Archive of ‘Embroidery Tips’ category

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:

Who has the Most Quilt Tops?

I really hit a nerve last week when I asked if you had any quilt tops that need to be quilted.  Most readers admitted having more than three tops ready to be quilted from over 200 (and counting) responses. Not that it was a competition, but wow, we all seem to have quilt tops that need to be finished!

Blog reader Eileen Gorzelic summed it up when she wrote, Wow! Seems like a lot of us are in the same boat. Honestly I am not sure how many I have to quilt. I really enjoy the piecing part and when I get to the quilting part I become paralyzed and anxious. For some reason I have a problem with making small pieces and end up with twins, queens, and kings and the cost of having someone quilt it has become so expensive that I end up dragging my feet and end up start a new project…….Thanks for giving us an avenue to completion!

On January 31, Nataly Poire shared, “I have 3 boxes of tops that need to be quilt because I don’t like the quilting part…have to try your method.”

I know exactly how Nataly feels. I’ll share a little of my quilting journey (it’s taken 20 years so I won’t bore you with all of the details). When I first started quilting, I didn’t know a thing about precise piecing skills so instead of focusing on learning how to be precise and consistent, I took another path. I just came up with my own ways, like wider seam allowances, raw edge applique, fabrics that hid mistakes and more.  Then in 2014, I invented the shortE, the embroidery short arm with a long reach. It’s a frame that holds a quilt above the machine bed so you can quilt with an embroidery machine.

At first, I used cheater panels and whole cloth quilts to learn the ‘machining’ part.  The ‘machining’ part is the actual quilting of the quilt.

After a while, I got good at the ‘machining’ part and I fell in love with the end result – quilts that I wanted to wrap myself (or a loved one) in.  They were not only soft and supple; they were also interesting to look at. The stitching was beautiful and the texture was what I had always longed for. They were finally like the samples in the quilt shops that you just want to pull off the wall and lie under. They were, well, real quilts! 

The end result made me want to create beautiful tops so I finally paid attention to the piecing.  Believe me, I’m years away from entering a top notch quilt show but I’ve found I enjoy the quilt top making process so much more because I know the ‘machining’ part is doable  – the machining is not going to ‘ruin’ all of my piecing efforts. And isn’t that what we’re all afraid of? Ruining our beautiful quilt tops with the quilting (machining) process?  Well, fear no more – help is here! 

Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons breaks all of the ‘machining’ down into manageable steps.  I feel like I’ve made (and overcome!) every challenge that you could encounter in quilting with an embroidery machine.  I’ve learned an awful lot on this journey and I’m happy to share it with you in Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  Remember, you can watch it on Sewing with Nancy at http://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/ or check your local TV listings to watch on PBS.

Last week’s lucky winner is Joanna Cook!

Want to be winner this week? Just tell me the size of your largest hoop (and machine model) and you could win a pack of Print & Stick Target Template paper – that’s a $19.99 value

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

 

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

Software Saturday – The Backdrop Tool in My Quilt Embellisher

One of the helpful features of Inspiration’s My Quilt Embellisher is the backdrop tool. The backdrop tool allows you to bring an image on to the screen and audition embroidery in actual time. It’s a surefire way to design beautiful blocks.
First, take a photograph or scan an image of your quilt into your computer. Take note of where you stored the photo on your hard drive.
Open a new file in My Quilt Embellisher. Go to File, Load Backdrop. Locate the image of your quilt block and click OK.MQE_b1
The image appears behind the grid on your screen. Chances are the image is not perfectly square on the screen. That’s ok; it’s an easy fix in My Quilt Embellisher. Hover the cursor over the backdrop tool on the left toolbar.MQE_b2
Click on the small arrow under the icon to access the Backdrop tools. Select Define horizon. MQE_b3
Place the cursor on one corner of the block and with the left mouse button depressed, drag the cursor across the block to the opposite corner. Release the mouse. The image will straighten on the screen.MQE_b4
In the properties box, notice the size of the image – it’s quite large.MQE_b5
That measurement is the size of the image, not the block. So let’s tell the software exactly what size our block should be.
Select Define Scale from the Backdrop tool menu.MQE_b6
Place the cursor on one corner of the block and with the left mouse button depressed, drag the cursor across the block to the opposite corner. Release the mouse. A window appears. Type in the correct measurement. My actual block measures 7” so I type in 7”.MQE_b9
The image shrinks and in the properties box, the size of the image changes too.MQE_b10
The properties box measurement is larger than 7” because it’s illustrating the size of the image – all the white/gray space that’s actually part of the image.
Now that you are viewing the block in actual size, it’s time to audition embroidery designs in the patches. This block was created for a sweet couple, Liz and Mike Tucker. The monogram font is August, the heart is Block Frill Heart (found in Embellishments) and the bird is #57488 in My Quilt Embellisher Free Designs.MQE_b12

Stitch Insurance

Today’s guest blogger is Inspirations’ education consultant Melisa Nisius.

I enjoy virtually creating quilt blocks using my fabrics, threads, embroidery designs and quilting stitches before making that first cut into my fabrics. Call it stitch insurance. My favorite method is to use Inspirations’ My Quilt Embellisher (MQE) for this task.

 

My first step is to load fabric images into each segment of the block and then lock the images in place so that I can debut various stitches.

 

Follow these easy steps for your own insurance. Open the Block Library and choose a block. In this example we used the Diamond from the Connector Blocks folder.Block Photo 1BL

First, we need to virtually fill the block with fabrics.  Using the Select Tool, select a patch in the block to fill with fabric. Click on the second icon in the Tool Bar, the Fabric tool. Once the dialog box opens, choose your fabric. Select Ok. (It’s easy to update your fabric swatches, just follow the steps in this blog post: http://dzgns.com/blog/?s=add+fabric )

 Block Photo 2BL

Your highlighted pieces should now reflect the chosen fabric.

Block Photo 3BL

Repeat this process until your block is completely filled with fabric. Notice that in the Sequence Viewer each piece is still artwork. Left click on All Items to select the entire block then in the top Tool Bar, select Copy, Paste.

Block Photo 4BL

In the Sequence Viewer, left click on the small padlock icon next to the top two items.

Block Photo 5BL

Now we can add stitches and embroidery designs to our quilt block and still see the fabrics. Using the Selection Tool, either left click directly on a piece of your block or select an unlocked patch in the Sequence Viewer to add stitches. Here we selected a Stipple Stitch.

Block Therapy 6BL

Continue adding stitches or embroidery designs until you’re pleased with the results.

Block Therapy 7BL

You can learn more about My Quilt Embellisher here. Enjoy!

Stabilizer Experiment

2016-07-30_16-41-18Normally, I use fuse polymesh stabilizer to the wrong side of the design area to stabilize knit fabrics. But recently, I was working on a couple of knit skirts. The brown one, shown above, is an a-line skirt and easily slips over the hip. I used polymesh cut-away stabilizer on it with satisfactory results. The second skirt, a pretty avocado green is more fitted. I really needed to keep the stretch of the skirt so it could slip over the hip. I opted to use Piece & Stitch  wash-away tear-away stabilizer instead of my usual cut-away.2016-07-30_17-06-54

As you can see, the stitches are lovely, they sit nicely on the fabric without a ripple.

2016-07-30_16-57-18

This Piece & Stitch wash-away tear-away stabilizer breaks down in water leaving soft fibers in the embroidered stitches and practically vanishing from other areas. And I was thrilled with the results. The stitches are gorgeous and after laundering, the skirt has not lost any stretch.  As a bonus it’s so comfortable to wear because the remaining stabilizer is very soft.

Do not confuse Piece & Stitch wash-away tear-away stabilizer with a water-soluble stabilizer. Water soluble stabilizer means it dissolves and disappears in water. Wash-away tear-away means it breaks down in water, like tissue paper, leaving no gummy residue.  2016-07-30_16-57-43

It’s good for many uses but not a substitute for water soluble, so don’t try to make lace with it!  Normally, I use it for piecing quilt blocks in the hoop but now it’s my go-to stabilizer for stable knits.

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