Author 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?’

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

 

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!

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.

 

 

Downton Abbey Season Premiere

Are you a Downton fan? If so, then you know Sunday night is the season premiere of season 6 – the final season of Downton Abbey. I’m a new Downton fan.  As you remember, I was laid up for six weeks this summer so I spent quite a bit of time in front of the television. A lot of which was very boring – but not all of it, thanks to Downton Abbey. My friend, Rita Farro, encouraged me to watch all five seasons, so I did. And I loved it!

Recently, I jumped at the chance to see the season premiere of season 6 sponsored by KERA and AT&T Performing Arts Center at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas. I received an email from the opera house promoting the event and thought it would be a fun date night during the holiday season with my husband. Tickets were free but you had to have a ticket to attend.

So off we went to dinner and then to the showing. Ticket holders were encouraged to come in costume (we did not)  – it was great fun to see how many people did. There were a splattering of beautiful hats, long flowing gowns and several men in tuxedos. We sat next to three couples all dressed to the max. The men wore tails and white gloves!

I chatted with three beautiful women for a brief moment while admiring their handiwork.Trio2

But I think my favorite was the maid! I only spotted two people dressed like the servants and this lovely woman took the cake. She was flattered when I asked for her photo. Maid

Of course, the lighting was terrible – after all the attendees were not on the stage. So please forgive the poorly lit photos.

I will not spoil Sunday night’s fun by telling you what you’ll see in episode 1. But tune in – it’s going to be a terrific season! You can watch a trailer here on PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/downtonabbey/

And if you want to catch up on past episodes, check your local PBS station – many are running a Downton marathon this weekend.2015-12-30_20-32-18

Wouldn’t it be fun to stitch up some Downton-style embroidery?  This week’s blog sponsor, Sew Timeless, has a treasure trove of heirloom embroidery designs.  Tell us who your favorite Downton character is and you could win one of four $25.00 gift vouchers from Sew Timeless.  Leave your comment and we’ll randomly select four winners next week.

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Splitting Designs in Perfect Embroidery Pro

If you love jumbo designs but don’t have a jumbo hoop, you can easily split a design in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Follow along with me to learn how.

Open a new file in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Monogram tool and select Mono17. Type in the letter P. Change the height to 6” and click Apply. Split1

Select the design on the screen and click on the Split Design icon. Split2

The Split Design screen appears. Click on the arrow in the Hoop field and select your hoop. I entered 130×180. The red boxes illustrate two hoopings: 1:1 and 2:1. You can move the boxes to select what portion of the design you want to stitch in the first and second hoop. It’s a good idea to move the boxes to split the design at a natural point. In this instance, where the upper right of the P meets the left leg of the P. Click on Split Preview to see the actually split. Split3

The first hooping appears in the preview window.Split4

When you click in the second hooping area, the preview window changes to the second hooping. Split5

Toggle between the first and second hooping to view each individually. If you want to adjust the split, click on Split Preview again. Move the boxes around each portion of the design. Click on Split Preview again to see you changes.

Once you’re satisfied with the split, click Save and the software will save the design into two separate files and templates of both portions.Split6

Print a template of each design and send the designs to your machine. Splitting designs has never been easier.  Give it a try, this is a skill you’ll use over and over again!

 

 

Fabric Too Short for the Hoop?

Don’t you hate it when the fabric doesn’t fit in the hoop? Recently, I was stitching a faced scallop border on my embroidery machine and the fabric was about 3” too short to fit in the hoop. I find that so frustrating! I didn’t want to waste more fabric so I cut a 3” piece of adhesive water soluble stabilizer then removed 1 ½” of the protective paper. I pressed my fabric strip to the sticky surface. Presto! The fabric strip fit into the embroidery frame and I didn’t have to fill the hoop with fabric or stabilizer. Fab3

Stitching a faced scalloped hem on the embroidery machine is no different than stitching one on a sewing machine. It’s still a running stitch and doesn’t require stabilizer behind the stitches. The difference is the scallops are perfect when you leave the measuring and stitching to the digital precision of an embroidery machine. It works for all kinds of projects: towels, totes, quilts and garments. And now you know how to fill the hoop even if your fabric is too small!Fab2l

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

What Color Would You Select?

I’m in a quandary. I’m designing the quilting for the My Block Piecer Block of the Month Sampler. The quilt is pieced and I’m excited to load the quilt onto the shortE and get started. Here’s a look at the pieced quilt on the design wall. Please forgive the photography – I took this photo with my cell phone.2015-12-19_20-00-51

Here’s one quilting layout that I started in My Quilt Planner. This layout features the same designs on each block. 2015-12-19_19-40-36

I don’t know if this is the one that I’ll go with but it’s been fun playing with the feathers.
Here’s a preview of the feathers a quilt block.2015-12-19_19-28-22

But what color thread? I’ve eliminated black because I’d like the quilting to pop on the black patches. Shall I select bright pink, hot blue, neon green or orange? Should I try to go with one color for the whole quilt or select thread for each block? What would you do?

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