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National Ovarian Cancer Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and here is a project that helps spread awareness. I used embroidery from the Embroider-a-Cure collection where all proceeds go toward the Be The Difference Foundation, an ovarian cancer research foundation founded by my friend Helen Gardner.

I decided to work with a blank and wrap a little hope and warmth around someone undergoing chemotherapy treatments with an embroidered sweatshirt.

I selected the Bald is Beautiful design because many patients see no need to cover their hair loss so why not make a statement and put everyone at ease? This versatile design looks great on a sweatshirt.

Find the center front of the shirt and mark it with a pin. Print a template of the Bald is Beautiful design and place it on the center chest. It’s a large design so standard industry placement templates don’t work for a design of this size.  No worries – just place the center of the design on the shirt’s center. SweaterBL

Leave enough room at the top of the design to hoop the shirt – about 3” below the bottom of the ribbing will do it. Make sure the template is straight and place a target sticker under the template.  Remove the template.

Fuse polymesh stabilizer to the wrong side of the design area.  Place the hoop’s outer ring on the pointy end of an ironing board and ‘dress’ the ironing board until the target sticker is centered in the hoop.  Insert the inner ring. Nest the shirt around the hoop.SewaterBL2

Attach the hoop to the machine. Retrieve the design and center the needle over the target sticker.  Add film-type water soluble stabilizer over the design area. Stitch the design.  Once complete, tear off as much of the soluble stabilizer as possible.SweaterBL3

Trim the polymesh on the wrong side – ready to make a statement!

On August 20th, 2014, this disease claimed the life of Helen Gardner, after a very brave 5 1/2 year battle.  During her battle with cancer, Helen not only lived life fully – but she dedicated her time and energy to the Be the Difference Foundation, an organization she co-founded with three other cancer survivors.  Her goal and the goal for the Be the Difference Foundation is to help find a cure for ovarian cancer and to spread awareness so that it is detected as early as possible.

Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer because so often, by the time there are symptoms, the disease has spread.  That’s why it’s critical to continue researching to find a cure for this disease and it’s also important women visit their doctors regularly. The sooner it’s detected, the better the prognosis.

Here’s additional information courtesy of the Be the Difference Foundation:
“Over 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, and more than 15,000 will die from the disease. And these numbers have not changed in over 30 years! There is no early detection or screening test available for ovarian cancer today. The PAP test does NOT detect ovarian cancer.

It is important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer. Remember, early detection is important for a better prognosis.
Know the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer: *
• Abdominal Bloating
• Feeling full quickly while eating
• Pelvic or abdominal pain or pressure
• Urinary urgency or frequency
• Changes in bowel habits
• Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
• Back pain
• Unexplained weight gain or loss

If any of these symptoms last for more than two weeks, please contact your doctor.

Know the Risk Factors of Ovarian Cancer:*
• Close family members who have had ovarian, breast or gastrointestinal cancer
• Have a genetic mutation such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
• Have had breast,uterine, or colorectal cancer
• Have never given birth or have had trouble getting pregnant
• Are middle-aged or older

*Source: Mount Sinai Hospital”

Visit the Be the Difference Foundation for more information on ovarian cancer.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Do you stitch for charity? and if so what items do you stitch?. We’ll pick a random winner here next Wednesday. If we pick your name, we’ll set you up with a Be the Difference Foundation design pack!

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

In what ways does nature give you inspiration?. We’ll pick a random winner here next Wednesday. If we pick your name, we’ll set you up with a $20 Designs in Machine Embroidery gift card!

The winner is:  

Donna G: “From the beautiful colors in nature! From the very subtle to the very bright, they’re all so well coordinated!”

Editing in Word Art in Stitches

If you’re like me, you can’t leave well enough alone. You just have to make a slight change to almost any design. I can’t help myself; it’s just the way I am. I’m grateful that I have the ability to do just that in Word Art in Stitches. The software is fantastic – works blazingly fast – and is very user-friendly. But I have to make it my own. Let me show you what I mean.

First, I selected the Bubble text in Word Art in Stitches. SewBL

I opened the Frames in the Shapes window and selected Scallop 2.Sew2BL

I typed in Faith Family Friends in the Words field, selected Japanese Garden from the color theme box and Love in Décor Combo. Once I hit Apply, I liked, well almost liked what I saw. I hit OK anyway. Sew3BL

I wasn’t too thrilled with the large green lips and some of the crowded words as shown belowSew4BL

But I know those are easy fixes. I selected the design, right mouse clicked and selected UnGroup. Sew5BL

Now each element of the frame is a separate design. I selected the lips and deleted them.Sew6BL

I selected the heart at the top of the frame, copied and pasted into the opening left by the deleted lips. I enlarged the heart to fill the space. Next, I selected and deleted some of the words that were too close to other words. Oh my, it’s so much fun! Sew7BL

What word combos would you like to see in a bubble text?

Importing Artwork in Word Art in Stitches

It’s very easy to create your own bubbles with your own artwork in Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches.. Let me show you how.

Open a new file (File, New). Select Import Artwork from the File menu.File1BL

Select an artwork file from your computer (navigate to different areas of your hard drive by clicking on the arrow at the top of the box (Look In).  You can import the following formats: AI, EPS, EMF, WMF, DXF, PLT, SVF and FCM.  I settled for a tomato in the WMF format.  Select the file and click on open.File2BL

The image appears on the screen. In the Sequence box, you’ll see the different colors that make up this drawing.File3BL

Bubble art requires one color, an outline, so I’ll remove all of the interior colors. Select the colors in the Sequence box and hit delete on the keyboard.File4BL

Now I have a black tomato, not an outline.File5BL

No worries, the software will automatically outline it.  Select the tomato and click on the Bubble Text icon.File6BL

The outline appears in the Bubble Text window. To fill the bubble, I chose a run stitch outline, typed in Tomato in the Words box, selected a Red color scheme and clicked Apply.File8BL

It was that easy!File9BL

Wahoo! A Yard a Day?

What’s all the hype about?  My Fabric is sponsoring a contest for a whole month! Just enter and you could win a yard of fabric. That’s all you have to do, enter and win.

So what is My Fabric Designs? My Fabric Designs allows you to create your own custom fabric by the yard! For full disclosure, I am a co-founder of the company and I’m excited to give crafters (just like me!) more choices when creating projects involving fabric. Now, you can upload a doodle from your grandchild, a picture of a favorite pet, an image you fell in love with or something you created yourself on the computer and turn it into custom printed fabric.

Imagine the possibilities! A quilt created with images of your family and friends. A sun dress made from a clip art image you discovered online. It’s all possible and more, thanks to digital textile printing. You can create your own or shop from the posted inventory. And best of all – it never goes out of stock. You can make curtains today, a quilt in 6 months and slipcovers in a year.

Digital textile printing involves a highly-specialized ink jet printer which prints directly onto fabric or depending on the fabric type, a sublimation heat transfer process. This method of creating textiles uses less energy, creates less waste and allows for small runs of fabric, as little as a fat quarter at a time.

You simply upload your design, choose your fabric and in 7-10 business days, your custom, one-of-kind fabric is delivered direct to your door. chipsBL

Whether you’re interested in creating quilts, garments, home decor or crafts, I hope the ability to print your own custom fabrics for your projects opens up an entirely new avenue of creativity for you.

In fact, I used My Fabric Designs to create DIME’s cheater quilts. I had so much fun digitally creating the quilts. But the best part was when I received them. I didn’t have to bother with piecing! I got right to the fun part – the quilting.CheaterBL


Here’s your assignment this week:

Pop over to My Fabric Designs and enter the contest. While you’re there, browse in the fabrics (click on Shop) and tell me what fabric you’d like to win. We’ll pick a random winner here next Wednesday. If we pick your name, we’ll ship you one yard of the fabric you mentioned in your comment.

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

I know many of you have taken on impressive embroidery projects. I’m sure you get a sense of satisfaction when complete. And I think its rewarding to look at the pile of used bobbin and do a head count.  So tell me, have you ever had a 7 bobbin kind of day?  What’s the most bobbins you’ve gone through on a single project? We’ll pick one random winner to receive a $20 gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The winner is:  

Lois: “I used 14 bobbins while completing 105 placemats for my daughter’s wedding. I embroidered two wolves on each placemat after quilting them. Lots of work but worth it?”

Adventures In Word Art In Stitches

Open a new file in Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches lettering program. Word Art in Stitches is only available at Inspirations brick and mortar dealers.


Click on the Bubble Text icon – just hover the mouse over an icon to quickly identify the icon’s function. SewBL

A menu appears with several options for quick customization. Sew2BL

  1. Select the artwork outline. I chose a sewing machine from the hundreds of options.
  2. Select how you want the border to appear: run, steil stitch or no visible outline. I like the steil.
  3. Type in the words. Skip prepositions, just insert a few words. I typed in Word Art Stitches after removing the default My Text.
  4. Select the font. You can choose one or create custom combinations. The software forces a mini font into the list. This is a very helpful safety net as the words can get quite small.
  5. Select a thread palette. There are a dozen to choose from and you can create custom palettes.
  6. Select from several small designs to add additional embellishment.
  7. Apply is where the magic happens. Click Apply to view your work. Continue to click to see random creations. Once you see one you like, click Ok because you won’t see it again!

The menu will dissolve and you’ll find your new embroidery design on the screen. machine1BL

If you’d like to tweak the design (and who can’t leave well enough alone?), select the design, right mouse click and select Ungroup. Select the Text icon and click on each individual word to make any changes you’d like. You have so much freedom in Word Art in Stitches, you’ll find yourself decorating everything with bubble text!

It was a 7 bobbin kind of day…

Henry was plumb tuckered out from having to change so many bobbins!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

You know you’re really busy when you have a pile of empty – just used – bobbins resting next to your machine.  Recently, I was embroidering a burlap table runner – about 12 hoopings. Somehow I thought a table runner would stitch up fairly quickly. What was I thinking? Table runners span the LENGTH of the table not the width!  And a lace design with over 30K stitches take quite a bit of time.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Here’s your assignment this week:

I know many of you have taken on impressive embroidery projects. I’m sure you get a sense of satisfaction when complete. And I think its rewarding to look at the pile of used bobbin and do a head count.  So tell me, have you ever had a 7 bobbin kind of day?  What’s the most bobbins you’ve gone through on a single project?

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

I’ll share the photos of the bride after her big day – don’t want to break any traditions! Speaking of traditions, I’m planning on embroidering a label for the gown, documenting the occasion. Have you ever done that? And if so, what information did you include? We’ll pick one random winner to receive a $20 gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The winner is:  

Kati: “It looks like the dress will be beautiful! I often use a piece of grosgrain ribbon inside the side of the shirts I sew to label them. I have a programmable machine that will stitch out small lettering on the ribbon. (Using tear away stabilizer)”



Embroidering on Ribbons

Need to make a label? Use a ribbon. Ribbons come in so many styles; you’ll find it’s best to sample a few. I’m using mini lettering – just ¼” tall so my first thought was grosgrain. But the ridges interfered with the crispness of the letters while the needle penetrations distorted the ribbon fibers. Next, I selected wire-edge polyester satin. Although one side is shiny, I like the matte side.  After several tests, I decided this was the right one.

I used Multi-Needle Monster for this project because it’s so flat and makes working in the hoop a breeze.  I drew two parallel lines on hooped tear-away stabilizer. I used a dark marker because I’m going to use the Baby Lock Enterprise’s camera to help align the lettering and the dark lines will be easy to see on the machine screen. Then, I taped the satin ribbon within the marked border, keeping the edges straight and the ribbon taut. Rib5bl

Once attached to the machine, I retrieved the design and clicked on the camera icon.  The camera centers over the hoop so I used the jog keys to move over to the ribbon.  My goal was to align the grid with the edge of the ribbon, the black lines on the stabilizer. The orange line on the image below is an exaggeration of the grid on the machine. The grid was not perfectly parallel with the ribbon edge, so I rotated the design.  Now that the grid (and the design of course) is square with the ribbon, the embroidery will stitch square.  Rib6bl

The last step I took was to find the horizontal center of the ribbon. Since the camera is a live view of what’s under the needle, I slid a centering ruler on top of the ribbon. The ribbon’s edges hit the ruler at equal increments on both sides of zero.  Then I used the jog keys to move the design directly over the zero.  Here you can see the green cross designating the design center. When moved a bit to the left, the design will be centered on the ribbon.Rib7bl

And so it did! Rib8bl

Inspirations Dealers are the Best!

What a week! We had 30 fabulous dealers from all over the US join us in Dallas for two days of Inspirations software training. They braved the hot, hot Texas weather to learn how to use Perfect Embroidery Pro, My Block Piecer, My Quilt Embellisher and Word Art in Stitches. They met the whole Inspirations team plus had a tour of our offices.

2015-08-01_12-27-27Not only did they enjoy learning the software programs but they told us what their customers are up to. I’m always interested in hearing about their classes, projects and events. The whole DIME team learns by listening and dealers aren’t shy. They are successful business people with their pulse on industry trends. They are as the saying goes, out in the trenches, and share their thoughts freely. We love meeting with our dealers.

If you spot your dealer in the photos, give them a big thank you for attending Inspirations software training. After all, it’s knowledge they’ll be sharing with you soon!2015-08-01_12-28-25


Not Just for Beginners

Are you too apprehensive to use your embroidery software for anything besides downloading and converting designs into a different format? Fear no more. I have a solution for you. If you are new to Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro software or unfamiliar with many of its features, then watch PEP Intro Video 1, PEP Intro Video 2 and PEP Intro Video 3. Katherine Artines created these three videos to get you started on your journey. Webinar1bl

Each of the three videos is just under 30 minutes, so they are easy to digest in one sitting and easy to refer back to you as often as you’d like. What’s the best part of learning on the web? You can learn in your own home, according to your schedule. You can just watch the video or follow along in the software (click here to read a previous post on how to do that).

If you haven’t taken one of Katherine’s webinars, then you are in for a treat. Katherine is a superb instructor. Never flustered or rattled, her calming voice conjures confidence in all of her students. I watch every one of her webinars and I learn something every time. Really, every time!

I also learn from Tamara Evans, our quilting expert. Every time I watch one of Tamara’s webinars, I learn a new feature in My Block Piecer and My Quilt Embellisher. Webinar4bl

Now you can find all of the Inspirations’ webinars on the Inspirations YouTube channel. You’ll find quick videos – how-to’s on specific tools – and deeper discussions on techniques. Webinar2BL

Here’s two of my favorites:   Organizational Skills (who doesn’t need help on that subject?) and Divide and Conquer (splitting designs). Webinar5bl

Subscribe to the Inspired by DIME channel and you’ll have instant access to tons of education. Your local dealer is always your first source for embroidery education but when the store is closed and you’re yearning to learn, jump on YouTube. Our channel is growing every week. Click here to see all of the videos.  And don’t forget to subscribe – it’s the easiest way to stay up to date. And it’s free!


Wedding Dress Update

Wedding Dress Update

I love to sew. I mean, I really love the act of sewing two pieces of fabric together.  I like placing two pieces of fabric under the presser foot and putting the pedal to the metal. I love to guide the fabric under the needle, watch it whiz across the machine bed and then cut the tails at the end.  When I agreed to make my daughter Janelle’s wedding dress, I had visions of feeding yards of beautiful, white, silky fabric under the needle.  It seems I forgot that the actually sewing part doesn’t arrive until hours and hours of preparation were accomplished.

And boy as it been a lot of preparation. I approached this project with more apprehension than I normally bring to sewing projects. I’ve had my share of sewing pressure – magazine covers, product packaging and television appearances. But a wedding dress is something different. It’s so personal, it’s my daughter. Her wedding photos – you know what I mean. So I’ve been taking my time and tackling it one step at a time.

Of course, my family has been aware of the process. In fact, my sweet sister, my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno sent me a text on Sunday afternoon. I didn’t hear from her all weekend, she knew I was working on the dress. Her text said, “Is the wedding dress done yet?” Charming, isn’t she? My sister, she can be 1400 miles away and she still cracks me up.

I responded with an image of bridal fabrics in a heap on the floor with the caption: “Almost.” dress1bl

What she didn’t know was that a pile of scraps is actually a really good sign because I spent Saturday and Sunday cutting the lining, interlining, silk organza and satin pieces. I pieced the lining for Janelle’s final fitting. I basted the layers for all of the pattern sections. There are 15 – each with intricate markings (that I swear are nearly identical on several pieces!).

When Janelle tried on the lining last night, we both breathed a sigh of relief.  Her, because she loved the silhouette. Me, because it fit! So now comes the easy part – the sewing, the part I really love! I’ll spend this weekend piecing the bodice and skirt. After I add the lining and insert the zipper, it’ll be time for hemming and final decorations.  The wedding is August 21 – just under a month away and I’d really like to get this wrapped up by August 3rd.

I still haven’t had to time to get a mother of the bride dress but maybe that’ll happen this weekend too.  Thank goodness I live in Dallas – where you can shop til you drop.

If you think I’m cutting it close (and I know I am), you have to remember I was out of commission for six weeks – that’s practically a lifetime in my sewing world!

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the bodice sections. dress2bl


Here’s your assignment this week:

I’ll share the photos of the bride after her big day – don’t want to break any traditions! Speaking of traditions, I’m planning on embroidering a label for the gown, documenting the occasion. Have you ever done that? And if so, what information did you include? We’ll pick one random winner to receive a $20 gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

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


Leave us a note and tell us what Stitch Soup fairy cottage is your favorite. We’ll pick five random winners to receive a $20 gift certificate from Stitch Soup!

The winners are:  

Sara Redner: “I love the flowers on the one in the center”

Rosalie sharps: “I like the fairy house that has the yellow flowers on the roof.”

Shawn Marie: “I just am in love with the House of Flowers!”

Patty Sack: “I like the one with the flowers for windows! Too cute.”

Kitt: “I like the Lilly Pad chalet the best”

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