Archive of ‘Just for Fun’ category

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

It’s All About Perspective!

If you’ve ever gone on a road trip you’ve probably seen roadside attractions.  Imagine the excitement when the denizens of Tiny Land discovered enormous 1” pillows.

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This new roadside attraction draws crowds of people who stop to get their photos taken.  If you take a closer look, the Flamingo’s legs are the letters “J” and “L”

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About the “Pillows”
The scene was inspired by Eileen’s beautiful assortment of pillows on the cover of Volume 102 January/February 2017.  I wanted to see what a miniature interpretation would look like.

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If you look closely, I even coordinated some of the same decorator fabrics Eileen used on her cover project.

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The really fascinating part about the pillows is the tiny lettering.  The “SAS” monogram is only ¼ of an inch tall.  Perfect Embroidery Pro includes an assortment of fonts digitized for small applications.

Whether you need to stitch large embroidery fonts (like Eileen’s oversized pillows) or very small fonts as seen in Tiny Land, Perfect Embroidery Pro has you covered!

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Font:  Arial Small

Additional features:

  • Symbols were incorporated, including the Top Hat, Flamingo and Pine Tree.
  • I used the Bridge Convex Top envelope shape for the “TRB” monogram.

22 new symbols are available to all Perfect Embroidery Pro software owners.  Just run the latest update (Version 9.35) and you’ll find 22 new symbols installed in your software!

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Celebrating 100 Issues!

What does it take?

They say if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.  But if you take a closer look, even your favorite hobby can become frustrating.  There are the days the needle breaks, bird’s nests inexplicably happen and you make bad thread color choices on the very last remnant of fabric you had for a special project.  Dwelling on those frustrations doesn’t do any good—except to learn from them.

There are also the momentous days when you complete a project and it looks fantastic.  Or those days when you learn and master a new technique on your embroidery machine or you learn a shortcut in your embroidery software.

The tiring days along with the triumphant days of accomplishment; get woven together to create a wonderful and unique story about our lives.  That is what has happened at Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The Team

Group Photo

(Left to Right)  Stephanie Sanders, Eileen Roche, Gary Gardner, Sandy Griggs, Denise Holguin, Samuel Solomon celebrated their 100th issue by taking a cooking lesson at Sur La Table

A wonderful story of hard work, big dreams and even a little bit of crazy made it possible for Designs in Machine Embroidery to start with Volume 1 and progress to Volume 100.

The magazine would not happen without a dedicated team.  The team is led by Editor and Founder, Eileen Roche and her business partner, Gary Gardner.

Samuel Solomon, the Creative Director, has been with the magazine since Volume 6.

Volume 6

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Aside from being the magazine historian (we often go to him and ask, ‘do you remember what issue the embroidered project was in?’) he is responsible for laying out each page from cover to cover.  He’s also responsible for the cover.  Plus Sam is our go-to for last minute ideas and special details.  “Hey!  Let’s add decorative flags to our celebratory cupcakes for our 100th issue.  Sam!  Will you make them…now?”

Celebrating 100 issues

For this photo shoot, we stacked all 100 issues in the scene with our special decorated cupcakes

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Details take more time but they make the difference! You’ll find this “Simply Charm-ing” project by Katherine Artines on page 40 of Volume 100.

Sam, Eileen and Managing Editor, Denise Holguin, spend a good portion of their time planning the cover.  The beauty is in the details—from selecting the cover project, to determining how the project should be photographed and what text and colors should go on the cover. If you’re not a detail person, you might say, “it’s just a quilt”, or “it’s just a garment” but it’s more than a quilt or a garment.  It’s a project we have selected because it represents what our magazine is about and also our hope for what will inspire you.

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If you have Volume 100 handy, take a look at the front cover.  It has a beautiful silver sheen to commemorate our 100th issue.  This is also the very first issue we’ve published without a project or model on the front cover.

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Once you open the cover, you’ll see the contributions of Eileen, Denise and a talented team of writers who stitch original projects to inspire and educate our readers.

In Eileen’s spare time, she contributes to every issue with a project or article.  You might ask, with such a busy schedule, why not outsource all the projects?  Why should Eileen spend her time stitching?  The answer is simple:  It’s fun!  She loves to create, design and develop new embroidery techniques she can share with you.  She remains as passionate about machine embroidery as she began with Volume 1.

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Volume 1 of Designs in Machine Embroidery. Yes, Eileen made that beautiful butterfly quilt!

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Eileen used vintage linens to make this project – it’s one of our favorite creations she’s made over the years.

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Left: Eileen purchased this hoodie and added the “LOVE” applique. It’s #cute and #cool enough for even the toughest of critics! Right: Eileen understands her readers love t-shirts but want to look fashionable while wearing them. This t-shirt remake meets that goal.

This love has also spread to Managing Editor, Denise Holguin who has launched her first-time project series, “Subtle Tees.”

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the photo shoot for Subtle Tees.  If you had seen Denise at the shoot, she was ready to spontaneously combust with the excitement of having her garments photographed.  We’ll feature more t-shirt behind the scenes in an upcoming blog.

100th Issue Celebration

You remember this blog began with doing what you love.  Denise is an avid photographer and is generally seen carrying two cameras around her neck.  Choosing the first theme for her Subtle Tees series was an obvious choice.  She found a way to incorporate her love for photography with embroidery.

Stephanie Sanders began working for Designs in Machine Embroidery when she was still Stephanie Stubbs.  She started her career in our Circulation Department (with Volume 12), answering the phone, entering subscription orders and handling the day-to-day duties of magazine circulation.  Now she handles our accounting department and countless other duties too numerous to mention!  So many large and small tasks magically get complete because of Stephanie’s efforts.  She recently got married and now has a baby girl we hope to recruit for the magazine someday!

Celebrating 100 issues

Advertisers

As ubiquitous as we think machine embroidery has become, it’s still a niche market. Learning about the latest embroidery products and innovations from reputable sources is made much easier by flipping through the pages of Designs in Machine Embroidery.  Sandy Griggs, our Advertising and Sales Manager, has been responsible for building relationships with our advertisers.

Celebrating 100 issues

The magazine could not be printed without the support of our advertisers.  Every advertiser featured has contributed to the magazine’s success.  We have the privilege of informing you of new embroidery products and innovations that will fuel your creativity.

We also love the new innovations because it fuels our passion to create new projects.  From improved hardware and software to a broader selection of stabilizers and threads and a wonderful array of embroidery designs that span every conceivable theme or interest you can imagine.

Speaking of designs, the clever innovation of in-the-hoop embroidery designs is a relatively new development.  Who would have imagined taping fabric to the underside of the hoop as you stitch?  In the early days we were too busy stitching teddy bears on our garments.

100th Issue Anniversary

One of our favorite in-the-hoop designs that is functional and can also be displayed as art! The project was made by Tari Intardonato for Embroidery Online and was featured in Volume 99.

We’d like to hug all the innovators in the industry for helping the market grow.

Readers
What good is producing content if no one is willing to purchase a magazine? We are grateful to our readers who have supported us through the years.  Many of our readers have been faithfully supporting the magazine since Volume 1.  Whether you have been with us since Volume 1, started halfway or just picked up a copy recently, we are grateful.

This has been our small but mighty team’s livelihood for 17+ years.  During those years, our kids have become adults, we’ve been blessed with marriages and even babies.  We’re all a little older and wiser but one thing remains the same.  Machine embroidery is our shared passion and we can’t wait to bring you another 100 issues!

With gratitude,

Eileen Roche, Samuel Solomon, Denise Holguin, Stephanie Sanders, Sandy Griggs

 

As a special token of our gratitude, please enjoy this free applique heart embroidery design.

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Celebrating 100 issues

 

 

A freshly popped t-shirt!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I’ve been on a t-shirt wearing kick—mainly because t-shirts are comfortable to wear in the summer.  But instead of mass market t-shirts that everyone is wearing, I’ve opted to embellish my own.

Years ago I wouldn’t have tried, because I was afraid of the effort to hoop and that the embroidery would turn out crooked.  But with the tools and technology available today, there’s no excuse not to try.  Bargain t-shirts can be found for as little as $4.00.  Plus, the benefits of continued practice include an increase in confidence and an improvement of skills.

Another fun bonus:  the shirts become conversation pieces.

In the last month, I’ve stitched 4 new t-shirts and every time I wear one of them I get compliments.

The most memorable was while ordering my drink at Starbucks.  The barista said, “I like your t-shirt.” My reply: “Thank you, I made it last night.”  He looked at me with awe and asked, “You just whipped that up last night?!”

His reaction made me smile, but I also realized I had transitioned into a more experienced, confident embroiderer.

Whether you realize it or not— you have developed and improved your embroidery skills with every stitch made on a garment, quilt block or even a scrap of fabric.  It’s easy to forget or dismiss this gradual progression but it should be celebrated and encouraged.

When I consider the work of our contributing writers and Editor, Eileen Roche, it’s hard not to assume projects get whipped up in no time.   But as I’ve learned, it’s a function of continued practice, experiments, a willingness to try new ideas and yes… to fail and learn from mistakes.

So, readers, grab a t-shirt and an embroidery design and start stitching!

About the featured t-shirt:

  • The Popcorn design is from Baby Kay’s Appliques.  You get multiple sizes with your purchase.
  • The website suggested inserting a monogram but I decided to add text:  “I’m here for the show” using embroidery software.
  • The only shirt I had available was this brown one— I didn’t think it would work but with a careful selection of bright colors, I think it looks wonderful.
  • To help guarantee success, I stitched the design on similar colored brown fabric to make sure the colors would pop sufficiently.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


This week’s assignment:  Achieving a goal is often easier to complete if you write it down. Who is the next person you are going to embroider a project for?  What will you make? Post your comments and 4 random people will receive a $25 gift certificate for use at Baby Kay’s Appliques!

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Memories, the threads of time

Isn’t it fun to capture a happy memory in needle and thread? It’s not always easy to achieve but when memories and creative inspiration collide, it’s a heartfelt moment.  That’s the story behind my latest Stipple! Collection, Life’s a Beach.

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You see, when I was ten years old, my father, an avid pilot, restored a World War II open cockpit bi-plane and flew it for thirty years in our tiny seaside resort in New Jersey. He loved that plane and so did all of his daughters. Although it never towed a banner as it is in this quilt, it spiraled through the air crisscrossing the sky over the sparkling blue water of the Atlantic Ocean. He would buzz our house and we would head to the airport to get a ride. If we were on the beach when he flew over, we would wave and jump around on the white sand so he could see us.  A tip of his wing meant he was heading home for dinner.

There are so many stories about that plane– thankfully all with happy landings – I just had to include this memory of my youth spent on the Jersey shore.  Oh what I wouldn’t do to stand on that sand and hear him fly overhead.

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Those happy memories include many days spent at the beach and with five sisters, there were always bathing suits drying in the sun on the backyard clothesline.  In fact, I remember coming home from my morning waitress job at a local coffee shop and checking the clothesline to see what suits were left – several of us wore the same size.  My mother used to say, “First one out, best one dressed!”

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And then off to the beach it was. With a good book, suntan lotion (OMG probably baby oil, how times have changed!), chair and towel, everything revolved around the beach. Everyone (except my mother) was on the beach: neighbors, tourists (same families, same street every year) and family.  The more the merrier; the bigger the circle of chairs, the better.

The scene depicted in the bottom row on Life’s a Beach shows the end of the day at the beach…one chair, one umbrella, a peaceful quiet time in the shade.

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I stitched the three panels independently and they hang together with ribbons of raffia looped over wood buttons. Since each row stitches quickly, I finished a row in an afternoon, binding included! Once I had one done, I was motivated to start the next one. If you’d like, piece the three rows together to make one wall quilt.  I had so much fun designing this project and focusing on the simple days of my youth, I hope you enjoy making it as much as I enjoyed designing it.

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Question of the week:  What are your favorite summertime childhood memories?


Visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website for a limited time special offer on Stipple Life’s a Beach.  Enjoy free US shipping.  Use coupon code:  beach

 

A name you can trust!

Abigail adds colorful excitement to her tightrope performance with Sulky embroidery threads.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Imagine the colorful excitement you can add to your next embroidery project!  Sulky thread comes in an array of beautiful options.  Visit their website for more information.

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Of course, Sulky sells more than embroidery thread.  Thread, stabilizers, embroidery tools, and designs are just a few items you’ll find at Sulky.  Post a comment telling us about your favorite Sulky product.  Four randomly chosen people will each win 1 roll of  Stitch ‘n Seal!

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Become a Social Butterfly! Part 2

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

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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

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


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

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

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

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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

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

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

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

 

 

 

 

Become a Social Butterfly!

While my team and I were putting the latest issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery together, an advertisement from Embroidery Online caught my attention.  Did you see it? Here’s a glimpse of the ad from the Mach/April 2016 issue along with a full size stitched butterfly for scale.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The offer is pretty nifty:  Make a purchase of $49 and receive the #12600 Luminous Freestanding Butterflies for free!  Coupon code:  DIME2016FREE.  Offer ends 4/30/2016. The free collection download will be added to the cart automatically when you enter the code.

I thought it would be fun to try this special offer.  By the end of this article I think you’ll agree, it’s an excellent offer you don’t want to miss.  Purchase some thread, stabilizer or other supplies from Embroidery Online to make the $49 goal.  Enter the coupon code:  DIME2016FREE and you’re on your way to becoming quite the social butterfly!

This will be an ongoing series you’ll see as you flutter through our blog, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest pages.  Every photo will be tagged #socialbutterfly and you are encouraged to post your creations made from this collection too!

 

 


I have a collection of real butterflies that are framed on my wall at home.  I thought it would be fun to make my own embroidered version and make it look like a preserved ‘specimen’.

I used a Micro font from Inspirations Software to stitch the name on twill tape. Wanting to add some excitement, I used an online translator to convert “embroidered butterfly” to the equivalent in French.  Until these butterfly designs fluttered into my world, I never ventured to embroider text on anything narrow much less in a foreign language.  I’m glad I tried!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I added a pin to mimic the look of a real specimen.  I glanced through insect collecting pages online and soon discovered there is quite a science to proper display and pinning… which I happily leave to the experts!  For my embroidered butterfly, a regular sewing pin on the body of the butterfly was good enough for me!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

As I posted very limited previews of the embroidered butterflies on my Facebook page for friends to see, I noticed a trend.  My friends are passionate about butterflies!  Sure, they have liked my posts in the past, but butterflies ignite a particular admiration.  Here’s a sampling of my friends’ comments:

“The color possibilities are endless”
“Stunning….these butterflies are so wonderful.”
“I love love love these!!”
“These are amazing!!”

Their reactions inspired me to make a custom butterfly for a friend (she likes purple) and name it after her.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

After stitching the name, I trimmed away the jump stitches then I used scrapbook brads to add a more custom touch to the project.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s the finished piece!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

When I present the gift to her I will add a little notecard that says:

“I named a butterfly after you!
It’s unique and special just like you!”


Here’s a look at more butterflies I have stitched in just ONE week.  Each is slated for a special use.  To the left you’ll see butterflies getting soaked to remove the water soluble stabilizer – or as I like to put it:  “the butterflies are getting a bath”.  I’ll be sharing how I used the rest of the butterflies throughout our blog and social media pages in the coming days… and weeks… because I’ve discovered it’s super fun to be a #socialbutterfly!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The next series will be of particular interest to those who collect natural random objects. I’ll show how I used the butterflies in unexpected ways on these objects.  Until then, be sure to visit Embroidery Online to restock your sewing studio with much needed supplies and use code:  DIME2016FREE at checkout.

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!

Experiment & Have Fun

I read a comment on last Wednesday’s blog post that got my creative juices flowing.  It is from one of our frequent Designs in Machine Embroidery contributors, Joanne Banko.  Here’s an excerpt of her comment:

Denise you outdid yourself. Wow, wow, and triple wow!!! Lovely little lace designs and great ideas for hair ornaments and more!

I think these would also be pretty added to crazy quilt blocks. One of my favorite uses for pieces like this is to attach them to custom stitched greeting cards for a 3D effect.

I absolutely love Joanne’s suggestion of using the lace designs with crazy quilt blocks.  My reply to her suggested I’d be posting some more shenanigans… so as promised, here we go!

I knew I wanted to try out one of Eileen’s quilt blocks from her book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  I foraged through my home to find fabrics with a sheen.  (They are not required but I wanted to try something new.)  Since satin fabrics tend to fray so easily—I don’t generally want to work with them!  But I knew the machine embroidered version of a crazy quilt design would make it easier.

I was curious to see what the FSL Flourish Flower from Embroidery Online would look like if it was stitched in two colors.  It was digitized for a single color only.  I’ll pause a moment and insert caveats to my idea:

  1. Not all ideas work! Embrace the need to test and be open to positive outcomes as well as learning experiences!
  2. I can’t say this enough. Test, test, test.
  3. Repeat Step 1 and/or 2!

I opened the FSL Flourish Flower in embroidery software.  Then I selected the stitches I wanted a different color, and inserted a new color.  Depending on how lace is digitized this technique may or may not work.  Remember, the digitizer had a specific plan for the design when it was created.  In my example, my idea worked!  (Whew!)

Some tips:  Consider the effects of highly contrasting threads.  I found the results were nicer when I stitched the off-white thread first—then finished up with the accent maroon color on top.

Experiment & Have Fun

Also featured on the crazy quilt block is a leaf design courtesy of Embroidery Online.  In fact, you may download it from our website for free if you haven’t already.  Visit our Free Designs page on the Designs Plus Newsletter.  Scroll to March 2015.  Click here to do it now.

Here’s a look at the finished block.  I added ribbon, buttons and a cute key to finish off the block.  Remember, making crazy quilt blocks is your chance to embellish with bits and pieces of treasures you have saved over the years.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

After working with the FSL Flourish Flower, my mind wandered to miniatures….

I have a miniature wooden table that is in great need of being adorned with lace linens.  The freestanding lace designs make great doilies for my table!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Takeaways for the Day:

  1. Experiment and have fun.
  2. Look at embroidery designs with an open mind. Maybe there’s a use for a design you haven’t considered.

Last week we asked you to tell us which supplies from Embroidery Online you are most in need of in your sewing studio.  This week I get to announce the lucky FIVE random winners who will each receive a $25 shopping spree to the EmbroideryOnline website.

Here are the winners!

Sheri:
“FSL was one of the first projects I tried, so much fun! I can always use new needles and a small pair (or two!) of applique scissors would be nice.”

Diana Hensley:
“I have made several baby bonnets and booties using the FSL. I love the wash away stabilizer, it is really neat to wash it out and you have something so neat.”

Donna G.:
“I could use sharp embroidery scissors, and there’s some new stabilizers I’ve not tried. The hair accessories are a cute idea!”

Eileen Ryan:
“Wash Away Stabilizer always comes in handy”

Carolyn:
“I love doing FSL! I discovered Embroidery Online in your July/August 2014 issue with there FSL Patchwork Quilt Birdhouses on the cover. I’m making wind chimes with them. Their Alligator clamps are a must, and the AguaMesh Wash Away Stabilizer, and well as Vilene’s is the best for FSL.”

Congratulations, everyone!  If you need help spending the shopping spree money, let me know!  😉


This week’s assignment:
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.

 

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