Finishing a quilt is quite rewarding. After all, you decided on the pattern, hand-picked the fabrics, cut all the pieces, sewed every seam and then, if you’re like me, hesitated on the next step: how to quilt it. What designs? What thread? Where do I start? How long will it take?
At 1:00 CST PM on April 3 on Facebook Live, I’ll point out the 5 biggest mistakes quilters make and how to avoid them. If you have a quilt you want to finish (and who doesn’t have quilt tops begging to be finished?), then join me for 5 Biggest Mistakes Quilters Make. Of course, by quilter, I mean embroiderers who quilt with their embroidery machines!
How do I know what the mistakes are? Well, I’ve written four books on quilting with your embroidery machine and I can tell you I have made all 5 of those mistakes – and many more! I’ve learned so much along the way that it would be selfish of me to keep that knowledge to myself. So join me and learn how to avoid the most common mistakes quilters make when quilting with their embroidery machine. And then you can finish your quilts 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.
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!
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.
Join dime, Baby Lock, and the following talented individuals as we celebrate National Embroidery Month in February with a Stitch Along Blog Tour! There will be prizes given away on each participant’s blog as well as beautiful inspiration on how to use my newest collection, The Farmhouse Collection – Sentiments.
Take a look at the schedule and be sure to mark your calendars!
Friday, February 1, 2019 Eileen Roche
You’re reading my blog so you probably are already familiar with me. Just in case you’re new here, I’ll fill you in on why I’m here. I’ve been immersed in machine embroidery for over 20 years. I love overcoming challenges by inventing new techniques and products to make machine embroidery more enjoyable for everyone. Most of all, I want you to be proud of what you create on your machine and if I can help you do that, well, that makes my day!
Monday, February 4, 2019 Team Nancy Zieman Productions
In 2007, Nancy Zieman and Deanna Springer started Nancy
Zieman Productions, LLC. (NZP). Deanna worked along side Nancy as marketing
coordinator, business manager, co-director of video production, and in product
development and project design. Over 10 exciting years, NZP launched a new BLOG,
social media channels, 40+ sewing and quilting products including tools,
patterns and books. The NZP Team continued to produce 10 more seasons of Sewing With Nancy, with Wisconsin Public
Television, until Nancy’s passing in November 2017.
Today, Deanna and the NZP Team are honored to carry on
Nancy’s legacy and love of sewing through sharing Nancy’s time-saving sewing
techniques via the BLOG, by creating patterns and developing new products,
gathering the stitching community at Quilt Expo, and continuing reruns of Sewing With Nancy on Public Television
for many years to come.
Deanna is VP of Marketing at Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC,
where she continues to enjoy her role as business manager, blog editor, manager
of product development and project design, and co-events manager of Quilt Expo.
On any given day, you’ll find Deanna developing sewing notions for Clover
Needlecraft, Inc., fashion garment patterns for The McCall Pattern Company,
fabric collections for Penny Rose Fabrics—a division of Riley Blake Designs, creating
quilt patterns for QuiltWoman, managing Quilt Expo quilt contests, challenges,
exhibits, lectures, workshops and stage presentations, and sewing projects for
the BLOG on Baby Lock sewing machines.
Deanna has a certificate in Applied Marketing from the
University of Wisconsin School of Business. Deanna enjoys all things nature—and
all four seasons—with her husband, Dennis, in their beautiful home state of
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 Carla Reale Baby Lock Palette Community
After a traumatic wrap skirt experience at the hands of a vindictive Home Economics teacher in junior high school, Carla hung up her sewing shears, choosing to pursue a graduate degree in Rehabilitation Counseling which she used to pursue a career working with children with disabilities and their families. She left that job to become a stay-at-home mom, but soon realized she needed a hobby. Her fascination with embroidery machines coupled with her inability to leave anything left unexplained, lead to her teaching digitizing software both by writing digital workbooks and by teaching classes at the local Baby Lock retailer’s store. Her innate selling skills, and overt bossiness combined with the counseling skills she acquired in college (no it did NOT go to waste, Dad) enabled her to manage a very successful store for the next thirteen years. During that time, she became a certified machine technician and developed a series of videos to teach her customers how to use their machines. As a National Training Specialist for Baby Lock, Carla enjoys training retailers how to both sell and use Baby Lock machines and software, and is involved with the SewlutionExpert Certification programs.
Friday, February 8, 2019 Karen Parker Thread Head and Company
Threadhead & Co. was born when 2 fiber loving friends, Karen and Beth, joined forces to provide education in various areas of fiber arts. Threadhead & Co offers an array of patterns in quilting, embroidery, accessories, and home decor to name just a few. Now they would like to share them with you!
Monday, February 11, 2019 Cathy Sundermann Stitchfork Designs
I am a rule follower.
Don’t run with scissors; never eat more than you can lift;
if your sleeve rips, put on a sweater; and so on.
At Stitchfork, I am a rule follower who loves to break the rules when designing monograms. It’s just embroidery, have fun with it!
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 Michelle Umlauf Sewing Machine Artistry
Michelle Umlauf has made a career for herself in the sewing industry working as an independent educator. Eleven years ago she knew she wanted to share her passion with others by teaching. She began taking teacher certification courses with the Martha Pullen Company and Sulky of America. Today she is a Certified Ambassador of Education for Baby Lock, a National Educator representing Sulky of America, a Certified Educator for the Decorating Diva and a Demonstrator for Clover Needlecraft, Inc. She helped found and hosted the Sewing Online with Sulky webinar. Michelle enjoys traveling across the country working and teaching at expos, sewing shops, Baby Lock retailers and at local quilt guilds. When she is home, she enjoys spending time with her family at their home in the mountains of Maryland. Her German Shepherds and rescue kitty enjoy taking mom on nice long walks in the woods!
Friday, February 15, 2019 Milinda Stephenson Milinda Sews
Hi, I’m Milinda Stephenson, and I’m an Education Ambassador for Baby Lock. I am a third generation sewing fanatic, and I owe this to my wonderful mother and grandmother. Sewing has been a passion of mine for years. Through this hobby, I have learned many tips and tricks for an abundance of designs, and now I would like to share all of those tips with YOU!
My blog offers sewing patterns every week (most of my
projects include embroidery and serging), sewing advice/tips, and information
on new Baby Lock sewing/embroidery/serging machines. I created this blog to
share my knowledge of sewing with anyone who is eager to learn a new trait. My
goal is to inspire others, just like sewing inspired me!
Let’s get sewing.
Monday, February 18, 2019 Marie Zinno Marie Zinno Blog
She has published 40 Multi-needle machine blogs, which reached over 40,000 readers each week on the DIME website. Her column “Multi-needle Know How” is a popular article in each issue in Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. Marie has appeared on numerous PBS sewing TV shows, such as Sewing with Nancy and It’s Sew Easy. She has authored and co-authored 4 books on machine embroidery. Marie has a class on Craftsy/BluePrint titled, How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business.
During Marie’s 6 years as a Stitching Sister with Eileen Roche, she has taught thousands of embroiderers across the nation. And oh yes, Eileen and Marie really are sisters – the middle sisters of 6 daughters.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 Colleen Bell The Embroiderist
Embroidery has been around since the beginning of civilization. While Colleen Bell cannot claim to have been around that long, she has had a long history of embroidering – first as a young teen in the 60’s with hip bell bottoms embellished with hand embroidery to the innovation of the embroidery machine which has become her passion. Join her adventures at http://www.The-Embroiderist.com
Friday, February 22, 2019 Sara Gallegos Baby Lock / Sew Positively Sara
Hi, I’m Sara Gallegos of Sewpositivelysara.com and Decorative Stitch, in Shelby Twp, MI! Decorative Stitch
is an oasis for sewers and quilters of all ages, styles, and proficiencies!
Located in Shelby Township, MI, our store features a bright, colorful interior
bursting with creative inspiration and over 4000 bolts of designer fabrics. In
addition to our super friendly certified staff members, you will also find a
wide variety of sewing notions and accessories, along with Baby Lock sewing
machines and Koala sewing furniture. Feeling creative? It is time to sew…with
Monday, February 25, 2019 Debbie Henry Secrets of Embroidery
Wednesday, February 27, 2019 Debbie Cleek Designer’s Gallery Get Together by Baby Lock
Thursday, February 28, 2019 Eileen Roche
It’s going to be fun month – you’ll learn lots of machine embroidery tips and techniques from our talented contributors. And you’ll have a chance to win a Farmhouse Sentiment kit on each day of the tour. I’ll kick it off on Feb. 1 in a Facebook Live event at 1:00 PM CST. This will be my first Facebook Live event and I would love to have you join me. Although I’ve done tons of television, LIVE is well, LIVE – who knows what will happen. I think I’ll need all the support I can get. Hope to you see there!
I have been spending the last few weeks ramping up for a great 2019 and it has totally consumed my time. In February, we are celebrating National Embroidery Month by partnering with Baby Lock and fellow embroiderers to bring you a blog tour based on quilting with your embroidery machine. If you’re a frequent visitor here, then you know I love to quilt with my embroidery machine. So I’m really pumped to see what the other bloggers will create! You’ll learn more about that on February 1st.
My friends over at Nancy Zieman Productions are hosting a giveaway on my Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons book during the month of January.
Stop by Nancy’s blog and leave a comment to be entered into the drawing. One of my favorite tips in that book is using pool noodles to baste a quilt. Yesterday, I basted a whole cloth quilt in under an hour with the pool noodle technique. So much fun!
In 2019, you’ll find a new block of the month quilt and you will be able to download all of the embroidery designs for piecing and quilting in the hoop! Look for the first block in the coming weeks here on the blog.
I’ll be back to my regular posting schedule this weekend. I hope you had a great holiday and I wish you good health and happiness in 2019.
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!
Recently, I’ve been stitching a ton of free-standing embroidery designs on water soluble stabilizer (WSS). The results are stunning but I’m going through a ton of stabilizer! The designs are best stitched on two layers of WSS so of I cut two lengths to fill the hoop, I find I’m wasting about 12″ of stabilizer per hooping. Ugh! Don’t you hate wasting stabilizer?
Now, I keep the stabilizer on the roll and let it sit behind (or under) the machine. I roll out one length to cover the hoop, fold the stabilizer over to create the second layer, then hoop the two layers with the roll extending behind the top/back of the hoop.
On a traditional embroidery machine, i just place the roll over to the side of the machine leaving enough slack to avoid any drag.
On a tubular machine, I pull the excess off to one side and place the roll under the hoop. Again, the key is to unroll enough stabilizer to avoid any drag on the hoop.
After the embroidery is complete, just remove the project from the hoop, slice the stabilizer close to the embroidery and repeat the process.
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.
Spotted on garments, chalkboards, wood signs and even glassware, open, airy fonts are the rage. It’s easy to get the same look if you have Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Follow along and you’ll be stitching this look in no time.
Open a new screen in Perfect Embroidery Pro (PEP). Go to File, Import TT (True Type Fonts).
Select a script font from any true type font installed on your computer. Write the message in the text field and place 500 in the size field. Click OK.
The text appears on the screen. To produce the best stitch file, meld the connecting elements. Select the o and v, right click, Shaping and Meld.
See how the o and v are one continuous line and do not overlap like the v and the e?
That’s the looks you’re going for. At this time, the ov is one unit and the e is a separate element.
Select the ov and e, right click, Shaping and Meld.
Select all, right click, Convert to Complex Fill.
With Love selected, change the Fill Type in the Properties Box to Contour. Click Apply. Change the density to 1.0 and the stitch length to 2.6. And there’s your sketchy font!
I just learned this trick from one of our education consultants, Tina Bartelmay. Tina is an embroidery whiz – she uses PEP everyday – evident in her awesome samples! Catch her at upcoming DIME event at a dealer near you. Click here to learn more about Tina.