Archive of ‘Current Posts’ category

Turn Your Embroidery Machine Into a Longarm

If you want to successfully quilt with your machine, you have to learn the secrets to controlling the process.  In my class, Turn Your Embroidery Machine Into a Longarm at Wisconsin Quilt Expo Sept. 7-9, you’ll learn why handling your quilt like this is a recipe for disaster:

I’ll also share why having two versions of a continuous design, not just mirror-imaged, makes connecting designs a breeze.

And what to do when you have a thread break in the middle of a design.

Most of all, I’ll show you how to get your embroidery machine to do what you want it to do!

I hope you’ll join me in Turn Your Embroidery Machine into a Longarm, at 1:00 every day at the Wisconsin Quilt Expo, Madison, WI, Sept.7-9.

I’m really looking forward to this quilt show because I’ve been spending too much time in my office and studio!  It’ll be great to meet and chat with other embroiderers/quilters/sewists. Hope to see you there!

If you purchase your tickets online before the big event, you’ll save $2.00 per lecture.  Hurry – seats are going…

Wisconsin Quilt Expo 2017

 

In just a few short weeks, I’m heading to my favorite quilt show – Wisconsin Quilt Expo, in Madison, Wisconsin, Sept 7-9, 2017.  Why is WQE my favorite quilt show?  Well, first off, it was created by my dear friend, Nancy Zieman, so I know every detail has been covered.  Second, it’s in Wisconsin in early September.  Wisconsin literally sparkles in late summer.  Third, the food – oh my.  They don’t call it America’s Dairy Land for nothing!  Fourth – the people. I’ve never met a population that pitches in with such gusto and a smile.  If you don’t know what I mean, consider this: Green Bay Packer fans VOLUNTEER to shovel out the stadium on a snowy game day. In fact, they stand in line to do so!  Oh, I love Wisconsin.

I am honored to teach one of my favorite topics, Turn Your Embroidery Machine into a Longarm, at 1:00 every day. Tickets are on sale now and from what I hear – going fast!

I can’t wait to meet with fellow quilters especially those who want to get more out of their embroidery machines and finish those quilt tops they so lovingly created. I want to show them that it is possible to quilt an entire quilt – even a queen or king – on an embroidery machine. I’ve been doing this for years and along the way, I’ve made every mistake.  Now, I can confidently finish my quilts.  In my class, you’ll learn how to select designs for specific areas of the quilt, precisely place designs and handle all that bulk. To purchase a ticket to Turn Your Embroidery Machine into a Longarm, just click here.

We’ll discuss continuous line designs.

Custom designs (that fit perfectly into specific spaces.

And we’ll take a look at nesting designs.

I’ll share my secrets for perfect placement of all three types of quilting designs. To see what else is in store at Wisconsin Quilt Expo, visit https://wiquiltexpo.com/

Any chance I’ll see you there?  I hope so!

 

Embroidery is Not Just for Hemlines

I was browsing in a department store this weekend and like normal, I was drawn to anything embroidered. Much to my delight, I saw so many embroidered t-shirts, sweaters and jeans. In the past, embroidery always seem to land at the hem. I’m sure you’ve had your fill of floral hemline borders!  Well, finally, the stitches have jumped out of the border.  I grabbed a couple of photos to share with you so you could see what I mean.

Some were embellished along the outside seam.

One just below the front pocket.

The brown denim was adorned above and below the knee.

While the mannequin sported a beautiful embroidered floral spray at the knee.  So wearable, wouldn’t that be flattering?

 

But I think my favorite technique was this one:

I love that embroidered patch. I know I can get a similar look with design Flo_0019Flower_D from Inspirations Vintage Embroidery software. 

It would be so easy to do. Start with a piece of denim scrap about 5” square.  Then, embroider the design on the square.  Next, trim the patch down so that the flower flows right to the edge.  Turn the edges, topstitch and apply to the jeans.  What a fast update to wardrobe staple!   Oh the possibilities are endless once you move away from the hemline!

 

Take These 5 Time-saving steps Before You Embroider

Embrace these five tips to save as much time as possible in your embroidery studio. These tips have saved me countless hours, I hope you find them helpful.

  1. Stock up on supplies. Nothing slows you down more than running out of the right materials for the project. Always have a variety of stabilizers and threads on hand. Take advantage of store sales and buy in bulk if necessary.blphoto1
  2. Pre-cut stabilizers to fit your most popular hoops. You’ll have a stack to go to whenever you’re ready to hoop.
  3. Consider purchasing extra hoops in your favorite sizes. This way you can prepare the next hooping while the first one is stitching. My number one go-to hoop is the 5” x 7”. I have four of them and I still believe they were worth the investment.
  4. Plan your project by using embroidery templates and target stickers. Mark the placement of the embroidery on the item with the target stickers. When you’re interrupted during the embroidery process (and who isn’t?) you’ll know where you left off.
  5. Test your designs! Stitch a sample using the same fabric/stabilizer/design/thread combination. Make adjustments to the variables before tackling the final project. Keep a towel, knit t-shirt, or cotton blouse on hand to test different designs. For specialty items, shop at thrift stores to find similar-fabrics. blphoto

Of course, once the towel or t-shirt is covered with designs, it’s time to start a new one. Starting a new one never seems to a problem for me, I save mistakes for that chore. Unfortunately, I have plenty of inventory!

 

 

70 Free Training Lessons!

Really? 70 free training lessons on software?  Yep – it’s all on the Inspired by DIME YouTube channel.  You can learn about Inspirations software programs in the comfort of your home, in your pajamas, in the middle of the day or in the middle of the night.  And they’re free. Each video is about 60 minutes so that’s 4,200 minutes of education!   

Every month, our resident software wizard Katherine Artines uploads a new video that’s chockful of information and often includes a project (or two or three) for you to create in your software.  For instance, in this month’s video, PEP Text Trails Project, she explores text on a path, spiral text and circle text.  

 

You’ll learn how to go from this:

To this:

She includes references to other videos that delve deeper into specific subjects.  In this month’s video,  she included this call out:

That’s so helpful when you’re trying to understand the difference between backdrops and artwork.  She also includes keyboard shortcuts (my preference when digitizing) such as this:

If you’re serious about machine embroidery – and you must be or you wouldn’t be reading Software Saturday! – then you are probably contemplating purchasing software or you already have.  I want to encourage you to use it and not to be afraid of your software – it’s such a fantastic tool and help is just a click away!  Use it to learn it. Watch instructional videos to master it.  You’ll be so glad you did.  Click here to view the Inspired by DIME YouTube channel.  Subscribe today to receive notification when a new video is posted. You’re going to love learning with Katherine Artines.

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes at My Candy Store!

I thought I’d share the evolution of the Subtle Tees shirts featured in Volume 105 July/August 2017.


When I am embroidering, I’m like a kid in a candy store.  I’m overwhelmed by all the options – from thread colors to fabric colors and even fabric type.  And before I can make a final decision, I have to try all the “flavors” and hope that I don’t get too distracted from completing the project.  Anyone else have that problem? 😉

The photo below shows example stitch-outs from the Fascinator t-shirt.  I spray painted the lace a light blue and used a variegated thread…because variegated thread has to be tried!

Then there are those moments when I go off the rails with crazy color selections.  I didn’t see a need to complete the test stitch-out….I don’t know why I chose that fabric….

Here’s a look at another test stitch-out.  I didn’t want to waste a good piece of lace so I used a piece of polymesh stabilizer as my applique fabric.  For this example, I was double checking my thread color choices.  The threads used on the bird and branch became my final colors.

You can appreciate how color choices and fabrics can transform a look.  Compare the polymesh stabilizer applique photo above with the flowery lace applique below.   The orange stippling pops while the blue stippling blends in.  

Here’s a look at the final design, shot on location.  The airy, flowery lace applique makes a statement.  The shapes can be interpreted as clouds and fits the theme for the shirt.


Fulfillment comes not only from the finished project but in the process of experimenting and improving techniques!

Text Editing Tips

Often, new users in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro struggle with making simple changes in text files.  It’s really quite easy so follow along in your software to get a better understanding of text editing.

Open a new page in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Text icon. The cursor changes to an A and the Properties Box opens. Select your font. I’ve chose Arial Small. Type a fictional recipe into the Properties Box, then click Apply. 

With the Text tool still selected, change the justification to Left Alignment.  Click Apply. Notice all of the editing features available on the text itself. You can move individual letters, whole words and lines. 

When the Select Tool is used, your options diminish. You can size the design (the software sees it as a design and not text when the Select Tool is used), rotate, mirror image, duplicate, etc. But you do not have the freedom to edit the individual letters. 

Click on the Text tool again, and all of your text editing options appear. I’ve readjusted the kerning on the word chips.

When I click on the Select tool again, my changes are there.

Save the design now in C2S – the native format of Perfect Embroidery.  Change the color of the thread to green and save it as Chips.pes. Close both designs.

Open Chips.pes. The design is no longer recognized by the software as text – it’s just an ordinary design. When you click on a letter, the sequence field now shows all of the individual elements of the design – runs and satins. Ugh – that’s very challenging to edit.  

Not to worry, you have the original file. Open it and you’ll find the software recognizes it as text and all of your editing abilities are right at your finger tips! 

For instance, you can increase the 5 cups to 6 cups if you’d like. 

This is a great example of why it’s so important to save the original file in C2S and a working copy in your machine format.  Make your changes to the original and you’ll always have the ability to edit.

 

 

Volume 105 July/August: Fascinator!

Fascinator! 

The Volume 105 July/August issue is making its way to newsstands and mailboxes across the globe.  This post shares the expanded coverage of the “Fascinator” beaded shirt from the Subtle Tees article on page 24.  Enjoy!


This shirt was influenced by my love for fascinators.  The process evolved as I created. I share the steps in an unusual order to show there is more than one way to produce the same result.  Sometimes creative inspiration happens during the stitching process.  Don’t hamper the process!  Adapt and see where it leads.

Materials
Beads
Lace (plain, not ornate)
Tulip ColorShot Instant Fabric Color in Black

Embroidery Designs
Embroidery software to make an applique heart shape.
Free design from Kreations by Kara

Step 1.  Embroidery Designs
Overview:
 I made a heart shaped applique in Perfect Embroidery Pro software.  While I’m not necessarily fond of wearing hearts on my shirts—I thought it would be good to challenge myself!  I added a Hexagon pattern inside the heart applique shape.  If you don’t have Perfect Embroidery Pro, it’s available as a free trial (save option is deactivated).  Purchase your activated version through an Inspirations Dealer.  

Go to the Artwork Tools located on the top toolbar.  Select the heart shape.  Hold down the CTRL button and left mouse button to draw a heart.  Don’t worry about the size—we will make the adjustments in the next step.

With the shape still selected, go to Properties – Transform box.  Uncheck the “Maintain Aspect Ratio”.  Change the width and height of the heart to 6.0.  Press the Apply button.

With the shape still selected, right click.  Select Convert To / Applique.

In the Properties – Applique box, select Change Colors.  Press Apply.

Right click on the heart.  Select Utility, then Create Outline.

When the Create Outline window appears, type 0 in the Distance field.  Select Ok.

Change the color of the newly created outline.  (Click on the Plus sign to add a color, then right click on the new color)

With the outline still selected, right click.  Select Convert To / Complex Fill.

In the Properties – Fill box, select Adv. Stippling.

Scroll down to the Hexagons pattern.

Change the Pattern Length to 30 mm.

You’ll notice the color sequence needs to be adjusted.  You want the Hexagons pattern to stitch before the satin stitching on the applique is finished.

Select the Applique heart design.  Right click.  Select Break Up Path.

Now the individual thread colors are displayed in the Sequence box.  (The sequence of stitches to make the applique are broken into individual components – making it easy to rearrange the thread sequence.)

Reposition the Hexagons color sequence so that it is the 3rd detail to stitch. (Placement stitch first, tackdown second, decorative hexagon stitching third and satin stitching as the last step)

I saved the design, printed a template and sent to the embroidery machine.


Step 2.  Preparing Applique Fabric
I chose a different style of lace that looks more like tulle with a subtle line pattern.  For dramatic effect, I spray painted it black.

Of course, if you already have black lace, use it!  My goal was to use what I have and adapt it to what I want.  If you’ve priced lace, it can add up—and I love having one of a kind pieces.

I stitched the heart applique on the center of the shirt.

Then I downloaded the free design from Kreations by Kara.  It’s on their Freebies page in the 2013 section.  It is the free design for the month of April.  (The file name is Kbkfreeapril2013_abstractlineflowers)

If you examine the free design from Kreations by Kara closely, the shape works as a corner design.   In embroidery software, I rotated the design 90 degrees.  When the design is in this position it reminds me of a fascinator.  I saved the design and printed a template.  I auditioned the template on the still hooped shirt, placing the delicately angled fascinator design on the ‘head’ of the heart applique.

I stitched the design.

I loved how the shirt turned out.  But it needed more.  I used the embroidered Hexagons as a guide to hand sew clear beads to the shirt.  No measuring or marking was needed.  The decorative stitching made it easy to evenly place the beads.  It’s a subtle touch but it elevates the shirt into a different category of “homemade”.


Final Notes:

You could have planned the design layout all at once in software.  But as the opening paragraph explained, sometimes ideas evolve and improve during the process.  If you’re a planner – do what works for you.  Plan and design before taking your first stitch.  If you are a more free-spirited – design-as-you-go type of embroiderer — then continue with your process!  There is not one single “right” method for achieving the desired results.  Have fun!

If you enjoyed this t-shirt tutorial, be sure to pick up the latest issue.  There are additional t-shirts featured.

Tropical Summer Stitching

The May/June issue of Designs in machine Embroidery featured one of my favorite new projects: Hints of Havana. This project could have easily been called Hints of Hawaii summer Splash, Tropical Flavors or well, you get the idea. You’ll find this look in the women’s department of any retail store this summer. If you missed the issue, here’s how to do it in Inspirations’ Vintage Embroidery Software.

Open a new file in Vintage Embroidery.  Click on the Designs Library icon and retrieve the following designs: ABS_0090_D, ABS_0093_D, FLO_0028_Flower, FLO_98_LilyD and FLO_0097_Flower.

Place Abs_0090 in the center.  Place ABS_0093 below it.  Flip 0093 vertically.  Ungroup 0093 and remove the leaf at the top right. 

And the top left. 

Add FLO_0028 at the top right. Copy, Paste and flip it horizontally. Move the second repeat to the left of the center designs. Use the alignment tools to position the designs symmetrically. 

Merge FLO_0097 into the screen. 

Delete the running stitch outline around the flowers.  Carefully group each individual flower.  One by one, select each flower and position it around the four larger motifs.   The fastest way to do this is to position all the flowers on the right side then copy, paste and mirror image.  Move the second set to the left of the larger motifs.  The Group and Ungroup tool is helpful here. Use it when moving all sections and you won’t leave any stray stitches behind.

Merge  FLO_0098_Lily_d into the design. 

Move the lily design to a clean area and delete the first two colors.  Select the remaining portion and mirror image it vertically. 

Center it under the newly-created design.

Save the designs as PB. The PB design measures 230mm x 240mm.  Since I don’t have a hoop that wide, I’ll split the design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Open PB in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Select the design and click on the Split Design icon. 

The Split window appears.  Select your hoop from the drop down Hoop menu. 

Place the cursor in the 1:1 and 2:1 segments to toggle back and forth until you have a split that you are comfortable with.  

Click Save and the software will split and save the design into two files.  Both files include a long basting line.  Use this line to align the two hoopings.  

I’ll use my PAL 2 (Perfect Alignment Laser) to align the second hooping with the first. Love that tool – it’s makes aligning designs a breeze!

Tropical Stitching

It’s always been a dream of mine to have an ocean view out my studio window. 

Since I live in Texas, this is definitely not what I see out my window and it’s not likely to change any time soon. What would be the next best thing?  How about an embroidery class in a store that’s just steps from the Pacific Ocean?  Wouldn’t that be lovely?  Oh I how wish I was teaching (or taking) one!  But since I’m not available in July for Discount Fabrics Warehouse multi-island event, I’m sending Ashley Jones, one of our embroidery specialists to teach embroidery techniques.  Ashley has received over 300 hours of DIME training so she’s a whiz at our placement, hooping and stabilizing methods.  And she has a solution for almost every problem an embroiderer will encounter.

She’ll be showing Hawaiian embroiderers how to stitch a hat on a home machine plus she’ll share her secrets for flawless continuous embroidery. 

She’ll even insert a little zen into the activities with exploring color therapy designs.  Best of all, she’s bringing all of DIME’s tools for everyone to play with during class. So if you’re in Hawaii and have never seen or used DIME’s magnetic hoops, aligning lasers and rulers, then you’re in for a treat.  Not only will you learn everything Ashley has to offer but you’ll enjoy a “try before you buy experience.”

If you like to decorate tote bags, pillows or quilt blocks, Ashley’s secrets to speedy stitching with professional results will wow you.  

Want to expand your stash of embroidery designs? She’ll show you how. 

Think embroidery is too ‘dense or stiff for t-shirts? Think again. You’ll see fabric-friendly designs that are extremely comfortable to wear.

Plan on spending an afternoon with Ashley so that you can bring your embroidery skills up to a professional level. The Vintage Chic event will help you get the most of your machine. And isn’t that what we all want to do? Use our machine for all their worth and stop struggling with hooping, placement and stabilizing.  Click here to see what island event fits into your schedule! https://www.inspiredbydime.com/inspiration-socials/

This week’s winner is JUDY GRACZYK!  Her comment: Oh, yes, misspelling, upside down, you name it. My stitch ripper and erasers are my friends! was selected to win a copy of Hoop It Up, the Stitching Sisters’ Guide to Hooping. Enjoy Judy!

1 2 3 25