Archive of ‘Hooping’ category

Keep Your Hand Out of the Hoop

Well it’s taken me 20+ years but I finally did it. I stitched on my finger. If you’ve been to any of my classes, I always caution students to keep their fingers out of the hoop. I encourage them to use the eraser end of a pencil, a chopstick, a dowel, anything other than their fingers.

And I usually take my own advice except when I’m in a hurry. And that’s when I don’t take my own advice. Recently, I was stitching a t-shirt when I noticed a portion of the garment was about to flop into the design area. And without thinking, I quickly reached into the hoop to retrieve the fabric. I must have I blinked at the same time. Then I yelped! And yanked my hand back. It hurt really bad, so bad that I was afraid to look at it.  My husband ran into the room (he was outside at the grill when it happened and heard me yelp) and we stared at each other. I told him I stitched on my finger. He asked if the needle was still in there. I didn’t have the nerve to look so he did. And it wasn’t in sight. We went back to the machine and were greeted with this safety message: Finger2BL

By then I was okay, it still hurt and was bleeding but everything was under control.  Upon closer inspection of the machine, I saw the needle was still in one piece in the machine but bent.  Really bent.   Look at the image below.Finger1BL

Wow – did I yank my finger away or what?  I was lucky the machine stopped and didn’t stitch my finger to the stabilizer, garment or foot.   Here’s my souvenir:FingerBL

Many thoughts ran through my head. I could hear myself telling my students to get their hand out of the hoop. I thought of my sister, Marie, who suffered a similar injury years ago that had to be treated surgically. And I was so thankful for the folks who designed my Brother Entrepreneur 10-needle and put that safety feature into the machine. Without that safety feature, my injury would have been so much worse.   Thank you Brother for looking out for all of us embroiderers!

Here’s your assignment this week:

So come on, tell me, have you ever stitched on your finger? You don’t need to share the gory details; just a yes or no and you’ll be entered to win a $20 gift card to !

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

Now that Halloween is over, we’re just about in full swing of the next holiday – Thanksgiving.  I’d love to know if you’re hosting the meal or if you’re being treated to a year off – and celebrating in someone else’s home.  Tell us your plans and a random winner will receive a 13” x 54” ruffled-edge burlap table runner.  Perfect for a holiday table!

The winner is:  

Joan Shriver: “For years we have traveled to my husband’s sister. We always have a huge group of relatives to enjoy again, see the new babies, catch up. My sister-in-law is my best friend!”

Multi-Needle Monday: Extension Table for Babylock Enterprise and Brother Entrepreneur

I’ll admit I have owned my 10 needle embroidery machine for 4 years and have recently started to use the extension table and I am wondering WHY I waited so long. My other embroidery machine is a 6 needle and the extension table was not an option so I always improvised when embroidering heavy bulky items.

One of the most convenient attributes of the extension table is the capability to slide it out of the way when necessary. The brackets are easy to install and the table clicks into place and can quickly be taken off or repositioned down to access the bobbin.

Why would you use the extension table? One of the most obvious reasons would be to give a large hoop extra support when stitching. I embroider heavy jackets, thick plush towels and luxurious blankets and using the table helps keep the large hoops balanced and decreases the chance of my project bouncing out of the hoop. The extension table also keeps excess fabric out of the way of the bobbin area and back of embroidery machine. If you have purchased the optional 14 x 14 jumbo hoop, the extension table should always be used. The “B” arms would have to be attached to replace the “A” arms.

Do not use the table as a hooping station. You should always keep a clear surface for hooping only. Use a table or counter top that is the appropriate height for you. Position a rubber mat or rubber shelf liner on your work surface to help ease the task of hooping.

Remove the extension table when embroidering bags, t-shirts and other tubular items because you will need to have the ability to fit the item around the bobbin throat.

Installing the extension table is simple to do; the hardware consists of two rails, 4 tall extension screws and 4 extra small screws. One Philips head screw driver is needed to remove small screws and insert back into tall extension screws.

The photos below will give you a clear image of how to proceed when inserting the extension table.table1BLtable2BLRemove the 4 screws shown in the red boxes and place aside. Insert the 4 tall extension screws (included with extension table accessories) into the same hole where the small screws were removed.table3BL

Attach the 2 rails to the inside area of  embroidery machine, notice the two side rails will have to be installed correctly on the left and right side.table4BLtable5BL

Insert the 4 small screws into the top metal frame of side rails.

Slide the extension table top into the rails.table6BLtable7BL

The table is flush with the bobbin throat. The hoop will rest on the table and should not bump into it at all. Use the trace feature when the hoop is attached to be certain the hoop can move cleanly.table8BLtable9BL

My bulky plush blanket can now rest on the extension table and not pull the hoop down when being stitched. It gives me great satisfaction to know I can walk away from my machine and not worry if the hoop will be on the floor when I return.

*Add a water soluble topper to the top of the plush fabrics to keep the nap from poking through the satin stitches of embroidery design.

Use the attached coupon link for my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”- with Marie Zinno.

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.


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.


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!”

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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.  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.”

Multi-Needle Monday: Cylinder Hoop Attachment – Brother Entrepreneur

Multi-needle embroidery machine owners are a resourceful and thrifty group. I follow a few Facebook organizations and blogs and try to get a feel for what they are looking for. Most of the questions pertain to hooping and stabilizer challenges on multi-needle machines. Many are overwhelmed once the machine and all the necessary notions are purchased. I remember when I first started my embroidery business; I had no idea about the different accessories that were available to ease hooping.

Last year I taped an episode of It’s Sew Easy TV and I featured the cylinder hoop for the Brother Entrepreneur multi-needle embroidery machine. The series was titled fashion through history. My segment #813 focused on the 1970’s and I embroidered the bottom pant leg of denim jeans. The cylinder hoop can be a useful tool for stitching: upper sleeve on jackets, bottom edge of short sleeve shirts (coaches and corporate), children’s pant legs, narrow opening of bags (wine bags) and any other problematic blanks.

One of the best attributes of the cylinder hoop is the generous embroidery area size: 3 inches tall x 3.5 inches wide. There are three different components of the cylinder hoop: the mounting jig, the cylinder driver and cylinder hoop frame (all included with purchase from your authorized dealer). The hoop is curved and the use of stabilizer is very critical because of the “open window” frame. I suggest using fusible cut away stabilizer when stitching a fabric with stretch. The clips are necessary to hold the fabric in place and inserting the frame to the machine needs a steady hand so as not to push the fabric through the frame opening.

The embroidery machine will “read” the hoop which is helpful but consider if the design needs to be rotated.

Step 1: Loosen and remove the screws from back of machine attachment and remove the “A” or “B” arms, place the screws aside. Insert the cylinder driver on to machine where the arms were removed and tighten the bottom screws (included with the cylinder hoop) as well as inserting the screws from the arms that were removed. Attach the cylinder mounting jig to a table top or metal stand frame and tighten the bottom screw vice which is included with mounting jig. cylinder2BLcylinder3BL

Step 2: Mark the embroidery area on jacket sleeve with a target sticker; turn sleeve inside out and iron the fusible stabilizer to the inside of upper sleeve (or desired location for embroidery). Turn sleeve right side out with target sticker still in place. Insert the cylinder frame onto the mounting jig and slide the sleeve onto the frame.cylinder4BLcylinder5BL Use the included clips to tighten the fabric on the frame on both sides. Remove the frame from the jig carefully and transfer to the cylinder driver.cylinder6BL

Step 3: Embroider the design on upper sleeve area of jacket and remove frame from driver. Remove all clips and re-iron the fusible stabilizer from inside jacket sleeve. Carefully trim the excess stabilizer from inside jacket and clip thread tails if necessary.cylinder8BL

Visit It’s Sew Easy TV to view the segment:

I have included a special coupon for you to use on my Craftsy class: “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” with Marie Zinno

Split Long Text Messages for Embroidering on Ribbon

If you have a message that’s longer than your largest hoop, you have two choices, shrink or split the text. Since you don’t always have the option of shrinking text (you might have to fill a certain size space), you might as well learn how to split it. And it’s really quite simple. Here’s how.

Open Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro (you can also follow these steps in Word Art in Stitches). Select the Text tool and type the message in the Properties Box.  Do not hit the return key on the keyboard as you’ll want a long continuous line of text for a ribbon.  Select the font, the sample is Athletic Script. WebRib1BL

The text appears on the screen and if you check the top of the screen, you’ll find the length. The sample was 27 ½” wide. WebRib2BL

Before doing anything else, zoom into the lettering and check the spacing (kerning). WebRib5BL

This is too wide for my taste so I reselect the text (with the Text tool) and change the settings in the property box.  Decrease the height to .65” and reduce the spacing to -4. Click Apply. WebRib6BL

Now the letters almost touch – perfect for stitching on organza. WebRib7BL

But the overall width of the design is still way too big for one hooping.  Let’s breakup the text. Right now, the color sequence box shows the text is all one color and one unit. WebRib7ABL

Select the text and right mouse click. Select Break Up Text from the drop down menu. WebRib8BL

Now the color sequence shows each individual element (underlay, satins, and runs) of the design.  Don’t fret. WebRib8ABL

Click on the Hoop tool and select the hoop you plan on using. WebRib9

Move the text so that the beginning of the message is at the edge of the hoop. Select a logical group of letters. Copy, open a new file and paste.  Save that design as Hoop1. WebRib10BL

Go back to the original file and select the next group. Use natural breaks (between words) to your advantage. WebRib11BL

Save each hooping as a new file and then print templates of each one to help with placement.  See how easy that was?

Multi-Needle Monday: Automatic Appliqué on the Brother Entrepreneur and Baby Lock Enterprise

As owners of the Baby Lock Enterprise and Brother Entrepreneur, we are so fortunate to have the latest and greatest technology at their finger tips. We have the scanner and live camera along with automatic basting file (shown in an earlier blog for embroidering t-shirts) and another helpful, quick technique the automatic appliqué feature. The automatic appliqué can create any shape, text or embroidery design into an appliqué without using embroidery software. There is an icon on the screen to convert each design into an appliqué.

I created a simple three-letter monogram inside a diamond shape design right at the embroidery screen; no embroidery software needed. The steps below will guide you how to create your own appliqué once a design, text or shape is shown on the screen.

Step 1. Select the shapes icon under Exclusives and choose the diamond shape.

diamond mono1diamond mono2

Resize the diamond shape to approximately 4″ wide or the size you wish to embroider and select Edit End. diamond mono3

Step 2. Click the blue shield icon; this will add the automatic appliqué around the diamond shape.

diamond mono4diamond mono5

Step 3.Use the select key and highlight the black diamond shape as shown in photo (the original shape) and delete it.

diamond mono6diamond mono7

Go to “Add”. Choose the monogram icon.

diamond mono8diamond mono9


Step 4. Select the letters for the monogram; left, middle and right letters to fit properly inside the shape.

diamond mono10diamond mono11diamond mono12


Resize the letters to fit inside the satin stitches.

Step 5. Hoop the fabric and stitch the placement color (1st color). Add the fabric on top of placement color. diamond mono13diamond mono14diamond mono15 Remove hoop from machine and trim excess fabric from around diamond shape.

Step 6. Replace the hoop on the machine and stitch the satin stitch and monogram. diamond mono16

final mono diamond

Instant applique! Right at your fingertips!


Learn more helpful machine embroidery business information by taking my Craftsy class : How to Start an Embroidery Business by Marie Zinno.

Click the link to save $10 on this class.

Multi-Needle Monday – Tackling Hard to Hoop Items

My favorite solution for hard-to-hoop items is Quick Snap Frames. There are many uses for the Quick Snap Hooping System such as stitching backpacks and small cosmetic cases. The Quick Snap System comes with a variety of metal base frames that are inserted into a bracket attached in the center back of the embroidery machine.


The top clear frames are held in place with super strong magnets that slide into the grooves. Seven metal frames and 15 coordinating top frames are included with Quick Snap.


Sometimes a particular accessory has many obstacles such as zippers, rivets, tiny inside pockets of bags and thick bulky seams. If the clear top acrylic frames do not lay properly or easily because of bulky seams, my solution is to use only the magnets.

Here’s how I use them. Measure the design, measure the opening of the accessory and select the correct size Quick Snap metal base frame. Attach the metal base frame to the machine and use the trace feature to make sure the design is centered and fits in the selected frame.

Mark your item to be embroidered with a target sticker and place a piece of stabilizer on top of the metal frame. Slide the item onto the frame, centering the target sticker under the needle. Add the magnets.


The magnets will hold the item on the metal frame during the stitching process. This technique made easy work of monogramming nine cosmetic cases for wedding attendant gifts.

zippered case1

Follow the same instructions for embroidery a larger item such as a backpack. The monogram for the backpack measures 5” tall and the zipper area was a bit restrictive for the top clear frame. So I measured and centered the design before the pocket of the backpack was inserted on the frame.


The magnets easily held the bulky (and expensive) backpack on the hoop. Of course this was for my 17 year old daughter and she wanted metallic thread! It turned out great, just as she envisioned.


Multi-Needle Monday: Embroidering on T-shirts

Embroidering t-shirts are so simple on a multi-needle machine. Through my five years teaching on the road with my Stitching Sister we have discovered many interesting scenarios regarding hooping t-shirts. Single needle embroidery machine owners have to be creative when they hoop and embroider a t-shirt. We teach some out of the ordinary techniques such as using tape, clips, Hoop Guards, spray adhesive and pins. Some people use all of the items listed! If you are fortunate enough to own a multi-needle embroidery machine, hooping and embroidering a t-shirt is very simple.

Step1. Select the embroidery design and decide on the appropriate size hoop. T-shirts should not be embroidered on a hoop larger than a 5” x 7” for optimal quality. For example: stitching jumbo letters or multiple lines of text on a stretchy knit fabric is not ideal. Make your job a bit easier and re-size the design to fit in a 5” x 7” or 4” x 4” hoop.

Step 2. Stabilizer rule: If it stretches, cut it out. It’s that simple. Stabilize the wrong side of the t-shirt in the area to be embroidered with a fusible no-show or poly-mesh cut away stabilizer. Cut the stabilizer larger than the hoop you plan to use. For a 4” x 4” hoop, cut a 8”  square of fusible stabilizer. (Poly mesh and no-show are interchangeable terms.) Poly mesh stabilizer is available in fusible and non-fusible in white, natural or black colors.

poly mesh1

Step3. Do not over stretch the fabric when placing it in the hoop. Once the fusible poly mesh is ironed in place, carefully hoop the fabric taut without over stretching. Mark the area to be embroidered with a target sticker; cross hair centered in the hoop. The fabric should be tight like a drum, without ripples. Feel underneath the hoop to make sure excess fabric is not caught in the hoop. Remove the target sticker after it is aligned with the needle bar.hoop1

Step4. DO NOT FLOAT! (To float fabric is to hoop stabilizer and spray adhesive to the stabilizer, then add the garment or fabric on top of the hoop. The fabric is not actually contained in the hoop.) I hear so many embroiderers talk about floating the garment or fabric and floating the fabric does not create any tension on the fabric.

Embroidery machine manufacturers make hoops because it is the best way to stabilize the fabric. Yes, there are many instances when you might need a specialty hoop and we are glad to have them. On a daily basis, hoop properly and your embroidery will look professional.

Step 5. Use water soluble stabilizer on top of the fabric to keep the thread from sinking into the knit fabric. Hold the stabilizer in place with the basting file.hoop2

Step 6. Use the free-arm ability to easily embroider tubular items such as t-shirts, sweat shirts and onesies. Insert the neckline over the machine throat and let the body of the shirt hang below the throat. Get creative if the design is more vertical, you can use the sleeve to fit around the hoop’s extended attachment.

Want to learn more about stitching professionally? Take advantage of this $10 coupon for my Craftsy class, How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business.


Hooping a t-shirt in Multi-Needle Monster

Today’s blog is inspired by a reader’s recent question.  We hope you enjoy and be sure to keep those questions coming!


On July 21, 2014, reader Beth Price left a comment asking how to center a t-shirt with Multi-Needle Monster and PAL. Here’s how I do it.

First, prepare your hoop. Multi-Needle Monster comes with four adhesive centering rulers. Apply them to the top of the metal frame. MN1

Mark the centers of the magnetic frame on the magnet side with a permanent marker. For illustration purposes here, I’ve place four Target Stickers on the marks so you can see them clearly. Set the hoop aside. MN2

Stabilize the knit shirt with fusible polymesh cut-away stabilizer. I use the Embroiderer’s Helper for left chest placement because it provides flawless placement. Fold the t-shirt in half, matching the shoulder seams. Place the folded t-shirt on a flat surface and align the Embroiderer’s Helper’s straight edge with the fold. The notch at the top left goes right under the neckline ribbing. If there was a button on the shirt, the notch will land right under it. Slide a target sticker into the notch corresponding with the size of the t-shirt. My shirt is large so I align the target sticker with the notch marked Large. Remove the Embroiderer’s Helper. MN3

Place the shirt under PAL and turn on the beam centering the target sticker. Alignment now is not crucial; you’ll fine tune that in a few moments. MN4

Slide Multi-Needle Monster’s magnetic frame, magnets up, inside the shirt. Open the t-shirt to view the frame. Align the frame with the beam. MN5

Smooth the shirt front over the frame aligning the target sticker with the beam. MN6

Position the metal frame on one long edge of the magnetic frame holding it perpendicular to the magnetic frame. Check the alignment. The beam should hit the center mark of the metal frame. MN7Carefully release the metal frame onto the magnetic frame. Smooth the t-shirt by gently tugging on the fabric beyond the edges of the hoop. Since the t-shirt is stabilized with a fusible cut-away the fiber will not distort with the frame. Remember, it’s a flat hoop so it’s perfectly acceptable to pull on the fabric – within reason! You wouldn’t want to use brute strength, just normal handling. MN8

Attach the hoop to the machine, hem first. MN9

Inserting the free arm into the hem (instead of through the neck) insures that hoop can move freely during the embroidery process. MN10

You gotta love these multi-needle machines – they make embroidering on blanks so easy!

Multi-Needle Monday: Dynamic Duo

I have to admit when I hoop I use two devices that simplify my hooping process. I don’t have to struggle with the inner and outer rings of standard hoops or watch the outer ring scurry around my work surface while the stabilizer and fabric goes in another direction. I use a powerful duo: PAL2 and Multi-Needle Monster.

Here’s my routine: I place the Multi-Needle Monster’s magnetic frame, magnet side up, on my hooping station. My hooping station is a rubberized mat (shelf liner) taped onto a flat work surface with PAL2 centered above the mat. I have marked the center of each side of the hoop with a Sharpie and I make sure those marks are aligned with the beam.


Then I slide stabilizer and fabric over the frame centering the target sticker under the beam.


Next, I position Multi-Needle Monster’s metal frame perpendicular to the magnetic frame. I get the outside edge of one side aligned (metal frame still perpendicular to the magnetic frame). Then I carefully release the metal frame.


It all comes together in about 30 seconds and it’s perfectly centered! Love that combo!

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