Archive of ‘Software Saturday’ category

What’s Your Favorite Flavor?

A few weeks ago, I shared some tips on digitizing circles in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro.  You can read how to digitize round circles, not oval by clicking here.  In that post, I showed a couple of tight shots of a work in progress.  Now I can show you the whole project – Stipple! Sprinkles since it’s available now with free shipping.

I had so much fun designing this quilt. It brought back many happy childhood memories. Growing up in a seashore resort, we had many ice cream choices in the summer months.  Our little 5-mile long island in South Jersey was sprinkled with ice cream stores – from the north to the south and the beach to the bay. 

My mom would fill her station wagon with whatever daughters, (there were six of us), cousins and friends were in the house. Of course, this was before, ahem, seat belts! You really could load eight or more small children in a station wagon – we survived.

She would take us to her favorite spot – Titleman’s Ice Cream – and let us order whatever our hearts desired.  To a child, it was a huge treat – the menu board offered so many choices.  And it was fun to read it aloud to the younger siblings who didn’t read yet. I can still see the yellow neon lights of the stand and Mr. Titleman’s gleaming white work pants and t-shirt.  He worked hard – making fresh ice cream every day.

Today, when I scoop ice cream, I think of those summer days. I think of the joy a scoop of ice cream can bring to a child’s face.  I also think of how sharing ice cream makes you feel. There’s something unifying about sitting across a table and enjoying a cold, creamy treat.  It’s different than sharing a meal – the formality melts away – it’s just shear pleasure. And it’s brief – it only lasts a little while.  Whether you are licking a cone or scooping a dish, ice cream brings smiles.

You can imagine the fun I had while I was digitizing this new collection.  My first thought was to make the quilt on blue fabric.  Blue is always a winner in my book but i was disappointed at the first couple of blocks.

So I switched gears and picked out some yummy fabrics for the appliques and a plain white background.  After surveying my selections, it dawned on me that I should ‘sprinkle’ color on the white background. That’s when the embroidered sprinkles were born! Adding the embroidered sprinkles to the white fabric was the key to success- it let me match my thread to my fabric colors.

Today, I’m more of a chocolate chip fan. How about you, what’s your favorite flavor? Are you a vanilla, strawberry, butter pecan or rocky road fan?  Or maybe you love gelato?  Possibly you like sherbet like I did when I was a child.  Share your favorite flavor and you could win a copy of Stipple Sprinkles!

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 7 – 9 Patch Star Software Instructions

 
  1. My Block Piecer
    Block of the Month : Block 7 – 9 Patch 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 7.

Let’s continue the journey of learning and creativity!


    1. Open MBP.
    2. Click on Create a New Design.

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Click on the Block Icon.
      1. Enter 9_Patch_Star 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Click on the Reorder icon.
      1. Number the patches in the block. Look at the diagram below for the numbering sequence.NOTE: Also notice that the first row is numbered from left to right and the second from right to left. This was done so the seams will nest when sewn together. Third row is same as the first with only colors in different positions so it does not need to be numbered.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.
    6. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around patches 1 through 4 (top row).
    7. Click on the Workflow icon.
      1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
      2. Click the Auto Build button. If the right window looks like this, the block was created with one unit, go to Step 8.
      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.
      5. Right Click and Group.
      6. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on unit and 3.
      7. Right click and group.
      8. DO NOT CLICK AND GROUP THE LAST NUMBER.
    8. Click Preview.
    9. Click Save.
      1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name it Block 7.
      2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
      3. In the File name box enter 9_Patch_StarA.
      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. 9_Patch_StarA_001.c2s.
        2. 9_Patch_StarA _artwork.c2s.
        3. 9_Patch_StarA _preview.pdf.
      7. Close the file window.
      8. Close the Save window.
    10. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the middle row.
    11. Click on the Workflow icon.
      1. The numbers have been changed to 1-5.
      2. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
      3. Click the Auto Build button. If there is only one unit, go to Step 12.
      4. Right Click in the window on the right side and Click Reset.
      5. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on the 1 and 2.
      6. Right Click and Group.
      7. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on unit and 3.
      8. Right click and group.
      9. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on unit and 4.
      10. Right click and group.
      11. DO NOT CLICK AND GROUP THE LAST NUMBER.
    12. Click Preview.
    13. Click Save.
      1. In the File name box enter 9_Patch_StarB.
      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. 9_Patch_StarB_001.c2s.
        2. 9_Patch_StarB _artwork.c2s.
        3. 9_Patch_StarB _preview.pdf.
      5. Close the file window.
      6. Close the Save window.
    14. Click the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
    15. 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”. When using digital cutters, add a 4 in the repeat box if making four blocks for 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. Select the appropriate format for your cutting method and Click Save.
        1. In File name enter 9_Patch_Star Templates.
        2. Click Save.
        3. The Following Files have been created.
          1. 9_Patch_Star templates.pdf
          2. 9_Patch_Star templates_preview.pdf.
      6. Close the files window.
      7. Close the Cutter window.
    16. Click on New Design.Note: When using the Merge to open a file, SAVE is actually a SAVE AS and the original file is not overwritten.Note: If desired the embroideries can be saved in a specific format individually or they can be combined into one file.OPTION 1: Save each design individually.
    17. Click on the Hoop Icon and select 200mm x 260mmhoop or similar.
    18. For each of the two embroideries, Click File, Merge.
      1. Locate the file 9_Patch_StarA.c2s or 9_Patch_StarB.
      2. To open Double Click on the name OR Click on the name and Click Open.
      3. Click Save.
      4. In the Name field, Enter 9_Patch_StarA OR Star_B.
      5. In the Save as type select the format for your machine.
      6. Save.
      7. Go to Step 24.

OPTION 2: Save entire block in one hoop.

  1. Click on the Hoop icon and select a Hoop size to 200mmx260mm or similar size.
  2. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file 9_Patch_StarA.c2s.
    2. To open Double Click on the name OR Click on the name and Click Open.
    3. Move it to the top part of the hoop.
    4. Copy, Paste.
    5. Move embroidery to the bottom part of the hoop.
  3. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file 9_Patch_StarB.c2s.
    2. Move to center of hoop.
  4. To save time at the machine, stitch all placement guides in the first color.
    1. Select all.
    2. Ungroup.
    3. In the Sequence window move each of the other two placement stitches below the first one.
  5. Click Save.
    1. In the Name Field enter 9_Patch_Star.
    2. In Save as Type select the format for your specific machine.
    3. Click Save.
  6. Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  7. Load the design/designs into your machine create the 3 pieces for the block. Remembering on the bottom to reverse the two triangles.
  8. Sew the 3 sections together manually to complete the block.

 

 

 

Not an Artist? Not a Problem!

You don’t have to be an artist to digitize embroidery designs, the tools are right at your fingertips in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Familiarize yourself with the art tools and your creativity will soar.  Let’s take a look.

Click on the Artwork tool and select the heart.  Drag the cursor across the screen to draw a heart.  Use the pen tool to draw a quarter section of the heart.

Select the small shape, right click and select Convert to Complex Fill. 

Do the same for the remaining portion of the heart.  Select the run tool and draw a straight horizontal line across the top of heart.  On my heart, it’s about 1” long.

In the Properties box, select Symbol from the Type menu.  Scroll down the menu to find the star.   Click OK. 

The line will now be a series of connected stars.  Copy and paste the line to fill the blue area.

When drawing stripes, rely on the art tools to make uniform stripes.  Select the Rectangle from the art tools and draw a rectangle over the right half of the heart.

Copy past and change the color of the second rectangle.  Continue to copy and paste the rectangles to fill the heart, placing each rectangle next to each other.  This will create even stripes with equal spaces between them.

Convert every other rectangle to complex fill. Remove the rectangles that marked the open spaces.  Use the Shape tool to move the end points of the rectangles to align with the outer edges of the heart.

 

Select the white stripes, right click, select Utility, Remove Overlaps.  Add a border and convert it to Steil to complete the design. Change the gold stars to white.  Save the design as Patriotic Heart and use it to embellish your 4th of July picnic linens.

 

Water Soluble Stabilizer Substitute

Colleen Bell’s gorgeous quilt in the most recent of Designs in Machine Embroidery (Vol. 110, May/June 2018) was made with Shannon Fabrics’ Cuddle.  Wrapping yourself in a Cuddle quilt is like submersing yourself in a teddy bear hug.  Its fibers are luxurious and irresistible to the touch. 

Those luscious fibers can make embroidering on it a challenge. The fibers want to work their way through the embroidery stitches leaving your embroidery looking lackluster. Colleen’s traditional method of taming the fibers was to add a layer of water soluble stabilizer on top of the Cuddle before adding the embroidery.  Colleen is an embroidery whiz – she knows what stabilizer to use when and what hoop is best for the job as seen in this photo. 

Her water soluble stabilizer covers the whole design area and is easily removed by just tearing it away after the embroidery is applied.  Her Snap Hoop Monster won’t leave any hoop burn on the tender Cuddle fabric.  This approach is tried and true but what if you don’t have a supply of water soluble stabilizer on hand?

Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro has the solution with one of its most popular features – Nap Blocker.  In just a few clicks you can add a light density fill BEHIND the design that will permanently hold down the fibers. Here’s how you do it.

Open your embroidery design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Colleen used Urban Threads UT17449, Floral Arrow. 

Select the design, right click, select Utility, Create Nap Blocker.

The Nap Blocker, a light density complex fill, is now listed as the first element of color 1. 

Select the complex fill and change its color to match the color of the fabric.  This is crucial as you want the complex fill to disappear behind the embroidery.  

Just hoop your fabric, stitch the first color in thread that matches the fabric and complete the design.  No need to tear or wash away a topper!  Love that feature!

What’s your favorite feature in PEP?

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 6 Diamond Delight Software Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month: Block 6 Diamond Delight
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 6 or spend a little time catching up.

Let’s continue the journey of learning and creativity!

Before we get started, save the image below to your hard drive. Save it as Diamond_Delight.png


  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 Background Tool.
    1. Locate the image Diamond_Delight.png
    2. Click on the image.
    3. Click on the Open button.
  6. On 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. Since the block is symmetrical from left to right, we will build only the left side of the block. After the design is completed, we will copy, paste and mirror image it to stitch the complete block. 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. Left Click on Color 1 at the bottom and change it to a beige.
    3. Click OK.
    4. Right Click on Color 1 to make it the color to use.
    5. Using the cross hair, Left Click on each of the 3 corners of the upper left triangle.
    6. Left Click on the first corner again.
    7. Right Click to create the patch.
    8. Repeat for each of the other three corners.

      Note: If at some point the cross hair for the pen tool disappears, just click on the Artwork icon.
    9. Left Click on Color 2 at the bottom and change it to a dark pink.
    10. Click OK
    11. Right Click on Color 2 to make it the color to use.
    12. Repeat 7e through 7h for each of the segments shown below.
    13. 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 on the left side of the block, numbering from top to bottom.

      NOTE: The reason for doing this is that the two halves are identical shapes, but with different colors. By numbering it in this way, when the two halves are sewn together, the seams will nest.
    3. Right Click to end the numbering. The numbers will disappear but the numbering is still there.
  9. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the left half of the block.
  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.
    3. If you DO NOT receive this message go to Step 11.
    4. Right Click in the window on the right side (with the numbers) and Click Reset.
    5. 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 patches 4 through 10.
      5. DO NOT CLICK AND GROUP THE LAST NUMBER.
  11. Click Autobuild.
  12. Click Save.
    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name it Block 6.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter Diamond_Delight.
    4. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    5. Click Save.
      1. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
        1. Diamond_Delight_001.c2s.
        2. Diamond_Delight _artwork.c2s.
        3. Diamond_Delight _preview.pdf.
    6. Close the file window.
    7. Close the Save window.
  13. Click the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
  14. 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 using the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
      3. If using the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”. When using digital cutters, add a 2 in the repeat box if making one block and 8 if making four blocks.
    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. Select the appropriate format for your cutting method.

      1. In File name enter Diamond_Delight Templates.
      2. Click Save.
      3. The Following Files have been created.
        1. Diamond_Delight templates.
        2. Diamond_Delight templates_preview.pdf.
      4. Close the files window.
      5. Close the Cutter window.
  15. Click on Create a New Design.
  16. Click on the Hoop icon and select a 200mmx200mm hoop or similar for your machine.

    Note: When using the Merge to open a file, SAVE is actually a SAVE AS and the original file is not overwritten.

  17. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file Diamond_Delight_001.c2s.
    2. Double click on the file to open OR Click on the file name and Click Open.
    3. Move to the left side of the hoop.
    4. Copy, Paste.
    5. In the Properties window Click on the Transform Tab.
      1. Rotate 180.
      2. Click Apply
    6. Move to the right side of the hoop.
    7. Click Save.
    8. In the name field enter Diamond_Delight.
    9. In the Save as type select the format for your machine.
    10. Click Save.
  18. Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  19. Load the design in your machine and have fun making this block.
  20. Manually sew the two halves together.

 

 

Stitched Snapshots Plus – Part 3

Converting Sketches to Stitches
By Denise Holguin

Having multiple roles at dime, I have a unique opportunity to play with all our new embroidery software.  I had been playing with Stitched Snapshots Plus Software by converting my favorite vacation and adventure photos in to stitches.  Then I pushed myself even more by converting clip-art in to stitches.  If you’ve been following along in this 3-part Software Saturday series, you saw examples of photos and clip art being converted by Dalene McDonald and Lisa Knight. 

After experimenting with photos and clip-art my mind wandered to other options.  I grabbed a black sharpie and paper.  I wrote the word “Love”.  Using my cell phone, I snapped a photo and emailed the image to myself.  I imported the image in to Stitched Snapshots Plus… and behold… my handwritten word was converted to stitches.  And the crowd goes wild with endless oohs and aahs!

Isn’t that a fun technique?

Here are the step-by-steps:

Click on the Stitched Snapshots Plus icon in the top left corner.

A new window will appear.  Click on Browse to locate the image you want to import.

Once you’ve selected the image, it will display on the right side of the window.  Options abound on the left side of the window.  I left the size untouched.  For this example, I chose the Mono for the Color Mode.  You’ll notice the background turns to a crisp white.  The white “background” disappears – it won’t end up being part of the embroidery design.

I chose the Stippling style of stitches.

Click on the Show / hide preview button to view the effect of your choices.

Click on the Show / hide preview button again.  Select the Hatching style of stitches.  Click on the Show / hide preview button again.

I stitched both examples using my Baby Lock Spirit.

Stippling Example

Hatching Example

But I didn’t stop there.  I wanted to see the effects of Medley Variegated Poly by Exquisite. Take a look:

Stippling Example using Denim Blues Variegated Poly

Hatched Example using Carnival Variegated Poly

 

Here is a fun example of unleashing creativity to see what happens.  My coworker, Sam Solomon, designed and hand colored the sheet that you see.  I conveniently “borrowed” it for my experiments.  I photographed it, cropped it and changed the colors.  How delightfully fun!

I like the free-spirited nature of the design.  It’s not the expected or traditional.  It’s a more artistic approach to machine embroidery that I hope you too will embrace and experiment with on your next project.

Note that if you own additional Inspirations Software, like Perfect Embroidery Pro, you can manipulate the design further.  But as a standalone software, it has plenty of tools for you to create and have fun – without breaking the bank.  From photos, to clip-art to your hand written words or sketches, you can create one of a kind embroidery designs.

For more information on Stitched Snapshots Plus, visit the Inspired by DIME website.

Using Stitched Snapshots Plus: Part 2

This is the second in a series of three Software Saturdays that will highlight the features of Stitched Snapshots Plus.  If you missed Part 1, click here to read Dalene McDonald’s post on converting photos to stitches.

  • You can follow along by downloading a fully functioning version of the software (with the exception that you cannot save).  Click here to download the software.
  • Ready to purchase?  Visit an Inspirations Dealer to purchase Stitched Snapshots Plus.
  • Learn more about the Stitched Snapshots Plus features by clicking here.

Some readers have been wondering about the differences between Stitched Snapshots and Stitched Snapshots Plus.  The Plus version includes 35+ built-in frames to enhance your creations.

For this week’s software lesson, we’ve asked Inspiration’s Education Consultant Lisa Knight to share her tips for converting clip art to stitches.


Clip Art to Stitches
By Lisa Knight

It’s a snap to create photos into stitches with the new and improved “Stitched Snapshots Plus” by dime.  This fun and innovative program transforms photos into beautiful stitches. You can convert everything from a portrait of a family member, a beautiful sunset, a favorite car or wildlife. The better the contrast, the better the outcome.  I have had a lot of fun playing and experimenting with this program.

I discovered Stitched Snapshots Plus is not just for photos.  You can take clip art images and convert them into stitches, with some really interesting results.  There are many different options that you can use when playing with this technique.

When you open the program, the My Inspiration Today screen appears. Left click on “Create a New Design.”

You can find clip art online by searching for copyright-free clip art.  You’ll be amazed at how many resources you will find.  You may also have an extensive library of images in your own stash.

As with embroidery designs, I find it’s helpful to create a folder for my clip art.  I save all my clip art together in that folder.

Left click on the backdrop icon located on the left toolbar.  Locate the folder where your clip art is stored, and select the clip art you want to use and click on Open.

The clip art will appear on your design page.

Now is the appropriate time to size the image to accommodate your embroidery project and your embroidery machine’s capabilities.  Note the Properties box on the right side of the workspace.    Adjust the size by entering new dimensions.

Next, convert the clip art to stitches.  Click on the Stitched Snapshots icon in the top toolbar as shown in the image below.

A new window appears with multiple options. The example we are using has two colors– make the adjustment in the Max colors field. You can also raise and lower the brightness and contrast levels. Decide whether you would like the overall design in the stippling or hatching effect.

To preview the effects of your choices, click on “show/hide preview”.

This example is with the Stippling selected.

This example is with the Hatching selected.

For this example, I have chosen Stippling, I have selected the realistic view located on the left hand tool bar to preview the design in stitches.

Now it’s time to play!  Go into your thread library located at the bottom of your design page.   When you left click on any one of these tiles you will open up the library.  Choose different colors to get a feel for the different ways this design could appear.

Highlight the tile that you want to change then select the new color.  Click Ok.   The tile will change to the new color you chose.  Repeat the process as needed.  Note, the changes you make will also change the design.

There are tons of different thread libraries to choose from all you need to do is left click on the drop down menu to find and choose the brand you are looking for.

For my examples I chose Ballet Pink for the main area of the bow and Pink Sorbet for the outline and accents.

Now we can play a little further by ungrouping.  Click on the Ungroup icon on the top toolbar.

Once the design is ungrouped you can isolate parts of the design by working in the Sequence window on the right side of the workspace.

Close the eye by clicking on it to temporarily hide that section. This will let you see what the design looks like without that element in it.  To permanently remove, you must delete that part of the design before saving to stitch.

The first example has the first thread color, Ballet Pink, “hidden”.  To hide the color, click on the eye. 

The result is a fun little bow outline.

The second example has the second color, Pink Sorbet, “hidden”.  To hide the color, click on the eye. 

The result is just a view of the solid fill area of the bow.

These are just a few examples of ways you can play with Clipart and Stitched Snapshots Plus.  I know that you will think of many creative applications!

 

Using Stitched Snapshots Plus: Part 1

The team at DIME has a lot of fun innovating, experimenting and overall having fun with embroidery.

Our latest software release, Stitched Snapshots Plus, will help you explore embroidery in a new way.  It’s the type of program that will pull you out of an embroidery funk—and will encourage you to embrace a new method for creating designs.

Here’s what you can do with Stitched Snapshots Plus:

  • Transform a photo in to stitches… and even add a frame
  • Transform clip-art to stitches
  • Transform sketches to stitches

During the next three Saturdays, we will explore each of these ideas by demonstrating what you can do.  You can follow along by downloading a fully functioning version of the software (with the exception that you cannot save).  Click here to download the software.

Ready to purchase?  Visit an Inspirations Dealer to purchase Stitched Snapshots Plus.

Learn more about the Stitched Snapshots Plus features by clicking here.

For this week’s software lesson, we’ve asked Dalene McDonald to share her tips for converting photos to stitches.


With Stitched Snapshots PLUS, you can turn special photos into art.
By Dalene McDonald

I was given an orchid a few years ago.  A friend suggested I water it using ice cubes, so I faithfully gave it an ice cube a couple of times a week.  I was so excited when my patience paid off with lovely blooms.  I took a photo of it to memorialize the event, and since it was so special I thought this might be worthwhile to take the time to stitch it too.

If you have other Inspirations software, this screen will look familiar to you.  Click on the icon that looks like a photo to the far left of the toolbar to convert a picture to stitches.

Click on the Browse button and select the photo you want to convert.

There are lots of options on this screen.  You can preview your design in color, gray, sepia, CMYK, edge, or mono.

Here’s a preview of it in color.  I selected Hatching as the style for this one.

Of course, I had to try out all of the options. Here’s gray.

Sepia’s pretty too.

I LOVE what CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) did to it.

Here’s edge – super cool!

And finally, mono looks like quilting in the background.

I won’t show you all of the other possible options, but there are 8 masks to play with…

…and 37 frames!  You can access them from the second icon from the left on the main toolbar.

I tried most of them, of course, but I liked this shape for my granddaughter’s picture.

I also liked for my orchid.

I can’t forget about the cats!

Here are some tips:  This works best if there is high contrast between the main subject and the background.  Also, simple compositions work better than complicated pictures.  I use Microsoft Paint to crop and edit my photos when necessary.

You can get Stitched Snapshots PLUS at your Inspirations Dealer or at an Inspiration Social.

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 5 Friendship Chain Software Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month : Block 5 Friendship Chain
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 5 or spend a little time catching up.

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 Friendship Chain 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.
  • 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.
  • Click on the Reorder icon.
    1. Look at the diagram below for the numbering sequence.Note: The block can be numbered differently, remembering that this is a stitch and flip method of sewing and that each piece can only have one straight seam to connect it to the previous piece.
    2. Right Click to end the numbering. The numbers will disappear but the numbering is still there.
  • Click on the Select icon and click on patches 1 through 3.
  • Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
  • Click Preview. Click Save.
    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name Block5.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter Friendship_Chain_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. Friendship_Chain_A_001.c2s.
      2. Friendship_Chain_A _artwork.c2s.
      3. Friendship_Chain_A _preview.pdf.
    7. Close the files window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  • Click on the Select icon and click on 4 of the patches in the lower left of the block.
  • Click on the Workflow icon. The numbers have been changed to 1-4.

    1. Click the Auto Build button.
  • Click Preview.
  • Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter Friendship_Chain_B.
    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. Friendship_ChainB_001.c2s.
      2. Friendship_ChainB _artwork.c2s.
      3. Friendship_ChainB _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.NOTE: Since the triangle on the upper part of the block is identical to the one that was just created, there is no need to create a third embroidery design.
  • Click the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
  • 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 manually cut the fabric pieces, print the templates and 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. Can Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric (This will optimize how the pieces fit on the paper.
    4. Click Apply.
    5. Click Save.
      1. In File name enter Friendship_Chain Templates.
      2. Select the proper digital format (from the drop down menu) if using a digital cutter and click Save.
      3. Since I’m using paper templates, the following files have been created.
        1. Friendship_Chain templates.
        2. Friendship_Chain templates_preview.pdf.
      4. Close the files window.
      5. Close the Cutter window
  • 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.
  • Click the Hoop Icon, and select 200mmx200mm hoop or similar.
    Note: If desired the embroideries can be saved in a specific format individually or they can be combined into one file.
  • Using the File, Merge
    1. Locate the file Friendship_ChainA.c2s.
    2. Double Click to open, or Click on file and Click open.
  • File, Merge, Open Friendship_ChainB.c2s.
  • Move to the lower left corner of the hoop
  • Copy, Paste.
  • Click the Transform Icon on the Properties Window.
  • Rotate 180 degrees.
  • Move to the upper right corner of the hoop
  • Save.
    1. In the name file enter Friendship Chain.
    2. Save as type enter the format for your machine.
    3. Click Save.
  • Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  • Load the design into your machine and have fun making this block.

 

Hidden Treasure

Buried in the Properties Box in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro is Projection. A hidden and often forgotten treasure, Projection takes a simple shape and transforms it into a hoop full of beautiful stitches.  When Projection was introduced as a new feature in a free update in June 2017, most of us looked at it as something fun to incorporate into open airy designs, like this butterfly.

But let me show you what it can do with a simple geometric shape like the diamond. Click on the Run stitch tool and select the Art tool. Select Diamond from the drop down menu. Drag the cursor to draw a 1″ x 1.25″ diamond.

In the Properties Box on the Run tab, select Projection from the Type field. 

The diamond is filled with smaller diamonds, the default setting is 3.0 stitch length and 1.5 Density.  That’s a too many repeats for me so I’ll decrease the density.

Change the stitch length to 2.4 and the Density to 5.0.

Select the diamond and click on the Carousel tool.  Select Reflect.

In the preview window, type 2 in the repeat field and click Apply.

The hoop is filled with the diamond repeats. 

Select the diamonds, go to to Edit, Optimize Sequence.  Click on Slow Redraw to watch the design stitch seamlessly from diamond to diamond. 

I can’t wait to stitch this in some specialty threads. First, I’ll use KingStar Metallic and then I’ll stitch a second sample in Medley variegated thread.  After I see those samples, I’ll copy and paste the diamonds to fill the open areas.  Oh my, so many possibilities! There are so many hidden treasure in your software!

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