Archive of ‘Home Decor’ category

Bubble Quilt Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of the Bubble Quilt, click here.

I’m getting there! Here’s a peek at my progress on the Bubble Quilt. Last week, I finished all of the embroidery (that is quilting) and trimmed my strips.

Now, I have to piece and bind. I hated walking away from this project but I headed off to Phoenix for an event where I found some serious inspiration from a fellow embroiderer.

Stitching Sister attendee Donna Farley showed me one of her recent creations, her own rendition of the Circle quilt. What an awesome job she did on this quilt for her granddaughter! I love her ingenuous use of the rectangle and circular embroidery designs from Stipple! Geometrics. Her fabric selections are luscious and she cleverly used up her appliqué fabrics by piecing them together for the binding. I think I’ll do the same on my Bubble Quilt.

I met Donna this past weekend at the Stitching Sisters event in Phoenix, AZ. The Stitching Sister event was hosted by Mulqueen’s Sewing Centers and 108 embroiderers enjoyed two fun-filled days of embroidery immersion. Since this was our second trip to Mulqueen’s, we felt like we were with old friends. And we were! Audrey Spigelmire’s notepad looked very familiar to me and no wonder, she made it during my very first Stitching Sister event. Wow – how time has flown!

Donna wasn’t the only one sharing her creations, I was thrilled when Carole Pauw showed me her Butterfly bag which was originally featured on the July/August 2010 issue of Designs.

Carol Kachelmeyer shared her satin pajamas – also inspired from a Designs cover. Her jammies were just as beautiful as the original, created by Joanne Banko for the Volume 67 March/April 2011 issue.

Sometimes embroiderers are inspired to share their hobby with their best friends with matching t-shirts. Carole Baker and Christina Martinez are also known as Betty and Wilma – and have the shirts to prove it!

Carole and Christina are just a fraction of their Stitching Sisters group – they are at least seven of them! We had a great time teaching and visiting with them.

A two-day event really gives you the chance to meet and get to know each other. A two-day event also reveals everyone’s true colors – especially on the second day of an event. It was on the second day that many shared their own work with the group. The Stitching Sister on the far left, June Young, brought in a quilted panel she worked on the previous night, until 1:30 AM! Wow – I was impressed with her ability and energy.

The woman just to the right of June, Janet Lennon, stayed way beyond the last goodbye on Saturday and helped pack up machines, hoops, threads, you name it!

The best part of my job is meeting fellow embroiderers and I’m always overwhelmed when I see that they have used Designs as a starting point for their inspiration. Marie and I have two more events this fall and really hope to see you at one of them. Next, we’re off to Florida with our friends at The Sewing Studio in Maitland, FL. Click here for more information or call 1-800-831-1492. In November, we’re heading to Eddie’s Quilting Bee in Sunnyvale, CA. Visit their website: or call 408-830-9505. Hope to see you on the road!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Speaking of quilts– how many will be attending the upcoming International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas?  The event is November 3-6, 2011 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.  It’s an amazing show with some of the most inspiring quilts and art pieces you’ll ever see.  I guarantee you’ll leave that show wanting to run home to your embroidery/sewing machine to start stitching your own creations.

If you aren’t able to attend and have never had the opportunity– we’ll be your eyes and ears!  Tell us what types of quilts inspire you the most–modern, traditional, realistic scenes, art deco… We’ll do our best to take photos and share them with you when we return.

If you post a comment one lucky winner will be chosen to win Eileen’s book, Machine Embroidered Quilting and Applique!

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

My niece chose a beach/surf scene for her baby’s nursery. What baby room themes have been popular with you, your family or friends? Share your stories with us for a chance to win the Adorable Décor, Embroider It Yourself series.

And the random drawing winner is….Karen Rilstone!
“Two work colleagues also did not want to know the gender of their long-awaited babies.  Their decision was cheerful and bright zoo animals.  There are wonderful zoo fabrics AND embroidery designs so I had fun making gifts. ” – Karen

The Bubble Quilt

Doesn’t time just fly? I mean zoom by? It seems just like yesterday that my niece called to tell me she was expecting her first child. I hung up the phone thinking what wonderful news. I really need to make a quilt for that baby. Well, that was four months ago, and now the shower is in two weeks. My niece’s nursery theme is a beach/surf scene and she’s going old school! What’s old school? She and her husband don’t want to know the sex of the baby before delivery. Almost unheard of today, wouldn’t you agree? So I don’t want to make a quilt that screams girl or boy. Hmm… there are so many things at the beach that just charm children, where do I start? How about simple circles? They could be bubbles, beach umbrellas or buckets. But time is of the essence so I’ll turn to Stipple! And I’m going back to a favorite – Stipple! Geometrics.

I had so much fun picking out the bright, fresh fabrics for the circles. I started with about a dozen fabrics and chose a simple white background for the strips. White just seemed like the right background for all the luscious brights. And the parents-to-be both hold doctorates in Chemistry; they ought to be able to get anything out of white cotton!

I grabbed fusible web to apply to all of the appliqué fabrics because this quilt will get used and washed, hopefully, on a regular basis.

I devoted some precious time to apply the fusible web to all of the appliqué fabrics. This is not my favorite chore. If you know me, then you’ll understand that I like to jump in and get started. Prep work bores me to tears. And apparently, tears were in my immediate future.

I always seem to struggle with fusible web. I apply the heat, let it cool (well, almost let it cool) then disaster strikes. It doesn’t release properly – oh no, part of the paper peels off with a good bit of the adhesive still stuck on it. In fact, it now looks like a hot mess – adhesive is no longer a smooth sheet – nah, it’s a jumbled mess. I hate this! I curse the manufacturer of the fusible web, (how can they put their name on this product!). I blame the store where I bought it (surely they’ve had this bolt in inventory for a century).

I stalk out of the sewing room and hit the chocolate stash. After a few moments, I realize I’m still in love with the fabrics. I still need a quilt. I still have to get this figured out NOW!

So I walk back into the sewing room and assess the damage. Hmm. Maybe it wasn’t the fusible web. Maybe it was the iron. Oh yes…hmmm….I was supposed to apply DRY heat. Not steam. And let it cool – completely cool – before removing the protective paper.

But my iron is full of water. And when I switch it to no steam, steam still escapes, apparently too much for this task! Then it dawns on me, I need two irons in my sewing room!

I can hear you laughing as you read this, “Really? It took you 20+ years to figure this out?” I now have two irons on my board. Yep, one full of water set for steam and the other one – DRY – forever!

Embarrassingly, I actually had two irons in the sewing room. The second one was deposited by one of my college students who didn’t need it any longer. And it just sat on a shelf. Not anymore – it’s hobnobbing with its steamy partner on the ironing board – a lasting marriage.

Here’s what I learned from this sticky situation: read and follow the manufacturer’s directions. They really do know best.

Investing in duplicate tools makes sense – it saves you time and sanity!

Finally, start early – don’t wait until the last minute. Hmmm, wonder how long that will stick!

Here’s your assignment this week:

My niece chose a beach/surf scene for her baby’s nursery. What baby room themes have been popular with you, your family or friends? Share your stories with us for a chance to win the Adorable Décor, Embroider It Yourself series.

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

Please leave a comment this week telling me what was the last embroidery/sewing/quilting class you attended. Online classes count too (I’m enrolled in one right now!). One lucky participant will win a $25.00 gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The winner is…. Terri:  “Right now, I’m taking machine embroidery classes at a local quilt shop. I’ve learned so much in the class that I wish I had more time at my machine to practice all of it.”

Congratulations Terri!  You are the lucky recipient of a $25.00 gift certificate!

Here’s your ongoing assignment:

Speaking of irons, have you seen the Oliso Smart Iron Pro? The Oliso Smart Iron Pro features iTouch™ technology that activates the iron with the touch of your hand.

Simply touch the handle and the iron lowers, ready to work. Take your hand off and the patented scorchguards lift the iron off the board preventing scorches, burns, and tipping. Best of all, this iron could be yours FREE! Just enter the Everybody Smiles with Designs contest for your chance to win!


Machine Embroidered Buttonholes

Click here to download this article as a PDF for future reference.

Many of you wrote that buttonholes are a struggle when it comes to sewing. I agree! One of the worst parts about adding a buttonhole is it’s just about the last thing you do when making a garment. I begin to sweat thinking about marking the buttonholes, spacing them evenly, stitching them perfectly straight, even and parallel. How many times has the foot jammed against the seam allowance resulting in a shorter than planned buttonhole?

Hmm… I don’t think it’s the machine. In fact, most machines have the ability to make a very professional buttonhole. The problem is the operator, me. My sewing/tailoring skills do not equal my embroidery skills. It might have something to do with my attention span but that’s material for another blog! If you’re like me, you might consider using your embroidery machine to create buttonholes.

Why machine embroider your buttonholes? The number one reason for me is control. Machine embroidered buttonholes give me total control over the length of the buttonhole and the placement because I’m starting with a digital file that will stitch perfect duplicates since I don’t have to guide the fabric under the foot.

So let’s take a look at how to embroider buttonholes.

First, select the buttons. Measure the buttons and add a small amount (such as .10 of an inch) to the diameter. That measurement will be the length of the buttonhole. Click here for four buttonholes for you to download. You’ll find two 1” buttonholes (square and round) and two 2” buttonholes (square and round). Resize the length only of the designs to accommodate your button.

Naturally, you must make a test buttonhole on the same fabric as the final garment. The sample must include the sample interfacing, facing or lining. You can’t cheat here – it’s the only way to guarantee positive results and this is when you’ll tweak the length.

Crisp or lightweight tear-away stabilizer works beautifully on buttonholes because it tears cleanly. Once hooped, draw a straight line down the length of the hoop to use as an alignment mark.

Insert the metal frame of Magna-Hoop Jumbo. It’s not mandatory to use Magna-Hoop Jumbo but it sure does simplify the task.

Place the garment edge next to the drawn line and place Magna-Hoop Jumbo’s acrylic frame on top. Slide magnets into the slots to hold the garment firmly in the hoop.

Attach the hoop to the machine and select the tested (and tweaked) buttonhole design. Rotate the design so it runs perpendicular to the garment edge for horizontal buttonholes. Also, advance to the first stitch to see what end of the buttonhole will stitch first. You want to stitch the end closest to the edge first and sew away from the edge. The fabric will not bulge next to the seam if you do this (a frequent occurrence in manual buttonholes). Rotate or mirror image the design if necessary.

Measure the distance from the garment edge to the end of the buttonhole. For pleasing proportions, it’s best to leave a space between the end of the buttonhole and the garment edge that is half the diameter of the button. For the 2” buttonhole, move the end of the design 1” from the garment edge.

Stitch the buttonhole.

Reposition the design to the next marked position. You won’t have to measure the distance unless you’re changing button sizes. Here I’m stitching the 1” buttonhole.

Continue adding the buttonholes until you’ve finished the required quantity.

Remove from the hoop and tear away the stabilizer. Use a seam ripper or a chisel and wood block to open the buttonhole. If using the seam ripper method, insert a pin at one end of the stitch to avoid slicing beyond the buttonhole.

Or place the buttonhole over a wood block, and insert the chisel into the space between the satin stitching. Press down to cut the fabric.

Design Tips: Buttonhole Placement

It can be challenging to determine evenly-spaced buttonhole placement. For garments, mark the widest point of the bust and the top of the garment. Fold the garment, meeting the top mark to the bust mark. Place a third mark at the fold. You now have the positions for the top three buttons. Measure the distance between two buttons. Use that measurement to mark the remainder of the buttons below the bust point.

Fuzzy Fibers

Place a piece of fusible web (protective paper removed) over the buttonhole area. Stitch the buttonhole. Tear away the excess fusible web. Press the buttonhole with a hot steam iron to melt the fusible web into the satin stitches. Once cooled, cut open the buttonhole. The fusible web will tame the fuzzy fibers.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Since making machine embroidered buttonholes is so much easier with Magna-Hoop Jumbo, we’re giving one away to a lucky, random reader! Last week, we discussed my Stipple line of quilt designs. Tell me what new designs you would like to see in the Stipple Collection and you could be the lucky winner. If you’re curious to know what we Stipple Collections are available now, just click here to view them

If you enjoy reading about machine embroidery, subscribe to this blog. We’d love to have you as a regular visitor and your participation helps us grow. See what one of our faithful readers has to say about Eileen’s blog:

Marge Geraci on June 30, 2011

“I am so thankful for your magazine and your blog! I have learned so very much from you. The joy I get from my embroidery machine would not be near as fulfilling if it were not from your knowledge and willingness to share it with all of us. Thanks so much!”

Just click here to subscribe to Eileen’s blog. It’s FREE!

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the question:

Tell us if you have a treasured quilt you made for a family member or perhaps you have a quilt your own mother made you that you have kept over the years. Tell us about the colors, the style and what makes the quilt so special. Share your quilting story with us and you could be this week’s HoopSisters winner!

Congratulations to Vickie Glass!  Her comment below was randomly drawn to win the generous prize from HoopSisters. (1 roll of Battilizer, Twists and Turns Quilt CD and EmbroidaBlock Trimmer by George)

“My great-grandmother and great-aunt made a quilt top of twelve 12″ blocks on muslin of the Dresden plate pattern and very much look like sunflowers in 1928. The fabrics are probably from clothing and the colors are a strange shades of blue, green and a peachy orange which is the center. They are outlined with black embroidery thread. The amazing thing is the great aunt who did the embroidery and outline stitching was considered blind by the state of Texas. Unfortunately the top was never quilted and
stored away in an old chest in an outdoor shed. It got wet and had huge rust spots. I managed to get my hands on it but was unable to remove spots. It had 6 useable blocks. I took 4 of the blocks, backed them with Kona cotton, echo quilted around the designs and pieced them together to be a wall hanging and bordered them with a blue wood grain looking fabric. I found some Laurel Birch fabric that had butterflies and hummingbirds with heart labels. The colors accented the colors in the
sunflowers and were the inspiration to finally be able to do something with the blocks. I sent the label pieces to my brothers and their wives for them to sign and return. I also
sent to each of my nieces and nephews and they were to include their children on theirs. I even have blank ones on there for future children, etc. I appliqued all the labels and scattered around the sunflowers. I included a blank one in the center for my parents to sign. This was presented to my Mom Christmas 2005. My Mom and Dad were so happy to receive it. I enjoyed every minute of working on it.” – Vickie Glass

Don’t forget!  There’s still time to participate in the Everyone Smiles with Designs in Machine Embroidery contest!  Click here for more information.

Want more sewing and embroidery tips?  If you missed my article on inserting zippers click here!
Don’t miss Eileen’s weekly blog!  Subscribe now. It’s free!

Thank goodness! There’s always more than one right way to create!

Don’t you just love how diverse our world is? We see diversity everywhere we look – even in our embroidery studios.

There is always more than one way to accomplish something in the embroidery studio. Really, the more you learn, the more options you realize you have. For instance, I love to use my embroidery machine to quilt. And I came up with a way to do it that really turns traditional techniques upside down. But the HoopSisters take a totally different approach to quilting with an embroidery machine. Who’s right? There is no right, there are just choices! There’s my Stipple method and their Embroidablock technique. And we’re not the only ones using our embroidery machines to quilt. But let’s take a look at HoopSisters technique.

You’ll start with Battilizer – a mix of stabilizer and batting. Perfect for high-stitch count designs that need a little softness built-in. Stitching on this combination gives the finished block a lush and lofty texture while the stabilizer part adds a strong foundation for the numerous stitched details in every HoopSisters quilt block.

HoopSisters blocks feature embroidery-rich designs where the thread is the star.

Fabrics are added in the hoop with a flip-and-fold method. Unlike my Stipple method where the appliqué fabrics take center stage and raw edge appliqué runs rampant.

HoopSisters flip-and-fold method

Stipple method featuring raw edge appliqué

HoopSisters techniques include a reversible piecing technique that is practically invisible while my reversible piecing technique adds to the overall quilt layout.

HoopSisters Reversible Piecing Technique:

Eileen’s Reversible Piecing Technique:

Lynda Remmers and Annie Moody (yes, they really are sisters) are giving one lucky winner a roll of Battilizer, the Twists and Turns Quilt CD and the EmbroidaBlock Trimmer by George.


If you win this fabulous bundle of prizes you too can make your own pillows!
(Or even a quilt or wall hanging!)

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us if you have a treasured quilt you made for a family member or perhaps you have a quilt your own mother made you that you have kept over the years. Tell us about the colors, the style and what makes the quilt so special. Share your quilting story with us and you could be this week’s HoopSisters winner!

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the question:

Who wants a free subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine?  Just leave a comment telling us what you’re making for holiday gifts this year.  Do you have a regular go-to gift or does everyone receive something different?

Congratulations to Sara for submitting her comment!  Her comment was randomly chosen as this week’s winner.  Her comment is below:

“I love the idea of inserting a zipper with my emb machine. Somebody is very smart to figure this one out. I love your magazine have been trying t0 get the current copy at the local book store but they have not had it the last two times I have been there, hopefully this week. I was told that it might be in the second week of Sept or later. What a disappointment I cannot wait to get it. I cannot afford to buy a subscription at this time maybe I will get one for Christmas. I plan on making my granddaughters hooded bath towels for Christmas.” – Sara

Congrats Sara!


Don’t miss Eileen’s weekly blog!  Subscribe now.  It’s free!

Stitching on Fur

It’s that time of year….surely someone has asked you to personalize a Christmas stocking. Did you agree? Do you wish you hadn’t? Afraid to tackle the long, furry fibers of faux fur? There’s still time to do the job correctly. Let’s take a look at the biggest challenge when stitching on fur. The fibers are long and tend to creep over the embroidery. So as a defense, there are a few things you can do.

Select a simple font – the less curly cues the better. The nap of the fur has a tendency to obscure small scroll letters with tiny openings so go for a bold look – easily achieved in plain block letters with wide satin columns. I have two designs for you, JOY in upper case block letters. Just hoop and stitch – you’ll have no trouble with long fibers of the fur.

If you must use a script font, tame the fur. You can do that by sculpting the fur after the embroidery is complete or stitching a fill shape before adding the beautiful lettering.

You can see how this message of peace is not coming across very clearly.

To sculpt the fur, use scissors or Peggy’s Stitch Eraser. Trim the fur along the embroidery – make sure you don’t snip the embroidery threads. Lift the fur away from the embroidery with the blades and slice the excess. Basically, you want to give it a bad haircut because a too-defined cut will be very visible.

Here you’ll notice I’ve trimmed the c and e but the fur is still covering the beginning of the word. 

Now, the entire word has been trimmed and looks pretty good!

If trimming the fur makes you a little nervous (I know – all that time invested in the project then yikes – one bad slice might ruin the whole thing!), then stitch the fill shape first.

The Peace design has some small openings (in the P, e and a) that will be obscured by the fur once the stitching is complete. I added a low-density fill area that is the same shape of the design. When stitched first in the same color thread as the fur, the stitches fade into the fur and become invisible BUT they hold down the nap and let the letters take center stage. Cool, eh? I learned that trick from our Ask the Expert columnist, Deborah Jones.

Here’s an image of the fill design stitched in pale gold (so you can see it). Of course, you’ll stitch it in the same color as the fur because you want it to blend with the background. Then just stitch the letters.

Hoop and Stitch
Hoop adhesive tear-away stabilizer. Finger press the cuff to the sticky surface. Keep the straight edge of the cuff parallel to the inside of the hoop. This will ensure your cuff is square in the hoop. Place a piece of regular weight, film-type, water soluble stabilizer over the design area if stitching JOY. This stabilizer adds lift to the embroidery design helping to raise it above the nap of the fur. It also tames the fur during the embroidery process and keeps the fibers straight. No need to add this step when stitching Peace. The low density fill background handles that job. Stitch the design.

Remove the cuff from the sticky stabilizer and gently tear away the excess water soluble stabilizer. No need to rinse it away (in fact, that may damage the faux fur), just tear.

Download the designs in a zip file by clicking here!

So tell us –how many handmade gifts are you creating this holiday season. And what are you creating? Are you pulling your hair out or enjoying the process of creating for someone special?

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a great stabilizer pack which includes 10 8″ x 10″ sheets of each:

Sulky Totally Stable – Iron-On, Tear-Away Stabilizer

Sulky Solvy – Water Soluble Stabilizer

and Sulky Sticky + – Self-Adhesive, Tear-Away Stabilizer

Last giveaway blog post (2 weeks ago!) we asked what you wanted for Christmas.  The winner of the The Denim Fashion Guide is…Carol Seavitt!  She said…

Thread….I LOVE THREAD….and if Santa would be so kind to give me a complete set of embroidery thread….what a blessing this would be.”

Congrats, Carol!

Dress up your kitchen or bath for the holidays

I often overlook one of the easiest ways to dress up the kitchen or the bath during the holidays. I’ve made a promise to myself to buy some new towels and stitch some really cute holiday designs this year. If you’ve been thinking about the doing the same, here’s some steps to make it simple. After all, not only do seasonal towels dress up your home, they also make great hostess gifts!

1. Buy quality towels with borders. They’ll look luxurious and will standup to repeated laundering. Towels with borders are easier to hoop than plain towels because the border is a natural alignment mark. In fact, I align the top edge of the border with the inside of my hoop and, voila! The towel is square in the hoop.

2. Use the right stabilizers for your hoop. Yes, you read that correctly – the right stabilizer for the hoop! If you’re using an industrial hoop (they are quite strong and rigid), hoop the towel and tear-away. Industrial hoops provide the proper grip for terry cloth and will hold both stabilizer and towel securely.

If you’re using a standard hoop (for a single-needle machine), you have some choices.

First choice: If time is on your side and you can launder the towel after embroidering, then hoop an adhesive water soluble stabilizer such as Floriani’s Wet N Gone Tacky. Remove the protective paper and position the towel on the hooped, sticky surface. Embroider the design then wash the towel.

Second choice: If time is not on your side (and it’s not normally on my side!), then use a combination of stabilizers. Adhesive tear-away in the hoop and a low-tack, iron-on, tear-away such as Sulky’s Totally Stable, adhered to the wrong side of the design area. Totally Stable protects the towel from the sticky, hooped stabilizer. Embroider the design, separate the towel from the sticky stabilizer and peel away the Totally Stable.

Third Choice: Hoop tear-away stabilizer and insert the metal frame of Magna-Hoop Jumbo in the hoop. Place the towel over the hooped stabilizer, place the acrylic frame over the towel and snap the magnets into the slots. The strong magnets of Magna-Hoop Jumbo firmly grip thick, terry cloth towels.

Top all embroidery on terry cloth with water soluble stabilizer. It adds lift to the stitches and keeps the loops from getting tangled on the embroidery foot.

3. Stitch designs that have been created for lofty fabrics. What does that mean? Generous underlay (often double the normal amount) permanently holds down the nap of terry cloth long after the water soluble topper has been washed away. You’ll be happy with the results.  Monograms and designs that are stitched with wide satin columns with generous underlay will stand the test of time and use.

4. Use a template to ensure the entire set matches. I use the towel templates from The Perfect Towel Kit or The Perfect Placement Kit every time I stitch a towel. Since I developed those templates, I’ve never had to buy extra towels just get six to match!

On the prior posting, I learned so much about why you read this blog. Thank you for your comments – they really guide me when I’m creating content! This week, I’m going to dig a little further. Please tell me your favorite Designs in Machine Embroidery project. Your voice matters – and I want to know what projects were hits or misses! Leave your thoughts and you’ll get a chance to win a Mini-Perfect Placement Towel Kit and a set of three holiday towels!

Our last blog discussion topic was why you read this blog.  Our lucky winner of the Designer Necklines is Mary Gordon.  She said…

“I enjoy your blogs and the quite frequently accompanying videos because they are so informative. Through both, I have learned a lot about placement, how-to’s (like placement advantages – no matter what size hoop you have), how to set the project up for the best effect and outcome. Your tutorials definitely get me thinking outside of the box and ending with an “I can do this” feeling and attitude. I have also “learned” how to do things as a project I might not otherwise have thought of or taken on in the first place. Keep up the good work – you definitely have a fan here and I read and view everything that has your name associated with it.   Mary”

Congratulations, Mary!

Free Grommet Designs and Winner from last week!

The lucky winner of the Wisteria Binder Kit and Contemporary Machine Embroidered Quilts is…Sara!

“Sara said… April 27, 2010 4:21 PM

I was thrilled to finally get my embroidery machine. I did not know there were so many things that you could do with them. I learned how to do paper piece quilting by doing it on my embroidery machine. In fact my first two projects I ever created on my embroidery machine were a paper pieced Christmas stocking and an applique Christmas ball to hang on my tree. My machine came with a pretty basic autostitch program for digitizing and I was able to create the stitches for both of my projects using simple outlines and sending different color blocks to the machine multiple times. That was a few years ago. Since then I have learned to hand punch my designs and have been learning to do free hand quilting. My best advice I can give to anyone is to have fun and don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Sometimes we are our own worst critics.”
Congratulations, Sara!  We hope you enjoy your project kit. 
Check out how easy it is to draw a winner. We popped over to and entered the number of comments. With just the click of a mouse, the winning number is pulled. Fair, fast and fun! Maybe this week you’ll be a winner. Even if you don’t win the Denim Collection and Denim Fashion Guide, you’re still a winner because I’ve posted two free grommet designs.  Just click here to download.
Why grommet designs? Rinda, an avid Designs reader wrote and asked for a resource for embroidered grommets just like the ones Deborah Lashbrook taught in “Don’t buy Grommets, Make Eyelets” published in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue. Deborah provided digitizing instructions for making large eyelets – perfect for threading a curtain rod through but I know many of you don’t digitize so I did it for you. And along the way, I learned a few things.

There’s a great little rotary cutter that does a fine job of slicing open the circles. It has a guide for your index finger. It takes a minute or two to get used to it but it’s ideal for going around tight curves – like a 1” circle!  Look for it at your local craft store.

The grommet designs are basically an applique but instead of adding fabric you are removing fabric. Hoop your fabric (my sample is actually a quilt sandwich) and stabilizer. Stitch the first two colors. Remove the hoop from the machine and place it on a cutting mat. Use the small rotary cutter to slice away the fabric and stabilizer from the inner circle. Reattach the hoop to the machine and stitch the final color, the satin stitch outline.

I opted to skip the satin stitch and apply large plastic grommets to the quilt sandwich (this will eventually be a handbag).

I love these grommets – you’ll find them in the home décor department of most fabric chain stores. They have two sides, one male and one female.

Stitch the first two colors of the grommet design (stitch a sample to make sure it fits your purchased grommets). Remove from the hoop and place it on a cutting mat.

Use the small rotary cutter to cut open the inner circle.

Slice close to the stitching.

Insert the male grommet from the wrong side of the fabric.

Place the female side on top and press together.

Voila! It’s so easy, I love these things! You’ll find dozens of uses for grommets.

It’s t-shirt season and we want to help you look your best! This week we have chosen to giveaway Eileen’s
Embroider It Yourself Series—Little Black Tee to one lucky embroiderer!

We want to hear about your first embroidery project! Did you make a garment, a quilt or perhaps monogrammed linens? Was your first project a success? A complete disaster? What did you learn from the experience?

Post your comments between April 30 and May 6 for your chance to win. The winner will be announced on May 7 along with a new giveaway!!

The Little Black Details:

Watch Designs Editor Eileen Roche, as she transforms simple tee shirts and turtlenecks into fabulous, fashionable tops with embroidered lace. The CD includes 4 basic t-shirt makeovers, 30+ minute instructional video, printable instructions and 6 lace embroidery designs.

Embroidery formats include ART, DST, EXP, PES, SHV, XXX

(Minimum 5” x 7” hoop required)

Total Value: $49.99!

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