Welcome Software Saturday readers! Recently, I had a conversation with an avid My Block Piecer user. She loves this software and makes large blocks and mini blocks – really, really mini blocks! She told me she struggles with one thing – the numbers that are stitched in each patch. On the one hand, she loves the numbers because they tell her where to place the next piece of fabric. But…sometimes she doesn’t want the number to actually stitch. She would prefer to skip the numbers when using light colored fabrics or when stitching mini blocks. Since the numbers are part of the schematic (the outlines of the patches), she can’t just skip the colors at the machine. So here’s how to get rid of them in the software.
First, open My block Piecer and go to File, New. Click on the Block Library icon and choose from over 1200 blocks.
Select your block and click OK.
Left mouse click and drag the cursor around the block.
Select the Workflow tool.
In the Workflow window, set the size of the hoop, click on Auto Build.
Click Save and name the block. The software automatically saves the block (stitch file) and the artwork in a folder. Open the stitch file.
In the color Sequence window, click on a color. You’ll see the design is grouped so right click and select Ungroup.
Now, move the cursor back to the design. Drag the mouse around each number and delete them one by one.
What remains is the block schematic – sans numbers!
Go to File, Save As and assign a new name to the design. Use this design to stitch and the original design to print the schematic and instructions.
Don’t you just love this software? It gives you so much freedom when creating blocks to piece in the hoop!
It’s so simple to customize the size of the 1,200+ quilt blocks that are stored in Inspiration’s My Block Piecer’s quilt block library. All it takes to learn this Software Saturday’s lesson is to watch a quick two-minute video. You’ll learn how to resize in the block library or on the editing screen. Check it out!
If you’re having trouble viewing the video here, you can watch it on You Tube. Just follow this link.
I always say yes to Nancy Zieman because every time I do, I learn something. So when Nancy asked me to join the Quick Column Quilt blog tour, I jumped at the chance. But quilting, hmmm, I admit I paused for a second and then thought, oh what the heck, do it! Here are my top ten tips for getting the job done.
- Select the quilt pattern. Thousands of quilt patterns exist so pare it down by going to a trusted source like anything designed by Nancy Zieman. Her Quick Column Quilts is a collection of very doable – and inspired – quilts. The Carefree Column Quilt jumped right at me and I’m glad it did – it was quick and easy.
- Decide on fabrics. Use everything in your power to make the right fabric selection. Pay close attention to the quilt you’re duplicating making note of the light, medium and dark fabrics. Look at other quilts for pleasing combinations or go to your quilt shop and seek their advice. Audition as many fabrics as you want; photograph the combinations, edit your choices and finally select the winning combination. Once selected, stick with your fabric choices. Don’t sway off course; second guessing can be a huge time guzzler.
- Get organized. Print or copy the instructions. As you complete each step, cross it off the how-to instructions. You’ll know right where to pick up after a break in sewing.
- Label everything. Even if you think you know how all the pieces go together, label them anyway. Life gets in the way and distractions are inevitable.
- Designate an area or box in your sewing room where you can store the materials for the duration of the quilt-making process.
- Break apart the tasks into manageable time increments. Review the instructions and estimate how long each task will take: cutting, designing, piecing the columns, adding the sashing and so on. Make notations on the pattern to use as a guideline. These are just guestimates as problems do occur and tasks often take longer than we think they will – at least that’s my problem! But having an idea of the time involved will help you stay on the project because it’s easy to tackle simple steps once they are broken down.
- Group similar tasks together. Cut all the fabrics in one session, piece as much as possible at one time and then move to the ironing board. I cut all the fabrics and stacked then according to size with a label on top of the stack.
- Document the process. Once the fabrics were cut, I followed Nancy’s instructions for arranging the blocks on the design wall. I took several photos of the designing progress as I auditioned the fabric pieces. I reviewed the different versions on my computer and decided on my favorite. After rearranging the fabrics according to the photo, I labeled the top piece of each column. I used the photo as a reference guide when a block or two floated out of position.
- Focus during piecing. To piece a column, I removed the pieces one at a time, starting at the bottom of the column and placing the next block on top of the stack. Once I moved to the machine, I methodically pieced that row, from the top down and then pressed the seams. Once the pieced column was returned to the design wall, I progressed to the second column.
- Enjoy it! Racing through the quilt making process takes all the joy out of it. Savor the fabrics as you handle them, strive for perfect ¼” seams and concentrate on how you’ll use the quilt or who will receive it. Name your quilt – after all, it’s your baby now! My quilt goes by the name of Sun Kissed.
You’ll notice my quilt isn’t quilted just yet. Oh but it will be! I have the most ingenious plan and tool for quilting Sunkissed on my embroidery machine. You’ll learn more in a future post. And be sure to visit Nancy’s blog where she will be giving away 15 grand prizes!
Blog tour stops – check out all the stops on the Quick Quilts blog tour!
09/04/14 Nancy Zieman
09/05/14 Quilt Taffy and Simple Simon & Co.
09/06/14 Diary of a Quilter and Stitchin Jenny
09/07/14 A Woman a Day and Craizee Corner
09/08/14 Jina Barney Designz, Lilac Lane Patterns, and Totally Stitchin’
09/09/14 Esch House Quilts and The Cottage Mama
09/10/14 Designs in Machine Embroidery and Pat Sloan
09/12/14 Happy Valley Primitives, Doohikey Designs, and Quilt in a Day
09/13/14 Quilt Dad and Just Arting Around
09/14/14 Lazy Girl Designs and Marie-Madeline Studio
09/15/14 Always Expect Moore and Polka Dot Chair
09/16/14 Amy Lou Who Sews and Riley Blake Designs
09/17/14 Indygo Junction and Amy’s Creative Side
Don’t you just love how diverse our world is? We see diversity everywhere we look – even in our embroidery studios.
There is always more than one way to accomplish something in the embroidery studio. Really, the more you learn, the more options you realize you have. For instance, I love to use my embroidery machine to quilt. And I came up with a way to do it that really turns traditional techniques upside down. But the HoopSisters take a totally different approach to quilting with an embroidery machine. Who’s right? There is no right, there are just choices! There’s my Stipple method and their Embroidablock technique. And we’re not the only ones using our embroidery machines to quilt. But let’s take a look at HoopSisters technique.
You’ll start with Battilizer – a mix of stabilizer and batting. Perfect for high-stitch count designs that need a little softness built-in. Stitching on this combination gives the finished block a lush and lofty texture while the stabilizer part adds a strong foundation for the numerous stitched details in every HoopSisters quilt block.
HoopSisters blocks feature embroidery-rich designs where the thread is the star.
Fabrics are added in the hoop with a flip-and-fold method. Unlike my Stipple method where the appliqué fabrics take center stage and raw edge appliqué runs rampant.
HoopSisters flip-and-fold method
Stipple method featuring raw edge appliqué
HoopSisters techniques include a reversible piecing technique that is practically invisible while my reversible piecing technique adds to the overall quilt layout.
HoopSisters Reversible Piecing Technique:
Eileen’s Reversible Piecing Technique:
Lynda Remmers and Annie Moody (yes, they really are sisters) are giving one lucky winner a roll of Battilizer, the Twists and Turns Quilt CD and the EmbroidaBlock Trimmer by George.
If you win this fabulous bundle of prizes you too can make your own pillows!
(Or even a quilt or wall hanging!)
Here’s your assignment this week:
Tell us if you have a treasured quilt you made for a family member or perhaps you have a quilt your own mother made you that you have kept over the years. Tell us about the colors, the style and what makes the quilt so special. Share your quilting story with us and you could be this week’s HoopSisters winner!
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the question:
Who wants a free subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine? Just leave a comment telling us what you’re making for holiday gifts this year. Do you have a regular go-to gift or does everyone receive something different?
Congratulations to Sara for submitting her comment! Her comment was randomly chosen as this week’s winner. Her comment is below:
“I love the idea of inserting a zipper with my emb machine. Somebody is very smart to figure this one out. I love your magazine have been trying t0 get the current copy at the local book store but they have not had it the last two times I have been there, hopefully this week. I was told that it might be in the second week of Sept or later. What a disappointment I cannot wait to get it. I cannot afford to buy a subscription at this time maybe I will get one for Christmas. I plan on making my granddaughters hooded bath towels for Christmas.” – Sara
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