Eileen and Deborah had a wonderful time getting down to the “nitty gritty” of stabilizers in their Facebook Live today. If you missed it, watch the rebroadcast below! We are currently looking for suggestions on what to call our Facebook Lives so be sure to let us know in the comments your ideas!
Patches on the moon? Not only did they go to the moon on Apollo 11 but they were made in Dallas, Texas! Not only made in Dallas, Texas but made in the factory owned by the father (Marvin Gardner) of my business partner (of 21 years) Gary Gardner. We have the patches to prove it along with a personally signed letter from President Richard Nixon. How cool is that?
Don’t believe me? Click on the video below to hear the whole story, see the history of making patches and learn just how many men have walked on the moon.
Since we showcase a special product in every Facebook Live, our brand new Hoop Mat is the week’s star. Click here to learn more about the mats. They’re on sale Now!
If you were alive in 1969, leave a comment telling us about your experience watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. Hard to believe it was 50 years ago!
Machine embroidery is supposed to be beautiful. And the process of making beautiful embroidery should be fun and enjoyable. But all of that can be for naught when the experience is dampened by poor results, painful tasks and laborious placement. Enough already! Let’s get the fun back into embroidery.
I have five pet peeves that annoy the daylights out of me when I’m embroidering. And since I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, I’ve come up with solutions. My pet peeves are hoop burn, hand strain, fabric distortion, laborious placement and tedious rehooping. What’s my solution? I ditched the standard hoop about 10 years ago and haven’t looked back.* Let me elaborate.
When knits, textured and napped fabrics are squeezed between two standard embroidery rings, the hoop often leaves a noticeable impression around the embroidery. Those lofty and delicate fibers are now flattened – and possibly permanently flattened. Yikes! The flat frames of Snap Hoop Monster leave no hoop burn – they firmly grip the fabrics and hold them in place without permanently damaging the fibers.
Twenty years of embroidery can wreak havoc on your hands, fingers and wrists. Pushing an inner ring into an outer ring and tightening a screw 5, 10, 20 or maybe 30 times a day is grueling punishment. No more. I just snap that magnetic top frame over the bottom and I’m done!
Fabric distortion is a thing of the past because I pull and tug on the hooped fabric while it’s hooped in Snap Hoop Monster. It’s the inner and outer rings that squeeze and distort fabric – doesn’t happen when fabric is sandwiched between two flat objects – a magnetic top and metal bottom.
I’ve invented all kinds of placement tools but sometimes I want to move the fabric just a smidgen under the needle. With Snap Hoop Monster, I lift the top frame, slide the fabric, drop the frame back in place and press start! No hooping and unhooping to move the fabric a millimeter or two. I like the freedom Snap Hoop Monster gives me right at the machine.
Speaking of the machine, when I use Snap Hoop Monster, I can remove the top frame and advance the fabric to the next hooping without taking the bottom frame off the machine! Oh my, what a time saver! If you’re not sure why I love that benefit so much, take a look at this video. It’s long – about 12 minutes – but you’ll see how I quilt entire quilt (62” x 80”) in one day! Oh baby – I love those Monster hoops!
If you’ve been following along, this month is Hoopapalooza at DIME and in honor of that celebration, The Hoop It Up book is on sale. My Stitching Sister Marie Zinno and I co-wrote this handy hooping tutorial. You’ll find 99 hooping tips in there! You can check it out here: https://www.shop.dzgns.com/collections/specials/products/hoop-it-up
*’Ditched the standard hoop over 10 years’ is an exaggeration. I still use a standard hoop on occasion as you’ll see in the Hoop It Up book!
Join me on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 1:00 PM CST on Facebook Live. You’ll learn my five top tips for continuous borders. It doesn’t matter how big your hoop is, the technique is the same for 4″ x 4″, 5″ x 7″, 8″ x 12″ and larger!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
And an out of the box transformation by Cathy Sundermann of Stitch Fork Designs. That’s an impressive front door!
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.
Milinda Stephenson opted to wrap her panel around a pillow. This was a fast and easy finish and her dog, Iris, loved it!
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.
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.
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’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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Go to Symbol, scroll down to the Bee and 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!
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.
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!