Archive of ‘Uncategorized’ category

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!

Get Quilting with My Quilt Planner

My Quilt Planner is Inspirations popular quilt layout software. It’s easy to use and loaded with 99 continuous line designs. You’ll find two short videos to give you an overview of how to use the software.

Click the image below to learn the basics for allover quilting.

The second video illustrates working with custom quilting for each block. Click on the image to view the video.

 

My Quilt PlannerMy Quilt Planner takes all the math out of designing a quilt layout and lets you get to the fun part of quilting quickly!

Room for Improvement

Last week, I showed you how to how to draw a simple flower design in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro and turn it into a large applique quilt block. I ended the lesson with this comment: “I’ll stitch a sample before creating the whole block.”  Testing an applique design is the sure-fire way to beautiful quilt blocks.  But you can take some initial steps before stitching a sample in software. Start by critiquing parts of the design by asking yourself some basic questions about the design. Blk1

  1. Can the area where the right and left leaves meet be improved?
  2. Are the leaves elegant? By elegant, I mean do they flow naturally along a curve? I see an awkward spot (the stop/start point) on the bottom of the right leaves.
  3. The leaf ends (corners) look blunt.

These are easy steps to fix before stitching.

First, let’s change the stop/start point from the middle of the right leaf to the center (where the arrow is pointing).QB2Notes3

Now, select the leaf and change the Corner Type to Extended in the Properties Box.QB2

Finally, let’s reshape the curve to remove any unnatural bends. Select the Shape tool and adjust the points on the leaf.Blk2

 

The result is a much more pleasing to the eye. Now it’s time to head to the machine to stitch a sample. Next week, we take a close look at the stitched sample.Blk2A

Software Update – January 2016

mothershipSoftware Update - January 2016

The new year brings exciting new features in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. On Monday, January 4, 2016, update your version of Perfect Embroidery Pro to the latest version: 8.62. Once you update, you’ll find new access to all other Inspirations software programs that you’ve purchased and installed on your computer. If you’re like me and have them all – you’re going to love the speed at which you can work now. Perfect Embroidery Pro is considered the ‘mother ship’ of all our software programs and it’s the program where you find every digitizing feature that we’re known for. Now, instead of opening separate programs to perform different functions (like block piecing, quilt layout planning, quilt block embellishment or fun lettering), you can do it all from one screen. Take a look:

On the right of your screen, next to the Properties Box, you’ll find icons for each Inspirations’ program you’ve purchased and installed. Hover your mouse over each icon to reveal its identity.PEP1

 

Click on the Word Art in Stitches icon to instantly access the bubble text window.WAS2

Need more Word Art in Stitches features? Just click on the arrow under the icon to access the other features of Word Art in Stitches.WAS1

 

Click on the My Quilt Embellisher icon to access the block library.MBP

Select a block and click on the arrow under the icon to access all of My Quilt Embellisher’s rich features. MQE2

 

Click on My Block Piecer icon to access its block library. Then click on the arrow under the icon to access all of My Block Piecer’s features. MBP2The My Quilt Planner icon works the same way. Click on it to access the main quilt layout window. MQPThen access more tools under the arrow. MQP2All of this is happening while you’re still in Perfect Embroidery Pro! This new feature saves so much time and gives you access to dozens and dozens of tools. For instance, if you’re designing an applique in Perfect Embroidery Pro and want to use your digital cutter to pre-cut the applique pieces. Just click on the arrow under the My Block Piecer icon and select Cutter. Boom – there’s the Cutter window. Sweet! MBP3-smWhat else has been updated? The Snap to Grid feature is now more precise than ever. If the point, object, or design is within 10 pixels of the horizontal, vertical grid and/or guidelines, it will snap to the grid. Of course, you still the option of turning this off under Tools/General Options/Grid.

All you Handi-Quilters will be happy to know our software programs now read and write to HQV files.

In order to protect your software license, the registration/activtation process has been streamlined. As before, each serial number can be activated one time via the web in each of the software programs. If you wish to receive a second activation, you will need to contact customer support. You can now unregister the software from any computer and the system will add another activation so that you can install it on a new computer without contacting customer support.  NOTE:  Users can unregister/register up to 5 times after that, they will need to contact support.

There is a limit as to how many sites (computers) you can have live at one time. As a default, each serial number will have a limit of one site (computer).  What this means is, only one computer can be used with any serial number at one time.  If the customer wishes to receive a second activation and site (computer) in accordance to the license agreement, the user will need to contact support as described in above.

Next week, we’ll cover some of the other updates that have been included this month.

 

 

My Block Piecer Block of the Month Sampler

Toot, toot!  Beep, beep!  We’re happy to announce our My Block Piecer Block of the Month Sampler.AllblocksBL

I learned so much when I made this quilt designed by Nancy Stansbury. Nancy did a fabulous job of designing and writing the instructions. My tasks were to stitch each block, photograph the process and make it available to the dealers.  So please nudge your dealer to participate.  We want everyone who owns My Block Piecer to join in the fun. By the time you’ve completed all 12 blocks, you’ll be a My Block Piecer pro!

You’ll learn how to make one, two and three-unit blocks.block1BL

And if you’ve been hankering to learn how to upload a block of your own and turn it into an in-the-hoop pieced block, you’ll learn that in block 6.Blk6BL

I forced myself to cut my patches on a digital cutter and became so familiar with that process; I was tempted to throw away my rotary cutter!  This is the most precise quilt I ever made – I’m so proud of all my sharp points, matching seams and flawless seam allowances.  I know, I know, it’s practically cheating when you’re using digital files – everything is perfect!

The Sampler works well as a scrap quilt or even modern solids.  But I took a different path because I just melt at Kaffee Fasset’s use of colors. I threw caution to the wind and grabbed several bolts of his Free Spirit fabrics. They might not have been the best choice, several of the prints are very large for these small patches but I couldn’t resist. I paired his bright fabrics with black and I must say I’m pleased with the end result.  We’ll unveil the fully-quilted version soon – right now it’s sitting on my shortE.

If you decide to make the large version (four repeats of each block), you’ll have fun creating your own layout. I think block 11 was my favorite because it gave so many options for joining the blocks. Blk11aBLBlock11bBLBlock11cBL

So nudge your dealer and encourage them to join in the fun!

Keep Your Hand Out of the Hoop

Well it’s taken me 20+ years but I finally did it. I stitched on my finger. If you’ve been to any of my classes, I always caution students to keep their fingers out of the hoop. I encourage them to use the eraser end of a pencil, a chopstick, a dowel, anything other than their fingers.

And I usually take my own advice except when I’m in a hurry. And that’s when I don’t take my own advice. Recently, I was stitching a t-shirt when I noticed a portion of the garment was about to flop into the design area. And without thinking, I quickly reached into the hoop to retrieve the fabric. I must have I blinked at the same time. Then I yelped! And yanked my hand back. It hurt really bad, so bad that I was afraid to look at it.  My husband ran into the room (he was outside at the grill when it happened and heard me yelp) and we stared at each other. I told him I stitched on my finger. He asked if the needle was still in there. I didn’t have the nerve to look so he did. And it wasn’t in sight. We went back to the machine and were greeted with this safety message: Finger2BL

By then I was okay, it still hurt and was bleeding but everything was under control.  Upon closer inspection of the machine, I saw the needle was still in one piece in the machine but bent.  Really bent.   Look at the image below.Finger1BL

Wow – did I yank my finger away or what?  I was lucky the machine stopped and didn’t stitch my finger to the stabilizer, garment or foot.   Here’s my souvenir:FingerBL

Many thoughts ran through my head. I could hear myself telling my students to get their hand out of the hoop. I thought of my sister, Marie, who suffered a similar injury years ago that had to be treated surgically. And I was so thankful for the folks who designed my Brother Entrepreneur 10-needle and put that safety feature into the machine. Without that safety feature, my injury would have been so much worse.   Thank you Brother for looking out for all of us embroiderers!

Here’s your assignment this week:

So come on, tell me, have you ever stitched on your finger? You don’t need to share the gory details; just a yes or no and you’ll be entered to win a $20 gift card to dzgns.com !

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

Now that Halloween is over, we’re just about in full swing of the next holiday – Thanksgiving.  I’d love to know if you’re hosting the meal or if you’re being treated to a year off – and celebrating in someone else’s home.  Tell us your plans and a random winner will receive a 13” x 54” ruffled-edge burlap table runner.  Perfect for a holiday table!

The winner is:  

Joan Shriver: “For years we have traveled to my husband’s sister. We always have a huge group of relatives to enjoy again, see the new babies, catch up. My sister-in-law is my best friend!”

Text on a Path

One of my favorite things about using digitizing software is learning new shortcuts. For years, I’ve been creating text on a path in a rather laborious method. But now, thanks to Ashley Jones, Inspirations education consultant, I’ve learned a time-saving method and I think you’re going to love it.

In Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro, draw your shape. Select the Artwork tool, and Ellipse.  Path1

Left mouse click and drag to draw an oval.  Select the Shape tool and grab the handles on one node to turn the oval into a balloon.  Path2

Move the node on the right towards the center. Path3

Drag the handle on the node to make a paisley shape.  The paisley shape should measure approximately 3.25″ x 2.25″.Path4“.Select the Text tool and click on the screen. In the properties box, type the message on one line.  In the font selection window, scroll down to the mini-fonts and select Bauhaus.  Click Apply. Path5

Click on the Select tool. On the keyboard, hit CTRL and A to highlight the artwork and the text. Left mouse click to view your options and select Text on a Path. Path6

Boom! The software does all the work for you! Path7

If you have some open space, add a series of periods to fill the gap. Select the Text tool and type multiple periods at the end of the line of text. Click Apply.  Path8

Rotate the design, change the color and there and you have it! Path9

Thanks for sharing that trick Ashley!

My Quilt Planner

My Quilt Planner software program is the easiest way to figure out how to quilt your quilt! Just tell the software the dimensions of your quilt and My Quilt Planner does the rest. It fits the quilting designs to your hoop and multiplies them across the quilt – absolutely no math required!  Click here to view the simple steps.  Visit your local DIME Inspiration dealer to see a live demo.

MQPBlog2_First_Frame

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

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