Archive of ‘Lettering’ category

Volume 103 It Started with a Quilt Block – Signpost Lesson

It Started with a Quilt Block was featured in the March/April 2017 issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. Since space is limited on the printed page, you’ll find the details for creating the quilt’s sign post.

Experiment by using your favorite quote or saying for your own signpost.  Dime’s Patch Attach was used to fuse the final sample to the quilt.

Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches and Perfect Embroidery Pro software programs pack a powerful punch when you have both installed on your computer.  If you do, the Word Art in Stitches features are available WITHIN the Perfect Embroidery Pro software. You don’t have to open both software programs!  Duplicate these steps to create your signpost.


Step 1.  Make the Frame
Open Perfect Embroidery Pro.  On the right side of the screen, click on the Bubble Text icon from Word Art in Stitches.

The window below will open.  Click on the three dots to view the catalog.

Click on Objects / Borders.  Select Borders-10.

Do not type any text in the Words field.  Don’t worry about the size.  The size will be adjusted later.  Click OK.

The frame will appear on the screen.

Select the frame.  Click on the Transform tab on the right side of the screen.  Make sure the “Maintain aspect ratio” button is selected.  Change the frame size to 5 inches  Click OK.

 

With the frame still selected, right click and select Convert To / Applique

In the Properties – Applique box, select “Change Colors.”  Click Apply to update the design.

Repeat Step 1 to add a second frame inside the outer frame. I made the inside frame 4.4” x 3.15”.

Once you’ve completed the inner frame, your design should look similar to the image below.

Change the color of the second frame (any color) to make it easier to maneuver.

Step 2.  Express yourself with a fun message!

Select the Text icon at the top toolbar.

Type:

“Let your” <press Enter key>

“ideas take” <press Enter key>

“shape!” <press Enter key>

Select the Arial font.  Resize to:  3.5” width.  Change the Line spacing to 100 percent.  This will add space between each row of text.  Click Apply when finished.

Center the text on the frame.

I wanted to add emphasis to the words “ideas” and “shape” by using a different thread color.  I can stop the machine before it stitches those words.  Then switch the thread color. But that’s a hassle and I’m easily distracted.  Or I can use the “Break Up Text” feature. Breaking up the text transforms the text data into stitches. All editing will then be done on each individual stitch (or letter if you group them) instead of the entire text word or phrase. It’s best to edit the text (envelopes, spacing, etc) before applying Break Up Text.   Note: It’s wise to save the design in its original version before applying Break Up Text.   Make your changes and save the new version under a new name.

Select the text.  Right click.  Select Break Up Text.

Each letter is a design – not text.

Select the appropriate letters for “ideas” and “shape!”

At the bottom of the screen, right click to add another thread color.

Right click on the Yellow to make the selection yellow.

Your design will look similar to the sample below.  Don’t worry about the colors – you have the freedom to select any thread colors once you’re at the machine.  😉

Double check the stitching sequence is correct.  Save the design and send to the embroidery machine.


Step 3.  Stitching the Sign

Hoop Water Soluble Stabilizer in a 5” x 7” hoop.  Stitch the first thread color—the placement stitch.  Place the wood grain fabric down.  Stitch Color 2, the tack down stitch.  Remove the hoop but do not unhoop the project.  Trim the excess fabric.

Return the hoop to the embroidery machine.  Stitch Color 3, the satin stitching around the outer frame.  Stitch Color 4, the placement stitch for the inner frame.

Continue the process to stitch the inner frame.

The finished sign should look similar to the sample:

Trim away the water soluble stabilizer leaving about a quarter inch all the way around the design.  Soak the design until the water soluble stabilizer dissolves.  Let the frame dry completely.  Iron the frame flat.

Audition the sign on your quilt.  Measure the distance to the grass to determine how long a strip to make for the signpost.  I cut my signpost 6 1/2″ tall by 1 inch wide.  I folded the fabric 1/4″ lengthwise on both sides to create a clean edge.  I ironed it flat for perfect creases.

I ironed Patch Attach permanent adhesive to the sign and the post then I ironed them on to the quilt.


Additional Ideas:

  • Use this method to add labels to the back of your quilt.
  • Word Art in Stitches has a variety of shapes – not just frames.  Experiment with animal shapes, food or people!  

Mega Monograms

Mega Monograms by Eileen Roche

On the cover of the January/February 2017 issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine, mega monograms were shown.  The monograms are huge – 8″ tall – and are complex fill letters.  They were created in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro are the magazine included the step-by-step directions for some of the pillows. Recently, I had a reader ask how to transform the letter B into complex fill.

Here’s how. First, select the Text tool and type in the letter.  Enlarge the letter to the size you want, my sample is 8″ tall.  Select the Run tool and trace the outside of the letter B.Trace around each opening.

Select all three lines and click on Combine.

Select the letter, right mouse click, and select Convert to Complex Fill from the drop down menu.Once the letter is converted, you can add a border. Select all three elements and click on the Combine tool. Now the letter is filled.

Select the letter, right mouse click and Add a Border.You can change the border to Steil for a crisp outline on the letter.  If you’re wondering why we didn’t add an outline, here’s why:

It’s All About Perspective!

If you’ve ever gone on a road trip you’ve probably seen roadside attractions.  Imagine the excitement when the denizens of Tiny Land discovered enormous 1” pillows.

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This new roadside attraction draws crowds of people who stop to get their photos taken.  If you take a closer look, the Flamingo’s legs are the letters “J” and “L”

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About the “Pillows”
The scene was inspired by Eileen’s beautiful assortment of pillows on the cover of Volume 102 January/February 2017.  I wanted to see what a miniature interpretation would look like.

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If you look closely, I even coordinated some of the same decorator fabrics Eileen used on her cover project.

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The really fascinating part about the pillows is the tiny lettering.  The “SAS” monogram is only ¼ of an inch tall.  Perfect Embroidery Pro includes an assortment of fonts digitized for small applications.

Whether you need to stitch large embroidery fonts (like Eileen’s oversized pillows) or very small fonts as seen in Tiny Land, Perfect Embroidery Pro has you covered!

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Font:  Arial Small

Additional features:

  • Symbols were incorporated, including the Top Hat, Flamingo and Pine Tree.
  • I used the Bridge Convex Top envelope shape for the “TRB” monogram.

22 new symbols are available to all Perfect Embroidery Pro software owners.  Just run the latest update (Version 9.35) and you’ll find 22 new symbols installed in your software!

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Double Decker Applique Letters

Since we’re celebrating 100 issues of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine, I thought I would share one of my favorite projects: curved, double decker applique letters.  I love everything about this project: the teal hoodie (so comfy), the split applique (trendy) and the double layer of applique (the perfect fabric combo: white felt outline and tiny bright print).2016-09-17_9-29-38Make one of your own in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Open a new screen and select the Text tool, type LOVE in the Properties Box. Select High School Applique font from the drop down menu. Size the design to approximately 8” x 3.25”. CL12BL

With the Text tool selected, push the green circle at the center bottom of the text box to curve the letters. CL13BL

Select the text, right click and select Break Up Text. CL14BL

The letters will now be four individual appliques.  Grab the L and O and move them to a new screen. Select the L, right click and select Create Outline from the menu.  Change the distance to .25. Click OK. CL15BL

Select the outline, right click and select Convert To Applique.  CL16BL

Change the color of the new applique. CL17BL

You’ll have to do this twice for the letter O. For the outside, repeat the steps above. For the opening inside the O, select Inside when you create the outline and change the distance to .50. CL18BL

Resize the outline to fit inside the letter. CL19BL

Right click and Convert to Applique. In the Properties Box, change the Applique width to 2.5 to fit in the narrow space. Save the design as LO and go back to the original file and complete the steps for the VE.

You can find the actual stitching instructions in Vol 97, March/April 2016 of Designs in Machine Embroidery. Enjoy!

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.

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