Posts Tagged ‘Eileen Roche’

Embroidering on Velvet

A few weeks ago, many of you responded to my request for future blog topics. I’ve found your suggestions helpful and sometimes I’m at a loss for what to blog about.  I’ll be working through your requests as time permits. Kathy E. asked about embroidering on velvet and since velvet is a holiday favorite, I thought I’d tackle that first.

Kathy E. “A few years ago, I bought an expensive piece of plush black velvet. I had hopes (and still do) to embroider a large, fancy “E” on it, and then make it into a pillow. I’ve never taken on the project because I don’t know what stabilizer and needle to use. I’m thinking it would be best to use a topper too. If you could give me any tips, I’d be so thankful, then I could get this project going!”

Velvet shimmers when viewed from one angle, and becomes a deep, matte surface when tilted away from a light source. It’s an alluring textile and not one that we use very often.  Let’s discuss its challenges for an embroiderer.

  1. Velvet’s nap crushes when pressure is applied. A standard embroidery hoop will damage velvet’s delicate surface so don’t hoop it! Instead, hoop cut-away stabilizer and spray the cut-away with temporary adhesive. Finger press the velvet to the sticky surface centering the design area in the hoop.
  2. Embroidery design. Designs with complete filled areas work best on velvet. Running stitches and narrow satin columns will sink into the velvet’s pile.  Keep in mind velvet is a delicate fabric with a luxurious drape so avoid heavy dense designs.
  3. 75/11 sharp needle will do the job.
  4. It’s tempting to use a topper but you should proceed with caution here because removable is crucial. Options for toppers are no topper (most pile is very short), a lightweight water soluble film-type (think Sulky’s Solvy regular weight) or tulle.  You will not actually apply water to the velvet to remove the Solvy but you’ll tear it away since regular weight Solvy perforates at the stitch line very easily.  Tulle also tears easily and if you select a tulle that matches the velvet, any remaining bits will not be visible as they’ll blend in with the background.
  5. Once the design is complete, carefully remove the hoop from the machine and release the stabilizer from the hoop. Pink the edges of the stabilizer around the design – leaving at least ¼” of stabilizer.

Use these tips for your holiday stitching and you’ll be pleased with the results. Always remember to approach each embroidery project with common sense. Think about the care instructions for a fabric and use them as a guideline for selecting stabilizers (water, heat, etc). You can handle this!

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Cruise 2017

My stitching Sister and I are heading back to sea and hoping you’ll consider joining us for a relaxing – and educational – cruise on the Harmony of the Seas on May 7, 2017.  Last year, we sailed with 70 embroiderers on the beautiful Royal Caribbean Allure. We all had a blast – so much fun that we didn’t want to leave the ship as evidenced in this photo: cruise1bl

Many came with friends or spouses and left with a slew of new friends.  Some of our guests from last year have already signed up for the May 2017 cruise but there are still spots available.  It will be a terrific way to spend Mother’s Day weekend. Think about it: top of the line Baby Lock machines, sewing room open every day, delicious food, interesting ports of call, beautiful ship and nothing to worry about except what color of thread to use next!cruise2bl

Many of our guests were students we’ve met around the country over the past ten years.  Marie and I were delighted to see each of them again. Of course, we hope to meet many more this year and make new friends!cruise4bl

What can you expect from a Stitching Sisters cruise? Marie and I take care of the details – along with our skipper, Harold Havard of Flash Sew and Quilt in Naples, FL. Harold has at least a dozen stitching cruises under his belt you can be assured each one goes off without a hitch.   Marie and I will guide you through three days of designing, digitizing, stitching and quilting with an embroidery machine.  But we’re not heading to sea by ourselves, oh no, we’ll also be joined by two of DIME’s Inspiration Consultants. You’ll be in good hands for three days of embroidery fun and exploration.

Of course the Allure has lots of fun night time activities like shows, music, contests and more.cruise5bl

Or you can sneak back into the sewing studio and stitch some more.cruise6bl

This cruise will be our second on the Allure and fourth with the Royal Caribbean cruiseline. Click here to see why we think this ship is the best on the water. http://www.flashsewandquilt.com/dimecruise.html

Marie and I have already booked our rooms and we’re working on the class materials now.  Since we want all of the projects to be fresh and new for this special occasion, we are making sure all of the latest techniques, ideas and trends are included in the three days of embroidery fun. So details on the stitching portion of the cruise will be available at a later date. But it’s a good idea to grab your cabin now!  Please call Lenore Deck Travel at 352-270-8658 or email to cruiselady@tampabay.rr.com.  There is limited space in the embroidery studio so get on the list today. Hope you’ll join us on the Allure!

You can learn more about the cruise and select your cabin at the special rate by visiting http://www.flashsewandquilt.com/dimecruise.html

We hope you’ll join us for a relaxing and educational vacation!  Just pack a bag, wear comfortable shoes and show up. We’ll handle the rest!

November Updates Pt. 2

Here’s a peek at more of the features in the November 2016 updates for Perfect Embroidery Pro (and all other Inspirations’ software programs).  The updates will go live on November 7, 2016. There are many exciting updates to make your digitizing experience more efficient.  When you open your software on Nov. 7, you’ll be notified of the new update.  Follow the prompts to bring your software up to date.

An exciting new feature on the popular Magic Wand is a tolerance adjustment slider. You’ll find it in the Backdrop Properties window.  To view the Magic wand tolerance adjustment bar, left mouse click on the  Backdrop tool icon on the left tool bar, placing a selection box around the backdrop image and activating the Properties- Backdrop box.nov2abl

If you like to view your design in ‘3D’ view, you’ll find that familiar view is now named  “Realistic’. This clarifies the difference between viewing designs in a realistic format and morphing designs into a 3D affect that makes the embroidery appear to pop off the screen/fabric.

Guidelines.  You can now set custom degrees. Imagine how helpful that will be when drawing 60 degree diamonds!nov2cbl

New ‘Search’ feature has been added to the Library.  You can add Keywords to designs in Properties-Design; click Apply.novdbl

Right click on the word ‘Designs’ in the Library, select ‘Find’ or press Ctrl+F.  You can search for keywords, notes and more.nov2ebl

You can include non-native designs to your search (.jef, .pes, etc.).  The initializing is a bit slower the first time and the fields Keywords and Notes are only available for the C2S format.

Tip:  Saved ‘Notes and Keywords’ are displayed in the Properties box when the design is dragged and released above the Library box.  ‘Notes and Keywords’ are not displayed when the design is dragged directly onto an active design page.nov2fbl

 

You’ll find a few more updates that will make your embroidery digitizing experience more enjoyable and efficient.  Enjoy

Tame Those Tees

Yesterday, I was prepping t-shirts from the Simple to Chic T-shirt Remakes collection that Nancy Zieman and I recently created.  I ruined one of them.  I stepped away from the machine for a second (that’s when danger sprints into the sewing room) and when I returned, the needle was pounding through several layers of t-shirt – of which only one was supposed to be stitched.  URGH!  I exhaled and carefully removed the stitches to release the excess fabric. It worked out okay – the t-shirt will be used for teaching purposes only so I can hide the damage. I moved on to other tasks.

Then last night, I was sleeping and dreaming about work (that’s a mix between a dream and a nightmare).  The dream/nightmare involved t-shirts. I was reliving the day’s activities (see how boring I am – I dream about this stuff!) and then I woke with a start. Use Press’n Seal to control the bulk around the sewing field.  Yes – Press’n Seal, sealable plastic wrap, that you find in your local grocery store. Brilliant!

I couldn’t wait to get to the office and try it out.  And lo and behold – it’s perfect!  I cut a 4” strip and then cut that in half for two 4” x 6” strips. I rolled the t-shirt up around the sewing field and stuck a strip of Press’n Seal on each side of the sewing field.Press1BL

Oh My Gosh – brilliant. Now all those folds and rolls are controlled out of harm’s way. That’s what I call taming a tee!Press2BL

 

Updates Coming Your Way

The November 2016 updates for Perfect Embroidery Pro (and all other Inspirations’ software programs) will go live on November 7, 2016. There are many exciting updates to make your digitizing experience more efficient.  When you open your software on Nov. 7, you’ll be notified of the new update.  Follow the prompts to bring your software up to date.

 

The application by default creates outlines after reading a stitch file. This is an option now in File open dialog.update1bl

Tools – General options – Grid. Change the view order of the grid and guidelines to show them in front of the design.update2bl

The application shows different marks for curves and corners now: a square for corners and a circle for curves.update3bl

The auto Outline Close in complex fill, or when pressing ‘C’ in input mode for runs, etc, depends on the first point type now If the first point is a curve it creates a curve; previously the close was a straight line.update4bl

The Spiral feature has been added to Text.  Right Click on the word to select. update5bl

Tools – General options – Digitizing. Option for the default point type in Simple Draw mode; it can be either corner or curve.update6bl

Tools – General options – View. Option to auto close zoom and pan tools.update7bl

Bring Forward, Send Backward options have been added with handy shortcuts (same as in Adobe Illustrator). update8bl

Next week, we’ll review more updates so you’ll know what to expect on Nov. 7th.

Ribbed Knits

The stretch and texture of ribbed knit t-shirts present interesting challenges for the embroiderer. The fabric should be stretched during the embroidery process so it doesn’t ripple or tear when worn but the stretch should be controlled during the embroidery process. Here’s how to do it.

 

Select a water soluble adhesive stabilizer and remove the protective paper.  Carefully stretch the design area to mimic how the garment will stretch when worn.  Place the stretched fabric onto the sticky stabilizer. If the garment is for you, just put the garment on inside out and then place the sticky stabilizer on the design area. Remove the garment.

 

Slip the metal frame of Snap Hoop Monster inside the shirt centering the design area. Snap the magnetic top in place. Nest the shirt around the design area, use painter’s tape to hold the shirt out of the needle area.

 

I selected Urban Threads’ Anatomical Hand to decorate this t-shirt. HandBL

This very cool design features fill stitches with delicate outlines.  Due to the hills and valleys of the ribbed knit, I was worried the fill stitches would cave into the ribs so I placed a piece of crisp (or lightweight) tear-away over the design area. Hand1BLHand2BL

After stitching color 1, the fill stitches, I carefully pulled away the excess stabilizer.Hand3BL

I added a piece of film-type water soluble stabilizer over the design before stitching colors 2, the shading and 3, the outline.

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Here’s the key, use a tear-away that rips clean. It will feel stiff in your hand, unlike a soft tear-away (or medium weight) that tears with a jagged edge and has a softer drape.  The final colors – the shading and outline- will cover any pokies remaining from the crisp tear-away.  The fabric won’t bleed through and the embroidery won’t sink into the garment even after laundering.

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Don’t you get a kick out of edgy designs like the Anatomical Hand from this week’s blog sponsor Urban Threads? Well, it could be your lucky day because UT is kind enough to offer $25 gift certificates to four random winners on this blog. Here’s how to win:  jump over to Urban Threads and search for skeletons in their search box (found on the top left column of their home page).  Leave a comment here telling us how skeletons designs turn up in your search.  Four lucky winners will be randomly selected next week.  Good luck!

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

Stitch Insurance

Today’s guest blogger is Inspirations’ education consultant Melisa Nisius.

I enjoy virtually creating quilt blocks using my fabrics, threads, embroidery designs and quilting stitches before making that first cut into my fabrics. Call it stitch insurance. My favorite method is to use Inspirations’ My Quilt Embellisher (MQE) for this task.

 

My first step is to load fabric images into each segment of the block and then lock the images in place so that I can debut various stitches.

 

Follow these easy steps for your own insurance. Open the Block Library and choose a block. In this example we used the Diamond from the Connector Blocks folder.Block Photo 1BL

First, we need to virtually fill the block with fabrics.  Using the Select Tool, select a patch in the block to fill with fabric. Click on the second icon in the Tool Bar, the Fabric tool. Once the dialog box opens, choose your fabric. Select Ok. (It’s easy to update your fabric swatches, just follow the steps in this blog post: http://dzgns.com/blog/?s=add+fabric )

 Block Photo 2BL

Your highlighted pieces should now reflect the chosen fabric.

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Repeat this process until your block is completely filled with fabric. Notice that in the Sequence Viewer each piece is still artwork. Left click on All Items to select the entire block then in the top Tool Bar, select Copy, Paste.

Block Photo 4BL

In the Sequence Viewer, left click on the small padlock icon next to the top two items.

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Now we can add stitches and embroidery designs to our quilt block and still see the fabrics. Using the Selection Tool, either left click directly on a piece of your block or select an unlocked patch in the Sequence Viewer to add stitches. Here we selected a Stipple Stitch.

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Continue adding stitches or embroidery designs until you’re pleased with the results.

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You can learn more about My Quilt Embellisher here. Enjoy!

Celebrating 100 Issues!

What does it take?

They say if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.  But if you take a closer look, even your favorite hobby can become frustrating.  There are the days the needle breaks, bird’s nests inexplicably happen and you make bad thread color choices on the very last remnant of fabric you had for a special project.  Dwelling on those frustrations doesn’t do any good—except to learn from them.

There are also the momentous days when you complete a project and it looks fantastic.  Or those days when you learn and master a new technique on your embroidery machine or you learn a shortcut in your embroidery software.

The tiring days along with the triumphant days of accomplishment; get woven together to create a wonderful and unique story about our lives.  That is what has happened at Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The Team

Group Photo

(Left to Right)  Stephanie Sanders, Eileen Roche, Gary Gardner, Sandy Griggs, Denise Holguin, Samuel Solomon celebrated their 100th issue by taking a cooking lesson at Sur La Table

A wonderful story of hard work, big dreams and even a little bit of crazy made it possible for Designs in Machine Embroidery to start with Volume 1 and progress to Volume 100.

The magazine would not happen without a dedicated team.  The team is led by Editor and Founder, Eileen Roche and her business partner, Gary Gardner.

Samuel Solomon, the Creative Director, has been with the magazine since Volume 6.

Volume 6

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Aside from being the magazine historian (we often go to him and ask, ‘do you remember what issue the embroidered project was in?’) he is responsible for laying out each page from cover to cover.  He’s also responsible for the cover.  Plus Sam is our go-to for last minute ideas and special details.  “Hey!  Let’s add decorative flags to our celebratory cupcakes for our 100th issue.  Sam!  Will you make them…now?”

Celebrating 100 issues

For this photo shoot, we stacked all 100 issues in the scene with our special decorated cupcakes

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Details take more time but they make the difference! You’ll find this “Simply Charm-ing” project by Katherine Artines on page 40 of Volume 100.

Sam, Eileen and Managing Editor, Denise Holguin, spend a good portion of their time planning the cover.  The beauty is in the details—from selecting the cover project, to determining how the project should be photographed and what text and colors should go on the cover. If you’re not a detail person, you might say, “it’s just a quilt”, or “it’s just a garment” but it’s more than a quilt or a garment.  It’s a project we have selected because it represents what our magazine is about and also our hope for what will inspire you.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

If you have Volume 100 handy, take a look at the front cover.  It has a beautiful silver sheen to commemorate our 100th issue.  This is also the very first issue we’ve published without a project or model on the front cover.

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Once you open the cover, you’ll see the contributions of Eileen, Denise and a talented team of writers who stitch original projects to inspire and educate our readers.

In Eileen’s spare time, she contributes to every issue with a project or article.  You might ask, with such a busy schedule, why not outsource all the projects?  Why should Eileen spend her time stitching?  The answer is simple:  It’s fun!  She loves to create, design and develop new embroidery techniques she can share with you.  She remains as passionate about machine embroidery as she began with Volume 1.

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Volume 1 of Designs in Machine Embroidery. Yes, Eileen made that beautiful butterfly quilt!

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Eileen used vintage linens to make this project – it’s one of our favorite creations she’s made over the years.

Celebrating 100 Issues!

Left: Eileen purchased this hoodie and added the “LOVE” applique. It’s #cute and #cool enough for even the toughest of critics! Right: Eileen understands her readers love t-shirts but want to look fashionable while wearing them. This t-shirt remake meets that goal.

This love has also spread to Managing Editor, Denise Holguin who has launched her first-time project series, “Subtle Tees.”

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the photo shoot for Subtle Tees.  If you had seen Denise at the shoot, she was ready to spontaneously combust with the excitement of having her garments photographed.  We’ll feature more t-shirt behind the scenes in an upcoming blog.

100th Issue Celebration

You remember this blog began with doing what you love.  Denise is an avid photographer and is generally seen carrying two cameras around her neck.  Choosing the first theme for her Subtle Tees series was an obvious choice.  She found a way to incorporate her love for photography with embroidery.

Stephanie Sanders began working for Designs in Machine Embroidery when she was still Stephanie Stubbs.  She started her career in our Circulation Department (with Volume 12), answering the phone, entering subscription orders and handling the day-to-day duties of magazine circulation.  Now she handles our accounting department and countless other duties too numerous to mention!  So many large and small tasks magically get complete because of Stephanie’s efforts.  She recently got married and now has a baby girl we hope to recruit for the magazine someday!

Celebrating 100 issues

Advertisers

As ubiquitous as we think machine embroidery has become, it’s still a niche market. Learning about the latest embroidery products and innovations from reputable sources is made much easier by flipping through the pages of Designs in Machine Embroidery.  Sandy Griggs, our Advertising and Sales Manager, has been responsible for building relationships with our advertisers.

Celebrating 100 issues

The magazine could not be printed without the support of our advertisers.  Every advertiser featured has contributed to the magazine’s success.  We have the privilege of informing you of new embroidery products and innovations that will fuel your creativity.

We also love the new innovations because it fuels our passion to create new projects.  From improved hardware and software to a broader selection of stabilizers and threads and a wonderful array of embroidery designs that span every conceivable theme or interest you can imagine.

Speaking of designs, the clever innovation of in-the-hoop embroidery designs is a relatively new development.  Who would have imagined taping fabric to the underside of the hoop as you stitch?  In the early days we were too busy stitching teddy bears on our garments.

100th Issue Anniversary

One of our favorite in-the-hoop designs that is functional and can also be displayed as art! The project was made by Tari Intardonato for Embroidery Online and was featured in Volume 99.

We’d like to hug all the innovators in the industry for helping the market grow.

Readers
What good is producing content if no one is willing to purchase a magazine? We are grateful to our readers who have supported us through the years.  Many of our readers have been faithfully supporting the magazine since Volume 1.  Whether you have been with us since Volume 1, started halfway or just picked up a copy recently, we are grateful.

This has been our small but mighty team’s livelihood for 17+ years.  During those years, our kids have become adults, we’ve been blessed with marriages and even babies.  We’re all a little older and wiser but one thing remains the same.  Machine embroidery is our shared passion and we can’t wait to bring you another 100 issues!

With gratitude,

Eileen Roche, Samuel Solomon, Denise Holguin, Stephanie Sanders, Sandy Griggs

 

As a special token of our gratitude, please enjoy this free applique heart embroidery design.

AppliqueHeart

Celebrating 100 issues

 

 

Underlay Options

In my last post, I discussed underlay in general terms.  Today, I’d like to show how to control underlay with just a couple mouse clicks in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Let’s take a look at a butterfly from Inspirations’ Butterfly Majesty Collection, design #98723718. If you don’t have this collection, open a design with fill, satin and run stitches.Buttbl

Select the first color, the upper wing area.Butt1bl

Click on the Underlay icon in the Properties Box.Butt2bl

The digitizer has assigned Contour and Perpendicular underlay to the first color (a fill area) of the design.  The Contour underlay is the red box and the perpendicular is the dark blue stitching.  The grayed lines are the actual stitching lines of the designs.Butt3bl

If you notice gaps between the fill and the outline after testing this design, you can add more underlay.  Click on each box to view the options.  Parallel runs underlay stitches in the same direction as the final stitches.BUtt4bl

Zigzag runs at angle from top to bottom and back again.Butt5abl

Lattice runs at forty-five degree angle.Butt6bl

Full lattice runs the lattice in both directions.Butt7bl

You can customize the density, stitch length, run stitch length, inset and zigzag inset of the underlay.  All of the options let you find the settings that work for any fabric and any design. Experiment with these tools as you advance your digitizing or design editing skills.  Make a note of the changes you make and you’ll know when to apply these settings to your next project.  Don’t be afraid to experiment – experimenting makes you a better embroiderer!

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