Author Archive

Multi-Needle Monday – Centering on Quick-Snap

Recently, my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, showed me how she quickly centers an item on Quick-Snap. Since the Jnaome, Baby Lock or Brother multi-needle machines do not recognize Quick-Snap, it’s up to the user to ‘embroider responsibly’. Embroidering responsibly means taking complete control of the machine and telling it what to do instead of letting the machine tell you what it can do. When you attach a Quick-Snap frame, be aware of the size of the frame opening and the design you are trying to fit into that space because the machine thinks a large hoop is attached. Always select a frame that is at least 1” larger than the design and trace the design before actually stitching.

Here’s Marie’s tip on the easiest way to center the design. Select your design (1” smaller than the frame) and attach just the bottom frame to the machine. Retrieve the design and trace the design watching where the embroidery foot will travel. In the image below, you can see the first needle is dropped during the tracing motion. This needle is your indication of where all the needles will travel during all colors of the design. QS1
If it looks like the foot will clear the frame, you’re in good shape.
If not, use the positioning keys on the screen to move the design and retrace. QS3
Touch the camera icon on the screen and a view of what the needle sees appears on the screen. QS4
I have a target sticker designating the center of my design on a knit ski cap so I slid the hat over the frame.
On the screen, I watched as I move the hat to align the target sticker with the machine’s green crosshair. Perfect! QS6
I attached the acrylic top, dropped the magnets in place. QS7
How sweet is that? Thanks Marie!

So what do you do if you don’t have the camera? If you don’t have the camera, follow all the steps above but instead of using the camera to align the crosshair, use the needle. Slide the hat over the frame and position the target sticker directly under the needle (the one in the dropped position), verify the crosshair is square to the frame and trace one more time. (If you don’t have the camera and it’s available for your machine, I strongly suggesting upgrading, it’s a worthwhile investment.) If the camera isn’t available for your machine take comfort in the fact that you’ll be a more skilled embroiderer.

Software Saturday – View Applique in Color or Fabric

Last week, we left off with auditioning crazy quilt stitches on a Dresden plate bloc in My Quilt Embellisher.

If the colors of the appliques on this default Dresden plate are not your favorites, then by all means change them! CQ12_2
Let’s start with the color of the first applique. In the sequence view, you’ll notice the first color is peach, color 14.
Left click on color chip 14 in the thread bar at the bottom of the screen. Select a color from the pop-up thread chart. Click OK. CQ12_4
I selected yellow and now the applique is a bright shade of yellow. CQ12_5You can continue to recolor the applique in this fashion or take it a step further and add fabric for a more realistic look. Select the applique section and click on the Fabric icon at the top tool bar. CQ12_6
You have dozens of fabrics to choose from the library. CQ12_7
Select a fabric, click ok and watch your applique come alive. You can select several applique sections at one time and colorize them as a group – with just one click. Or do it one by one to see a gradual change. You’ll have fun with this! CQ12_8
If you attended our webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 9, I’d like to personally thank you for sharing an evening with Tamara Evans and me. We appreciate your patience as we get our dealer network in place. I know many of you are anxious to receive your update so please know we are working diligently every day to make this happen!

Nancy Zieman’s Quick Column Quilts Blog Tour

Quick_Column_Quilts_Book_Cover I always say yes to Nancy Zieman because every time I do, I learn something. So when Nancy asked me to join the Quick Column Quilt blog tour, I jumped at the chance. But quilting, hmmm, I admit I paused for a second and then thought, oh what the heck, do it! Here are my top ten tips for getting the job done.

  1. Select the quilt pattern. Thousands of quilt patterns exist so pare it down by going to a trusted source like anything designed by Nancy Zieman. Her Quick Column Quilts is a collection of very doable – and inspired – quilts. The Carefree Column Quilt jumped right at me and I’m glad it did – it was quick and easy. NZQB2
  2. Decide on fabrics. Use everything in your power to make the right fabric selection. Pay close attention to the quilt you’re duplicating making note of the light, medium and dark fabrics.  Look at other quilts for pleasing combinations or go to your quilt shop and seek their advice. Audition as many fabrics as you want; photograph the combinations, edit your choices and finally select the winning combination.  Once selected, stick with your fabric choices. Don’t sway off course; second guessing can be a huge time guzzler.
  3. Get organized.  Print or copy the instructions. As you complete each step, cross it off the how-to instructions. You’ll know right where to pick up after a break in sewing.  NZQB4
  4. Label everything. Even if you think you know how all the pieces go together, label them anyway. Life gets in the way and distractions are inevitable.
  5. Designate an area or box in your sewing room where you can store the materials for the duration of the quilt-making process. NZQB5
  6. Break apart the tasks into manageable time increments. Review the instructions and estimate how long each task will take: cutting, designing, piecing the columns, adding the sashing and so on. Make notations on the pattern to use as a guideline.  These are just guestimates as problems do occur and tasks often take longer than we think they will – at least that’s my problem!  But having an idea of the time involved will help you stay on the project because it’s easy to tackle simple steps once they are broken down.
  7. Group similar tasks together. Cut all the fabrics in one session, piece as much as possible at one time and then move to the ironing board. I cut all the fabrics and stacked then according to size with a label on top of the stack.
  8. Document the process. Once the fabrics were cut, I followed Nancy’s instructions for arranging the blocks on the design wall.  I took several photos of the designing progress as I auditioned the fabric pieces.  I reviewed the different versions on my computer and decided on my favorite. After rearranging the fabrics according to the photo, I labeled the top piece of each column.  I used the photo as a reference guide when a block or two floated out of position. NZQB3
  9. Focus during piecing.  To piece a column, I removed the pieces one at a time, starting at the bottom of the column and placing the next block on top of the stack. Once I moved to the machine, I methodically pieced that row, from the top down and then pressed the seams. Once the pieced column was returned to the design wall, I progressed to the second column.
  10. Enjoy it! Racing through the quilt making process takes all the joy out of it. Savor the fabrics as you handle them, strive for perfect ¼” seams and concentrate on how you’ll use the quilt or who will receive it. Name your quilt – after all, it’s your baby now! My quilt goes by the name of Sun Kissed.  Sunkissed

You’ll notice my quilt isn’t quilted just yet. Oh but it will be!  I have the most ingenious plan and tool for quilting Sunkissed on my embroidery machine. You’ll learn more in a future post. And be sure to visit Nancy’s blog where she will be giving away 15 grand prizes!

Blog tour stops – check out all the stops on the Quick Quilts blog tour!

09/04/14         Nancy Zieman

09/05/14         Quilt Taffy and Simple Simon & Co.

09/06/14         Diary of a Quilter  and Stitchin Jenny

09/07/14         A Woman a Day  and Craizee Corner                

09/08/14         Jina Barney DesignzLilac Lane Patterns, and Totally Stitchin’ 

09/09/14         Esch House Quilts and The Cottage Mama

09/10/14         Designs in Machine Embroidery and Pat Sloan

09/12/14         Happy Valley PrimitivesDoohikey Designs, and Quilt in a Day

09/13/14         Quilt Dad and Just Arting Around

09/14/14         Lazy Girl Designs and  Marie-Madeline Studio

09/15/14         Always Expect Moore  and Polka Dot Chair

09/16/14         Amy Lou Who Sews and Riley Blake Designs

09/17/14         Indygo Junction and Amy’s Creative Side

Here’s your assignment this week:
Visit any or all of the stops on the blog tour listed above. Comment below about your favorite quilt or technique you saw on the tour. One comment will be selected to receive a copy of Nancy’s book Quick Column Quilts – good luck!


The winner of last week assignment:
After you’ve taken advantage of the great deal from leave a comment below about the three most used items in your sewing room. One blog reader will be selected to receive a $25 gift certificate for use on the DiME website. Thanks and good luck!
Gift-CardAnd the winner is Pamela B. – “Sewing machine, serger, iron, and tool box (it is full of essentials)”

Auditioning Crazy Quilting Stitches in My Quilt Embellisher


My Quilt Embellisher features 50 crazy quilt stitches that can be combined, sized, rotated and morphed to create hundreds of gorgeous stitches.  The stitches are so easy to add to any quilt block – just select a block from the block library and then left click on the Crazy Quilting icon. CQ2

Select a stitch from the drop down menu. One of my favorites is Stitch10.


Once selected, the cursor changes to a small crosshair. Left mouse click and drag the mouse to create the motif. The longer you drag, the larger the motif. Each motif can be dropped individually creating an organic, hand-stitched look.


Let’s take a look at how fun it is to play with the stitches and blocks. Click on the Block Library icon, Circle Blocks and Dresden Plate #3. CQ4a

The block appears on the screen. CQ5

Let’s remove half of the block by selecting (left mouse click) and deleting (delete on the keyboard) each section. CQ6

Select the Shape Tool and click on the circle to show the points. CQ7

Select half of the points by dragging the cursor over the points. CQ8

Left mouse click and select delete points. CQ9

Now that the block appears as desired it’s time to embellish. CQ10

Select the Crazy Quilting icon and select Stitch04 from the drop down menu. Position the cursor over the first seam line, left click and drag the cursor to the end of the seam. Release the mouse. Repeat for each seam moving in a methodical manner around the plate. Start at the inner point of a seam and travel to the outer point. Release the mouse and move it to the next seam line. Left click at the outer end of the seam and move to the inner point. Applying the stitches in this manner will command the machine to stitch efficiently. CQ11

To apply stitches around the curved outer edge, select the run stitch icon. In the properties box, select Motif, number 178. CQ12

Apply the first point at the edge of the plate. Move to the center of the scalloped edge, hold the CTRL key while left clicking on the mouse to apply a curved point. Continue around the outer edge of the plate. When complete, right click to set the stitches. How easy was that?

My Quilt Embellisher opens a world of opportunities since many of us struggle to quilt our quilts. Control over the stitches allows us to turn our embroidery machines into longarms! You’ll be learning more about that in upcoming weeks and months as I’ve been working on a number of exciting new techniques to share with you. I really appreciate your patience as we grow our Inspired by DIME division. Our dealer network is growing every day so if you haven’t received notice from your dealer, please be patience, it’s coming to a dealer near you very soon!



Monogram of the Month – September


When you select a font for monogramming do you consider how it was made? As you watch the letters stitch on your machine, do you wonder why the needle travels here, there and finally back here? And if you’re like me, you are impressed with the final outcome.

What a sense of satisfaction seeing a beautifully stitched monogram completed on the hooped fabric. Often, I pat myself on the back for the selection of the font, the stabilizer, fabric and thread. In reality, it has very little to do with my selections. The beauty is in the actual letters. After all, they are much more than a mere A, B or C. They are works of art. And my art – my stitched monogram – would not be so impressive if it weren’t for the digitizer’s fine-tuned attention to detail.

SNF: Romanesque Monogram Set 7 and Gothic Monogram Set 9

SNF: Romanesque Monogram Set 7 and Gothic Monogram Set 9

My hat goes off to the font digitizers who have devoted their life’s work to producing professional embroidery designs. They shun the auto-digitizing functions in their software and they place every stitch in every letter of every font (you do the math!) with the user in mind. How will this font be used? What type of fabric will it be stitched on? Other technical questions include the consideration of underlay, column width and specialty effects. The digitizer’s goal is to always set the user up for success without adding unnecessary stitches that result in heavy designs and wasted time and materials.

H: Flourishes Monogram Set and Arabesque Monogram Set 13

H: Flourishes Monogram Set and Arabesque Monogram Set 13

This commitment gives us, the embroiderer, confidence to get creative with fonts. When we know the letters will stitch beautifully, we are free to incorporate several styles in a monogram. Add a splash of color and elegant accents for a customized, personal monogram.

AW: Moderne XL Monogram Set 5 and Flourishes Monogram Set 1

AW: Moderne XL Monogram Set 5 and Flourishes Monogram Set 1

In celebration of a lifetime of devotion to detail, is offering Designs in Machine Embroidery readers a $10.00 coupon off any online purchase until October 15, 2014. When you browse their library – now at an impressive 200 fonts – I’m sure you’ll find good use for that $10.00 savings. Choose any product or products with a total value of $ 10.00 or more and add the product(s) to your shopping cart. On the shopping cart page, enter coupon code DIME200 in the coupon code field and click “Apply” before completing your order.

*Coupon has no cash value.


Here’s your assignment this week:
After you’ve taken advantage of the great deal from leave a comment below about the three most used items in your sewing room. One blog reader will be selected to receive a $25 gift certificate for use on the DiME website. Thanks and good luck!
The winner of last week assignment:
September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Throughout the month we will feature a Tapestry of Life Quilt project created for a young woman recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. What have you created with your embroidery or sewing machine to support and comfort a friend or loved one faced with cancer? For each unique user comment below we will donate $1 to the Be The Difference Foundation, up to $820! Thank you for your support and don’t forget to come back for our Tapestry of Life Quilt project.
Tapestry-of-Life-Quilt_logoAnd the winner is the Be The Difference Foundation! Thank you for your comments in support of this wonderful organization. 

Software Saturday – 3D Effect

SphereLook what feature is coming in September – 3D motifs in Perfect Embroidery Pro. This new feature is so fun and versatile, you’ll find many occasions to add a new dimension to your embroidery. It all happens with just click of the mouse.

Take a look at some simple shapes filled with motifs. The motifs are interesting but flat. PlainShapes

When 3D is applied, they appear to pop off the screen!

3D Shapes

When would you apply the 3D feature? My first thoughts include Christmas ornaments, balls, spheres, Easter eggs, sun, moon, buildings in landscapes, and flower centers.


The feature is not limited to ovals, circles and rectangles. In fact, anything that can be converted to a complex fill can be morphed with the 3D feature. Let me show you how easy it is to do.

Start with a shape by clicking on the artwork tool and drawing an ellipse.


Select the shape, right click and select Convert to Complex Fill from the drop down menu.


Once the shape is filled, select Motif from the Fill Type menu in the Properties box.


Select a motif, click on 3D effect and click Apply.


Boom! There you have it!


Don’t like the edges? Right click on the shape and select Create Border from the drop down menu. pep6

Explore more possibilities by changing the pattern length or selecting a different motif.


This new feature is fun, fun, fun! I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

My Friend Helen Gardner


Normally, on Saturday, I write about software but this week, I’d like to share some thoughts about my business partner’s wife, Helen Gardner.

I’ve known Helen for over 15 years and have always admired her. She was a smart businesswoman, loving wife and mother but when faced with a terminal diagnosis of ovarian cancer, my friend Helen Gardner did not sit down. Oh no, she did everything in her power (and beyond!) to live every remaining day of her life in full throttle. She fought. She researched her disease and even educated her doctors! She did not take NO for an answer. She said YES to everything and wanted everyone else to also say YES.

She started a foundation so that other women would not suffer from this terrible disease.  In the three years since the inception of the Be the Difference Foundation was started, over $1,000,000 has been raised for research and awareness. But Helen was more than ovarian cancer. She was beautiful – inside and out. Funny, brilliant and creative. Blessed with a sharp wit and kind heart, she had a solution to any problem. She was a devoted wife and mother and her family was her most treasured possession.

Helen passed away on August 20, 2014 surrounded by her loved ones. To say she will be missed, is an understatement because Helen was a woman who made a difference in the lives of everyone she touched. Her spirit lives on in her family, friends and the Be The Difference Foundation. In Helen’s memory, her family is asking for donations to the Be the Difference Foundation. You can learn more here.

The Unintended Double-Run

Many beginning embroiderers come across a common problem when digitizing a single run element in a design. On screen, everything looks perfect and when viewed through the slow re-draw feature this problem is often overlooked – until you stitch the design. This occurrence is the unintended two-ply run stitch.

I’m not a fan of a two-ply run stitch. I prefer a single run or if additional emphasis is needed, I go to a bean stitch. So when I digitize the single run and it stitches as a two-ply, I’m not too happy. But it’s a simple fix and one that can be detected before you stitch by using the zoom tool and paying close attention during the slow re-draw.

The unintended two-ply occurs because the stop and start points do not meet. Let’s take a look. Here’s my design that a just finished digitizing, a letter pennant. 2ply1

The pennant outline stitched twice during testing. To find the problem, zoom in on the start and stop point. 2014-07-29_20-38-04

Ah! The points are not aligned. Select the Shape tool. 2ply2A

Left click on the red stop point to expose the stitch node and slide the stop point down the stitch line. 2ply9

Left click on the blue node and move it down to align with the start point.2ply3

Slide the red stop point (the red circle) on top of the green start point.2ply4

Go to slow redraw and check your work. Easy fix, wouldn’t you agree?

DiME Inspiration Software Update


As announced on August 9, 2014, Designs in Machine Embroidery (DIME) has been chosen by G7 Solutions as the new face for its popular line of quilting and embroidery software. Current owners of G7 Solutions software modules will receive a link to download the corresponding versions of DIME’s Inspiration Software free of charge from their Inspirations Dealer. This is a time of transition and we appreciate your patience as our new dealer network is established. The link will be emailed to you from your Inspirations dealer within the next 30 days. This link will not erase, remove or replace your current modules. The links will contain full versions of the Inspiration modules. You can enjoy both the old and new versions. In order to activate the new versions, all you will is need the serial number from your existing program. Simply enter the number when prompted and enjoy the new software. In the meantime, you can follow along on the progress of the new features of Inspiration Software programs here on Software Saturday. We sincerely appreciate your patience.

September 25, 2014
Thank you for your interest in the new Inspirations software line. I appreciate your patience in waiting for the link to download your new – and free – Inspirations software. I’m sure you can just imagine how monumental this task has been for Dime and the dealers. Although we would love to send everyone their link we have to respect the fabulous network of sewing machine retailers that keep this industry alive. They are your conduit to the exciting world of embroidery and without their support this industry wouldn’t exist.
In the meantime, you can receive specific assistance on the Help Desk. When you click on the link, you’ll be taken to the home page. You can open a new ticket or check the status of an existing ticket. If you have already filled out a ticket, please check your SPAM folder for the Help Desk response email.
If you’d like to talk directly with other Inspiration users, join the forum! You can do that here:*/*/11453

One more thing, if you’re new to my blog, you’ll find tons of embroidery information here, all searchable. I post at least twice a week and often, three times a week. Once a new posting is live, it moves to the front of the home blog page. Although previous blog posts are available to view, new comments are usually posted on the current posting. And the blog is a friendly place – you’ll find free information on everything from applique to underlay. We give away prizes once a week and readers have fun sharing their ideas. I’ll hope you’ll stop back and share the fun.

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