Archive of ‘Just for Fun’ category

A Mended Heart

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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 Embroitique.com website. Someone will get paid for making a mistake and recovering from it! Not a bad deal!

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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!

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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!

BNT1001_pkg_alt_grande

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.

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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.

Oops!

 

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.

Gift-Card

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 EmbroideryArts.com 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!

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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!”

Behind the Scenes At DIME

Ever wonder what a typical day is like at Designs in Machine Embroidery?  Rest assured, it’s anything but typical!  Take a peek at a recent conversation I had with Eileen.

Denise:  “Eileen, we’re running a special promotion on your book, Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons.  Do you mind autographing a few books?”

Eileen:  “No problem.  Cart them over to the office and I’ll sign.  I’ll work on that task this morning then I’ll do some stitching in the afternoon.”

Little did Eileen know that she’d be signing HUNDREDS of books.  And I mean HUNDREDS!

At the end of the day I stopped by Eileen’s office to discuss upcoming projects.

Eileen:  “I started embroidering a new project this morning.  I’m really excited about it.  See the progress I’ve made?  It’s over there.”

I eagerly glanced over at the embroidery machine.

Eileen:  “I got as far as loading the design onto the machine!”

Special Offer!
Order an autographed copy of Eileen’s book, Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons and enjoy free shipping!  When checking out at the register, use coupon code:  smile

To order visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.  Click here to order now.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blo

Here’s your assignment this week:

Do you have any unfinished embroidery projects piled in your sewing room?  Perhaps you started a baby quilt and the “baby” is all grown up now?  Or maybe you’re looking for just the right fabric too coordinate with the project?  Tell us about your unfinished project(s) and SIX lucky winners will win a $25 gift certificate to the Stunning Stitches website!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Visit the newly updated Stunning Stitches website featuring Alphabets & Monograms, Cross Stitch, In the Hoop, Native American designs and also Give Back Project Challenges!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Vote now! It’s time to choose a color for sashing and I thought it would be fun if you helped me select a color. What color or colors would you choose? Do tell! I’ll choose my favorite suggestion and will use that color(s). I’ll give you a shout-out as my special “Color Adviser” in the next blog. Don’t worry, if more than one of you think brilliantly alike I’ll mention each of you as my “Color Advisers”!

Stay tuned for the next blog by Denise Holguin to see who won!

Doodles!

Have you checked out the free design in the August Designs Plus Newsletter?  Our sponsor, EmbroideryOnline donated a design from one of their newest collections, the Doodle Line Quilting collection.  The Doodle Flowers Centerpiece is yours free to download and enjoy from the Designs Plus Newsletter!  (Read on to find out details!)

We were excited to try the design so here’s a peek at what we’ve been up to.  The design is a breeze to stitch—so we stitched a set in 4 different thread colors.

Then we were inspired by the name of the collection and thought it would be fun to stitch the design on white fabric with black thread—then we colored in the doodles using Copic markers.

Click here to check out the latest Designs Plus Newsletter and to download the free design courtesy of EmbroideryOnline.com

Did you know we have a new sponsor every month that gives away a free design in the Designs Plus Newsletter?  Join our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out!  Click here to join.

Have you stitched the free design featured in the August Designs Plus Newsletter yet?  Post your creations on our Facebook page!

Louisville

I spent a fun-filled weekend in Louisville last year and learned there’s something for everybody in that town – sports fans, foodies and embroiderers! I’m very excited about going back to Louisville and this time I’m taking my Stitching Sister with me. We’re going to have a blast with the Smocking Shop team for two full days of stitching, sharing and camaraderie. The Smocking Shop told me the other day that they want to keep the event small and intimate. To make sure every student feels pampered they are limiting the enrollment and only a few spots remain. Click here to learn more. I hope you’ll join us. We’ll be teaching our favorite techniques and we’re getting an early start on holiday stitching. We’ve uncovered the best techniques for embroidering tricky holiday projects like stockings, faux fur and more. After a weekend with the Stitching Sisters, you’ll be ready to tackle any holiday project.

Here are my top 10 reasons to visit Louisville.

10. Rub shoulders with Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Bobby Flay or David Letterman at world-famous Graeter’s Ice Cream.  I can’t wait to stand in line at Graeter’s and see the flavor of the day!

9. Enjoy the official drink of the Kentucky Derby – a mint julep.

8. Pay homage to the NCAA men’s basketball champions – the University of Louisville Cardinals.

7. Get an engraved Louisville Slugger baseball bat.

6. Take a carriage ride through the quant old section of downtown Louisville.

5. Get your photo taken with the world’s largest baseball bat.

4. Tour the hallowed grounds of Churchill Downs.

3. Hone your skills for upcoming holiday stitching.

2. Shop at the Smocking Shop.

1. Spend two fun days with the Stitching Sisters.

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave a comment below and tell us how you currently store your hoops. One comment will be chosen at random to receive Perfect Placement Software for Wearables by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman – now available at a lower price of only $39.99! Thank you for sharing and good luck.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Sometimes you just have to pamper yourself. All for Me – Delightfully Feminine Projects Made in the Hoop by Shelly Smola has 6 beautiful projects just for you! Inside you’ll find:

  • Tea Party Luggage Tags
  • Glamour Girl Makeup Case
  • Petite Purse
  • Vintage Apron
  • Time for Tea Pillow
  • Time for Tea Quilt

Leave us a comment below about the last thing you made for you and only you. One random comment will be selected to win their very own copy of All for Me – Delightfully Feminine Projects Made in the Hoop by Shelly Smola! Thanks for reading and good luck.

And the winner is… Michelle H – “It’s been so long I cannot remember the last thing I made myself, I think it was a T shirt with embroidery on the front”

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