Archive of ‘Uncategorized’ category

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 !

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.


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

A Hidden Treasure

My daughter Janelle’s paternal grandmother, Ron Roche (known as Mom Mom in our family), gave her a very special family heirloom at Janelle’s bridal shower. It was the wedding ring she wore on her wedding day. That ring was actually the ring of her mother – Janelle’s great grandmother. The family tradition has been that every Roche woman wears or carries the ring on her wedding day and then passes it to the next bride. What an honor for Janelle to carry this tradition on.

It has been worn by Mom Mom (who was married 71 years), her daughter Sue (currently enjoying 43 years of wedlock),  granddaughters Susie (celebrating 15 years), Katie (10 + years) and Monica (5+) years.

Of course, it was Janelle’s decision on whether she would wear it, tie to her flowers or pin it to her dress.  She didn’t make the final decision until we were in Hawaii for the wedding. I arrived in Hawaii armed with an emergency wedding dress kit – scissors, pins, needles, thread, bits of lace, ribbon, seam binding, hooks and eyes.  I wanted to be prepared for any dress emergency.

Just moments before the photographer arrived, Janelle decided to sew the ring to the dress. I looped the ring through a length of ribbon and hastily sewed it to the label.LabelBL

To have Mom Mom’s ring incorporated to the label brought tears to my eyes.  Mom Mom and I have guided Janelle through her life with love and tenderness.   I don’t think two women have ever loved a girl more than we have loved Janelle. To have the tender touch of our hands joined in this momentous day was almost more than I could handle! But I sniffed away the tears and just beamed at my beautiful little girl – now a grown woman.  My only wish was that Mom Mom could be with us in Hawaii.

That dream would be fulfilled in Ft. Worth, when Mom Mom made the trip from Philadelphia to Dallas for the Texas reception. Here she is – 93 years old – still as full of life and love as she was on the day she was married.momBL

Click here to see the software lesson on making the label.  In the meantime, tell us if you (or someone you love) carried a family heirloom on your wedding day.  A random winner will be selected to win a copy of my newest book, “Hoop It Up, The Stitching Sisters’ Guide to Hooping”.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us if you (or someone you love) carried a family heirloom on your wedding day.  A random winner will be selected to win a $20 Designs in Machine Embroidery gift card!

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

As the fall equinox arrives today it also ends the season of summer. Its funny how the days grow shorter and the embroidery project list grows longer in in the fall. What exciting fall projects do you have in store?

The winner is:  

Debe: “My 2 elder grandsons want a large scarecrow & I want to make a new fall table runner & wall-hanging. I am starting on Christmas gifts, also.”

Inspirations Dealers are the Best!

What a week! We had 30 fabulous dealers from all over the US join us in Dallas for two days of Inspirations software training. They braved the hot, hot Texas weather to learn how to use Perfect Embroidery Pro, My Block Piecer, My Quilt Embellisher and Word Art in Stitches. They met the whole Inspirations team plus had a tour of our offices.

2015-08-01_12-27-27Not only did they enjoy learning the software programs but they told us what their customers are up to. I’m always interested in hearing about their classes, projects and events. The whole DIME team learns by listening and dealers aren’t shy. They are successful business people with their pulse on industry trends. They are as the saying goes, out in the trenches, and share their thoughts freely. We love meeting with our dealers.

If you spot your dealer in the photos, give them a big thank you for attending Inspirations software training. After all, it’s knowledge they’ll be sharing with you soon!2015-08-01_12-28-25


July Updates


Happy Fourth of July!

Hope you’re enjoying your holiday weekend. When you tear yourself away from the festivities, you’ll find July’s free designs on the My Today page of Perfect Embroidery Pro, ready for download. 

Once you open Perfect Embroidery Pro, you’ll be prompted to accept the latest version, 8.47. Just follow the prompts to receive helpful new updates. Here’s what you’ll find:

Enhanced icons – those that are active are brighter while the dormant icons are softer. The distinction between the two is now easily identified.

You’ll find a new option for forcing a machine to stop between color changes in applique designs. Since some machines skip a color change when identical colors are next to each other in the stitch order, adding a check mark in the Color Change box will ensure the machine stops at the correct time.  If you’ve been struggling with this at your machine, you’ll find the stop specifically helpful between the placement guide and tack down of an applique design.

After numerous requests, we’ve added the Break Up Path feature for faster editing of buttonholes.  Select the buttonhole design, right mouse click and select Break Up Path from the drop down menu.

The elements will now be grouped in two groups – the decoration and the actual buttonhole.

We all have a favorite thread chart that we use to select our threads. Of course, you’ve been able to select a default palette and custom any chart. Now when you load a C2S design, Perfect Embroidery Pro will convert the colors to your thread chart if you’ve selected that option in Tools, General Options, Environment. Just put a check in the box to activate the option.

If you have Microsoft Surface tablet, you’ll enjoy the new, larger My Today screen.

PES format users rejoice! The warning message regarding designs that are larger than 200mm x 300mm is now a thing of the past.

Open Perfect Embroidery Pro today, download the update and enjoy all the improvements!


A Moment with Your Mom


This year marks my first Mother’s Day without my mom as she passed away on Nov. 16, 2014. My mother and I were separated by 1400 miles but I always felt that we were just moments apart.  In just a moment I could pick up the phone and hear her voice – catch her upbeat contagious joy and gratitude.  Listen to the latest family news, laugh at her funny anecdotes and marvel at how she continued to remain so happy despite her failing health.

My mom was 5’1”, nimble on her feet and in her mind. She often hurried across the floor anxious to reach a chair. When she landed, she lit up the room with her smile. She had a kind word and favorite memory for everyone – let me make that clear – e v e r y o n e!  She could connect with anyone. She found common ground with all people and immediately put strangers or newcomers at ease.


Not really a fashion icon, Mom had a sense of style and color that was perfect for every occasion. She eschewed the latest trends opting instead for fashions that complemented her figure and lifestyle.  She had class.

She was smart – she read three newspapers a day – and she remembered everything, I mean everything! She could recall the name of your childhood best friend’s uncle – and his wife’s name! She remembered the weather and what she wore to an anniversary party in 1978. She was the best Trivial Pursuit player – ever! We all fought to have mom on our team. And crossword puzzles? She completed one every day for over 30 years.  She knew stuff we never even heard of!

My mom was always there for me, for my five sisters and my father.  Yet, somehow, she managed to keep her distance; she didn’t intrude on our marital relationships and yet was always just a moment away. What I wouldn’t do for one of those moments right now.

Happy Mother’s Day to you and to your mom. Count your blessings this year and steal a moment with her if you can. And if you’re lucky enough to celebrate with her, stitch a lovely ‘something’: a small pillow or linen tea towel to acknowledge her importance in your life.

Click the images below to download the lovely designs – my gift to you in memory of my mom and in honor of your mom.




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

“Every sewing studio runs more smoothly with embroidery essentials. For today’s blog, Eileen reached for Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to complete the garment. What’s your favorite go-to Sulky product? Post a comment and one very lucky winner is going to score BIG courtesy of our friends at Sulky!” And the winner is:  Sharon – “As a newbie embroiderer I find your tips very helpful. It’s a case of “I don’t know what I don’t know.””

Multi-Needle Monday: Text Tools at Your Fingertips


One of my favorite features about my multi-needle machine (Enterprise or Entrepreneur) is the touch screen text tools. As an embroidery business owner I wear a lot of hats; marketing, finance, designer, and operator so if I can save a little time to stitch a name on a hat back or the sleeve of a coaches shirt I am elated. Using the programmed fonts and editing tools to accomplish this task makes professional looking lettering at your fingertips.

Convert horizontal text into vertical text.

There are a handful of occasions when a vertical name is needed such as: bat bags, locker bags and a length of a sleeve. This is how I create the vertical text on my 10 needle embroidery machine.


Step1. Select the lettering icon on the main screen and type in the word “Coach”. Generally the vertical name or word would be all caps.

Select the Array icon and diagonal choice.




Step2.Select and hold the lower bottom bold diagonal line. The letters will move from a diagonal into a perfect vertical line. Touch close and embroider the text. Size and spacing can still be adjusted as needed.




Array Text

Select the horizontal line icon and the arch icon. There are many different ways to position the text with the array keys. The arch feature is the perfect tool to use if you add a name to the back of a baseball hat. You can easily squeeze the letters to fit around the opening.




Slice Tool

This feature separates each letter in a line of text.



Type in the name or text needed and select “Spacing” icon. Touch the picture of a knife and you will notice the knife moving between each letter in the word.




Use the “select” key to highlight a letter to be re-sized or moved if needed. Touch edit end and embroider the text.




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.

Software Saturday – My Quilt Embellisher Labels


When you stumble across a family heirloom, don’t you find yourself yearning for some background behind the object?  Don’t you wish you knew the date it was created and by whom? And where?  I sure do.  So I think we should take that into consideration when we make quilts and include a label.

Of course, labels are as individual as signatures but here are my self-inflicted rules for quilt labels – with the emphasis on self-inflicted!  I think it’s important to document the title of the quilt, the recipient (if there is one), the quilt maker’s name and hometown, the date of completion and…how to care for the quilt.

Two more rules that I have are to make the label visually appealing and add it to the quilt before the quilting is complete. I’ll explain how I add it to the quilt in a future post but for now, I’ll concentrate on digitizng.

My Quilt Embellisher has 99 different labels to get you started.  Open a new file in My Quilt Embellisher, click on the Border icon and select a favorite – I like Border 74. label1

It has adornments at the top and bottom; an inner bean stitch outline and an outer satin stich outline.  Select the design, right mouse click and Ungroup. Now, delete adornments and the satin stitch outline. label3

Select the Text icon and click inside the frame.  Move the cursor to the Properties box and type the title of the quilt. Select a font from the drop down menu, I’ve selected Bauhas.  Click Apply. label4

Select the Text icon again and click inside the frame.  Move the cursor to the Properties box and type your name, click on Enter and then type your hometown on the second line. Click a different font from the drop down menu – Cursive in this sample. In the Line Spacing box, enter -5. Click Apply. The negative number automatically pulls the letters close together mimicking handwriting. label5

Just a little more information and we’ll be done. Select the text icon again, click inside the frame and move the cursor to the Properties box.  Type the date on the first line and the care instructions on the second line.  In the font drop down menu, select Arial 4mm.  Click Apply. label7

Select all of the elements, right mouse click and select Align, Horizontal Center. label8

Once you’re satisfied with the layout, reorder the color sequence. In the Sequence window, select the first color, the frame. label9

Move it to the last position. The label is ready to be stitched! label10

On Wednesday, I’ll share the next steps – applying to the quilt.

I love how easy it is to customize a label in My Quilt Embellisher.

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