Archive of ‘Lettering’ category

Preserving Signatures

The grandmother of my children, Mom-mom Roche could feed an army within an hour’s notice. No one ever went hungry in her house. The warmth that is shared around her table is legendary – wonderful food, prayerful gratitude and lots of laughter.

On special occasions, she would dress her table in a fine linen cloth. Over 50 years ago, she started to ask her dinner guests if they would sign her tablecloth.  Later, in her spare time (how she ever found a spare minute with 7 children, 21 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren), she would hand embroider their signatures. The next time you saw the tablecloth, the last signature would be stitched – she never missed a single autograph.

It became a rite of passage for all family members. I remember seeing toddlers finger the embroidery and ask when they could sign but Mom-mom wouldn’t let them scribble a few dashes and dots. Oh no, they had to actually hold the pen and sign their name.  The anticipation was about all they could handle. They would watch an older child sit at the table next to Mom-mom and sign. Usually, a tongue was sticking out of the child’s mouth as he or she focused fiercely on the task. Oh the pressure! Not really, Mom-mom has a heart of gold and hugs to match.

My children, now in their 20s remember the day they were asked to sign. Not the same day, mind you, because Janelle is two years older than Ted so Ted had to wait his turn. They loved the ceremony of it and when visit Mom-mom they always examine the tablecloth looking for their own signatures, those of the newest family members and those who have are no longer with us.

Mom-mom has passed this tradition to her grandchildren. When Janelle was married last year, she gave her a hem-stitched linen tablecloth for Janelle’s table along with her blessing to update the tradition to today’s lifestyle. No longer will the signatures be hand embroidered, instead guests will sign a piece of paper, Janelle will photograph it and send it to me. I will then load it as a backdrop into Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software and digitize the signatures.

I’m honored to carry on this tradition for Janelle even if some of the nostalgia is lost in the process. She will have a stitched memory of a tradition from her childhood that she can pass down to the next generation.

Today, I started with family members who attended Janelle and Kegan’s wedding reception. (Yes, I know that was last summer!) In a new file in Perfect Embroidery Pro, I loaded the image as a backdrop (File/Load Backdrop).ST1

Then I traced each line in same manner as the letters were written. ST2

As tempting as it was to smooth curves and straighten lines, I forced myself to just follow the lines. After all, it’s a signature not a lesson in calligraphy. 2 sus

What an enjoyable task – as I digitized each name I focused on that person, so many memories come flooding through my mind.  It’s like I was spending time with them – all part of the gift!

Do you have any family traditions like this? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

Batter Up!

It’s baseball season! Can’t you hear the swing of the bat and the ‘thwack’ when leather hits wood?  Smell the peanuts?  Even though I never played, I still think summer begins with the official opening of baseball season.

And maybe there’s somebody in your life who feels the same way. My new family members, my daughter’s new family, are baseball fanatics – they live for baseball! So when I was invited to a baby shower for the newest grandson, I couldn’t think of anything better than embroidered onesies and burp cloths.  Of course, I have to include a monogram because they already shared his name with the family. Modern times, eh?

My first thought was varsity type athletic letters. Easy to do, just a click of the mouse in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Click on the Text tool and select the Fiction Applique font. Click Ok.BB1BL

Type the initials in the Properties Box.BB2BL

But I felt it could use a little more pizazz. So I added a baseball mood to the common athletic-type appliques. Select the run tool and draw a curved line across the left side of the first initial.BB3BL

Select the line and in the Properties Box on the Run tab, change the Type to Motif, Pattern 129. Add more curved lines to the letters.BB4ABL

Cute!  Now we have to move the baseball stitches behind the satin outlines.  Select the text, right click and select Break Up Text from the dropdown menu.BB5BL

Select the first applique (the text is now two appliques), right click and select Break Up Path from the dropdown menu.BB7BL

Now, arrange the colors in this order: placement guide, tackdown, baseball stitches and satin outline.FinalbbBL

How easy was that? Perfect Embroidery Pro provides all the tools you need for creativity.

Need an Embroidery Miracle? Then You Need Friends in High Places!

Where do you turn when you need a solution to an embroidery dilemma? It started innocently enough with “Honey, can you embroider my name and phone number on this strap?” I naively responded, “Oh sure, I’ll bet it’ll be an easy thing to do.” Then he hands over the ‘harmless’ strap. From afar, it looked like camo canvas maybe camo neoprene. But once in my hand, my knees began to tremble when I gripped the…RUBBER backing! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Rubber? Really? Are you kidding me? Dang, I wish I hadn’t shared that joke about the lady who informed her husband that no, she won’t stitch a logo on his golf shirt because her machine can’t do menswear. I still chuckle at that line. But my sweet husband knows the truth behind that – it’s a joke he’s heard me tell in Stitching Sister events. He knows all of my machines ‘can do menswear.’

So off I trotted to the office with the noose, I mean strap, over my shoulder. I figured I’d start my research there – pour through all our technical journals, embroidery books and commercial magazines to look for a solution. My search led to nothing, not a clue on how to hoop or stabilize rubber-backed neoprene. So I did what I normally do when approached with a stumbling block. I climb around it. Avoid it. Make a path around it – like the elephant in the room. And mull it over for a few days. But not this time because in walked the most knowledgeable person in the embroidery industry. Deborah Jones.

She was here on official business – really big important stuff like what would we have for lunch. At the end of our visit, I remembered the noose – strap (gee, I keep staying that!) and asked for her advice. Without a trace of confusion or a moment of hesitation, she said, “Oh hoop it with wax paper. You’ll need something to lubricate the needle and thread as it exits the rubber.”

I looked at her like she handed me the Hope diamond. She looked at me like she sometimes does, “Oh you silly Yankee.” (Doesn’t matter how long you live in Texas, you’re always a Yankee if you imported yourself.) Then she left. I was perplexed, okay scared, so I worried for a few more days. And then I bought wax paper. I haven’t purchased wax paper in years and didn’t spot it the new fancy grocery near the office. I asked a salesperson where I would find it and she wasn’t quite sure what it was! After a minute she muttered something about packed lunches at grandma’s house when she was a little girl and then sent me to aisle 23. Anyway, I bought it.

The noose, I mean strap, is thick so holding it in a hoop was not an option. Sticking it down on hooped wax paper in a standard hoop would likely result in the noose, strap, popping off the wax paper. So I hooped tear-away stabilizer and two layers of wax paper (Why two? I don’t know, I bought a whole roll, so I figured I’d get my money’s worth) in Snap Hoop on a 10-needle machine. Snap Hoop is flat and will help keep the strap on the wax paper. I sprayed the back of the strap with temporary adhesive and pressed it onto the wax paper. Then taped it for extra security.

As you remember Deborah told me to ‘use wax paper.’ She didn’t tell me anything about hooping, adding stabilizer or adhesive. I was on my own there, I just tried to apply common sense (something most Yankees are not known for in Texas) and tame the challenge and well, git her done as they say here.

It worked! An embroidery miracle, thanks to Deborah Jones.

 

The winner of last week’s blog post answered the following question:
Have you used Kreations by Kara’s designs? If so, do you have a favorite?  Leave a comment and four random winners will each receive a $25 gift certificate! Yippee! A shopping spree is in order.

The winner is:

Josie D: “I hadn’t heard of her before but what you’ve shown is awesome.”

Sara R: “There are too many beautiful designs to pick a favorite but I love FSL and the FSL Christmas ornaments are definitely some of my favorites.”

Janet F: “I used Kara’s butterflies on the lining of a quilted jacket. I smile every time I put it on, the inside is as pretty as the outside.”

Sara: “I have purchased her designs for quite some time now, the best is she has for every thing & every body, so talented, her creations are exquisite! Sad to hear she passed, but the talent runs in the family with her daughter. We are so happy to have Kreations by Kara for the magnificent, creativity & versatility we get with her creations!”

 

Thank you, everyone for taking the time to comment.  The information you shared is very helpful as we continue to come up with fresh content you’ll enjoy!

Hold Onto Your Hat

Hat embroidery presents two challenges for the home embroiderer. First, hat embroidery usually entails small lettering.  Second, keeping a hat in a hoop on single-needle, flat bed machine is tricky.  We’ve got you covered on both bases!  Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches is the perfect software program to create a quick hat embellishment.hat1bl  In Word Art in Stitches, click on the Bubble Text icon and select the following items in the preview window:

  1. Shape: Select the state of your choice.
  2. Change the default size to 75 mm width and 71 mm height.
  3. Border: Steil
  4. Words: Remove My Text
  5. Click Apply

Select the Micro Text tool and type Home in the Properties Box. Select the Arial Small font. Click Apply.  Move Home into the state.hat2bl

Click on the Text Designs tool, scroll down and select So99686. Click OK.hat3bl

Right click on So99686 and select Ungroup from the drop down menu.hat4bl

In the Color Sequence window, click on the eyeball next to the star colors to hide them.hat5bl

Select the remaining portions of So99686 and delete them.hat6bl

Click on the eyeballs again in the Color Sequence window to reveal the star. Move the star next to Home. Save the design and print a template to audition it on the hat. Tape the template to the hat.

The easiest way to hold a hat in a single-needle flatbed hoop is to use adhesive tear-away and our newest product, Hoop Clip. Here’s how to do it: Place adhesive tear-away stabilizer on the back of the Snap Hoop Monster’s metal frame. Snap the Hoop Clip onto the bottom frame. Hoop Clip is magnetic and attaches easily and firmly to the metal frame.hat8bl

Open the clip and slide the brim into the opening.  Finger press the cap onto the sticky stabilizer.hat9bl

Attach the hoop to the machine and stitch the design.hat11bl

Sweet! A hat on a flatbed single-needle machine!hat12bl

Text on a Path

One of my favorite things about using digitizing software is learning new shortcuts. For years, I’ve been creating text on a path in a rather laborious method. But now, thanks to Ashley Jones, Inspirations education consultant, I’ve learned a time-saving method and I think you’re going to love it.

In Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro, draw your shape. Select the Artwork tool, and Ellipse.  Path1

Left mouse click and drag to draw an oval.  Select the Shape tool and grab the handles on one node to turn the oval into a balloon.  Path2

Move the node on the right towards the center. Path3

Drag the handle on the node to make a paisley shape.  The paisley shape should measure approximately 3.25″ x 2.25″.Path4“.Select the Text tool and click on the screen. In the properties box, type the message on one line.  In the font selection window, scroll down to the mini-fonts and select Bauhaus.  Click Apply. Path5

Click on the Select tool. On the keyboard, hit CTRL and A to highlight the artwork and the text. Left mouse click to view your options and select Text on a Path. Path6

Boom! The software does all the work for you! Path7

If you have some open space, add a series of periods to fill the gap. Select the Text tool and type multiple periods at the end of the line of text. Click Apply.  Path8

Rotate the design, change the color and there and you have it! Path9

Thanks for sharing that trick Ashley!

A Reader Suggested…

Yes, I’m still talking about the wedding! I’ve had so many people ask for details about the, well, the wedding details, I thought I’d keep you in the loop.  Although I didn’t actually embroider the wedding gown lace, I did add some very personal touches to the dress.  I thought long and hard about documenting the ceremony on the inside of the dress. I even asked you to leave a comment and tell me what you would do. My final decision was to add a label at the waistline and an embroidered ribbon to the lining’s hem.

I made several attempts at the label, starting with a traditional slant of the bride and groom’s names, date and location of the wedding.  I didn’t like this at all – the J’s were overlapping and the digits overwhelmed the letters.LabelSS6BL

Making a label is not really that big of a deal unless you think about how it will be read in 20, 30 or more years down the road. It was Janelle’s day, not mine, so I wanted the focus of the message to be on her. And I kept coming back to your suggestions. One of you –  Ruth Peterson – left a beautiful suggestion on July 24. It stayed with me for weeks so I decided to use it. Thank you, Ruth, for your suggestion.

For the next version I switched the font to one of Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro’s mini fonts – Diana Small. I typed each line of Ruth’s poem on a separate line and hit Apply. LabelSS3BL

I loved what appeared. I quickly did a test stitch out, switching the needle to 65 and the thread to a 50 wt.LabelSS2BL

I didn’t have to make any changes to the text but I did want the label to be finished on all edges. So I went back into the software and selected the Artwork tool and a rectangle. LabelSS4BL

I drew a rectangle around the lettering and selected the rectangle. I right clicked on the rectangle and selected Convert to Run. LabelSS8

When the Properties Box appeared,   I selected Two-ply from the Run menu and reduced the stitch length from the 3.0 default to 2.2. I changed the color to 2 so that the machine would stop after stitching the poem. LabelSS9BL

I hooped a fresh piece of the Bemberg rayon lining and stitched color 1, the text. I placed another piece of the rayon on top of the text and stitched color 2, the outline.  Once removed from the hoop, I trimmed the edges, slit the back and turned it right side out.  And then low and behold, I found a hand needle and actually sewed it to the dress! LabelSS10BL

Check back on Wednesday to see why another addition to the label made it so very special to not only Janelle but the whole Roche family.

Software Saturday – Kindergarten Rocks!

In today’s lesson, I’ll demonstrate how to create the special requested Kindergarten Rocks embroidery layout.  If you missed part 1 of the series from Monday, you can read it here: Part 1 of Kindergarten Rocks


Open Perfect Embroidery Pro (PEP) software and select the “T” for text tool in the upper left hand of screen. Type the word “Kindergarten” and select the “Kids” font from the font drop down menu. Click “Apply”.

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Click the “T” for text again and type the word “Rocks!” in the text box. Select the “Pepita” font from the menu and click Apply. Move the word down to fit underneath Kindergarten and size accordingly.

Click the “T” again for the text tool and type the words “Class of 2028” in the text box. Locate the Geometric font from the font choices and click Apply.  Position the text centered underneath “Rocks”.

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Go to the drop down menu at the top left upper screen and click “File” Click2Stitch from the drop down choices. Click2Stitch will offer an option box in the center on the screen where you can select the fabric. Under type of fabric select “knit light” (onsie, t-shirt).

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Click “Next” and “Finish”. The Click2Stitch automatically adjusts the density for the fabric selected and recalculates the stitches.  It also recommends stabilizer and pre-washing if needed. You have the option to print the steps if desired.

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Select the 5″ x 7″ hoop.

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For the step by step directions on proper design placement and hooping techniques for this project refer to the Multi-needle Monday Blog titled: Kindergarten Rocks!

 

Editing Text in Perfect Embroidery Pro

A few weeks ago, blog reader Jenny left a comment on the June 27th post. She asked, “Can you please help me figure out how to “Edit” what I had “Grouped” together? I am not able to ungroup the design as was once before? I have to keep typing the poem up every-time I want to change the name on the stitch out.”

At the time, I responded with this, “Jenny, select the design, right mouse click and choose Ungroup from the drop down menu. There are also Group and Ungroup icons on the top tool bar but I can’t load an image here into comments to show you. Oh, I just realized you mentioned a poem – so that’s a little different. Again, click on the Select tool, select the poem, right mouse click and select Breakup Text from the drop down menu.”

I can do a more thorough job of explaining the process and give more options for editing text. Since the only information I have Jenny is what she stated above, I’ll start from scratch with a recipe. Follow along with me. Open a new page in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Text icon. The cursor changes to an A and the Properties Box opens. Select your font. I’ve chose Arial Small. Type a fictional recipe into the Properties Box, then click Apply. Text1

With the Text tool still selected, change the justification to Left Alignment. Click Apply. Notice all of the editing features available on the text itself. You can move individual letters, whole words and lines. Text2

When the Select Tool is used, your options diminish. You can size the design (the software sees it as a design and not text when the Select Tool is used), rotate, mirror image, duplicate, etc. But you do not have the freedom to edit the individual letters. Text3

Click on the Text tool again, and all of your text editing options appear. I’ve readjusted the kerning on the word chips. Text5

When I click on the Select tool again, my changes are there. Text6

Save the design now in C2S – the native format of Perfect Embroidery. Change the color of the thread to green and save it as Chips.pes. Close both designs.

Open Chips.pes. The design is no longer recognized by the software as text – it’s just an ordinary design. When you click on a letter, the sequence field now shows all of the individual elements of the design – runs and satins. Ugh – that’s very challenging to edit. Text7

Not to worry, you have the original file. Open it and you’ll find the software recognizes it as text and all of your editing abilities are right at your finger tips! Text8

For instance, you can increase the 5 cups to 6 cups in the Properties box.. Text9

This is a great example of why it’s so important to save the original file in C2S and a working copy in your machine format. Make your changes to the original and you’ll always have the ability to edit.

 

 

You are invited to go crazy quilting!

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Sam Solomon, our Creative Director at Designs in Machine Embroidery has been telling me to experiment with crazy quilting.  I’ve admired Eileen’s projects in her book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine but I didn’t think I had the skill level to understand what fabric to fold, where and when.  I remember taking a test in the 6th grade on spatial skills and paper folding and I struggled.  So clearly, crazy quilting isn’t for me.  But Sam assured me I could do it.  I intended to prove him wrong.
I decided to experiment with the 5 inch version of Quilt Block 1 from Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  I kept it simple by creating an unadorned quilt block using the embroidery techniques highlighted in the book.  I was shocked by how easy it was to do the flip and stitch method described in the book.
Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

About the block:
Since the block was plain (and boring) I decided it was the ideal canvas for ribbons and other embellishments.  I never thought I’d get to use the spades and clubs embellishments on a project.  Victory!

 

Next I made the same block but added embroidery designs from the book.  Blissful success!

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About the block:
It was important to me I set some rules during this entire crazy quilt block making process.  I only wanted to use 3 thread colors.  I embraced the concept of white and pink birds and am quite pleased with the results.  I added a decorative zig-zag stitch to attach the gray ribbon.

 

Two successes in one afternoon proved a confidence builder. Why stop now?  I decided to incorporate embroidery designs from Perfect Embroidery Pro. I used the mini fonts and the circle path for text. More success!

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About the block:
The bicycle is a built-in design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  I arched the word “Create” around the wheel.  What a simple, yet fun way to display text!

The hot air balloon is also a built-in design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  I arched the text, “up, up and away we go!”  It wasn’t until the machine started stitching did I realize I had trapped myself.  What color do I stitch the word “go”?  I had to get creative on the fly—so I stopped the machine and stitched the “o” in white.  Not ideal but it’s a crazy quilt!

The footprints are also a built-in design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  You can add as few or as many footprints as you want.  Just remember to mirror image them!

 

Next I used the bee, flower border and hearts from Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  I like crazy quilting as a style because it’s like doodling on a textbook book cover or an acceptable way to add graffiti. It seemed fitting to add text, “Denise was here!”

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About the block:
I used Perfect Embroidery Pro to add “Bee-utiful” and arched it around the bee.

 

Start thinking of favorite phrases, important dates like birthdays or anniversaries— and add them to your crazy quilt blocks.  Since I was stitching these blocks in March, I figured why not add the date.  It’s a momentous month, the month I tried my hand at crazy quilting with an embroidery machine.

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About the block:
The eye is a built-in design from Perfect Embroidery Pro.  It was quirky and fun—the ideal addition to my crazy quilt blocks.  The large flower button covers a mistake.  No one but me… and you know!  That’s the joy of crazy quilting.  You can easily cover up mistakes.  Tiny baby buttons adorn the polka dot pink fabric.

 

Next, I did a Google search on crazy quilting and noticed a recurring theme:  spiders and spider webs.  It turns out they are considered a sign of good luck.  I don’t believe in luck but I do like spiders and spider webs.  Finally, I get to incorporate a creepy crawly spider into my embroidery!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

About the block:
I used Perfect Embroidery Pro to draw one strand of the spider web, then I copied, pasted and enlarged the strand as the arch got wider and wider.  Next I converted the artwork to a running stitch with a 2.5 mm stitch length.  I hand stitched my Halloween spider.  (I tried my faithful hot glue gun, but the rubber spider wouldn’t stay.)  I think this block makes a statement!

The other embroidery designs on this block are free design downloads courtesy of our friends from Embroidery Online.  You can find these designs (and more!) by visiting the Designs Plus Newsletter. All embroidery designs are archived for your convenience and creative whim!

My lessons to you:

  1. If you want to improve your embroidery skills you need to practice. A great way to practice is by stitching a crazy quilt block!  Look at each block as a canvas to decorate.  Use it as your own small and manageable art piece.  Once you experience success, who knows how many blocks you might stitch!
  2. I only used Block 1 to keep my variation to a minimum—but imagine the possibilities! They are endless.  Use the embroidery designs included in the book to embellish the blocks.  But don’t stop there.  Get creative and resourceful.  Use your embroidery software.  Use the free embroidery designs we offer on our website.  Use built-in embroidery designs on your machine.  Get scrappy.  Get creative.  Go crazy!

Now’s a great time to purchase Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  Not just because it’s wildly fun and a great skill-building experience – it’s on special!  For a limited time, enjoy free shipping on U.S. orders.  Plus, Eileen will autograph the book, which is always such a nice personal touch.  Visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website to redeem the offer.

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

I’m fortunate to have friends and coworkers that challenge me to try new things – like crazy quilting.  Who in your life pushes you to be your best and try new things?  What activities have they encouraged you to try that you discovered you loved?  Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.
The winners of last week’s assignment answered the following question:When you get a new embroidery design how do you test it? Change Fabrics? Change Threads? Or both? 4 random names will be drawn and will each receive a $25 gift certificate to BFC Creations! The winners are: Kim – “Test it on the same fabric if possible.”, Carol M. – ” To test designs I use felt, scrap denim or scraps of solid fabric I keep beside my embroidery machine. Most of the time I just say a prayer and do the design on my project. I do test thread colors with my software before I do the design to see which color I like best.”, Belinda G – “I rarely test a design, I haven’t had a problem yet! Just lucky, I guess! but I usually choose other colors than what is in the design.”, and Barbara M. – “I do most of my color testing in my software. Then I can fine-tune it on a stitch-out. Sometimes I just trust the software…”BFC Creations

 

All You Need to Know About Lettering in Perfect Embroidery Pro

One of the mottos that I live by is using time well. Let’s face it, we all try to cram as much into a day as possible. So when I have a choice about how to spend my time, I want to learn something. If I learn one thing when I read a book, take a class or watch a webinar on machine embroidery, then I consider it a good investment in my time. I imagine you feel the same way about your time.

If you watched Tuesday’s webinar by Katherine Artines, I’m sure you learned more than one thing about lettering in Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro. Here are some of my favorites:

Why mini fonts look best when stitched with a 60 wt. thread in a #9 needle.2015-02-21_13-28-18

The shortcut to view all of the available characters in a special font.2015-02-21_11-03-47

More than one way to access and view the over 200 fonts that included in Perfect Embroidery Pro.2015-02-21_11-02-18

An attractive alternative to override split satins when enlarging fonts into jumbo letters. You have to watch the webinar to see how easy it is to make this switch from a satin:2015-02-21_10-46-49

to a fancy fill:2015-02-21_10-46-03

How to emphasis the meaning of the stitched word.2015-02-21_14-07-55

Witness the morphing of a single line of text into an inviting expression.2015-02-21_13-53-18

Learn the secret to better envelopes.2015-02-21_13-50-20

See the trick to perfectly flanked motifs in arced lettering.2015-02-21_14-06-39

And you’ll be intrigued by Katherine’s creativity when she explains how each of these fun designs are created in Perfect Embroidery Pro.2015-02-21_10-52-05

Watching this video is time well spent. Click here to view the webinar.

 

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