Archive of ‘Software Techniques’ category

Design the Block, then the Quilt

Quilt blocks don’t stand alone so when designing the quilting for a block, remember the block is just part of a whole.  Use digital tools to duplicate the blocks so you can envision the whole quilt.

Open a new screen in My Quilt Embellisher.  Click on the Block icon and select Curved Blocks/Curved Blocks-Misc/ Hands All Around.  

 

The block appears on the screen. 

When designing the quilting for one block, it’s important to imagine what it will look like when multiple blocks are pieced together.  

Work on the individual block first.  Then copy your finished work to see the whole quilt. I used the Contour feature to fill the diamonds in each corner. 

The Texture tool (#144) added the pebbles in each curved patch. 

Stipple (Hilbert) filled the remaining areas. 

When I looked at the whole block, I was pleased. 

After changing the color of the stippling, I felt the shape in the center was lacking interest. 

I used the Contour tool again to create a focal point in the enter of the block. 

When viewed in a traditional layout, the quilting is quite appealing. 

The next step is to view the stitching in redraw and make any necessary changes.  Then test the block on scrap fabric -I usually stitch the design in contrasting thread on felt.  Watch for consistent stitch lengths, unnecessary color changes and registrations.  Make changes on the file and save under a new name.  Test again.  As you test, keep in mind quilting adds texture to a block and enhances the block design.  On the actual quilt, you’ll probably use a thread to blend with the fabric so the stitches will not take center stage.  It’s also important to remember to leave some space for the batting to breathe. Texture is created by crushing (with stitches) some of the batting and leave some areas open.  My Quilt Embellisher gives you all the tools you need to make stunning blocks!

 

Block of the Month: Block 3 – Four Triangles – Software Instruction

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month : Block 3 Four Triangles
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury


We hope you are enjoying this Block of the Month series.  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 3 or spend a little time catching up.

Let’s continue the journey of learning and creativity!


Block 3 is our first two-unit block in the My Block Piecer Sampler Block of the Month. My Block Piecer splits some blocks into smaller units when a patch shares seam allowances with more than one patch. The 4-Triangle block consists of four half-square triangles. We’ll piece two units of two half-square triangles in the hoop. Then the units will be removed from the hoop and sewn together on the sewing machine with ¼” seam allowance. Let’s get started on Block 3.

  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.
  5. Click on the Block icon.
    1. Enter 4 Triangles 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 Select icon and holding down the CTRL key, select all of the patches.
  8. Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button. Notice the block has been split into two units.
      Click Sort numbers. Select Yes in the message box.
    3. The numbers have been sorted according to the order they will be added to the block.
    4. Click Preview. The patch is split into two units. Both units will be created in one hooping. The second hooping (if you choice to use the hoop) will piece the two units together. Click Preview again.

      1. Click Save. Name the new folder Blk3Triangle and save it the format appropriate for your machine.
      2. A window will open showing you the files that are created.
        1. Blk3Triangles_001.pes (First Hooping).
        2. Block3Triangles_002.pes (Second Hooping)
        3. Blk3Triangle_artwork.c2s. (original block)
        4. 4_Triangles_preview.pdf. (stitching instructions)
      3. Close the file window.
    5. Close the Save window.
  9. 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 templates to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If using the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12” or 12 x24”.
      3. If using the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12” or 12x24”.
    3. Can Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric (This will optimize how the pieces file on the paper).
    4. If making four blocks for the large quilt, change 1 to 4 in the Repeat field.
    5. Click Apply.
    6. Click Save.
      1. In File name enter Blk3TriangleCut.
      2. Save the file in the format appropriate for your digital cutter.
      3. The Following Files are created for the Brother Scan n Cut.

        1. Blk3TriangleCut_001_1_1. (First Fabric)
        2. Blk3TriangleCut_002_2_1 (Second Fabric)
        3. Blk3TriangleCut_preview.pdf.
      4. Close the files window.
      5. Close the Cutter window.
  10. Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  11. Load the design in your machine and have fun making this block.

 

 

 

Filling Negative Space with Background Fills

Inspirations’ My Quilt Embellisher offers many ways to fill negative space on a quilt block. I enjoy trying different background fills because virtual quilting is fast and easy.  Auditioning a variety of background fills gives me confidence that I’ll like the final outcome and it’s easy to do in My Quilt Embellisher.  Just a few clicks and the background or negative space of a quilt block is filled with interesting texture. Every detail can be customized right down to the distance between the stitches and the length of each stitch.

I created my simple applique flower and drew a rectangle around the flower – the same size as the block.  This is a quick project so my block is 6″ square. Here’s how to do it: select the flower, right click and Create Outline. Set the distance to zero.  Select the outline and the run stitch rectangle and touch the Combine tool (paper clip).

Next, play with a few of the features after selecting the combined outlines.  I chose Texture, Stipple and Echo for my first three trials.

I’d love to know what background you prefer.  Do you like the Texture block?

The Stipple?

Or the Echo?

Please share your thoughts!  Texture, Stipple or Echo.  If you have another style, by all means let us know!

Easy Scalloped Borders

Katherine Artines is at it again with her recent Welding Wizardry video on YouTube.  She explores the difference between the Weld, Intersect and Trim shape tools in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro. These helpful tools expand your drawing capabilities and streamline complicated processes.

Katherine’s video will show you how to add an enticing scallop border to the outside of a simple heart or better yet, to the inside of the same heart.

Scallops invoke a sweetness that is particularly inviting to many Valentine’s Day designs. They can elevate a plain, applique heart into a dainty love-filled message. Follow Katherine’s easy to duplicate steps to achieve the same results.

In this 50-minute video, you’ll learn how to use guidelines for accuracy plus Katherine shares her tips for precise positioning of objects – a real time saver!  Plus, she illustrates how to sharpen corners in just two clicks of the mouse.
As you watch the video, you’ll see why she has embraced the Navigator tool.  Often, we forget to use the new tools that have been added to our software.  Navigator was added as a new free feature in November, 2017. Navigator allows you to view areas of a design quickly by blending the Zoom and Pan tools into one window. You can access the Navigator on a tab at the bottom right of the screen, next to the Library and Color Sequence tabs.

Click here to watch and learn Katherine’s latest wizardry. Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Block of the Month: Block 2 – Nested Triangles – Software Instruction

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 2 Nested Triangles
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury

We hope you are enjoying this Block of the Month series.  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.

Let’s begin!


  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 Nested Triangles 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. noimage

    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  7. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the block or Click CTRL-A.
  8. Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button
  9. Click Sort Numbers. Select Yes in the message box.

    1. The numbers have been sorted to the order you will add them to the block.
  10. 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.

    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name it Blk2Sew.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter Blk2Sew.
    4. Click on the drop down menu next to Save and select the format for your machine.
    5. Click Save.
    6. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.

      1. Blk2Sew_001.pes.(stitch file for your machine)
      2. Blk2Sew _artwork.c2s. (original block)
      3. Blk2Sew _preview.pdf. (sewing instructions)
    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  11. 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 cutting format I choose.
    2. How you are going to cut the fabric pieces for the block will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If printing templates to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If using the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12” or 12x24”.
      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. If making the large quilt, change 1 to 4 in the Repeats field.
    5. Click Apply. Click Save.
    6. In the File name, enter Blk2Templates (or something similar) and select the appropriate format from the drop down menu.
  12. The software will create files for your digital cutter or PDF patterns for printing on paper.
  13. Print the templates or prepare your fabric and send the digital cutting files to your cutter.
  14. Next lesson: stitching!

Embroidered Eyelets

When I log into this blog to add a new post, I can see what information people are searching for online. I often use that info to help me write blog posts. After all, if the blog information isn’t relevant to the reader, what’s the point in writing it?

This week, I noticed many embroiderers are looking for information on how to make embroidered eyelets because laced necklines and sleeves are popular in ready wear. And when you have digitizing software, you don’t have to wait for a design company to offer a new trendy design – you can do it yourself. Of course, I (and all of us) would be lost without the BEAUTIFUL AND ARTISTICALLY digitized designs embroidery companies furnish for us to purchase. The techniques I teach here on Software Saturday do not replace the embroidery designs available at reputable companies, these techniques complement those designs. I am not an artist and never will be but I can do awful lot with Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro to bring my ideas to life.

Here’s how to get the fun ‘laced up’ look. Set the measurements to millimeters by clicking on the ruler at the top of the screen. Select the ellipse tool and draw a circle with a 11.3 mm diameter. Select the circle, right click and select Convert to Steil.
The inner dimension of this eyelet is 6.0mm, a comfortable opening for the standard eyelet cutter of 3.0mm.
Click on the ruler to set the measurements to inches. Select the eyelet, and click on the Repeat tool.
Change the numbers in the preview screen to 2 across, 5 down, 1 in distance for both Horizontal and Vertical. Click Apply.
The eyelets are evenly spaced and measure 1.75” x 5.91”.
This spacing is a good starting point for most projects. To customize the space, measure the area of the garment where you want to stitch the eyelets. For instance, if you want to fill a 7” vertical space, draw a 7” vertical line to use as a guideline. Select the bottom eyelet and align it with the bottom of the line. Hold down the CTRL key and use the keyboard’s down arrow to move it straight down.  Select the whole left column of eyelets and click on the Distribute Vertically tool. Boom! The eyelets are evenly spaced. 
Now repeat the process for the column on the right. You’re ready to stitch.
It’s a good idea to test one eyelet on your fabric. Cut it open and insert the yarn you’ll use to lace the eyelets. Once you’re satisfied everything works as planned, then add the eyelets to a bag, neckline or sleeve.

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.
    noimage
  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
    noimage
  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
    noimage

    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.
    noimage

    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.
      noimage
    4. The numbers have been sorted according to the order you will add them to the block.
      noimage
    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.
      noimage
    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.
      noimage
    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  • Click the Cutter icon. noimage
    noimage

    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.

 

 

 

 

Small Hoops – Jumbo Designs

If you love jumbo designs but don’t have a jumbo hoop, you can easily split a design in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Follow along with me to learn how.

Open a new file in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Monogram tool and select Mono17. Type in the letter P. Change the height to 6” and click Apply. Split1

Select the design on the screen and click on the Split Design icon. Split2

The Split Design screen appears. Click on the arrow in the Hoop field and select your hoop. I entered 130×180. The red boxes illustrate two hoopings: 1:1 and 2:1. You can move the boxes to select what portion of the design you want to stitch in the first and second hoop. It’s a good idea to move the boxes to split the design at a natural point. In this instance, where the upper right of the P meets the left leg of the P. Click on Split Preview to see the actually split.

The first hooping appears in the preview window.Split4

When you click in the second hooping area, the preview window changes to the second hooping. Split5

Toggle between the first and second hooping to view each individually. If you want to adjust the split, click on Split Preview again. Move the boxes around each portion of the design. Click on Split Preview again to see you changes.

Once you’re satisfied with the split, click Save and the software will save the design into two separate files and templates of both portions.Split6

Print a template of each design and send the designs to your machine. Splitting designs has never been easier.  Give it a try, this is a skill you’ll use over and over again!

 

 

Tips for Digitizing for Metallic Thread

It’s sparkle time!  Dealers around the country are watching metallic thread fly off their shelves as embroiderers reach for their favorite holiday thread.  You can add this shiny element to many designs but you should set yourself up for success.

Use your digitizing software to change some elements into metallic-friendly details.  In Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software, lengthen run stitches.  My normal stitch length for quilting designs is 2.2.  For metallic threads, I increase the length to 2.8.  The longer stitch length lets the metallic thread shine on the fabric while shorter stitch lengths, tend to hide the pretty sheen.  Imagine how pretty those longer stitches will look on a dark fabric. 

Reduce the density of a complex fill.  The stitches should lay right next to each other without overlapping. The density default setting is 5.0, type in .80 and click Apply.

If your design requires underlay, consider making the underlay a separate color.  Stitch the underlay first in a coordinating polyester thread, then switch to the metallic to add the top layer.

Satins – think curves!  Metallics really shine when light bounces off the thread at different angles.  So curve your satin columns, and adjust the widths to take full advantage of the light.

The satin column on the right will reflect more light than the blue, straight column.

When digitizing for metallic thread, schedule some extra time for testing your digitized designs.  Later in the week, I’ll share tips for stitching with metallic. I’m hoping all of your holiday stitching is happy stitching!

Tame Those Furry Fibers!

Cold weather calls for cozy fabrics like Minky, faux fur and lofty knits.  As wonderful as they are to wear, they present challenges when it time to add embroidery to them.  First, their fibers creep over embroidery camouflaging the beautiful stitches. Second, since they’re lofty and bulky, they’re hard to hold in a hoop.

Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Nap Blocker feature is the answer for 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?

Now to hoop – I use Snap Hoop Monster for all lofty fabrics because the magnetic flat frame does not leave hoop burn.  My 5” x 7” is my go-to hoop for these bulky fabrics – its strong grip does a great job for monogramming and more!

PEP and Snap Hoop Monster are a powerful combination for furry fibers.  Use it for Christmas stockings, faux fur throws and Minky blankets.

 

 

1 2 3 11