Archive of ‘Just for Fun’ category

Multi-Needle Monday: How Many People Can You Fit in Your Sewing Room?

I don’t get a lot of company at my house but when I do, I love it. Recently, I had the pleasure of hosting my sister, her three daughters and two grandchildren. We wound up in my sewing room! Tons of room to spread out all over the house, but here we were huddled around the multi-needle machine.

My sister, Mary Pat Palombo, granddaughter Bella, daughter Christin, grandson Atticus, daughters Regina and Kim.

My sister, Mary Pat Palombo, granddaughter Bella, daughter Christin, grandson Atticus, daughters Regina and Kim.

Let me give you a little background. A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about my niece Kim’s baby shower. I shared an image of the all of the beautiful handmade gifts she received.

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Well…Kim had a boy, Atticus, a beautiful red-haired Irish lad and recently made the trip to Texas to visit her sister, Christin. Just so happens, I live about 30 minutes from Christin so when family comes to the Lone Star State, I usually get to see them too.

Why did we wind up in my sewing room? It seems Atticus has a ‘lovie’ that he adores. Mom Kim wanted to make sure his lovie could be returned if he ever misplaced (dropped, threw, stashed or hid) it. Kim’s a pretty smart girl! She asked if I could embroider is name and her phone number on the binding of the lovie. I jumped at the chance because I remember my Stitching Sister Marie Zinno telling me how easy it is to do. That’s all I need, a few words from Marie saying, “Go on, you can do it!”

But she’s right; it’s super easy with a flat hoop and a built-in scanner. I hooped the lovie with tear-away stabilizer, keeping the binding within the sewing field. Since the hoop is flat, I pulled on the lovie to make sure it was taut in the frame. Kim2

I used the built-in text to write his name and her phone number. Added a basting box around the text then scanned the hoop. Notice the head of the puppy extends above the frame. I forced it down when it got close to the needle bar during the scanning process. I didn’t have to worry about the puppy’s head during stitching as the binding is positioned at the back of the hoop – the needle bar never traveled near the head.

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I moved the text to fit within the binding and selected a thread to match for security reasons. I figured if someone found the lovie, they would call with the intent to put a smile on a baby’s face, not harm the mom. But let’s not make the bad guy’s job easier by using dark brown thread! Kim4

What fun in the sewing room! Tell me, do you like having company in your sewing room?

A New Bag

Nothing puts a little kick in your step quite like a new handbag – especially when you make it yourself. Once or twice a year, I like to dip into my fabric stash and see what I can use to create a new bag. I gather some materials I’ve been hoarding, I mean saving, and see if they would work together. Handbag Supplies - Eileen Roche

I knew I wanted to make another grommet bag from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. I really like the grommets but I also like ready-made straps. It seems the best ones, (right length, width and material -microfiber) come with a ring attached at the end. Grommets for handbag

The ring doesn’t work with the grommets but I wasn’t going to let the closed ring stop me, I have a seam ripper! So I released the stitches from each end and unbraided the strap. It left me with two slits on each end. Hmmm…I placed them on my cutting table for a few days in the hope a good idea would pop into my head.

Modified purse strap

Once my materials are gathered, I take my time and work on the bag over several days (ok, maybe weeks!). This gives me time to think the process through, make some subtle design changes, overcome any challenges and enjoy the whole process.

I start by measuring the bag I’m currently favoring and decide if I want to duplicate that size or make adjustments. I’ve learned through the years, the larger my bag, the more stuff I pack in there. So reducing the space is a good idea for me, less clutter, less bulk, less weight. I decided my new bag would be a bit shorter than my current favorite. Then I cut and interface my outer fabric.

Next, I prepare my four corner appliques by hooping just the faux suede and stitching the Corner App design from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. Then I stash my pre-cut applique pieces in a plastic baggie to keep them safe. While I was stitching the appliques, I turned my attention to the straps.

I was concerned about trimming the straps above the slits as this would make the straps too short. So, I decided to just stitch them closed.

Stitching straps closed

It looked so pretty that I stitched from end to end to make it a decorative detail. I used the triple zigzag stitch on my BERNINA 830. It’s normally a functional stitch but looks great on this strap!

Triple zigzag stitch

On Monday, I’ll show you some speed techniques for embroidering the corners and grommets.

Here’s your assignment this week: Leave a comment below about what size bag you prefer. Small, medium, large or jumbo-jet size? One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman.Handbags 2 - Designer Knockoffs
The winner of last week’s assignment :Sewing Spoolie invites you to win a Slimline box of fabulous thread along with the pre-digitized designs to make all seven of the Spoolies in Sulky’s Collection #1. These popular sewing-themed designs, from the imagination of Joyce Drexler, are as fun as they are creative. And if you’ve ever tried to keep your stabilizers organized, you’re going to love Sue Hausmann’s bonus project included with the package. The whole package is a retail value of nearly $150 including 22 – 250 yd. spools of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread, a 475 yd. spool of Bobbin Thread, and a CD with the seven Spoolie designs and bonus project. If you win, it’s all yours from Sulky. Now, go Express Yourself! Leave a comment below on where you would embroider a Spoolie to be entered!blog adAnd the winner is… Karen P – “Oh my gosh!! These are so cute!!! I would stitch them onto a bunch of tote bags that I have that I use for various different things, one is my Quilt Guild bag, one is my Crochet project bag, another has hand embroidery squares that I bring with me while waiting at various appointments, and so on. Plus, how could I resist putting a few of them on a sweatshirt or two!!! Ohhh I hope I won this one!!”

 

 

A Closer Look… How to become more centered

Norman felt hopelessly lost as he hiked across the expanse of fabric. He had no point of reference. No guidance or direction.

One day, he discovered a beacon of hope. It was a great beam of light shining forth across the fabric giving him direction—and guidance.

He felt very… centered.

What is the source of this great beam of light? It’s PAL 2! The Perfect Alignment Laser 2!

PAL 2 uses:

  • Quickly locate the center of quilt blocks, pockets, plackets, bags and more
  • Connect continuous embroidery designs
  • Verify design placement on large items such as jacket backs, banners, pants and more

Features:

  • Adjustable lamp head
  • Lock-in permanent position
  • Swivel tip allows for proper aiming of the laser crosshair
  • Bright, crisp Non-Gaussian lines show uniform brightness across entire length of beam
  • Reflective 6″ wide and 3″ tall shade protects laser beam
  • Adjustable clamp fits table surfaces up to 2 ¼” thick
  • 28″ arm with flexible elbow joint
  • Adjustable height
  • Weighted base post firmly slips into the adjustable clamp

Once you use PAL 2, you’ll soon discover it makes centering and continuous embroidery so easy to achieve you’ll want to dance!

 

Here’s your assignment this week:Sewing Spoolie invites you to win a Slimline box of fabulous thread along with the pre-digitized designs to make all seven of the Spoolies in Sulky’s Collection #1. These popular sewing-themed designs, from the imagination of Joyce Drexler, are as fun as they are creative. And if you’ve ever tried to keep your stabilizers organized, you’re going to love Sue Hausmann’s bonus project included with the package. The whole package is a retail value of nearly $150 including 22 – 250 yd. spools of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread, a 475 yd. spool of Bobbin Thread, and a CD with the seven Spoolie designs and bonus project. If you win, it’s all yours from Sulky. Now, go Express Yourself! Leave a comment below on where you would embroider a Spoolie to be entered!blog ad
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:Tell us where would you hang these adorable bird houses? One comment will be chosen to receive a one year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery Magazine! Click the link below to take advantage of our BEST OFFER EVER – only $19.97* per year for a one year subscription. Good luck and happy stitching!Nancy-Blog-Banner-1997

And the winner is… Kathy – “I would hang these birdhouses in my laundry room. They are so cute!”

 

 

Monogram of the Month: A Reason to Celebrate!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I was very excited when Eileen gave me the opportunity to write this month’s Monogram of the Month feature.  I’ve had my eye on the banner designs from JoAnn Connolly’s book, Sweet Stitchesand decided instead of monograms today I’d do a fun banner.   I’m quite fond of quick and easy projects that require minimal effort but create lots of joy while I stitch.  And these designs fit my requirements to the letter!  (Pun intended!)

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I wanted to make something special for my friend, Jean, who will be celebrating her 95th birthday.  Friends and family are gathering this 4th of July weekend to celebrate her day.  I decided to make a festive banner to mark the occasion—plus it would make a great backdrop to take photos of her with her family.  Great memories everyone can cherish!

Fabric

Like most of our readers, I like fabric and I eagerly sign up for any excuse to buy more, more, more!  But this time, I decided I’d challenge myself—really test my nouveau designer skills and gasp… use what I already have!

I rummaged through my containers of fabric – I was certain I had nothing!  Nothing!  But wait… that polka dot fabric is kinda cute.  Actually, it’s very cute.  So cute, I haven’t used it because I wanted to use it for something special.  It was a small remnant I purchased over a decade ago from Hancock Fabrics.  It’s perfect.  Once I found the main fabric it was easy to add other coordinating fabrics.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Designs

My next challenge was figuring out what combination of letters to use.  “Happy Birthday” is an obvious choice.  But I decided to go with something more universal—and that can work all year long—“Celebrate”.  After all, life should be a celebration—especially when you have lived 95 years!

Sweet Stitches comes with an accompanying CD.  I transferred the letters to spell “Celebrate” to a USB stick for my embroidery machine.  Then I stitched the designs.

Denise Tips:

  • Be sure to keep the book handy!  The photos and step-by-step instructions will guide you along the way.  Initially I thought I didn’t need to read the steps—I like a challenge.  But after stitching a few samples I decided I’d go ahead and read the steps.  Surprise, surprise!  Following the steps made the process much simpler.
  • JoAnn has a reason for suggesting you use Temporary Spray Adhesive when working with applique fabrics.  If you don’t… you might end up with puckers!  Oops!A Reason to Celebrate!
  • Applique scissors are especially useful when trimming.
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  • If you place white on top of a busy fabric, be aware of the possibility of fabric show-through.  My first ‘careless’ attempt to solve this problem was to place a second layer of white fabric.  But the fabric I was using was very heavy—so when it came time to trim the two layers of white fabric, it wasn’t an easy or flawless task.  Argh!
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
    My second attempt was much better.  I used a layer of stabilizer underneath the white fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

  • Mix & Mingle… and have fun!  Don’t feel like every letter has to be the same color.  Mix and match.  That’s what makes the process fun.  Plus this gives you a chance to use small fabric scraps.

 

Here’s a look at the finished banner!  I look forward to decorating for Jean’s birthday and creating fun memories! Imagine the banners you can make for someone special!  Give it a try.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

 

Here’s your assignment this week:What decorations have you made over the years to celebrate someone’s special day?  Post a comment for a chance to win a $25 shopping spree to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.Gift-Card
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

Do you have a versatile design you use over and over on different types of projects? Post your comment for a chance to win a copy of Calligraphy Project Designer.

 

CD00501_pkg_grande

 

And the winner is… Alicia Key 
“I have several designs I enjoy but after a few kitchen towels of them I’m ready to try a new design. I’ve just recently joined your email list & I’m looking forward to more of your ideas for creativity! I like the Embroidery Library design that Colleen Bell mentioned above & while checking that out, I found some more that I like. I also like Andrea Henke’s suggestion of the glow-in-the-dark eyes on pillow cases! I’ll have to find some of that thread! I would LOVE a chance to win the Calligraphy files.”

Congratulations, Alicia.  Sounds like you’ll be very busy with all sorts of projects!

 

 

 

Thoughts to Ponder

Cal15-rev2Subtle text messages are a lovely way to add sentiments to gifts, home décor accessories or even wearables.   A romantic mood can be set with the right fabric, color selection, charms, ribbons and trims. I enjoyed making these small projects – the fun is in the creating and ok, the gathering of the goodies! Cal14-rev

Let me show you how easy it is to do. Open an embroidery lettering software program. I used Calligraphy Project Designer – designed for simple text creation with an Old World spin. Click on the Font icon to enter the text. Select a font and click Apply.

Cal1

Left mouse click on the blue triangles to pull the text closer together to mimic handwriting.

Cal3

Select the Ink Spots icon and left click on Heart 3 (highlighted in yellow in the image). Click OK.

Cal4

Size the heart to 2.94” x 2.90” by dragging a corner handle or typing the measurement into the Properties Box. Click Apply.

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Select and rotate the text. Cal6

Change the thread color to the actual thread you’ll use if desired. Click on the color chip on the right bar and select the appropriate color from the drop down menu. Click OK.

Cal7

My intention is for the heart to be the backdrop of the text so I’ll send that color to the first position. Select the heart, left mouse click and select Order/To Back from the drop down menu.

Cal8

Send the design to the machine in the appropriate format and hoop linen with cut-away stabilizer. Stitch the design. Remove the fabric from the hoop and trim the fabric leaving a 1” border. Cal9-rev

Trim the stabilizer close to the stitching. Cal10-rev

Sew around the square ½” from the fabric edge. Cal11-rev

Fray the linen on all four sides. Cal12-rev

Stitch the patch to a card stock tag. Add brads, charms and ribbon if desired.  Cal16-rev

What fun!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tags are a great way to add flair and function to lots of different items. Luggage, lunch bags, laptop cases, gift bags and even tackle boxes are brightened by their warm welcoming appearance. Share with us an item you would like to create a tag for but haven’t quite been able to figure out how. We or one of our readers might just have your perfect solution and 5 comments will be chosen to receive a $20 gift certificate to spend at Five Star Fonts!

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The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What is your most appreciated mens embroidery project? Was it the golf club covers you made for your son-in-law, the personalized seat covers for your husband? Tell us the project that wowed and one comment will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to spend on the DIME website. Thank you for reading and good luck!

Gift-Card

And the winners is..Sharon B. “My husband liked the golf towel with the club distances on it.”

It doesn’t have to take a village…

The entire community used to come together whenever the needle plate on an embroidery machine needed to be removed.  Together, they’d carefully hoist a giant screwdriver.   Not only was it heavy, but it was tricky and nearly impossible to maneuver in a small space.

It doesn’t have to take a village…

Then the community discovered the Stitcher’s Hardware, a handy tool set created by Designs in Machine Embroidery.  The tools were lightweight, small and very easy to maneuver around tiny spaces.  Now the community has more time to do what they love!  (Embroider, of course!)

It doesn’t have to take a village…

 

The Stitcher’s Hardware Kit includes:

  • A screwdriver with a bulb-shaped handle and tubular guide for removing and inserting the needle screw or presser foot screw.
  • A flat head screwdriver that easily removes flush mount screws—often found on the needle plate.
  • An extended flat tip screwdriver that easily removes countersunk screws—found on some needle plates.
  • A Phillips-head screwdriver designed to maneuver hard to reach areas.

Plus a convenient storage case!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Limited Time Special Offer: 
Order now and enjoy free shipping on US orders!  That’s a savings up to $10.00!  Use coupon code:  tool

Stop by the Designs in Machine Embroidery website for more information and to take advantage of this limited time special offer.

 

 

 

 

Multi-Needle Monday: My Go-To Gift

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Last week, I showed how to stitch multiple napkins in on a single-needle machine. Today, let’s look at how to do it on a multi-needle machine.

The set-up is the same: Mark the location of the corner monogram on each of the six napkins. I use the Napkin On-Point template from the Perfect Placement Kit – no math, no measuring. Just place the template on the napkin aligning the guides with the stitched hem and then insert a target sticker into the hole with the arrow pointing towards the body of the napkin. Repeat for all six napkins – you’ll finish this task in under two minutes.

Select the largest hoop available and hoop tear-away stabilizer. I selected the 8” x 12” standard hoop but Multi-Needle Monster would also work very well. Use one of three options for holding the napkin on the stabilizer: spray the hooped stabilizer with temporary adhesive, hoop adhesive tear-away stabilizer or use painter’s tape. I used adhesive tear-away stabilizer.

Position the first napkin in the bottom left corner of the hoop. Center the needle over the target sticker, remove the sticker and embroider the design. If your machine has a baste feature, use it! Move the design to the top left corner of the hoop. Fold the napkin out of the new sewing field and lay the second napkin in place. Smooth the napkin onto the adhesive stabilizer. Stitch the design. Nap1

Fold up both napkin tips and tape them down. Nap2

Place the third napkin below the second napkin. Smooth in place making sure the design area is not overlapped with the second napkin. Position the needle over the target sticker. Nap3

If your machine has a trace feature, use it to verify the needle will not stitch on the first napkin. Once you’re confident the first napkin is out of the sewing field, remove the sticker and embroider the design. Nap4

Fold and tape the side of the napkin and move the design just below the third napkin. Nap5

Stitch the napkin. Nap6

Tape the corners of napkins three and four. Nap7

Repeat the process for napkin five. Nap8

And napkin six. Nap9

Remove the stabilizer from the hoop and clip the basting stitches before tearing away the stabilizer. Nap10

Wow –six napkins in a flash!

A Closer Look: Pincushion Tower

We’re launching a new series on Eileen’s Machine Embroidery blog, called A Closer Look.  As the name suggests, it will show an up close view of embroidery machines, notions, tools and anything else you might find in a sewing, embroidery or craft studio – plus some unexpected surprises!  A Closer Look will take you on a journey like no other!

I hope to make you smile and to encourage you to see your studio as a haven for creativity and fun!

– Denise Holguin

——————–

Joe enjoys the view from the park bench at Pincushion Tower.

He finds inspiration all around him – especially among the pretty, shiny pins.

He pins his hope on traveling the world visiting other pincushions.

 

Have you made a 3-tiered pincushion? Check out Katherine Artines’ book, Posh Pincushions, In the Hoop Floral Pincushions for inspiration and designs. Plus, Joe would love to visit!

For a limited time, enjoy up to $10.00 off shipping costs for orders shipped within the US.  Use coupon code:  blog530

Multi Needle Monday: Looking through a camera lens

By Guest Blogger, Denise Holguin
Managing Editor

I volunteered to cover Eileen’s Multi Needle Monday while she’s teaching this week.   Once I realized what I had done panic set in.  After careful consideration (and excitement over using a newly purchased macro camera lens) I thought I’d take an entirely different approach for today’s blog post.

Have you ever gazed at your multi needle machine with a sense of wonder and awe at its beauty?  Probably not.  I hadn’t either until today.  That piece of machinery is not only your source of income but a well-engineered machine – and today I’ll present it as a piece of art!

You’ll see an up close and personal look at a multi needle machine.  But have no fear—Designs in Machine Embroidery Editor and blogger, Eileen Roche, will be back next week!  In the meantime, enjoy!  You’ll also want to scroll through for some unexpected surprises…

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

All the parts are so intricate.  I couldn’t help but place a tiny little figure in the scene.  Take a look at your multi needle machine in your sewing studio.  Now imagine how TINY this little figure must be!  One sneeze and he’s gone!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

While my macro lens was an investment  – just like your embroidery machine – they are meant to be used and enjoyed!  Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and use your machine both as a tool and a creative outlet!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

The Best Mother’s Day Present

Bettysbeach2

What is the best Mother’s Day present you can give? Time. Time out of your busy schedule; time out of your hectic life; time for just you and your mom. If your mother is still here on this great earth then make the time to see her. It doesn’t have to actually be on Mother’s Day, you can reserve that day for yourself to spend with your own children if you have them. If your mom has passed, then celebrate the day by sharing some of your favorite mom stories with your family. It’s how our history survives, pass it on.

Last weekend, I spent three days with my mom. I’m one of six daughters so it’s the rare visit that is solo. Usually, we all gather to celebrate a milestone or holiday but I scheduled this trip when I knew she hadn’t had a visitor in a while. When I walked into her assisted living apartment, I was greeted with her fabulous smile! She looked radiant. At 85, she’s as quick as a whip, knows more current events than a news desk and always has a kind word for everyone. It’s a pleasure to be in her company. When I see her, it’s like I look into my future, I’m her clone! Today, when I pass a mirror, I often think I’m looking at my mom, but it’s just me – appearing how she did many years ago at my current age.

So I whisked her off to a favorite restaurant and once we were seated, I said, I want to take a picture, a selfie. She’s not a ham by any stretch but she said, “Oh, okay, even the Pope takes selfies.” And what a great pic she took!

Selfie

We had a terrific visit and took a journey to our old neighborhood. I grew up a block from the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey and spent many days swimming, sailing and boating in those waters. We always made our ‘beach camp’ on the street where we lived. Some of my best memories were spent on that beach, which we aptly named, Betty’s Beach, after my mom.

BettysBeach1

When I was a kid, my mom didn’t join us at the beach – there were 6 of us! No, she was happy to send us off to play in the water and sun and leave her to run her household. But still, it was and always will be Betty’s Beach. So I drove Mom to Betty’s Beach to look at the sand, watch the waves roll in and hear the gulls. It was the best Mother’s Day ever.

Hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

 

 

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