Archive of ‘Blog Tour’ category

So Much Talent!

What do you get when you give 11 talented embroiderers a fairly simple fabric panel and a few embroidery designs? Eleven uniquely-embroidered works of art. It absolutely amazes me to see how people put their own stamp of creativity into an embroidery project.

The past month has been an eye-opener – we’ve seen subtle touches such as Marie Zinno’s soft blue filagree designs that are built-in the Baby Lock Valiant.


And an out of the box transformation by Cathy Sundermann of Stitch Fork Designs. That’s an impressive front door!

Cathy Sundermann of Stitch Fork Designs

Deanna Springer of Nancy Zieman Productions sashed the wood grain panel with Nancy Zieman’s red Riley Blake shiplap fabric to spice it up. Deanna ditched the wrapped canvas idea and added a pretty floral border for a traditional wall-hanging.

Deanna Springer of Nancy Zieman Productions

Milinda Stephenson opted to wrap her panel around a pillow. This was a fast and easy finish and her dog, Iris, loved it!

Milinda Stephenson

Michelle Umlauf used the IQ Designer in her Baby Lock Solaris machine to enhance the lettering. Talk about perfect placement! That’s a show stopper technique and wonderful way to show how to incorporate prints with embroidery. It’s all about value – making sure the embroidery is visible on a busy print.

Michele Umlauf – Sewing Machine Artistry

Carla Reale used Baby Lock’s Palette software program to add her own message in the applique heart of the Grateful panel. Join the Baby Lock Palette group on Facebook to watch her video.

Carla Reale of the Baby Lock Palette Community

Karen Parker made two samples! Her Grateful panel shows offset floral sprays at the top and bottom. I love that layout and never think of using it! Of course she pulled her thread colors from her fun, striped border.

Karen Parker of Thread Head & Company.

Karen’s English Pub theme set the tone for her border fabrics and faux leather trim – complete with nail heads! Her satin circles mimic a dinner plate and the embroidered knife and fork really seal the deal. Finished with two glasses of cold beer, this panel will look great in any proper drinking establishment.

Karen Parker of Thread Head & Company

Debbie Henry extended the wood grain quilting beyond the panel edge onto a wide border. Love her delicate blue floral spray in the center of the heart!

Debbie Henry of Secrets of Embroidery

The Embroiderist, Colleen Bell, used a dark thread to quilt her Gathering panel – love how visible the wood grain is. She paired her panel with an embroidered chalkboard fabric. As a mother of nine, she knows a thing or two about prepping meals!

Colleen Bell, The Embroiderist

Sara Gallegos of Sew Positively Sara added family names to the applique heart on the Grateful panel on her Baby Lock Solaris. Of course, she nailed the placement of the quilting designs with the help of a quick camera scan on the Solaris. Nothing like seeing before you stitch!

Check out her blog at SewPositivelySara to see how she pieced the heart blocks on her pillow.

Sara Gallegos

Our last participant, Debbie Cleek, added trapunto to her floral sprays on the Gathering panel. She used Designer’s Gallery to add the traditional technique of trapunto but with today’s technology.

Debbie Cleek of Designer’s Gallery

I’d like to give a huge thank you to all of the participants. If you followed along, I’m sure you’re were as impressed as I was with their creativity. And so many techniques were shared! Please leave a comment and tell me what’s your biggest embroidery challenge. We’ll pick a random winner to send one Farmhouse Sentiments kit.

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.

Join Me On My First Facebook LIVE

It’s National Embroidery Month! And oh boy are we celebrating here at Designs in Machine Embroidery. I’m kicking off the month-long celebration with my first (yikes!) Facebook Live event at 1:00 CST on February 1. Gee, did I really agree to do a live event? I mean, I’m comfortable in front of a camera as I’ve done dozens of PBS-TV shows and in-house videos but LIVE? That’s a different story!

Designs in Machine Embroidery

image via

I understand it’s better if you have an audience, they tell me, “the more the merrier”. Of course, ‘they’ are not in front of the camera! But hey, if it’s anything like speaking to a group of enthusiastic machine embroiderers at an event, then I think it would be merrier with more people!
To prepare, we straightened out the sewing studio to make it pretty.

Designs in Machine Embroidery

And then we posted a sign on the door to discourage anyone from moving anything! Let’s hope that holds true.

Designs in Machine Embroidery

So what am I going to talk about? Our Stitch Along with Baby Lock. You’ll find 13 social media posts in February teaching you how to quilt with your embroidery machine, precisely place embroidery designs on fabric and add a personal touch to a custom-designed printed fabric panel.

Stitch Along Tour_Designs in Machine Embroidery

On Facebook Live, I’ll outline what you can expect throughout February and give you a chance to win a Farmhouse Sentiments kit!
At 1:00 PM, CST, Log onto Facebook and head over to our page @designsinmachineembroidery. Let me know you’re watching by leaving a comment.

Designs in Machine Embroidery

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!


Nancy Zieman Live Webcast Event

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy Zieman's Studio to Your Computer

Learn—Interact—Save—Have Fun!

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your ComputerLive from my studio to your computer on April 26th, join me, Nancy Zieman, for a fun and interactive webcast featuring my Favorite Handbag Sewing Techniques.

If you’ve never participated in a webcast, it’s easy. The day before the event, we’ll send everyone who registered a link to the webcast. A few minutes before your scheduled time, log on. In minutes, you’ll see me live on your computer screen.

Wondering if your internet connection is up to the task? Test your viewing ability by clicking here. This test link is a live webcast from the nest of a bald eagle! It may take a little time to load, but if you can see the eagle and nest, you’ll be able to watch Nancy Zieman Live. (Most of you should not have any issues watching the video.)

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your Computer–Map


I’ll share my tried and true quick bag making methods along with many all-new never before seen designer bag making tips. You just may become a bag designer after viewing my 90 minute webcast.

  • Learn new strap making techniques gleaned from ready-made bags.
  • See how to turn ordinary fabric into laminated fabric.
  • Be introduced to new fabrics, ideal for bag making!
  • Get the inside scoop It’s what’s inside that counts! Updated tips on how to construct and what to add to the inside of your bag to make it look like a wow bag!

Nancy Zieman Live WebcastInteract

During the webcast, email me your questions and I’ll reply during the webcast.*

*If every question cannot be answered during the live webcast, questions will be answered post-webcast via email. Duplicate questions will not be answered.

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your Computer–Email QuestionsSave!

Exclusive online specials will be available to you from Nancy’s Notions on the day of the webcast.

Nancy Zieman Live Webcast from Nancy's Studio to Your Computer–Exclusive Specials

One Low Price–Two Time Options—Register Today!

Only $19.95!

The 90 minute webcast on April 26th is only $19.95 if you register on or before April 16, 2014. (Registration fee on or after April 17 is $29.95.) The fee includes:

  • A link to watch one of the two Nancy Zieman Live webcasts. (Link to webcast will be sent on April 25.)
  • The ability to have your question answered during the webcast.
  • A link to specials offered by Nancy’s Notions.
  • A free Nancy’s Bag Making Tips Sheet, which will be a download document.

Two Time Options

There are two webcast time options for the 90 minute webcast to accommodate North American Time Zones. Since a webcast is live, what might seem like late morning for those of you living in the Eastern Time Zone, is very early morning for our Hawaiian viewers. Both webcasts will cover the same topics. Since they’re both live, each will be personalized by the questions or, hmm, my whims! (For our followers in other parts of the world, convert your time zone by clicking here). We’ll be broadcasting live from the Central Time zone. Register for a time that best fits your schedule.

April 26: Times/time zone for Webcast Option One:
  • 11:00 AM—12:30 PM (Eastern Time)
  • 10:00 AM—11:30 AM (Central Time)
  • 9:00 AM—10:30 AM (Mountain Time)
  • 8:00 AM—9:30 AM (Pacific Time)
  • 7:00AM—8:30 AM (Alaska Daylight Time)
  • 5:00 AM—7:30 AM (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time)
April 26: Times/time zone for Webcast Option Two:
  • 2:00 PM—3:30 AM (Eastern Time)
  • 1:00 PM—2:30 PM (Central Time)
  • 12:00 PM—1:30 PM (Mountain Time)
  • 11:00 AM—12:30 PM (Pacific Time)
  • 10:00AM—11:30 AM (Alaska Daylight Time)
  • 8:00 AM—9:30 AM (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time)

Click here to select your preferred time.

Thank you to our sponsors





Hope to see you April 26th!

If you have questions or comments, please contact us.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

Content in this feed is © copyright 2014 by Nancy Zieman and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward the email to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.

Meet Nancy Zieman

SeamsUnlikelyBookCoverLike it or not, your smile is your ticket through many doors. A smile is the universal symbol of happiness, contentment, encouragement and kindness. Think about how your smile has affected your life. Hasn’t it opened doors, swayed decisions, made new friends and quelled uneasy situations? What if you had half a smile? Do you think it would have made a difference? Do you think things would not have been so easy?  Would you have been able to put your best foot forward and ignore the stares and faces of wonderment?

Imagine trying to accomplish what you have done in your lifetime with half a smile. Then think of what Nancy Zieman as accomplished. When you look at Nancy what do you see? Do you see the relaxed side of her face that is the number one thing that’s searched for on Google? Do you see a self-made woman? A terrific mom, a joyful grandmother, a treasured wife? Do you see an expert seamstress? Or do you see a famous television personality? At first glance, you see all of these things. But what you don’t see is the courage it has taken to get where she is. You don’t see the pain she has endured during many lonely years with countless health issues.

You don’t see the responsibility of growing a business from her basement to a chicken coop to a building complete with offices, warehouse space and a retail outlet. You don’t see the drive, determination and sheer genius of growing a business from demoing in front of small classroom into streaming 30 years of her PBS television show into the living room of millions of Americans. You don’t see the family struggles that occur when you grow a business from one part-time employee to 100+ employees while raising two young boys.

You don’t see what she has endured through the years – first having the courage to step out and follow her dream. And all that with half a smile.  When I look at Nancy, I don’t’ see the relaxed side of her face. In fact, I never remember which is the ‘good side and which is the bad side’. I see her beautiful smile, the twinkle in her eyes and the sheer genius that lies behind that façade we call a face. l see a loyal friend and a mentor. I also see a shy young school girl who has beat all odds to build a life that stands above many.  Read Seams Unlikely to learn how she’s done it.

And, please follow along on each stop of the Seams Unlikely book blog tour to learn even more about Nancy and show your support for her. Plus – there are giveaways! Click on the February 4th blog posting, listed below first, and comment on Nancy’s blog for your chance to win your own copy of Seams Unlikely.

February 4          Nancy Zieman

February 5          Eileen Roche

February 5          Pat Sloan

February 6          Melissa Stramel

February 6          The Long Ladies

February 6          Tori Thompson

February 7          Amy Barickman

February 7          Melissa Mora

February 8          Shari Butler

February 8          Vicki Christensen

February 9          Carolina Moore

February 9          Kate Mclvor

February 10          Amy Ellis

February 10          Melissa Mortenson

February 11          Ilene Miller

February 11          Liz Hicks

February 11          Rachael Pannepacker

February 12          Bill Gardner

February 12          Elizabeth Evans

February 13          Amy Webb

February 13          Lindsay Wilkes

February 14          Gertie Hirsch

February 14          Veronica Philips

February 15          Jenny Gabriel

February 15          Laura Wasilowski

February 16          Frieda Anderson

February 16          Rita Farro

February 17          Cindy Cloward

February 17          Joan Hawley

February 17          Patty Young

February 18          Nancy Zieman


Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave a comment below about how Nancy has inspired you. One lucky comment will receive a $125 gift voucher courtesy of Bunnycup Embroidery to spend at!


The winner of last week’s assignment:

Tell us the last place you found inspiration for a monogram. One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Deborah Jones’ Beautiful Lettering Made Easy. Good luck!


And the winner is…Elaine C- “I have done mostly 3 letter monograms and prefer them. I like to do different things with them like different shapes and fonts. I like to do monograms for couples with the sir name initial larger in the center. Your single monograms are beautiful and inspire me to experiment with the colors.”

Stitched Style Blog Tour

Amy Barickman has thought of everything with her latest endeavor, Crossroads Denim. You’ll find machine embroidery designs, hand embroidery designs, patterns, a project book and fabric. It’s your one-stop for a spring fashion redo. Let’s take a look at the elements.

First, the machine embroidery collection OESD’s SoHo Bandana Collection (#80041)  is an interesting blend of organic natural shapes – leaves, paisleys, florals in medallion, border and corner styles.  MachEmb1-7

You’ll find it easy to mix and match the motifs to fill plackets, hemlines, jacket backs and purses. Accessories are a natural with this collection – everything from belts to headbands to wristlets. OESD banded baskets


Since you’re going to need fabric to stitch these gorgeous designs on, take a look at Crossroads Denim by Amy Barickman, a functional and affordable 14 color fabric line. Amy named this fabric after the Crossroads District in her hometown of Kansas City.

Crossroads-Denim-swatches-stackedThe textures and colors of the weathered brick buildings, the pavement and the industrial elements are all part of the fabric of this amazing part of town, which has emerged over the last several years as an artistic haven. The Crossroads fabric combines utility and fashion for today’s casual lifestyle. The colors mix and match to bring you endless option for your personal design style. You’ll find luscious shades that work well with today’s colorful lifestyles. My favorites are Soft Aqua, Downtown Teal, Coffee House Brown and Weathered Indygo. And Fire Red. And Metal Grey and Midtown Moss. Oh, okay – I like them all! Your embroidery designs will pop on Crossroads Denim.

If you’re in need of inspiration, Amy Barickman has penned Stitched Style which includes instructions for 20 projects and patterns for 65 hand embroidery designs.  Get 20% of Stitched Style by using code: SSBT14 at checkout.AB12303_IndygoJunctionsStitchedStyle

Use Amy’s ideas in the book for placement of the OESD’s SoHo Bandana Collection (#80041) machine embroidery designs.

If you’re not familiar with Amy Barickman, let me tell you a bit about her. She is the founder and owner of Indygo Junction and Amy Barickman LLC and a leader in the sewing and needle arts industry, having released nearly 1000 sewing pattern titles, sold more than two million patterns and published 80 books. Named one of Country Living Magazine’s prestigious Creative Women Entrepreneurs, her recent book releases include Amy Barickman’s Vintage Notions: An Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion and Fun, and Indygo Junction’s Fabric Flowers. In 2013 Amy released her 15th fabric collection with Red Rooster Fabrics as well as her debut fashion denim line with James Thompson Inc., Crossroads Denim. Through her blogs, websites and e-newsletters, Amy inspires crafters to explore their own creative spirit and experiment with the newest sewing, fabric and crafting techniques. To keep up to date with Amy, visit and

I encourage you to visit each of the blog stops on this Stitched Style tour. You can win some terrific prizes.  Here’s where to go:

Participating blogs

1/13 Flamingo Toes:

1/14 Today’s Creative Blog:

1/15 Designs in Machine Embroidery: You’re Here!

1/16 Tip Junkie:

1/17 Wild Olive:

1/18 Amy Barickman:

1/20 Cool2Craft:

1/21 We All Sew:

1/22 Kollabora:

1/23 Sew Mama Sew:

1/24 Indygo Junction:

And here’s what you could win: Prize

Big Giveaway! On January 24th, the last day of the blog tour Indygo Junction will be giving away a grand prize of fabric and books. We will include a 1 yard cut of all the Crossroads Denim, the Stitched Style Book,  embroidery floss, hoop, needles, and one copy of each of our current embroidery patterns and books.


Here’s your assignment this week:

Each participating blog listed above will be giving gifts of Stitched Style book, 4½ yards of Crossroads Denim, Sullivans’ embroidery floss, Clover embroidery hoop and Clover embroidery needles. You have to visit each stop to see what you’ll win.  Tell me what you’d like to stitch the SoHo Bandana collection on and we’ll pick a random to receive a copy of Stitched Style. Winners should be US residents only please.

The winner of last week’s assignment:

Tell us how you got your start sewing. One comment will be chosen to receive an autographed copy of All for Me – Delightfully Feminine Projects Made in the Hoop by Shelly Smola.

All For Me

Thank you to everyone for sharing your touching stories. We enjoying reading them all and we’d like to say congratulations to our winner Charlotte H.