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Free Webinar!

I’m so excited to present a live webcast (my first!) with my good friends at Sulky.  They spotted my recent book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons, and thought it would be a hot topic for their webcast offerings. I was flattered to be asked, so of course I said yes!

So what should you expect in this webcast? I’ll share my 20 years of quilting with an embroidery machine experience with you.  I’ll cover everything from raw edge applique to custom quilting to overall quilting.  I’ll show you how to manage the quilt bulk while achieving perfect placement on every hooping.  You’ll learn what type of designs work on blocks and large negative spaces.

Included in this hour of education, is a downloadable continuous line design for 6” x 10” hoops*, a downloadable guide to my secrets of continuous line quilting on an embroidery machine plus a question and answer period at the end of the webcast.

You’ll get an in-depth look at my patented quilt and applique as you go technique, the difference between custom quilting and overall quilting. And I’ll cover selecting shape designs, connecting continuous line designs, working with magnetic hoops and three options for handling a full size quilt on a home embroidery machine.

We are packing a ton of information into this webcast but don’t worry, after the webcast, you’ll be able to review it whenever you’d like.  Join us for this live webcast and later you can watch at your own pace.  Sign up now because seats are limited!  Just click here: https://goto.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1138339&sti=eduction_webinar_banner

*Formats included are C2S, DST, EXP, HQV, HUS, JEF, PCS, PES, QLI, VIP AND VP3.

The winner of last week’s blog post answered the following question: 

Leave a comment explaining what quilting project you’re working on right now.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of my latest book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons. It’s finally back in stock so I’m happy to give one away.

The winner is: LAURI WINTERFELDT: I just completed a whole cloth quilt to practice quilting on my machine. I have two more lap quilts basted and ready to go.

Thank you, everyone for taking the time to comment.  I love hearing from you and hope to see you in the webcast on March 23, 2017, 9:00 PM EST.

Why Did It Take So Long?

Why did it take 20 years to master the art of quilting with an embroidery machine? Well, 20 years ago, sewing fields were 4″ x 4″, machines had little or no rotation ability and there were no ‘quilting designs’ available for the home embroiderer. Machine embroidery has evolved beyond our wildest dreams (well, almost, I know some very creative people!).

Now, we can quilt king, queen, crib or lap quilts on our embroidery machines.  If you have a big hoop (larger than 6″ x 10″), then it’s a breeze. Many students ask if they can quilt with a 5″ x 7″ hoop.  My response is, “Yes, you can but it’s not the right tool for the job. It’s like painting a dining room with a 1” brush. You can do it, but it will take forever!”

So if you want to quilt with your embroidery machine, buy one with a large sewing field and while you’re looking for a machine, make sure there’s a compatible magnetic hoop available.  Why so?  Magnetic hoops simplify the rehooping process.  A large quilt will take 50 or 60 hoopings, imagine removing the entire hoop and quilt from the machine to rehoop – 50 times!  Too much effort. With a magnetic hoop, you just lift the top frame, advance the quilt, drop the frame in place and stitch.  It’s still 50 hoopings but what a time-saver.

And yes, I am very partial to magnetic hoops because I invented Snap Hoop Monster. Without it, I would have never written three quilting books, designed over a dozen quilting collections and quilted dozens and dozens of quilts.  In fact, I probably would have given up trying to quilt with my embroidery machine years ago.

But that’s not all that’s made the process easier.  I made this short video to show you a couple of other products that really streamline the process.  Take a look.

 

Leave a comment explaining what quilting project you’re working on right now.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of my latest book, Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons. It’s finally back in stock so I’m happy to give one away.  Happy Stitching!

 

Double or Triple Your Library of Embroidery Designs

Don’t you hate it when you feel frustrated with a design? It’s not tall enough, or curved enough or skinny enough to fit in a certain shape?  (Yikes, sounds like we’re shopping for bathing suits!)  Back to the subject at hand.  When you have a design that won’t fit into the space you need to fill, that’s where software comes in.  Even if you don’t digitize, you can most certainly manipulate designs to get the look you need. All you need is embroidery software with robust editing features.

I use Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro for 90% of the embroidery digitizing and editing I do every day.   Recently, I wanted to place a delicate design along the neckline of a onesie. That’s a small area and because it’s so small, its curve is quite defined.   I selected a design from Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Monogram catalog. If you’d like to follow along, here’s how to do it. Click on the Monogram catalog.

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Click on the Monogram catalog icon and select Mon10683.3

Select and Ungroup the design (right mouse click or use the Ungroup icon on the tool bar). Select the branch on the right.4

Copy and paste the branch. Move it to the upper right, connecting the bottom scroll to the original branch.5

Let’s close the space at the top between the original branch and the new one. Zoom in to get a magnified view. Select the Shape Tool and move the last two black dots to expose the blue squares underneath (the points).6

Select and pull the blue squares down to the original branch.7

Position the black dots back on top of the blue squares, this sets the direction of the satin stitches.8

Hit Enter on the keyboard to extend the satin stitches.9

Select the new branch, copy, paste and mirror image the section. Move it to the opposite side.10

Voila! A perfectly shaped design for a child’s neckline.11Isn’t that fun? With a bit of experimentation, you can transform any design into a new shape.  You can double or triple your stash with just a few clicks.

Design Bigger than Your Hoop? Split it!

Serious machine embroiderers never let hoop size hold them back. When they think big, they stitch big. But that doesn’t mean they have to have a big hoop. No, they just need the right software and some handy notions (okay, the notions are optional but really helpful!) to get the job done.  Here’s how to do it.

Select a large design. My sample is the letter M from http://www.EmbroideryArts.com, Arabesque 9 XL.  I enlarged the design to a height of 262 mm – a whopping 10.31” in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro. Now that it’s so big, it won’t fit in my largest hoop.  But Perfect Embroidery Pro has a great splitting feature. Open the design in Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Split Design icon. 

The Split Design screen appears. Click on the arrow in the Hoop field and select your largest hoop.  I entered 200 x 300. 

The preview screen shows two hoopings: 1:1 and 2:1. 

Click in either hooping to move the split. Toggle between the first and second hooping to view each individually.  Look for a natural break in the stitches. for instance, I would avoid splitting the column of satin stitches.  It’s better to have one leg of satin stitches in one hooping, and the second leg in the second hooping. Once you’re satisfied with the split, click Save and the software will save the design into two separate files. Print a template of each design and send the designs to your machine.

Place the templates on the left side of fabric (allowing room for the second hooping).  Slide a target sticker under template Hoop 1:1 and align the target sticker’s and template’s crosshairs.  Remove the template. Hoop the fabric with tear-away stabilizer, centering the target sticker.

Stitch the first design: Hoop 1:1. The last color is a vertical basting line (placement line) which will align with the second hooping. Stitch the line in a contrasting color to make alignment easy. 

Remove from the hoop.  Hoop another piece of tear-away stabilizer. Stitch color 1, the placement line, of Hoop 2:1 on the hooped stabilizer. Remove the hoop from the machine. 

Place the hoop under PAL, Perfect Alignment Laser, aligning the stitched placement line with PAL2’s beam.  

Spray the wrong side of the embroidered fabric with temporary adhesive.  Slide the embroidered fabric under the beam aligning the stitched placement line with PAL2. Finger press the fabric to the stabilizer. 

Attach the hoop to the machine and restitch color 1 to verify the design is aligned. 

Stitch the remainder of design Hoop 2:1. Wasn’t that easy?  I often approach splitting designs with a bit of intimidation but I’ve learned if I take my time and pay attention to the details (like aligning the fabric with the laser crosshair), the results come out as planned.Splitting designs is very rewarding – people will think you’re an embroidery rock star!

Multi-Needle Monday: Automatic Appliqué on the Brother Entrepreneur and Baby Lock Enterprise

As owners of the Baby Lock Enterprise and Brother Entrepreneur, we are so fortunate to have the latest and greatest technology at their finger tips. We have the scanner and live camera along with automatic basting file (shown in an earlier blog for embroidering t-shirts) and another helpful, quick technique the automatic appliqué feature. The automatic appliqué can create any shape, text or embroidery design into an appliqué without using embroidery software. There is an icon on the screen to convert each design into an appliqué.

I created a simple three-letter monogram inside a diamond shape design right at the embroidery screen; no embroidery software needed. The steps below will guide you how to create your own appliqué once a design, text or shape is shown on the screen.

Step 1. Select the shapes icon under Exclusives and choose the diamond shape.

diamond mono1diamond mono2

Resize the diamond shape to approximately 4″ wide or the size you wish to embroider and select Edit End. diamond mono3

Step 2. Click the blue shield icon; this will add the automatic appliqué around the diamond shape.

diamond mono4diamond mono5

Step 3.Use the select key and highlight the black diamond shape as shown in photo (the original shape) and delete it.

diamond mono6diamond mono7

Go to “Add”. Choose the monogram icon.

diamond mono8diamond mono9

Step 4. Select the letters for the monogram; left, middle and right letters to fit properly inside the shape.

diamond mono10diamond mono11diamond mono12

Resize the letters to fit inside the satin stitches.

Step 5. Hoop the fabric and stitch the placement color (1st color). Add the fabric on top of placement color. diamond mono13diamond mono14diamond mono15Remove hoop from machine and trim excess fabric from around diamond shape.

Step 6. Replace the hoop on the machine and stitch the satin stitch and monogram. diamond mono16

final mono diamond

Instant applique! Right at your fingertips!

Learn more helpful machine embroidery business information by taking my Craftsy class : How to Start an Embroidery Business by Marie Zinno.

Click the link to save $10 on this class.

https://www.craftsy.com/ext/MarieZinno_4963_D

Software Saturday – The Backdrop Tool in My Quilt Embellisher

One of the helpful features of Inspiration’s My Quilt Embellisher is the backdrop tool. The backdrop tool allows you to bring an image on to the screen and audition embroidery in actual time. It’s a surefire way to design beautiful blocks.
First, take a photograph or scan an image of your quilt into your computer. Take note of where you stored the photo on your hard drive.
Open a new file in My Quilt Embellisher. Go to File, Load Backdrop. Locate the image of your quilt block and click OK.MQE_b1
The image appears behind the grid on your screen. Chances are the image is not perfectly square on the screen. That’s ok; it’s an easy fix in My Quilt Embellisher. Hover the cursor over the backdrop tool on the left toolbar.MQE_b2
Click on the small arrow under the icon to access the Backdrop tools. Select Define horizon. MQE_b3
Place the cursor on one corner of the block and with the left mouse button depressed, drag the cursor across the block to the opposite corner. Release the mouse. The image will straighten on the screen.MQE_b4
In the properties box, notice the size of the image – it’s quite large.MQE_b5
That measurement is the size of the image, not the block. So let’s tell the software exactly what size our block should be.
Select Define Scale from the Backdrop tool menu.MQE_b6
Place the cursor on one corner of the block and with the left mouse button depressed, drag the cursor across the block to the opposite corner. Release the mouse. A window appears. Type in the correct measurement. My actual block measures 7” so I type in 7”.MQE_b9
The image shrinks and in the properties box, the size of the image changes too.MQE_b10
The properties box measurement is larger than 7” because it’s illustrating the size of the image – all the white/gray space that’s actually part of the image.
Now that you are viewing the block in actual size, it’s time to audition embroidery designs in the patches. This block was created for a sweet couple, Liz and Mike Tucker. The monogram font is August, the heart is Block Frill Heart (found in Embellishments) and the bird is #57488 in My Quilt Embellisher Free Designs.MQE_b12

Design Your Own Fabric!

Have you always wanted to design your own fabric? Well now you can!  Let me show you how easy it is to create print-on-demand fabric.  My Fabric Design software is Inspirations’ latest exclusive offering to Inspiration dealers.  Although you can learn about it here, you’ll have to purchase it from your local Inspirations dealer.

Let’s make a plaid fabric, no drawing skills needed! Open a new file in My Fabric Design software.  Click on Canvas. MFD_1

Select Pattern to create a repeatable pattern.MFD_2 Click on Settings and enter 4 in the height and width to set the size of the repeat. Of course, you can make this any size you’d like.  Click OK.MFD_3

Click on the Artwork tool and select Rectangle from the drop down menu.MFD_4

Drag the cursor over the screen and draw a square a bit larger than the box on the screen (that’s the size of the repeat). To change from an outline, select Fill from the Type field in the Properties Box. Click Apply. MFD_4aMFD_5

Let’s draw the plaid sections. Select the Rectangle from the Artwork tool. Draw a skinny rectangle that’s longer than the blue square.  Change the color of the skinny rectangle to yellow.MFD_6

Select the yellow rectangle. Click on the Repeat Tool and enter 4 in Number Across and 1 in Number Down.  Place .24 in Horizontal distance to space the bars. Click Apply.MFD_7

Change the colors of three bars.MFD_8

Select all four bars and click on Rotate Right key once.MFD_9

Paste an identical set of bars. Click on the Horizontal mirror image key.MFD_10

Now let’s see what the fabric looks like in the repeatable pattern. MFD_11 Click on the Preview icon to view your repeatable pattern.MFD_12Pretty fun, wouldn’t you agree?

Now let’s add some text. Click on the T icon, select a font, type in a message. Size the text to fit and move it to the top center area. Extend half of the text off the blue square to so that it fills the blue diamond.  MFD_13

Click on Preview. MFD_14

Or move the text to the center of the crossed bars.MFD_15

Oh my, the fun you can have. And we haven’t even explored cheater quilts yet!  In a future post, I’ll show you how to make custom cheater quilts – think memory quilts, art quilts, ‘intricate’ blocks (that you never have to piece!) quilts!

The possibilities are endless, you can use sketches, scans, photographs, text and your own creativity to make fabric that you’ve been dreamed about. You can save your work and come back to it later.

To print the fabric, click on Send and you’re file will be exported to http://www.MyFabricDesigns.com There you can choose from 26 substrates – quilting cottons, knits, polys, satins, silks, you name it, you’ll find it!   Your fabric will print, ship and arrive at your home in 10-14 days. Amazing!

I Heart Puffy!

Meet Inspirations Education Consultant Melisa Nisius, this week’s guest blogger. She’s just as passionate about embroidery as you are so I thought it was a good idea for Melisa to share a recent experience with you. You can apply the techniques she outlines to your favorite designs or download the free-for-a-limited-time heart design by clicking here.

Take it away, Melisa!


Recently, while preparing to stitch a hat and searching through my design collection, this stylish heart caught my eye. I knew that I would have to edit the design in software if the finished hat was going to meet my vision. I needed a design with lots of dimension!image1

The original design is created with flat satin stitches. Let me show you how easily I changed that by adding puffy foam to just the heart creating a fun, dimensional design. We’ll need to delete a few stitches and recreate the stitches that currently form the satin-stitched heart portion of the design. Ready?

Open the original design in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Left click File and Save As to save the design with a new name. This will protect your original design, allowing you to go back to the original at any time.Image2

Now let’s have some fun.  Left click on color 2 in the sequence viewer. You will notice it is highlighted in blue when selected. Delete it either by using the scissors icon or the delete key on your keyboard.Image3

Now, let’s do that again with color 3. Left click on color 3 to select it then delete it. You should be left with just colors 1 and 4.Image4

Right click on color 1 in the sequence viewer and choose Create Outline. Set the distance to 0.05. Click OK.Image5

Left click to select the newly created artwork in the sequence viewer and then right click on a new color in the Thread Toolbar at the bottom of the screen to change the color.Image6

Here is where the magic happens. Right click on the artwork, color 3 in the sequence view, and select Convert to: Puffy-Stitch. The width of the new stitches is fine but the design itself is too large to fit inside the original frame. We need to adjust the size to fit.  Make sure that the newly created puffy stitches are still selected and then in the Properties box choose the Transform icon. Verify the Maintain aspect ratio box is checked then change the width to 1.18 and click the apply button. Finally, right click on color 4 in the sequence viewer, select Order,  To Front.Image7

 

Click File, save. Your design is now ready to stitch.Finished Heart

 

 

Stabilizer Experiment

2016-07-30_16-41-18Normally, I use fuse polymesh stabilizer to the wrong side of the design area to stabilize knit fabrics. But recently, I was working on a couple of knit skirts. The brown one, shown above, is an a-line skirt and easily slips over the hip. I used polymesh cut-away stabilizer on it with satisfactory results. The second skirt, a pretty avocado green is more fitted. I really needed to keep the stretch of the skirt so it could slip over the hip. I opted to use Piece & Stitch  wash-away tear-away stabilizer instead of my usual cut-away.2016-07-30_17-06-54

As you can see, the stitches are lovely, they sit nicely on the fabric without a ripple.

2016-07-30_16-57-18

This Piece & Stitch wash-away tear-away stabilizer breaks down in water leaving soft fibers in the embroidered stitches and practically vanishing from other areas. And I was thrilled with the results. The stitches are gorgeous and after laundering, the skirt has not lost any stretch.  As a bonus it’s so comfortable to wear because the remaining stabilizer is very soft.

Do not confuse Piece & Stitch wash-away tear-away stabilizer with a water-soluble stabilizer. Water soluble stabilizer means it dissolves and disappears in water. Wash-away tear-away means it breaks down in water, like tissue paper, leaving no gummy residue.  2016-07-30_16-57-43

It’s good for many uses but not a substitute for water soluble, so don’t try to make lace with it!  Normally, I use it for piecing quilt blocks in the hoop but now it’s my go-to stabilizer for stable knits.

Be a Part of Common Threads

Last week I promised to share more about Baby Lock’s Common Threads event with you. During our behind-the-scenes tour of Tacony (Baby Lock’s parent company), we stopped in the Baby Lock testing lab. All of Baby Lock’s machine’s are ready for a challenge – whether that’s testing a new design, tackling tricky fabric or working out the kinks on new presser feet.  Who wouldn’t love a room like this in their home?IMG_2938
If you’ve ever been in the storage area of your local dealer, you might have spotted what many call the ‘machine graveyard,’ stacks of machines that have definitely seen better days.  Not in Tacony’s warehouse, here you’ll find organized shelves of machines that are ready for use in class.IMG_2927

There’s so much more to share about the Common Threads event that Baby Lock is graciously posting the sewing  projects that we did on their website. Now you can stitch what we stitched and you can enter to win a sewlebrity swag bag!  And wow – Baby Lock has the best gifts!

You can make Evy Hawkins’s purse, Lindsay Wilkes’ pillowcase dress for Little Dresses of Africa and Sara Gallegos’s zipper purse.  We started on the top-of-the-line Destiny.DestinyBL

Evy Hawkins led us in a fun in-the-hoop purse with her signature applique.EvyBagBL

Lindsay Wilkes, http://www.thecottagemama.com walked us through Little Dresses for Africa after a rousing presentation from founder Rachel O’Neil, http://www.littledressesforafrica.org/blog/ Look how charming these dresses are. We made 50 sweet dresses, ready to ship across the ocean.DressBL

Of course, you can’t get to know Baby Lock very well unless you take a spin on one of their sergers.  Sara Gallegos taught how to quilt, insert a zipper and piece a zipper pouch on the Baby Lock Ovation!  What fun!SergerBL

Jump on over to http://www.babylock.com/commonthreads2016/ to get the projects, learn more about Common Threads and enter to win the sewlebrity swag bag!

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