Author Archive

Resizing Quilt Blocks in My Block Piecer

It’s so simple to customize the size of the 1,200+ quilt blocks that are stored in Inspiration’s My Block Piecer’s quilt block library.  All it takes to learn this Software Saturday’s lesson is to watch a quick two-minute video. You’ll learn how to resize in the block library or on the editing screen.  Check it out! [KGVID width=”640″ height=”415″]http://dzgns.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/MBP_SizingBlocks.mp4[/KGVID]

If you’re having trouble viewing the video here, you can watch it on You Tube. Just follow this link.

February Update: an industry first!

Here’s an industry first that brings digitizing to your fingertips!  If you have a touchscreen laptop or Windows tablet such as the Surface, you can now digitize with your touchscreen! Just click an icon, pick up your stylus (or use your finger) and draw on the screen!  Your drawing can then be converted to embroidery stitches.

Watch the video to see how simple it is in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Update today!

 

Click here to view video

February Update

February’s update is will be available on Monday, February 3, 2015!  You’ll find three terrific updates to Perfect Embroidery Pro and My Quilt Embellisher.  I’m sharing two of the updates with you today but you’ll have to wait until next Saturday to see the third – it’s a ‘big reveal!’  I’ll need the help of an assistant to show you since it will take two cameras.  Wow – sounds like the Super Bowl of Embroidery!  Believe me – it will be worth the wait.  And for those of you who just can’t wait, do some detective work in Monday’s update and maybe you’ll discover it on your own.

Watch this short 2-minute video to see how Stipple Maze has been improved and see the gorgeous new decorative buttonholes add to Perfect Embroidery Pro.  [KGVID width=”640″ height=”371″]http://dzgns.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/FEbUpdate2015.mp4[/KGVID]

If you can’t view the video here on the blog, jump over to YouTube watch it there http://youtu.be/VazHh0ZF-yk

The Tonight Show at Sew Expo? Uh? What?

If you’ve been a Johnny Carson, Jay Leno or Jimmy Fallon fan – then you’ll definitely want to catch the Stitching Sisters at Friday Night Live. Sew Expo, our industry’s largest trade show, is host to this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. IMG_4109_res

Yep – the Tonight Show takes on embroidery and sewing and quilting! 2015-01-28_16-50-06

What can you expect in Friday Night Live? Well, the predictable Tonight Show fare: a host, guests and entertaining segments. The host – me along with my Stitching Sister Marie Zinno; two very special guests (whose identities will have to remain a secret for right now). And of course, the entertaining segments, I mean the unpredictable segments:

• Thank You Notes to sewing industry giants, an hilarious Friday night tradition started by Jimmy Fallon.
• An embroidery fashion show – unlike any you’ve ever seen before. You’ll learn just how crucial placement and spelling can be.
• You’ll see what NOT to do with embroidery hoops and feet.
• You’ll compete in a hilarious game of Do You Have? to win priceless – and I mean priceless – prizes!
• The Stitching Sisters Top Embroidery Tips2015-01-28_16-56-39
If you’re a current Tonight Show fan (think Jimmy Fallon), then you probably know a little about his infamous lip sinc battles. Lip Sinc Battle? Hmm. Do you think those mystery guests would be game? Tell me your favorite Tonight Show host, Carson, Leno or Fallon. A random comment will be selected to win an autographed PAL!

Our winner from last week, with a $100 gift certificate at the Sewphisticated Stitcher website is Sara R. “I give bibs and burp pads as baby gifts. My BFF’s granddaughter told us the name she was planning to use. I spelled it the traditional way rather than her way, then she ended up naming the baby something totally different. Oh well.”

 

Friday Night Live Feb. 27, 2015, Sew Expo runs from Feb. 26 to March 1, 2015 in Puyallup , Washington.

Webinars – Watch Anytime, Anywhere and Learn

Did you watch Tuesday’s webinar with our new presenter, Katherine Artines? If you did, I’ll bet you learned a few tricks to make your embroidery stitch flawlessly.

Katherine has been writing for Designs for several years and is the author of Posh Pincushions – a reader favorite. She brings creativity to the technical side of embroidery and I guarantee you’ll be inspired by watching her webinars. Her timing is spot on as this month’s webinar features hearts – just in time for Valentine’s Day. If you missed it, you can still watch it here. ArtinesDebut

You’ll learn how Click2Stitch makes you look like a digitizing rock star and you’ll hear her terrific nuggets of information like inserting exaggerated measurements into a setting to see what effect the new setting has on the design.2015-01-23_17-48-45

Borrow her handy rule of thumb for guesstimating the time it will take to stitch out a design. Genius! And she ends with a quick tutorial on an adorable felt tray – so easy to make in the hoop with Perfect Embroidery Pro. Watch the tutorial and digitize and stitch yours today!2015-01-23_17-54-28

You can view all of our past webinars – you can always find them on the Inspired by Dime website. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page to access past webinars.

Look for Tamara Evan’s webinars on Perfect Embroidery Pro, My Quilt Embellisher and My Block Piecer. Upcoming webinars are listed in chronological order at the top of the page. Just click to register and you’ll receive an email reminder. Then log on and learn!

 

Looking for Inspiration?

Every embroiderer has the best intentions. We all want to create something beautiful to enjoy or to share with someone else. Maybe we want to make a gift to pass on to a loved one to remember us by. Whatever the end goal, there is a fair amount of planning involved and sometimes that can take the fun out! But, you don’t have to worry about that anymore!

How would you like to have access to tools that take the guesswork out of placement? Would you be interested in learning how to create perfect lettering and stunning applique with just a few simple clicks? Are you ready to learn expert tips on hooping, placement, quilting, stitching and more while enjoying the company of your embroidery friends? You can have all of this and much more at an Inspiration Social – just like this group did with Scott Goodman and educator Ashley Jones at Sewing Machine Warehouse.

Scott Goodman & Ashley Jones

Scott Goodman & Ashley Jones

Just look at what some attendees from this DiME Inspiration Social event had to say.

“A great 4 hours of learning – 5 stars”

“I enjoyed this DIME conference and it was well worth the money. There was a lot of great information given. The information on hooping will make my embroidery much easier in the future.”  – Elanie

DIME Social – 5 stars”

“Excellent information about the products available. Good explanations about how to use them. Because it was so good, I did purchase a number of items.”  – Susan P.

I really enjoyed yesterday’s event. Ashley is a hoot and I got very excited about the software. Cheers”  – Bloom

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Let us inspire you to create embroidery like you never thought possible at an Inspiration Social! To find an Inspiration Social near you contact your local Inspiration dealer or visit the Inspired by DIME website to locate a dealer near you. http://inspiredbydime.com/inspirationsocial/

BE INSPIRED!

Software Saturday – True Type Fonts

Want more embroidery fonts?  All you have to do in Perfect Embroidery Pro is click on File, Import TT Text and you’ll find every font that’s installed on your computer.  Just click, type and convert!  It’s that easy.  Learn how here:

[KGVID width=”640″ height=”480″]http://dzgns.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/True-TypeFonts.mp4[/KGVID]

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

Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine

CrazyQuilting

I never thought I’d write a book on crazy quilting but last spring I was inspired to explore the combination of piecing in the hoop and decorative stitches. It didn’t take much to leap into crazy quilting. After all, what’s not to love? It’s a time-honored technique coupled with today’s technology. Its ‘crazy’ moniker comes from the use of scraps and often includes whimsical embellishments.  Crazy quilting has something for everyone. It appeals to quilters – the piecing part; embroiderers – the use of luscious designs in colorful threads; the thrifty – great way to use up scraps of all fiber types; and the splurger: new charms, buttons, ribbons and other tidbits are just waiting to be included in a crazy quilt block.

Technique-wise, the ‘crazier’ the block, the more tasks involved in completing the block. So in Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine you’ll find three levels of difficulty: Level 1 is piecing in the hoop with colorful fabrics; Level 2 includes the addition of accent designs to the patches and Level 3 is where the crazy kicks in with buttons, yarns, ribbons, charms and more.  It’s hard to know when to stop once you reach Level 3.

Level 1

Level 1

 

Level 2

Level 2

 

CQBlog5

Level 3

If quilt blocks aren’t your thing, then you’ll enjoy three in-the-hoop projects: a wristlet, eyeglass case and small clutch. All small canvases to display your crazy stitches.  The wristlet was just the right size project for teaching on TV with my dear friend Nancy Zieman.

CQBlog4

We taped the Today’s Crazy Quilting series on Sewing with Nancy in September and it’s live now. You can watch online here if you don’t have it on your local channel.

When you watch, look for Nancy’s crazy quilt stitched by her great grandmother, Alice Lea Larson in 1920.  Nancy shares her story of this wonderful family heirloom that has been lovingly restored by Nancy.

Although it’s a fun day with Nancy at Wisconsin Public Television, my favorite part of the week is the prep at her office the day before taping.  That’s when we get all of our ducks in a row.  Nancy is a visionary and literally ‘sees’ the taping once she understands the technique that we’re teaching.  She works out the schedule and timing of the telecast while I work on the samples.  Once we have a firm outline, all hands pitch in to finish the samples.  And when 5:00 rolls around, everything is done and ready for tomorrow’s early wake-up call.  CQBlog1

To document my visit to the studio, I had a staff member take some photographs with my camera. When I reviewed the images on the plane ride home, I realized I didn’t have one ‘serious’ shot. Oh no, I had images of smiling faces both on camera and behind the camera! The true spirit of crazy quilting.

Nancy and I cracking up on set.

Nancy and I cracking up on set.

Cassie Kienert on camera and Leslie Fitzsimmons in her true form.

Cassie Kienert on camera and Leslie Fitzsimmons in her true form.

It was well, crazy! Hope you enjoy the Sewing with Nancy series, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. You can watch here.

Don’t just take my word for it, read Nancy’s take on the series on her blog: http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/machine-embroidery/todays-crazy-quilting-with-your-embroidery-machine/

Here’s your assignment this week:
Tell us your favorite stitch you use when crazy quilting. Once random comment will be chosen to get their very own autographed copy of Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine by Eileen Roche! Thanks for reading and good luck!CrazyQuilting
The winner of last week’s assignment:
If you had a day all to yourself to spend on a project, what would it be?  Leave a comment and one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of my latest book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine (to be released January 2, 2015).

And the winner is the Pam C. – “If I had an entire day to myself I would get lost in finding inspiration for my craft. I work full time and even though my kids are grown I still don’t get much alone time. So, to have a day to get lost in thought without any interruption would be a dream. Congratulations Pam!

 

January Update – Buttonholes!

I love machine embroidered buttonholes! Why? Control. Machine embroidered buttonholes give me total control over the length of the buttonhole and the placement. Starting with a digital file guarantees perfect duplicates since I don’t have to guide the fabric under the foot.

So let’s take a look at how easy it is to create custom buttonholes in Perfect Embroidery Pro.2015-01-03_18-45-36

Once you update your software you’ll find a new icon on the top tool bar, a button (it’s easy to update, just say yes when the New Update available window appears).2015-01-03_18-49-00

Click on the drop down menu to access five completely customizable buttonholes, keyhole, round1, round2, standard narrow and standard.2015-01-03_18-49-24

Select your favorite and click the mouse on the screen. Your first buttonhole appears. I chose keyhole – that  hard-to-mimic classic buttonhole!2015-01-03_18-52-00

With the buttonhole selected, click on the Properties box to access the height and density settings. After measuring the diameter of your actual button, add a small amount (such as .10 of an inch) for the length of the buttonhole. Enter that measurement in the height box and click apply.2015-01-03_18-52-43

Naturally, you must make a test buttonhole on the same fabric as the final garment.  Include the identical interfacing, facing or lining on the sample. You can’t cheat here – it’s the only way to guarantee positive results and this is when you’ll tweak the length if necessary.

Hoop crisp or lightweight tear-away stabilizer as it tears cleanly. Once hooped, draw a straight line down the length of the hoop to use as an alignment mark for the garment edge. Spray the hooped stabilizer with temporary adhesive.

Advance to the first stitch to see what end of the buttonhole will stitch first. You want to stitch the end closest to the edge first and sew away from the edge. The fabric will not bulge next to the seam if you do this (a frequent occurrence in manual buttonholes). Rotate or mirror image the design if necessary. Stitch the test version.

Remove from the hoop and tear away the stabilizer. Use a seam ripper or a chisel and wood block to open the buttonhole. If using the seam ripper method, insert a pin at one end of the stitch to avoid slicing beyond the buttonhole.

Or place the buttonhole over a wood block, and insert the chisel into the space between the satin stitching. Press down to cut the fabric. Insert the button into the hole checking for ease. If the button slides in freely, you’re all set. If not, go back to Perfect Embroidery Pro and adjust the buttonhole.

Once you’re satisfied with the buttonhole, it’s time to stitch it on the garment. Measure the distance from the garment edge to the end of the buttonhole. For pleasing proportions, it’s best to leave a space between the end of the buttonhole and the garment edge that is half the diameter of the button. For the 2” buttonhole, move the end of the design 1” from the garment edge. Stitch the design.

Design Tips:

Buttonhole Placement: It can be challenging to determine evenly-spaced buttonhole placement. For garments, mark the widest point of the bust and the top of the garment. Fold the garment, meeting the top mark to the bust mark. Place a third mark at the fold. You now have the positions for the top three buttons. Measure the distance between two buttons. Use that measurement to mark the remainder of the buttons below the bust point.

Fuzzy Fibers: Place a piece of fusible web (protective paper removed) over the buttonhole area. Stitch the buttonhole. Tear away the excess fusible web. Press the buttonhole with a hot steam iron to melt the fusible web into the satin stitches. Once cooled, cut open the buttonhole. The fusible web will tame the fuzzy fibers.

Other great updates this month include smoother icons,  the Monogram, Motif and Applique buttons are now found under the Text designs icon and the lasso button is now under the Select Tool. All of these improvements streamline the screen – you’ll be comfortable in no time!

Enjoy January’s update!

 

A New Year’s Gift

If you’re like me, you might be experiencing a reprieve now that the holiday season is over. My shopping, decorating, wrapping, cooking and cleaning are done and yesterday, I finally had time to give myself a gift I’ve been longing for: the time to finish my quilt, Sun-kissed, on my embroidery machine!BabyShorte

The thought of finishing that pretty, sun-splashed quilt has gotten me through many household chores, magazine deadlines, blog posts and more. I’ve been saving this task for a block of time that I could devote to quilting it properly. I wanted to audition several different designs on it and take my time in making the decision. You see, I feel in love with this little quilt during the piecing process. I worked on it last summer during a sad time in my life and those bright colors and modern prints kept me going. They helped me focus, pray for better days and hope for a bright future. I don’t normally get emotionally attached to projects I’ve made (well, maybe a little) but this one was different. Some tasks come to us for a purpose we never intended. This was one of them.

First, I auditioned the Chandelier designs that come with the purchase of shortE. I thought they would be perfect but after careful consideration, I was concerned the geometric pattern of the Chandelier repeats would compete with Sun-kissed’s strong graphic pattern. Sun-kissed called for softer quilting designs – something fluid but more interesting than plain stipple. I rummaged through my design stash and found one I had previously sketched and digitized. Happy Flowers are big and small loopy flowers that run in a continuous line of stitches and align easily from hoop to hoop. Perfect!IMG_0204

I took a few steps to get ready for the actual quilting:

  • Fill several bobbins with my thread of choice: polyester white embroidery thread and thread the machine
  • Print a template(s) of Happy Flowers on Print & Stick Target Paper (gee, how did I live without that stuff all these years?)
  • Turn on the machine, retrieve the design and attach the bottom frame on Snap-Hoop Monster to the machine
  • Load Sun-kissed on the shortE
  • Position the Sun-kissed template on the upper right corner of the quilt (the first hooping on all shortE quilts)
  • Center the top right corner of the quilt in the hoop

Stitch the first design, and the second and the third…Oh my gosh, it was so much fun. It’s such a rewarding experience to see the first half of the quilt come to life. I love this process; I call it ‘working the quilt’: filling the hoop, aligning the designs and advancing down the quilt.

In future posts, I’ll share some secrets to success on making this process smooth, like what to do when you get this frown:IMG_0206

I wish each of you a happy and healthy New Year!

Here’s your assignment this week:If you had a day all to yourself to spend on a project, what would it be?  Leave a comment and one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of my latest book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine (to be released January 2, 2015).
Last week’s winner answered the question, “What memories do you have that you could convert to stitches?” Elizabeth is the winner of a copy of Calligraphy Project Designer with her comment: My dear friend and I are in recovery together. I would love to put together a wall-hanging celebrating our sisterhood. Congrats, Elizabeth!

 

 

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