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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.

 

 

Projection!

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!

Magnetic Hoops

I take magnetic hoops for granted.  I invented them so long ago, I’d have to check the patent to verify the year.  I use them everyday for many embroidery tasks.  So it surprises me when I attend events and meet embroiderers who are not familiar with magnetic hoops.

They’ll ask if they work.  And the answer is, “Absolutely!”

They ask if they’ll harm their machine.  And the answer is, “No!”

They’ll ask what size should they buy.  And the answer is, “Every size available for your machine!”

So let’s dig a little deeper.  Magnetic hoops work like a dream because they do not cause fiber distortion. They have a flat metal bottom frame and a flat magnetic top.  The magnets are quite strong and firmly grip a quilt sandwich, a terry towel, a knit shirt and many other fabrics.  They do not replace a standard embroidery hoop, they complement it!

Magnetic hoops do not harm your machine as the magnetic force is shielded by the metal frame.  The magnetic force grips the fabric – not the machine.  The hoops have been thoroughly tested on all machines during the prototype stage.  There has never been an issue with a magnetic hoop interfering with the machine’s operating system.  Many years ago, we were told not to use magnetic pin cushions.  At that time, the computer in the machine was encased in a light plastic housing and magnets could interfere with the operating system. In you owned a cell phone in that era, it was housed in a tote bag with long coiled wire!

Today, the machine’s computer, although very powerful, is tiny. It’s highly insulated and the magnetic force can reach it.  Think about the power of your cellphone, the advancements in embroidery technology are very similar.

So what size should an embroiderer buy? I always ask, ” What size hoop do you stitch the majority of your embroidery projects in?”

Whatever the answer is, that’s the first magnetic hoop size they should purchase.

Now if someone is starting to quilt with their embroidery machine, then the answer is, the largest hoop that’s available for your machine!

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 9 – Around the Block Sewing Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month: Block 9 Around the Block
Sewing Instructions

Block 9, Around the Block, is a four-unit block in the My Block Piecer Sampler Block of the Month. As you know, My Block Piecer splits some blocks into smaller units when a patch shares seam allowances with more than one patch. We’ll piece each of the four units in the hoop. Then the units will be removed from the hoop and sewn together on the sewing machine with ¼” seam allowance. In the software instructions for Block 9, we merged the four separate units into one embroidery design and combined the placement guides for each of the four units into the first color of the merged design.

Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop. Retrieve the merged Block 9 Around the Block design on the machine. Stitch color 1, the placement guides for all four units.

Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1.Stitch color 2, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 3, the seam of patch 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown.

Place patch 3 fabric, right side down, over patches 1 and 2, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 5, the seam of patches 1, 2 and 3.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 6, the tackdown.

Place patch 4 fabric, right side down over patch 1. Stitch color 7, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 8, the tackdown

Place patch 5 fabric, right side down, over patches 1 and 4, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 9, the seam of patches 1, 4 and 5.

Flip patch 5 open and stitch color 10, the tackdown.

Place patch 6 fabric, right side down, over patches 2 and 4. Stitch color 11, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 12, the tackdown.

Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1, in the next unit (top of the block in my design). Stitch color 13, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric of unit 2, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 14, the seam of patches 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 15, the tackdown.

Place patch 3 fabric of unit 2, right side down over patch 1 and 2. Stitch color 16, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 17, the tackdown.

Place patch 4 fabric of unit 2, right side down, over patch 3, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 18, the seam of patches 3 and 4.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 19, the tackdown.

Place patch 5 fabric of unit 2, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 20, the seam of patches 1 and 5.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 21, the tackdown.

Place patch 6 fabric of unit 2, right side down, over patches 1 and 5, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 22, the seam of patches 1, 5 and 6.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 23, the tackdown.

Place patch 7 fabric, right side down, over patch 6, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 24, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 25, the tackdown. Unit 2 is complete.

Place patch 1 fabric of unit 3, right side up over patch 1. Stitch color 26, the tackdown.

Repeat the steps above to complete unit 3.

Place patch 1 fabric of unit 4, right side up over patch 1. Stitch color 39, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric of unit 4, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 40, the seam of patches 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 41, the tackdown. Place patch 3 fabric of unit 4, right side up over patch 1 and 2. Stitch color 42, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 43, the tackdown.

Place patch 4 fabric of unit 4, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 44, the seam of patches 1 and 4.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 45, the tackdown.

Place patch 5 fabric of unit 4, right side down, over patches 1 and 4, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 46, the seam of patches 1, 4 and 5.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 47, the tackdown.

Remove the block from the hoop. Trim the units on the outer stitched line.

Sew the units together at the sewing machine.

Created by Nancy Stansbury

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…

 

 

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