Archive of ‘Just for Fun’ category

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


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!


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.


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!



Has this ever happened to you? (Part 3)

By Denise Holguin

What a productive day I had planned! I created a fun embroidery project using the new Calligraphy Project Designer Software program. Plus, I unearthed a secret stash of fabric and thread. I grabbed my trusty Snap Hoop Monster, some polymesh stabilizer and some spray adhesive. It’s time to start stitching!

Rather than trim the large piece of fabric, I decided to hoop it all and just trim later. Besides, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll make with the stitch out.

After loading the Snap Hoop Monster on the machine, I pressed the magic “Go” button and left the embroidery studio to let the machine do all the work.

But the machine kept beeping for attention. I had to babysit it every few minutes.

I wasn’t overly thrilled with my thread color choices so I decided to abort the mission. I removed the hoop and as I was carrying it to Eileen’s office to ask “WHAT WENT WRONG?” I noticed the back of the hoop.

Oops! I accidentally hooped the excess fabric to the back of the hoop, created a double layer of fabric. No wonder the embroidery machine kept beeping!

I didn’t give up on stitching the design—especially given the quotation! I did change thread colors and am happy with the results.

Here’s your assignment this week:

We’ve showed you plenty of mistakes we’ve made in the past few weeks and asked you to share your stories as well. Now we’d like to know the funniest mistake you’ve ever made! We’ll choose one random comment below to receive a $25 gift certificate to use on the DIME website. Thank you for sharing your stories with us in our Has This Ever Happened to You series.


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Finding creative solutions to mistakes isn’t limited to machine embroidery! Tell us about a time you had to solve a problem and the end result turned out better than expected. Maybe while sewing…cooking…baking or ? We want to know! One random comment will be chosen as the winner of a $25 gift certificate to website. Someone will get paid for making a mistake and recovering from it! Not a bad deal!


And the winner is…Denise “I had made a dress for my 12 soon to be 13 yr. old daughter . The cap sleeves were curling up slightly and needed just a little something extra. My daughter likes dresses but usually does not like frou frou styles so I was hesitant to put lace on it. That was just the extra weight that was needed! I had just enough lace with flowers to go on the / under the sleeves. It looks great and she is happy with it also ! Denise!”

A Mended Heart


By Denise Holguin, Managing Editor

I found the perfect quote to stitch from one of my favorite authors—Jane Austen. Using the Calligraphy Project Designer, I typed the text, selected the Jester Pro font and created a heart shaped path. Lots of fun! Then I added the decorative embroidery element in the center. Everything was going smooth! The stitching was a snap since I used Snap Hoop.

I’ve stitched heart pillows before—it’s about as complex a sewing project as I can handle—complete with two curves and a pointy end. (Ooh! Ahh!) But it has been awhile since I’ve sewn—I couldn’t find the correct sewing foot and I had some bobbin case problems. Once I got the machine started, I was thrilled. I sewed like there was no tomorrow—with such enthusiasm. Around the time it was too late to recover from my sewing faux pas, I realized I should have left the opening for the pillow in a more discrete spot—not toward the top of the pillow. After all, my machine sewing skills are limited—you can imagine my hand sewing skills.

But I was confident I could do it. I stuffed the pillow with poly-fil and by the time I was ready to sew the opening shut, the fabric was rather frayed. Was I afraid? Nah, I can work with what I have. And I did. When I looked at my finished pillow, it looked very sad… and deformed. It was a horribly, sad and deformed pillow. I hung my head in shame. It started out cute in my mind. Now what?

Then I had a GREAT idea! It’s time to add some embellishment. It will conceal my less than perfectly formed heart. I rummaged through our very extensive array of trim and ribbons and found this delightful trim with pom-poms.

I attached the trim and am pleased with the results. I also made a small bow by combining two trims. The button was the perfect addition. Now excited (and proud!) I decided to add the heart shaped charm for the finishing touch.

The lesson in this blog—part of the creative process is finding ways to solve unexpected mishaps. Don’t throw away your creation or quit just because it didn’t turn out as impeccable or flawlessly as you had imagined. See the mistakes as opportunities. I’m glad I did. I have a pretty heart pillow!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Finding creative solutions to mistakes isn’t limited to machine embroidery! Tell us about a time you had to solve a problem and the end result turned out better than expected. Maybe while sewing…cooking…baking or ? We want to know! One random comment will be chosen as the winner of a $25 gift certificate to website. Someone will get paid for making a mistake and recovering from it! Not a bad deal!


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Stitchers… has this ever happened to you? Were you able to save your project? Post a comment and share your story. You’re in good company! One comment will be chosen to receive a Bird’s Nest Tool Kit!


And the winner is…Claudia H. “Thru the yrs I have come up with my own “birds nest kit” but didnt market it. T G Eileen has!

I was embroidering on a heavy bath towel when the design got distorted because the towel end slipped off the table on PR 600II and wt of towel caused the distortion. Of course I had left to do something for hubby! Since it was for my 18 month old grandson, I was able to cut off the 6 inches of the width of the towel and sew the border back to remaining towel! His towel is just a bit shorter than big brothers!”

Has this ever happened to you? (Part 2)

By Sherry McCary

I was putting together a piece-in-the-hoop quilt block, and for some reason I still can’t figure out, decided it was a good idea to walk away from the machine while it did the final quilting stitches – even though it had already created three nasty bird’s nests on this one block…Not a good idea!

Eileen had the brilliant idea of removing the foot from the machine instead of cutting it out and we were able to save the block after all. Yay!


Here’s your assignment this week:

Stitchers… has this ever happened to you? Were you able to save your project? Post a comment and share your story. You’re in good company! One comment will be chosen to receive a Bird’s Nest Tool Kit!


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What embroidery product on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website is on your wishlist?  Who knows, maybe you’ll see that product go on special in the near future! Post your comments for a chance to win a 1 year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine.


And the winner is…Teresa R. “I want so many things but top on my list is the PAL”

Has this ever happened to you? (Part 1)

I purchased some cute aprons recently for a gift and decided to personalize them with some lettering. I focused on selecting a pretty color thread, finding the right font in software, making sure the words fit in a 5″ x 7″ hoop, adjusting the spacing of the letters. Everything looked fine to me until…..I stitched it!

The minute my assistant, Denise Holguin, walked in she noticed the typo.  I was dumbfounded!  I had stared at the phrase on the computer screen and at the machine but darn if the typo didn’t pass right by me. Thankfully, Denise caught it. So off I went to correct the design and stitch another apron.



Here’s your assignment this week:

How many times has this happened to you? Share your story below and one comment will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to the DIME store.


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What items in your home have you re-purposed for storing your embroidery supplies? Three comments will be chosen to receive a coupon code to worth $39.95 which can be redeemed for downloadable or mail-order monogram sets. The winners will receive their code by email, and can choose any products of their choice from 194 styles, inspired by designs from the renaissance to the present. Good luck!


The winners are… Sharon D., Dawn G., & Shirley C. Congratulations and thank you for all the helpful ideas!

Bernina Part 2

Day 2 of the BERNINA Ambassador Reunion found me in BERNINA educator Debbi Lashbrook’s class. Debbi’s talent extends far beyond the teaching podium. Her eye for design is unique and yet not so far out of the box; her style appeals to everyone. She stretches the imagination and backs it up with solid stitching techniques while making everything look simple. And under her guidance, it is. In her class, we decorated three fabric strips with decorative stitches and played with those fabulous BERNINA feet on the B 580! We used the leather roller foot (#55), pintuck and decorative stitch foot with clear sole (#46C), edgestitch foot (#10C), 3-groove cording foot (#30) and more.

By this time, our group was quite comfortable with each other and laughter was heard throughout the morning. Debbi gave us the freedom to embellish as we desired. She had great samples for inspiration and we really enjoyed playing with the feet and decorative stitches.

As an embroiderer, I obviously love to add thread to fabric but I usually let the machine do all the work. Guiding the fabric as the machine stitched meandering lines of thread is something I haven’t done in a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed the process and the result. I love the organic look of the long vertical panel.

Next, we played with the circular sewing attachment. I forgot how cool it is to sew in a circle! A variety of stitches brought texture and dimension to the circles. Stitching off the edge of the fabric added an asymmetrical touch to the large panel.

Since I’m gadget girl, I really enjoyed making the corded pintucks. The pintuck and decorative stitch foot with clear sole (#46C) creates flawless corded pintucks.

Really, there is no thinking involved, just stitch! The cord slips under the thread and fills the fabric channel. Then move the fabric keeping the freshly-corded pintuck in one of the foot’s grooves to stitch another parallel line.

Some members of the group are known for over -the-top embellishing so the jokes began to fly around the room. It was an atmosphere I don’t normally sew in so I quite enjoyed the banter. Here’s part our group: Angie Steveson, me, Kaye England and Vicki Tracy.

We all started with the same materials and wound up with different pillows. I wish I had the foresight to take photos of everyone’s pillows but in the scramble to get the job done, I forgot to snap more photos. Lesson learned – you can never have enough photos!

Once the embellishing was complete, we pieced the strips and finished the pillow. After heart-warming goodbyes we went our separate ways for our journey home. I’m sure I speak for many when I say it ended too soon!

Give yourself the gift of time this week and sneak off to your sewing room. A few hours to yourself at your machine may just be the best gift of all.


Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us how you ‘de-stressed’ during the hustle and bustle of the season. Did you sew, watch a movie, sit in front of a Christmas tree or maybe hold a sleeping child in your lap? We’d love to know how you unwind. A lucky winner will win a $30 gift certificate to spend at the DIME store!

The winner of last week’s assignment:

Leave a comment below about what sewing tool you hope Santa puts under your tree. Six comments will be chosen to receive a one month membership to the Silver Threads Golden Needle Club courtesy of OregonPatchWorks. Good luck!

And the lucky winners are: Judith D, Tammy W, Madeline L, Gail B, Denise F, and Jill H. Congratulations to you all!

Thoughtful & Quick-to-Stitch Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

Long before the holidays spring up I have great plans for stitching gifts for family and friends. But inevitably, the hustle and bustle of preparing a Thanksgiving meal, decorating the home and fighting the crowds everywhere I go and staying within budget leaves me overwhelmed. That’s why I think finding balance and coming up with a plan are so important.

This year I’ve decided to stitch Christmas stockings. Here are 5 reasons why I love this idea and think you will too:

  1. Out of the Ordinary!
    These are not your ordinary stockings from your local discount store. These stockings have a zipper from the cuff to the toe enabling you to hoop the stocking flat!

  2. No need to wrap the gift!The Stocking is the wrapping and also means you don’t have to buy something massive that will be difficult to transport or ship.
  3. A little applique goes a long way!Don’t have time to stitch? Use your favorite applique design. Appliques don’t have a lot of stitching—the applique fabric becomes the focal point.
  4. Themes!Here’s where you can have some fun. Write down a list of your gift recipients in one column. Now in the second column write down their interests and activities. This will also help you determine what to stuff the stocking with. Keep in mind you don’t have to spend a lot to fill your stocking. It’s not what you spend it’s the thought you put into personalizing it. Here’s a look at gift ideas with my friends as examples:
    Name Interests Gift Ideas
    Roger Likes to grill Cooking utensils (wooden spoons, spatulas, spoon rests, spices, recipe cards, gourmet sauces
    Casey Has a sweet tooth Chocolates, cookies, hot chocolate. Pick something unusual for them to try or go ‘old school’ and select only those candies that were from their childhood. People always enjoy reminiscing over their favorite candies as a child.
    Ashton Baby’s First Christmas Baby bibs, baby bottles, booties, onesies
    Janis Loves to sew Fat quarters of fabric, interesting buttons and notions, ribbons and trim
  5. Quality “me” time for… others!Having a hard time escaping? Everyone need a piece of your time? Let them know you’re designing their gift. Besides, the time spent stitching is minimal – and this time is your opportunity to rejuvenate your creative spirit so that you can enjoy the holidays more with others!

I think you’ll agree that coming up with a plan makes the gift-giving-gift-making task less of a ‘task’ and more of an opportunity to create and have fun. Read on for tips to embrace your inner ‘creative designer’.

A little time to design!
Take a look at your design stash to see what designs you’ve collected that fit the theme for your gift recipients. Here’s your chance to get creative AND actually use your random mix of embroidery designs! Or you can choose a holiday theme – snowflakes, Christmas trees, etc.

You can also use your built-in lettering on your embroidery machines or in your embroidery software. Come up with cute sayings or stitch the person’s name with the year.

Whatever you choose, remember it’s not what you spend it’s the thought you put into personalizing it. This sure beats anything you can pick up from your local drug store or retailer!

Pick up a stocking (or two!) from Designs in Machine Embroidery!  Click here to purchase.

A few of my favorite things…Tools!

A few of my favorite things...Tools

As an embroiderer, sewer and crafter you can never have too many tools. Here’s a look at some of my faves and a limited-time offer available to you!

Have you ever tried to cut applique with ordinary scissors? Sure, it can be done but why make it more difficult? Applique scissors are the solution! Simply slide the duck bill between the applique fabric and the base fabric to make clean precise cuts without the risk of cutting your base fabric.

Do you love adding bling to your embroidered creations? I know I do! But moving those tiny little jewels and sparkles can be a challenge with my fingers. That’s why I use a Sharp Metal Pointer and Opposable Tweezers when working with crystals.

What about thread tails or jump stitches that need to be trimmed? Bulky or heavy scissors wouldn’t be very handy or ergonomic. I’d probably skip the trimming if that was my only option! Good thing Thread Snips make it easy and convenient to handle the details. Thread Snips are super lightweight and easy to use. The narrow curved blade makes it easy to trim hard to reach or tight areas that standard scissors are too large to handle. Plus the spring-like action makes these scissors pain-free for anyone with arthritis. They are convenient for left or right handed users! Lefties should love this!

And of course, 4″ and 5 ¼” scissors are a must-have in every studio! 4″ scissors are ideal for making small precise cuts. I usually reach for these scissors when I’m cutting small squares of applique fabric or working on a fun in-the-hoop project. 6″ scissors are ideal for mid-to-large cutting needs. I like to use these scissors because they reduce hand strain compared to traditional 10″ scissors that often feel like hedge trimmers in my delicate hands!

Sure, you can get by with scissors picked up from your local craft store or even (gasp!) office supply store. But efficiency and creating a happy sewing and embroidery experience should always be the goal! With that in mind, I’ve got a deal just for you!

All 6 of the tools and scissors outlined are included in a handy carrying case and can be your free gift with the purchase of $75 or more on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

You can keep the kit for yourself or give as a gift! Click the link for more information.


It’s all about the Fabric

It’s all about the fabric.  At International Quilt Market that is. International Quilt Market is the industry’s trade show for machines, notions, furniture, patterns, embroidery designs and fabric – lots of fabric. The fabric companies really outdo themselves!  They put months of work into their displays and it takes a team – well, maybe an army to pull off the chosen theme.

Here’s a look at some of our favorites.

Shannon Fabrics Dude Ranch

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

They had a whole barnyard full of animals – well not the breathing and moving type but life-like definitely!

And check out the cactus – soft enough to pet!

Riley Blake Fabrics created intimate vignettes for shop owners to place orders.

Think batting can’t be exciting? Well check this display by Fairfield!

Moda went for the big splash with anchors adorning all of the chairs.

Timeless Treasures made umbrellas from their upcoming collections.

While Michael Miller was a sea of blue and white.

But it’s not all fabric – two of my pattern favorite designers were in attendance: Kim Christopherson from KimberBell designs and Amy Barickman from Indygo Junction.

Quilt Market is educational, inspirational and sentimental. It’s a time to say hello to old friends, meet new ones and ogle over gorgeous quilts.  I can’t wait to show you what I found in the Schmetz and Janome booths but you’ll have to wait til my next posting!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Walking the show and admiring all the fabric was so inspiring and with the holidays around the corner now is the perfect time to start stitching.  What holiday projects do you have lined up for this year?  Post your comments for a chance to win a Stipple! Holiday 2 Collection.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Stipple Holiday 2

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell us how you use your embroidery software and what you like most about it.  One lucky reader will win $25 to spend at the DIME store.  Thank you and good luck!

And the winner is:
Judy Williamson!  “I purchased a software package last year and am just now learning to use it.  I hope to be able to do all kinds of wonderful things once I learn!”

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