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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.




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.

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.


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?

Stabilizing Cotton Fabric

In October, reader Shirley Clark asked, “What’s the best stabilizer to use for stitching on pillowcases or cotton fabric? I know I’ve played with this a lot, and even used a spray on stabilizer to keep it from puckering. Stitching on knits are easy, but cottons are always challenging.”

Shirley, it depends (great answer, right?) on the design and size of the project. When I’m adding embroidery – think full, dense designs – I often give cotton a little extra lift. I fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the cotton.  When making pillows or quilt blocks, I interface the entire wrong side of the block or pillow front.  Then I add tear-away stabilizer for the actual embroidery.  The interfacing stabilizes the fabric and the tear-away stabilizes the stitches.

I’ve used Pellon’s ShirTailor fusible or tricot knit interfacing. The ShirTailor adds body to the cotton and makes it a bit stiff.  I find it’s great for pillow fronts and whole cloth wall quilts (fused edge to edge).  I started using it many years ago when I wrote my first quilt book, Contemporary Machine Embroidered Quilts. Since then, my style has evolved and I find I don’t really stitch heavy embroidery designs on quilt tops anymore but the technique still works.


Today, when I’m adding embroidery designs (fill stitches) to a quilt block, I fuse tricot knit interfacing to the wrong side of the block. This added layer of support won’t change the hand of the fabric but the embroidery definitely benefits from this addition.

Of course, another way to avoid puckers on cotton is to select a design that is appropriate for the lightweight cotton. Heavy dense stitches need a firmer substrate, one that can endure thousands of needle penetrations.  If you select airy and open designs for stitching on cotton, you’ll be happier with your embroidery.

Always stitch a test of the stabilizer, fabric, interfacing and design combination. Use fabric of the same weight and fiber for the text. Make notes right on the sample if you don’t think you’ll use it in another project. If it’s a candidate for future use, write in pencil on the back.  Down the road, you’ll know what changes were required.

Here’s your assignment this week:

I hope this information helped Shirley for stitching on cotton. Our blog sponsor this week is Graceful Embroidery. Please click on the banner below to visit their site and make sure to tell us what’s your favorite Graceful Embroidery design. Four commenters will be chosen to win a $30 voucher to Graceful Embroidery!


The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

So tell me, how does your significant other show you that they are thinking of you? One comment will be chosen to win a $20 gift card to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The winner is:  

Joan: “This week, my husband cleaned and replaced the ceiling light panels in my sewing room. I’m afraid to let him in there for very long for fear he’ll get rid of some of my stash, though.”


Little Ways to Say I Love You

Spouses, partners and significant others find countless ways to show their love.  My husband shows his love in many thoughtful ways but there’s one that I really enjoy. He’s my “eye in sky.” He travels quite a bit for business and when he’s on the road, I have proof that he thinks of me. You see, he sends me photographs of embroidered or decorated garments, wallhangings and who knows what. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the garments are worn by some innocent bystander.  Here’s how it plays out:

I’ll be working at my desk, and my cell phone will ping. When I look at it, I see it’s a message from Pete.  I love that – I get all warm and fuzzy and then look at the message. An image appears. And then another. And then the explanation of why he sent it and who the person is follows. He’s very thorough.

This week, he’s in Las Vegas at a convention. And you can imagine just how many embellished garments (or items trying to pass for garments) there are in Vegas on display.  But he knows I’m more interested in everyday wear.  He knows my current fave is uniquely printed fabrics because of our new business, MyFabricDesigns.  Pete is still in the learning phase of understanding the capabilities of print on demand fabric so he was intrigued when he saw the back of this coat:Coat1BL

And even more so when he introduced himself and asked permission to photograph the coat. She only spoke Italian but her husband granted permission in English.Coat2BL

Here’s your assignment this week:

So tell me, how does your significant other show you that they are thinking of you?

My Block Piecer Block of the Month Sampler

Toot, toot!  Beep, beep!  We’re happy to announce our My Block Piecer Block of the Month Sampler.AllblocksBL

I learned so much when I made this quilt designed by Nancy Stansbury. Nancy did a fabulous job of designing and writing the instructions. My tasks were to stitch each block, photograph the process and make it available to the dealers.  So please nudge your dealer to participate.  We want everyone who owns My Block Piecer to join in the fun. By the time you’ve completed all 12 blocks, you’ll be a My Block Piecer pro!

You’ll learn how to make one, two and three-unit blocks.block1BL

And if you’ve been hankering to learn how to upload a block of your own and turn it into an in-the-hoop pieced block, you’ll learn that in block 6.Blk6BL

I forced myself to cut my patches on a digital cutter and became so familiar with that process; I was tempted to throw away my rotary cutter!  This is the most precise quilt I ever made – I’m so proud of all my sharp points, matching seams and flawless seam allowances.  I know, I know, it’s practically cheating when you’re using digital files – everything is perfect!

The Sampler works well as a scrap quilt or even modern solids.  But I took a different path because I just melt at Kaffee Fasset’s use of colors. I threw caution to the wind and grabbed several bolts of his Free Spirit fabrics. They might not have been the best choice, several of the prints are very large for these small patches but I couldn’t resist. I paired his bright fabrics with black and I must say I’m pleased with the end result.  We’ll unveil the fully-quilted version soon – right now it’s sitting on my shortE.

If you decide to make the large version (four repeats of each block), you’ll have fun creating your own layout. I think block 11 was my favorite because it gave so many options for joining the blocks. Blk11aBLBlock11bBLBlock11cBL

So nudge your dealer and encourage them to join in the fun!

Thanksgiving 2015

It’s been a fun week here on the blog. Last Wednesday, I shared my story about stitching on my finger.  I think I must have hit a nerve when 155 of you left a comment! Thank you for sharing your stories, reading some of your experiences made me count my blessings. In fact, my injury was minor, more frightening than damaging. I have healed completely. The only scar I’m sporting is a stronger appreciation for the power of my embroidery machine. I have all kinds of tools near my machine now – pencils, skewers and chopsticks. I look at them like potholders – I wouldn’t pick up a hot pan without protecting my hand, so the same goes in my sewing room!

Monday’s blog, written by my sister, Marie Zinno, was spot on.  I hope you had a chance to read it and even more so, embrace it.  She encouraged all of us to focus on creativity this week, not shopping.  Instead of hitting the mall, spend some time in your sewing room.  Share a favorite technique with a family member or friend. If you’re by yourself, give yourself the gift of time spent doing your favorite hobby.

If you are out and about, stop by your local sewing machine dealer. They work so hard to provide all of us with education, tools and inspiration. Wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and let them know how much you appreciate them.

I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. May you spend it with those you love and find time to count your blessings.


The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

So come on, tell me, have you ever stitched on your finger? You don’t need to share the gory details; just a yes or no and you’ll be entered to win a $20 gift card to !

The winner is:  

Fran: “Yes, I hate to admit it but I have sewn a finger more than once.”

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