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My Block Piecer: Block 12 – 1904 Software Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month : Block 12 1904 Star
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury

We hope you have been enjoying the block of the month series.  Remember, you can go back to previous posts to catch up on what you missed.

  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 1904 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.
  6. In the Properties Window on the right side of the screen click on the Transform icon.

    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  7. Click on the Reorder icon.
    1. There are three separate patch groups in this block. See the illustration that follows for the numbering order.NOTE: When numbering the pieces of the block, keep in mind that this is a sew and flip method of piecing, so each patch can only have a single straight seam joining it to a previous patch/patches.
    2. Right Click to end the numbering. The numbers will disappear but the numbering is still there.
  8. Click on the Select icon, and while holding down the CTRL key, click on patches 1 through 5 (Square in a square).
  9. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
    3. Click Sort Numbers and Click Yes.
  10. Click Preview.
  11. Click Save.
    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name Block 12.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter 1904_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. 1904_StarA_001.c2s.
      2. 1904_StarA _artwork.c2s.
      3. 1904_StarA _preview.pdf.
    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  12. Click on the Select icon, and while holding down the CTRL key, click on patches 6 through 9 (Corner). Notice the numbers have changed to 1-4.
  13. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. The numbers have been changed to 1-5.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
    3. Click Sort Numbers and Click Yes.
  14. Click Preview.
  15. Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter 1904_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. 1904_StarB_001.c2s.
      2. 1904_StarB _artwork.c2s.
      3. 1904_StarB _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.
  16. Click on the Select icon, and while holding down the CTRL key, click on patches 10 through 13 (Top triangle).
  17. Click on the Workflow icon.
    1. The numbers have changed to 1-4.
    2. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    3. Click the Auto Build button.
    4. Click Sort Numbers and Click Yes.
  18. Click Preview.
  19. Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter 1904_StarC.
    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. 1904_StarC_001.c2s.
      2. 1904_StarC _artwork.c2s.
      3. 1904_StarC _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.
  20. Click the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
  21. Click the Cutter icon.
    1. Seam allowance default is .25”. Normally I change this to 0.4” or 0.5”, to make it easier to place the fabric pieces no matter which output format I choose.
    2. How you are going create the fabric pieces for the block, will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If going to print the templates, and use them to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If going to use the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
      3. If going to use the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”.
    3. 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. If using a digital cutter, select the appropriate format for your cutter from the drop menu.
      1. In File name enter 1904_Star Templates.
      2. Click Save.
    6. The Following Files have been created.
      1. 1904_Star templates.
      2. 1904_Star templates_preview.pdf.
    7. Close the files window.
    8. Close the Cutter window.
  22. Click on Create a New Design.Note: If desired the embroideries can be saved in a specific format individually or they can be combined into one file.
  23. To save entire design in one hooping, Go To Step 43.
  24. Click on the Hoop icon and select a 200mmx200mm or similar for your machine
  25. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file 1904_StarA_001.c2s.
    2. To open Double Click on the name OR Click on the name and Click Open.
  26. Move the design to the lower center of the hoop.
  27. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file 1904_StarC_001.c2s.
    2. To open Double Click on the name OR Click on the name and Click Open.
  28. Move the design to the upper left corner of the hoop.
  29. Copy, Paste.
  30. Move the design to the upper right corner of the hoop.
  31. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the upper two designs.
  32. Copy, Paste.
  33. Move near the center of the hoop.
  34. Click File, Save As.
    1. In the File name enter 1904_StarA.
    2. In the Save as type select the format for your specific machine format.
    3. Click Save.
  35. Click on New Design.
  36. Click on the Hoop icon and select a 200mmx200mm or similar for your machine.
  37. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file 1904_StarB_001.c2s.
    2. To open Double Click on the name OR Click on the name and Click Open.
  38. Can fit all for designs needed for one block in a 200mmx200mm hoop.
  39. After bringing in the first design. Copy, Paste and rotate each design as necessary.
  40. Click File, Save As.
    1. In the File name enter 1904_StarB.
    2. In the Save as type select the format for your specific machine format.
    3. Click Save.
  41. Go to Step 47.
  42. To save as one hooping.
    1. Click File, New.
    2. Click File, Merge.
    3. Locate 1904_StarA.001.c2s.
    4. Click File, Merge.
    5. Double Click to open.
    6. Locate 1904_StarB.001.c2s.
    7. Double Click to open.
    8. Move to upper leftr corner of the hoop.
    9. Copy, Paste.
    10. Rotate right twice.
    11. Move to upper right corner.
    12. Copy, Paste,
    13. Rotate right twice.
    14. Move to lower right corner.
    15. Copy, Paste.
    16. Rotate right twice.
    17. Move to lower left corner.
    18. Click File, Merge.
    19. Locate 1904_StarcC.001.c2s.
    20. Double Click to Open.
    21. Move to Upper center of the hoop.
    22. Click Copy, Paste.
    23. Click on Rotate right twice.
    24. Move to center right side of hoop.
    25. Click Copy, Paste.
    26. Rotate twice.
    27. Move to bottom center of the hoop.
    28. Click Copy, Paste.
    29. Rotate Twice.
    30. Move to right center of hoop.
    31. Adjust designs as needed for spacing.
  43. Let’s combine all of the Placement Stitches so they all stitch out at once.
    1. Click Ungroup.
  44. In the Sequence window
    1. Locate the second set of placement stitches.
    2. Click on them, and holding down the left mouse key, move to the top of the sequence window.
    3. Repeat for all 8 of the placement stitches below the first.
  45. Save the design in the format for your machine.
  46. Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  47. Load each of the designs into your embroidery machine to stitch the nine units.


Check Your Bobbin Case

I’m sure you know the drill – you’re stitching away trying to finish a project during this busy holiday season.   And the thread breaks.  You notice it is actually shredding. Hmmm.  So you rethread. And it still shreds.  So you change the needle.  It still shreds.  Argghh!  So frustrating, right?

Well, before you pull your hair out, check your bobbin case.  Take it out of the machine and examine it closely.   Run your fingers over its surface.  It is smooth?  Really, really smooth?  If it isn’t, you have a problem.  Take a look at my bobbin.  Notice the white spot where the arrow is pointing?  That’s a burr.

I don’t know when it happened or why but the evidence is there.  I tried sanding it with very fine grit sandpaper to smooth away the burr from the plastic surface but that didn’t do the trick. After rethreading, I realized the case was beyond repair.

Time to replace it. Off I went to the dealer to buy a new one, in fact, I bought two.  Just in case something like this happens in the future:

That’s not my bobbin case, in fact, in happened in a recent class.  I have no idea how or why it the needle got stuck in the bobbin case.  I was so impressed I had to grab a photo.  Have you ever seen a needle do this?



Stabilizer Hack

Recently, I’ve been stitching a ton of free-standing embroidery designs on water soluble stabilizer (WSS).  The results are stunning but I’m going through a ton of stabilizer!  The designs are best stitched on two layers of WSS so of I cut two lengths to fill the hoop, I find I’m wasting about 12″ of stabilizer per hooping.  Ugh!  Don’t you hate wasting stabilizer?

Now, I keep the stabilizer on the roll and let it sit behind (or under) the machine.   I roll out one length to cover the hoop, fold the stabilizer over to create the second layer, then hoop the two layers with the roll extending behind the top/back of the hoop.

On a traditional embroidery machine, i just place the roll over to the side of the machine leaving enough slack to avoid any drag.

On a tubular machine, I pull the excess off to one side and place the roll under the hoop.  Again, the key is to unroll enough stabilizer to avoid any drag on the hoop.  

After the embroidery is complete, just remove the project from the hoop, slice the stabilizer close to the embroidery and repeat the process.

You have to try this!


Crazy Quilting

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

Select the Crazy Quilting icon.

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

Once selected, you’ll notice the cursor changes to a small crosshair. Left mouse click and drag the mouse to create the motif. The longer you drag, the larger the motif. Each motif can be dropped individually creating an organic, hand-stitched look. The line of crazy quilt stitches  shown below is five repeats – all slightly different sizes. If your individual units are not aligned, select all and click on Horizontal Center Align to align the units. 

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

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

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



Sew Excited!

I’m sew excited – look what’s in the house, the new Baby Lock Solaris! Today, I documented how it was packed as I unpacked it. 

I find photographing the boxing and unboxing is very helpful when I have to pack it up again.  Sure hope that’s not anytime soon!  I know there’s a popular trend to video (and publish) the unboxing but I just couldn’t wait to get the whole team together to accomplish that so still photos will have to do.

I don’t know who Jeff is but I think I love him already. That personal touch makes me feel special – Jeff took the time to test numerous stitches and buttonholes – very reassuring.

Tomorrow, I’ll start exploring all its features.  I’ve had the opportunity to work on the Solaris at many of our Stitch Lab events this fall but there’s nothing quite like having one in the office.

And if it’s in the office, you’ll know I’ll be working on new Snap Hoop Monsters – like the 9.5″ x 9.5″ and the GIGANTIC 10.5″ x 16.5″.  Look for them in early 2019!

If you had a magnetic hoop with big sewing field, what would you stitch in it?  Quilts? Fashions?  Home decor items?

Hope to See You in the Classroom

I’m packing my bags and hitting the road for Wichita, Kansas tomorrow.  Friday, you can catch me at A-1 Singer Sewing with Inspirations’ Consultant Sheryl Burnette.  I’m excited to get together with fellow embroiderers – it gets lonely in the office!  And I’m really pumped to see the Brother Luminaire in action.

We’ll be doing six fun projects – everything from hooping an Embroidery Buddy to continuous quilting. Of course, Sheryl and I will share samples from our favorite projects and teach how to create them.

I have two more trips planned this fall – both in the upper North West. Inspirations’ consultant Sheryl and I are teaming up again for another two days of stitching fun.  On Nov. 9-10, I’m heading to Salem, OR to see my friends at Rich’s Sewing & Vacuum.

After Thanksgiving, I’ll be heading north west again to Issaquah, WA. Eddie Schultz is the proud owner of Issaquah Sewing & Vacuum… and he’s always a blast to work with. The last time I actually worked with Eddie was at The Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, WA.  Several years ago, he helped me close the Stitching Sister’s Friday Night Live event with a karaoke rendition of Sweet Caroline – and I have the video to prove it! Not that I’ll share it but….you never know!  Issaquah is hosting two one-day hands-on events so you have your choice of what day is best for you.

I do hope to see you on my travels. Let me know if you’re going to be there and let’s grab a photo together. After all, it’s not very often we get the chance to be in the presence of 50 or more embroiderers! Sew much stitching fun!

Last week’s emotional blog post received so many comments. Thank you to each one of you who left a heartfelt message.  Your words lifted my spirit.  It’s been a tough year and I miss Nancy terribly. The winners of The Rest of the Story book are Cheryl Seal and Lynnette Wilson.

Cheryl wrote, “It would be impossible to name just one of the many notions I have purchased from Nancy’s Notions as my favorite. She was one of the most innovative in the field of sewing and quilting. I loved watching her sit at the machine and sew…when she made a mistake the same way I have so many times, it simply made her human. Her sewing program set the bar for all the others who have come after it and many fall way short. She is a true inspiration to me as a sewer and a person. She is truly missed.”

Lynette shared, “It would be hard to pick out just one tool or book. I like her sliding ruler [both the small one and the large triangle cutting ruler]. I refer back to her 10-20-30 minute books frequently. I love her videos/DVDs because she has the absolute best teaching style. She definitely set the standard. Learning about her faith from her book and now The Rest of the Story was inspiring and an encouragement.”

Congratulations, ladies, I’ll email you privately for your mailing addresses.

A Word from Mary Mulari

I asked Mary Mulari to share a few thoughts on Nancy Zieman on this final day of the The Rest of the Story blog tour. Here’s what she had to say:

My friend Margaret said, “You should come to the high school with me tonight for a sewing class.” So I did, never knowing that my first meeting with Nancy Zieman would turn into a lifelong friendship. Nancy showed sewing tips for tailored shirts and I was impressed by the techniques she shared, realizing I could use them myself. When Nancy moved from my area in Minnesota back to Wisconsin, her home state, we kept in touch and I used her book SEWING MAGIC to teach my own tailored shirt class here in Aurora. (Nancy was a contributing editor for this book written by Barbara Hellyer.)

Then I got into sweatshirts, teaching community education classes my methods to alter and decorate a favorite garment. I sent a copy of my self-published book DESIGNER SWEATSHIRTS to Nancy. At that time she was taping cable tv shows in the basement of her home. It was a leap from her “normal” sewing to show my sweatshirt ideas on her show, but she did it, and book sales from her early catalogs were tremendous. I shipped thousands of copies of the book to her warehouse in the converted chicken coop at Earl Zieman’s farm. Maybe you ordered one of those books.

Then, when my fifth book ADVENTURES IN APPLIQUE was published, I joined Nancy as her guest for three programs based on the book. Many of you told me I didn’t talk enough and Nancy talked too much, but I had to get used to the cameras and time clocks and everything in the tv studio. I learned to talk more through my years of guest appearances on Sewing With Nancy. In more recent program tapings, Nancy would use her elbow on me when it was time to quit talking because the program segment was ending.

Nancy was always quick to share credit for her accomplishments and sewing star status. At the celebration for 30 years on television, she gathered some of her guests who were also her friends. Gail Brown was Nancy’s serger expert, Natalie Sewell the landscape quilt queen, Eileen Roche the embroidery specialist, and I got credit for my sweatshirt lady status.

It was always a pleasure to work with Nancy to produce some of the television programs she taped every year. Speaking for her other guests, I’d say we all profited through our associations with Nancy, gained highly valued life experiences, and had plenty of fun too.

Aren’t we fortunate that Team Nancy continues her legacy and contributions to the world of sewing!


The Rest of Nancy Zieman’s Story

Shortly after Nancy Zieman’s passing, Rich Zieman felt compelled to share the rest of Nancy’s story with the sewing and quilting industry, people like you. This industry consists of a unique community of people who care deeply and respectfully for others.  In The Rest of the Story, he shares her struggles and triumphs plus he includes anecdotes from family and friends. Included within this book is a DVD showing Nancy’s life and the vitality in which she lived and how we all should remember her. The Rest of the Story picks up where Nancy’s autobiography Seams Unlikely left off. If you’re a Nancy fan, you’ll thorough enjoy learning the rest of her story.

Many people were surprised by Nancy Zieman’s passing on November 14, 2017.  Nancy appeared on television for 35 years looking polished, professional, warm and congenial.  When in fact, many of those appearances were a façade. Some shows found Nancy enduring pain beyond a normal person’s tolerance.  Her health struggles started at a very early age and she learned how to push through pain, not let discomfort block her from accomplishing goals and fulfilling responsibilities.  She carried quite a burden.

But she did it in stride.  Nancy didn’t let her health – or her appearance – define her.  She found her callings and lived those callings every day. You see, Nancy had three callings. To us, her sewing family, her calling was teaching the world to sew.  And she did an excellent job at that. She set the bar for other instructors on how to teach this craft.  And she transformed hundreds of lives by sharing her joy and knowledge of sewing on national television. This is not an exaggeration because there have been literally hundreds of written tributes to the Zieman family on how Nancy changed their life.

A second calling was to her family.  She juggled family responsibilities while leading Beaver Dam’s largest independent employer, Nancy’s Notions.  She attended sporting events, musical performances, school meetings, birthday parties and more for her two sons.  They ate dinner together every night, often with extended family.  She led a ‘normal, busy home life’ while helping build the industry we so love today.

But her first calling, her faith in Jesus Christ, carried her through each day. She taught Sunday school for 30 years at Peace Lutheran Church. She had a lifelong commitment to her faith. The end of her journey was excruciating yet she found joy in having the time to meet with loved ones. To share feelings and thoughts that would have never surfaced if the end of her life wasn’t racing toward to the door.  And she happily anticipated meeting Jesus – soon!

I am forever grateful for the impact Nancy Zieman had me. Her friendship, wisdom and faith have been a guiding light in my own life.  In my sewing room, I have lots of reminders of Nancy. And you probably do, too. Like her 5-in-1 Sliding Guage measuring tool, countless books and patterns but what I treasure most of all is an incomplete landscape quilt.  It’s small, in fact, it fit on her lap. You see, a lap design board was my last gift to her.  And the day she received it, she went to work on this scene – a wooden fence strewn with bright sunflowers.  Several hours later, she sent me a photo of the work in progress.

Unfortunately, when Rich Zieman sent me the design board after Nancy’s passing, the quilt top was still in the same design phase. Today, it sits on the back of my cutting table.  The pins are still holding the cut flowers, the fence post and the low-lying brush. It is a work in progress and a reminder that our work on earth is never complete in our eyes.  Only God knows when our work is done.

This week, we’ll pick a random winner from comments left below.  Tell us what is your favorite Nancy Zieman tool, book or pattern.  You can learn more about the Rest of the Story during The Rest of the Story blog tour.  A complete list of blogs is available here.




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

Select the artwork tool, and click on the heart.

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

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

Now that simple heart is transformed into a detailed flower. 

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

Select the outline, right click, Convert to Applique.

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

First, make the applique a separate color. 

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

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

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

Blue is the Winner!

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

40 picked blue

22 selected pink

4 went for green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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