Archive of ‘Uncategorized’ category

Make Sketch Fonts

Spotted on garments, chalkboards, wood signs and even glassware, open, airy fonts are the rage. It’s easy to get the same look if you have Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Follow along and you’ll be stitching this look in no time.

Open a new screen in Perfect Embroidery Pro (PEP).  Go to File, Import TT (True Type Fonts).

Select a script font from any true type font installed on your computer. Write the message in the text field and place 500 in the size field. Click OK.

The text appears on the screen.  To produce the best stitch file, meld the connecting elements.  Select the o and v, right click, Shaping and Meld.

See how the o and v are one continuous line and do not overlap like the v and the e? 

That’s the looks you’re going for.  At this time, the ov is one unit and the e is a separate element.

Select the ov and e, right click, Shaping and Meld.

Select all, right click, Convert to Complex Fill.

With Love selected, change the Fill Type in the Properties Box to Contour. Click Apply.  Change the density to 1.0 and the stitch length to 2.6. And there’s your sketchy font!

I just learned this trick from one of our education consultants, Tina Bartelmay.  Tina is an embroidery whiz – she uses PEP everyday – evident in her awesome samples!  Catch her at upcoming DIME event at a dealer near you.  Click here to learn more about Tina.

Thanks for sharing this great tip, Tina!

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!

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.

 

Remembering Nancy Zieman

I think about Nancy Zieman often – absolutely every time I’m sewing. I use her patterns, her tools, her books and her techniques.  Since I learned to sew by watching Sewing with Nancy, of course it makes sense that I would think of her when I sew.

We wrote books together, developed product and taped almost 20 Sewing with Nancy episodes.

But we were friends and I treasured my relationship with her. She was a wise woman. Patient, fair and classy.  I miss her tremendously.  If I was facing a business challenge, she was the first person I called.  As our friendship deepened, I would turn to her for personal advice and she would do the same to me.

You don’t replace a friend like Nancy but you can honor her legacy by remembering what she meant to you. Even if you never met her, there’s a good chance she changed your life – your sewing life – by making your hobby more enjoyable.

Today, June 21, she would have been 65 years old. I hope you’ll spend a minute and think about what Nancy meant to you. What did she teach you?  Maybe, how to accomplish large sewing tasks in 10-20-30 minutes segments?  Or how to bind a quilt or turn a collar point?  Possibly how to create a breathtaking landscape quilt?

I’d love to hear what you remember about Nancy.  Do you have a favorite technique you learned from her?  Maybe you received a hand written thank you or get well note from her.  Do you continue to watch Sewing with Nancy?  Do you have a bookshelf full of Nancy’s books?  Please share your thoughts…

 

 

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?

Circles Got You Going in Circles?

If your embroidered circles look more like ovals than you know what I mean by ‘circles have you going in circles?’  What you see on the computer screen is not necessarily what you see stitched on fabric.  That can be frustrating but help is just a click away.

Recently, I was digitizing a new Stipple collection that features a rainbow of embroidered polka dots.  Unfortunately, I can’t unveil the new collection just yet but it will be available soon. Back to the problem at hand,  I was diligently working away and stitched my sample.  Ugh! My circles weren’t round, they were oval.

And that’s definitely a rookie digitizing mistake.  In Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro, it’s so easy to fix this problem.  I selected all of the polka dots and changed the Pull/Pull setting in the Properties Box.  Here’s how to do it.

Use the artwork tool to draw a small circle (.25″) diameter).  Convert it to satin.  Click on the Pull/Push tab in the Properties Box.  Notice the Value is set at 100%.

Change the value to 120%.

View the difference on the screen.  Notice the higher percentage fills out the circle across the width. The width of the dot now measures .28″ while the height remained the same at .25″.

The difference is minute but it’s all that was needed. My circles are now really circles!

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!

How to Hoop a Tote Bag

Just about every tote bag can benefit from the addition of embroidery but hooping one can be challenging. Here’s how I do it – on a single needle machine or a multi-needle.

Place a target sticker 4” below the center top of the tote.  Place the tear-away stabilizer over the metal frame of Monster Hoop.

Turn the tote inside out and center the tote over the stabilizer (centering the target sticker).  Place the magnetic top over the tote. Use the edge of the tote as an alignment guide. If it’s straight, the design will be straight.  

Attach the hoop to the machine and lift the tote over the machine head. Keep an eye on the straps and make sure they are not caught under the hoop. 

Multi-Needle Machines

Place a target sticker 4” below the center top of the tote.  Place the outer ring inside the tote and lay a piece of tear-away over the outer ring.  Insert the inner ring, keeping the target sticker centered. 

Or if you’re using Multi-needle Monster, then insert the magnetic frame into the bag, centering the target sticker. Position the metal frame on top of the magnetic frame and attach to the machine. 

Easy peasy!

April 2018 Update!

It’s update time!  On Monday, April 2, 2018, your Inspirations software programs will be updated.  When you open your software, you’ll find a prompt that says, Update available.  Would you like to update now? When you click OK, your software will be updated to remain compatible with Windows 10 plus your My Today screen links will pop up in your default browser (Chrome Internet Explorer, Edge, etc). Previously, the links defaulted to Internet Explorer.

You’ll also find an updated ‘Exquisite Thread 40’ thread chart as some names have changed since it’s initial upload.

I’m excited about this handy new update at the digitizing level in Perfect Embroidery Pro, My Block Piecer, My Fabric Designer and My Quilt Embellisher.  Now you can align points when using the Shape tool.  Select more than one point in an object, right click and select Align.

 

Also when using the shape tool, you can now see the length when editing an angle line. 

 

A new digitizing option that’s a real time saver is for making prefect curves / circles with only 5 points.  The new default setting is a more controlled way of digitizing curved lines and satins.  To use this new feature, go Tools, General options, Digitizing, Circular curves. Turn on “Circular Curves” and click OK.With just five clicks, you’ve got a perfect circle!

No tweaking needed! Now, that’s a time-saver.

Lastly, there’s very exciting news for Vintage Software owners, you can now change any design to Vintage style with just a click.

As always, there’s no fee to keep your Inspirations software up to date. I hope you’ll enjoy all these new, free features!

 

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!

 

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