Archive of ‘Inspiration’ category

Who is Blue Hair Girl?

Welcome, Blue Hair Girl!
What do you get when you mix machine embroidery, a quirky sense of humor and streaks of blue hair? The launch of a new brand from Designs in Machine Embroidery. Blue Hair Girl is a fresh and quirky approach to embroidery!

Managing Editor, Denise Holguin, has been in the machine embroidery industry for over 15 years. Her approach to embroidery and every project she tackles is simple: It has to be fun. That same spirit is what inspired her to launch her own Blue Hair Girl brand.

Blue Hair Girl makes you smile!
Blue Hair Girl is about approaching machine embroidery with a smile. Blue Hair Girl wants to inspire a smile during the creative process of stitching and deviating from the expected.

Blue Hair Girl gives you wings! 
Denise Holguin aims to inspire machine embroiderers to take that often difficult first step of trying. Blue Hair Girl is about having the confidence to try and celebrating milestones.

Blue Hair Girl is unconventional!
From streaks of blue hair victory rolls and polka dot everything to current pop cultural influences, Blue Hair Girl aims to give you something quirky, fun and definitely unique to machine embroidery.

Be the first to have a Blue Hair Girl Product!
Patch Celebration! features 12 embroidery patches, 4 printable Gift Tags and instructions.  

Order now and enjoy FREE US shipping and handling up to $10.00!  Use coupon code:  celebrate.  Offer good until February 25, 2017.

Advanced Tutorial for Perfect Embroidery Pro

My good friend, Katherine Artines, recently posted a new video tutorial on the Inspired by Dime YouTube channel.  Katherine’s topic, Push/Pull: Distortion and Compensation, is an advanced discussion of this often misunderstood embroidery feature. If you’ve wondered why what you see on screen does not match your stitched sample, then you’ll really enjoy Katherine’s breakdown of Push/Pull.

She starts with a clear explanation of exactly what push/pull is.

She then goes on to explain the difference between stitch direction and sewing direction and how they affect the end result.  The stitch direction is the angle of stitches while sewing direction is where the needle starts, the direction it travels in and where it finishes.

We learn how size actually does matter on how a design will stitch. Of course, she doesn’t just point out the problems, she gives you solutions.  Each issue is clearly illustrated so you can follow along.

And she critiques stitched designs to show you the problem and gives you the solution.

She brings this same methodical approach to lettering.  Many of us are perplexed about the baseline of text.  Listen to her explanation and you know why the screen shows one thing and the stitch out another.

Don’t you hate when you digitize a complex fill area and spot a row of missing stitches? Ugh!  Katherine explains why this happens (yep, push and pull) and how to fix it.

I encourage you to spend an hour (or break it up into shorter segments) watching Katherine’s video. Your digitizing skills will improve!  I hope you’re already a subscriber to our YouTube channel, if not, sign up today and you’ll never miss a new opportunity to learn more about embroidery.

Volume 102 – Subtle Tees – Spray Paint!

Embrace your inner spray paint artist!

Have you been following the new Subtle Tees column in Designs in Machine Embroidery?  If you aren’t there are several reasons you will want to:

  1. The designs featured on the t-shirts include our magazine sponsors – without whom, we wouldn’t be able to provide you inspiration.
  2. Periodically you’ll find a free design download mentioned in that section.
  3. The column is about everyone’s favorite garment:  the t-shirt!  It’s affordable.  It’s wearable.  It comes in countless colors.  This column presents new ideas you’ll want to try – if not for yourself for someone you know.

The most recent installment of Subtle Tees (Volume 102 January/February 2017) showcases t-shirts with an added element of excitement:  spray paint!  This blog post covers the expanded content as referenced in the magazine.  Let’s begin!

 


You’ll need the following supplies which are all available from your local big box craft/hobby store.

  • Tulip ColorShot Instant Fabric Color spray paint.  Purchase an assortment of colors! This photo represents just a small stash in my collection.  They sell smaller cans, but don’t bother.  You need the full size cans because once you start one shirt, you’ll want to do many.

  • Plastic Stencils.  Select a stencil that will make a good background for embroidery designs. Look for patterns instead of single motifs.  Your local craft/hobby store should have an assortment of options.
  • Cardboard T-shirt Form (this provides a nice flat surface for the t-shirt and prevents paint from seeping to the back of the t-shirt.)

  • Tulip Stencil Adhesive (this is optional but I found it very useful for keeping the stencil in place)

Additional Supplies:

  • Painter’s Tape
  • Wax paper
  • T-shirt

Notes on Color
Dark colored t-shirts lend themselves to lighter colored spray paints.  Light colored t-shirts lend themselves to darker colored spray paint.  Of course, I did the complete opposite with the unicorn shirt featured in this blog.  All colors were subtle!  The point is, consider color when you’re making your purchases.  Note that on some shirts I deliberately sprayed white spray paint as a base before adding other spray paint colors.

Step 1.  Preparation
This step reminds me of what it must be like to make Thanksgiving dinner.  You spend the majority of your time preparing the meal!

Slide the t-shirt onto the cardboard t-shirt form.  Fold the excess t-shirt (the shirt sleeves and lower portion of the shirt to the back of the cardboard form.  Secure the excess shirt with Painter’s Tape.

If using the Tulip Stencil Adhesive, spray the back of your stencil now.  Place the stencil on the t-shirt.

Even with the use of the Stencil Adhesive, I like to add Painter’s Tape to the entire perimeter of the stencil for an extra secure hold.

Tear sheets of wax paper large enough to cover the areas of the shirt you do not want spray painted.   Spray paint is a very fine mist.  Absolutely cover every inch!  Secure the wax paper with painter’s tape.  Don’t skimp.

Step 2.  Spray Paint
Go to a well ventilated area (outdoors!).   Avoid spray painting on a windy day.  It makes the process more difficult and overspray will happen.  Also wear a mask, there’s no need to take in the fumes!

Following the directions on the spray paint cans, apply even coats of spray paint to the shirt.  For the example shown, I went crazy and incorporated multiple colors.

You’ll soon discover at this point that this task is very much like the eating part of Thanksgiving dinner.  It seems over in minutes compared to the preparation!

Step 3.  The Big Reveal
This is my favorite part of the process.  Very carefully, remove the wax paper.  Set aside in a safe place (it will still be wet with paint).  Carefully peel the painter’s tape and stencil away from the shirt.

Go ahead and admire your work.  You, my friend, are a spray paint artist!

Follow the instructions that accompany the spray paint regarding the dry time.

Step 4.  Embroidery
I like having a few days pass to let the inspiration percolate in my head.  Let the spray painted design influence your choice of embroidery design.  Once you select a design, do a test stitch on a scrap t-shirt.  This step is worth it.  You don’t want to whip up another Thanksgiving meal – err, prepare another t-shirt for spray painting!  This will give you the opportunity to make sure the design size, density and thread color choices are right.

For the featured shirt, I chose the Unicorn design from A Few of My Favorite Things.  This collection is free to anyone who attends an Embroidery Techniques from A to Z event in 2017.  Print a template of the design and audition its placement on the shirt.

Place a Target Sticker to designate the center of the embroidery design.  Remove the template.  Turn the t-shirt inside out.  Fuse a piece of polymesh stabilizer using Sulky KK2000 to the back of the spray painted t-shirt.  Be sure to place the stabilizer in relation to the target sticker’s position.  (Example, placing stabilizer centered on the shirt isn’t the most effective for hooping my t-shirt example.  My design isn’t centered on the t-shirt.)

I used the Baby Lock Alliance with the Snap Hoop Monster to stitch the design.  I love using the Alliance because it’s a single-needle free-arm embroidery machine.  The free arm makes hooping and stitching a t-shirt wildly easy.  I’m not as prone to stitching the back of the shirt closed.  Of course, you can get the same results on a traditional single needle embroidery machine. I recommend using a Snap Hoop Monster with the a single needle machine as well.  You avoid hoop burn this way and making adjustments to the fabric is as easy as giving it a tug.

Once finished, invite your favorite unicorn friend with purple hair to wear the shirt!

 


Need more inspiration?  Subtle Tees has been making a splash since Volume 100.  Pick up past issues from our website.

Curious about the free designs I mentioned at the beginning of this blog?  We’ve given away two so far in the column.  Click on the images below to visit the download pages.

Volume 102 January / February 2017

Volume 100 September / October 2016

A Visit to the Dallas Quilt Show

Today, I treated myself to a few hours at the Dallas Quilt Show.  Since machine embroidery is so close to my heart, I’m always on the lookout for machine embroidered quilts. Today, I saw several and I loved the story behind Robyn’s Tulip Garden by Jill Johnson of Argyle, TX.12

Jill learned how to machine applique with her ‘new embroidery machine’. Wow!  What fantastic results for her first venture with applique.  The designs are by Smith Street Designs, Tulip Time.

Power of a Woman by Pamela Hansen of Greenville, TX is a happy quilt! What a profound statement. Pamela used the Sew Vintage collection from Lunch Box Quilts to make this quilt.  I smiled when I saw it.14

I have spotted a quilt based on Aie Rossman’s Affairs of the Heart at every quilt show I have attended in Texas over the last dozen years. Today was no different. This beauty, Forever Hearts is Margaret Cotten’s of Tyler, TX version. Every time I see a quilt based on Affairs of the Heart, I want to make one.  I know that won’t happen but a girl can wish.15

Looking at these beautiful quilts makes me want to start digitizing new quilt blocks.  Next week, I’ll share my progress.  There’s so many options with Inspiration’s software programs. I could do a piece-in-the-hoop block in My Block Piecer, an applique block in My Quilt Embellisher  or a play on words in Word in Stitches. See my dilemma? Sometimes starting is the hardest part of a project!

 

 

 

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.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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!

Instagram made me do it.

I started a new hobby this year:  Instagram.

You’re probably thinking, it doesn’t count as a hobby.  But let me explain.

It’s eye-opening to see how many talented people there are on Instagram.  There are so many varied interests and skills all in one place.  It used to be I would admire someone’s work – whether in magazines, on Facebook, Pinterest, or even museums or craft shows and think—gosh, what amazing talent.  I wish I had their talent.

But this is 2016.  Times have changed—or rather, I’m making a deliberate effort to change.  Now my reaction is:  Gosh, what amazing talent.  I feel inspired and now I will try my own version!  Instagram is inspiring me to do.  To try.  To push myself to new heights.  And it’s my hope that you’ll do the same!  You may discover you can do more than you realize.  

One of my first attempts to try something new was the result of admiring hair accessories on Instagram.  My goal was not to make the exact project I saw—just to make my own “Denise” interpretation – based on my skills and available resources.

To help execute my creative vision, I downloaded the FSL Flourish Flower from EmbroideryOnline.  When you see the price – it’s a no brainer.  You need this design because you can develop many skills from using it.  I hadn’t ever stitched lace embroidery but I felt confident I could do it.  If you have never tried lace, you are invited to try it now! It’s a small design and very little risk is involved and the benefits to you are many! EmbroideryOnline has such a large selection of high quality designs to support my many whims and I think you’ll feel the same way as you browse their website.

The other item I used is also from EmbroideryOnline – AquaMesh Wash Away Stabilizer. Keep this stabilizer in stock in your sewing room.  It comes in very handy for lace – not to mention, it’s fun to watch the cloth-like material vanish once placed in water!  (You can wow your friends with the amazing magic trick!)

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Project 1:  Lacy Blue Beauty!
Supplies:  
tulle, monofilament thread

I chose a couple blue shades of thread and off-white for my flowers.  I used matching bobbin thread for each flower.  After stitching, I trimmed the petals away from the stabilizer.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Then I soaked the flowers to remove the water soluble stabilizer.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I placed the lace on a towel to dry.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Look at the pretty lace just waiting to be turned into a finished project!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I am not an expert sewer in real life and I barely play one online – but I decided to try.  I knew the goal was to sew my pieces together.  I layered the petals on a piece of blue tulle. Then I used a zig-zag stitch and monofilament thread to secure the petals.

After I finished sewing I realized laying a piece of water soluble stabilizer on top might have made it easier to hold the petals down while sewing.  The water soluble stabilizer would be dissolved after stitching.  You are invited to use your favorite technique!  

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Once all the petals were attached I trimmed away the excess tulle.  The end result is a very soft and flexible piece of lace.  I decided not to attach a barrette or clip.  I like having the flexibility to adapt the piece to my hair style so I will attach this piece with bobby pins.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Project 2.  Lace Hair Clip
Supplies:  Hair clip, brads (or crystals, sequins), linen ribbon, hot glue gun

I didn’t have any sequins or crystals at my home studio but I did have tiny brass brads that were the perfect size.  I opted for subtlety but add as few or as many embellishments as you wish.  I covered the hair clip with linen ribbon then attached the flowers.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Simple, yet attractive!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Project 3.  Bold Color
Supplies:  
starch, balloon, hair clip or pin, scrap piece of felt

Next I expanded my lace making enterprise by stitching the flowers in bold colors—pink and orange.  I made sure the bobbin thread matched the top thread (when I remembered!)

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
I wanted the flowers to be layered and somewhat shaped on my final piece.  I dipped each flower into a bowl of starch.  Then I placed the flowers on a balloon to give a subtle concave effect.  I let my creation dry overnight and carefully removed the now hardened flowers from the balloon.  I placed a piece of felt on the underside along with a hair clip.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Just one lace design, some water soluble stabilizer and the decision to try!  Imagine what you can do and take action!


Be sure to follow us on Instagram for more photos of these lace hair accessories in action. Also be sure to follow our friends at EmbroideryOnline!  They have plenty of ideas to keep you inspired.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Your fun assignment for the week:  EmbroideryOnline is your source for embroidery designs as well as supplies!  Visit the EmbroideryOnline website and tell us which embroidery supplies you most need in your sewing studio.  From threads to stabilizers and accessories they’ve got what you need.  Tell us what you need…. and you might just receive it!  FIVE random people who comment will each receive a $25 shopping spree to the EmbroideryOnline website.  Take action!

 

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

 

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:
I’m sure Rita’s not the only who likes to scour auctions, resale shops and antique stores. Do you like to do that? If so, are you looking for anything in particular?  Leave a comment and a random winner will receive a $25 shopping spree coupon to the DIME website.

The winner is:
Michelle Hall:  “I have a couple of hand crochet coverlets and an appliqued quilt that my grandmother made.  I love to shop at garage sales and thrift stores to see what I can find and repurpose.”

Congratulations, Michelle!  Thank you for commenting!

 

 

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.

IMG_8039BL

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.

IMG_8060BL

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.  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.

 

 

 

Gratitude in Action!

I was trying to figure out how to thank a friend who has been very helpful the last couple months.  She’s been working hard and really getting a lot accomplished.  But what to do for her?

She recently moved in to a new office and mentioned she wants to decorate her new space.  That’s when a spark of creativity ignited in my mind….

I decided to visit one of my favorite embroidery design sites—Embroidery Online to find something fun to stitch for my friend’s office.

Not having any idea what I wanted, I decided to visit the New Releases section on their homepage.

That’s when the Loop-de-Loop designs caught my attention.  They look like something I would doodle and color if I had the talent!

I had a vague idea what I wanted—stark contrasting colors and maybe even decorative stitching thrown in for even more effect.  And I’d like to decorate with some rick rack!

I used Perfect Embroidery Pro but most digitizing software programs have the same function.


Open one of the letters from the collection.  Select the entire design.  (Press Ctrl + A).  Right click on the design and select Group.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Next click on the Artwork tool.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Then click on Rectangle from the dropdown menu.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Draw a rectangle around the design as shown.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Right click on an empty thread color box at the bottom of your workspace.  Click Add Color.  Another color is added to your workspace.  You can click on the color and change it to any color you wish.  I chose a bright red to make it easier on my eyes to see.  Next click on the rectangle image you drew.  Then right click on color 7 to assign the new color to the rectangle.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Select the Letter.  Right click and select Create Outline.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

A new window appears.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Click OK to keep the default settings.

Your design should look similar to the one shown below.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

If you look very closely in the image above, you’ll notice the outline around the design is a light blue.  I added an arrow to help.  As a matter of preference, I like my artwork to match, (and I like to be able to see it!)  With the outline selected, right click on the color 7 to change the color to red.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Notice both artwork designs are red as shown in the color sequence in the image below.

Click on the red color sequence to select the artwork.  Now click on the Combine icon in the top toolbar.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

With the artwork still selected, click on Texture icon.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

A window appears with a variety of textures.  I chose number 148.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The texture is added to the artwork.  Notice the stitching goes around the letter—it doesn’t stitch on top – which wouldn’t be a very pretty sight!  The reason it works:  we drew the rectangle shape, created an outline around the letter and combined the two elements. By doing these steps you get the decorative stitching in just the right areas.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

For fun, (don’t do these steps, I’m just showing you for illustrative purposes) I clicked undo all the way to the step where I combined the two artwork elements.  Then I added the texture.   Now you see what happens when you don’t combine!  Yikes!  The decorative stitching covers the top of my beautiful letter D. Now, hopefully you see the importance of adding outlines and combining.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Save the (proper) design with a unique name and send to the embroidery machine.

Repeat the steps for each letter.

 


I stitched the design in fun, bright colors – the colors seemed to fit my friend’s personality.  Next, I sewed rick rack along the edge of the embroidery.  The final touch were the buttons at every corner of the design.

Here’s your assignment this week:

As I was sewing the buttons on the embroidery, the recipient walked in to my office and with a look of interest asked what I was up to.  I quickly changed the subject – hoping to distract her with ANYTHING.  The project is a surprise for her, after all!  I felt pretty confident I had changed the subject.. then she started to collect and arrange a couple of the letters.  “What do the letters spell?” she asked.  I got really nervous at that point!

Now I submit the question to you!  What do the letters spell?  A A N D N I

Post your answer and one lucky recipient (with the right answer) will be selected to win a $25 gift card to use on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website!

Whether you add the extra stitching or not – I think you’ll agree these Loop-de-Loop designs from Embroidery Online have endless creative uses!  Need more inspiration?  Be sure to stop by the Designs Plus Newsletter for the Top 5 Things You Can Make by Visiting Embroidery Online.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


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

This week tell me what color do you think I should wear? Let’s take a vote. Tell me if you think deep blue, coral or taupe is the way to go. Post your comments and ONE random winner will be selected to win the Designer Handbags DVD

The winners is:  

Carolyn W: “I think the blue would enhance your coloring. It is such a cool color.”

Upcoming Fun!
Be sure to look for the upcoming behind the scenes blog featuring these letters.  I’ll share my tips and of course my signature foibles I always seem to make!

Software Saturday: Forget your troubles with the help of embroidery software!

I looked at the time and braced myself as if an earthquake was about to happen.  It didn’t.  But my mind was miles away.  A week ago on Friday evening we had to put the family dog down.   She was 15 years old and she was falling apart.  As I stared at my computer monitor, trying to figure out what to do next—remembering exactly where I was a week ago at this time, I decided I had to occupy myself.

I opened Perfect Embroidery Pro software without a clear plan and with some reluctance.  There wasn’t any inspiration floating around in my head.  None.

I played with features and dabbled with different design layouts.  During this process, I realized there are some very fun designs in the software….

Did you know there are so many dog related designs built in to the software?

Kibbles would definitely approve.  I was able to make a paw print frame using the Symbols feature.

Select the paw print symbol and click Ok.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Drag and drop the paw design.  You can make it large or small depending on how far you drag the mouse button across the screen.

I went crazy copying and pasting.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

To see how the design would stitch out I went to View, Slow Redraw.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

That’s when it became clear it was as if Kibbles ran around on the screen.  The paw prints were definitely not in a good stitching order.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

To make the paw prints stitch efficiently, click on Edit.  Optimize Sequence.  That’s much better!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Since I was enjoying myself and forgetting  my sadness, I decided to try another layout.


Click on the Text tool.  Select Baushaus.  This font seemed to fit Kibbles’ personality.

I typed the name, Kibbles and clicked Apply.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Click the Text Designs Icon.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I got very distracted with all the designs!  I chose the Bone design and clicked Ok.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Click on the Text Designs Icon again.

Select the Crown Design and click ok.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I rearranged the Crown design so it was positioned on top of the Dog Bone design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The bone needed something more.  I added the year, 2015.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

My creative juices continued to flow and I lost track of the time.  The design isn’t quite right.  I experimented again…

I decided I needed to enlarge the name Kibbles.  Perfect Embroidery Pro has a handy cheat sheet.  If you hover over the font, it will display recommended sizes for a particular font style.  Good information to know before I enlarge the name.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I changed the height to 1 inch.

I copied the name Kibbles.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I selected the first Kibbles design.  Then I deleted the letters, “les”.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Next I selected the second Kibbles design.  I deleted the letters “Kibb”.
Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I repositioned the “Kibb” above the crown.  Then I rotated the “les” 270 degrees.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I rearranged name until I had a pleasing layout.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I clicked on the 3D View.  Now it is a design fit for a princess, named Kibbles!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

An hour of playing with embroidery software kept my mind occupied while creating something special to honor my four-legged friend.  Machine embroidery is such a wonderful creative outlet.  Use it as often as you can!

1 2 3 4 5