Archive of ‘Embroidery Techniques’ category

Behind the Seams: Creating The Flower Box Quilt

An Interview with Eileen Roche by Denise Holguin

DH: Eileen, you are a very busy individual! You manage the production of a magazine, write weekly blogs, do appearances at events, invent new products… AND you had time to design and create a new quilt for the Flower Box Quilt book. Wow! What is your secret to finding time to create this new quilt project?

ER: I leave and breathe embroidery! And I have a passion for embroidered quilts. I just love using my embroidery machine to decorate quilt blocks and quilt the entire quilt.

DH: When you started designing the Flower Box Quilt, did you have a clear path of what you wanted or did the project evolve over time?

ER: I had a basic layout in mind as I was inspired by Amy Gibson’s The Quilt Block Cookbook. Of course, along the way, a project guides me in a new direction.

Flower Box Quilt_Designs in Machine Embroidery

Amy Gibson’s The Quilt Block Cookbook via instagram @karenlewistextiles

DH: You used e-stitches on at least one of the blocks in the Flower Box Quilt. To those unfamiliar with an e-stitch, will you tell us more?

ER: E-stitch, also known as the blanket stitch – is a common hand (or sewing machine) applique technique. Often, the stitching is shown in a contrasting color. In the Flower Box Quilt, I matched the thread to the applique fabric to let the fabric shine – I didn’t want to introduce a wide line of stitches (think satin column) – just a gentle, almost indiscernible line of stitching. I like it.

DH: Your projects always look impeccable! Do you ever make mistakes? How do you overcome them?

ER: Thank you!
I make mistakes ALL the TIME! Frankly, if I wasn’t for the mistakes I’ve made, I wouldn’t be the embroiderer I am today. When I do make a mistake (which I do with every project), I rarely throw out the project. I figure out how to rectify the situation and move on. One of my biggest shortcomings is, I’m always excited to finish the project – to figure out if the design and techniques that I created will work as planned. I think if I worked at a slower pace, I would eliminate some mistakes. But I also know, that a slow pace does not meet deadlines! It’s a catch-22.

DH: What is the one take-away you want readers to learn from the Flower Box Quilt book?

ER: You don’t have to make a large quilt to learn all the techniques. Start with a manageable size, like a table runner or lap size quilt and you’ll master the techniques upon completion.

DH: Do you have a favorite quilt block in this collection?
ER: Hmm…that’s a tough one. Probably Block 1 – I just love those flowers!

Flower Box Quilt_Designs in Machine Embroidery


For more information about Eileen’s Flower Box Quilt and its companion product, The Quilting Stabilizer Kit, visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website at https://www.shop.dzgns.com.

Join Eileen on March 20 at 1:00 CST on Facebook Live.  She’ll be sharing her Top 6 Tips for Machine Embroidered Applique!  See you there!

Flower Box Quilt_Designs With Machine Embroidery

Selecting Thread Colors

Select Color with Confidence

The easiest way to select thread color is to start with a print that you love, select a coordinating solid and then select the thread. For instance, I spotted this floral blouse in a retail store.

I fell in love with the flowers and immediately thought of pairing it with a denim jacket.  Here’s how to select the thread to go with it.  Audition spools right on the blouse and grab your phone to document the process as you switch out some spools. 

Thread Option 1
Thread Option 2
Thread Option 3

Next, review the photos to see what composition is the most pleasing. Once you’re satisfied with the combination, move the spools to the denim jacket.

Auditioning on the actual fabric

Denim is one of the trickiest fabrics to select thread for because it’s a mixture of light, medium and dark threads. Often what you think will contrast with denim, blends too well and leaves the embroidery looking lackluster.  The colors may be beautiful, but the value (the lightness and darkness of the color) may be too close to the denim’s value making the embroidery almost invisible from a 6 ft. distance.  

To avoid that result, use a value finder.  A value finder is a piece of translucent red plastic or glass. When you peer through the colored plastic, all color is removed from the object. What remains is the value of the fabric and threads.  Look through the red panel to view threads right on the fabric. Your phone camera may have filter available. Check your camera settings.

Use a value finder

If they are the same value as the fabric, you’ll know you must find a lighter or darker thread if you want the embroidery to pop off (or separate from) the fabric. 

I trust the value finder more than I trust my own eye.  Because I tend to fall in love with a color, I try to force it on the fabric. Every time I override the value finder, I’m disappointed with the result.

The final winner of the Farmhouse Sentiments Kit is Linda Alford! Congratulations, Linda. We will email you privately for your mailing address. Enjoy!

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.

MarieZinno.com

 

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.

How to Use Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Scatter Tool

On January 13th, blog reader Sue L requested information on about Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Scatter tool.  The Scatter tool is fun to explore and very easy to master. Let’s dive in and take a look.

An 8” quilt block is the ideal canvas to experiment with the Scatter tool. Some brief text, Bee Happy, and a swarm of bumble bees will bring it to life.  Draw an 8” square with the Artwork tool.  Select the text tool and select the Tango font in the Properties Box.  Type Bee Happy, adding an extra return to space out the two lines of text.  Click Apply.

Tango Font

Enlarge and center the design in the square. 

In the sequence view, click on the padlock to lock the text. 

The Scatter tool becomes active when you have a design on the screen.  It’s best to start with a small design such as a symbol because the scatter tool will repeat the design to fill a specific sewing field.

Click on Select to access the Symbol library.

Go to Symbol, scroll down to the Bee and click OK.

Click OK.

Click once on the screen and one bee will appear.

Select the bee and click on the dropdown arrow on the Carousel tool to access the Scatter tool.

In the preview window, you can change the size of the sewing field.  The default size is 7.87”. If you’re pleased with the arrangement on the screen, click OK.  If you’d like to see more possibilities, click Apply.  Every time you click Apply, a new layout will be presented.  Since the layout is random, you can not go back to a previously-viewed layout. If you like it, click OK!

To remove the bees that overlap the text, Ungroup the bees. Once ungrouped, all the elements of each bee are also ungrouped. When you select a bee, group it first as you work on arranging the bees.  Select each bee that you want to remove.  The text will still be locked so don’t worry about inadvertently grabbing the text.  You can resize, rotate and reposition each of the bees.  Play with the arrangement until you feel the bees are evenly spaced on the quilt block.

Once you’re satisfied, select all, go to Edit, Resequence by Color and Optimize Sequence.  View the Redraw and save the design. So fun!

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.

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!

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.

 

 

Thanksgiving Leaf Applique Center Piece

Allow me to introduce Angela Wolf to you.  She is a fashion designer and sewing expert, anchor of the PBS series It’s Sew Easy, host of a weekly facebook live show Behind the Scenes, and founder of the Angela Wolf Pattern Collection. She teaches online classes on Craftsy, Patternreview, and http://www.AngelaWolf.com.  Author of How to Start a Home-based Fashion Design Business, Angela is also a blogger, vlogger, spokesperson, a brand ambassador. She is the author of today’s post.  Read on for step-by-step instructions on the Brother Luminaire. ~ Eileen

Whether you are hosting a feast for Thanksgiving dinner or looking for a simple table decoration for the fall season, this leaf applique center piece is ideal.  I am starting with a small circular center piece, but keep in mind you can add as many leaves as you need to cover your table or counter top!  Let’s get started …

Supplies

  • cotton fabric cut 11” by 11” for each leaf
  • Sticky-back tearaway stabilizer
  • ½ yard cotton fabric backing
  • Applique scissors
  • Embroidery Thread
  1. Choose a leaf embroidery design. I am using a built-in leaf design from My Design Center in the Brother Luminaire; another idea would be to sketch a leaf and scan in the design.  
  2. Click on SIZE and expand the leaf to over 200mm

Optional Design Tip:  Choose a solid color cotton for the leaves and add stippling.  I will leave instruction on when to embroider the stippling.

  1. Convert the design into an embroidery design and change the leaf outline and stem to a running stitch. SAVE the design.
  2. In the EMBROIDERY screen, DUPLICATE the leaf. MOVE one design to the top half and the other to the bottom half of the screen.  ROTATE the designs so they overlap.
  3. Add an APPLIQUE outline to each leaf; change the distance to 5.0mm.

EMBROIDERY

  1. Hoop the Sticky Back Tearaway Stabilizer with the paper side up, score the paper and insert the hoop into the embroidery machine.
  2. Open the list of embroidery steps: skip ahead to the first set of applique stitches and stitch the placement line.
  3. Remove the hoop. On the backside of the hoop: Center the backing fabric (with right side facing out) over the leaf outline and tape the fabric in place. On the topside of the hoop: center one of the colored fabrics over the leaf design.
  4. Stitch the next step in the applique. Remove the hoop.  Trim off the excess fabric on the front and back fabrics.
  5. Insert the hoop. Stitch the remaining applique stitches. (Optional: stitch the stippling). The first leaf is finished!  Skip ahead to the next set of the applique stitches and stitch the second leaf placement outline.
  6. Repeat steps 7 – 10.
  7. Remove the hoop and tearaway the embroidery stabilizer.

ATTACHING THE LEAVES

  1. Hoop a piece of sticky-back tearaway stabilizer with the paper side up and score the paper. Place the first set of leave along the left edge of the hoop as shown (the leaves should stick to the stabilizer).  Use the SCAN feature, then MOVE the embroidery design or finished leaves until all the leaves are overlapping.
  2. Use the StitchVison feature to project the embroidery design onto the hoop. Double check the overlapping on the first set of finished leaves.  Continue to move the finished leaves or embroidery design as needed.
  3. Follow steps 7 – 12.

TIP: Add Fray Check along the edges to prevent fraying, which is exactly what I will be doing when my center piece is complete!

MINI LEAVES

  1. Follow the same steps to design and embroidery smaller individual leaves, just make sure the leaf embroidery designs are not overlapping.

CUTTING TIP:  Transfer the leaf applique .PES embroidery file to the Brother ScanNCut.  Let the ScanNcut do the cutting.

There are so many possibilities with this leaf pattern! Consider using a solid colored fabric with metallic embroidery thread for the stippling or try a lace for the fabric. I am planning on embroidering up both for the holiday season.  Be sure to share photo’s of your new table decorations, I always love seeing what you are working on.  #angelawolf #brothersews

Cheers,

Angela

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnetic Hoops

I take magnetic hoops for granted.  I invented them so long ago, I’d have to check the patent to verify the year.  I use them everyday for many embroidery tasks.  So it surprises me when I attend events and meet embroiderers who are not familiar with magnetic hoops.

They’ll ask if they work.  And the answer is, “Absolutely!”

They ask if they’ll harm their machine.  And the answer is, “No!”

They’ll ask what size should they buy.  And the answer is, “Every size available for your machine!”

So let’s dig a little deeper.  Magnetic hoops work like a dream because they do not cause fiber distortion. They have a flat metal bottom frame and a flat magnetic top.  The magnets are quite strong and firmly grip a quilt sandwich, a terry towel, a knit shirt and many other fabrics.  They do not replace a standard embroidery hoop, they complement it!

Magnetic hoops do not harm your machine as the magnetic force is shielded by the metal frame.  The magnetic force grips the fabric – not the machine.  The hoops have been thoroughly tested on all machines during the prototype stage.  There has never been an issue with a magnetic hoop interfering with the machine’s operating system.  Many years ago, we were told not to use magnetic pin cushions.  At that time, the computer in the machine was encased in a light plastic housing and magnets could interfere with the operating system. In you owned a cell phone in that era, it was housed in a tote bag with long coiled wire!

Today, the machine’s computer, although very powerful, is tiny. It’s highly insulated and the magnetic force can reach it.  Think about the power of your cellphone, the advancements in embroidery technology are very similar.

So what size should an embroiderer buy? I always ask, ” What size hoop do you stitch the majority of your embroidery projects in?”

Whatever the answer is, that’s the first magnetic hoop size they should purchase.

Now if someone is starting to quilt with their embroidery machine, then the answer is, the largest hoop that’s available for your machine!

The Formula for Embroidery Fun & Success

Stitch Lab, the formula for embroidery fun and success, debuted last weekend in Dublin, Ohio!  What a blast, I’m so glad I attended.  Inspirations consultant Ashley Jones led the 2-day hands-on event  for 72 embroidery enthusiasts. Our host, Quilt Beginnings, was a delight – boy, do they know how to treat their customers.

I met so many old acquaintances and friended new ones. We stitched 6 unique projects and everyone learned something new.  Even the ladies who told me they’ve been stitching since the first embroidery machines were available, learned some new tricks.  That shouldn’t have been a surprise to me because every class or event I attend, I always learn something new!

Look at some of the fun we had. 

After all that stitching, Kathy Daum, Quilt Beginnings owner and customer cheerleader, donated all of the projects made in class to a local charity – a women’s shelter that helps countless women and children in the Columbus, OH area.  We stitched items for home, mom, baby and pets.

But the best part, all attendees took home a kit to stitch at home on their own machine.  I hope you’ll consider attending a Stitch Lab this year.  I’m heading to several Stitch Lab events this fall, scattered all over the country.  I’ll release the schedule soon and maybe you can join me at an event in your town.

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