Archive of ‘Eileen Roche’ category

Nancy’s Sewing Weekend

I just arrived in Beaver Dam, WI for Nancy’s Sewing Weekend.  It’s always a fun time – full of great classes, inspiring samples and wonderful people.  Of course, this year will be a little different without Nancy but we’re all committed to carrying on this great tradition.  If you’re in Wisconsin or Ilinois or Iowa or Minnesota or…well, you get the idea, head to Beaver Dam.  I’m reposting Saturday’s blog from Zieman Productions here.  Read on to see what’s happening at Nancy’s Notions this weekend, May 3-5, 2018.

What started as a grand opening in 1985 has grown into one of Wisconsin’s largest annual sewing events. This year’s events start Thursday, May 3rd, and run through Saturday, May 5th. FREE Admission and FREE Parking!

Join in on 24 seminars featuring top educators and designers

New! Sewing Weekend speakers include:

      • Sara Gallegos
      • Mike Johns
      • Joi Mahon

Returning favorite speakers include:

      • Eileen Roche
      • Marti Michell
      • Linda McGehee
      • Pamela Leggett
      • Mary Mulari

Find seminar details and class ticket pricing over at the Nancy’s Notions website.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Test-drive a Baby Lock Sewing Machine!

Baby Lock LogoHands-on classes are running throughout the weekend. While many are sold out, tickets for select days and times are available onsite at Nancy’s Notions Sewing Weekend.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Free Demonstrations by the Experts

Company representatives from some of the top brands in the sewing industry are available at Sewing Weekend to answer questions and demonstrate products.

NEW! This Year: Food Trucks

    • Food Trucks—7 food trucks/vendors will be part of the Sewing Weekend festivities this year. You won’t need to leave the event to travel to an off-site food location, unless you choose to do so. A seating area and tent will be near the food trucks. It’s a great way to enjoy a variety of choices plus support other Wisconsin-based businesses. Trucks and vendors participating include:
      • Lisa’s Pizza (serving an array of pizzas and pasta)
      • Mac’s BBQ (serving chicken sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, shredded beef sandwiches, jambalaya, coleslaw, potato salad, etc.)
      • Cold Stone Creamery (serving various flavors of ice cream, of course)
      • Curd Girl (serving their specialty fried cheese curds)
      • Gouda Girls (serving specialty grilled cheese sandwiches)
      • We Go Waffles (serving waffles that are both sweet and savory)
      • Mobile Café Express (serving coffee as well as breakfast and lunch food options)

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Don’t Miss the 3-Day Super Sale!

  • Over 10,000 yards of fabric on sale; and more! Save up to 75% on select Clearance and Overstock items. New deals daily!

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

  • Ride the FREE! shuttle buses to seminar locations.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

  • You can even check your packages while you’re attending seminars and workshops.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

  • You’ll find lots of inspiration! Scott Stanton, accounting and IT guru, sports one of his personalized ties. Yes, Scott made it himself. Every day of Sewing Weekend he wears a tie that he made.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Special Exhibits and Displays!

Quilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_First_Place_WinnerQuilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_Second_Place_WinnerQuilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_Third_Place_WinnerQuilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_Honorable_Mention_WinnerJoin us in celebrating the 34th annual Sewing Weekend, May 3–5, 2018—at Nancy’s Notions in Beaver Dam, WI. What started as a grand opening in 1985, Sewing Weekend has grown into one of Wisconsin’s largest annual sewing events.

Remember the first Sewing Weekend?

Check out these photos from the 1985 Grand Opening of Nancy’s Notions:

Thank you to Nancy, for her vision in creating an annual event for us to gather and celebrate sewing. This year, we celebrate Nancy and her many contributions to the sewing world, her elegant style and gracious living.

Hope to see you there!

Circles Got You Going in Circles?

If your embroidered circles look more like ovals than you know what I mean by ‘circles have you going in circles?’  What you see on the computer screen is not necessarily what you see stitched on fabric.  That can be frustrating but help is just a click away.

Recently, I was digitizing a new Stipple collection that features a rainbow of embroidered polka dots.  Unfortunately, I can’t unveil the new collection just yet but it will be available soon. Back to the problem at hand,  I was diligently working away and stitched my sample.  Ugh! My circles weren’t round, they were oval.

And that’s definitely a rookie digitizing mistake.  In Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro, it’s so easy to fix this problem.  I selected all of the polka dots and changed the Pull/Pull setting in the Properties Box.  Here’s how to do it.

Use the artwork tool to draw a small circle (.25″) diameter).  Convert it to satin.  Click on the Pull/Push tab in the Properties Box.  Notice the Value is set at 100%.

Change the value to 120%.

View the difference on the screen.  Notice the higher percentage fills out the circle across the width. The width of the dot now measures .28″ while the height remained the same at .25″.

The difference is minute but it’s all that was needed. My circles are now really circles!

Hidden Treasure

Buried in the Properties Box in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro is Projection. A hidden and often forgotten treasure, Projection takes a simple shape and transforms it into a hoop full of beautiful stitches.  When Projection was introduced as a new feature in a free update in June 2017, most of us looked at it as something fun to incorporate into open airy designs, like this butterfly.

But let me show you what it can do with a simple geometric shape like the diamond. Click on the Run stitch tool and select the Art tool. Select Diamond from the drop down menu. Drag the cursor to draw a 1″ x 1.25″ diamond.

In the Properties Box on the Run tab, select Projection from the Type field. 

The diamond is filled with smaller diamonds, the default setting is 3.0 stitch length and 1.5 Density.  That’s a too many repeats for me so I’ll decrease the density.

Change the stitch length to 2.4 and the Density to 5.0.

Select the diamond and click on the Carousel tool.  Select Reflect.

In the preview window, type 2 in the repeat field and click Apply.

The hoop is filled with the diamond repeats. 

Select the diamonds, go to to Edit, Optimize Sequence.  Click on Slow Redraw to watch the design stitch seamlessly from diamond to diamond. 

I can’t wait to stitch this in some specialty threads. First, I’ll use KingStar Metallic and then I’ll stitch a second sample in Medley variegated thread.  After I see those samples, I’ll copy and paste the diamonds to fill the open areas.  Oh my, so many possibilities! There are so many hidden treasure in your software!

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 4 T Block Software Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month: Block 4 T Block
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury

This ongoing Block of the Month series was designed to inspire you to learn new techniques using My Block Piecer.  As a reminder, the first Saturday of every month will feature the software lesson using My Block Piecer.  The following Wednesday will feature the sewing lesson.

  • You are free to adapt the block to a size of your preference.
  • A free trial of My Block Piecer is available if you’d like to try it before you buy it.  Note the “Save” feature is deactivated until the software is purchased.
  • Interested in learning more about My Block Piecer and other Inspirations Software?  Join us at an Inspirations Event.  Click the Events link for events near you.
  • If you’re late to the Block of the Month “party” have no fear!  Start with Block 4 or spend a little time catching up.

Let’s continue the journey of learning and creativity!


    1. Open MBP.
    2. Click on Create a New Design.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Click on the Block Icon.

    1. Enter T Block 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Click on the Reorder icon.
    1. Click on each patch of the block to number them as show the illustration below.
    2. Right Click to end the numbering. The numbers will disappear but the numbering is still there.
  6. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around patches 1 through 6, the top third of the block.
    1. Select a 200mm x 200mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button. If there are two units showing in the right box, the block part has not been created with only one unit.
    3. Right Click in the window on the right side (with the numbers) and Click Reset.
    4. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on the 1 and 2.

      1. Right Click and Group.
      2. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on unit and 3.
      3. Right click and group.
      4. Repeat ii and iii for patches 4 and 5.
      5. DO NOT CLICK AND GROUP THE LAST NUMBER.Click on the Workflow icon.

  7. Click Preview.
  8. Click Save.
    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name it Block 4.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter T_BlockA.
    4. Save as type select the compatible format for your machine (pes).
    5. Click Save.
    6. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. T_BlockA_001.pes.
      2. T_BlockA _artwork.c2s.
      3. T_BlockA _preview.pdf.
    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  9. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the remaining patches.
  10. Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. The numbers have been changed to 1-5.
    2. Select a 200mm x 200mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    3. Click the Auto Build button. If there are two units showing in the right box, the block has not been created with only one unit. If there is only 1 unit, go to Step14.
    4. Right Click in the window on the right side (with the numbers) and Click Reset.
    5. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on the 1 and 2.
      1. Right Click and Group.
      2. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on unit and 3.
      3. Right click and group.
      4. Repeat ii and iii for patch 4.
  11. Click Preview.
  12. Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter T_BlockB.
    2. Save as type select the compatible format for your machine(pes).
    3. Click Save.
    4. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. T_BlockB_001.pes.
      2. T_BlockB _artwork.c2s.
      3. T_BlockB _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.
  13. Click the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
  14. 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 to create the fabric pieces for the block, will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If manually cutting the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If using the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
      3. If using the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”.
    3. Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric.
    4. Click Apply.
    5. Click Save
      1. In File name enter T_Block Templates.
      2. Select the format of choice from the Save as Type field.
      3. Click Save.
      4. The Following Files have been created.
        1. T_Block templates.
        2. T_Block templates_preview.pdf.
      5. Close the files window.
      6. Close the Cutter window.
  15. Click on Create a New Design.Note: When using the Merge to open a file, SAVE is actually a SAVE AS and the original file is not overwritten.
  16. Click on the Hoop icon and select a 200mmx200mm hoop or similar for your machine.
  17. Click on File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file T_BlockA_001.c2s.
    2. Double click on the file to open OR click on the file name, then Click OK.
  18. Move to upper part of the hoop.
  19. Click on File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file T_BlockB_001.c2s.
    2. Double click on the file to open OR click on the file name, then Click OK.
  20. Move to the bottom of the hoop
  21. Click Save.
    1. In the name field enter T-Block.
    2. In the Save as type enter the format for your specific machine.
  22. Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  23. Load the design in your machine and create the two portions of this block.
  24. Manually sew the two pieces together on your sewing machine.

 

How to Hoop a Tote Bag

Just about every tote bag can benefit from the addition of embroidery but hooping one can be challenging. Here’s how I do it – on a single needle machine or a multi-needle.

Place a target sticker 4” below the center top of the tote.  Place the tear-away stabilizer over the metal frame of Monster Hoop.

Turn the tote inside out and center the tote over the stabilizer (centering the target sticker).  Place the magnetic top over the tote. Use the edge of the tote as an alignment guide. If it’s straight, the design will be straight.  

Attach the hoop to the machine and lift the tote over the machine head. Keep an eye on the straps and make sure they are not caught under the hoop. 

Multi-Needle Machines

Place a target sticker 4” below the center top of the tote.  Place the outer ring inside the tote and lay a piece of tear-away over the outer ring.  Insert the inner ring, keeping the target sticker centered. 

Or if you’re using Multi-needle Monster, then insert the magnetic frame into the bag, centering the target sticker. Position the metal frame on top of the magnetic frame and attach to the machine. 

Easy peasy!

April 2018 Update!

It’s update time!  On Monday, April 2, 2018, your Inspirations software programs will be updated.  When you open your software, you’ll find a prompt that says, Update available.  Would you like to update now? When you click OK, your software will be updated to remain compatible with Windows 10 plus your My Today screen links will pop up in your default browser (Chrome Internet Explorer, Edge, etc). Previously, the links defaulted to Internet Explorer.

You’ll also find an updated ‘Exquisite Thread 40’ thread chart as some names have changed since it’s initial upload.

I’m excited about this handy new update at the digitizing level in Perfect Embroidery Pro, My Block Piecer, My Fabric Designer and My Quilt Embellisher.  Now you can align points when using the Shape tool.  Select more than one point in an object, right click and select Align.

 

Also when using the shape tool, you can now see the length when editing an angle line. 

 

A new digitizing option that’s a real time saver is for making prefect curves / circles with only 5 points.  The new default setting is a more controlled way of digitizing curved lines and satins.  To use this new feature, go Tools, General options, Digitizing, Circular curves. Turn on “Circular Curves” and click OK.With just five clicks, you’ve got a perfect circle!

No tweaking needed! Now, that’s a time-saver.

Lastly, there’s very exciting news for Vintage Software owners, you can now change any design to Vintage style with just a click.

As always, there’s no fee to keep your Inspirations software up to date. I hope you’ll enjoy all these new, free features!

 

Connecting Designs

I love this clever storage idea from Colleen Bell published in the latest issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery, March/April 2018.

If your sewing room is chockfull of fabrics, notions and the like, maybe you use plastic totes to store your treasures.  Colleen Bell created a ‘fool the eye’ project to camouflage basic storage units.  She covered a tower of plastic totes with an embroidered linen cover.  The Trompe l’oeil designs from Urban Threads were just the right touch – delicate yet eye-catching.

Colleen used one of my favorite techniques – connecting embroidery designs with regular stitches.  When designs look like they are just hanging in space, linking them together completes the scene.  First, stitch your embroidery designs. Then use a removable marker to sketch lines connecting the designs. 

Then just stitch on the lines in the same thread as the embroidery design!

On Colleen’s project, the sketched lines mimic a swagged curtain and provides a natural resting spot for the bow. It adds to the Trompe l’oeil style of Urban Threads’ designs.  Well done, Colleen!  Learn more about Colleen at her website: http://www.the-embroiderist.com/about/

 

Texture, Texture, Texture

It’s National Quilting Day so I decided to revisit some quilting designs I digitized several years ago for a shower gift for my niece.  When I looked at the one of the quilting designs on my screen, I was not very impressed. It just a bunch of jagged lines!

I wondered what I was thinking when I digitized this design.  Then I dug around to find a few photos of the quilt. 

Ahhh, I remembered how the texture was the star of the quilt.  

Those jagged lines really popped in the negative space.  I think I’m going to have to incorporate these quilting designs into a new project. Wouldn’t they look great on tree bark? What other elements would they look go on? Fire, maybe? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What Did You Make Today?

When someone asks me, “What did you make today?”, I always want to reply, “something beautiful”.  Some days I can confidently say that.  And other days, all I can say is, “Mistakes!”

Like when the needle falls out during the stitching.

Or when I stitch over a white target sticker.

Or even better, a yellow target sticker.

Or when I catch the fabric on the back of the hoop and end up with something like this:

Or pull this mess out of the bobbin case.

When any of these mistakes, accidents, nightmares, blunders, gaffes, etc. occur, I’m always so grateful to have an arsenal of tools to get me out of my jam. 

I don’t know what I would do without my Bird’s Nest tool, tweezers and screw driver!

How about you? What did you make today?

Design the Block, then the Quilt

Quilt blocks don’t stand alone so when designing the quilting for a block, remember the block is just part of a whole.  Use digital tools to duplicate the blocks so you can envision the whole quilt.

Open a new screen in My Quilt Embellisher.  Click on the Block icon and select Curved Blocks/Curved Blocks-Misc/ Hands All Around.  

 

The block appears on the screen. 

When designing the quilting for one block, it’s important to imagine what it will look like when multiple blocks are pieced together.  

Work on the individual block first.  Then copy your finished work to see the whole quilt. I used the Contour feature to fill the diamonds in each corner. 

The Texture tool (#144) added the pebbles in each curved patch. 

Stipple (Hilbert) filled the remaining areas. 

When I looked at the whole block, I was pleased. 

After changing the color of the stippling, I felt the shape in the center was lacking interest. 

I used the Contour tool again to create a focal point in the enter of the block. 

When viewed in a traditional layout, the quilting is quite appealing. 

The next step is to view the stitching in redraw and make any necessary changes.  Then test the block on scrap fabric -I usually stitch the design in contrasting thread on felt.  Watch for consistent stitch lengths, unnecessary color changes and registrations.  Make changes on the file and save under a new name.  Test again.  As you test, keep in mind quilting adds texture to a block and enhances the block design.  On the actual quilt, you’ll probably use a thread to blend with the fabric so the stitches will not take center stage.  It’s also important to remember to leave some space for the batting to breathe. Texture is created by crushing (with stitches) some of the batting and leave some areas open.  My Quilt Embellisher gives you all the tools you need to make stunning blocks!

 

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