Archive of ‘Thread’ category

Selecting Thread Colors

Select Color with Confidence

The easiest way to select thread color is to start with a print that you love, select a coordinating solid and then select the thread. For instance, I spotted this floral blouse in a retail store.

I fell in love with the flowers and immediately thought of pairing it with a denim jacket.  Here’s how to select the thread to go with it.  Audition spools right on the blouse and grab your phone to document the process as you switch out some spools. 

Thread Option 1
Thread Option 2
Thread Option 3

Next, review the photos to see what composition is the most pleasing. Once you’re satisfied with the combination, move the spools to the denim jacket.

Auditioning on the actual fabric

Denim is one of the trickiest fabrics to select thread for because it’s a mixture of light, medium and dark threads. Often what you think will contrast with denim, blends too well and leaves the embroidery looking lackluster.  The colors may be beautiful, but the value (the lightness and darkness of the color) may be too close to the denim’s value making the embroidery almost invisible from a 6 ft. distance.  

To avoid that result, use a value finder.  A value finder is a piece of translucent red plastic or glass. When you peer through the colored plastic, all color is removed from the object. What remains is the value of the fabric and threads.  Look through the red panel to view threads right on the fabric. Your phone camera may have filter available. Check your camera settings.

Use a value finder

If they are the same value as the fabric, you’ll know you must find a lighter or darker thread if you want the embroidery to pop off (or separate from) the fabric. 

I trust the value finder more than I trust my own eye.  Because I tend to fall in love with a color, I try to force it on the fabric. Every time I override the value finder, I’m disappointed with the result.

The final winner of the Farmhouse Sentiments Kit is Linda Alford! Congratulations, Linda. We will email you privately for your mailing address. Enjoy!

8 Tips for Embroidering with Metallic Thread

Tis the season for shiny, sparkly embroidery!  Many embroiderers shy away from metallic thread but a few tips will help even the most hesitant embroiderer master this holiday favorite!

  1. Use a vertical thread stand. If it comes off the spool and kinks, slip a thread net over the spool. Don’t have one?  Cut a 3” section of pantyhose and slip over the spool.
  2. If you’re worried about feeding the thread from the stand to the machine, add an extra thread guide. Tape a safety pin to the top of the machine (closed end up) and feed the thread through the hole. 
  3. Need another guide? Tape a straw onto the top of the machine.  Just a 1” section will do the trick.
  4. Select the right stabilizer. Soft is best as a heavy, dense cut-away can shred the metallic thread as it enters and exits this tough barrier. Consider polymesh, soft tear-away or tear-away wash away stabilizer.
  5. Tension – decrease the top tension to let the metallic thread slide through the tension discs.
  6. Slow the machine down to 500-600 stitches per minute. Remember this is a specialty thread so it needs special attention!
  7. Chill It – really, many embroiderers swear their metallic performs better after resting in a freezer for 30 mins.
  8. Insert a new sharp metallic needle. The large, polish eye prevents shredding.  You can learn more about needles at SchmetzNeedles.com

 

Multi-Needle Monday | Cleaning the Upper Thread Path

Just like lampshades and overhead fans at home, your multi-needle machine deserves to be dust-free. It will sparkle and perform at its very best if you keep the upper thread path clean. Set aside 45 minutes to an hour to give it the full spa treatment.

Even though my photographs don’t show it, it is a good idea to unthread all ten needles (I was in a rush to take my photographs!). Slip the bristles of the small brush that comes with your machine under the upper thread guide to remove any lint. Maint1

Clean the thread guide behind the tension discs. Maint3

Take a larger, natural bristle brush to clean around the tension disks. Maint2

To disassemble the tension disk, turn the black dial counter clockwise. Maint4

Set it aside. Maint5

Remove the spring (keep the top plastic part with the spring – it is a separate part). Maint6

Remove the plastic base. maint7

Remove the tension disc and blue felt washer. maint8

Remove the bottom felt washer. Maint9

Clean the base with the brush. Maint10

Place the bottom felt washer back on the base. Add the tension disc (magnet side down) with its blue washer on top. Maint11

Maint12

Add the plastic base, spring and tension dial. Turn the dial clockwise to tighten. Repeat for all ten needles. After you’ve cleaned each tension disk, stitch the tension test design to critique the tension on each needle. Make any necessary adjustments. Maint13

Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons

I’m excited to announce (and give away a copy to one lucky reader) my new book: Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  This book has been the culmination of over 20 years of quilting with an embroidery machine. I’ve done everything from embroidered quilt tops to quilt as you as go to quilting king size quilts on an embroidery machine.  I’ve learned an awful lot on this journey and I’m happy to share it with you on Sewing with Nancy.  You can watch it online at http://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/ or check your local TV listings to watch on PBS.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Want to order your copy now?  This week you’ll find free shipping on all autographed copies of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  Click here to order.

A name you can trust!

Abigail adds colorful excitement to her tightrope performance with Sulky embroidery threads.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Imagine the colorful excitement you can add to your next embroidery project!  Sulky thread comes in an array of beautiful options.  Visit their website for more information.

sulkyscreenshot


Of course, Sulky sells more than embroidery thread.  Thread, stabilizers, embroidery tools, and designs are just a few items you’ll find at Sulky.  Post a comment telling us about your favorite Sulky product.  Four randomly chosen people will each win 1 roll of  Stitch ‘n Seal!

StitchNSeal_Giveaway_300x350

Software Saturday: Oh, the options are endless!

In today’s lesson in Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro, you’ll learn how to:

  • Convert True Type fonts built-in to your computer and convert to embroidery designs.
  • Change the fill type to decorative motifs.
  • Add a polished look to your embroidery design creations with a bean stitch outline.


Open Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Click on File / Import TT Text.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In the text box, type the letter O.

Click on the ellipsis, (the button with the 3 dots) to select a different font.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

Scroll through the fonts until you locate Hobo.  You may also type the name Hobo in the box to search the fonts.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Click Ok.

I like to view a hoop on my workspace.  This helps me stay on track to create a design that will fit within my hoop.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Enlarge the design.  You can do this multiple ways.  Click on the Transform tab and type in the exact dimensions.  Or you can drag one of the corners of the O to enlarge the design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Note that the letter we are working with is currently just artwork – rather than stitches.  Later in this lesson we will convert the artwork to stitches.

Next, click on the Circle Template.

Software Saturday: Oh the options are endless!

Change the settings to 100 mm for the width and height.  Click Apply to preview the design layout.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Once satisfied with the layout, click Ok.

My design was a little larger than the hoop I want to use.  I clicked on the Transform tab and reduced the size a little to fit in my designated hoop.  This is will depend on your hoop size and the project you are working with.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

On the keyboard, press Ctrl-a to make sure all the artwork is selected.  Then press Ctrl-c to copy.  Then Ctrl-v to paste.

Now right click on a different color at the bottom of your screen.  I chose Yellow.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Now the first set of Os are blue and the second set are yellow as shown in the image above.

Each of the letter Os is an individual element.  We will combine them to make it easier to work with.  Click on the Yellow color sequence.  Right click. Then select Combine.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The image below shows the individual Os.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

The image below shows how the individual Os have been combined.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Right click on the Yellow color sequence.  Click on Convert to.  Select Complex Fill.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Under Fill Type, Select Shape.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

In the Pattern Section, select the Circle.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Change the density to 3.00.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Click Apply to see what happens next!

Software Saturday: Oh the options are endless!

To give the design a polished look, we will now convert the first set of Os we created (in blue) to a bean stitch outline.

Click on the Blue thread color sequence.  Right click and select Combine.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Right click and select Convert To / Run Stitch.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In the Type box, select Bean stitch.  We want a heavy stitch for our outline.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

We want the decorative stitching to sew first—then the bean stitch outline to stitch last.  To do this, drag and drop the Blue thread color sequence so that it’s after the Yellow Thread color sequence.

 

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blo

I always enjoy looking at the design in 3D mode.  Click on the 3D button on the left toolbar to preview the design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a look at the first test stitch-out.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

For fun, I opted to stitch the design in a variegated thread.  Oh, how I love the effect!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

Multi-Needle Monday | The Dreaded Error Message

Stitching grinds to a halt and the dreaded error message appears. Check upper and bobbin thread error message

Here’s my method for unearthing the problem. First, check the needle thread and make sure the needle is still threaded. Checking that needle is still threaded

Then take a look at the upper thread path and make sure the thread did not pop out of a tension disc or thread guide. If all is well above the needle, look below the fabric and open the bobbin case. Often, my problem is solved at this moment – the bobbin is empty! That’s a simple fix with a fresh bobbin. Bobbin

If the bobbin is not empty, then look at the bobbin case a bit more closely. Remove the bobbin and then brush the inside of the case. Empty bobbin case

Once it’s clean, take a business card or thin – VERY THIN – piece of plastic (no thicker than a standard business card) and slide it under the tension adjusting spring. Bobbin5

Bobbin6

Often, lint or fibers get caught in the spring and it effects the tension on the bobbin thread. In fact, it’s a good idea to clean the tension adjusting spring every time you change bobbins.

Once it’s clean, reinsert the bobbin and check the stitches under the needle. Touch the needle advance key and go back to the last stitch that was laid down prior to the break. And believe it or not – those steps solve the problem – almost every time! These multi-needle machines are amazing.

 

 

Multi-Needle Monday | Cleaning the Upper Thread Path

Just like lampshades and overhead fans at home, your multi-needle machine deserves to be dust-free. It will sparkle and perform at its very best if you keep the upper thread path clean. Set aside 45 minutes to an hour to give it the full spa treatment.

Even though my photographs don’t show it, it is a good idea to unthread all ten needles (I was in a rush to take my photographs!). Slip the bristles of the small brush that comes with your machine under the upper thread guide to remove any lint. Maint1

Clean the thread guide behind the tension discs. Maint3

Take a larger, natural bristle brush to clean around the tension disks. Maint2

To disassemble the tension disk, turn the black dial counter clockwise. Maint4

Set it aside. Maint5

Remove the spring (keep the top plastic part with the spring – it is a separate part). Maint6

Remove the plastic base. maint7

Remove the tension disc and blue felt washer. maint8

Remove the bottom felt washer. Maint9

Clean the base with the brush. Maint10

Place the bottom felt washer back on the base. Add the tension disc (magnet side down) with its blue washer on top. Maint11

 

 

Maint12

Add the plastic base, spring and tension dial. Turn the dial clockwise to tighten. Repeat for all ten needles. After you’ve cleaned each tension disk, stitch the tension test design to critique the tension on each needle. Make any necessary adjustments. Maint13

 

Multi-Needle Monday: Assigning Thread Colors, Part II

Ever wonder what those little anchors are next to your thread spools on the screen? FirstMN

Just because a needle has a green spool next to it, it doesn’t necessarily mean the needle actually HAS green thread in it. Only you know what’s on the spool pin and you can take the time to tell the machine and the machine will automatically assign that needle to the matching color in a design. Or you can skip the assigning color step and just keep it a secret! Well, not really, you would assign individual numbers manually like we did in last week’s post.  If you do opt to keep it a secret, then you might have some interesting images on the screen when you retrieve an embroidery design. But really, get over this; it’s not a big deal. What is a big deal is assigning a maximum sewing speed for a specific needle.  Now that’s helpful!

When embroidering with metallic thread, set the maximum speed for that needle at a low number, say 400 or 500 stitches per minute to reduce thread breakage.  Even if you set the speed of the entire design (on the main embroidery screen) at its maximum, the machine will remember to slow down when the metallic thread needle is stitching. Here’s how you do it.

Go to page 3 in the Notes section on your machine. 1MN

Touch the first spool. 2MN

Use the arrows to move the cursor through the color chart. 3MN

Once the cursor is positioned over the desired color, touch Set. 4aMN

You’ll notice an anchor appears next to the spool. 6MN

Now use the minus sign to decrease the speed of this needle. 7MN

I set this needle to 400 stitches per minute. 8MN

This is a spool pin that I will consistently thread with metallic thread. If I have standard thread on that pin, I can reassign the speed (by going back to page 3 and touching Reset) or just let it stitch at the slower speed.

How easy was that?

I wish I had taken the time to go through these exercises months ago. I’ve learned so much from writing these posts and working through the steps. Now I’m more confident on these machines than I ever have been and I hope you are too.  There’s still a lot to learn so stay tuned!

Multi-Needle Monday: Assigning Thread Colors, Part I

Many of you expressed an interest in learning how to assign thread colors to the needles.  I’ll share how I do it. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m self-taught – I’ve never had a lesson on a multi-needle machine. For quite some time, my only exposure to the multi-needle machines was at Stitching Sisters events. After deferring all multi-needle questions at those events to my sister, Marie, I figured it was time I tackled the 10-needle.

Here’s what I’ve learned.  Stitching does not have to proceed from needle one through needle ten. It can progress in any order such as needle three to needle seven to needle one. You can control what needle stitches when just like you can control what thread you put on what needle.

I’m often working with one palette for several embroidery projects at a time so I select the 10 thread spools and load them onto the machine in no particular order.  Now remember, I’m not a commercial embroiderer so although I like to save time, I am not focused on shaving seconds off of every stitch out.  If I was, then I would pay attention to the order in which I loaded the spools (most-used spools go together on pins three through eight to save time when the machine actually moves from needle to needle).

With all ten needles threaded, select the notes section on the machine screen and go to page 5.

Thread1

Turn the Manual Color Sequence to On and then touch Close.

Thread2

Retrieve the embroidery design. I’m going to stitch a six color design from the Embroider-a-Cure Collection. Thread3

Here’s the color sequence as shown in my embroidery software program. Thread4

At the machine, retrieve the design.  Touch Edit End.

Thread5

Touch the spool icon.

Thread6

When this screen appears, you can change any of the colors to a specific needle.  Just to be clear, ‘colors’ are the colors of the design as listed on the left column and ‘needles’ are the ten icons on the right of the screen.

Thread7

To assign a needle to the first color, touch the needle that you want to stitch first. Here, I’ve assigned needle 8 to stitch the first color. Notice how the color on the left now has an 8 next to the spool.

Thread8

Touch the plus sign at the lower left corner to advance to the next color.

Thread9

Touch the needle that you want to stitch next. Here I’ve assigned needle 7 to stitch the second color.

Thread10

Touch the plus sign at the lower left corner to advance to the next color and throughout all of the design until all needles have been assigned. Touch Close.

Thread11

The design now appears on the sewing screen and you can make final adjustments to positioning the design in the hoop.

Thread12

Once you’re satisfied with the placement, touch Sewing and you’re ready to stitch!

Thread13

An added bonus to manual color sequencing is the programmed colors in the design will remain until you select another design. To permanently store the programmed colors, save the design in the machine’s memory.

Next week, we’ll complete this discussion on threading.

 

 

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