Archive of ‘Behind the Scenes’ category

Celebrating 100 Issues!

What does it take?

They say if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.  But if you take a closer look, even your favorite hobby can become frustrating.  There are the days the needle breaks, bird’s nests inexplicably happen and you make bad thread color choices on the very last remnant of fabric you had for a special project.  Dwelling on those frustrations doesn’t do any good—except to learn from them.

There are also the momentous days when you complete a project and it looks fantastic.  Or those days when you learn and master a new technique on your embroidery machine or you learn a shortcut in your embroidery software.

The tiring days along with the triumphant days of accomplishment; get woven together to create a wonderful and unique story about our lives.  That is what has happened at Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The Team

Group Photo

(Left to Right)  Stephanie Sanders, Eileen Roche, Gary Gardner, Sandy Griggs, Denise Holguin, Samuel Solomon celebrated their 100th issue by taking a cooking lesson at Sur La Table

A wonderful story of hard work, big dreams and even a little bit of crazy made it possible for Designs in Machine Embroidery to start with Volume 1 and progress to Volume 100.

The magazine would not happen without a dedicated team.  The team is led by Editor and Founder, Eileen Roche and her business partner, Gary Gardner.

Samuel Solomon, the Creative Director, has been with the magazine since Volume 6.

Volume 6

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Aside from being the magazine historian (we often go to him and ask, ‘do you remember what issue the embroidered project was in?’) he is responsible for laying out each page from cover to cover.  He’s also responsible for the cover.  Plus Sam is our go-to for last minute ideas and special details.  “Hey!  Let’s add decorative flags to our celebratory cupcakes for our 100th issue.  Sam!  Will you make them…now?”

Celebrating 100 issues

For this photo shoot, we stacked all 100 issues in the scene with our special decorated cupcakes

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Details take more time but they make the difference! You’ll find this “Simply Charm-ing” project by Katherine Artines on page 40 of Volume 100.

Sam, Eileen and Managing Editor, Denise Holguin, spend a good portion of their time planning the cover.  The beauty is in the details—from selecting the cover project, to determining how the project should be photographed and what text and colors should go on the cover. If you’re not a detail person, you might say, “it’s just a quilt”, or “it’s just a garment” but it’s more than a quilt or a garment.  It’s a project we have selected because it represents what our magazine is about and also our hope for what will inspire you.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

If you have Volume 100 handy, take a look at the front cover.  It has a beautiful silver sheen to commemorate our 100th issue.  This is also the very first issue we’ve published without a project or model on the front cover.

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Once you open the cover, you’ll see the contributions of Eileen, Denise and a talented team of writers who stitch original projects to inspire and educate our readers.

In Eileen’s spare time, she contributes to every issue with a project or article.  You might ask, with such a busy schedule, why not outsource all the projects?  Why should Eileen spend her time stitching?  The answer is simple:  It’s fun!  She loves to create, design and develop new embroidery techniques she can share with you.  She remains as passionate about machine embroidery as she began with Volume 1.

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Volume 1 of Designs in Machine Embroidery. Yes, Eileen made that beautiful butterfly quilt!

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Eileen used vintage linens to make this project – it’s one of our favorite creations she’s made over the years.

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Left: Eileen purchased this hoodie and added the “LOVE” applique. It’s #cute and #cool enough for even the toughest of critics! Right: Eileen understands her readers love t-shirts but want to look fashionable while wearing them. This t-shirt remake meets that goal.

This love has also spread to Managing Editor, Denise Holguin who has launched her first-time project series, “Subtle Tees.”

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the photo shoot for Subtle Tees.  If you had seen Denise at the shoot, she was ready to spontaneously combust with the excitement of having her garments photographed.  We’ll feature more t-shirt behind the scenes in an upcoming blog.

100th Issue Celebration

You remember this blog began with doing what you love.  Denise is an avid photographer and is generally seen carrying two cameras around her neck.  Choosing the first theme for her Subtle Tees series was an obvious choice.  She found a way to incorporate her love for photography with embroidery.

Stephanie Sanders began working for Designs in Machine Embroidery when she was still Stephanie Stubbs.  She started her career in our Circulation Department (with Volume 12), answering the phone, entering subscription orders and handling the day-to-day duties of magazine circulation.  Now she handles our accounting department and countless other duties too numerous to mention!  So many large and small tasks magically get complete because of Stephanie’s efforts.  She recently got married and now has a baby girl we hope to recruit for the magazine someday!

Celebrating 100 issues


As ubiquitous as we think machine embroidery has become, it’s still a niche market. Learning about the latest embroidery products and innovations from reputable sources is made much easier by flipping through the pages of Designs in Machine Embroidery.  Sandy Griggs, our Advertising and Sales Manager, has been responsible for building relationships with our advertisers.

Celebrating 100 issues

The magazine could not be printed without the support of our advertisers.  Every advertiser featured has contributed to the magazine’s success.  We have the privilege of informing you of new embroidery products and innovations that will fuel your creativity.

We also love the new innovations because it fuels our passion to create new projects.  From improved hardware and software to a broader selection of stabilizers and threads and a wonderful array of embroidery designs that span every conceivable theme or interest you can imagine.

Speaking of designs, the clever innovation of in-the-hoop embroidery designs is a relatively new development.  Who would have imagined taping fabric to the underside of the hoop as you stitch?  In the early days we were too busy stitching teddy bears on our garments.

100th Issue Anniversary

One of our favorite in-the-hoop designs that is functional and can also be displayed as art! The project was made by Tari Intardonato for Embroidery Online and was featured in Volume 99.

We’d like to hug all the innovators in the industry for helping the market grow.

What good is producing content if no one is willing to purchase a magazine? We are grateful to our readers who have supported us through the years.  Many of our readers have been faithfully supporting the magazine since Volume 1.  Whether you have been with us since Volume 1, started halfway or just picked up a copy recently, we are grateful.

This has been our small but mighty team’s livelihood for 17+ years.  During those years, our kids have become adults, we’ve been blessed with marriages and even babies.  We’re all a little older and wiser but one thing remains the same.  Machine embroidery is our shared passion and we can’t wait to bring you another 100 issues!

With gratitude,

Eileen Roche, Samuel Solomon, Denise Holguin, Stephanie Sanders, Sandy Griggs


As a special token of our gratitude, please enjoy this free applique heart embroidery design.


Celebrating 100 issues



Multi-needle Monday: Rush Order Madness

After returning from a beautiful vacation and trying to get back into work mode, I received a call from a good friend, neighbor and parent of a boy’s lacrosse player. Somehow the volunteer parent who was supposed to order the senior gifts for the sports banquet dropped the ball. The banquet was being held the next evening and the parents were disappointed and desperate for a personalized team gift. They requested 17 items, one for each senior boy on the team, of anything I could embroider. This is when I always seem to come to the rescue. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to order blankets from my wholesale vendor and embroider the 17 items in time for delivery in exactly 27 hours. However I live approximately 3 miles from a number of big box stores and I was hoping I could find something appropriate for the gifts. In the past, the teams have ordered blankets, sweatshirts and duffel bags with the athlete’s name and new school/college name.

My daughter and I were on our way to BJ’s Wholesale club to purchase groceries and I happened to check out the plush blankets they had in stock. BINGO! Gorgeous plush blankets in a few colors were on sale for $8 each! Lindsey and I dug through the shelves and yes, 17 gray blankets were found. The gray color is a perfect backdrop for a variety of thread colors and is a bit masculine.

I took a photo of one blanket and texted it to my friend for approval while I shopped. After she replied we loaded all of blankets in a cart. The blankets will be embroidered with the college name and the player’s name in the colors of the new school. Let’s just say people were giving us some strange looks as we proceeded through the store with a car entirely full of gray plush blankets!plushblanket1BLplushblanket2BLplushblanket3BLplushblanket4BL

My first reaction to the phone call was to just say I could not fill the order, but as a mom and parent of recent graduate and athlete I wanted to help. I made a nice profit even if it was a rush order. The blankets turned out great and the parents were thrilled that I could help with such a short notice.

When working on a rush order if you are a business owner; remember the following:

  1. Make a profit
  2. Charge a rush fee
  3. Get all names and information in writing not over the phone. (email or text)
  4. Plan and simplify the embroidery design as best as possible –guide the customer and direct them as to what font/embroidery design will stitch quickly and look appropriate on the specific fabric.

In the finished photos you can see I used a college block type font for the text in a generous 1 ½ inch tall size. I also added an extra underlay to hold down the plush fibers and I increased my density to .40. Always stitch a simple stitch out on a similar weight fabric (not on a final product). Use a water soluble topper to hold down the fabric’s nap.plushblanket5blplushblanket6BL

Join me in my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” with Marie Zinno.

Click the link to save with this coupon.

Behind the Scenes: Volume 92 May/June 2015

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Our team of writers submitted beautiful, creative and unique projects—it definitely makes us excited to present them to you!

So grab a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy today’s Behind the Scenes at a Photo Shoot feature!

Katherine Artines, wowed us with her quilted tote that features channel quilting with fabric confetti sprinkled in for added color and whimsy.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Sometimes a breeze is needed to gently tousle the model’s hair.  That’s when a fan comes in handy.  The model is wearing Nancy Zieman’s “Quilting for Texture” project.  The garment features flawless allover embroidery.  Be sure to check it out in the current issue.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Creative Director, Sam Solomon, stays focused to make sure we have the right shot for the magazine.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Stylist, Andrea Huffman prepares the cheese and fruit platter for the next shot….the Oui, Oui! Quilt by Diane Kron.  We are all anxious to snack on these goodies after the shoot!

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Oops!  We caught Eileen playing around!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Managing Editor, Denise Holguin, looks like a tourist in Paris.  Oui, oui!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Hmmm… one of these things does not belong…  I can also assure you the cheese and grapes disappeared fast!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

We love how the embroidery designs coordinate so well in Joanne Banko’s, “Color Play Pillow Set.”  Read her article to learn her tips.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Although we are hundreds of miles away from a beach, the photography studio is able to bring the beach to us!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Andrea prepares the scene.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Denise managed to incorporate a miniature campsite.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Andrea found the perfect backdrop for the Pocket Journals from Stitch Soup.

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The Pocket Journals are enchanting.  Denise made it her goal to show you every possible angle so you can fully appreciate the craftsmanship and creativity… and the “oh my gosh, how cool!” factor.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

A close-up look at the spines of these embroidered books.
Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Denise enlisted the help of her tiny crew to showcase the details on these beautiful journals.

Looks like George found the key to the journal!

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Mildred prepares for a trip abroad.  She will be able to document her travels quite easily.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Hans and Charles are busy closing the books for the day.
Eileen's Machine Embroidery BlogDietrich makes an important announcement he wants all to hear:

“Ladies and gentlemen, when you make your own version of the Pocket Journals, please post them to our Facebook page.  We can’t wait to see your approach!”

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


All this and more can be discovered in the latest issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery! Pick up the Volume 92 May/June 2015 issue from your favorite local retailer or order online!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s your assignment this week:

Fun trivia!  The May/June issue is the first time we’ve featured a cover of the magazine on the cover!  Identify which Volume of Designs in Machine Embroidery is tucked away in Marie’s beach tote featured on the cover.  Post your answer in the comments section and one lucky person will win a Stipple Sea Life collection.

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

Inspiration can be found everywhere and in everything. For today’s blog, Denise’s inspiration came from a restaurant’s graffiti wall. What has been your most peculiar source for embroidery inspiration?Post a comment below and one very lucky winner is going to score BIG by winning a one-year subscription to Design in Machine Embroidery magazine!

And the winner is: Cathy K. – “My most peculiar design is my husband’s airplane! I am going to make it into an embroidery design and put it in on his shirt as a surprise. I am a real newbie, so I hope I can do it!”


Behind the Scenes with the Volume 91 March/April 2015 issue

Here’s a never-before-look at what goes on at a planning meeting for a magazine photo shoot!

New projects arrive at our offices to be featured in upcoming issues of Designs in Machine Embroidery.  But what happens between the time the project arrives and the photography shoot?  One word:  Planning!

In fact, planning, coordination and even shopping are involved.  The Designs Team meets with the photography studio to go over the shot list.  This is when we have the opportunity to unveil all the pretty projects to our photographer and team:  Steve Woods, Angie Brindley and Andrea Huffman.

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We not only discuss what we are photographing but more importantly, how we are going to present the project in the magazine.  What type of scene do we need to set up?  A living room?  A child’s room?  Or maybe a kitchen or bathroom?

Creative Director, Sam Solomon, guided the team on how to photograph the Sweet Springtime Banner by JoAnn Connolly.
Behind the Scenes with the Volume 91 March/April 2015 issue

Additional decisions need to be made for other projects.  Do we photograph against a sweep?  (A sweep by the way is when we use a long roll of paper suspended from a rack and let the paper ‘sweep’ all the way to the floor, creating a seamless edge.)  If we do use a sweep, what color paper?  If you ask Denise what color paper to use, 9 times out of 10 she will answer blue!  In fact when any question is asked related to color, her answer is blue!  This time however, you’ll notice as you flip through your current issue, we used lime green and also white backgrounds for the model shots.  Speaking of model shots… another important topic of discussion is the selection of models!

Managing Editor, Denise Holguin is always eager to model the garments during the planning meeting.  While it may seem like she’s just playing dress-up—there is a purpose.  We look at fit and also study the embroidery placement on the garment.  This gives us ideas on the type of model we need and the type of shot we need to take when the model is wearing the garment.

Behind the Scenes with the Volume 91 March/April 2015 issue

Editor, Eileen Roche holds up the Blooming Buttons dress stitched by Tari Intardonato.

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A week or two pass and it’s time for the photo shoot!

Here’s a look at the white sweep we used.
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Looks a lot more interesting with a model!  This garment is the Flirty Feminine Sheer Over-blouse by Sue Ann Obremski.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Next we used a green sweep to showcase Evy Hawkin’s Machine Embroidered Cutwork Vest.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Earlier in this article I mentioned shopping is involved.  Oftentimes additional props are needed like the fresh flowers featured in the Blooming Buttons scene.

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Would the photograph have worked without flowers?  Yes.  But our team takes pride in the presentation of a great looking product.  It’s the difference between photographing a sample from a basement home studio and photographing a sample with the complete expertise and attention of a professional studio and staff.  It matters!

A living room scene is set up to photograph the heirloom inspired pillows by Kandi Christian.  The photo below is the shot used in the magazine.

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Few people would have guessed the chair was propped up on wooden blocks!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
Here’s a look at the cover project, Crazy Quiltin’ by Eileen Roche.  Steve added flowers to enhance the beauty of the photograph.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Sam and Steve discuss how the photo will be cropped for the magazine.
Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Meanwhile Denise added miniatures for a whimsical touch.  I wonder what song the band is playing?

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I suspect the band is playing a jingle to let you know we have a free design download for you!   Download the half triangle design featured on the Crazy Quiltin’ project by visiting the magazine page.

Behind the Scenes with the Volume 91 March/April 2015 issue

All this and more is featured in the Volume 91 March/April 2015 issue.  Be sure to pick up your copy from your local retailer or subscribe.

Volume 91 March/April 2015


Here’s your assignment this week:Who is your favorite advertiser in Designs? One random comment will win a one-year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine.
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:
What thread color combinations would you have chosen for the monogram?  One random comment will win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website!
The winner is: Bonnie G. – “Every embroidery you do for a special person should take into consideration their favorites. That is what you did and that makes it meaningful for the people receiving it. Great job.”


Multi-Needle Monday: The Craftsy Craze

You know the saying that there is never a perfect time to have a baby or get married or do whatever etc etc…It is so true and it’s called life! Our wonderful, loving yet elderly mother passed away in November 2014 while I was working on my Craftsy class. My proposal with Craftsy was accepted in October and I thought a December taping would work ok. Well, mom was definitely not herself when I went to visit in early November and we all noticed a sudden unenthusiastic demeanor. She was always interested in all six of her daughters’ and 12 grandchildren’s stories. She read three newspapers a day; completely a daily crossword puzzle and called us on the phone. All of these routines stopped. She lost interest. We knew her health was failing. Mom could not breathe from COPD and was on oxygen 24-7. It’s a horrible disease and a preventable one. She lost her fight and her “girls” were heartbroken.

I could not focus on work related tasks and to-do lists after her death. But I know my mom would have told me to push through with the commitments I made, stay busy and don’t dwell on sad or negative things. She was right, again. Craftsy gave me the choice to push our date back but my class chapters were 90% ready. So the push continued and I am so glad I did.

My class is bit different than most because it is instructional only. We do not create projects but I guide the student along the way to starting an embroidery business. So many people I meet around the country tell me they embroider for friends, co-workers and family members for free because they are not confident charging for their craft or hobby. Machine embroidery is the perfect business or profession to work in because it’s so flexible.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The atmosphere at the Craftsy studios is young, fun energy and completely professional at the same time. That can be a hard balance to achieve but they have. The studios are housed in an old taxi cab call center; think of the TV show Taxi.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery BlogEileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Each separate quiet studio has its own camera and sound equipment and staff. My crew worked with me for 3 full days of taping (now they are experts at hooping and tackling hats). The hardest part of the week is trying to smile for hours on end. They really treat you like a star.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


The producer is the captain of the ship for sure and the cameraman and editor are the indispensable crew members who all work side by side in the studio with endless wires and sound breaks.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Did I mention how loud it is when a workman goes up on the metal rooftop during our segment? The entire studio, which consists of 5 individual studios complete with their own crew, meets for lunch at the same time each day. I think it eliminates the noise and gives everyone time to chat and discuss the production. It also gives the instructors a chance to meet other instructors who are taping a variety of segments.

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I totally forgot to photograph the Keurig coffee station! Every flavor imaginable was offered.

The Craftsy headquarters are located in a high rise building in downtown Denver.

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The cubicles are carefully and artistically decorated with a variety of off-the-wall mementos; such as unicorns and dinosaurs.

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The quiet phone closet features record album covers.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery BlogEileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


During my quick visit they were installing new wiring which looked like it would be enough for the entire high rise building but was only for the offices on one floor.

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My experience was absolutely enjoyable and productive at the same time. I hope you have chance to view my class “How to Start an Embroidery Business” if you are interested in starting an embroidery business in the future. Click here and receive a discount on my class. See you over at Craftsy!



A visit with THE Dream Machine

I was telling my friend about my work day. “I watched online videos of THE Dream Machine Innov-is XV8500D from Brother. My conclusion: The machine is a dream!”

We both agreed it would be a good idea to see THE Dream Machine in person. I made an appointment to visit our friends, Carla Plant and Shannon Atmore from Arlington Sewing Machines, for a hands-on demo.

I only planned on staying for an hour but the machine was so much fun I just about closed the store!

Here are some of my favorite highlights from THE Dream Machine.

    1. Massive screen!   I read about the 10.1” LCD screen and also saw videos but until you’ve sat down in front of the machine you can’t fully appreciate it. It’s huge!


    1. Crisp & Clear!   I didn’t expect to notice or appreciate any changes when viewing the LCD screen. My eyes aren’t that sophisticated. But that was absolutely the first thing that caught my attention. The colors and images are incredibly crisp and clear. When you view the built-in embroidery designs you can see them clearly on the large LCD screen. Or if you’re like me and load 5 similar versions of the same design and wonder which one is the right one—now there’s no doubt.We have certainly come a long way since the days of small monochrome LCD screens!


    1. Live view!   THE Dream Machine features the InnovEye® 2 Technology. This means you can see a live view of the needle area on your screen. What does this mean? Imagine scanning your hooped garment then viewing the actual garment on screen. Then select and position embroidery designs on the garment. Now the project you envision is easier to create!


  1. Scan!   Scan a drawing on the scanning frame and turn it into embroidery! Or load clip art from a USB stick and convert it to stitches! All of this can be done at the embroidery machine. It’s no longer a clunky process of sitting at your desktop computer with a scanner, then loading the image into embroidery software to convert the image to a design and then walking over to your embroidery machine to load the design. Whew! I’m tired just thinking and writing a run-on sentence about it!  Now the process is streamlined – it’s all done at your embroidery machine!


  2. Massive Hoop!   The maximum embroidery area is 9.5” x 14”. Imagine all the time and grief you can save by not having to rehoop.

  3. Disney!   Whether you’re stitching for a kid or a kid at heart—the library of Disney designs is very extensive.

    I was also impressed with the size of the designs.

    Check out this princess design!

    Carla and Shannon loaded the Minnie Mouse design.

    The design is 12.63” tall. That’s one big mouse!

  4. I’ve seen the light!   Oftentimes I lower the needle to double check the alignment of my design before I take the first stitch. But now I can use the Droplight™ LED Embroidery Positioning Marker to check alignment on THE Dream Machine.

  5. Never get confused about thread colors again!   Sure, there’s a numbered thread color sequence we can all follow but more often than not, I still manage to get confused on which thread to load next. THE Dream Machine has the INNOVACHROME™ LED Thread Color and Monitoring System. It indicates the thread color I need to install next.The flower image on screen indicates it’s time to stitch the pink portion of the flower.

    The light on the machine shows the same pink color! Wow!

  6. Details, details! Engineers noticed the details!   It’s easy to love all the obvious technological advances in THE Dream Machine. But I also appreciate and enjoy discovering where improvements have been made. Sure they may be subtle but they mean a lot!
    • Skid proof foot pedal.   I’ve heard some people remove their shoes because their foot slips off the pedal. THE Dream Machine has a very comfy, skid proof foot pedal!

    • New Stability Plus™ Frame.   The 9 ½” x 14” frame has aluminum, rubber and ribbed corners. Here’s a close-up view of the rubber on the side of the hoop. The addition of the rubber secures the fabric and helps prevent slippage.

    • Improved Storage for Feet!   I had to do a double take when Carla held the foot storage container upside down. The feet don’t fall out!

    • Keep track of the day and time!   For those of us who get so engrossed in our sewing and embroidery projects, this feature is handy! Now we won’t forget to stop and eat or visit the husband and children! There is a handy display of the day and time on the machine.

These were just a few of my favorite features! I encourage you to stop by your local Brother dealer for a test drive. Even if you don’t think you’re in the market for a machine it’s still good to see the available features. This way when you are ready you will be better able to make an informed decision.  If you want to learn more about the machine, visit the Designs Plus Newsletter for February!  There’s also a special coupon for

Special thank you to Carla Plant and Shannon Atmore at Arlington Sewing Machine for giving me a tour of the machine!


Here’s your assignment this week:
Tell us your favorite feature of the new Dream Machine! One random comment will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to the DIME website. Good luck!
The winner of last week’s assignment:
If you’re a current Tonight Show fan (think Jimmy Fallon), then you probably know a little about his infamous lip sinc battles. Lip Sinc Battle? Hmm. Do you think those mystery guests would be game? Tell me your favorite Tonight Show host, Carson, Leno or Fallon. A random comment will be selected to win an autographed PAL!And the winner is Wanda! –  “Thought no one could top Johnny Carson, but Jimmy Fallon is closing in…”


Looking for Inspiration?

Every embroiderer has the best intentions. We all want to create something beautiful to enjoy or to share with someone else. Maybe we want to make a gift to pass on to a loved one to remember us by. Whatever the end goal, there is a fair amount of planning involved and sometimes that can take the fun out! But, you don’t have to worry about that anymore!

How would you like to have access to tools that take the guesswork out of placement? Would you be interested in learning how to create perfect lettering and stunning applique with just a few simple clicks? Are you ready to learn expert tips on hooping, placement, quilting, stitching and more while enjoying the company of your embroidery friends? You can have all of this and much more at an Inspiration Social – just like this group did with Scott Goodman and educator Ashley Jones at Sewing Machine Warehouse.

Scott Goodman & Ashley Jones

Scott Goodman & Ashley Jones

Just look at what some attendees from this DiME Inspiration Social event had to say.

“A great 4 hours of learning – 5 stars”

“I enjoyed this DIME conference and it was well worth the money. There was a lot of great information given. The information on hooping will make my embroidery much easier in the future.”  – Elanie

DIME Social – 5 stars”

“Excellent information about the products available. Good explanations about how to use them. Because it was so good, I did purchase a number of items.”  – Susan P.

I really enjoyed yesterday’s event. Ashley is a hoot and I got very excited about the software. Cheers”  – Bloom


Let us inspire you to create embroidery like you never thought possible at an Inspiration Social! To find an Inspiration Social near you contact your local Inspiration dealer or visit the Inspired by DIME website to locate a dealer near you.


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.

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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.

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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!”



Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine


I never thought I’d write a book on crazy quilting but last spring I was inspired to explore the combination of piecing in the hoop and decorative stitches. It didn’t take much to leap into crazy quilting. After all, what’s not to love? It’s a time-honored technique coupled with today’s technology. Its ‘crazy’ moniker comes from the use of scraps and often includes whimsical embellishments.  Crazy quilting has something for everyone. It appeals to quilters – the piecing part; embroiderers – the use of luscious designs in colorful threads; the thrifty – great way to use up scraps of all fiber types; and the splurger: new charms, buttons, ribbons and other tidbits are just waiting to be included in a crazy quilt block.

Technique-wise, the ‘crazier’ the block, the more tasks involved in completing the block. So in Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine you’ll find three levels of difficulty: Level 1 is piecing in the hoop with colorful fabrics; Level 2 includes the addition of accent designs to the patches and Level 3 is where the crazy kicks in with buttons, yarns, ribbons, charms and more.  It’s hard to know when to stop once you reach Level 3.

Level 1

Level 1


Level 2

Level 2



Level 3

If quilt blocks aren’t your thing, then you’ll enjoy three in-the-hoop projects: a wristlet, eyeglass case and small clutch. All small canvases to display your crazy stitches.  The wristlet was just the right size project for teaching on TV with my dear friend Nancy Zieman.


We taped the Today’s Crazy Quilting series on Sewing with Nancy in September and it’s live now. You can watch online here if you don’t have it on your local channel.

When you watch, look for Nancy’s crazy quilt stitched by her great grandmother, Alice Lea Larson in 1920.  Nancy shares her story of this wonderful family heirloom that has been lovingly restored by Nancy.

Although it’s a fun day with Nancy at Wisconsin Public Television, my favorite part of the week is the prep at her office the day before taping.  That’s when we get all of our ducks in a row.  Nancy is a visionary and literally ‘sees’ the taping once she understands the technique that we’re teaching.  She works out the schedule and timing of the telecast while I work on the samples.  Once we have a firm outline, all hands pitch in to finish the samples.  And when 5:00 rolls around, everything is done and ready for tomorrow’s early wake-up call.  CQBlog1

To document my visit to the studio, I had a staff member take some photographs with my camera. When I reviewed the images on the plane ride home, I realized I didn’t have one ‘serious’ shot. Oh no, I had images of smiling faces both on camera and behind the camera! The true spirit of crazy quilting.

Nancy and I cracking up on set.

Nancy and I cracking up on set.

Cassie Kienert on camera and Leslie Fitzsimmons in her true form.

Cassie Kienert on camera and Leslie Fitzsimmons in her true form.

It was well, crazy! Hope you enjoy the Sewing with Nancy series, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. You can watch here.

Don’t just take my word for it, read Nancy’s take on the series on her blog:

Here’s your assignment this week:
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
The winner of last week’s assignment:
If you had a day all to yourself to spend on a project, what would it be?  Leave a comment and one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of my latest book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine (to be released January 2, 2015).

And the winner is the Pam C. – “If I had an entire day to myself I would get lost in finding inspiration for my craft. I work full time and even though my kids are grown I still don’t get much alone time. So, to have a day to get lost in thought without any interruption would be a dream. Congratulations Pam!


It’s Sew Easy TV: Episode 708

Another free episode of It’s Sew Easy is online this week!  Starting at noon on Friday, November 14, episode 708 will run for 7 days.  Pop on over to see how I make an on-trend infinity scarf from a t-shirt using embroidery on the Brother Quattro® 3 NV6750ISE 708-1 PIC 1


I stitched a jumbo scalloped lace design on a comfy knit mesh.  You’ll learn the hooping techniques and stabilizer options. Then, see how easy it is to convert the Quattro® 3 NV6750 from embroidery to sewing by simply changing the foot and pressing a button on the screen. ISE 708-1 PIC 2


You’ll also see my good friend Joanne Banko on this episode.  ISE 708-2 PIC 1

Joanne shares the how-to for making a fashionable sheer wrap.  Joanne shares an excellent tip on how to use the left needle position to prevent a sheer fabric from being pulled below the stitch plate.  She then shows how to sew the sheer fabric on the Quattro® 3 NV6750 using the straight stitch plate.

Be sure and tune in this Friday at noon for episode 708 – free for 7 days! Click here to bookmark the page.

Here’s your assignment this week:

What Holiday goodies are you creating this season? Tell us what you’ve got stitching and 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… 

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 random drawing winner is… Beth R  “I never make the same mistake twice. I make it five or six times just to be sure!”

Thanks Beth and thank you to everyone for your Words of Wisdom!

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