Archive of ‘Inspiration’ category

Top 5 Tips For Continuous Borders Video!

Hello Embroidery Friends!

On Wednesday, Eileen filmed a LIVE video giving her Top 5 Tips on Continuous Borders. She also gave an awesome demonstration on how helpful the perfect alignment laser (PAL) is!

Watch below.

Note: Please excuse the graininess in the beginning, still working out the kinks and the video clears up after a few minutes.

Designs in Machine Embroidery

image via giphy.com

 

Enjoy!

Take advantage of our Special Offer and get $10 off both PAL 1 and 2 (plus FREE shipping) when you use code FBPAL.

Happy Stitching!

So Much Talent!

What do you get when you give 11 talented embroiderers a fairly simple fabric panel and a few embroidery designs? Eleven uniquely-embroidered works of art. It absolutely amazes me to see how people put their own stamp of creativity into an embroidery project.

The past month has been an eye-opener – we’ve seen subtle touches such as Marie Zinno’s soft blue filagree designs that are built-in the Baby Lock Valiant.

MarieZinno.com

 

And an out of the box transformation by Cathy Sundermann of Stitch Fork Designs. That’s an impressive front door!

Cathy Sundermann of Stitch Fork Designs

Deanna Springer of Nancy Zieman Productions sashed the wood grain panel with Nancy Zieman’s red Riley Blake shiplap fabric to spice it up. Deanna ditched the wrapped canvas idea and added a pretty floral border for a traditional wall-hanging.

Deanna Springer of Nancy Zieman Productions

Milinda Stephenson opted to wrap her panel around a pillow. This was a fast and easy finish and her dog, Iris, loved it!

Milinda Stephenson

Michelle Umlauf used the IQ Designer in her Baby Lock Solaris machine to enhance the lettering. Talk about perfect placement! That’s a show stopper technique and wonderful way to show how to incorporate prints with embroidery. It’s all about value – making sure the embroidery is visible on a busy print.

Michele Umlauf – Sewing Machine Artistry

Carla Reale used Baby Lock’s Palette software program to add her own message in the applique heart of the Grateful panel. Join the Baby Lock Palette group on Facebook to watch her video.

Carla Reale of the Baby Lock Palette Community

Karen Parker made two samples! Her Grateful panel shows offset floral sprays at the top and bottom. I love that layout and never think of using it! Of course she pulled her thread colors from her fun, striped border.

Karen Parker of Thread Head & Company.

Karen’s English Pub theme set the tone for her border fabrics and faux leather trim – complete with nail heads! Her satin circles mimic a dinner plate and the embroidered knife and fork really seal the deal. Finished with two glasses of cold beer, this panel will look great in any proper drinking establishment.

Karen Parker of Thread Head & Company

Debbie Henry extended the wood grain quilting beyond the panel edge onto a wide border. Love her delicate blue floral spray in the center of the heart!

Debbie Henry of Secrets of Embroidery

The Embroiderist, Colleen Bell, used a dark thread to quilt her Gathering panel – love how visible the wood grain is. She paired her panel with an embroidered chalkboard fabric. As a mother of nine, she knows a thing or two about prepping meals!

Colleen Bell, The Embroiderist

Sara Gallegos of Sew Positively Sara added family names to the applique heart on the Grateful panel on her Baby Lock Solaris. Of course, she nailed the placement of the quilting designs with the help of a quick camera scan on the Solaris. Nothing like seeing before you stitch!

Check out her blog at SewPositivelySara to see how she pieced the heart blocks on her pillow.

Sara Gallegos

Our last participant, Debbie Cleek, added trapunto to her floral sprays on the Gathering panel. She used Designer’s Gallery to add the traditional technique of trapunto but with today’s technology.

Debbie Cleek of Designer’s Gallery

I’d like to give a huge thank you to all of the participants. If you followed along, I’m sure you’re were as impressed as I was with their creativity. And so many techniques were shared! Please leave a comment and tell me what’s your biggest embroidery challenge. We’ll pick a random winner to send one Farmhouse Sentiments kit.

How to Use Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Scatter Tool

On January 13th, blog reader Sue L requested information on about Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Scatter tool.  The Scatter tool is fun to explore and very easy to master. Let’s dive in and take a look.

An 8” quilt block is the ideal canvas to experiment with the Scatter tool. Some brief text, Bee Happy, and a swarm of bumble bees will bring it to life.  Draw an 8” square with the Artwork tool.  Select the text tool and select the Tango font in the Properties Box.  Type Bee Happy, adding an extra return to space out the two lines of text.  Click Apply.

Tango Font

Enlarge and center the design in the square. 

In the sequence view, click on the padlock to lock the text. 

The Scatter tool becomes active when you have a design on the screen.  It’s best to start with a small design such as a symbol because the scatter tool will repeat the design to fill a specific sewing field.

Click on Select to access the Symbol library.

Go to Symbol, scroll down to the Bee and click OK.

Click OK.

Click once on the screen and one bee will appear.

Select the bee and click on the dropdown arrow on the Carousel tool to access the Scatter tool.

In the preview window, you can change the size of the sewing field.  The default size is 7.87”. If you’re pleased with the arrangement on the screen, click OK.  If you’d like to see more possibilities, click Apply.  Every time you click Apply, a new layout will be presented.  Since the layout is random, you can not go back to a previously-viewed layout. If you like it, click OK!

To remove the bees that overlap the text, Ungroup the bees. Once ungrouped, all the elements of each bee are also ungrouped. When you select a bee, group it first as you work on arranging the bees.  Select each bee that you want to remove.  The text will still be locked so don’t worry about inadvertently grabbing the text.  You can resize, rotate and reposition each of the bees.  Play with the arrangement until you feel the bees are evenly spaced on the quilt block.

Once you’re satisfied, select all, go to Edit, Resequence by Color and Optimize Sequence.  View the Redraw and save the design. So fun!

Digital Cutters and My Block Piecer

Use your digital cutter to cut quilt block patches with Inspirations’ My Block Piecer (MBP) . Let me show you how.

GO to the Block Library and select a block.  I chose Basic, Nested Triangles. This block features five patches, two patches in fabric A and three patches in fabric B.

Go to the Properties Box and click on the Transform tab. Enter the size of your finished block.  My sample is 5” finished – the software will add all necessary seam allowances to each patch. Click Apply.

Select the block and click on the Cutter icon.

Scroll through the list of formats and select the appropriate format for your digital cutter.  I selected FCM for the Brother Scan ‘n Cut.  The screen shows the first frame, or the two patches for the fabric A. 

When you click on Frame 2, you’ll see three patches for fabric B. Click Save.

Select FCM for the Brother Scan ‘n Cut to actually save the files in that format.  The software creates a new folder with all of the necessary files.  Name the file and select Save.

The software creates a folder and stores the cutting files in that location.

If you are cutting patches for multiple blocks, change the number of repeats on the cutter screen.

How easy was that?

Hope to See You in the Classroom

I’m packing my bags and hitting the road for Wichita, Kansas tomorrow.  Friday, you can catch me at A-1 Singer Sewing with Inspirations’ Consultant Sheryl Burnette.  I’m excited to get together with fellow embroiderers – it gets lonely in the office!  And I’m really pumped to see the Brother Luminaire in action.

We’ll be doing six fun projects – everything from hooping an Embroidery Buddy to continuous quilting. Of course, Sheryl and I will share samples from our favorite projects and teach how to create them.

I have two more trips planned this fall – both in the upper North West. Inspirations’ consultant Sheryl and I are teaming up again for another two days of stitching fun.  On Nov. 9-10, I’m heading to Salem, OR to see my friends at Rich’s Sewing & Vacuum.

After Thanksgiving, I’ll be heading north west again to Issaquah, WA. Eddie Schultz is the proud owner of Issaquah Sewing & Vacuum… and he’s always a blast to work with. The last time I actually worked with Eddie was at The Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA.  Several years ago, he helped me close the Stitching Sister’s Friday Night Live event with a karaoke rendition of Sweet Caroline – and I have the video to prove it! Not that I’ll share it but….you never know!  Issaquah is hosting two one-day hands-on events so you have your choice of what day is best for you.

I do hope to see you on my travels. Let me know if you’re going to be there and let’s grab a photo together. After all, it’s not very often we get the chance to be in the presence of 50 or more embroiderers! Sew much stitching fun!

Last week’s emotional blog post received so many comments. Thank you to each one of you who left a heartfelt message.  Your words lifted my spirit.  It’s been a tough year and I miss Nancy terribly. The winners of The Rest of the Story book are Cheryl Seal and Lynnette Wilson.

Cheryl wrote, “It would be impossible to name just one of the many notions I have purchased from Nancy’s Notions as my favorite. She was one of the most innovative in the field of sewing and quilting. I loved watching her sit at the machine and sew…when she made a mistake the same way I have so many times, it simply made her human. Her sewing program set the bar for all the others who have come after it and many fall way short. She is a true inspiration to me as a sewer and a person. She is truly missed.”

Lynette shared, “It would be hard to pick out just one tool or book. I like her sliding ruler [both the small one and the large triangle cutting ruler]. I refer back to her 10-20-30 minute books frequently. I love her videos/DVDs because she has the absolute best teaching style. She definitely set the standard. Learning about her faith from her book and now The Rest of the Story was inspiring and an encouragement.”

Congratulations, ladies, I’ll email you privately for your mailing addresses.

Stitching Pumpkins

The Dallas Arboretum has transitioned from their summer floral display to an eye-catching display of pumpkins and gourds.  All the stores are stocked with pumpkin decorations.  The coffee shops even have fall colors in their window displays.  With all the pumpkins popping up everywhere, I thought it would be gourd to join in! 😉


Our newest quilting collection, Pumpkin Parade, makes it easy to join in the festivities by making fall décor.  But before I started, I decided to set up a few rules.

Rule 1.  Stay focused.  (ha!)  By that I mean I decided to start and finish one project at a time.  I usually like to start multiple projects and I get so overwhelmed that I don’t finish them!  This also motivated me to get the current project finished so I could swiftly move on to my next great experiment.

Rule 2.  Minimize the number of variables.  One of my favorite activities is to take one design and see how many variations I can make with it.  Sometimes the variations are created in software. Other times, I have fun with fabric and thread color selection.  For this project, I decided the primary variable would be fabric and thread color.  (Though I did use two different pumpkin designs).

Rule 3.  Keep the project manageable in size.  Sure, I could stitch an entire quilt—or two—or three but I do need to sleep and I wanted to be sure I could finish them in a day or two.  The advantage of the small centerpieces:  I can give them as gifts to friends, family and coworkers.  The way I like to experiment, I may have enough for an entire neighborhood by the end of the week!

Rule 4.  Have fun and don’t be overly critical!  I read a comment recently on a social media platform from someone who was seeking advice on where and how to start a project.  Her desire for perfection seemed to be holding her back before she could even begin a project.  It can be especially disheartening when social media and photo editing makes it possible to present the best, most pristine and flawless representation of ourselves and our work.  But there’s also reality.  And in my reality, my binding is not impeccable on my quilts.  I try really hard.  But I’m still learning!  And that’s the point.  We have to stay focused on improving our skills and not be so critical of our work that we become immobile.

Denise carefully attaches binding. She’s hopeful. She’s confident. She’s determined to get the job done!

Enough about the rules, let’s take a look at my gourd-ous shenanigans I completed in 2 days.  😊


Centerpiece 1:  Youthful!

I rummaged through my fabric and found the orange print.  The downside, I only had scraps.  I decided to make the best of my supplies by making a 4-patch block.  I added a coordinating green fabric to make the centerpiece larger.

Once the top was complete, I made a quilt sandwich and hooped the project using Snap Hoop Monster.  Then it occurred to me I needed to center the design within the block.  No problem!  I used the handy Centering Ruler from the Embroidery Tool Kit to find the center of the block.  I placed a target sticker in the hole.  Then I made sure the needle hit the center of the target sticker.  Moments like these make having the right tools indispensable.

I chose an orange thread color for the pumpkin quilting design and used the stitch-in-the-ditch method for the busy prints.  My coworker, Sam, commented that he likes the difference in the busy prints.  One print is large scale while the other is a smaller scale.  Until he mentioned it, I hadn’t noticed.  Sometimes I can get so focused I miss certain elements!

Centerpiece 2:  Fall Harvest with a Touch of Blue!

I continued rummaging through my fabric and found small scraps of the beautiful blue print fabric.

It’s so delicious, I had to use it.  It’s also not what we might expect for a fall harvest but that’s why I love it!   I chose a brown thread color for the quilt designs. The brown thread coordinates well with the print.

Centerpiece 3:  Royalty!

I used a delicious batik fabric and a rich purple.

The tan thread color was influenced by the batik fabric.  This sample received a lot of attention when I paraded it around the office.  I suppose we all identify with royalty!  😉

I had an absolute blast making these centerpieces and am sad to see this blog post end.

Which version do you like best?  What other color scheme would you want to see?

 


Given my affinity for this collection, now’s a good time to mention we are offering free shipping on US orders.  I’ve extended the offer to October 5th.  Or give us a call during business hours:  888-739-0555 (8 am – 5 pm CDT).

 

 

What’s Your Favorite?

Just a quick blog post today since I’m buried in new projects.  I’ve been working in Inspirations’ Vintage Embroidery Software and designed three different groupings.  One is supposed to be a pillow but I’m having trouble deciding which one.  I need your help but first, a little background on these on-trend stitches.

Vintage Embroidery software has hundreds of built-in designs that have been digitized to give an old world charm to your embroidery.  The designs require a mixture of 15 wt. polyester and 40 wt. polyester thread. This unique combo gives a high-end retail look to your stitches.  They’re so much fun to stitch because the designs are all low-stitch count designs in a minimum of colors so they stitch quick.  With my busy schedule, I’m always looking for fast and easy with big results.  Vintage fits that bill.

Before I proceed any further on this project, I thought I’d ask you – my fellow expert embroiderers – what’s your favorite grouping?  Do you like the pink Vintage design Abs_0213_Ornamental_D?

 

The green Vintage design Abs_0259_Icon_D?

 

Or the blue Vintage design Abs_0024_Icon_D.?

 

Sometimes, I fall in love with all the samples and then, well, pillows become quilts. So help me stay on track and select one.  Your vote counts!

Stitched Snapshots Plus – Part 3

Converting Sketches to Stitches
By Denise Holguin

Having multiple roles at dime, I have a unique opportunity to play with all our new embroidery software.  I had been playing with Stitched Snapshots Plus Software by converting my favorite vacation and adventure photos in to stitches.  Then I pushed myself even more by converting clip-art in to stitches.  If you’ve been following along in this 3-part Software Saturday series, you saw examples of photos and clip art being converted by Dalene McDonald and Lisa Knight. 

After experimenting with photos and clip-art my mind wandered to other options.  I grabbed a black sharpie and paper.  I wrote the word “Love”.  Using my cell phone, I snapped a photo and emailed the image to myself.  I imported the image in to Stitched Snapshots Plus… and behold… my handwritten word was converted to stitches.  And the crowd goes wild with endless oohs and aahs!

Isn’t that a fun technique?

Here are the step-by-steps:

Click on the Stitched Snapshots Plus icon in the top left corner.

A new window will appear.  Click on Browse to locate the image you want to import.

Once you’ve selected the image, it will display on the right side of the window.  Options abound on the left side of the window.  I left the size untouched.  For this example, I chose the Mono for the Color Mode.  You’ll notice the background turns to a crisp white.  The white “background” disappears – it won’t end up being part of the embroidery design.

I chose the Stippling style of stitches.

Click on the Show / hide preview button to view the effect of your choices.

Click on the Show / hide preview button again.  Select the Hatching style of stitches.  Click on the Show / hide preview button again.

I stitched both examples using my Baby Lock Spirit.

Stippling Example

Hatching Example

But I didn’t stop there.  I wanted to see the effects of Medley Variegated Poly by Exquisite. Take a look:

Stippling Example using Denim Blues Variegated Poly

Hatched Example using Carnival Variegated Poly

 

Here is a fun example of unleashing creativity to see what happens.  My coworker, Sam Solomon, designed and hand colored the sheet that you see.  I conveniently “borrowed” it for my experiments.  I photographed it, cropped it and changed the colors.  How delightfully fun!

I like the free-spirited nature of the design.  It’s not the expected or traditional.  It’s a more artistic approach to machine embroidery that I hope you too will embrace and experiment with on your next project.

Note that if you own additional Inspirations Software, like Perfect Embroidery Pro, you can manipulate the design further.  But as a standalone software, it has plenty of tools for you to create and have fun – without breaking the bank.  From photos, to clip-art to your hand written words or sketches, you can create one of a kind embroidery designs.

For more information on Stitched Snapshots Plus, visit the Inspired by DIME website.

A trip to the museum

As machine embroiderers, I think it’s important to step out of our comfort zones to see new interpretations of the everyday.  That’s why I took a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art recently.  A fashion exhibit featuring the work of Iris van Herpen was on display and it was well worth the trip!

If you’re unfamiliar, she’s a fashion designer that boldly and unapologetically mixes media to make her collections.  Ever imagine using 3-D printing to make garments?  She has and she’s done it.  She mixes everything from tulle (we’d expect that) to resins, chain and magnets.

My friend and I commented on whether or not a model could sit in any of the garments.  We concluded most were not meant for sitting!  But they certainly were fascinating and inspiring.

Take a look.


This dress, called Refinery Smoke, is at the entrance to the exhibit.  I think it’s among my favorites in the collection.  The description of the dress, as featured at the museum, follows.

What a unique gift to see beauty where most of us don’t.

The next dress is my top favorite.  It has a vintage look about it – which I love.

Here’s a closer view of the detail.  Would you have ever imagined to use ball chain on a garment?  Somehow it works!  As a machine embroiderer, I can imagine a touch of Urban Threads’ embroidery designs embellished somewhere on the dress.  You’ll make a splash when you enter the room in this garment!

You might be thinking delicate feathers.  No.  Laser cut 3-D polyester film lace and micro fiber.

At a loss for words? Me too.  Among the components are silicone laser-cut feathers, gull skulls and pearls.  Of course!

Close-up view of the garment.

Can you guess the metal components in the dress below?  Umbrella tines!


While you and I may not aspire to create over-the-top pieces like these – we do have permission to be inspired.  Push yourself to see fabric and embroidery designs with a new perspective.  Iris van Herpen certainly “broke” all sorts of “rules” when it comes to creating garments – and you can too – whether it’s embroidered garments, quilts or home decor.

Look for ideas in the upcoming Volume 106 Sept/Oct issue with Katherine Artines and Volume 107 Nov/Dec featuring a variety of 3-D ornaments.

Software Saturday: Stitched Poetry!

Farewell to My Red Pen
By Denise Holguin

As Managing Editor, a portion of my time is spent editing the magazine. This includes making sure advertisements are placed, the Buyers Guide has the correct page numbers and the Table of Contents leads readers to the proper articles. I do all these tasks with a red pen.

And as strange as it sounds, I have only one (favorite) red pen that I use issue after issue. I was at a great loss the day it ran out of ink.

I penned a poem to commemorate the ‘passing’ of my red pen. Humored by the absurdity, I decided to take it one step further and embroider the tribute on to fabric.

Goals for this article:

 

  • Inspire you to start thinking about custom gifts you can make for family and friends that only they would understand.
  • Help you to discover your inner poet!
  • Practice your lettering and layout skills in embroidery software.
  • Problem solve on the fly.

 

 

Embroidery Products
Make Something UT5084 from Urban Threads (3.39” x 3.86”)
Free Skull Design courtesy of Designs in Machine Embroidery.

Embroidery software (Perfect Embroidery Pro was used)
Hoop Size: 300×200

At the Computer
First, we will type each line of text. Then we will rearrange and add other elements.

In Perfect Embroidery Pro, select the Text icon and type the words, “arewell, my friend.”

Click on the Text icon again and type, “You’ve served me well.”

Click on the Text icon and type, “When we, upon the page, would dwell”

Click on the Text icon and type, “To an editor, your color”

Click on the Text icon and type, “Was heaven, but now you’re dead.”

Select the Hoop icon on the left side of the screen. Select the 300×200 hoop. This will establish boundaries to rearrange the poem.

Select all the text. (Control-A). Change the font to “Times.”

Click on the first line of text. Go to the Transform tab and change the height to .69 inches. Repeat this step for each line of text.

Once finished, your text will look similar to the sample shown.

Click on File / Merge. Select the Urban Threads design. Place the design in an open space. We will be editing the design to fit our needs. Select the design. Right click and select Ungroup.

Select “Make Something” and delete it.

Since this is a tribute to a red pen, I selected and deleted the other tools that didn’t fit the pen theme.

You should only have two pens remaining.

Slide the last pen to the left of the marker. Then copy and paste the same pen and place to the right of the marker. Flip the last pen Vertically.

Copy the marker and place it to the right of the pen. Flip it vertically. Copy the first pen and marker and paste them to the right. Your version should look similar to the image shown.

Select all the pens and markers. Right click. Select Group.

Rearrange the rows of lettering to fit within the hoop. This isn’t the final stage of rearranging but it’s the first step.

Slide the pens to the right side of the hoop as shown.

Click on the Text icon. Type the letter “F”. Select Old English. Size the Width and Height to 1.77 inches.

Position the letter in front of “arewell”.

Select the Text icon. Type the word “red”. Select the Athletic font and resize it to 2.05” wide x .80” tall.

Position the word after “color” as shown.

Go to File / Merge Design. Select the Skull design.

Place the skull at the end of the poem.

Change the “F”, the word “red” and the set of pens to red.

I decided to change the word “heaven” to blue. There are three ways to do this:

Inconvenient & Hard:

 

  • Stop the machine before it stitches.

 

 

Too Much Work:

 

  • Edit the line of text so that it’s made up of three designs.

 

 

Easiest! (but you need to be responsible)

 

  • Select the last line of text. Right click. Select Break up text. Note, when you do this, the text is no longer a font.

 

 

Each letter becomes an individual design.

Select all the letters for the word “heaven”. Change the color to blue.

The third line of the poem is a little tight in the hoop. Change the height to .67 inches. Make any other last minute adjustments to the layout of the design.

Select All. (Control-A). Go to Edit / Optimize Sequence.

Save the design and send to the embroidery machine.

I framed the design and added the red pen to its final resting place.


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