitches and embroidery designs to our quilt block and still see the fabrics. Using the Selection Tool, either left click directly on a piece of your block or select an unlocked patch in the Sequence Viewer to add stitches. Here we selected a Stipple Stitch.

blockphoto6bl

Continue adding stitches or embroidery designs until you’re pleased with the results.

blockphotto7bl

You can learn more about My Quilt Embellisher here. Enjoy!

 

http://www.inspiredbydime.com/inspiration-software/my-quilt-embellisher/

Necklines to Hemlines, T-shirt Remakes

Doesn’t it make you so proud when you finish an embroidery project and are amazed at the results? That’s how I feel every time I remake a t-shirt with the designs Nancy Zieman and I have created for any our neckline collections.  I’ve made dozens of these shirts over the years – and taught hundreds of embroiderers how to do it. So many Designs in Machine Embroidery customers, blog readers and Sewing with Nancy viewers have asked for more neckline fashions that allow them to transform their wardrobe the way they want. So Nancy and I listened! We just released another collection, Necklines to Hemlines, T-shirt Remakes.neckhembl

This collection is a bit different than the previous ones because we’ve included designs for hemlines and the center back neck. With the popularity of free-flowing tunics in ready-wear, we felt the time was right to offer designs to decorate the whole garment – not just the neckline.  Necklines to Hemlines features larger designs split into two 5” x 7” hoopings or one hooping in a 6” x 10” hoop. The larger designs are scaled for women of all sizes.lilyfoldedbl

Two of the groupings, the Rita and Lilly have eyelets while the Zoe is just a slit opening at the neckline.  You’ll still find sleeve (for right and left placement) and side seam designs..

The Rita

rita1bl

The Lilly

lily1bl

The Zoe

zoebl

Of course, the designs come with complete instructions – 18 pages of instructions on how to stabilize, hoop, stitch and finish the garment. You’ll find everything you need to be successful with remaking a simple tunic or t-shirt. ritamodelbl

Here’s a question for you: If you won a copy of Necklines to Hemlines what shirt would you stitch first, the Rita, Zoe or Lilly? Leave a comment and we’ll pick a random winner to recive Necklines to Hemlines free of charge.  You never know, it could be your lucky day!

1 2 3 48