Archive of ‘Home Decor’ category

Become a Social Butterfly! Part 2

Last week I explored a special offer in an ad featured in the current issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery.  If you missed the blog, click here.

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When you spend $49 or more at the Embroidery Online website, enter coupon code:  DIME2016FREE and you’ll receive the Luminous Freestanding Butterflies collection for free.  (Offer ends 4/30/2016).

As you can see, there are all sorts of special offers and promos featured in every issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery.  If you don’t subscribe to the magazine, I encourage you to do so.  Special offers, free designs and inspiration can be found from page to page.  Flutter on to our subscription page to subscribe or give us a call at 888-739-0555.


This week I decided to explore the process of incorporating natural elements into my embroidery projects.  For the few that have seen my home (and for the rest who haven’t!) —it’s a mix of various collections including rocks and really neat branches that I’ve picked up during my adventures.  I bet you’re wondering rocks?  Branches?  What in the world does a person do with these elements?  I wondered the same until I found just the right use.  Take a look!

While visiting friends in Kerrville, I wandered their beautiful property and found the most delightful rock.  I got permission to take the rock and little did we know it would end up being a cute pedestal for a butterfly to rest upon.  I had it sitting on my desk all week as a paperweight – but it will return to its home in Kerrville to my friends as a special gift.

The letters are chip board—you can find similar ones in the scrapbook aisle of your favorite retailer.

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Next, I decided to cover a branch with butterflies and use it as wall décor.  I love the mix of thread and natural elements.

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Excited to find use for my other branches, I combined two small branches with carpenter’s glue.  Then I created ribbon roses and placed them in one corner with a butterfly resting upon them.  More chip board was used to spell the word “create” but I could have easily spelled my last name or other message.  The Butterfly Fairy was a last minute addition to the scene.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a close-up of the Butterfly Fairy.  One late night of butterfly stitching, my embroidery machine got hungry and started eating my fabric.  The wings that were in the process of being stitched were incomplete but too pretty to throw away.  I trimmed them and decided to use them to make fairy wings.

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Since the underside of the embroidery would be visible, I covered the wings with organza.  Then I made a doll using inspiration from Wee Felt Folk by Salley Mavor.  The dress is made from the center of a daffodil.  I loved the results and quickly posted the photo for my friends to see.  But there was just one problem which I presented to them:  “This Butterfly Fairy needs a name!”

I got a reply from a friend I recently reconnected with online.  The name she presented and I fell in love with:  Daphne!  Look at her, she looks like a Daphne!

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And that’s the story of how Daphne the Butterfly Fairy came together.  I think she represents the beauty of using the resources you have—though imperfect, to make something special, unique and meaningful.  Imagine if I had tossed the half stitched wings in the trash bin!  And I love involving others in my embroidery projects – even though some live far away they can be part of the process online.  It’s a constructive and positive use of social media that I encourage you to embrace if you haven’t already.  It is quite fun to be a social butterfly!

 

 

 

 

Opportunity Knocks!

My friend Tore works in a corporate environment—picture a quiet, organized, office setting.  The exact opposite of my space where there’s an explosion of stitched samples, fabrics, trim, buttons… and somewhere there’s a desk.

He recently told me he volunteered to supply the office decorations for the common area at his workplace.  I immediately smelled an opportunity to introduce embroidery into a new environment.  I quietly agreed to help him buy some standard St. Patrick’s Day decorations but we both knew the odds were good I’d surprise him and his office with some of my embroidered handiwork!

But where to start?
I started on social media.  

I noticed our friends at Sulky shared a St Patrick’s Day TBT blog post featuring a free downloadable shamrock design.  Perfect!  Want the design?  Visit here!

Next I used the Scalloped Letter Squares from Joann Connolly’s book, Sweet Stitches.  You might recognize the design… or you might not!  Here’s the original design below.

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I combined the two designs in embroidery software.  You can do this in any embroidery editing software you own.  Keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Test, test, test. I feel like I’ve said this before!
  2. Just like in arithmetic, you need to remember order of operations. You are combining two different applique designs.  The Scalloped Letter Squares Design has a piece of fabric that covers the back to create a clean finish.  But you also need to stitch the Shamrock design before you stitch the back.  You will need to rearrange the sequence of stitches so the two designs stitch in the proper order.  You’ll have to test and experiment—but that’s part of the learning process.

Here’s what happened during my “experimental” process.  You’re looking at the back of the project that should not have the shamrock outline exposed.  Oops.  But flip it over to the front and no one will know the difference!

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Here’s a look at the final outcome.  For added fun, I added a shamrock ribbon as a hook and sewed a button to each piece.   Then I glued some buttons onto some pushpins to make it easy to hang the shamrocks on their bulletin board.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I sure am lucky to have the opportunity to spread the love of machine embroidery everywhere!  You can do the same!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Takeaways from this blog:
1.  It’s ok to mix, match and have fun.  Look for ways to repurpose designs.  Combine, remove stitch elements—change the color sequences to fit your new invention.  This is what makes the creative process fun.

2.  Opportunity often knocks quietly and sometimes it might require some effort.  But the results are worth it.  You can create and design your happiness and growth as a person and in that process you might brighten someone else’s day.


Your assignment for this week:
Spread happiness.  Take the time to thank a person.  Be specific with your reason for thanking them.  Spend some time listening to someone that needs to talk.  Listen more and speak less!  Smile at the barista the next time you are at the coffee shop.  Instead of “liking” a post on Facebook, Instagram, etc, engage with the person by commenting a positive thought.  Hug your husband, your grandchild or your best friend.

The winner of last week’s blog post answered the following question:
What type of projects would you like to see more of?  Quilts, crafts, adult clothing, children’s clothing or home decor?  One lucky winner will receive a 1 year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The winner is:
Stella:  “I would love home decor or useful items to use at home. There have already been a lot of towels and pillows, so new ideas would be fun to learn.”

Thank you, everyone for taking the time to comment.  The information you shared is very helpful as we continue to come up with fresh content you’ll enjoy!

Diary of a Novice Embroiderer: A Harrowing Tale

Preface:  My friend Gus asked me to embroider a pillowcase as a birthday gift for his wife, Sophia.  I agreed and expected him to purchase a pillowcase.  Instead, he purchased fabric, sewed the pillowcase and presented it to me to embroider.  It was flawless—and I was so touched that a husband would do that for his wife.  Not only that—he had a special sentiment he wanted embroidered for his dear wife.

For reasons that defy logic, I chose the day before Sophia’s birthday party to start stitching the gift.  The timeline below showcases my thought process while completing the project.  I share my tale in hope that you can relate and find solace in knowing the creative process is indeed a process—full of ups and downs but this is how we grow and gain experience.


6:00 pm.  I guess I should start stitching the pillowcase.  I am relieved Eileen improved the layout of my design.  My original versions weren’t as artistic as I wanted.  My biggest concern is hooping the pillowcase.  It’s probably wise for me to stitch a test sample.   I am glad Gus bought tons of extra fabric—hopefully I won’t need it to make a new pillowcase.

6:30 pm.  Everyone at the office left for the weekend.  Eileen gave me advice on hooping and assured me I could call if I needed help.  Now it’s just me, the pillowcase and dozens of tools.  I felt like Sheldon from the Big Bang theory.  This pillowcase HAS to be perfect.  I better unhoop it and try again.

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This is an important engineering feat.  Wait… no, it’s just a pillowcase.  But it really does need to be precision placed.  Yes, I should unhoop and try using a different method…IMG_8042BL

I decided to start over using a different hooping method…Eileen's Machine Embroidery BlogEileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

7:38 pm.  I sent a frustrated text to my friend:  “the opposite of fun is right now!  I will never ever agree to stitch something special for someone else.  It’s so difficult!  No, it’s impossible!  However… I did learn how to use the camera function on THE Dream Machine… so that’s a positive.”

7:45 pm.  I guess it’s time to hit the Start button to take my first stitch.  I wondered if I would look back at that moment with regret.  I looked at the design on-screen—it indicated it will take 31 minutes to stitch.  After that time, I will know if the design is crooked or not.  But by that time it’s too late.  This is highly stressful.

7:51 pm.  Wow!  This is working!  It’s absolutely working!  The rich purple thread I chose is perfect!

7:53 pm.  I kept a watchful eye on the machine as it stitched.  Because the pillowcase is cylindrical (and a tight fit) in the hoop, I had to make sure the excess fabric didn’t get caught during stitching.  I should have listened to Eileen and used one of our Hoop Guards.  That would have helped.

There was a brief moment I took my eyes and hands away from the excess fabric.  Sure enough, the fabric got eaten by the machine. I remained calm.  This is why I’m at the machine, watching and waiting.  I can fix this.

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I carefully clipped away the few stitches that were eating the fabric.  Then I used the machine’s stitch advance/reverse feature to back up and redo the stitches.

8:00 pm.  Look at me!  I’ve got skills.

8:15 pm.  I sent a photo to my friend showing the progress.  My friend’s reply, “Because stitching text wasn’t challenging enough, you had to add the butterfly!  You really challenged yourself!”

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8:34 pm.  My ears perked up to the familiar, comforting chime of the embroidery machine, indicating the design is finished stitching.  The friendly smiley face appeared on the machine, as if sharing in my joy of accomplishment.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I examined the pillowcase, still hooped in the machine and proclaimed, “look at me, I stitched my first pillowcase!”

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

About the design:
Butterfly from Kreations by Kara.  http://www.kreationsbykara.com  Search:  BB Shadowed
Lettering from Perfect Embroidery Pro software.  The path tool was used to create a unique curved effect.

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

We are going to turn the table and ask you to post an embroidery related question for us in the comments below this week! Denise and Eileen will do their very best to get you an expert anwser and one lucky commenter will be chosen to win Eileen and Marie Zinno’s new, yet to be released Hoop It Up book!

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

Thank you all for allowing me to share this occasion with you. I hope you’ve learned some tips and maybe even thought of using an idea or two for a special bride in the future. What tip or idea from this wedding do you think you are most likely to use?

The winner is:  

Beth Daniels: “I would use the ribbon idea on even some clothes that I would make with the pattern number and name of clothing.”

When my time in Sewing Utopia took a downward spiral…

I was in Sewing Utopia the other evening.  You are probably familiar with that magical place where everything runs smoothly.

The Loop-de-Loop designs from Embroidery Online were stitching like a dream.  The digitizing quality is superb.  And to make things even more dreamy, I was at the height of efficiency, running not one, but two embroidery machines in my EmbroideryLand, USA.  I’m so blessed to have access to plenty of resources at the office.  At this rate, I’ll finish sooner than later!

I finished the letters and took my stitch-outs to the store to audition frames.


Shopping Tips
Plan ahead!  Go ahead and use those coupons that come in week after week from the craft stores!  It’s an obvious tip but oftentimes when you’re in the middle of a project, like I was, you don’t have time to shop around for the most affordable frames available.  Your favorite craft retailer with those nifty 40% or 50% off coupons are great for stocking up on frames.  Pick a size and style that you’ll know you can use easily—white, black or even wood grain.  Go with a standard stock so you’ll be confident they will be available time and again.  Every time you get a coupon in the mail, your inbox or through an app, pick up a frame.  Before you know it you’ll have collected enough frames to complete a project.

It was at the store that my Utopian world vanished.  (Insert dramatic sound effects here!)

Do as I say, not as I do! (the ongoing series!)
Excited with my stitched letters, I got to work by adding the rick rack and buttons on a sample before heading to the store.  It was a masterpiece!  My friend Dianna will love this!  But when I went shopping for the frames, I realized to my great disappointment that I trimmed the fabric too short.  Gasp!  I flipped through each of my embroidered samples at the store.  By my estimation, two samples were cut too short.

I returned to my not-so-sewing-utopia armed with more fabric.  This time I cut the fabric to fit the frames.  I won’t make the same mistake three times.

I’m reminded of that saying:  measure twice, cut once!

I think I’d change it to:  measure twice—then cut and stitch once!

While I didn’t have anything to measure when I first began the project, it’s important to plan ahead.  Allocate enough fabric around the embroidery so you have options.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

After stitching all the white rick rack, on my yellow samples, I reached for the green rick rack to stitch on the orange samples.  It was at that point I made the unfortunate discovery that the rick rack widths were not the same.  I didn’t have enough of a single color to use for all the samples (not that I wanted to rip out my newly stitched rick rack).  Nor did I want to make a trip to the store for rick rack.  Downtrodden, I took my samples to my trusty adviser – who also happens to be the Creative Director for the magazine – Sam Solomon.  He said the difference in widths is too minuscule for it to matter.  Besides, we can call it creative license!  (I will admit that when I photographed this shot below, the difference really is minuscule!  It’s funny how monumental it felt at the time.)

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Concluding Thoughts
When you start getting weary from making a project, remind yourself the gift is always about the recipient.  Think about the person and what they mean to you when you are making the project.  I certainly did when I was re-stitching the two letters.  I consoled myself thinking—Dianna has had some long nights and weekends working.  This project will be worth it!  I surprised her by placing the frames in her office while she was in a meeting.  I’m not sure who was happier—we were both smiling from the experience!

Also hiccups along the way, like my “rick rack” width disaster – can seem monumental when you’re in the middle of the project.  But step back to look at the matter from a different perspective.  If possible, get feedback from others – and exercise your right to be a whimsical, creative designer.  Improvise, problem solve and have fun!

Whether you have a friend, family member, coworker or someone else you want to thank—do so in an action-oriented manner.  Taking the time to make something specific for that person shows you appreciate them enough to sacrifice your time for them.


 

 

Click here if you missed Part 1 of this blog post.  Part 1 goes through the software steps for adding the decorative stitching.

 

 

 

Multi-Needle Monday: My Go-To Gift

Nap11

Last week, I showed how to stitch multiple napkins in on a single-needle machine. Today, let’s look at how to do it on a multi-needle machine.

The set-up is the same: Mark the location of the corner monogram on each of the six napkins. I use the Napkin On-Point template from the Perfect Placement Kit – no math, no measuring. Just place the template on the napkin aligning the guides with the stitched hem and then insert a target sticker into the hole with the arrow pointing towards the body of the napkin. Repeat for all six napkins – you’ll finish this task in under two minutes.

Select the largest hoop available and hoop tear-away stabilizer. I selected the 8” x 12” standard hoop but Multi-Needle Monster would also work very well. Use one of three options for holding the napkin on the stabilizer: spray the hooped stabilizer with temporary adhesive, hoop adhesive tear-away stabilizer or use painter’s tape. I used adhesive tear-away stabilizer.

Position the first napkin in the bottom left corner of the hoop. Center the needle over the target sticker, remove the sticker and embroider the design. If your machine has a baste feature, use it! Move the design to the top left corner of the hoop. Fold the napkin out of the new sewing field and lay the second napkin in place. Smooth the napkin onto the adhesive stabilizer. Stitch the design. Nap1

Fold up both napkin tips and tape them down. Nap2

Place the third napkin below the second napkin. Smooth in place making sure the design area is not overlapped with the second napkin. Position the needle over the target sticker. Nap3

If your machine has a trace feature, use it to verify the needle will not stitch on the first napkin. Once you’re confident the first napkin is out of the sewing field, remove the sticker and embroider the design. Nap4

Fold and tape the side of the napkin and move the design just below the third napkin. Nap5

Stitch the napkin. Nap6

Tape the corners of napkins three and four. Nap7

Repeat the process for napkin five. Nap8

And napkin six. Nap9

Remove the stabilizer from the hoop and clip the basting stitches before tearing away the stabilizer. Nap10

Wow –six napkins in a flash!

A Tribute to Daisy

by: Denise Holguin

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Several of my friends have had to say goodbye to their pets due to old age and diminishing health. Dealing with death—even when it involves the 4-legged type or feathered-type isn’t easy. Pets become part of our lives—they become family—and serve as faithful companions. Saying goodbye and dealing with their absence is very difficult.

As a friend, I often wonder what to do? What do I say? How can I offer consolation? That’s when I decided I’d put the embroidery machine to work.

I did a simple search online to find a quote. I typed: “quotations + deceased pets” and several options came up. I found this quote that seemed fitting: “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”-Roger Caras.

Using the Calligraphy Project Designer, I typed the quote and selected the Arial Central Run font. I selected the Path option.

Next, I selected “Edit the Baseline.”

This is where you create the path for the text to follow. I created a freehand heart shape by moving the end points and adding some additional points. I’m not going for perfection—just a simple heart!

After creating the heart shaped path, the text automatically rearranged itself.

The text didn’t wrap all the way around the heart. So I used one of the editing buttons to extend the text all the way around the heart shaped path. Very fun!

Additional edits can be made at this point. You can move or rotate individual letters and you can also slide large portions of text.

The center of the heart looked empty – I decided to add the dog’s name. I rotated the font to make it more playful, as I would imagine Daisy would be. I also enlarged the individual letter, “D”.

I sent the design to the embroidery machine and began stitching. When I reached the “Daisy” portion of the design, I decided I’d get a little ‘adventurous’ and stitch each letter a different color. (Since this decision was made at the last minute, I stopped the machine after each letter and switched the thread colors. Sometimes you just have to improvise!)

Once finished, I removed the fabric from the hoop. I printed a template of the design to use as a pattern to trace the heart shape on the fabric. I added about an inch all the way around the heart to ensure there was enough fabric for a seam allowance.

Next, I carefully sewed the heart and stuffed with batting. Before sewing the pillow closed, I realized the pillow needed something extra. I went to my local Michael’s and picked up some dog themed charms to add to the pillow. I sewed the charms and stitched the pillow closed.

I’ll present to my friend the next time I see him. It’s not so much that he needs a heart shaped pillow. But it’s the sentiment behind it.

The next time you are at a loss for words to express to a friend in need—let the stitches do the work. It’s a loving gesture and an opportunity to use your embroidery machine to make someone happy.

Is there a project you have stitched for a family member or friend to help them cope with loss? Share your story.

 

Bernina Part 2

Day 2 of the BERNINA Ambassador Reunion found me in BERNINA educator Debbi Lashbrook’s class. Debbi’s talent extends far beyond the teaching podium. Her eye for design is unique and yet not so far out of the box; her style appeals to everyone. She stretches the imagination and backs it up with solid stitching techniques while making everything look simple. And under her guidance, it is. In her class, we decorated three fabric strips with decorative stitches and played with those fabulous BERNINA feet on the B 580! We used the leather roller foot (#55), pintuck and decorative stitch foot with clear sole (#46C), edgestitch foot (#10C), 3-groove cording foot (#30) and more.

By this time, our group was quite comfortable with each other and laughter was heard throughout the morning. Debbi gave us the freedom to embellish as we desired. She had great samples for inspiration and we really enjoyed playing with the feet and decorative stitches.

As an embroiderer, I obviously love to add thread to fabric but I usually let the machine do all the work. Guiding the fabric as the machine stitched meandering lines of thread is something I haven’t done in a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed the process and the result. I love the organic look of the long vertical panel.

Next, we played with the circular sewing attachment. I forgot how cool it is to sew in a circle! A variety of stitches brought texture and dimension to the circles. Stitching off the edge of the fabric added an asymmetrical touch to the large panel.

Since I’m gadget girl, I really enjoyed making the corded pintucks. The pintuck and decorative stitch foot with clear sole (#46C) creates flawless corded pintucks.

Really, there is no thinking involved, just stitch! The cord slips under the thread and fills the fabric channel. Then move the fabric keeping the freshly-corded pintuck in one of the foot’s grooves to stitch another parallel line.

Some members of the group are known for over -the-top embellishing so the jokes began to fly around the room. It was an atmosphere I don’t normally sew in so I quite enjoyed the banter. Here’s part our group: Angie Steveson, me, Kaye England and Vicki Tracy.

We all started with the same materials and wound up with different pillows. I wish I had the foresight to take photos of everyone’s pillows but in the scramble to get the job done, I forgot to snap more photos. Lesson learned – you can never have enough photos!

Once the embellishing was complete, we pieced the strips and finished the pillow. After heart-warming goodbyes we went our separate ways for our journey home. I’m sure I speak for many when I say it ended too soon!

Give yourself the gift of time this week and sneak off to your sewing room. A few hours to yourself at your machine may just be the best gift of all.

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us how you ‘de-stressed’ during the hustle and bustle of the season. Did you sew, watch a movie, sit in front of a Christmas tree or maybe hold a sleeping child in your lap? We’d love to know how you unwind. A lucky winner will win a $30 gift certificate to spend at the DIME store!

The winner of last week’s assignment:

Leave a comment below about what sewing tool you hope Santa puts under your tree. Six comments will be chosen to receive a one month membership to the Silver Threads Golden Needle Club courtesy of OregonPatchWorks. Good luck!

And the lucky winners are: Judith D, Tammy W, Madeline L, Gail B, Denise F, and Jill H. Congratulations to you all!

Holiday Linen Update 2

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It sounds like the blog favorite font of last week’s picks is font C. I agree it’s a beautiful font – very fluid, traditional and yet, warm and inviting. Let me show what I’ve done with it. The font, Cursive is a built-in font in Floriani Total Control Pro digitizing software. If you don’t have this software, I’m sure you can accomplish the same results in your lettering or digitizing program.

Click on the Text tool and type Merry into the dialog box. Select the Cursive font from the pull down menu. Place 1.00 in the Height box. Click on Apply.

Font8A

The word appears on the screen.

 

Pull on the green circle at the center top.

 

Then push on the green circle at the center bottom.

 

Merry will now be arched. I know there is a way to do this automatically in the software but I feel like I have more control over the finished effect doing it in this 2-step method.

Reduce the spacing between the letters by selecting the blue diamond (just left of the letter) on the portion of the word you want to move. Notice how all of the letters to the right of the e are selected and moving to the left.

 

You can move individual letters by selecting the black diamond in the center of the letter.

Now, let’s dress it up a bit. Go to File, Merge and select a holiday design from your design library. I’m using the bell design from Stipple! Jingle Bells. If you’re using the bell design, delete the first color, the stipple stitches.

 

Now, add Christmas by selecting the Text tool and typing Christmas in the dialog box. This time, pull down the green circle at the bottom center and pull the green circle at the center top to arc the word.

 

Let’s add a little sparkle with embroidered stars. These small designs – or symbols as Floriani calls them – are like sprinkles. Drop a four or five around the bell to fill the space. Change the thread color of the text to red to preview your design in actual colors.

 

Hoop a linen or cotton towel with tear-away stabilizer and stitch the design adding applique fabrics if your design calls for it. Make two, three or a dozen – they are great gifts and take just 15 minutes to stitch.

XmasTowel-2

Here’s your assignment this week:

Thanks for the help with my holiday linen update! Leave a question below that you’d like me to answer. I’ll answer one random question and award an open flat stocking you can personalize this holiday season. Good luck!

The winner of last week’s assignment:

Leave a comment below about which font is your favorite from above, choose A, B, C, or D and if you have a favorite color scheme. One comment will be chosen to receive a $25 coupon code to use at Hoop Sisters!

Rachel-for-Blog

The winner is Rory D, with the suggestion”Boy, they’re all great but my favorite is “C”. It’s cheery and would look great in country colors of dark green and a deep red or burgundy..”

Holiday Linen Update

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I’m working on some new holiday kitchen towels. After all these years of using the same holiday linens, I think it’s time for an update. Here’s a look at some of the lettering I’ve been working on in software. This week, I plan to gather my materials, test the designs and then finish by Monday. But I’d love to have a little assistance from you.

I want to know what font pictured below is your favorite (Chose A, B, C or D) and what color scheme do you prefer? Traditional red and green? Gold and silver? Refashioned vintage aqua and red? Blue and silver? If you have another favorite combo, please share!

Christmas-a


Joy-b


Merry-c


Peace-d

I’m planning on making a set similar to the vintage elegant towels I did a year ago for my niece. This time around, I’m using holiday designs, fabrics and threads.

Vintage-1

But if you know me, my favorite part is gathering the ribbons and fabrics. Here’s a look at materials I used for the days of the week towels.

Ribbons-1

Ruffles-1

It’s fun to weed through my stash and find long lost holiday novelty fabric. I don’t buy those types of fabrics too often but when I do, I hold onto them. They always come in handy at this time of year.  I’ll be looking for colorful prints with small to medium size motifs. Since the ruffles are only 4” wide, you won’t see a lot of the print.  Same goes with the ribbons.

So let me know what direction to take! I can’t wait to get stitching.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave a comment below about which font is your favorite from above, choose A, B, C, or D and if you have a favorite color scheme. One comment will be chosen to receive a $25 coupon code to use at Hoop Sisters!

Rachel-for-Blog

The winner of last week’s assignment:

It’s time to take a look at your design collection!  Tell us what embroidery design theme you seem to collect the most. Do you favor flowers, birds, quilt blocks, redwork, fruits, vegetables, dogs, cats, monograms, lettering, fish, Christmas, lace, borders, frames, etc.  Post your comment for a chance to win a $25 shopping spree on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

The winner is Nancy, with her comment:  “I have a lot of heirloom type designs. I love embroidering dainty designs on baby items. Next I have many tiny designs to embroider on my granddaughter’s socks, they are so cute. I also like to embroider the freestanding ornaments to tie to napkin holders during the holidays.”

Polka-dots, Stipple Blocks and Creativity, Oh my! Part 2

If you missed Part 1, click here.

I was making excellent progress this afternoon—stitching block after block.  I have quite an assembly line going!  Then I heard the dreaded Low Bobbin Warning beep with the accompanying sad face on the machine.  I always appreciate that the machine feels my pain.  Maybe it’s also a signal it’s time for chocolate.

Denise’s Must-Haves

Pre-wound Bobbins are the greatest invention since sliced bread!  They are the no-muss, no-fuss way of making sure you keep stitching!  When you hear that dreaded Low Bobbin Warning—you don’t have to worry about stopping to wind a new bobbin.  Just be sure you purchase the right type for your machine.  Consult your favorite local dealer for advice or open up the manual that came with your machine!

Or you can take the Always-Prepared-For-Every-Emergency-Approach and before you begin stitching wind a bunch of bobbins so you’re ready.  Either way works—you’ll be glad you have them handy.

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this blog—I like to focus on one or two blocks and make as many variations as possible changing fabric, thread colors, etc.  I decided to use 5 Flower 5_small for my quilt.  I hooped a quilt sandwich using Snap-Hoop Monster and stitched a series of blocks.  Like snowflakes, I decided no two blocks would be alike.

To add variety I layered the applique fabrics in a different order and sometimes I got daring and skipped some applique steps and just stitched the outlines.  I kept my assembly-line process—and continued to stitch block after block without trimming away the applique.  This was a good idea and also a learning experience.  The finished blocks wouldn’t be unveiled until I trimmed them—talk about a fabricated surprise!

Using Snap-Hoop Monster makes it easy to lift the frame and slide the fabric to make room for the next block.  Love that!

I ignored that voice in my head that cautioned against layering light colored fabrics on top of black fabric.  I ignored that voice in my head that warned against using light colored thread on light fabrics.  After all, my goal was to be a free-spirit and create however I wanted.  I stand by that goal of creating and experimenting to see firsthand if something works… or not.  Who’s to say it does or doesn’t work but you, the designer?  Besides, it’s a valuable learning experience….

Denise’s Tip #1

Go ahead and experiment with colors, layering different applique fabric, working with busy prints, etc.  Make a note of what works and what doesn’t so that you can improve next time.

Learning Experience Block 1

I admit it was laziness that inspired me to not change thread colors.  I started out with white thread and figured I could stitch the entire block with white thread.  But if I had changed the thread to black when stitching the polka dot and the white fabric, the block would have been more attractive because the detailed stitching would have ‘popped’ more rather than blend in.  Sometimes, you do want everything to blend in… so there’s no hard fast rule.

Learning Experience Block 2

Light colored fabrics can be placed on dark fabrics.  You just have to place a second layer of light fabric underneath.  Notice how the black fabric affects the vibrancy of the orange polka dot fabric in Block 1 above.  For Block 2 below I used two layers of white fabric on top of the black.

More Experimentation!

After stitching a set of blocks using white and black solid fabric as a background I decided to experiment by using the orange polka dot fabric as the background.

Denise’s Tip #2

Remember to hoop the base fabric straight when working with printed fabrics.  If this is a challenge—then you’re not using Snap-Hoop Monster!  Snap-Hoop products have a flat top and bottom frame making it simple to adjust the fabric by giving it a tug.

Time to Play

I enjoy Stipple collections not only because they produce results quickly and flawlessly but I get to play!  I love stacking my quilt blocks then arranging them—and rearranging them and …  you get the idea.  There are countless ways to lay out the quilt blocks—go ahead and set aside some time to play!

It’s also a fun to get others involved in the creative process.  I asked Editor, Eileen Roche to rearrange the blocks.  I like what she’s come up with!

Looks like I’ll have a tough choice deciding layout.  Plus I’ll need to come up with some extra blocks to fill in!

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

Vote now! It’s time to choose a color for sashing and I thought it would be fun if you helped me select a color. What color or colors would you choose? Do tell! I’ll choose my favorite suggestion and will use that color(s). I’ll give you a shout-out as my special “Color Adviser” in the next blog. Don’t worry, if more than one of you think brilliantly alike I’ll mention each of you as my “Color Advisers”!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Last week we read some great ideas on hoop storage.  This week we’d like to know how you store your stabilizers.  Leave a comment and a random person will be chosen to win a $25 shopping spree to the new Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

And the winner is…Carol K. – “My husband and son built my cutting table and sewing storage. I have dowels on one end for anything on tubes and a designated slide out shelf for others. The stabilizers are just below the hoop drawer. I have to admit, that sometimes there are several kinds on top where I am hooping — I am not the most diligent when it comes to clean up when I move to something out of the sewing room.”

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