Author Archive

Quick Alignment on Towels

Purchase terry towels with a dobby border to make alignment a breeze. The border is a visual aid that simplifies hooping. Here’s how I stitch perfectly matched (and square) terry cloth towels.

I use the towel template from the Perfect Placement Kit to place a target sticker on each towel. I mark all of the towels at the same time. That way, I’ll keep my task on track if I get interrupted.MN1

I fold the towel at the border and place the fold on the edge of Monster Snap Hoop (straight edge to straight edge makes for square embroidery). MN2

Then I drop the metal frame in place and Voila! I’m hooped square and straight!MN5

Once the hoop is attached to the machine, I align the needle with target sticker and press go! It doesn’t get any easier than that! MN6

Converting Designs in Perfect Embroidery Pro

Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro has a unique feature – batch conversion. This handy feature quickly converts one, two, several or dozens of machine embroidery designs from one embroidery format to another. It all happens in the blink of eye – which lets you get to the fun part of embroidery – the actual stitching!

View this quick video to see how easy it is.

[KGVID width=”640″ height=”350″][/KGVID]

To watch on YouTube, click here.

No more, Save AS, Save As, Save As over and over again!

Multi-Needle Monday: Drawstring Backpack with Tote Bag and Purse Hoop

Recently, my sister Marie Zinno was explaining to me how she hoops a drawstring bag. And I told her I use a different hoop but I think she should share her technique with you. So here’s what she had to say…

If you own a multi-needle embroidery machine I am sure you have encountered a hard to hoop bag. Duffle, tote, draw string, backpack and cosmetic bags can be so challenging for the embroiderer. Bags are very profitable and generally do not require a large high stitch count design but the difficulty involved in the set up might make you give bags a second thought.

One of the most popular styles for teams and businesses is the drawstring duffle backpack. The embroidery is usually placed in the center of the bag (because when you tighten the drawstring the upper portion is synched together). I like to use the Tote Bag and Purse hoop available from Brother and Baby Lock. The hoop used measures 5×7 and has curved arms to easily fit a bag over the bobbin throat.


I like this hoop because I can use simple tear away stabilizer and the embroidery machine “reads” the correct hoop size. There is no guessing if the design will fit and if the needle will touch the frame. Mark the center on your bag and use a target sticker to designate the area to be embroidered. Slide the bottom frame of the hoop inside the bag with the stabilizer and place the top portion of the hoop on top.




Attach the hoop to the machine and line up the target sticker with the correct needle bar. Remove the sticker and stitch the design. Carefully remove the hoop and tear away excess stabilizer from the back of bag.

Software Saturday – The Backdrop Tool in My Quilt Embellisher

One of the helpful features of Inspiration’s My Quilt Embellisher is the backdrop tool. The backdrop tool allows you to bring an image on to the screen and audition embroidery in actual time. It’s a surefire way to design beautiful blocks.
First, take a photograph or scan an image of your quilt into your computer. Take note of where you stored the photo on your hard drive.
Open a new file in My Quilt Embellisher. Go to File, Load Backdrop. Locate the image of your quilt block and click OK. MQE_b1
The image appears behind the grid on your screen. Chances are the image is not perfectly square on the screen. That’s ok; it’s an easy fix in My Quilt Embellisher. Hover the cursor over the backdrop tool on the left toolbar. MQE_b2
Click on the small arrow under the icon to access the Backdrop tools. Select Define horizon. MQE_b3
Place the cursor on one corner of the block and with the left mouse button depressed, drag the cursor across the block to the opposite corner. Release the mouse. The image will straighten on the screen. MQE_b4
In the properties box, notice the size of the image – it’s quite large. MQE_b5
That measurement is the size of the image, not the block. So let’s tell the software exactly what size our block should be.
Select Define Scale from the Backdrop tool menu. MQE_b6
Place the cursor on one corner of the block and with the left mouse button depressed, drag the cursor across the block to the opposite corner. Release the mouse. A window appears. Type in the correct measurement. My actual block measures 7” so I type in 7”. MQE_b9
The image shrinks and in the properties box, the size of the image changes too. MQE_b10
The properties box measurement is larger than 7” because it’s illustrating the size of the image – all the white/gray space that’s actually part of the image.
Now that you are viewing the block in actual size, it’s time to audition embroidery designs in the patches. This block was created for a sweet couple, Liz and Mike Tucker. The monogram font is August, the heart is Block Frill Heart (found in Embellishments) and the bird is #57488 in My Quilt Embellisher Free Designs.MQE_b12

The Dreaded Empty Bobbin Message


Several weeks ago, I wrote about quilting Sunkissed on the Shorte. I promised to tell you what you do when you have to change the bobbin in the middle of the quilt. First, I’ll give you two steps to set yourself up for success.

  1. Wind several bobbins before beginning the quilting, you’ll go through them faster than you think.
  2. After quilting several rows of designs, check the bobbin level when the right edge of the quilt is in the hoop. It’s easiest to check the bobbin when you’re stitching near the right edge.

No matter your best intentions, it might slip your mind and you’ll wind up getting the dreaded empty bobbin message:


The first thing to do is exhale, it’s not the end of the world. Now, take a moment to locate the last stitch.


Carefully reach under the quilt and release the hoop from the pantograph. Before actually moving the hoop, grasp the Monster top frame, quilt and bottom frame all together, firmly holding it by the frame – not the fabric. Slide a flat board such as a clip board or the magnet shield (that comes with your hoop) under the hoop to create a flat, sturdy resting spot for the hooped quilt. Move the frame/quilt to the left to reveal the bobbin case. Remember the quilt is still attached to the ShortE so you can’t just move the hoop to another work area.


Change the bobbin.


Firmly grasp the hooped quilt by the frame and reattach it to the machine. When attaching, push the hoop onto the machine by the attachment, not the frame. The needle should be positioned over the last stitch.


If not, lift the top frame and reposition the fabric so that the needle is over the last stitch. Hold onto the needle thread and drop the needle into the fabric and pull the bobbin thread to the top surface. Pull a 6-7” thread tail. Continue to stitch the design.

The magnetic frames make minute adjustments under the needle a breeze!

Here’s your assignment this week:
I’m sure you’ve come across the empty bobbin message. What do you do to avoid this? Wind several bobbins? Purchase pre-wound? Throw away almost empty bobbins? Or just bear with it? A random comment will be selected to win a pack of Print & Stick Target Paper!
The winner of last week’s assignment:
Tell us your absolute favorite song that makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs. We will pick 4 random comments and they each will receive a $25 gift certificate to Zippy DesignZ! !And the winners Are: Donna Fecteau, Teresa Mitchell, Breda Sutton and Tammy Wright!


All You Need to Know About Lettering in Perfect Embroidery Pro

One of the mottos that I live by is using time well. Let’s face it, we all try to cram as much into a day as possible. So when I have a choice about how to spend my time, I want to learn something. If I learn one thing when I read a book, take a class or watch a webinar on machine embroidery, then I consider it a good investment in my time. I imagine you feel the same way about your time.

If you watched Tuesday’s webinar by Katherine Artines, I’m sure you learned more than one thing about lettering in Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro. Here are some of my favorites:

Why mini fonts look best when stitched with a 60 wt. thread in a #9 needle.2015-02-21_13-28-18

The shortcut to view all of the available characters in a special font.2015-02-21_11-03-47

More than one way to access and view the over 200 fonts that included in Perfect Embroidery Pro.2015-02-21_11-02-18

An attractive alternative to override split satins when enlarging fonts into jumbo letters. You have to watch the webinar to see how easy it is to make this switch from a satin:2015-02-21_10-46-49

to a fancy fill:2015-02-21_10-46-03

How to emphasis the meaning of the stitched word.2015-02-21_14-07-55

Witness the morphing of a single line of text into an inviting expression.2015-02-21_13-53-18

Learn the secret to better envelopes.2015-02-21_13-50-20

See the trick to perfectly flanked motifs in arced lettering.2015-02-21_14-06-39

And you’ll be intrigued by Katherine’s creativity when she explains how each of these fun designs are created in Perfect Embroidery Pro.2015-02-21_10-52-05

Watching this video is time well spent. Click here to view the webinar.


Friday Night Live @ Sew Expo


It’s your chance for an evening of fun and luck! Luck? If you come to Friday Night Live at Sew Expo, Puyallup, WA on February 27th you’ll have a chance to win not one, not two, but FIVE machines!  Baby Lock is giving away over $6,000 worth of machines. All you have to do is buy a ticket to Friday Night Live and come and enjoy the show. Of course you have to be present to win. And why wouldn’t you? Because not only do you have a chance to win a machine but you’ll also enjoy a night of education and hilarity!

My stitching Sister and I have been working on our presentation – it’s has a Tonight Show theme and although I can’t promise you an appearance from Jimmy Fallon or Justin Timberlake – I can tell you we will have as much fun in Puyallup as they have in Times Square.  What can you expect?  The traditional Tonight Show Friday night format kicks off with Thank You notes. These thank you notes won’t have anything to do with New York tourists. Oh no, our thank you notes are focused on our industry.  We’ll share our tongue-in-cheek gratitude to Singer, Viking, Pfaff, Brother, Bernina and Baby Lock.

A few weeks ago, I hinted to the possibility of a lip sync battle performed by our special guests.  And our special guests have agreed!  Right now, they are working on their routines and perfecting their form.  I have to say they are not only great sports but they’re bringing their ‘game’ – full of enthusiasm for this unique opportunity to showcase their previously hidden talents. Who are they?  None other than the President of Baby Lock, Steve Jeffrey and local favorite, Eddie Schultz of Issaquah Sewing & Vacuum!  So who do you think they should impersonate? Jennifer Hudson, The Bee Gees, Elvis, Rod Stewart, Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash? Oh my, the possibilities are endless!

But we know you want more than fun – you want to learn and win some prizes. We have the fun handled, the education is a given (Marie and I are unveiling our top 30 embroidery tips) and we’ll hand out tons of prizes!  Over $6200 worth of prizes!  Five machines – complements of Baby Lock plus books and notions from Designs in Machine Embroidery.


Rachel: MSRP $800.00

Imagine: MSRP $3,000.00

Imagine: MSRP $3,000.00

Tempo: MSRP $1,400.00

Tempo: MSRP $1,400.00

Molly: MSRP $500.00

Molly: MSRP $500.00

Anna: MSRP $400.00

Anna: MSRP $400.00

Hope you’ll join us for a night of edutainment!  Reserve your seats now! 



Here’s your assignment this week:
I think we’ve all been guilty of playing a little air guitar or having a jam session in the car every once in awhile 😉 Tell us your absolute favorite song that makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs. We will pick 4 random comments and they each will receive a $25 gift certificate to Zippy DesignZ! Good luck and happy stitching.ZippyDesignZ_2015BlogBanner
The winner of last week’s assignment:
Tell us how long you can hold on to a box of chocolates.  One random comment will be chosen to win… a box of chocolates!  Mmmm!  Yummy!And the winner is:  Ellen M.
“As long as I don’t take a bite I can keep it for a month. But once I break down and have a bite, they are gone within the week. I have no self control with chocolate.”



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″][/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″][/KGVID]

If you can’t view the video here on the blog, jump over to YouTube watch it there

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