Archive of ‘Embroidery Techniques’ category

What Can You Learn in 60 Minutes?

In 60 minutes, you can learn everything you need to know about quilting with your embroidery machine. When can you do that? Tomorrow’s the big day!  if you’ve been wanting to learn how to quilt with your machine, register for my webcast with Sulky on Thursday evening (March 23, 2017) at 9:00 PM EDT, 8:00 PM CDT and 7:00 PM PDT.

You’ll learn everything from raw edge applique to custom quilting to overall quilting. I’ll give you three options for handling the quilt bulk while achieving perfect placement on every hooping.  Plus, you’ll learn what type of designs work on blocks and large negative spaces.

Included in this hour of education, is a downloadable continuous line design for 6” x 10” hoops*, a downloadable guide to my secrets of continuous line quilting on an embroidery machine plus a question and answer period at the end of the webcast.

Michelle Umlauf, Sulky National Educator, will be our webcast coordinator (which means she’s been keeping me on track for several weeks). She’s a stitch wizard herself as you can see if you visit her blog at http://www.SewingMachineArtistry.com.  She’ll be joined by Sulky veterans Patti Lee, Ellen Osten  and Kelly Negal (like I can teach them anything!).

I conned, I mean asked, my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, to help with questions during the webcast. So if you’re on the webcast and know Marie, give her a shout out. And while you’re at it, ask her a trick question – like how many inches of thread are on a Sulky 820 meter spool!  Oh boy, am I going to pay for that!

Today, we had a run through to make sure your experience is educational, comfortable and informative. It went very well with a ‘mock’ audience of 5 or 6 attendees. Intentionally, mock questions were sent and fielded by Patti, Kelly, Marie and Michelle. At one point, I had a vision of the infamous Lucy & Ethel episode at the chocolate factory.  You remember the one, the chocolates fly down the conveyor belt so fast, Lucy and Ethel can’t keep up with it. That was my vision today and hopefully, it won’t be like that tomorrow night.

Sounds like a funny moment, right? Well, the spirit at Sulky is one of fun and lightheartedness. I guess they were just trying to ease everyone’s jitters (technical difficulties can really rattle the nerves) because the first question that appeared on the screen was, “Who let the dogs out?”

I howled (no pun intended!). That moment put everyone at ease, now we’re ready and excited!  Sulky has some great product specials that they will announce towards the end of the webcast.  Two coupons (of the many specials they are featuring) will expire at Midnight EDT, Sept. 23, 2017. To take advantage of the specials, register for the webcast now, watch the webcast then make your purchases before Midnight EDT.

We are packing a ton of information into this webcast but don’t worry, after the webcast, you’ll be able to review it whenever you’d like.  Join us for this live webcast and later you can watch at your own pace.  Sign up now because seats are limited!  Just click here: http://www.sulky.com/   You’ll learn a lot in 60 minutes!

*Formats included are C2S, DST, EXP, HQV, HUS, JEF, PCS, PES, QLI, VIP AND VP3.

 

Volume 103 It Started with a Quilt Block – Signpost Lesson

It Started with a Quilt Block was featured in the March/April 2017 issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. Since space is limited on the printed page, you’ll find the details for creating the quilt’s sign post.

Experiment by using your favorite quote or saying for your own signpost.  Dime’s Patch Attach was used to fuse the final sample to the quilt.

Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches and Perfect Embroidery Pro software programs pack a powerful punch when you have both installed on your computer.  If you do, the Word Art in Stitches features are available WITHIN the Perfect Embroidery Pro software. You don’t have to open both software programs!  Duplicate these steps to create your signpost.


Step 1.  Make the Frame
Open Perfect Embroidery Pro.  On the right side of the screen, click on the Bubble Text icon from Word Art in Stitches.

The window below will open.  Click on the three dots to view the catalog.

Click on Objects / Borders.  Select Borders-10.

Do not type any text in the Words field.  Don’t worry about the size.  The size will be adjusted later.  Click OK.

The frame will appear on the screen.

Select the frame.  Click on the Transform tab on the right side of the screen.  Make sure the “Maintain aspect ratio” button is selected.  Change the frame size to 5 inches  Click OK.

 

With the frame still selected, right click and select Convert To / Applique

In the Properties – Applique box, select “Change Colors.”  Click Apply to update the design.

Repeat Step 1 to add a second frame inside the outer frame. I made the inside frame 4.4” x 3.15”.

Once you’ve completed the inner frame, your design should look similar to the image below.

Change the color of the second frame (any color) to make it easier to maneuver.

Step 2.  Express yourself with a fun message!

Select the Text icon at the top toolbar.

Type:

“Let your” <press Enter key>

“ideas take” <press Enter key>

“shape!” <press Enter key>

Select the Arial font.  Resize to:  3.5” width.  Change the Line spacing to 100 percent.  This will add space between each row of text.  Click Apply when finished.

Center the text on the frame.

I wanted to add emphasis to the words “ideas” and “shape” by using a different thread color.  I can stop the machine before it stitches those words.  Then switch the thread color. But that’s a hassle and I’m easily distracted.  Or I can use the “Break Up Text” feature. Breaking up the text transforms the text data into stitches. All editing will then be done on each individual stitch (or letter if you group them) instead of the entire text word or phrase. It’s best to edit the text (envelopes, spacing, etc) before applying Break Up Text.   Note: It’s wise to save the design in its original version before applying Break Up Text.   Make your changes and save the new version under a new name.

Select the text.  Right click.  Select Break Up Text.

Each letter is a design – not text.

Select the appropriate letters for “ideas” and “shape!”

At the bottom of the screen, right click to add another thread color.

Right click on the Yellow to make the selection yellow.

Your design will look similar to the sample below.  Don’t worry about the colors – you have the freedom to select any thread colors once you’re at the machine.  😉

Double check the stitching sequence is correct.  Save the design and send to the embroidery machine.


Step 3.  Stitching the Sign

Hoop Water Soluble Stabilizer in a 5” x 7” hoop.  Stitch the first thread color—the placement stitch.  Place the wood grain fabric down.  Stitch Color 2, the tack down stitch.  Remove the hoop but do not unhoop the project.  Trim the excess fabric.

Return the hoop to the embroidery machine.  Stitch Color 3, the satin stitching around the outer frame.  Stitch Color 4, the placement stitch for the inner frame.

Continue the process to stitch the inner frame.

The finished sign should look similar to the sample:

Trim away the water soluble stabilizer leaving about a quarter inch all the way around the design.  Soak the design until the water soluble stabilizer dissolves.  Let the frame dry completely.  Iron the frame flat.

Audition the sign on your quilt.  Measure the distance to the grass to determine how long a strip to make for the signpost.  I cut my signpost 6 1/2″ tall by 1 inch wide.  I folded the fabric 1/4″ lengthwise on both sides to create a clean edge.  I ironed it flat for perfect creases.

I ironed Patch Attach permanent adhesive to the sign and the post then I ironed them on to the quilt.


Additional Ideas:

  • Use this method to add labels to the back of your quilt.
  • Word Art in Stitches has a variety of shapes – not just frames.  Experiment with animal shapes, food or people!  

Design Bigger than Your Hoop? Split it!

Serious machine embroiderers never let hoop size hold them back. When they think big, they stitch big. But that doesn’t mean they have to have a big hoop. No, they just need the right software and some handy notions (okay, the notions are optional but really helpful!) to get the job done.  Here’s how to do it.

Select a large design. My sample is the letter M from http://www.EmbroideryArts.com, Arabesque 9 XL.  I enlarged the design to a height of 262 mm – a whopping 10.31” in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro. Now that it’s so big, it won’t fit in my largest hoop.  But Perfect Embroidery Pro has a great splitting feature. Open the design in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Split Design icon. 

The Split Design screen appears. Click on the arrow in the Hoop field and select your largest hoop.  I entered 200 x 300. 

The preview screen shows two hoopings: 1:1 and 2:1. 

Click in either hooping to move the split. Toggle between the first and second hooping to view each individually.  Look for a natural break in the stitches. for instance, I would avoid splitting the column of satin stitches.  It’s better to have one leg of satin stitches in one hooping, and the second leg in the second hooping. Once you’re satisfied with the split, click Save and the software will save the design into two separate files. Print a template of each design and send the designs to your machine.

Place the templates on the left side of fabric (allowing room for the second hooping).  Slide a target sticker under template Hoop 1:1 and align the target sticker’s and template’s crosshairs.  Remove the template. Hoop the fabric with tear-away stabilizer, centering the target sticker.

Stitch the first design: Hoop 1:1. The last color is a vertical basting line (placement line) which will align with the second hooping. Stitch the line in a contrasting color to make alignment easy. 

Remove from the hoop.  Hoop another piece of tear-away stabilizer. Stitch color 1, the placement line, of Hoop 2:1 on the hooped stabilizer. Remove the hoop from the machine. 

Place the hoop under PAL, Perfect Alignment Laser, aligning the stitched placement line with PAL2’s beam.  

Spray the wrong side of the embroidered fabric with temporary adhesive.  Slide the embroidered fabric under the beam aligning the stitched placement line with PAL2. Finger press the fabric to the stabilizer. 

Attach the hoop to the machine and restitch color 1 to verify the design is aligned. 

Stitch the remainder of design Hoop 2:1. Wasn’t that easy?  I often approach splitting designs with a bit of intimidation but I’ve learned if I take my time and pay attention to the details (like aligning the fabric with the laser crosshair), the results come out as planned.Splitting designs is very rewarding – people will think you’re an embroidery rock star!

Mega Monograms

Mega Monograms by Eileen Roche

On the cover of the January/February 2017 issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine, mega monograms were shown.  The monograms are huge – 8″ tall – and are complex fill letters.  They were created in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro are the magazine included the step-by-step directions for some of the pillows. Recently, I had a reader ask how to transform the letter B into complex fill.

Here’s how. First, select the Text tool and type in the letter.  Enlarge the letter to the size you want, my sample is 8″ tall.  Select the Run tool and trace the outside of the letter B.Trace around each opening.

Select all three lines and click on Combine.

Select the letter, right mouse click, and select Convert to Complex Fill from the drop down menu.Once the letter is converted, you can add a border. Select all three elements and click on the Combine tool. Now the letter is filled.

Select the letter, right mouse click and Add a Border.You can change the border to Steil for a crisp outline on the letter.  If you’re wondering why we didn’t add an outline, here’s why:

Advanced Tutorial for Perfect Embroidery Pro

My good friend, Katherine Artines, recently posted a new video tutorial on the Inspired by Dime YouTube channel.  Katherine’s topic, Push/Pull: Distortion and Compensation, is an advanced discussion of this often misunderstood embroidery feature. If you’ve wondered why what you see on screen does not match your stitched sample, then you’ll really enjoy Katherine’s breakdown of Push/Pull.

She starts with a clear explanation of exactly what push/pull is.

She then goes on to explain the difference between stitch direction and sewing direction and how they affect the end result.  The stitch direction is the angle of stitches while sewing direction is where the needle starts, the direction it travels in and where it finishes.

We learn how size actually does matter on how a design will stitch. Of course, she doesn’t just point out the problems, she gives you solutions.  Each issue is clearly illustrated so you can follow along.

And she critiques stitched designs to show you the problem and gives you the solution.

She brings this same methodical approach to lettering.  Many of us are perplexed about the baseline of text.  Listen to her explanation and you know why the screen shows one thing and the stitch out another.

Don’t you hate when you digitize a complex fill area and spot a row of missing stitches? Ugh!  Katherine explains why this happens (yep, push and pull) and how to fix it.

I encourage you to spend an hour (or break it up into shorter segments) watching Katherine’s video. Your digitizing skills will improve!  I hope you’re already a subscriber to our YouTube channel, if not, sign up today and you’ll never miss a new opportunity to learn more about embroidery.

Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons

I’m excited to announce (and give away a copy to one lucky reader) my new book: Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  This book has been the culmination of over 20 years of quilting with an embroidery machine. I’ve done everything from embroidered quilt tops to quilt as you as go to quilting king size quilts on an embroidery machine.  I’ve learned an awful lot on this journey and I’m happy to share it with you on Sewing with Nancy.  You can watch it online at http://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/ or check your local TV listings to watch on PBS.

This book teaches you several different methods for quilting with an embroidery machine: quilting and appliqueing in one step; custom quilting and allover quilting.  Quilting and appliqueing in one step is a patented process that I designed in 2008.  Since then, I’ve created 16 Stipple Collections, and in this book you’ll find two projects that incorporate that revolutionary technique.

Custom quilting is no doubt the type of quilting that makes your jaw drop at quilt show competitions.  The quilting is designed to specifically enhance and fill a shape (block), applique or area. To be honest, custom quilting is probably best achieved through expert free motion quilting. When custom quilting is done on an embroidery machine, you do not have the ‘freedom’ to move the needle as you do in free motion quilting so the results are not as ‘customized.’  However, custom quilting is how many of us want to finish our tops. I show you how to do it in the Patriotic Pillow and Diamond table runner.

Allover quilting is often the result you get when you ‘quilt by check’. Quilt by check mean you pay someone else to quilt your quilt. When you send your quilt to a longarmer, they select an allover pattern that complements your quilt top unless you have specifically requested (and agreed to pay for) custom quilting.  There are two types of allover quilting: nesting and linking. You’ll learn the difference between the methods with two projects.

You’ll discover three different ways to handle the quilt during the stitching process: furniture you have on hand, the shortE and the Weightless Quilter.  My goal for this book is to help you expand your embroidery skills into the world of quilting and get more out of your machine.  I hope you find quilting with an embroidery machine as rewarding as I do. 

Want to win a copy of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons?  Just leave a comment and tell me if have any quilt tops that need to be quilted.  Do you have one, two, three or more?  One lucky winner will be selected to win the book and the accompanying collection of 20 embroidery designs.

 

Want to order your copy now?  This week you’ll find free shipping on all autographed copies of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  Click here to order.

Embroidering on Velvet

A few weeks ago, many of you responded to my request for future blog topics. I’ve found your suggestions helpful and sometimes I’m at a loss for what to blog about.  I’ll be working through your requests as time permits. Kathy E. asked about embroidering on velvet and since velvet is a holiday favorite, I thought I’d tackle that first.

Kathy E. “A few years ago, I bought an expensive piece of plush black velvet. I had hopes (and still do) to embroider a large, fancy “E” on it, and then make it into a pillow. I’ve never taken on the project because I don’t know what stabilizer and needle to use. I’m thinking it would be best to use a topper too. If you could give me any tips, I’d be so thankful, then I could get this project going!”

Velvet shimmers when viewed from one angle, and becomes a deep, matte surface when tilted away from a light source. It’s an alluring textile and not one that we use very often.  Let’s discuss its challenges for an embroiderer.

  1. Velvet’s nap crushes when pressure is applied. A standard embroidery hoop will damage velvet’s delicate surface so don’t hoop it! Instead, hoop cut-away stabilizer and spray the cut-away with temporary adhesive. Finger press the velvet to the sticky surface centering the design area in the hoop.
  2. Embroidery design. Designs with complete filled areas work best on velvet. Running stitches and narrow satin columns will sink into the velvet’s pile.  Keep in mind velvet is a delicate fabric with a luxurious drape so avoid heavy dense designs.
  3. 75/11 sharp needle will do the job.
  4. It’s tempting to use a topper but you should proceed with caution here because removable is crucial. Options for toppers are no topper (most pile is very short), a lightweight water soluble film-type (think Sulky’s Solvy regular weight) or tulle.  You will not actually apply water to the velvet to remove the Solvy but you’ll tear it away since regular weight Solvy perforates at the stitch line very easily.  Tulle also tears easily and if you select a tulle that matches the velvet, any remaining bits will not be visible as they’ll blend in with the background.
  5. Once the design is complete, carefully remove the hoop from the machine and release the stabilizer from the hoop. Pink the edges of the stabilizer around the design – leaving at least ¼” of stabilizer.

Use these tips for your holiday stitching and you’ll be pleased with the results. Always remember to approach each embroidery project with common sense. Think about the care instructions for a fabric and use them as a guideline for selecting stabilizers (water, heat, etc). You can handle this!

VelvertBL

 

Cruise 2017

My stitching Sister and I are heading back to sea and hoping you’ll consider joining us for a relaxing – and educational – cruise on the Harmony of the Seas on May 7, 2017.  Last year, we sailed with 70 embroiderers on the beautiful Royal Caribbean Allure. We all had a blast – so much fun that we didn’t want to leave the ship as evidenced in this photo: cruise1bl

Many came with friends or spouses and left with a slew of new friends.  Some of our guests from last year have already signed up for the May 2017 cruise but there are still spots available.  It will be a terrific way to spend Mother’s Day weekend. Think about it: top of the line Baby Lock machines, sewing room open every day, delicious food, interesting ports of call, beautiful ship and nothing to worry about except what color of thread to use next!cruise2bl

Many of our guests were students we’ve met around the country over the past ten years.  Marie and I were delighted to see each of them again. Of course, we hope to meet many more this year and make new friends!cruise4bl

What can you expect from a Stitching Sisters cruise? Marie and I take care of the details – along with our skipper, Harold Havard of Flash Sew and Quilt in Naples, FL. Harold has at least a dozen stitching cruises under his belt you can be assured each one goes off without a hitch.   Marie and I will guide you through three days of designing, digitizing, stitching and quilting with an embroidery machine.  But we’re not heading to sea by ourselves, oh no, we’ll also be joined by two of DIME’s Inspiration Consultants. You’ll be in good hands for three days of embroidery fun and exploration.

Of course the Allure has lots of fun night time activities like shows, music, contests and more.cruise5bl

Or you can sneak back into the sewing studio and stitch some more.cruise6bl

This cruise will be our second on the Allure and fourth with the Royal Caribbean cruiseline. Click here to see why we think this ship is the best on the water. http://www.flashsewandquilt.com/dimecruise.html

Marie and I have already booked our rooms and we’re working on the class materials now.  Since we want all of the projects to be fresh and new for this special occasion, we are making sure all of the latest techniques, ideas and trends are included in the three days of embroidery fun. So details on the stitching portion of the cruise will be available at a later date. But it’s a good idea to grab your cabin now!  Please call Lenore Deck Travel at 352-270-8658 or email to cruiselady@tampabay.rr.com.  There is limited space in the embroidery studio so get on the list today. Hope you’ll join us on the Allure!

You can learn more about the cruise and select your cabin at the special rate by visiting http://www.flashsewandquilt.com/dimecruise.html

We hope you’ll join us for a relaxing and educational vacation!  Just pack a bag, wear comfortable shoes and show up. We’ll handle the rest!

What are Your Favorite Shortcuts?

As user-friendly as the Inspirations line of software is with all its intuitive icons, it’s still handy to use keyboard shortcuts for repetitive tasks.  I’m sure you’re familiar with Select All (CTrl+A), Copy (Ctrl+C) and Paste (Ctrl_V) but now you’ll find a few more shortcuts with the November 2016 update.  There are four new shortcuts in the Order task menu. shortcut1bl

How about when you want to move a design just a tiny bit?  Select a design (or portion of the design) and use the arrows keys on the keyboard to move the design/element in .10 of a millimeter or .01 of an inch. Now that’s fine tuning!

Want to access the redraw window quickly?  Just hit Ctrl+R and the redraw window appears.

Open a new window?  Hit Crtl+N and a new window appears.

Ctrl+S will automatically save your work.  If you want to save it as a different version, go to File, Save As.

Ctrl+Z will Undo the last task while Crtl+Y will Redo the last task.

How about quick alignment shortcuts?  Shift+left arrow aligns the elements at the left.  Shift+right arrow aligns at the right.  Shift+up arrow aligns at the top and Shift+down arrow aligns at the bottom. Shift+C aligns the horizontal and center axis.

But wait, there’s more!  Digitizing shortcuts abound in Inspirations software.  A simple key stroke of a number key on the keyboard selects a powerful tool.short2blshort3bl

I’ll bet I missed a couple.  Did I? Do you have a favorite that you use all the time?  Let us know – we’re always learning here on Software Saturday!

Multi-Needle Monday: Automatic Appliqué on the Brother Entrepreneur and Baby Lock Enterprise

As owners of the Baby Lock Enterprise and Brother Entrepreneur, we are so fortunate to have the latest and greatest technology at their finger tips. We have the scanner and live camera along with automatic basting file (shown in an earlier blog for embroidering t-shirts) and another helpful, quick technique the automatic appliqué feature. The automatic appliqué can create any shape, text or embroidery design into an appliqué without using embroidery software. There is an icon on the screen to convert each design into an appliqué.

I created a simple three-letter monogram inside a diamond shape design right at the embroidery screen; no embroidery software needed. The steps below will guide you how to create your own appliqué once a design, text or shape is shown on the screen.

Step 1. Select the shapes icon under Exclusives and choose the diamond shape.

diamond mono1diamond mono2

Resize the diamond shape to approximately 4″ wide or the size you wish to embroider and select Edit End. diamond mono3

Step 2. Click the blue shield icon; this will add the automatic appliqué around the diamond shape.

diamond mono4diamond mono5

Step 3.Use the select key and highlight the black diamond shape as shown in photo (the original shape) and delete it.

diamond mono6diamond mono7

Go to “Add”. Choose the monogram icon.

diamond mono8diamond mono9

Step 4. Select the letters for the monogram; left, middle and right letters to fit properly inside the shape.

diamond mono10diamond mono11diamond mono12

Resize the letters to fit inside the satin stitches.

Step 5. Hoop the fabric and stitch the placement color (1st color). Add the fabric on top of placement color. diamond mono13diamond mono14diamond mono15Remove hoop from machine and trim excess fabric from around diamond shape.

Step 6. Replace the hoop on the machine and stitch the satin stitch and monogram. diamond mono16

final mono diamond

Instant applique! Right at your fingertips!

Learn more helpful machine embroidery business information by taking my Craftsy class : How to Start an Embroidery Business by Marie Zinno.

Click the link to save $10 on this class.

https://www.craftsy.com/ext/MarieZinno_4963_D

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