Archive of ‘Organization’ category

Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons

I’m excited to announce (and give away a copy to one lucky reader) my new book: Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  This book has been the culmination of over 20 years of quilting with an embroidery machine. I’ve done everything from embroidered quilt tops to quilt as you as go to quilting king size quilts on an embroidery machine.  I’ve learned an awful lot on this journey and I’m happy to share it with you on Sewing with Nancy.  You can watch it online at or check your local TV listings to watch on PBS.

This book teaches you several different methods for quilting with an embroidery machine: quilting and appliqueing in one step; custom quilting and allover quilting.  Quilting and appliqueing in one step is a patented process that I designed in 2008.  Since then, I’ve created 16 Stipple Collections, and in this book you’ll find two projects that incorporate that revolutionary technique.

Custom quilting is no doubt the type of quilting that makes your jaw drop at quilt show competitions.  The quilting is designed to specifically enhance and fill a shape (block), applique or area. To be honest, custom quilting is probably best achieved through expert free motion quilting. When custom quilting is done on an embroidery machine, you do not have the ‘freedom’ to move the needle as you do in free motion quilting so the results are not as ‘customized.’  However, custom quilting is how many of us want to finish our tops. I show you how to do it in the Patriotic Pillow and Diamond table runner.

Allover quilting is often the result you get when you ‘quilt by check’. Quilt by check mean you pay someone else to quilt your quilt. When you send your quilt to a longarmer, they select an allover pattern that complements your quilt top unless you have specifically requested (and agreed to pay for) custom quilting.  There are two types of allover quilting: nesting and linking. You’ll learn the difference between the methods with two projects.

You’ll discover three different ways to handle the quilt during the stitching process: furniture you have on hand, the shortE and the Weightless Quilter.  My goal for this book is to help you expand your embroidery skills into the world of quilting and get more out of your machine.  I hope you find quilting with an embroidery machine as rewarding as I do. 

Want to win a copy of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons?  Just leave a comment and tell me if have any quilt tops that need to be quilted.  Do you have one, two, three or more?  One lucky winner will be selected to win the book and the accompanying collection of 20 embroidery designs.


Want to order your copy now?  This week you’ll find free shipping on all autographed copies of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  Click here to order.

Embroidery & Sewing Investigation

When Dave and Jan heard about Multi-Needle Mondays at Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog, they decided to go on a sightseeing tour.  They stopped to admire the view from the Baby Lock Enterprise.

Suddenly, Jan lost her balance and fell into a mysterious hole.


Fortunately, Hans was out for his afternoon workout. He acted quickly and used some Madeira thread to pull Jan to safety.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

An investigation was quickly made. What is the purpose of the hole? Should the city order a manhole cover?

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

A final report was issued and the press (Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog) was quickly alerted to broadcast the important information.

We typically store the Needle changing tool (Threader) in that position. It appears someone forgot to return it there after it was used.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

What is the Needle changing tool (Threader), anyway?

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Let’s compare a single needle machine to a multi-needle machine.  Here’s a close-up view of the needle area of a single needle machine.  It’s easy to loop the thread with your hands through the needle bar thread guide.

But it’s not quite the same with a multi-needle machine. Look at all those needles – there is very little space between each needle.  That’s the reason for the tool!

Take a look at the photo below showing the Needle changing tool (Threader) in action.  The groove is designed to help guide the thread through the needle bar thread guide.

Dave and Jan decided to return to the original spot to complete their photo diary. They are looking forward to another exciting adventure to share with their friends.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

15 Minutes to Organize

by: Marie Zinno


What to do with our multiplying supply of trims, ribbon and accessories we’ve accumulated for sewing and machine embroidery? Believe me; everyone has the same problem when it comes to storage in our sewing and embroidery studio. There are numerous storage solutions available for this situation such as plastic tubs, drawer towers and metal grid type units. But one of my most useful and economical go-to organizing devices is the over-the-door shoe holder.

A clear vinyl shoe holder is an absolutely perfect container for many things and useful in many rooms! I recall one of my little sisters (smarter than I and very practical) mentioned this little secret years ago.

The need for storage in my laundry room has changed over the years. Originally, the over-the-door organizer was used to hold my son’s remote controls for toy trucks and Match Box® cars, my daughter’s endless Barbie® dolls, bottles of bubbles and art supplies. As my children grew older, (sniff sniff) I continued to use the same unit (it is now 10 years old) for a variety of household items. Presently, it is corralling batteries, sun block, cellular phone chargers, sunglasses and whatever else does not have a permanent home.

Teenagers accumulate an extremely large amount of items in their bedrooms. I know the over-the-door organizer has helped my daughter keep her belts, scarves and hair accessories neatly in plain sight. And, by the way, it does hold approximately twelve pairs of shoes!

Most of the embroiderers I meet complain about storage issues. I know firsthand how frustrating it can be when you are in a time crunch and looking for a specific tool, specialty stabilizer or embellishment. Make your organized work area a lifestyle, not a chore. Work in small segments, take 15 minutes and get started. Unearth that tub of trims and sort it out. trims2

Finish your 15-minute organizing segment by stashing the trims in the over-the-door unit. trims4

The over-the-door holder can be purchased at most big box retailers and are generally found in the laundry aisle. I suggest selecting a clear vinyl holder even though it’s tempting to fall for the pretty print or solid color fabric. Clear storage containers are the answer to your organizing issues. If you can see it, you will use it or as my mother always said “out of sight, out of mind”.  In sewing terms that translates to “if you cannot see something, you will definitely buy more of the same thing you already have.”


Here’s your assignment this week:

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


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell us what project you would stitch first with a Hoop Guard. One lucky comment below will be chosen to receive their very own Hoop Guard!

The winner is… Sherrie S.  “Definitely on all kids shirts under 4T and on diaper cover panties! Three month size is not fun!” – Congratulations Sherrie!

15 Minutes to Organize the Ironing Board Area

By Marie Zinno

I have a real pet peeve when it comes to ironing; corralling the water spray bottle, starch, pressing cloths, electrical cord and the ironing board itself.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

As sewers and embroiderers, we need our iron! I use the iron and ironing board almost every day for sewing/embroidery projects—not for my husband’s shirts. Every person has their preference to how the ironing board is set up and how often it is used. The best way to tackle this task is to determine if you need the ironing board up and ready to go each day or can it be placed on rack or hidden in a closet. It is your choice so design your ironing space accordingly.

In my embroidery studio, I find I need access to my ironing board quickly. The iron, ironing board and accessories are carefully stored on an over-the-door holder specifically created for this function. When I travel, I admire the functionality of the closet mounted rack to hold the iron and ironing board in a hotel room. While shopping at a home improvement store, I noticed one on display for over the door.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Maybe I am boring, but shopping in the laundry aisle can really make my day if I find a useful and cheap organizing device.

When shopping for an ironing board caddy, be sure to purchase the correct model. I have two ironing boards (one in my studio- because it gets very messy from fusible stabilizers and interfacings and one upstairs for clothing, etc). Naturally, I have two different ironing board legs, which I never noticed until researching this article.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In the past, only the wall mounted holder was available and I’m sure many people own one. Through constant use of replacing the iron and ironing board, the drilled anchor screws came loose. Or is it just me? The over the door option was a better answer. No tools needed!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s your assignment this week:

If you had 15 minutes to spare on organizing your sewing room, what area would you tackle first?  Post your comment and one lucky winner will be randomly selected to win a copy of Embroidery Studio Organization in 6 Easy Steps.

Embroidery Studio Organization in 6 Easy Steps

The winner of last week’s assignment:

Leave a comment below about how Nancy has inspired you. One lucky comment will receive a $125 gift voucher courtesy of Bunnycup Embroidery to spend at!


The winner is… Susan James!  “I have watched the program for 25 years.  Love it and I am inspired to sew many of her projects. I tape it every week and watch reruns as they are presented.  It’s something new every time.”

Embroidery Studio Organization in 6 Easy Steps: The Stitching Sisters’ Practical Guide

Marie and I are known as the Stitching Sisters. Not only are we really sisters, we are also the best of friends. We are daughters number three and four of six sisters. We’ve worked together—albeit from a distance—for over fifteen years on multiple projects: writing content for Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine, creating videos, and conducting hands-on embroidery events across the country. When we meet embroiderers, we’re often asked about our personal sewing spaces. It seems like we are all searching for a more efficient workspace. So we thought we’d give you a glimpse into our working studios.

We did not hire professional photographers or stylists to prep the rooms. We didn’t use a professional organizer to arrange, design, or help in any way. We wanted you to see how we work so you could imagine how to transform your space. We take a practical approach to creating an efficient workspace and hope you find some helpful ideas for your embroidery studio in the 64-page full-color book, Embroidery Studio Organization in 6 Easy Steps: The Stitching Sisters’ Practical Guide.

I have to admit I was reluctant to share my home studio because it’s not my ‘dream studio’ but it is where I create and it’s been working for me for several years. I learned a lot about efficiency, habits and control during the process of writing this book. Now that I’ve made the transformation, I’m committed to keep the chaos to a minimum! I can’t tell you how much more efficient my workspace is. It’s a joy to walk into my embroidery studio and find everything where it should be. I was even able to keep it under control through the holidays! You’ll see more blog posts on this subject along with Marie’s new column in Designs in Machine Embroidery, Let’s Organize it! The Stitching Sisters are committed to staying organized and you can too!

Marie uses time efficiently in her at-home commercial studio. Here’s how she does it.

While an embroidery design is stitching away at my machine, I take 15 minutes to de-clutter a problem area. Instead of sitting and watching the amazing embroidery machine work its magic, I take action against an overflowing cabinet or drawer. I realize we love to watch our embroidery machines effortlessly stitch beautiful designs, it can be mesmerizing. Sometimes the road to organization is many short trips that create an efficient work space.

As a commercial embroiderer with a home studio, I am never sitting at my embroidery machine(s). I am constantly moving: hooping the next garment, trimming stabilizer, meeting with customers, possibly even throwing in a load of laundry. My daily habits usually include organizing some problem area of my studio. I suppose I am a fidget and I realize everyone is different but my experience has taught me I can accomplish many tasks in 15 minutes. (Did I mention I also have a short attention span?)

Next time you have 15 or 30 minutes to watch your embroidery machine perform, look around the sewing room. What area is bothering you? If you are like most home embroiderers, over flowing counter tops and tables might be at the top of the list. All of the horizontal space gets dumped on rather quickly. Let’s tackle the cluttered table top now. Remember this helpful quote “If you take the time to take it out, make the time to put it back”. Simple and clear, it is a perfect household (and sewing studio) rule.

Step 1. Think about how you want to use this area. Is this surface for hooping, cutting fabric, embroidery and sewing? When the area is defined for a specific purpose it is easier to keep clean and orderly.

Step 2. Clear off the entire work surface and group items into categories. Dust and clean the work surface. Find practical clear storage containers for the remainder of items not being replaced on the work surface.

Step 3. Keep only what is needed on daily or almost daily base, and reposition the notions or tools in a tidy simplified container. One of my favorite storage containers is a lazy-Susan type of unit.

Look at the tools or notions that must be stored on the counter top and use the divided openings for the necessary items. There are numerous containers available for holding small objects that can be found in most hobby and craft stores. But don’t just look in the craft and sewing stores. I enjoy looking for storage containers in the hardware and office supply aisles of big box stores.

Step 4. Electrical cords can also be a huge eyesore.

They are extremely important and functional but somehow find a way to take over the table top or underneath. Can you drill a hole in the counter top for sewing machine or computer cords? This trick has worked for me.

Use pipe cleaners or zip ties to corral the wires and cords underneath the table or counter top.

These four steps can be accomplished in a short amount of time. Work on the most troublesome areas first; you will be rewarded with an organized sewing/embroidery space.

Be sure to check out the Designs in Machine Embroidery website for our latest book and a limited time special offer!

Here’s your assignment this week:

What’s the biggest trouble area in your sewing studio?  Post your comment and one random winner will be selected to receive an autographed copy of Embroidery Studio Organization in 6 Easy Steps!


The winner of last week’s assignment:

Each participating blog listed above will be giving gifts of Stitched Style book, 4½ yards of Crossroads Denim, Sullivans’ embroidery floss, Clover embroidery hoop and Clover embroidery needles. You have to visit each stop to see what you’ll win.  Tell me what you’d like to stitch the SoHo Bandana collection on and we’ll pick a random to receive a copy of Stitched Style. Winners should be US residents only please.

And the winner is…Darlene M. “I would love it on kitchen goodies, towels, curtains, potholders, whatever it could be put on! Thanks for the giveaway!!!”