Archive of ‘Planning Embroidery’ category

Needle, Needle, What Size Needle?

I’m the first to admit, I sometime (ok, too often!) skim over the recommendations for proper sewing and embroidery.  You know, like changing the stitch length when sewing specific fabrics. Or choosing the right needle for the job. And yes, I’m often (too often!), disappointed in my initial results. My personality profile is I’m a starter; I like to jump right into a project without reading directions (good thing, cause the directions don’t often exist until I write them). But even when designing and creating an entirely new project, there are steps that I could take that would ensure success. And eliminate some frustration on my part.  You know, it’s hard to change your personality. It’s just my first instinct to jump in and get going. When in reality, I should, ahem, exhale, evaluate, gather the necessary supplies and then start.

Those lessons were reinforced this summer when I was making the wedding dress. If you remember, I couldn’t drive during that time, so my fabric trips were scarce and I really had to have my supply list complete.  Also, satin and rayon were not fabrics that I typically worked with in my sewing room.  So I did my research and made a list, and another list and another list. You know, I was laid up for six weeks, there was lots of list making!

The smartest addition I made to my sewing room during that time was Schmetz’s Needle Chart. At a glance, it told me what needles I needed for the massive (I mean, memorable) project and, once secured and lightly used, the chart told me what needle I was holding in my hand.  Its colorful rainbow is a welcome addition to an unused shelf in my studio.

Unused shelf? You’re astonished, I’m sure! But remember, my Stitching Sister Marie Zinno purged my sewing room a couple of years ago and I’m proud to say, it still looks that way! Back to the needle chart: it also happens to be the last thing I see when I walk out of my studio – a great reminder when I’m need of a new pack of needles.

The wedding dress required three types of needles: Stretch for the satin (it had 10% Lcyra), Microtex for the Bemberg rayon lining and Embroidery for the embroidered ribbon and label. Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Since I worked on the fabrics at different times, it was easy to switch them out. That’s when the color coding really helped! Needl2BL

You can download the chart for your sewing room.  Just click here and scroll down the page a bit to locate the chart.  The arrow in the illustration below is pointing to the download link – you have two sizes to choose from – one for your sewing room and one for your handbag. SchmetzBL


Here’s your assignment this week:

Schmetz needles are available at retailers nationwide. Whenever I’m in my local sewing machine dealer, I make sure I pick up a new pack of needles.  I’m building my stash so that I’m prepared for future projects. How about you? Do you have trouble planning properly? Do you jump right in and then regret it later? Or do you approach projects with caution and prepare accordingly?

Leave a comment and one lucky winner will win a SCHMETZ Sew Essential Combo Pack.  That’s three packs of SCHMETZ Embroidery needles with the ever popular Grabbit® Magnetic Pincushion and the free SCHMETZ Info card.  $24.95 US Retail.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

Have you ever felt a moment of relief like this? Leave us a comment telling us how you celebrated a big accomplishment and one of you will be randomly selected to win a $20 gift card to Designs in Machine Embroidery!

The winner is:  

Darlene Bares: “I have a problem saying no. So when someone asks me to do something whether its sewing or an embroidery project. I’m burning daylight because most of the time it’s last minute. I just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and seeing their faces when its done. That’s enough for me.”

Multi-Needle Monday: Embroidering Multiple Towels

If you follow this blog I would assume many of you own the multi-needle embroidery machine because you have an embroidery business. Although some owners of a multi-needle machine use it primarily for the convenience of thread color changes and durability and do not have a commercial embroidery business. In either case, you will encounter embroidering towels at some point. We have covered proper hooping of towels in recent blogs but not simple logo placement on multiple towels.

One of my clients is a country club tennis team and they love the quality velour team towels (hand towel size) in a variety of colors. My most recent order was for 20 towels with the logo embroidered on the bottom portion of the towel.

Monogram or logo placement on towels with a woven border is actually easier because you have a straight reference point to align the design. Embroidering towels without a woven border are rather difficult because there is not a reference point to guide you. I will share with you my simple steps to embroidering towels with perfect design placement.

Step 1: Select the embroidery design and test stitch it on a similar weight towel. Check the design for stray fibers of terry cloth poking through the stitches. If this is the case, increase the density or add “under lay” foundation stitches.

Step 2: Use the Perfect Placement Kit- Hand Towel Without Border template and position the template on the hand towel at the bottom center mark.hand towel2bl Fold the towel in half lengthwise and place a target sticker at the bottom fold.hand towel3blhand towel5blInsert the target sticker in the center hole of the template. Remove the template and follow the same directions for the remaining towels, keep all target stickers in place until the cross hair on target sticker is properly placed under the needle.hand towel6blUsing the template minimizes the guess work of the actual placement of the logo and eliminates wasting time measuring the embroidery location for each towel.

Step 3: Hoop the hand towel in either a standard hoop or Monster Snap Hoop (my favorite) along with tear away stabilizer. Position the hoop on the machine and line up target sticker’s cross hair with the needle. Remove the target sticker and add a piece of water soluble stabilizer to the top of the towel. Use the basting file to hold the WSS in place. (You can create a basting file in software if your embroidery machine does not offer it on screen.). Embroider the towels; remove stabilizer and trim thread tails when embroidery is 7blhand towel8bl

*Machine embroidery business owners always purchase one or two extra sets of hoops per embroidery machine. Having multiple hoops speeds up the hooping process and total time devoted to set up.*


Click here to use a $10 coupon to use on my Craftsy Class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”.


Embroidering for Small and Plus Size Figures

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In my first attempts at embroidering a blank garment for a small child, I must admit I struggled. I often made the design too large for the small figure and it always landed in the wrong place. Oh, it looked great when the garment was flat but when worn, it was an entirely different story. The design usually hit closer to the belly button than up near the neckline. And a good portion of a left chest embroidery pretty much always wound up in the armpit.  Once the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit was available, I was saved. I just rely on that handy tool to get the embroidery in the right scale and location for young ones.

At the other end of the scale, embroidering for plus size figures gave me the same trouble.  So what’s my problem? Familiarity. I know what works on a garment that fits a person about my size, give or take a few sizes up or down the scale. But adding a left chest logo to say a man’s XXXL shirt, is not something I do every day.  So finding the right location is difficult. I was relieved when the Embroiderer’s Big Helper was released.  Everyone deserves to look their best when wearing embroidered garments and it’s up to embroiderers to make sure they do. After all, it’s the stitchers who set the look. The common man (those poor souls who don’t stitch) don’t know any better. They need to be led, steered in the right direction when it comes to embroidered garb. After all, they are a walking advertisement for your skills. So help them look their best – use the Embroiderer’s Big Helper when stitching on plus size shirts.

Let me show you how easy it to use.

Fuse Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to the wrong side of the design area. Use enough to fill the hoop – you can trim the excess after stitching.

Place the shirt on a flat work surface. Align the Helper’s straight edge with the center of the placket and position the curved cutout at the neckline.  Align a target sticker to the corresponding size notch.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the Helper and stitch the design.

Remove the shirt from the hoop. Turn the garment inside out and place it on a terrycloth towel on a pressing surface.  Press the stabilizer. Once it’s heated, gently lift it away from the shirt and trim away the excess leaving about ½” stabilizer around the design.  Press again to fuse it back to the garment.

Present the shirt to the lucky recipient!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Here’s your assignment this week:

Every sewing studio runs more smoothly with embroidery essentials. For today’s blog, Eileen reached for Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to complete the garment. What’s your favorite go-to Sulky product?

Sulky banner

Post a comment and one very lucky winner is going to score BIG courtesy of our friends at Sulky! Prize includes:

  • 8” roll of Tear Easy
  • 8” roll of Solvy
  • 8” roll of Soft ‘n Sheer
  • 1 can of KK 2000
  • A set of 12 Rayon Threads


The retail value is approximately: $105


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

Which approach do you most identify with? Are you the experienced machine embroider that begins a new quilt like Eileen or a more novice embroider like Denise who used the quilt designs to finish existing projects? Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win Windmill Garden Quilts designs. And the winner is:  Beth R. – “I am more of a novice type – plus I have plenty of existing projects to finish!”

Two different approaches…same results!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Preface:  One of the most enjoyable aspects of surrounding yourself with other stitchers is the opportunity to see different uses for the same design collection.  Designs Editor, Eileen Roche and Managing Editor, Denise Holguin, did just that in today’s blog. They took one embroidery collection, the new Windmill Garden collection, to make their own unique creation.  Both individuals took different approaches – drawing from their own experience for inspiration.  Whether you’re an experienced machine embroiderer like Eileen Roche, or a more novice embroiderer like Denise Holguin, you’ll gather some tips and information that will keep you inspired.

Take a look at Eileen’s approach to using the Windmill Garden collection…

It’s all about the Stitches – By Eileen Roche

When I saw the Windmill Garden designs, I was lured into the pretty stitches. I just couldn’t wait to see the designs stitched on plain fabrics. So I grabbed some aqua and orange fat quarters, pieced a simple – oh, very simple, table runner and then added the lovely stitches. I enlarged the designs right at the machine so that they would fill the 5″ blocks.  It was so simple that I actually cut, pieced and quilted this 22 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ sample in 90 minutes!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Making this sample taught me several things – first the designs look luscious in a contrasting – eye-popping thread. Second, they enlarge beautifully. Third, they are continuous run designs – no tie-offs in each color.  So the back looks as good as the front since I used polyester machine embroidery 40 wt. thread in both the needle and bobbin. Last, I can now plan on using these designs on future projects with confidence.

A Novice’s Approach – By Denise Holguin

I have a confession to make.  I have quilt tops in my closet that are 15 years old.  At last count I had somewhere around 15-20 quilt tops—varying in sizes.  This doesn’t include quilt blocks in various shapes and sizes that need to be pieced.  I concluded long ago I only like to make quilt tops—not actually ‘quilt’.

But now I’m a reformed quilter.  I discovered a new method of quilting that actually makes the process fun.  The Windmill Garden Quilt collection features 7 quilting embroidery designs that are easy to add to just about any quilt!

Unsure of my ability, I started with a small scrap quilt – large enough for a doll blanket. If I messed up it I’d consider it an opportunity to learn.  I printed a template and placed the template on each strip of fabric. Easy!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Stunned by the ease of placing the embroidery and the speed of the stitching, I was eager to experiment some more.  This time with a lap quilt.  First I made a quilt sandwich with my quilt top, batting and backing.  I pinned the edges to keep everything together.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I began by using the Windmill design.  I clicked on the monochromatic button to reduce the two colors to one color.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


I stitched my first quilt design with ease!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


My goal was to do a random effect with the quilt designs – so I continued adding the Windmill design throughout the quilt.

Enamored with the results – I experimented some more.  What makes this collection so doable is the ability to place the designs easily.  I used the corners of the blocks as my center for the embroidery designs.  As long as I can position my needle in that center, I’m good to go!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Late night quilting has never been this fun!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

With every stitch my confidence increased.  Don’t you love that feeling?

I decided to add designs to the center of the fabric squares.  I used a Target Sticker to designate the center.  Then I stitched the design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The end result – I have a quilt top finally quilted after all these years!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

No matter your skill level or approach we encourage you to try!

Here’s your assignment this week:
Which approach do you most identify with? Are you the experienced machine embroider that begins a new quilt like Eileen or a more novice embroider like Denise who used the quilt designs to finish existing projects?  Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win Windmill Garden Quilts designs.
The winners of last week’s assignment answered the following question: I had so much fun working with the Glitter Sheets from BFC- Stash on this project. The wide range of sheet color choices is my favorite aspect of the product. What is your favorite color Glitter Sheet to use? Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website. The winner is: Karen P. – “I’ve only used the gold but all of the colors are great!! There are so many things you can do with them and if I had a scan and cut, I’d be using appliqué on so much more!! Even my dogs bed. It’s one of my dream gifts that I’m hinting for.”





Do You Need Embroidery Software?

Recently, somewhere searched my blog for an answer to this question, “Why do I need embroidery software?”

I been giving that some serious thought and it took me back to my early days in machine embroidery. Back then (geesh, that’s sounds ancient!), embroidery software was not available to the consumer. Digitizing was a mysterious process to all consumers and frankly, we didn’t give it much thought. The embroidery design companies offered dozens of embroidery cards that seemed to suit most of our needs. As we became more passionate and brave with our stitching, reality set in. We experimented with different projects and realized we needed to tweak the designs that we had purchased. And not just mirror image and copy, oh no, we wanted to change the size (drastically), add or delete underlay, morph the shapes, remove colors, merge elements from one design into another. We needed editing abilities that our machines didn’t offer. We needed software. Maybe we didn’t need to digitize but we most certainly needed to manipulate designs.

Today, those needs remain the same. Ninety percent of embroiderers who own digitizing software do not digitize. They are not artists, they are embroiderers. They don’t want to create or find the perfect artwork and figure out how to transform it into beautiful embroidery. They want to buy designs and make them work on the project they are stitching today. They want to open the design in software and inspect it. They want to review the color sequence, watch the design in slow redraw so they know what to expect before they stitch. They want to look at the underlay and see if there’s enough coverage for a terrycloth towel or too much for a sheer scarf. Then they make adjustments to make the design their own – perfect for the project they are stitching next.

If you’re wondering if you need embroidery software, give some thought to your level of frustration when trying to plan an embroidery project.

If you find yourself saying, “I wish I could…”, know that you can with embroidery software!

Multi-Needle Monday: Speed Techniques for Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs

If you plan properly, you can stitch four grommets and four corners in three hoopings instead of eight or six.  Here’s how to do it. Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop, 8” x 12”. Select the grommet design and move it to the edge of the hoop.  Stitch the first color, the placement guide.  Place one interfaced outer bag panel on the placement guide, matching centers. Stitch the grommets. 1 Fold the edge of the bag back over itself and tape it down. 2 Rotate the design 180 degrees and move the design down to opposite edge of the hoop.  Stitch the first color, the placement guide (shown here in pink thread). It will overlap with the first placement guide but as long as the tape holds, the first bag panel is safe. 3 Place the second interfaced outer bag panel on the new placement guide. 4 Stitch the grommets. All four grommets are stitched in one hooping! 5 Let’s move onto the corners. Follow the instructions in Designer Knockoffs to pre-cut the applique corners.  Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop, 8” x 12”. Retrieve the corner design.  Copy and paste it. Mirror image of one the designs and position them as shown. FacingIm Stitch color 1, the placement guide for the left corner (which is actually on the right in the hoop). Place left corner of the bag on the outline and stitch color 2, the applique placement guide. Place the prepared applique over the outline and stitch the next color, the satin outline. Stitch the decorative detail if desired. Stitch color 1 of the second design. 6 Place the right corner of the other bag panel on the outline. 7 Stitch the applique placement guide. Place the prepared applique over the outline and complete the design. 8 Check out all the different handbags you can make with Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman. Here is my finished bag!


A New Bag

Nothing puts a little kick in your step quite like a new handbag – especially when you make it yourself. Once or twice a year, I like to dip into my fabric stash and see what I can use to create a new bag. I gather some materials I’ve been hoarding, I mean saving, and see if they would work together. Handbag Supplies - Eileen Roche

I knew I wanted to make another grommet bag from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. I really like the grommets but I also like ready-made straps. It seems the best ones, (right length, width and material -microfiber) come with a ring attached at the end. Grommets for handbag

The ring doesn’t work with the grommets but I wasn’t going to let the closed ring stop me, I have a seam ripper! So I released the stitches from each end and unbraided the strap. It left me with two slits on each end. Hmmm…I placed them on my cutting table for a few days in the hope a good idea would pop into my head.

Modified purse strap

Once my materials are gathered, I take my time and work on the bag over several days (ok, maybe weeks!). This gives me time to think the process through, make some subtle design changes, overcome any challenges and enjoy the whole process.

I start by measuring the bag I’m currently favoring and decide if I want to duplicate that size or make adjustments. I’ve learned through the years, the larger my bag, the more stuff I pack in there. So reducing the space is a good idea for me, less clutter, less bulk, less weight. I decided my new bag would be a bit shorter than my current favorite. Then I cut and interface my outer fabric.

Next, I prepare my four corner appliques by hooping just the faux suede and stitching the Corner App design from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. Then I stash my pre-cut applique pieces in a plastic baggie to keep them safe. While I was stitching the appliques, I turned my attention to the straps.

I was concerned about trimming the straps above the slits as this would make the straps too short. So, I decided to just stitch them closed.

Stitching straps closed

It looked so pretty that I stitched from end to end to make it a decorative detail. I used the triple zigzag stitch on my BERNINA 830. It’s normally a functional stitch but looks great on this strap!

Triple zigzag stitch

On Monday, I’ll show you some speed techniques for embroidering the corners and grommets.

Here’s your assignment this week: Leave a comment below about what size bag you prefer. Small, medium, large or jumbo-jet size? One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman.Handbags 2 - Designer Knockoffs
The winner of last week’s assignment :Sewing Spoolie invites you to win a Slimline box of fabulous thread along with the pre-digitized designs to make all seven of the Spoolies in Sulky’s Collection #1. These popular sewing-themed designs, from the imagination of Joyce Drexler, are as fun as they are creative. And if you’ve ever tried to keep your stabilizers organized, you’re going to love Sue Hausmann’s bonus project included with the package. The whole package is a retail value of nearly $150 including 22 – 250 yd. spools of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread, a 475 yd. spool of Bobbin Thread, and a CD with the seven Spoolie designs and bonus project. If you win, it’s all yours from Sulky. Now, go Express Yourself! Leave a comment below on where you would embroider a Spoolie to be entered!blog adAnd the winner is… Karen P – “Oh my gosh!! These are so cute!!! I would stitch them onto a bunch of tote bags that I have that I use for various different things, one is my Quilt Guild bag, one is my Crochet project bag, another has hand embroidery squares that I bring with me while waiting at various appointments, and so on. Plus, how could I resist putting a few of them on a sweatshirt or two!!! Ohhh I hope I won this one!!”



My Go-To Gift


If you think you don’t have time to stitch a last minute gift, think again! Let me show you how to stitch six napkins in no time.

Mark the location of the corner monogram on each of the six napkins. I use the Napkin On-Point template from the Perfect Placement Kit – no math, no measuring. Just place the template on the napkin aligning the guides with the stitched hem and then insert a target sticker into the hole with the arrow pointing towards the body of the napkin. Repeat for all six napkins – you’ll finish this task in under two minutes. Naps2-1

Select the largest hoop available and hoop tear-away stabilizer. Since I was limited to a 5” x 7” hoop for this project, I selected a small design so I could fit three napkins in one hooping. Use one of three options for holding the napkin on the stabilizer: spray the hooped stabilizer with temporary adhesive, hoop adhesive tear-away stabilizer or use painter’s tape.

To get the most of a 5” x 7” sewing field for this technique, consider placing the first design (napkin) at the far left back of the hoop, the second design in the middle on the right and the third design at the bottom of the hoop on the left. You could audition the positions in software or on the editing screen of your machine. Here’s an example. Naps7-1

Position the first napkin at the back of the hoop. Center the needle over the target sticker, remove the sticker and embroider the design. If your machine has a baste feature, use it! Naps3-1

Lift the corner of the napkin back over the body of the napkin and tape it out of harm’s way. Naps4-1

Position the second napkin below the first napkin, making sure the first napkin is not caught under the second napkin. Smooth in place. Naps5-1

Position the needle over the target sticker. If your machine has a trace feature, use it to verify the needle will not stitch on the first napkin. Once you’re confident the first napkin is out of the sewing field, remove the sticker and embroider the design. Naps6-1

Lift the corner, tape it down to keep it out of the sewing field. Naps8-1

Position the third napkin and repeat the process. Naps9-1

Bam -three napkins done in no time! Now repeat for a second hooping of three more napkins and your set of six is complete.

Here’s your assignment this week:

What is your favorite go-to gift? One comment will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to spend on the DIME website. Thanks for reading and good luck!


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell us what your favorite children’s theme is for the Summertime goodies you are crafting. FOUR lucky comments will be chosen to receive $25 to spend at the Applique for Kids website. Thanks and good luck!

May Blog Banner

And the winners are..Donna N. Clarice, Barb & Berenice

7 Steps to Improve Your Embroidery


1. Print a template(s) of your embroidery design so you can plan the embroidery layout. Place it on the item (garment, home décor, craft or quilt) and critique its placement and size.

1-IMG_38322. Build a test stash. Keep a test polo shirt, stretchy t-shirt, terrycloth towel and common items that you embroider on all the time in your test stash. Use this resource when testing a design for a final project. Fill every available inch with test designs then toss it when there’s no more room for additional tests.If you’re stitching on plain fabric, always buy more than you’ll need so you have material to use for a test stitch-out. So many problems can be avoided by stitching a test of the design with the fabric, stabilizer and thread combo that you’ll be using for the final project.

3. Press the fabric – use starch and steam to get the fabric to behave. Press the stabilizer if it’s wrinkled so it will lay flat behind the fabric.

4. Hoop on a flat, sturdy surface, not your lap. Ironing boards work in a pinch but best results are achieved when hooping on a solid surface, such as a cutting table and mat. Use the lines on the mat to square the fabric in the hoop.


5. Select the right hoop for the job. The best hold is achieved with the smallest hoop for the design. For instance, a 4” x 4” hoop is the best choice for a 2 ½” x 3” design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

6. Insert a fresh needle when starting a new embroidery project.


 7. Learn how to use simple embroidery editing software. You probably don’t need a full-blown digitizing system but a simple sizing and editing program can do 75% of daily embroidery tasks. Rotating, merging, mirror imaging and sizing designs are the top four chores I do to almost every design I stitch.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Here’s your assignment this week:

We so enjoy sharing our love for embroidery with you! What things have you done to get your children, grandchildren and/or friends interested in embroidery projects. It’s always fun to stitch with a friend or family member. One comment will be chosen to win a $25 gift certificate to use online at the Designs in Machine Embroidery website. Thanks and good luck!

DIME Gift Certificate

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 is… Rena  “Last year I decided that everything in my sewing room should have a place with:

• a bungee cord to attach the ironing board to two wall hooks

• lots of small plastic boxes in drawers for little things

• labelled clear plastic shoe boxes for quilting fabrics (colour sorted)

• a cast off wine rack for stabilizers

• a narrow wall cupboard (built by hubby!) with space for embroidery and sewing threads with a white magnetic covers on the door for notes and pattern sheets

• hot pink accessories to make me happy including a broom and dust pan

plastic drawers for more odds and end”

An Early Christmas Present

Last week, I gave myself an early Christmas present – the gift of time to focus on one of Designs’ valued partners. I have to admit, it had been way too long since I had the opportunity to spend such quality time with my friends at BERNINA. They invited me – along with some other very lucky embroiderers, quilters and sewists – to learn new techniques from the BERNINA sewing wizards at their new BERNINA Creative Center.

Upon arrival, we were asked to give a 2-minute speech on who we were, where we lived and what we were currently working on. I have to tell you, it’s a humbling experience. The talent in the room is breathtaking. Just to name a few (and I’m leaving out many) – Charlotte War Anderson, Georgia Bonesteel, Kaye England, Mary Mashuta, Melody Crust, Pat Bravo and Robbie Joy Eklow. As one attendee said, “It’s like visiting with your bookshelf.”  I couldn’t agree more.

I was delighted to spend time with Lisa Archer, Pickle Pie Designs – my shuttle bus seatmate; and Angie Steveson of Lunch Box Quilts –my stitching compadre.


Every single artist/teacher was gracious and warm, all of us excited to be there.  The next morning, we couldn’t wait to get started. A heart-touching presentation from Ricky Tims set the tone for the two-day hands-on seminar.  Tims-1

After we broke into smaller groups and marched to our classrooms, I thought of a conversation I had with my daughter before departing for the event. She asked if I had any concerns about the event. I responded, “Yes, I’m worried I won’t be able to behave like a good student!”

I needn’t have worried. BERNINA kept us entertained and busy. It was fascinating to quilt with BERNINA’s 820 under the tutelage of Debra Rutledge in the QuiltMotion class. Amazing how the movement of the 820 was controlled by a tablet! So easy to design right at the quilt and then watch it stitch. We worked on a huge canvas and stitched all morning.  After a relaxing lunch, we headed to the next classroom to work on the new 780.

Jeannine Cook-Delpit led us on a fun in-the-hoop eyeglass case. An excellent teacher, Jeannine gave us an overview of the 780 and steered us around its editing screen.  We selected a design, added custom stitches and a monogram.  Then we switched out the needle with the cutwork tool and voila! Our peeper case was cut to precision.  It didn’t quite seem complete until we added the custom crystals. Ingenious!  Jeannine thought through every detail of the design so that all students finished without a hiccup.

Peeper-1Peeper2-1I had fun playing with the cutwork tool.  If you know anything about today’s cutwork, you know that the cutting is done by a blade inserted into the fabric at four different angles. Cutwork systems have four different needles requiring the user to insert the correct blade at the proper color sequence. BERNINA’s is quite different as it has one blade that rotates when needed. You stitch color 1 with the blade at position 1 and then spin the dial to rotate the blade for color 2 and so on. In future posts, I’ll be telling you more about the cutting tool and some other goodies I brought home with me.   After all, it is Christmas!  Cutwork-1

Stop back next week and I’ll fill you in on the second half of the seminar.  In the meantime, take a look at our assignment and special prizes for next week.


Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave a comment below about what sewing tool you hope Santa puts under your tree. Six comments will be chosen to receive a one month membership to the Silver Threads Golden Needle Club courtesy of OregonPatchWorks. Good luck!

The winner of last week’s assignment:

So how is your holiday stitching coming along? Are you stressed? Are you going to make your deadlines? Let us know how it’s going and we’ll pick a random winner to receive a fold flat stocking, perfect for personalization.

And the lucky winner is Elisa T.

1 2 3 5