Archive of ‘Quilting’ category

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.”





A New Year’s Gift

If you’re like me, you might be experiencing a reprieve now that the holiday season is over. My shopping, decorating, wrapping, cooking and cleaning are done and yesterday, I finally had time to give myself a gift I’ve been longing for: the time to finish my quilt, Sun-kissed, on my embroidery machine!BabyShorte

The thought of finishing that pretty, sun-splashed quilt has gotten me through many household chores, magazine deadlines, blog posts and more. I’ve been saving this task for a block of time that I could devote to quilting it properly. I wanted to audition several different designs on it and take my time in making the decision. You see, I feel in love with this little quilt during the piecing process. I worked on it last summer during a sad time in my life and those bright colors and modern prints kept me going. They helped me focus, pray for better days and hope for a bright future. I don’t normally get emotionally attached to projects I’ve made (well, maybe a little) but this one was different. Some tasks come to us for a purpose we never intended. This was one of them.

First, I auditioned the Chandelier designs that come with the purchase of shortE. I thought they would be perfect but after careful consideration, I was concerned the geometric pattern of the Chandelier repeats would compete with Sun-kissed’s strong graphic pattern. Sun-kissed called for softer quilting designs – something fluid but more interesting than plain stipple. I rummaged through my design stash and found one I had previously sketched and digitized. Happy Flowers are big and small loopy flowers that run in a continuous line of stitches and align easily from hoop to hoop. Perfect!IMG_0204

I took a few steps to get ready for the actual quilting:

  • Fill several bobbins with my thread of choice: polyester white embroidery thread and thread the machine
  • Print a template(s) of Happy Flowers on Print & Stick Target Paper (gee, how did I live without that stuff all these years?)
  • Turn on the machine, retrieve the design and attach the bottom frame on Snap-Hoop Monster to the machine
  • Load Sun-kissed on the shortE
  • Position the Sun-kissed template on the upper right corner of the quilt (the first hooping on all shortE quilts)
  • Center the top right corner of the quilt in the hoop

Stitch the first design, and the second and the third…Oh my gosh, it was so much fun. It’s such a rewarding experience to see the first half of the quilt come to life. I love this process; I call it ‘working the quilt’: filling the hoop, aligning the designs and advancing down the quilt.

In future posts, I’ll share some secrets to success on making this process smooth, like what to do when you get this frown:IMG_0206

I wish each of you a happy and healthy New Year!

Here’s your assignment this week:If you had a day all to yourself to spend on a project, what would it be?  Leave a comment and one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of my latest book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine (to be released January 2, 2015).
Last week’s winner answered the question, “What memories do you have that you could convert to stitches?” Elizabeth is the winner of a copy of Calligraphy Project Designer with her comment: My dear friend and I are in recovery together. I would love to put together a wall-hanging celebrating our sisterhood. Congrats, Elizabeth!



Look What Comes With the shortE


On Friday, I showed the ShortE to students in my recent Stitching Sister event. Many were intrigued by the designs that come with The Shorte so I thought I’d give you a closer look.  We’ve included two versatile sets of quilting designs for allover quilting on whole cloth quilts or pieced quilts. The stipple collection fills the embroidery hoop with linking repeats of meandering wavy lines. You’ll find nine designs in this collection: top left, top center, top right, center right, center, center left, bottom left, bottom center and bottom right.


The Chandelier collection stitches very quickly and consists of a center medallion (for the center of the quilt), a half vertical (for the left and right edges), a half horizontal (for the top and bottom edges) and two border designs. There are several ways to arrange the designs to produce a variety of quilts.


The best way to get started is to print templates of all of the designs so you can audition them on the actual quilt. I love the new Print & Stick Target Template paper – perfect for auditioning quilt designs on a quilt – and they stay put! Before printing, change the thread color on each design to black to make it easy to see. If you’re using Perfect Embroidery Pro or My Quilt Embellisher, select the design and click the 3D icon to change the image to a more vivid rendition of the design.


Place the templates on the quilt and review the layout. If you’re pleased with it, it’s time to get stitching! This week, I’m finally getting a chance to quilt my Sunkissed quilt from Nancy Zieman’s Quick Column Quilt blog tour way back in September. I’m tempted to use the chandelier designs, I’ll keep you posted of my progress.


Here’s your assignment this week:Leave ac comment and tell us if you think the chandelier or stipple designs will look best on the Sun Kissed quilt. One comment will be chosen at random to receive a $25 gift card to use on the DIME website. Good Luck!
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question…What size quilt do you typically make?  Post your comments and 2 lucky winners will be randomly chosen to win a pack of the new Print & Stick Target Paper.The winner is… Maxine M.  “I love quilting and I challenge myself constantly. I do wallhangers, baby quilts, quilts of all sizes up to king. My God’s Promise Quilt took 1st. place at the Calgary Stampede and was my first time ever putting a quilt in to be judged. I was so very humble as any quilt I make is for the enjoyment and to see the finished result is so rewarding.”


Meet the shortE


Until now, quilting a whole quilt on an embroidery machine was like pulling a 24 ft. fishing boat with a Volkswagen bug. It just didn’t make sense. Well that has changed. I’ve been working on a solution for over a year and I’m so excited to finally begin to share it with you.

Let me introduce you to the shortE – the Embroidery Short Arm with a Long Reach. The shortE holds the weight of the quilt while Snap Hoop Monster creates the tension on the quilt sandwich.  The shortE is a frame that sits under (and around) your machine so your machine can do its thing – stitch beautiful embroidery.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The shortE works with any single needle embroidery machine that is compatible with a Snap Hoop Monster. Why? Snap Hoop Monster enables you to rehoop right under the needle. You don’t have to remove the quilt from the machine to rehoop – this is a huge issue when quilting with your embroidery machine!

Meet the shortE

I’ve been having a blast quilting with my machine. I started small – table runners, crib quilts and the like. Then I ramped up to 66” x 80” and then…at the suggestion of an experienced quilter, I moved to queen and king size quilts. And it works!  Oh my goodness, I haven’t had this much fun with my embroidery machine since I designed my first Stipple! Collection.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I’ve always loved quilting – love to play with the fabrics, piece them together but the actual quilting – left me in a lurch. I’ve never wanted to invest in a long arm – too expensive and WAY too large for my sewing space.  But now I can get the same experience and results with my embroidery machine! One very cool feature is the shortE sits on any sewing machine table or folding table.  It’s completely adjustable to accommodate different heights and machines.  Very versatile!

Quilting with the shorte is a bit like quilting with a long arm. You have to ‘work the quilt’.  Just like longarmers have to advance the fabric rolls, you will do that too on the shortE. And just like longarmers clamp the sides of the quilt to create tension, you will make sure the quilt sandwich is snug in the Snap Hoop Monster frame.   Take a look for yourself…


Meet the shortE!

shortE for Large Quilts!



Here’s your assignment this week:What size quilt do you typically make?  Post your comments and 2 lucky winners will be randomly chosen to win a pack of the new Print & Stick Target Paper.
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question…Is there something special you made for someone and loved it so much wanted to keep it for yourself? Tell us what it was and one random comment will be chosen to win a $25 gift certificate to use on the DIME website. Good Luck!The winner is… Ann S.  “I actually made a photo pieced applique for my daughter.  It was my grandchildren,twin girls.  I meant to give it to her but it looked so good on my wall.  I’ll just keep it for a little while.  She’ll get them at some point.”


Designing Quilt Blocks

Designing quilt blocks has never been easier. Just click on the Block icon in My Quilt Embellisher and take your pick. I chose the Broken Stone block under Curved Blocks, Miscellaneous. 1

I like the shapes but not the colors so my first step is change the colors of the block. Even though the block shows just two colors, you can select each patch and transform a two-color block into a three-color block or more! Click on the Fabric Library and browse through the hundreds of swatches. Select a fabric and click OK. Repeat this process for each patch. 2

You can color multiple patches at one time by holding down the CTRL key and clicking on each patch. When you select a fabric in the fabric library, all selected patches will be colorized. 3

Now, let’s add the quilting! Click on the Embellishments icon. When the drop down menu appears, select Elegant06. 4

Elegant06 is a great choice for this block because it features a center medallion and corner motifs that complement the patches. 5

First, delete the artwork outline (the blue outer line). Now, delete the scrolls because they do not fit in the curved patches. 6

Select, rotate and enlarge the center medallion to fit the inner block. 7

Select the curved patches. 9

Click on the Combine icon to treat the patches as one. 10

Click on the Texture icon. 11

Select texture 144 and click OK. 12

Play with the pattern length setting in the properties box to make the circles larger or smaller. I chose a pattern length of 15.0. Save the block as BlueGold. 13

Now that the block is designed, let’s see how the whole quilt will look. Select the block and right click, select Group. Copy and paste the block. Repeat as necessary. Save this file as BlueGoldQuilt. Now you have two working files – one of the block and one of the quilt. 14

When I save designs that I’ve created in My Quilt Embellisher, I create a new folder titled the name of the quilt, in this case, BlueGold. I save all working designs in that folder. That makes it easy for me to find the block and quilt files if I need to make adjustments – and the work is done!

Virtual quilting is fun – almost as much fun as actual quilting. But nothing beats quilting with fabric and thread!



Software Saturday – View Applique in Color or Fabric

Last week, we left off with auditioning crazy quilt stitches on a Dresden plate bloc in My Quilt Embellisher.

If the colors of the appliques on this default Dresden plate are not your favorites, then by all means change them! CQ12_2
Let’s start with the color of the first applique. In the sequence view, you’ll notice the first color is peach, color 14.
Left click on color chip 14 in the thread bar at the bottom of the screen. Select a color from the pop-up thread chart. Click OK. CQ12_4
I selected yellow and now the applique is a bright shade of yellow. CQ12_5You can continue to recolor the applique in this fashion or take it a step further and add fabric for a more realistic look. Select the applique section and click on the Fabric icon at the top tool bar. CQ12_6
You have dozens of fabrics to choose from the library. CQ12_7
Select a fabric, click ok and watch your applique come alive. You can select several applique sections at one time and colorize them as a group – with just one click. Or do it one by one to see a gradual change. You’ll have fun with this! CQ12_8
If you attended our webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 9, I’d like to personally thank you for sharing an evening with Tamara Evans and me. We appreciate your patience as we get our dealer network in place. I know many of you are anxious to receive your update so please know we are working diligently every day to make this happen!

Nancy Zieman’s Quick Column Quilts Blog Tour

Quick_Column_Quilts_Book_Cover 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.

  1. 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. NZQB2
  2. 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.
  3. 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.  NZQB4
  4. 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.
  5. Designate an area or box in your sewing room where you can store the materials for the duration of the quilt-making process. NZQB5
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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. NZQB3
  9. 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.
  10. 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.  Sunkissed

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 DesignzLilac 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 PrimitivesDoohikey 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

Here’s your assignment this week:
Visit any or all of the stops on the blog tour listed above. Comment below about your favorite quilt or technique you saw on the tour. One comment will be selected to receive a copy of Nancy’s book Quick Column Quilts – good luck!


The winner of last week assignment:
After you’ve taken advantage of the great deal from leave a comment below about the three most used items in your sewing room. One blog reader will be selected to receive a $25 gift certificate for use on the DiME website. Thanks and good luck!
Gift-CardAnd the winner is Pamela B. – “Sewing machine, serger, iron, and tool box (it is full of essentials)”

Auditioning Crazy Quilting Stitches in My Quilt Embellisher


My Quilt Embellisher features 50 crazy quilt stitches that can be combined, sized, rotated and morphed to create hundreds of gorgeous stitches.  The stitches are so easy to add to any quilt block – just select a block from the block library and then left click on the Crazy Quilting icon. CQ2

Select a stitch from the drop down menu. One of my favorites is Stitch10.


Once selected, the cursor changes to a small crosshair. Left mouse click and drag the mouse to create the motif. The longer you drag, the larger the motif. Each motif can be dropped individually creating an organic, hand-stitched look.


Let’s take a look at how fun it is to play with the stitches and blocks. Click on the Block Library icon, Circle Blocks and Dresden Plate #3. CQ4a

The block appears on the screen. CQ5

Let’s remove half of the block by selecting (left mouse click) and deleting (delete on the keyboard) each section. CQ6

Select the Shape Tool and click on the circle to show the points. CQ7

Select half of the points by dragging the cursor over the points. CQ8

Left mouse click and select delete points. CQ9

Now that the block appears as desired it’s time to embellish. CQ10

Select the Crazy Quilting icon and select Stitch04 from the drop down menu. Position the cursor over the first seam line, left click and drag the cursor to the end of the seam. Release the mouse. Repeat for each seam moving in a methodical manner around the plate. Start at the inner point of a seam and travel to the outer point. Release the mouse and move it to the next seam line. Left click at the outer end of the seam and move to the inner point. Applying the stitches in this manner will command the machine to stitch efficiently. CQ11

To apply stitches around the curved outer edge, select the run stitch icon. In the properties box, select Motif, number 178. CQ12

Apply the first point at the edge of the plate. Move to the center of the scalloped edge, hold the CTRL key while left clicking on the mouse to apply a curved point. Continue around the outer edge of the plate. When complete, right click to set the stitches. How easy was that?

My Quilt Embellisher opens a world of opportunities since many of us struggle to quilt our quilts. Control over the stitches allows us to turn our embroidery machines into longarms! You’ll be learning more about that in upcoming weeks and months as I’ve been working on a number of exciting new techniques to share with you. I really appreciate your patience as we grow our Inspired by DIME division. Our dealer network is growing every day so if you haven’t received notice from your dealer, please be patience, it’s coming to a dealer near you very soon!




Starch is the unsung hero of the sewing room.  We often overlook it but I have a favorite use for liquid starch and so does Sherry McCary, seamstress extraordinaire at Designs. I apply liquid starch to the wrong side of delicate fabrics that will be embroidered with water soluble adhesive stabilizer. It not only adds body to soft fabrics during the embroidery process but also creates a shield between the adhesive and the fabric. After the embroidery, the water soluble adhesive stabilizer just slides away and does not penetrate the fibers. Read how Sherry depends on it for piecing projects.

Smooth Cutting and Stitching with Starch

By Sherry McCary

At a sewing retreat my good friend Pat Fountain saw me struggling with sewing some bias blocks together and gave me this great tip to tame cantankerous bias edges. It also saves money on starch and can transform even lowly muslin into a fabric that can be used for “real” projects:

Buy a half-gallon container of inexpensive starch and a pump-type spray bottle from the grocery store. Fill the spray bottle half-way with starch and fill the rest with water.  Before you begin a project, drench the fabric with the starch mixture. It should be soaking-wet. Hang or drape it somewhere and let it air dry 10-15 minutes, or until it’s almost dry, but not quite.

Next, iron the barely-damp fabric, spraying with another layer of starch as go. Fabric will be super-easy to cut and work with following these starching instructions. Quilters especially will love the ultra-flat seams that can be achieved with fabric that has been treated this way.

In addition to the savings to be had by mixing your own starch, you’ll save “pointer finger fatigue” since you won’t be having to press the spray button on purchased cans of pre-mixed starch!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave us a comment below about your secret sewing or embroidery weapon and one comment will be chosen to win a secret weapon of their very own, Target Stickers! These handy stickers are reusable, repositionable and provide you with perfect placement everytime. Thanks and good luck!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Leave a comment below about your favorite scarf on the Love My Scarf Blog Tour and what inspired you to create one of your own! One lucky winner will receive this beautiful butterfly pin created on behalf of the Brookharts family in memory of their wife and mother, Joanne. If you’d like to pick up one for yourself or a friend you can do so here.

And the winner is…“The scarf is beautiful and the scroll design is so delicate and doesn’t overload the scarf.” – Karen W.


Have you checked out the free design in the August Designs Plus Newsletter?  Our sponsor, EmbroideryOnline donated a design from one of their newest collections, the Doodle Line Quilting collection.  The Doodle Flowers Centerpiece is yours free to download and enjoy from the Designs Plus Newsletter!  (Read on to find out details!)

We were excited to try the design so here’s a peek at what we’ve been up to.  The design is a breeze to stitch—so we stitched a set in 4 different thread colors.

Then we were inspired by the name of the collection and thought it would be fun to stitch the design on white fabric with black thread—then we colored in the doodles using Copic markers.

Click here to check out the latest Designs Plus Newsletter and to download the free design courtesy of

Did you know we have a new sponsor every month that gives away a free design in the Designs Plus Newsletter?  Join our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out!  Click here to join.

Have you stitched the free design featured in the August Designs Plus Newsletter yet?  Post your creations on our Facebook page!

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