Archive of ‘Quilting’ category

Tow Your Own Banner

Beach7BL

Our newest Stipple Collection, Life’s a Beach, can easily portray a message that’s dear to your heart, not mine.  Instead of the Life’s a Beach message, use Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro or Word Art in Stitches to write Happy Birthday, It’s a Lake Life, Summer Fun or any short phrase.  Here’s how.

Open TopRow_Hoop3_BannerLeft and Merge TopRowHoop4_BannerRight (C2S format) into the hoop.  Align the designs as they were intended. Save the design as TopDouble.Beach1BL

Ungroup if they are grouped.  Select and delete Life’s a Beach. Select the Text tool and type Happy in the text field of the Property Box. Select the Hobo font.  Size Happy to fit the vertical space of the banner.Beach2BL

With the Text tool selected, right click, and select Path, right click again and select Edit Baseline.  Use the handles of the nodes to curve the baseline aligning the bottom of the text with the banner.Beach4BL

Type Birthday into the text field in the Properties Box, click Apply.Beach5BL

Repeat the steps above to set Birthday into the banner.  Change the color of Birthday to separate it from Happy.Beach6BL

Change the color sequence order so that it stitches properly. The first color should be the stipple of the left design, the tow line, the placement guide of the banner applique fabric, the tackdown of the applique fabric and the Happy text. Select all five colors, copy and paste into a new file. Save as TopRowHappy.

Go back to the TopDouble file and save it as TopRowBirthday.  Send both designs to your machine in the appropriate format and you’ve got a customized mini-quilt!  Isn’t software fun?

Memories, the threads of time

Isn’t it fun to capture a happy memory in needle and thread? It’s not always easy to achieve but when memories and creative inspiration collide, it’s a heartfelt moment.  That’s the story behind my latest Stipple! Collection, Life’s a Beach.

stipplelifesabeach

You see, when I was ten years old, my father, an avid pilot, restored a World War II open cockpit bi-plane and flew it for thirty years in our tiny seaside resort in New Jersey. He loved that plane and so did all of his daughters. Although it never towed a banner as it is in this quilt, it spiraled through the air crisscrossing the sky over the sparkling blue water of the Atlantic Ocean. He would buzz our house and we would head to the airport to get a ride. If we were on the beach when he flew over, we would wave and jump around on the white sand so he could see us.  A tip of his wing meant he was heading home for dinner.

There are so many stories about that plane– thankfully all with happy landings – I just had to include this memory of my youth spent on the Jersey shore.  Oh what I wouldn’t do to stand on that sand and hear him fly overhead.

eileensdadsplane

Those happy memories include many days spent at the beach and with five sisters, there were always bathing suits drying in the sun on the backyard clothesline.  In fact, I remember coming home from my morning waitress job at a local coffee shop and checking the clothesline to see what suits were left – several of us wore the same size.  My mother used to say, “First one out, best one dressed!”

swimsuits

And then off to the beach it was. With a good book, suntan lotion (OMG probably baby oil, how times have changed!), chair and towel, everything revolved around the beach. Everyone (except my mother) was on the beach: neighbors, tourists (same families, same street every year) and family.  The more the merrier; the bigger the circle of chairs, the better.

The scene depicted in the bottom row on Life’s a Beach shows the end of the day at the beach…one chair, one umbrella, a peaceful quiet time in the shade.

endofdaybeach

I stitched the three panels independently and they hang together with ribbons of raffia looped over wood buttons. Since each row stitches quickly, I finished a row in an afternoon, binding included! Once I had one done, I was motivated to start the next one. If you’d like, piece the three rows together to make one wall quilt.  I had so much fun designing this project and focusing on the simple days of my youth, I hope you enjoy making it as much as I enjoyed designing it.

Stipple_Lifes_a_Beach-CREATIVES_Quilt

Question of the week:  What are your favorite summertime childhood memories?


Visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website for a limited time special offer on Stipple Life’s a Beach.  Enjoy free US shipping.  Use coupon code:  beach

 

Room for Improvement

Last week, I showed you how to how to draw a simple flower design in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro and turn it into a large applique quilt block. I ended the lesson with this comment: “I’ll stitch a sample before creating the whole block.”  Testing an applique design is the sure-fire way to beautiful quilt blocks.  But you can take some initial steps before stitching a sample in software. Start by critiquing parts of the design by asking yourself some basic questions about the design. Blk1

  1. Can the area where the right and left leaves meet be improved?
  2. Are the leaves elegant? By elegant, I mean do they flow naturally along a curve? I see an awkward spot (the stop/start point) on the bottom of the right leaves.
  3. The leaf ends (corners) look blunt.

These are easy steps to fix before stitching.

First, let’s change the stop/start point from the middle of the right leaf to the center (where the arrow is pointing).QB2Notes3

Now, select the leaf and change the Corner Type to Extended in the Properties Box.QB2

Finally, let’s reshape the curve to remove any unnatural bends. Select the Shape tool and adjust the points on the leaf.Blk2

 

The result is a much more pleasing to the eye. Now it’s time to head to the machine to stitch a sample. Next week, we take a close look at the stitched sample.Blk2A

What Color Would You Select?

I’m in a quandary. I’m designing the quilting for the My Block Piecer Block of the Month Sampler. The quilt is pieced and I’m excited to load the quilt onto the shortE and get started. Here’s a look at the pieced quilt on the design wall. Please forgive the photography – I took this photo with my cell phone.2015-12-19_20-00-51

Here’s one quilting layout that I started in My Quilt Planner. This layout features the same designs on each block. 2015-12-19_19-40-36

I don’t know if this is the one that I’ll go with but it’s been fun playing with the feathers.
Here’s a preview of the feathers a quilt block.2015-12-19_19-28-22

But what color thread? I’ve eliminated black because I’d like the quilting to pop on the black patches. Shall I select bright pink, hot blue, neon green or orange? Should I try to go with one color for the whole quilt or select thread for each block? What would you do?

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.

Shorte2

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.

Shorte1

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.

Shorte3

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.

Sunkissed

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

banner966x400

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…

Videos

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.

CQ12_1
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.
CQ12_3
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!

1 2 3