Archive of ‘A Closer Look’ category

Facebook LIVE Tutorial on Conquering Your Fear of the Snap Hoop Monster: Magnetic Hooping

We hope you enjoyed our second Facebook live this week but due to technical difficulties we decided to re-shoot a video just for the blog! Take a look below to learn more about magnetic hoops and why you shouldn’t be afraid of the Snap Hoop Monster.

It’s All About Perspective!

If you’ve ever gone on a road trip you’ve probably seen roadside attractions.  Imagine the excitement when the denizens of Tiny Land discovered enormous 1” pillows.

168a0671_bb

This new roadside attraction draws crowds of people who stop to get their photos taken.  If you take a closer look, the Flamingo’s legs are the letters “J” and “L”

168a0680_bb
About the “Pillows”
The scene was inspired by Eileen’s beautiful assortment of pillows on the cover of Volume 102 January/February 2017.  I wanted to see what a miniature interpretation would look like.

volume102

If you look closely, I even coordinated some of the same decorator fabrics Eileen used on her cover project.

168a0658_bb

 

The really fascinating part about the pillows is the tiny lettering.  The “SAS” monogram is only ¼ of an inch tall.  Perfect Embroidery Pro includes an assortment of fonts digitized for small applications.

Whether you need to stitch large embroidery fonts (like Eileen’s oversized pillows) or very small fonts as seen in Tiny Land, Perfect Embroidery Pro has you covered!

img_1510bb3

Font:  Arial Small

Additional features:

  • Symbols were incorporated, including the Top Hat, Flamingo and Pine Tree.
  • I used the Bridge Convex Top envelope shape for the “TRB” monogram.

22 new symbols are available to all Perfect Embroidery Pro software owners.  Just run the latest update (Version 9.35) and you’ll find 22 new symbols installed in your software!

newsymbols22_bb

 

A freshly popped t-shirt!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I’ve been on a t-shirt wearing kick—mainly because t-shirts are comfortable to wear in the summer.  But instead of mass market t-shirts that everyone is wearing, I’ve opted to embellish my own.

Years ago I wouldn’t have tried, because I was afraid of the effort to hoop and that the embroidery would turn out crooked.  But with the tools and technology available today, there’s no excuse not to try.  Bargain t-shirts can be found for as little as $4.00.  Plus, the benefits of continued practice include an increase in confidence and an improvement of skills.

Another fun bonus:  the shirts become conversation pieces.

In the last month, I’ve stitched 4 new t-shirts and every time I wear one of them I get compliments.

The most memorable was while ordering my drink at Starbucks.  The barista said, “I like your t-shirt.” My reply: “Thank you, I made it last night.”  He looked at me with awe and asked, “You just whipped that up last night?!”

His reaction made me smile, but I also realized I had transitioned into a more experienced, confident embroiderer.

Whether you realize it or not— you have developed and improved your embroidery skills with every stitch made on a garment, quilt block or even a scrap of fabric.  It’s easy to forget or dismiss this gradual progression but it should be celebrated and encouraged.

When I consider the work of our contributing writers and Editor, Eileen Roche, it’s hard not to assume projects get whipped up in no time.   But as I’ve learned, it’s a function of continued practice, experiments, a willingness to try new ideas and yes… to fail and learn from mistakes.

So, readers, grab a t-shirt and an embroidery design and start stitching!

About the featured t-shirt:

  • The Popcorn design is from Baby Kay’s Appliques.  You get multiple sizes with your purchase.
  • The website suggested inserting a monogram but I decided to add text:  “I’m here for the show” using embroidery software.
  • The only shirt I had available was this brown one— I didn’t think it would work but with a careful selection of bright colors, I think it looks wonderful.
  • To help guarantee success, I stitched the design on similar colored brown fabric to make sure the colors would pop sufficiently.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


This week’s assignment:  Achieving a goal is often easier to complete if you write it down. Who is the next person you are going to embroider a project for?  What will you make? Post your comments and 4 random people will receive a $25 gift certificate for use at Baby Kay’s Appliques!

300x350 BabyKaysAD

A name you can trust!

Abigail adds colorful excitement to her tightrope performance with Sulky embroidery threads.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Imagine the colorful excitement you can add to your next embroidery project!  Sulky thread comes in an array of beautiful options.  Visit their website for more information.

sulkyscreenshot


Of course, Sulky sells more than embroidery thread.  Thread, stabilizers, embroidery tools, and designs are just a few items you’ll find at Sulky.  Post a comment telling us about your favorite Sulky product.  Four randomly chosen people will each win 1 roll of  Stitch ‘n Seal!

StitchNSeal_Giveaway_300x350

Experiment & Have Fun

I read a comment on last Wednesday’s blog post that got my creative juices flowing.  It is from one of our frequent Designs in Machine Embroidery contributors, Joanne Banko.  Here’s an excerpt of her comment:

Denise you outdid yourself. Wow, wow, and triple wow!!! Lovely little lace designs and great ideas for hair ornaments and more!

I think these would also be pretty added to crazy quilt blocks. One of my favorite uses for pieces like this is to attach them to custom stitched greeting cards for a 3D effect.

I absolutely love Joanne’s suggestion of using the lace designs with crazy quilt blocks.  My reply to her suggested I’d be posting some more shenanigans… so as promised, here we go!

I knew I wanted to try out one of Eileen’s quilt blocks from her book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  I foraged through my home to find fabrics with a sheen.  (They are not required but I wanted to try something new.)  Since satin fabrics tend to fray so easily—I don’t generally want to work with them!  But I knew the machine embroidered version of a crazy quilt design would make it easier.

I was curious to see what the FSL Flourish Flower from Embroidery Online would look like if it was stitched in two colors.  It was digitized for a single color only.  I’ll pause a moment and insert caveats to my idea:

  1. Not all ideas work! Embrace the need to test and be open to positive outcomes as well as learning experiences!
  2. I can’t say this enough. Test, test, test.
  3. Repeat Step 1 and/or 2!

I opened the FSL Flourish Flower in embroidery software.  Then I selected the stitches I wanted a different color, and inserted a new color.  Depending on how lace is digitized this technique may or may not work.  Remember, the digitizer had a specific plan for the design when it was created.  In my example, my idea worked!  (Whew!)

Some tips:  Consider the effects of highly contrasting threads.  I found the results were nicer when I stitched the off-white thread first—then finished up with the accent maroon color on top.

Experiment & Have Fun

Also featured on the crazy quilt block is a leaf design courtesy of Embroidery Online.  In fact, you may download it from our website for free if you haven’t already.  Visit our Free Designs page on the Designs Plus Newsletter.  Scroll to March 2015.  Click here to do it now.

Here’s a look at the finished block.  I added ribbon, buttons and a cute key to finish off the block.  Remember, making crazy quilt blocks is your chance to embellish with bits and pieces of treasures you have saved over the years.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

After working with the FSL Flourish Flower, my mind wandered to miniatures….

I have a miniature wooden table that is in great need of being adorned with lace linens.  The freestanding lace designs make great doilies for my table!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Takeaways for the Day:

  1. Experiment and have fun.
  2. Look at embroidery designs with an open mind. Maybe there’s a use for a design you haven’t considered.


Last week we asked you to tell us which supplies from Embroidery Online you are most in need of in your sewing studio.  This week I get to announce the lucky FIVE random winners who will each receive a $25 shopping spree to the EmbroideryOnline website.

Here are the winners!

Sheri:
“FSL was one of the first projects I tried, so much fun! I can always use new needles and a small pair (or two!) of applique scissors would be nice.”

Diana Hensley:
“I have made several baby bonnets and booties using the FSL. I love the wash away stabilizer, it is really neat to wash it out and you have something so neat.”

Donna G.:
“I could use sharp embroidery scissors, and there’s some new stabilizers I’ve not tried. The hair accessories are a cute idea!”

Eileen Ryan:
“Wash Away Stabilizer always comes in handy”

Carolyn:
“I love doing FSL! I discovered Embroidery Online in your July/August 2014 issue with there FSL Patchwork Quilt Birdhouses on the cover. I’m making wind chimes with them. Their Alligator clamps are a must, and the AguaMesh Wash Away Stabilizer, and well as Vilene’s is the best for FSL.”

Congratulations, everyone!  If you need help spending the shopping spree money, let me know!  😉


This week’s assignment:
What type of projects would you like to see more of?  Quilts, crafts, adult clothing, children’s clothing or home decor?  One lucky winner will receive a 1 year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

 

Puffy Foam!

This post is a continuation from the September 2015 Designs Plus Newsletter.  If you missed it, stop by for a visit by clicking here.

In today’s lesson you’ll learn how to:

  • Work with an embroidery design that is specifically digitized for Puffy Foam.
  • Discover how the stitch sequence has similarities to applique – yet is surprisingly new and different!  (And addicting!)
  • How to use the Circle Template.  (A tool you’ll also find addicting!)


Open Word Art in Stitches.

Click on the Add puffy Text icon in the top toolbar.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Select the Arial Puffy font.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Type the letter “I”.  Click Apply.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Click on File / Save As.  Save the design in C2S format.  Exit Word Art in Stitches.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Open Perfect Embroidery Pro Software.  Then go to File / Open.  Select the “I” embroidery design.  Once the design is displayed on the screen, press Ctrl + A, to select the design.  Click on the Circle Template Icon on the top toolbar.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

A new window appears as shown in the image below.  Change the Width and Height to 100.  Change the number of Repeats to 5.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Click Apply to view the layout.  When satisfied with the layout, press Ok.

Click on File / Merge.  Select the Sweet Nothing Spool Design, #09201005.  (This design is available for free courtesy of Sulky and is featured in the September 2015 Designs Plus Newsletter.  If you don’t have the design, click here.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Place the design in the center of your Puffy border.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Save the design and send to your embroidery machine.


At the Embroidery Machine

Be sure to read the instructions that are included with the Sulky® Puffy Foam™ for tips and techniques.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I used a Snap Hoop Monster to hoop a sturdy canvas fabric.  I love the color blue – so it was clear I’d use a blue Puffy Foam and blue thread for my design.  You’ll want to match the Puffy Foam with the embroidery thread color.

Stitch the first color, which is a satin stitch outline.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Place the Puffy Foam on top of the satin stitch outline.  Stitch the second color—this second color stitches on top of the Puffy Foam.  If you’ve done applique these steps seem counter-intuitive – but that’s what makes this process so intriguing and exciting!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Once complete, you’ll notice the excess Puffy Foam perforates away from the project.  How delightful!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Repeat the steps for each of the Puffy Foam designs.  Then finish by stitching the center design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a close-up view of the 3D-effect created with Sulky’s Puffy Foam.  Looks like Henry found a nice place to contemplate his next embroidery project!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Want to learn more about Sulky’s Puffy Foam?  Visit their website by clicking here.

Be sure to visit the September 2015 Designs Plus Newsletter for more free designs courtesy of Sulky.

Here’s your assignment this week:

As the fall equinox arrives today it also ends the season of summer. Its funny how the days grow shorter and the embroidery project list grows longer in in the fall. What exciting fall projects do you have in store?

Leave a comment below for a hance to win a $20 Designs in Machine Embroidery giftcard!

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

Schmetz needles are available at retailers nationwide. Whenever I’m in my local sewing machine dealer, I make sure I pick up a new pack of needles.  I’m building my stash so that I’m prepared for future projects. How about you? Do you have trouble planning properly? Do you jump right in and then regret it later? Or do you approach projects with caution and prepare accordingly?

The winner is:  

Barb: “I do some of each. If I find something I really am excited to try–I jump right in. Other times I may have a pattern that I am “scared” of and I try to plan it out the best I can so hopefully I won’t have too much trouble.”

Beauty and Inspiration is Everywhere!

Sometimes you find inspiration in unusual places! This little fellow was spotted outside by my office mate who brought it to my desk.  She knew I wouldn’t be able to resist taking photos.  I’m not sure any of us anticipated I’d try to coordinate it with fabric, but the moth was cooperative – so I had to try!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

After spending time with my new friend, I felt inspired to find moth themed embroidery designs.  Here’s what I found….

I always enjoy browsing the Urban Threads website.  Click here to view the details on the Death’s-Head Hawkmoth design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Kreations by Kara also has an interesting design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Imagine striking black and orange colors for this design from Embroidery Library!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

This design from Embroidery Online reminds me of my last moments photographing the moth outside.  It started flapping its wings and then came at me.  I screamed for my life before it flew away.  It’s probably safer to stitch the design than to try to photograph a large, eager to escape, moth!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Where do you find your inspiration?

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

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 of the last assignment answered the following question:

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 is:  

Laurel D: “What fun is this!!!???? Had to forward the news on to my sister who is a dedicated quilter (and a confessed fabric hoarder ). Can’t wait to try to create my own fabric — thanks for bringing this option to our attention … if I were to win, I’d choose the Happy Pigs to make something special for my best friend (of over 45 years) who loves pigs and is fighting cancer — what happiness that fabric could bring!”

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)”

 

 

Behind the Scenes – Volume 90 Jan/Feb 2015

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Until you’ve been to a photo shoot you might not realize much of it is make-believe!  That’s one of my favorite parts of our photo shoots—having the chance to watch a space transform with the clever use of lights, props and the expertise of a photographer and team.

Sure, it looks like a cozy bed with a pretty pillow made by Sherry McCary.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

But here’s what it took to put the scene together….

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Stylist Andrea Huffman fluffs up the ruffles before the final photo is taken.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Next, we chose a neutral colored chair and pretty blue background for Eileen’s cover project.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Andrea carefully arranges the fringe on the pillow while Steve Woods focuses on some close-up shots.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The team examines the photos to make sure we have a cover shot.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

You’re going to want to read Eileen’s article, Jumbo Monograms to learn how to stitch the pillow.  She managed to stitch an embroidery design larger than her hoop.  No, that’s not a typo!  Read her article to find out how she accomplished this seemingly impossible task.

Plus, as an extra incentive, our friends at Embroidery Arts are offering a special coupon offer for the Arabesque 9 XL embroidery design used on the pillow.  Details are in the magazine.

Diane Kron made these Springtime Place Mats.  They are a great way to welcome the arrival of Spring!  As thirst-quenching as the tea looks, I wouldn’t recommend it.  Remember, props are often make-believe!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Katherine Artine’s projects are always eye-candy!  This wall hanging project features software techniques, tips for working with organza and steps to create free standing heart appliques.  What fun!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a table runner made by Sue Ann Obremski featuring mitered borders.  It’s a very educational article you won’t want to miss.  In fact, it looks like one of our little friends, Peter, is reading up on the software techniques!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Ever feel like the embroidery hoops are getting bigger and bigger… and as much as you love the idea of a larger sewing field, you can’t afford a new machine?  JoAnn Connolly’s column, 4” x 4” & Fabulous addresses this challenge by offering projects that fit within a 4” x 4” sewing field.

We were enamored with these Pretty Petit Fours JoAnn submitted.  It’s easy to imagine handing them out to special friends and family.  After the candy is long gone (by the way, Denise ate all the candy after the photo shoot), the boxes can be repurposed to hold other small treasures.

Stylist Andrea Huffman unwraps the project and props.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The candy and boxes are carefully arranged.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The scene looks complete and ready to be photographed!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Now’s the perfect time for Denise to add her special touch!

Peter enjoys the view from Petit Fours Central Park.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Francis is a strong supporter of machine embroidery.  He has dedicated his life to spreading awareness of the craft.

Behind the Scenes - Volume 90 Jan/Feb 2015

 

Of course, it’s not all fun and games at the photo shoot.  Well, maybe it is sometimes.  There’s something about white beadboard that excites Denise.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Meanwhile, Creative Director, Sam Solomon stays productive at the photo shoot!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Do you own a pair of boots?  If you don’t you’ll want to pick up a pair after seeing these monogrammed boot socks by Marie Zinno.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Steve Woods and the model prepare for the next item—a button down shirt with symmetrical embroidery by Christy Burcham.  Christy’s steps to achieve success have been proven!  She recently mentioned she loved the shirt so much she whipped up a second sample for herself.

You might also notice the model is wearing slippers!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

While much of the photo shoot looks make-believe, as you have witnessed, a lot of heart, planning and attention to detail goes in to each issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine.  From the team of writers, to the team responsible for editing and laying out the pages and of course the team responsible for all the beautiful photography— every issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery represents months of work!

But wait, there’s more to see inside the issue!  Be sure to pick up your copy of the January/February 2015 issue at your local dealer, JoAnn’s Fabrics or direct from Designs in Machine Embroidery.

Here’s your assignment this week:
It’s a puzzle! How many squares are in the picture below? Leave a comment below with your answer. One random correct answer will be chosen and will receive a $25 gift certificate to the DIME website. Good Luck!1-msGlp
The winner of last week’s assignment:
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
And the winner is…Jeanne R. “My favorite stitch is the serpentine with opposing leaves. Very cute. Thanks for your pillow inspiration! I knew I was saving those dupioni remnants for something!”

 

 

Words of Wisdom!

As machine embroiderers we have opportunities to use our machines to create and embellish everything from clothing to quilts to home décor and more. Sometimes my motivation to begin a project gets stunted by the fear of failure. That’s right… failure before I’ve even taken the first stitch… or even selected the fabric for the project-to-be.

But one recent afternoon I decided to play with the Calligraphy Project Designer. I like it because it’s simple to use and feeds my need for creativity.

I decided to do an online search for a fun quote. You can easily search key terms like “popular quotations,” “famous quotations,” or even “quotations about <life>,” (you can replace the word “life” with any word you want.)

In my search I came upon a fun quotation from Albert Einstein: “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

What an inspiring quotation!

Before beginning the project, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Select the hoop size. This will give you boundaries to work within.
  2. If you are working with a long phrase, break it into several individual designs. It makes it easier to manipulate and rearrange.
  3. The <Enter> key is useful. Instead of having one long continuous line of text, break it up by using the <Enter> key.
  4. Consider the alignment. I chose to center all my text.
  5. You may decide to edit as you go or wait until you have all the text on the screen. I chose to make the more creative edits (enlarging and changing the angle of the letters) at the very end. Decide what works for you.

The point is – you need to experiment with the layout. That is part of the creative process!

Here are the steps I used to put the layout together in software.

  1. Open the Calligraphy Project Designer Software.
  2. I chose the largest hoop size my machine could handle.
  3. Click on the Text tool to add text.Design 1: “A person <Enter key> “who never”I centered the design and chose Old English for the text style.Design 2: “made a”I centered the design and chose Old English for the text style.Design 3: “mistake”I centered the design and chose Jester Pro for the text style.

    Design 4: “never tried”

    I centered the design and chose Old English.

    Design 5: “anything”

    I centered the design and chose Old English.

    Design 5: “new”

    I centered the design and chose the Diana-Vs text style.

    Design 6: “Albert Einstein”

    I centered the design and chose Old English. I placed the text further down on the page as I wanted to add a design later.

  4. Rearrange the text into a pleasing format.
  5. Click the Ink Spots button and select the Ink Blotch design. Arrange the design in a pleasing format. Enlarge the design if necessary, by selecting it then dragging one of the corners to expand the size.
  6. I decided to enlarge the first letter “A”. Click on the text icon. Click on Design 1 to select it.
  7. Click on the center of the letter “A”. The letter will now be surrounded by a yellow box.Grab one of the white corner boxes to enlarge the design. Once enlarged, click on the center of the letter and rearrange as needed.
  8. I wanted to have fun with the word “mistake.” I decided to rotate the letter “t”.
    Click on the Text button. Click on the word “mistake” to select it. Click on the center of the letter “t” to select it. Click the arrow to rotate.Click on the sizing box to enlarge the letter.

Final Tips:

  • Rearrange the designs as necessary and experiment with font styles and thread colors.
  • Stitch efficiently! Go to Edit. Click on Resequence by Color.
  • Save the design as an MHF file. (This format is the native format in the software. It will enable you to make edits in the future.). Then save the design in the format your embroidery machine reads and send to your embroidery machine.

Here’s your assignment this week:

We love words of wisdom!  They can inspire, make us smile and motivate!  Share your favorite quote — whether it’s from someone famous, a family member or some pearl of wisdom you tell your children or grandchildren.  We want to know!  One random comment will be selected to win a $25 shopping spree to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

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

Everyone wants to know what Elfis said to Elfira to make her giggle for the cover shot.  Post a comment with your best guess.  One random comment will be selected to win a one year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery Magazine!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The random drawing winner is… Shauna Kaminsky!  “That silly shelf elf wishes he looked this good!”

Thank you everyone for the laughs!  We enjoyed reading the comments!

1 2