Archive of ‘Eileen Roche’ 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!

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?

 

 

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.

 

 

Sew Excited!

I’m sew excited – look what’s in the house, the new Baby Lock Solaris! Today, I documented how it was packed as I unpacked it. 

I find photographing the boxing and unboxing is very helpful when I have to pack it up again.  Sure hope that’s not anytime soon!  I know there’s a popular trend to video (and publish) the unboxing but I just couldn’t wait to get the whole team together to accomplish that so still photos will have to do.

I don’t know who Jeff is but I think I love him already. That personal touch makes me feel special – Jeff took the time to test numerous stitches and buttonholes – very reassuring.

Tomorrow, I’ll start exploring all its features.  I’ve had the opportunity to work on the Solaris at many of our Stitch Lab events this fall but there’s nothing quite like having one in the office.

And if it’s in the office, you’ll know I’ll be working on new Snap Hoop Monsters – like the 9.5″ x 9.5″ and the GIGANTIC 10.5″ x 16.5″.  Look for them in early 2019!

If you had a magnetic hoop with big sewing field, what would you stitch in it?  Quilts? Fashions?  Home decor items?

Hope to See You in the Classroom

I’m packing my bags and hitting the road for Wichita, Kansas tomorrow.  Friday, you can catch me at A-1 Singer Sewing with Inspirations’ Consultant Sheryl Burnette.  I’m excited to get together with fellow embroiderers – it gets lonely in the office!  And I’m really pumped to see the Brother Luminaire in action.

We’ll be doing six fun projects – everything from hooping an Embroidery Buddy to continuous quilting. Of course, Sheryl and I will share samples from our favorite projects and teach how to create them.

I have two more trips planned this fall – both in the upper North West. Inspirations’ consultant Sheryl and I are teaming up again for another two days of stitching fun.  On Nov. 9-10, I’m heading to Salem, OR to see my friends at Rich’s Sewing & Vacuum.

After Thanksgiving, I’ll be heading north west again to Issaquah, WA. Eddie Schultz is the proud owner of Issaquah Sewing & Vacuum… and he’s always a blast to work with. The last time I actually worked with Eddie was at The Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA.  Several years ago, he helped me close the Stitching Sister’s Friday Night Live event with a karaoke rendition of Sweet Caroline – and I have the video to prove it! Not that I’ll share it but….you never know!  Issaquah is hosting two one-day hands-on events so you have your choice of what day is best for you.

I do hope to see you on my travels. Let me know if you’re going to be there and let’s grab a photo together. After all, it’s not very often we get the chance to be in the presence of 50 or more embroiderers! Sew much stitching fun!

Last week’s emotional blog post received so many comments. Thank you to each one of you who left a heartfelt message.  Your words lifted my spirit.  It’s been a tough year and I miss Nancy terribly. The winners of The Rest of the Story book are Cheryl Seal and Lynnette Wilson.

Cheryl wrote, “It would be impossible to name just one of the many notions I have purchased from Nancy’s Notions as my favorite. She was one of the most innovative in the field of sewing and quilting. I loved watching her sit at the machine and sew…when she made a mistake the same way I have so many times, it simply made her human. Her sewing program set the bar for all the others who have come after it and many fall way short. She is a true inspiration to me as a sewer and a person. She is truly missed.”

Lynette shared, “It would be hard to pick out just one tool or book. I like her sliding ruler [both the small one and the large triangle cutting ruler]. I refer back to her 10-20-30 minute books frequently. I love her videos/DVDs because she has the absolute best teaching style. She definitely set the standard. Learning about her faith from her book and now The Rest of the Story was inspiring and an encouragement.”

Congratulations, ladies, I’ll email you privately for your mailing addresses.

A Word from Mary Mulari

I asked Mary Mulari to share a few thoughts on Nancy Zieman on this final day of the The Rest of the Story blog tour. Here’s what she had to say:

My friend Margaret said, “You should come to the high school with me tonight for a sewing class.” So I did, never knowing that my first meeting with Nancy Zieman would turn into a lifelong friendship. Nancy showed sewing tips for tailored shirts and I was impressed by the techniques she shared, realizing I could use them myself. When Nancy moved from my area in Minnesota back to Wisconsin, her home state, we kept in touch and I used her book SEWING MAGIC to teach my own tailored shirt class here in Aurora. (Nancy was a contributing editor for this book written by Barbara Hellyer.)

Then I got into sweatshirts, teaching community education classes my methods to alter and decorate a favorite garment. I sent a copy of my self-published book DESIGNER SWEATSHIRTS to Nancy. At that time she was taping cable tv shows in the basement of her home. It was a leap from her “normal” sewing to show my sweatshirt ideas on her show, but she did it, and book sales from her early catalogs were tremendous. I shipped thousands of copies of the book to her warehouse in the converted chicken coop at Earl Zieman’s farm. Maybe you ordered one of those books.

Then, when my fifth book ADVENTURES IN APPLIQUE was published, I joined Nancy as her guest for three programs based on the book. Many of you told me I didn’t talk enough and Nancy talked too much, but I had to get used to the cameras and time clocks and everything in the tv studio. I learned to talk more through my years of guest appearances on Sewing With Nancy. In more recent program tapings, Nancy would use her elbow on me when it was time to quit talking because the program segment was ending.

Nancy was always quick to share credit for her accomplishments and sewing star status. At the celebration for 30 years on television, she gathered some of her guests who were also her friends. Gail Brown was Nancy’s serger expert, Natalie Sewell the landscape quilt queen, Eileen Roche the embroidery specialist, and I got credit for my sweatshirt lady status.

It was always a pleasure to work with Nancy to produce some of the television programs she taped every year. Speaking for her other guests, I’d say we all profited through our associations with Nancy, gained highly valued life experiences, and had plenty of fun too.

Aren’t we fortunate that Team Nancy continues her legacy and contributions to the world of sewing!

 

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