Archive of ‘Current Posts’ category

Custom Quilting

Last week, blog reader Kay asked for some help in Inspirations’ My Quilt Embellisher. It’s a popular software program and easy to use. You can design custom quilting for an 8-point star in just a couple of steps. Follow along to learn how.

Click on the Block Library icon. Go to Eight Point Star and select Arrow Star. Click OK.

Select the white diamonds in the center of the block. Right click on a color chip in the tray (bottom of the screen) to change the color of the diamonds.

Change the color of the center diamonds.

We’ll start by filling the negative space with stippling, In the sequence view, select the remaining white shapes (red box) and click on the Stippling icon (red arrow). In the Properties Box, change the Stippling style to Hilbert (green arrow).



To decorate the eight points, use the art tool to draw a diamond. Size the diamond to fill one of the star points.

The diamond pre-set shape in the Art tool drop down menu.

Select the diamond and click on the Contour tool.

The Contour tool fills a shape with rows of stitches.

Copy and paste the Contour diamond to fill the star.

Save the design. That was easy, wouldn’t you agree?

Software Questions? Read on…

It’s been a fun journey hosting Software Saturday for the past five years. I’ve covered many of Inspirations’ software programs with primary focus on Perfect Embroidery Pro. In order to continue offering educational content, I’d love to hear your thoughts on future lessons for Inspirations software programs.

I know a blog is fairly one-sided but I do read all of the comments and use that information to create new posts.

Please leave a comment below and tell me what Inspirations’ software you’d like to see discussed on Software Saturday. Perfect Embroidery Pro, My Block Piecer, My Quilt Embellisher, Word Art in Stitches, My Fabric Designer, Vintage Embroidery Software or My Quilt Planner? And what topics would you like covered?

You input matters – so take a moment and share your thoughts – let’s make 2019 the year to master the software you’ve invested in.

Ramping Up

I have been spending the last few weeks ramping up for a great 2019 and it has totally consumed my time.  In February, we are celebrating National Embroidery Month by partnering with Baby Lock and fellow embroiderers to bring you a blog tour based on quilting with your embroidery machine.  If you’re a frequent visitor here, then you know I love to quilt with my embroidery machine. So I’m really pumped to see what the other bloggers will create!  You’ll learn more about that on February 1st.

My friends over at Nancy Zieman Productions are hosting a giveaway on my Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons book during the month of January. 

You’ll find everything you need to know about
quilting with your embroidery machine in this book.

Stop by Nancy’s blog and leave a comment to be entered into the drawing.  One of my favorite tips in that book is using pool noodles to baste a quilt.  Yesterday, I basted a whole cloth quilt in under an hour with the pool noodle technique. So much fun!

Pool noodles to the rescue!

In 2019, you’ll find a new block of the month quilt and you will be able to download all of the embroidery designs for piecing and quilting in the hoop!  Look for the first block in the coming weeks here on the blog.  

I’ll be back to my regular posting schedule this weekend.  I hope you had a great holiday and I wish you good health and happiness in 2019.

Set the Stage

Many embroiderers are stitching last minute gifts and that can mean trying to tame long fibers like faux fur and lofty knits. You need to ‘set the stage’ for the beautiful stitches and give them a foundation to sit on. Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Nap Blocker feature is the answer for providing a base for the beautiful stitches while taming the fibers. Nap Blocker adds a layer of complex fill stitches that’s just light enough to flatten the lofty fibers creating a smooth surface for the embroidery. Here’s how to do it in PEP.

Select the Text tool and type JOY in the Properties Box.  I used the Bookman font. 

Select the design, right click to access the command menu.  Select Utility, Nap Blocker.

Instantly, a layer of complex fill is added to the design in the first color position.

The fill extends .15” beyond the design to ensure any long fibers will not obstruct the embroidery.  You can change this by selecting the fill only and resizing.

Notice how the complex fill is placed at the beginning of the design in the color sequence. 

Stitch the complex fill in the same color thread as the fabric. This is key because you want these stitches to disappear behind the beautiful embroidery.  And…you don’t have to use a topper when you use Nap Blocker. How sweet is that?

If you’re working with intricate text, you might want to adjust the shape of the nap blocker.  the image below shows the default nap blocker for a paragraph of text.  Remember, nap blocker has a default setting of .15″ so if it sees a space wider than that, it will leave it open.

It’s easy to adjust this.  Click on the shape tool, select the nap blocker (color 1).  All of the points will be visible. 

Drag the cursor over the points you want to remove.Hit delete on the keyboard. Poof!  They’re gone and the space is not filled!

Much better presentation!

My Block Piecer: Block 12 – 1904 Star Sewing Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month: Block 12 1904 Star
Sewing Instructions

Block 12, 1904 Star, is the most ambitious block of the My Block Piecer Sampler Block of the Month as it consists of nine-units. As you know, My Block Piecer splits some blocks into smaller units when a patch shares seam allowances with more than one patch. Piece the nine units in one hooping and sew together on a sewing machine with ¼” seam allowance. In the software instructions for Block 12, we merged the nine separate units into one embroidery design and combined the placement guides for all of the units into the first color of the merged design.

Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop. Retrieve the merged Block 12, 1904 Star design on the machine. Stitch color 1, the placement guides for all units.

Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1 in the first unit. Stitch color 2, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 3, the seam of patch 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown.

Place patch 3 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 5, the seam of patches 1 and 3.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 6, the tackdown.

Place patch 4 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 7, the seam of patches 1 and 4.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 8, the tackdown.

Place patch 5 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 9, the seam of patches 1 and 5.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 10, the tackdown. The first unit is complete.

Depending on how you merged the individual units into the hoop, your next unit may be different than the sample. However, the construction for this corner unit will be the same. There are four repeats of this unit. Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1 of Unit 2.Stitch color 11, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 12, the seam of patch 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 13, the tackdown.

Place patch 3 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 14, the seam of patches 1 and 3.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 15, the tackdown.

Place patch 4 fabric, right side down, over patches 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 16, the seam of patches 1 and 4.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 17, the tackdown. Unit 2 is complete. Duplicate these steps for other three repeats of the corner unit.

The third unit will also be repeated four times. Here’s the color sequence, starting with the first color of the unit.

Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1 of Unit 3.Stitch color 1, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 2, the seam of patch 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 3, the tackdown.

Place patch 3 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 4, the seam of patches 1 and 3.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 5, the tackdown.

Place patch 4 fabric, right side down, over patches 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 6, the seam of patches 1 and 4.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 7, the tackdown. Unit 3 is complete.

Duplicate these steps for other three repeats of the corner unit.

If you have any remaining units to repeat, do them now.

Remove the block from the hoop. Trim the units on the outer stitched line. Sew the units together at the sewing machine.

Make three more blocks if you’re making the large quilt.

Created by Nancy Stansbury

My Block Piecer: Block 12 – 1904 Software Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month : Block 12 1904 Star
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury

We hope you have been enjoying the block of the month series.  Remember, you can go back to previous posts to catch up on what you missed.


  1. Open MBP.
  2. Click on Create a New Design.
  3. If the units for the ruler on the design page show mm, Right Click on either one of the rulers on the Design Page, and Click on Inches.
  4. Right Click on either ruler again and click on Grid Settings.
    1. Check marks by:
      1. Maintain aspect ratio.
      2. Snap to grid.
    2. Set Horizontal spacing to 0.25.
    3. Click OK.
  5. Click on the Block Icon.
    1. Enter 1904 Star in the Find box at the bottom of the window (DO NOT CLICK THE ENTER KEY).
    2. Click on the Down green arrow.
    3. Click OK to place the block on the design page.
  6. In the Properties Window on the right side of the screen click on the Transform icon.

    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  7. Click on the Reorder icon.
    1. There are three separate patch groups in this block. See the illustration that follows for the numbering order.NOTE: When numbering the pieces of the block, keep in mind that this is a sew and flip method of piecing, so each patch can only have a single straight seam joining it to a previous patch/patches.
    2. Right Click to end the numbering. The numbers will disappear but the numbering is still there.
  8. Click on the Select icon, and while holding down the CTRL key, click on patches 1 through 5 (Square in a square).
  9. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
    3. Click Sort Numbers and Click Yes.
  10. Click Preview.
  11. Click Save.
    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name Block 12.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter 1904_StarA.
    4. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    5. Click Save.
    6. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. 1904_StarA_001.c2s.
      2. 1904_StarA _artwork.c2s.
      3. 1904_StarA _preview.pdf.
    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  12. Click on the Select icon, and while holding down the CTRL key, click on patches 6 through 9 (Corner). Notice the numbers have changed to 1-4.
  13. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. The numbers have been changed to 1-5.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
    3. Click Sort Numbers and Click Yes.
  14. Click Preview.
  15. Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter 1904_StarB.
    2. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    3. Click Save.
    4. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. 1904_StarB_001.c2s.
      2. 1904_StarB _artwork.c2s.
      3. 1904_StarB _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.
  16. Click on the Select icon, and while holding down the CTRL key, click on patches 10 through 13 (Top triangle).
  17. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. The numbers have changed to 1-4.
    2. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    3. Click the Auto Build button.
    4. Click Sort Numbers and Click Yes.
  18. Click Preview.
  19. Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter 1904_StarC.
    2. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    3. Click Save.
    4. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. 1904_StarC_001.c2s.
      2. 1904_StarC _artwork.c2s.
      3. 1904_StarC _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.
  20. Click the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
  21. Click the Cutter icon.
    1. Seam allowance default is .25”. Normally I change this to 0.4” or 0.5”, to make it easier to place the fabric pieces no matter which output format I choose.
    2. How you are going create the fabric pieces for the block, will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If going to print the templates, and use them to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If going to use the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
      3. If going to use the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”.
    3. Can Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric (This will optimize how the pieces file on the paper.
    4. Click Apply.
    5. Click Save. If using a digital cutter, select the appropriate format for your cutter from the drop menu.
      1. In File name enter 1904_Star Templates.
      2. Click Save.
    6. The Following Files have been created.
      1. 1904_Star templates.
      2. 1904_Star templates_preview.pdf.
    7. Close the files window.
    8. Close the Cutter window.
  22. Click on Create a New Design.Note: If desired the embroideries can be saved in a specific format individually or they can be combined into one file.
  23. To save entire design in one hooping, Go To Step 43.
  24. Click on the Hoop icon and select a 200mmx200mm or similar for your machine
  25. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file 1904_StarA_001.c2s.
    2. To open Double Click on the name OR Click on the name and Click Open.
  26. Move the design to the lower center of the hoop.
  27. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file 1904_StarC_001.c2s.
    2. To open Double Click on the name OR Click on the name and Click Open.
  28. Move the design to the upper left corner of the hoop.
  29. Copy, Paste.
  30. Move the design to the upper right corner of the hoop.
  31. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the upper two designs.
  32. Copy, Paste.
  33. Move near the center of the hoop.
  34. Click File, Save As.
    1. In the File name enter 1904_StarA.
    2. In the Save as type select the format for your specific machine format.
    3. Click Save.
  35. Click on New Design.
  36. Click on the Hoop icon and select a 200mmx200mm or similar for your machine.
  37. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file 1904_StarB_001.c2s.
    2. To open Double Click on the name OR Click on the name and Click Open.
  38. Can fit all for designs needed for one block in a 200mmx200mm hoop.
  39. After bringing in the first design. Copy, Paste and rotate each design as necessary.
  40. Click File, Save As.
    1. In the File name enter 1904_StarB.
    2. In the Save as type select the format for your specific machine format.
    3. Click Save.
  41. Go to Step 47.
  42. To save as one hooping.
    1. Click File, New.
    2. Click File, Merge.
    3. Locate 1904_StarA.001.c2s.
    4. Click File, Merge.
    5. Double Click to open.
    6. Locate 1904_StarB.001.c2s.
    7. Double Click to open.
    8. Move to upper leftr corner of the hoop.
    9. Copy, Paste.
    10. Rotate right twice.
    11. Move to upper right corner.
    12. Copy, Paste,
    13. Rotate right twice.
    14. Move to lower right corner.
    15. Copy, Paste.
    16. Rotate right twice.
    17. Move to lower left corner.
    18. Click File, Merge.
    19. Locate 1904_StarcC.001.c2s.
    20. Double Click to Open.
    21. Move to Upper center of the hoop.
    22. Click Copy, Paste.
    23. Click on Rotate right twice.
    24. Move to center right side of hoop.
    25. Click Copy, Paste.
    26. Rotate twice.
    27. Move to bottom center of the hoop.
    28. Click Copy, Paste.
    29. Rotate Twice.
    30. Move to right center of hoop.
    31. Adjust designs as needed for spacing.
  43. Let’s combine all of the Placement Stitches so they all stitch out at once.
    1. Click Ungroup.
  44. In the Sequence window
    1. Locate the second set of placement stitches.
    2. Click on them, and holding down the left mouse key, move to the top of the sequence window.
    3. Repeat for all 8 of the placement stitches below the first.
  45. Save the design in the format for your machine.
  46. Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  47. Load each of the designs into your embroidery machine to stitch the nine units.

 

Check Your Bobbin Case

I’m sure you know the drill – you’re stitching away trying to finish a project during this busy holiday season.   And the thread breaks.  You notice it is actually shredding. Hmmm.  So you rethread. And it still shreds.  So you change the needle.  It still shreds.  Argghh!  So frustrating, right?

Well, before you pull your hair out, check your bobbin case.  Take it out of the machine and examine it closely.   Run your fingers over its surface.  It is smooth?  Really, really smooth?  If it isn’t, you have a problem.  Take a look at my bobbin.  Notice the white spot where the arrow is pointing?  That’s a burr.

I don’t know when it happened or why but the evidence is there.  I tried sanding it with very fine grit sandpaper to smooth away the burr from the plastic surface but that didn’t do the trick. After rethreading, I realized the case was beyond repair.

Time to replace it. Off I went to the dealer to buy a new one, in fact, I bought two.  Just in case something like this happens in the future:

That’s not my bobbin case, in fact, in happened in a recent class.  I have no idea how or why it the needle got stuck in the bobbin case.  I was so impressed I had to grab a photo.  Have you ever seen a needle do this?

 

 

Flamingo Navidad

Flocking around the flamingo tree on this happy holiday!

The Volume 113 Nov/Dec issue features instructions for making the Beaded Flamingo card.  The instructions on the blog will cover how to make the Feather & Sequined Flamingo and the Felt Wing Flamingo.

All cards use the Fabulous Flamingo collection.  Perfect Embroidery Pro was used for making modifications to the design.


Feather & Sequined Flamingo

The embroidery design technique is the same as the Beaded Flamingo.  If you missed the steps in the magazine, follow along here.  Otherwise, scroll down to the Embellishing section within this blog.

Overview:  The goal is to replace the fill stitches for the main part of the flamingo body with an outline stitch.  The original design does not have an outline but we will create one in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

At the Computer
Open Birds of a Feather-17 in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Delete the text:  “Birds of a feather flock together”.

Select the second thread color in the sequence, Bashful Pink.  This is the main part of the flamingo body.

With the second thread color still selected, right click.  Select Utility.  Create Outline.

A new window appears.

Change the default from .08 to .00.  Click Apply.  There’s now an artwork outline around the flamingo body.  Note, this is artwork, not stitches.  I changed the color to a dark purple so you can see the outline a little better in the screenshot.

Delete the original color 2.  Then rearrange the color sequence so the outline of the flamingo body is now the second thread color in the sequence.

Change the Color to Bashful Pink.

With the artwork selected, right click.  Select Convert To / Run.  Click Apply.

In the Properties box, select Bean and click Apply.

Save the design in the appropriate machine format and send to the embroidery machine.

Hoop a piece of felt in a 5” x 7” hoop.  Stitch the design.  Trim the flamingo leaving 1/8” of felt all around the flamingo.

Embellishing

For this flamingo, I opted for the Pink Glitter Glue.  Based on my earlier testing, the glue does secure sequins.  But it does take longer for the glue to dry.  No problem!

I applied the glitter glue to the entire flamingo.  The photo shows a conservative amount but I did add more.  I wasn’t concerned about applying glue to the entire flamingo at once.  The glue takes awhile to dry.

Apply the sequins, one by one.  The packaging I purchased included three different sizes of sequins.  I used all three sizes for variety.  While it might strike you as tedious to attach each sequin, not everything is created in an instant.  Some things do take time.

Once I filled the flamingo with sequins, I did a spot check to see if there were any open spaces.  I added more sequins.  I even layered them because you really can’t have too many sequins.

Next, I decided a feather would be the perfect finishing touch but when I auditioned it, I discovered the pink was not the right shade.

Fabric spray paint is the solution!  This is the tricky part.  Don’t get overly excited when spraying the feather.  You will drench it and make a mess.

Instead, be judicious.  Gently apply the spray paint to the feather.  Take your time.  The flamingo that wins the race is not always the fastest. I sprayed two feathers to give me options.

Let the feathers dry.  Then attach the most appropriate feather using FabricTac glue or for faster results, attach with a hot glue gun.

Use some rhinestones to create a necklace (and hide the area where you attached the feather.

Finishing the Card

Select a fun card stock to create your card.  The words “Flamingo Navidad” were created in Adobe Photoshop Elements with font, AR BONNIE.  The font is also found in Microsoft Word.  Use your favorite font style and program to create your own text.  Place additional embellishments as desired.

Use a hot glue gun to secure the flamingo embroidery to the card.

 

Fabulous Flamingo cards are sure to make everyone smile!  Give them to family, friends and coworkers.  Make a stack and deliver them to shut-ins and nursing home residents.  You’ll have as much fun making them as you’ll have seeing everyone’s reactions when they receive them.

Purchase the design collection here.

Stabilizer Hack

Recently, I’ve been stitching a ton of free-standing embroidery designs on water soluble stabilizer (WSS).  The results are stunning but I’m going through a ton of stabilizer!  The designs are best stitched on two layers of WSS so of I cut two lengths to fill the hoop, I find I’m wasting about 12″ of stabilizer per hooping.  Ugh!  Don’t you hate wasting stabilizer?

Now, I keep the stabilizer on the roll and let it sit behind (or under) the machine.   I roll out one length to cover the hoop, fold the stabilizer over to create the second layer, then hoop the two layers with the roll extending behind the top/back of the hoop.

On a traditional embroidery machine, i just place the roll over to the side of the machine leaving enough slack to avoid any drag.

On a tubular machine, I pull the excess off to one side and place the roll under the hoop.  Again, the key is to unroll enough stabilizer to avoid any drag on the hoop.  

After the embroidery is complete, just remove the project from the hoop, slice the stabilizer close to the embroidery and repeat the process.

You have to try this!

 

Crazy Quilting

My Quilt Embellisher features 50 crazy quilt stitches that can be combined, sized, rotated and morphed to create hundreds of gorgeous stitches. My Quilt Embellisher is the software I used to create the projects in Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. To embellish a block with crazy quilt stitches, take a photograph of the block and load it into the software as a Backdrop. Define the horizon and the scale. You’ll find those tools on the left toolbar, just click on the arrow under the Backdrop icon.

Select the Crazy Quilting icon.

Select a stitch from the drop down menu. Select stitch #10.

Once selected, you’ll notice the cursor changes to a small crosshair. Left mouse click and drag the mouse to create the motif. The longer you drag, the larger the motif. Each motif can be dropped individually creating an organic, hand-stitched look. The line of crazy quilt stitches  shown below is five repeats – all slightly different sizes. If your individual units are not aligned, select all and click on Horizontal Center Align to align the units. 

If a design is skewed, just select the individual design and drag the corner handle to rotate it.

Crazy quilting stitches are such a fun, decorative technique for adding embellishments to quilt blocks, small wall hangings, purses and more. One of my favorite projects from the book is this charming storage box.

If you like crazy quilting, you might enjoy my book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  The book includes instructions for creating your own crazy quilt blocks using My Quilt Embellisher software. Follow the steps in the book and watch the video on the CD to learn everything you need to know.  You can learn more about the book here.

 

 

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