Archive of ‘Lace’ category

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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

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Here’s the finished piece!

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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!

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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.

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.

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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!

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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!

“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”

“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.


Instagram made me do it.

I started a new hobby this year:  Instagram.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Project 1:  Lacy Blue Beauty!
tulle, monofilament thread

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

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

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I placed the lace on a towel to dry.

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

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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Simple, yet attractive!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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

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

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

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

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

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

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


Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog



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

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

Congratulations, Michelle!  Thank you for commenting!



We’re So Proud!


Toot, toot!  Beep, beep! A special digital issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery is free for you – just click here to access. You’ll find projects, free embroidery designs, videos from our sponsors and access to leading companies in the embroidery industry.

Wondering what’s inside? It’s packed with educational material for newbies, intermediate and advanced embroiderers. Devour the expert information on stabilizers and how to embroider on ribbon, polos and t-shirts! Learn to create continuous embroidery with confidence; stitch a little something for the man in your life and develop your designer’s eye – all in this one special issue!


Download the familiar .zip file, unzip and inside you’ll find an exciting interactive Adobe Acrobat PDF file you can read and enjoy from the convenience of your desktop computer or laptop. Use the free Adobe Acrobat reader to achieve full interactivity and flip through the pages, zoom in on projects and print whatever you’d like. Use the arrows on your keyboard to navigate through the pages: advance by clicking the arrows pointing down or right while the arrows pointing up or left will take you to a previous page.

WP-IconWP-PlayLook for the mouse icon and click on it to activate the zoom feature and more.  View the embedded videos by clicking the play button and enjoy.

We made it simple to navigate, easy to view and inspirational to read – I think you’ll see why we’re so proud of our new digital issue. My hat is off to the whole Designs team for making this happen – led by Sam Solomon, Denise Holguin, Stephanie Smith and Sandy Griggs. Designs wouldn’t be here without that team – they’re awesome! I think you’ll agree when you see what they’ve created.

A very special thank you to our valued sponsors: Brother, Embrilliance, Embroidery Library, Five Star Fonts, Janome America, HoopSisters, SWAKembroidery and Urban Threads –  Enjoy!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Download our FREE digital edition of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. Give it a read and enjoy all of the interactivity, photo zooming abilities, videos and beautiful photography captured for each stunning project. Then, come back and leave us a comment on what you think about it – good or bad, we can take it. One lucky reader will win a gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery for $25!

You can use that $25 to buy anything on our website including a 1 year subscription to our print magazine offered at the special price of $24.97 for a limited time only.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Go over and give Craftsy a looksy! Tell us what classes interest you or if you’ve already taken a class on Craftsy – tell us what you love about it. One lucky reader will receive a link for a complimentary download of Eileen’s new class, The Machine Embroidered T-Shirt!


And the winner is…“I’ve been checking out Craftsy website, and some of the free classes. My sister told me about this site, she had taken a class and loved it! I would really LOVE to win the chance to take the T-shirt class. I have a fear to try new things, but I’m sure taking the class would give me more confidence. Thanks for sharing your embroidery expertise.” – Jane B.

Congratulations Jane, we hope you enjoy your class and share your experience with us!

I always learn something from Deborah Jones….

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I am amazed at Deborah’s wealth of knowledge when it comes to embroidery.

She has such a grasp on the technical aspect of this complicated process we all love.

I have to admit it was Deborah who taught me about underlay – when to use extra and when a little goes a long way. She taught me about lettering and how to critique a font for embroidery and she has definitely taught me everything I know about stabilizers.

And I’m still learning from her! In fact, when I watched her recent video release on stabilizers, I couldn’t believe how many things I learned.  Deborah’s a strong communicator, simplifying complicated thoughts and techniques in clear precise language.

If you still have questions about selecting stabilizers, let me tell you, Deborah has the answers.  She wades through all the murky misconceptions about water soluble stabilizers. I know I have a drawer full of water soluble stabilizers and often I don’t know which one would work best for the job at hand. And you’ll love her tips on removing the often stubborn stabilizer.

She tackles stitching on athletic wear – even taming the trendy and challenging Under Armour Microfiber.  And she explores the variety of cut-away and tear-away stabilizers. She has such a wealth of experience, I often ask myself how would Deborah stabilize this fabric?  Now I don’t have to guess, I can just watch her video and read the printable reference chart for stabilizing 26 different fabrics! I keep that handy guide right next to my stabilizer stash.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

This week’s assignment:

If you could have a private 3-hour lesson with Deborah Jones what would you want her to teach you?  Post your comment for a chance to win your own copy of Deborah’s Learn from the Expert DVD – Stabilizing for Embroidery.


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

You don’t have to wait until July 24th.  Leave a comment here this week and you’ll be entered into a random drawing to win a copy of the 30-Minute Doll Clothes book.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


This week’s winner is… Dolores!
“I just purchased the Floriani software!  This is a perfect project for me to get started with this new software.”


Content in this feed is © Copyright 2012 by Eileen Roche and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.

What’s on Your Bucket List?

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What’s on Your Bucket List?

What’s on your embroidery bucket list?  Want to get the whole embroidery experience?  Then write an embroidery bucket list.  You’ll find if you write it down, you’re apt to tackle some of those easy-to-put-off complicated embroidery projects. And once you do, you’ll probably discover that they were way easier than you imagined.

I’ve compiled three embroidery bucket lists – one for newbie, intermediate and advanced skill levels.  This post will feature the bucket list for newbies.  Look for the bucket lists for Intermediate and Advanced skill levels in upcoming issues of Designs in Machine Embroidery!


  1. Select a built-in a design from your machine and stitch it on a knit fabric, cotton quilting fabric and a piece of denim. Experiment with different stabilizers until you’re satisfied with the results. You’ll see how changing the fabric can really change the design – and you’ll learn what stabilizer works best on each fabric.  Write the name and type of the stabilizer on these samples and keep them for future reference.
  2. Play with color by selecting your favorite go-to thread color and stitching the same design on several different colored fabrics.  You might be surprised at the results.  That pink that you always thought was so bright might actually be a bit dull on blue fabric. Look at the difference between these two shades of pink.Eileen's Machine Embroidery BlogEileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  3. Get comfortable with the editing features on your machine.  Experiment with rotating, duplicating and mirror imaging. Then move the design(s) all over the sewing field, filling the hoop. Use the jog keys to move the design. See how many designs you can squeeze into the frame.  I did this when I created an e-reader cover.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  4. Practice perfect placement. Draw a horizontal line on a piece of fabric. Hoop the fabric keeping the line within the sewing field but not dead center. Create a simple word like PEACE and position it on the line. Someday you’ll have to place a monogram above a pocket and this will teach you how to approach that task.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  5. Make it a habit to use the basting file with every design you stitch. The basting file is similar to auto insurance, you don’t have to be insured to drive a car but you should have at least basic coverage. If something happens during the embroidery process, the basting file can be used to realign. See point 6.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  6. Learn to rehoop in the middle of a design. If your machine has it, select the basting icon and add a basting outline to a design.  Stitch the outline, then begin stitching the design. Interrupt the machine and yep – take the hoop off of the machine and the fabric out of the hoop.  Make a note of the stitch number. Now rehoop as best you can. Here’s a tip – use the hoop marks as a starting guide. Reattach the hoop to the machine and see where the needle is positioned. Most likely, it won’t be centered exactly over the last stitch.  Use the stitch advance key to go back to the basting file.  Travel over the outline, stitch by stitch. The needle should be positioned over the stitched outline – travel around at least one corner to verify the fabric is square. You may need to move or rotate the design to align the design.  This is good practice because someday you’ll have to do this on a real embroidery project.  Once you’re satisfied the needle is aligned with the basting outline, advance to the stitch number where you interrupted the design and complete the design.  Pat yourself on the back!
  7. Create a traditional 3-letter monogram with the large last name letter flanked by two smaller letters (first and middle initials).  This task will teach you the basics of monogramming, spacing and sizing of letters.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  8. Quilt with the embroidery machine. Work in manageable sections such as blocks or strips and hoop the quilt sandwich (backing, batting and quilt top fabric). Select a quilting design and press go!  You’ve mastered embroidering on multiple layers.
  9. Lace. Who doesn’t love lace? Experiment with a variety of water soluble stabilizer – heavy, regular weight, mesh-like and film-type.  Follow the manufacturer’s directions for dissolving the stabilizer.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  10. Embroider a Tote Bag. Sometimes the easiest way to embroider a bag is to turn it inside out, hoop the design area and then ‘open’ the bag to reveal the design area. This keeps the bulk of the bag on top of the hoop and you can keep an eye on the straps to avoid stitching on one.  I actually placed this large tote bag over the machine head to keep everything away from the needle except for the design area. Magna-Hoop was a big help for this task.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

This week’s assignment:

After reading the Bucket List for Newbies how many of the 10 items have you  accomplished?  Which of the items will you try right away?  Post your comment for a chance to win a $25 shopping spree for use on the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

The TWO winners of last week’s assignment answered the question:

I’d love to know how many of you have tackled continuous embroidery designs. Just tell me if you have (or haven’t).

TWO random individuals will be selected to win a $60 gift certificate to the Applique for Kids website! What a great way to build up your library of embroidery designs!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Winner 1:  Royce Zook
“Yes I have, several times. All worked out well and I was pleased with the result.”

Winner 2:  Bev Weis
“I’ve not yet learned about or tried continuous emb designs. Hopefully I will soon, though.

It’s great to read various emb tips & advice from online sources. Thank you!”

Congratulations to both of our winners!

Content in this feed is © Copyright 2012 by Eileen Roche and may not be republished without written permission. You’re welcome to forward to a friend or colleague but it’s not okay to add the RSS feed automatically as content on a blog or other website.

Embroidering lace

Last week we discussed five tips for expanding your embroidery expertise. One tip – Don’t Think Project – Think Technique – seemed to hit a nerve with many blog readers. We received lots of comments regarding trying new techniques and a quite a few of them mentioned lace. So here’s how I explored embroidering lace.

I selected a lace design and stitched it on four different types of material:
-heavy film-type water-soluble stabilizer
-mesh-like water soluble stabilizer
-tulle with regular weight film-type water soluble stabilizer
-stretch mesh fabric with regular weight film-type water soluble stabilizer

I used the same thread and lace design on each test. Of course, the lace design was professionally digitized and stitched out beautifully in each instance. I recorded how easy it was to remove the stabilizer and what steps were required. I stapled the stitch outs with a piece of the stabilizer and fabric (if included) to a piece of copy paper and made notes on the paper. Then I kept the samples in a binder for future reference.

From these samples, I could check the ‘hand’ of the lace, the translucency of the fabric and the ease of removal. The notes come in handy when I’m working on a new lace project. I used to think all lace projects are similar until I did this test. That’s when I learned that when the variables change, so does the outcome. All are acceptable but one or two preferred. So try it yourself and see what you find. You might just learn something new to an old or familiar task.

Designer’s Tip:
It is helpful to add fabric softener when rinsing the water soluble stabilizer away from the lace to create a soft touch to the lace.

Leave a comment telling me how you go about mastering a technique and you’ll be entered in our drawing for this week’s giveaway – the Little Black Tee – my favorite lace designs!

And the winner of  Embroidery Tool Kit from last week is…Debbie!

“I keep many files on my laptop, but my big problem is I have too many files, too many ideas and too many embroidery files downloaded. I would love to spend time just organizing these files, but always find myself heading to my sewing room instead. I always have a project in the machine, and two to three backed up behind it.”

Congratulations, Debbie!