Archive of ‘Software Saturday’ category

Custom Quilting

Last week, blog reader Kay asked for some help in Inspirations’ My Quilt Embellisher. It’s a popular software program and easy to use. You can design custom quilting for an 8-point star in just a couple of steps. Follow along to learn how.

Click on the Block Library icon. Go to Eight Point Star and select Arrow Star. Click OK.

Select the white diamonds in the center of the block. Right click on a color chip in the tray (bottom of the screen) to change the color of the diamonds.

Change the color of the center diamonds.

We’ll start by filling the negative space with stippling, In the sequence view, select the remaining white shapes (red box) and click on the Stippling icon (red arrow). In the Properties Box, change the Stippling style to Hilbert (green arrow).



To decorate the eight points, use the art tool to draw a diamond. Size the diamond to fill one of the star points.

The diamond pre-set shape in the Art tool drop down menu.

Select the diamond and click on the Contour tool.

The Contour tool fills a shape with rows of stitches.

Copy and paste the Contour diamond to fill the star.

Save the design. That was easy, wouldn’t you agree?

Software Questions? Read on…

It’s been a fun journey hosting Software Saturday for the past five years. I’ve covered many of Inspirations’ software programs with primary focus on Perfect Embroidery Pro. In order to continue offering educational content, I’d love to hear your thoughts on future lessons for Inspirations software programs.

I know a blog is fairly one-sided but I do read all of the comments and use that information to create new posts.

Please leave a comment below and tell me what Inspirations’ software you’d like to see discussed on Software Saturday. Perfect Embroidery Pro, My Block Piecer, My Quilt Embellisher, Word Art in Stitches, My Fabric Designer, Vintage Embroidery Software or My Quilt Planner? And what topics would you like covered?

You input matters – so take a moment and share your thoughts – let’s make 2019 the year to master the software you’ve invested in.

Set the Stage

Many embroiderers are stitching last minute gifts and that can mean trying to tame long fibers like faux fur and lofty knits. You need to ‘set the stage’ for the beautiful stitches and give them a foundation to sit on. Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Nap Blocker feature is the answer for providing a base for the beautiful stitches while taming the fibers. Nap Blocker adds a layer of complex fill stitches that’s just light enough to flatten the lofty fibers creating a smooth surface for the embroidery. Here’s how to do it in PEP.

Select the Text tool and type JOY in the Properties Box.  I used the Bookman font. 

Select the design, right click to access the command menu.  Select Utility, Nap Blocker.

Instantly, a layer of complex fill is added to the design in the first color position.

The fill extends .15” beyond the design to ensure any long fibers will not obstruct the embroidery.  You can change this by selecting the fill only and resizing.

Notice how the complex fill is placed at the beginning of the design in the color sequence. 

Stitch the complex fill in the same color thread as the fabric. This is key because you want these stitches to disappear behind the beautiful embroidery.  And…you don’t have to use a topper when you use Nap Blocker. How sweet is that?

If you’re working with intricate text, you might want to adjust the shape of the nap blocker.  the image below shows the default nap blocker for a paragraph of text.  Remember, nap blocker has a default setting of .15″ so if it sees a space wider than that, it will leave it open.

It’s easy to adjust this.  Click on the shape tool, select the nap blocker (color 1).  All of the points will be visible. 

Drag the cursor over the points you want to remove.Hit delete on the keyboard. Poof!  They’re gone and the space is not filled!

Much better presentation!

Crazy Quilting

My Quilt Embellisher features 50 crazy quilt stitches that can be combined, sized, rotated and morphed to create hundreds of gorgeous stitches. My Quilt Embellisher is the software I used to create the projects in Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. To embellish a block with crazy quilt stitches, take a photograph of the block and load it into the software as a Backdrop. Define the horizon and the scale. You’ll find those tools on the left toolbar, just click on the arrow under the Backdrop icon.

Select the Crazy Quilting icon.

Select a stitch from the drop down menu. Select stitch #10.

Once selected, you’ll notice 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. The line of crazy quilt stitches  shown below is five repeats – all slightly different sizes. If your individual units are not aligned, select all and click on Horizontal Center Align to align the units. 

If a design is skewed, just select the individual design and drag the corner handle to rotate it.

Crazy quilting stitches are such a fun, decorative technique for adding embellishments to quilt blocks, small wall hangings, purses and more. One of my favorite projects from the book is this charming storage box.

If you like crazy quilting, you might enjoy my book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  The book includes instructions for creating your own crazy quilt blocks using My Quilt Embellisher software. Follow the steps in the book and watch the video on the CD to learn everything you need to know.  You can learn more about the book here.

 

 

My Block Piecer: Block 11 Crazy Star – Software Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month : Block 11 Crazy Star
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury

This ongoing Block of the Month series was designed to inspire you to learn new techniques using My Block Piecer.  As a reminder, the first Saturday of every month will feature the software lesson using My Block Piecer.  The following Wednesday will feature the sewing lesson.

  • You are free to adapt the block to a size of your preference.
  • A free trial of My Block Piecer is available if you’d like to try it before you buy it.  Note the “Save” feature is deactivated until the software is purchased.
  • Interested in learning more about My Block Piecer and other Inspirations Software?  Join us at an Inspirations Event.  Click the Events link for events near you.
  • If you’re late to the Block of the Month “party” have no fear!  Start with Block 11.

Let’s continue the journey of learning and creativity!


Editor’s Note: The artwork for this block is original artwork. Download the Crazy Star.emf file and save it to your hard drive.  Download:  CrazyStar

  1. Open MBP.
  2. Click on Create a New Design.
  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.
    3. Click OK.
  5. Click File.
    1. Import Art Work
    2. Locate Crazy Star.png
    3. Click on the image.
    4. Click on the Open button.
  6. In the Properties Window on the right side of the screen click on the Transform icon.
    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  7. Click on the down arrow by the Artwork Icon and select the Pen tool.
    1. On the Properties Window, Check the Fill Box and Click Apply.
    2. Right Click on Color 1 to make it the color to use.
    3. Click on each of the 3 corners of the upper right triangle.
    4. Click on the first corner again.
    5. Right Click to create the patch.
    6. Repeat for the other blue triangle.Note: If at some point the cross hair for the pen tool disappears, just click on the Artwork icon.
    7. Click on Color 2 at the bottom and change it to yellow.
    8. Click OK.
    9. Right Click on Color 2 to make it the color to use.
    10. Repeat 7c through 7f for each of the yellow patches.
    11. Continue changing colors and create the artwork for each of the other pieces of the block.
  8. Click on the Reorder icon.
    1. Look at the diagram below for the numbering sequence.
    2. Click on each patch in block.
    3. Right Click to end the numbering. The numbers will disappear but the numbering is still there.
  9. Click on the Select icon, and holding down the CTRL key, Click on numbers 1 through 5.
  10. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
  11. Click Preview.
  12. Click Save.
    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name it Block12.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter Crazy_Star_A.
    4. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    5. Click Save.
    6. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. Crazy_Star_A_001.c2s.
      2. Crazy_Star_A _artwork.c2s.
      3. Crazy_Star_A _preview.pdf.
    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  13. Click on the Select icon, and holding down the CTRL key, Click on the patches for the other half of the block.
  14. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. Click the Auto Build button.
  15. Click Preview.
  16. Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter Crazy_Star_B.
    2. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    3. Click Save.
    4. A window will open showing the created files.
      1. Crazy_Star_B_001.c2s.
      2. Crazy_Star_B _artwork.c2s.
      3. Crazy_Star_B _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.
  17. Click the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
  18. Click the Cutter icon.
    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 paper templates to manually cut the fabric pieces, select Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If using the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
      3. If using the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”.
    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 Crazy_Star Templates.
      2. Click Save. If using a digital cutter, select the appropriate format from the drop down menu.
    6. The Following Files have been created:
      1. Crazy_Star templates.pdf.
      2. Crazy_Star templates_preview.pdf
      3. Close the files window.
      4. Close the Cutter window.
  19. Click on Create a New Design.
  20. Click on the Hoop icon.
    1. Select the 200mmx200mm hoop or similar for a specific machine.
      Note: When using the Merge to open a file, SAVE is actually a SAVE AS and the original file is not overwritten.
  21. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate Crazy_Star_A_001.c2s.
    2. Click open.
    3. Move to the lower left corner of the hoop
  22. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate Crazy_Star_B_001.c2s.
    2. Double Click to open or Click on the name and Click open.
    3. Move to the upper right corner of the hoop.
  23. Combine the placement stitches to sew in the first color.
    1. In the Sequence Window, click on the second design.
    2. Click Ungroup.
    3. Click on the placement stitch for the second design.
    4. Move the placement stitch up to the first placement stitch.
  24. File, Save as
    1. In the name box enter Crazy_Star
    2. In the Save as type select the specific format for your machine.
    3. Click Save.
  25. Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  26. Load the design in your machine and stitch the two parts of this block.
  27. Manually sew the two halves together to complete the block.

 

Projection!

One of my favorite features in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro is Projection.  Projection is a setting in the Properties Box under Stitch Type.  Let me show you how Projection can transform a simple heart.

Select the artwork tool, and click on the heart.

Drag the cursor to create a heart (about 1.5” x 1.5”). Copy, paste and reposition each heart to make a flower.

Select the flower and in the Properties Box under Stitch Type, select Projection. Click Apply.

Now that simple heart is transformed into a detailed flower. 

To turn it into an applique, select the flower, right click to access the Utility menu.  Select Create Outline from the drop down menu.  Change the distance of the outline to 0.0.

Select the outline, right click, Convert to Applique.

All you have to do now is change the order of the colors.

First, make the applique a separate color. 

Then select the applique, right click and select Break Up Path.

Right click on the two runs (in color 2), select order and move to back. Change the color of the second run (this will be the tackdown). The first color is the placement guide.

The projection stitches should sew before the applique.  So easy and so much fun!

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 10 Tulip Time – Software Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month : Block 10 Tulip Time
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury

This ongoing Block of the Month series was designed to inspire you to learn new techniques using My Block Piecer.  As a reminder, the first Saturday of every month will feature the software lesson using My Block Piecer.  The following Wednesday will feature the sewing lesson.

  • You are free to adapt the block to a size of your preference.
  • A free trial of My Block Piecer is available if you’d like to try it before you buy it.  Note the “Save” feature is deactivated until the software is purchased.
  • Interested in learning more about My Block Piecer and other Inspirations Software?  Join us at an Inspirations Event.  Click the Events link for events near you.
  • If you’re late to the Block of the Month “party” have no fear!  Start with Block 10.

Let’s continue the journey of learning and creativity!


  1. Open MBP.
  2. Click on Create a New Design.
  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.
    3. Click OK.
  5. Click on the Block Icon.
    1. Enter Tulip Time in the Find box at the bottom of the window (DO NOT CLICK THE ENTER KEY).
    2. Click on the Down green arrow.
    3. Click OK to place the block on the design page.
  6. In the Properties Window on the right side of the screen click on the Transform icon.
    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  7. Click on the Reorder icon.
    1. Click on each patch as numbered below.NOTE: When numbering the pieces of the block, keep in mind that this is a sew and flip method of piecing, so each patch can only have a single straight seam joining it to a previous patch/patches.
    2. Right Click to end the numbering. The numbers will disappear but the numbering is still there.
  8. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the patches in the upper left quarter of the block (patches 1 through 3).
  9. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
  10. Click Preview.
  11. Click Save.
    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name it Block 10.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter Tulip_TimeA.
    4. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    5. Click Save.
    6. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. Tulip_TimeA_001.c2s.
      2. Tulip_TimeA _artwork.c2s.
      3. Tulip_TimeA _preview.pdf.
    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  12. Click on the Select icon and draw a box the Upper right quarter of the block (patches 4-10).
  13. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. The numbers have been changed to 1-7.
    2. Click the Auto Build button. More than one unit has been created, so this part of the block needs to be manually created.
    3. Right Click in the window on the right side (with the numbers) and Click Reset.
    4. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on the 1 and 2.
      1. Right Click and Group.
      2. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on unit and 3.
      3. Right click and group.
      4. Repeat ii and iii for patch 4 -6.
      5. DO NOT CLICK AND GROUP THE LAST NUMBER.
  14. Click Preview.
  15. Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter Tulip_TimeB.
    2. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    3. Click Save.
    4. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. Tulip_TimeB_001.c2s.
      2. Tulip_TimeB _artwork.c2s.
      3. Tulip_TimeB _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.
  16. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the lower left quarter of the block (patches 11-15).
  17. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. The numbers have been changed to 1-5.
    2. Click the Auto Build button. More than one unit has been created, so this part of the block needs to be manually created.
    3. Right Click in the window on the right and Click Reset.
    4. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on the 1 and 2.
    5. Right Click and Group.
    6. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on unit and 3.
    7. Right click and group.
    8. Repeat ii and iii for patch 4.
  18. Click Preview.
  19. Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter Tulip_TimeB.
    2. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    3. Click Save.
    4. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. Tulip_TimeC_001.c2s.
      2. Tulip_TimeC _artwork.c2s.
      3. Tulip_TimeC _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.
  20. Click on the Select icon and draw a box the around the lower right quarter of the block (patches 16-18).
  21. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. The numbers have been changed to 1-3.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
  22. Click Preview.
  23. Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter Tulip_TimeC.
    2. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    3. Click Save.
    4. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. Tulip_TimeD_001.c2s.
      2. Tulip_TimeD _artwork.c2s.
      3. Tulip_TimeD _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.
  24. Click the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block.
  25. Click the Cutter icon.
    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 going to print the templates, and use them to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If going to use the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
      3. If going to use the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”.
    3. 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 Tulip_Time Templates.
      2. Click Save if using paper templates or use the drop down arrow to find the digital cutting format for your cutter.
      3. The Following Files have been created.
        1. Tulip_Time templates.
        2. Tulip_Time templates_preview.pdf.
      4. Close the files window.
      5. Close the Cutter window.
  26. Click the Hoop icon.
    1. Set Hoop to 200mmx260mm.
  27. Click on Create a new design.Note: When using the Merge to open a file, SAVE is actually a SAVE AS and the original file is not overwritten.
  28. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file Tulip_TimeA_001.c2s.
    2. Click Open.
    3. Move it to top left corner of the hoop.
  29. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file Tulip_TimeB_001.c2s.
    2. Move it to top right corner of the hoop.
  30. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file Tulip_TimeC_001.c2s.
    2. Move it to lower left corner of the hoop.
  31. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file Tulip_TImeD_001.c2s.
    2. Move it to the lower right corner of the hoop.
  32. Move all the placement stitches to the top.
    1. CRTL-A or Select all.
    2. Ungroup.
    3. In the Sequence Window move the second set up placement stitches on top of the first set.
    4. Repeat for the other two sets of placement stitches.
  33. Click Save.
    1. In the name box enter Tulip_Time.
    2. In the Save as type select the format for your specific machine.
    3. Click Save.
  34. Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  35. Load the design in your machine to create the four parts of this block.
  36. Option: Manually sew the four parts together to create the block.

 

Float Your Quilt Block, Part 2


Update/Correction:  The video the batting is cut to the same size as the front and back fabric – the batting should be smaller and fit within the hole in the block maker, only the front and back fabric should get stuck to the tape!  


Last Saturday’s blog showcased how to use the Monster Block Maker with one of the included embroidery designs.  This post is an expansion to last Saturday’s blog. This time, we will create a quilt block using software.

This exercise uses Perfect Embroidery Pro with My Quilt Embellisher to create the quilt block.


  1. Launch Perfect Embroidery Pro.
  2. Using the art tools, create a 4.8” square.

  1. Right click on the square. Click Convert To / Run.

  1. Change the stitch length to 4.8 mm. Click Apply.
  2. Click on the arrow underneath the My Quilt Embellisher Icon on the right side of screen. Select Embellishments.
  3. A new window will appear. Click on Butterfly.  Click the second image, Embellishments 10_Circle.
  4. Your block will look similar to the image below.
  5. Select the first outline.
  6. Right click. Select Utility.  Create Outline.

  1. Leave the default .08. Click Ok.
  2. The image will look similar to the one shown.
  3. Select the new outline. Right click.  Select Utility.  Create Outline.  Keep the default .08.
  4. The design should look similar to the one shown.
  5. Select both artwork outlines. Right click.  Select Convert To / Run.
  6. Select the second element in the design as shown. This is artwork.  Right click.  Select Convert To / Run.
  7. Rearrange the thread sequence so that the butterfly section stitches second, followed by the outline stitches.
  8. I like using different colors, so I selected different thread colors for each of my outlines. Change the thread colors as you wish.

 

Follow the directions included with the Monster Block Maker to prepare the template with double sided adhesive tape.  Watch the short video clip to see the steps where I made the quilt sandwich.  The double sided adhesive tape lasts for multiple blocks.  (hence my tape looks a wee bit messy, but it does keep the fabric secure).  Once the tape loses its stickiness just change the tape.

The next video shows the the outline being stitched.  This step secures the quilt sandwich.

Here’s the finished block.

Remove the block from the Monster Block Maker template.

Here’s a look at the finished trimmed block.

 


Additional Resources:

An Introduction to Floating Your Quilt Block

Single Needle Machines

Mult-Needle Machine 

 

 

 

Blue is the Winner!

Earlier this week, I tallied your votes on your favorite of three pillows. Here’s the rundown:

40 picked blue

22 selected pink

4 went for green

I agree, I think blue pillow is splendid.  I love the designs and the color.  Here’s how I made the layout in Inspiration’s Vintage Embroidery software.

Open a new file and click on the Vintage design icon (circled in purple above). Select the Abstract folder and the Abs_0024_Icon_ design.  Click Ok.  Copy, paste and mirror the design.

Select both designs, copy, paste and mirror vertically.Now, tweak the position of the designs to even the spacing.

Select the Vintage designs icon again to add the center design, ABS_0011_Icon_D.

Change the color to blue and move it to the center of the four designs. Select all four designs, right click and select Group from the drop down menu.

On the keyboard, select all (CTRL A), right click and select Align, Center.  

That’s it!  Now the real fun begins: the embroidery and the hunt for the perfect trim!

What’s Your Favorite?

Just a quick blog post today since I’m buried in new projects.  I’ve been working in Inspirations’ Vintage Embroidery Software and designed three different groupings.  One is supposed to be a pillow but I’m having trouble deciding which one.  I need your help but first, a little background on these on-trend stitches.

Vintage Embroidery software has hundreds of built-in designs that have been digitized to give an old world charm to your embroidery.  The designs require a mixture of 15 wt. polyester and 40 wt. polyester thread. This unique combo gives a high-end retail look to your stitches.  They’re so much fun to stitch because the designs are all low-stitch count designs in a minimum of colors so they stitch quick.  With my busy schedule, I’m always looking for fast and easy with big results.  Vintage fits that bill.

Before I proceed any further on this project, I thought I’d ask you – my fellow expert embroiderers – what’s your favorite grouping?  Do you like the pink Vintage design Abs_0213_Ornamental_D?

 

The green Vintage design Abs_0259_Icon_D?

 

Or the blue Vintage design Abs_0024_Icon_D.?

 

Sometimes, I fall in love with all the samples and then, well, pillows become quilts. So help me stay on track and select one.  Your vote counts!

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