Archive of ‘Quilting’ category

Block of the Month: Block 1 Peony – Sewing Instruction

My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt
Block of the Month : Block 1 Peony
Sewing Instructions

Tips to Keep in Mind

The first color of any My Block Piecer block is the block diagram. The diagram includes the numbers on the patches, the patches outlines and seam allowances. It’s helpful to stitch the diagram in a thread that you can see – something other than white (assuming your stabilizer is white). However, if your fabric is light-colored, the stitches could be visible through the fabric. Our photography shows the diagram in a contrasting color so you can see it clearly for instruction purposes. For this block, we used black and jewel tone fabrics so there is no worry about thread bleed-through.

A modern approach to the Block of Month Sampler includes pastel batiks and whites. A light-colored thread was selected for the diagram. It’s still visible to the user but won’t bleed through the fabrics.

We used a lightweight tear-away stabilizer that practically dissolves when washed so we won’t remove it after making the block. It’s up to you whether you want to take the time to remove the tear-away or leave it in the block. If you used a lightweight cut-away, such as poly mesh, you would not remove it.

In the software lesson for Block 1, you’ll remember that I cut my fabrics slightly larger than the standard ¼” seam allowance. That’s not mandatory but it is helpful.

The patches in the images below were cut with ¼” seam allowances. You can see how easy it is to misaligned the fabrics when working with a narrow seam allowance. In the first image, I ripped out the stitches and realigned the patch.

In the second image, I left the patch intact.

Let’s get started.

Hoop lightweight tear-away stabilizer or polymesh cut-away. Stitch color 1, the block diagram.

Place the patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1. Stitch color 2, the tackdown.

Place the patch 2 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 1 and 2, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 3, the seam.

Flip patch 2 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown of patch 2.

Place the patch 3 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 2 and 3, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 5, the seam.

Flip patch 3 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 6, the tackdown of patch 3.

Place the patch 4 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 3 and 4, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 7, the seam.

Flip patch 4 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 8, the tackdown of patch 4.

Place the patch 5 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 4 and 5, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 9, the seam.

Flip patch 5 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 10, the tackdown of patch 5.

Place the patch 6 fabric, right side down, over the seam of patches 1, 2, 4 and 5, aligning the seam allowances. Stitch color 11, the seam.

Flip patch 6 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 12, the tackdown of patch 6.

Remove the hoop from the machine and the fabric from the hoop. Place the ¼” mark of a quilter’s ruler on the outside stitch line of the block. Trim the block on all sides. If you used a tear-away stabilizer and want to remove it, do it now. If a cut-away was used, it will remain in the block.

If making the larger quilt, make four blocks of Peony #2. Piece the blocks with ¼” seam allowance or wait until all of your blocks are complete for the final assembly.

Variations of Block 1 Assembly for Large Quilt

     

     

 

 

 

My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt Block of the Month

What’s the key to learning and improving your embroidery skills?  Practice!  The My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt block of the month will help you do just that!  Learn the ins and outs to creating in-the-hoop quilt blocks with My Block Piecer, one of today’s hottest techniques. You’ll get familiar with one-unit blocks, advance to two- unit block and three-unit blocks. You’ll learn how to create in-the-hoop blocks from the block library and original artwork files. Plus you’ll create borders – perfectly proportioned without the math!

Don’t have the software?  You can download a free trial by clicking here.  You’ll enjoy a fully-functioning software with only the “Save Function” disabled.  Once you’re ready to purchase the software, visit an Inspirations Dealer to make the purchase. After you purchase, you can duplicate the quilt shown here over the next 12 months.

This block of the month series will feature two lessons every month:

Software Lesson:  First Saturday of the Month
Sewing Lesson:  To be published the following Wednesday

This block of the month sampler quilt has unlimited potential: scrappy, monochromatic, jewel tone, batiks, or ultra-modern quilt.

All blocks are a 6” finished square and the border blocks are 3” x 6” finished.  You can make one of each block or make four for a larger quilt.

Quilt Dimensions

  • Finished size: 24” x 30”
  • We opted to piece our quilt without sashing. If you plan on adding 1” wide finished sashing, you’ll need 1/3 yd. of fabric for the sashing.
  • Fabric requirements:

This is a great opportunity to use scraps or select your own palette. You could go for a bright sunny look as shown above or opt for medium and dark jewel tones.  The image below shows a 42″ x 54″ version. In this version, you’ll make four repeats of each block.  If you opt for the larger quilt, double the yardage of each fabric.

Of course, you can never go wrong with an array of blues.

Yardage calculations are based on ¼” seam allowances. We have slightly increased the amounts for each fabric to allow some wiggle room for cutting and seam allowance.

Special thanks to Nancy Stansbury for this Block of the Month Series.


My Block Piecer Sampler Quilt
Block of the Month: Block 1 Peony
Software Instructions

  1. Open MBP.
  2. Click on Create a New Design.
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  3. If the units for the ruler on the design page show mm, Right Click on either one of the rulers on the Design Page, and Click on Inches.
  4. Right Click on either ruler again and click on Grid Settings.
    1. Check marks by:
      1. Maintain aspect ratio
      2. Snap to grid.
    2. Set horizontal spacing to 0.25.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click on the Block icon. noimage
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  1. Enter Peony #2 in the Find box at the bottom of the window (DO NOT CLICK THE ENTER KEY). You’ll find Peony #2 under Foundation Blocks, Foundation Flowers. Remember to include the # sign as there are several Peony blocks in the Block Library.
  2. Click on the Down green arrow, next to the Find box.
  3. Click OK to place the block on the design page.noimage
  • In the Properties Window on the right side of the screen, click on the Transform icon. noimage
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    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  • Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
  • Click on the Workflow icon.
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    1. In the Hoop field, select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine from the drop down box.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
    3. Click on Sort numbers. Click Yes in the message box.
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    4. The numbers have been sorted according to the order you will add them to the block.
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    5. Click Preview. I’ve filled in patch 1 with green for easy detection. On your file, look for the green outline. Click Save, located under Preview.
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    6. The software will automatically create a new folder with three files: the stitch file (select the format for your machine), the artwork of the block and the stitching instructions in PDF format.
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    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  • Click the Cutter icon. noimage
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    1. Seam allowance default is .25”. Normally I change this to 0.4” or 0.5”, to make it easier to place the fabric pieces no matter which output format I choose.
    2. How you are going create the fabric pieces for the block, will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If printing templates and using them to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279 from the Hoop field.
      2. If using the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
      3. If using the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”.
      4. For digital cutting files, change the repeat from 1 to 4 if you are making the large quilt.
    3. Can Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric (This will optimize how the pieces file on the paper.)
    4. Click Apply.
    5. Click Save.
      1. In File name enter Peony Templates.
      2. Click Save.
      3. The Following Files are created.
        1. Peony templates.pdf.
        2. Peony templates_preview.pdf.
      4. Close the files window.
      5. Close the Cutter window.
  • Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  • Load the design in your machine and have fun making this block.

 

 

 

 

Finish Those Quilts in 2018!

If your New Year’s resolution is turn those quilt tops into finished quilts, then you might be interested in learning how to do that on your embroidery machine. About an year ago, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons was published.  It is my best-selling book and no wonder – quilting with an embroidery machine is so doable!  And many of us have quilt tops that need to be quilted.  This book has been the culmination of over 20 years of quilting with an embroidery machine. I’ve done everything from embroidered quilt tops to quilt as you as go to quilting king size quilts on an embroidery machine.  I’ve learned an awful lot on this journey and you can still watch the Sewing with Nancy episodes online at http://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/.

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

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

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

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

Want to win a copy of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons?  Just leave a comment and tell me if have any quilt tops that need to be quilted.  Do you have one, two, three or more?  One lucky winner will be selected to win the book and the accompanying collection of 20 embroidery designs.  I hope you get all of your quilt tops finished in 2018!

 

Turn Your Embroidery Machine Into a Longarm

If you want to successfully quilt with your machine, you have to learn the secrets to controlling the process.  In my class, Turn Your Embroidery Machine Into a Longarm at Wisconsin Quilt Expo Sept. 7-9, you’ll learn why handling your quilt like this is a recipe for disaster:

I’ll also share why having two versions of a continuous design, not just mirror-imaged, makes connecting designs a breeze.

And what to do when you have a thread break in the middle of a design.

Most of all, I’ll show you how to get your embroidery machine to do what you want it to do!

I hope you’ll join me in Turn Your Embroidery Machine into a Longarm, at 1:00 every day at the Wisconsin Quilt Expo, Madison, WI, Sept.7-9.

I’m really looking forward to this quilt show because I’ve been spending too much time in my office and studio!  It’ll be great to meet and chat with other embroiderers/quilters/sewists. Hope to see you there!

If you purchase your tickets online before the big event, you’ll save $2.00 per lecture.  Hurry – seats are going…

Wisconsin Quilt Expo 2017

 

In just a few short weeks, I’m heading to my favorite quilt show – Wisconsin Quilt Expo, in Madison, Wisconsin, Sept 7-9, 2017.  Why is WQE my favorite quilt show?  Well, first off, it was created by my dear friend, Nancy Zieman, so I know every detail has been covered.  Second, it’s in Wisconsin in early September.  Wisconsin literally sparkles in late summer.  Third, the food – oh my.  They don’t call it America’s Dairy Land for nothing!  Fourth – the people. I’ve never met a population that pitches in with such gusto and a smile.  If you don’t know what I mean, consider this: Green Bay Packer fans VOLUNTEER to shovel out the stadium on a snowy game day. In fact, they stand in line to do so!  Oh, I love Wisconsin.

I am honored to teach one of my favorite topics, Turn Your Embroidery Machine into a Longarm, at 1:00 every day. Tickets are on sale now and from what I hear – going fast!

I can’t wait to meet with fellow quilters especially those who want to get more out of their embroidery machines and finish those quilt tops they so lovingly created. I want to show them that it is possible to quilt an entire quilt – even a queen or king – on an embroidery machine. I’ve been doing this for years and along the way, I’ve made every mistake.  Now, I can confidently finish my quilts.  In my class, you’ll learn how to select designs for specific areas of the quilt, precisely place designs and handle all that bulk. To purchase a ticket to Turn Your Embroidery Machine into a Longarm, just click here.

We’ll discuss continuous line designs.

Custom designs (that fit perfectly into specific spaces.

And we’ll take a look at nesting designs.

I’ll share my secrets for perfect placement of all three types of quilting designs. To see what else is in store at Wisconsin Quilt Expo, visit https://wiquiltexpo.com/

Any chance I’ll see you there?  I hope so!

 

I Should Know Better!

Often, I have very large and complex projects to design, digitize, test, photograph and write the instructions.  These tasks are intense, highly-technical and deadline-oriented. Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I’ve been doing it for a long time, a realllllly llllllong time. So I know what I’m doing. And I relish digging into a big project. Recently, I set aside a whole day to work at home (way less interruptions!) to tackle this new project.

I was pumped because I was at the testing stage. All designs were digitized and critiqued in software. It was time to stitch the designs on fabric before moving to the actual project – a full size quilt. I’m never satisfied until I actually stitch the design on fabric.  I see results during the stitch out that I never catch in software. So I grabbed a quilt sandwich for testing and popped it into a Snap Hoop Monster.  And pressed Start. Thirty stitches later and I see skipped stitches. And again, and again.

Then the thread breaks.  I rethread. Same result.

I check the bobbin and reinsert it. Same result.

I change the needle. Same result.

I put the thread on a vertical thread stand. Same result.

I call my sister Marie and complain. She listens and laughs. I’m not laughing, good thing she’s 1200 miles away.

I start the machine again. Same result.

I change the bobbin. Same result.

I change the thread. Same result.

I CHANGE DESIGNS. Same result. By now, you can imagine, I am F U R I O U S.

I exhale, several times. And then I call Scott Goodman, author of the Great Scott column in Designs, and explain the situation. Scott is like a good therapist; he listens intently and asks thought-provoking questions.  But this time, none of his questions provide the answer I need – how to make the machine work!  So he gently suggests that I have my dealer take a look at the machine.  That’s the kiss of death. Now I love dealers and totally respect all technician’s abilities but I DON’T HAVE TIME TO GO TO THE DEALER today. So I thank Scotty and just when we are about to hang up, he says, “Well, flagging can cause that.” I said, “Flagging?”

He responded, “Flagging, when the fabric is not secure in the hoop, the needle can lift the fabric off the bed and the needle and bobbin threads do not connect to make the stitch.”

I turned 10 shades of pink. I was so glad Scott wasn’t actually in my sewing room because I know what flagging is and what causes it. You see, in my haste, I grabbed a quilt sandwich that did not FILL the hoop. And I know that the fabric should fill the hoop but I did it anyway.  Then when disaster struck I didn’t connect my mistake with the skipped stitches. I blamed every variable except the user.

Shame on me!  Scott and I had a good chuckle over that. The fix was so easy – I hooped another quilt sandwich – larger than the hoop – and it stitched perfectly!

I’m grateful for Scott’s long-distance diagnosis – he’s a gem. Connect with him on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GreatScottSews/

I’d love to know if you’ve ever had an experience like this. What do you do when you ‘hit the wall’ with an embroidery project?

What Can You Learn in 60 Minutes?

In 60 minutes, you can learn everything you need to know about quilting with your embroidery machine. When can you do that? Tomorrow’s the big day!  if you’ve been wanting to learn how to quilt with your machine, register for my webcast with Sulky on Thursday evening (March 23, 2017) at 9:00 PM EDT, 8:00 PM CDT and 7:00 PM PDT.

You’ll learn everything from raw edge applique to custom quilting to overall quilting. I’ll give you three options for handling the quilt bulk while achieving perfect placement on every hooping.  Plus, you’ll learn what type of designs work on blocks and large negative spaces.

Included in this hour of education, is a downloadable continuous line design for 6” x 10” hoops*, a downloadable guide to my secrets of continuous line quilting on an embroidery machine plus a question and answer period at the end of the webcast.

Michelle Umlauf, Sulky National Educator, will be our webcast coordinator (which means she’s been keeping me on track for several weeks). She’s a stitch wizard herself as you can see if you visit her blog at http://www.SewingMachineArtistry.com.  She’ll be joined by Sulky veterans Patti Lee, Ellen Osten  and Kelly Negal (like I can teach them anything!).

I conned, I mean asked, my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, to help with questions during the webcast. So if you’re on the webcast and know Marie, give her a shout out. And while you’re at it, ask her a trick question – like how many inches of thread are on a Sulky 820 meter spool!  Oh boy, am I going to pay for that!

Today, we had a run through to make sure your experience is educational, comfortable and informative. It went very well with a ‘mock’ audience of 5 or 6 attendees. Intentionally, mock questions were sent and fielded by Patti, Kelly, Marie and Michelle. At one point, I had a vision of the infamous Lucy & Ethel episode at the chocolate factory.  You remember the one, the chocolates fly down the conveyor belt so fast, Lucy and Ethel can’t keep up with it. That was my vision today and hopefully, it won’t be like that tomorrow night.

Sounds like a funny moment, right? Well, the spirit at Sulky is one of fun and lightheartedness. I guess they were just trying to ease everyone’s jitters (technical difficulties can really rattle the nerves) because the first question that appeared on the screen was, “Who let the dogs out?”

I howled (no pun intended!). That moment put everyone at ease, now we’re ready and excited!  Sulky has some great product specials that they will announce towards the end of the webcast.  Two coupons (of the many specials they are featuring) will expire at Midnight EDT, Sept. 23, 2017. To take advantage of the specials, register for the webcast now, watch the webcast then make your purchases before Midnight EDT.

We are packing a ton of information into this webcast but don’t worry, after the webcast, you’ll be able to review it whenever you’d like.  Join us for this live webcast and later you can watch at your own pace.  Sign up now because seats are limited!  Just click here: http://www.sulky.com/   You’ll learn a lot in 60 minutes!

*Formats included are C2S, DST, EXP, HQV, HUS, JEF, PCS, PES, QLI, VIP AND VP3.

 

Free Webinar!

I’m so excited to present a live webcast (my first!) with my good friends at Sulky.  They spotted my recent book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons, and thought it would be a hot topic for their webcast offerings. I was flattered to be asked, so of course I said yes!

So what should you expect in this webcast? I’ll share my 20 years of quilting with an embroidery machine experience with you.  I’ll cover everything from raw edge applique to custom quilting to overall quilting.  I’ll show you how to manage the quilt bulk while achieving perfect placement on every hooping.  You’ll learn what type of designs work on blocks and large negative spaces.

Included in this hour of education, is a downloadable continuous line design for 6” x 10” hoops*, a downloadable guide to my secrets of continuous line quilting on an embroidery machine plus a question and answer period at the end of the webcast.

You’ll get an in-depth look at my patented quilt and applique as you go technique, the difference between custom quilting and overall quilting. And I’ll cover selecting shape designs, connecting continuous line designs, working with magnetic hoops and three options for handling a full size quilt on a home embroidery machine.

We are packing a ton of information into this webcast but don’t worry, after the webcast, you’ll be able to review it whenever you’d like.  Join us for this live webcast and later you can watch at your own pace.  Sign up now because seats are limited!  Just click here: https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1138339&sti=eduction_webinar_banner

*Formats included are C2S, DST, EXP, HQV, HUS, JEF, PCS, PES, QLI, VIP AND VP3.

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

Leave a comment explaining what quilting project you’re working on right now.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of my latest book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons. It’s finally back in stock so I’m happy to give one away.

The winner is: LAURI WINTERFELDT: I just completed a whole cloth quilt to practice quilting on my machine. I have two more lap quilts basted and ready to go.

Thank you, everyone for taking the time to comment.  I love hearing from you and hope to see you in the webcast on March 23, 2017, 9:00 PM EST.

Why Did It Take So Long?

Why did it take 20 years to master the art of quilting with an embroidery machine? Well, 20 years ago, sewing fields were 4″ x 4″, machines had little or no rotation ability and there were no ‘quilting designs’ available for the home embroiderer. Machine embroidery has evolved beyond our wildest dreams (well, almost, I know some very creative people!).

Now, we can quilt king, queen, crib or lap quilts on our embroidery machines.  If you have a big hoop (larger than 6″ x 10″), then it’s a breeze. Many students ask if they can quilt with a 5″ x 7″ hoop.  My response is, “Yes, you can but it’s not the right tool for the job. It’s like painting a dining room with a 1” brush. You can do it, but it will take forever!”

So if you want to quilt with your embroidery machine, buy one with a large sewing field and while you’re looking for a machine, make sure there’s a compatible magnetic hoop available.  Why so?  Magnetic hoops simplify the rehooping process.  A large quilt will take 50 or 60 hoopings, imagine removing the entire hoop and quilt from the machine to rehoop – 50 times!  Too much effort. With a magnetic hoop, you just lift the top frame, advance the quilt, drop the frame in place and stitch.  It’s still 50 hoopings but what a time-saver.

And yes, I am very partial to magnetic hoops because I invented Snap Hoop Monster. Without it, I would have never written three quilting books, designed over a dozen quilting collections and quilted dozens and dozens of quilts.  In fact, I probably would have given up trying to quilt with my embroidery machine years ago.

But that’s not all that’s made the process easier.  I made this short video to show you a couple of other products that really streamline the process.  Take a look.

 

Leave a comment explaining what quilting project you’re working on right now.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of my latest book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons. It’s finally back in stock so I’m happy to give one away.  Happy Stitching!

 

Skip the Numbers in My Block Piecer

Welcome Software Saturday readers!  Recently, I was creating a Flying Geese border in My Block Piecer. I stitched 16 repeats and after the third or fourth one, I knew the patch sequence by heart. Since I’m always on a mission to find time-saving steps, I figured if I omitted stitching the actual numbers in each patch, I would save some precious time. Here’s how to do it.

Open a new file in My Block Piecer. Click on the Block Libraby icon and enter Flying Geese #7 in the box. Click the green down arrow to jump to Flying Geese #7.  Click OK.N1BL

Select the block, right mouse click and select Ungroup.  Delete both side panels. N2BL

Select the remaining patches and click on the Workflow icon and Autobuild. Click Preview.  There are 12 patches in this unit.  Click Save and close. N3BL

Copy and paste the unit to stitch two in one hooping.N5BL

Select all and Ungroup. Now click on each individual letter and delete it.N6BL

You’ll be left with everything but the numbers.N7BL

But don’t worry, when you saved the design earlier, a PDF was created with a visual guide to the block. The first image includes the numbers on each patch.N8BL

The second shows an image of the design with the numbers.N9BL

And finally, there’s an instruction sheet which guides you through each patch.N10BL

Save this edited design with a new name and use it to stitch the block. Don’t you just love this software? It gives you so much freedom when creating blocks to piece in the hoop!

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