Posts Tagged ‘Eileen Roche’

Free-standing Lace – Fun or Frustrating?

Stitching free-standing lace can be fun and frustrating. Fun? Definitely because the results can be outstanding. Frustrating because the results are not always what you had hoped!  The challenge lies in getting the outlines to align with the edges of the lace. Most likely, the lace will include a satin border that gives a clean finish to the lace. But after all those stitches are laid down, there is often a gap between the border and the lace. So frustrating!

Like I often do, I read the instructions which were’ hoop with water soluble stabilizer.’ I know from past experience that mesh-type water soluble would be a smarter choice than film-type. I also know that a standard hoop would probably grip the mesh-type water soluble firmly.

This image clearly shows where the lace has pulled in during the embroidery process. The satin border marches down the perimeter of the design but doesn’t meet the lace.Lace3BL

The problem is not in the digitizing because the digitizer took the proper steps in creating a base for both the lace and the satin edge.  I watched the design stitch – it walked around the perimeter, moved on to the open fill, the decorated lace and finally the satin edge. But still the lace/stabilizer pulled in at the horizontal and vertical centers of the design. That’s a bummer, right? It took 70 minutes to stitch this panel and it was a lot of thread!

Was it worth it? Yes, it ignited my ‘discovery mode’. I was off to find a solution. My next attempt included adding a layer of tulle and another layer of mesh-type water soluble stabilizer in a standard hoop.  I was certain that would fix it. Nope, didn’t make much difference, same problem.Lace4BL

I figured it was in the hooping. So I ‘McGyvered’ a solution. I hooped a rubberized mat in Snap Hoop Monster and placed it on a cutting mat. Then I cut open the sewing field with a rotary cutter.  Since the cutter couldn’t get all the way to the edge of the hoop, I removed the hoop and trimmed the mat with scissors. Then I placed one layer of mesh-type water soluble stabilizer over the magnetic frame, then the rubberized mat and finally the metal frame.Lace6BL

Perfect! It stitched beautifully with no tulle and one layer of stabilizer.Lace7BL

I’m keeping the rubberized mat with the opening handy, I know I’ll be using it again in the future.

I was using a multi-needle machine but the same technique would work on a traditional machine. Place the water soluble stabilizer over the metal frame, the rubberized mat and then the magnetic top.

Top 3 Tips for Free-standing Lace

Slow the machine down.

Use mesh-type water soluble stabilizer.

Insert a layer of rubberized matting.

 

What’s your favorite ‘MacGyver’ trick?

Stitch Soup

Christina, the founder of Stitch Soup began embroidering over 12 years ago.  After she embellished almost all of her wardrobe, she saw her first in-the-hoop project, a tissue holder, and had an ah-ha moment.  She realized there can be so much more to an embroidery machine than just cuffs and collars!  Since then she has focused on digitizing in-the-hoop projects for the home, birthday or Christmas gifts, for new babies, and for mom.  She blends artistic talent with an engineer’s approach to function and the results are an offering of unique embroidery designs – something for everyone.

Over the past year, the DIME staff has been enamored with her collections.  Denise Holguin, managing editor, swooned when she made her first fairy house.  She couldn’t stop at one; in fact she made several dozen and has enjoyed photographing them in charming settings.SSoup4BL

Her little fairy houses even jumped into her Caribbean-bound suitcase on a recent vacation.  Clearly these fairy houses spread a whimsical spell over the stitcher’s creative talents. Because she dreamed up a resident – a silk flower skirted clothespin doll!SSoup8BL

Denise had a ton of fun with the thatched hut.SSoup2BL

She played with color and buttons on the roof.SSoup3BL

The shell trim under the roof line was added in the hoop!  She’s a brave lass, she is.SSoup9BL

As fun as fairy houses are, some of us prefer a bit more function.  Stitch Soup’s tea-light collections were born from necessity. You see, Christina, lives in a fairly remote part of Canada, and is often left in the dark due to power outages.  Those ‘dark moments’ inspired her to keep tea lights close out at hand yet of reach of her canine companions (she has four!).  Hanging tea lights were the answer. Marie Zinno shared the how-to in our July/August 2015 issue.SSoup6BL

One of my favorite Stitch Soup designs was published in our May/June 2015 issue.  What fun to use embroidery, fasteners, small ribbon and trim!SSoup7BL

Visit Stitch Soup today – they’re having a sale!

Tell us about your favorite Stitch Soup design and you’ll be entered to win one of four $25.00 gift certificates to Stitch Soup. 

Saturday Blog

It’s update time!  On Monday, May 2, 2016, you’ll be prompted to update your Inspirations software programs when you open one.  Once you go through that simple exercise, you’ll find several new features that make the software even easier to use than it’s always been. I’m going to hit the high points in this blog post but there are more updates than featured here.  In Perfect Embroidery Pro, you’ll find three versions of the most-requested motif – candlewicking. Look for them in the Properties Box, Run tab, Type: Motif.May1May2

New shapes are added to the drawing tools: heart, rounded rectangle and star.May3

New Fabric Fill settings (in the Properties Box) include changing the scale and focal point of the fabric.  You’ll also find the ability to change the color, thickness and type of the stroke (outline).  The image on the left shows a heart filled with a chevron fabric and a copy with the fabric scaled increased and a blue outline added. May4BL

If you’d like to keep two words linked together when creating bubble text in Word Art in Stitches, now it’s easy to do. Add the tilde symbol (found on many keyboards just left of the #1 key) between the two words.   Example: New~York May5BL

You’ll find a Name Drop feature in Perfect Embroidery Pro (PEP) and Word Art in Stitches (WAS). Create a text object, add optional decorations and select them all. Then go to Tools, Name Drops and type the list of names.May6BL

Now you can automatically save text in a vertical line in PEP and WAS.May7BL

In all software programs, the placement lines can now be set at a specific angle and color.May8BL

My Quilt Planner has some helpful updates, I’ll cover them next Saturday.

Love Your Machine? Then Show It Some Love!

Today’s embroidery machine are hi-tech honchos and we love them!  They run and run and barely ever whimper under the stress of all those hoopings. If you want to keep them humming along, then just follow three simple steps:  Keep them clean, use them and turn them off.

Keeping them clean is easy. Remove the plate.Clean1BL

Remove the bobbin case.Clean2BL

Fold a pipe cleaner about 2” from the end and wrap it around itself to create a soft point.Clean3BL

Use the soft point to swipe away dust from the feed dogs.Clean4BL

Bobbin basket. Clean5BL

And nooks and crannies.Clean6BL

Then shudder at the gunk that comes out of your machine.Clean7BL

This example is a machine long overdue for a cleaning. Don’t let your machine get this messy. I worked really hard to get this shot!

Reassemble all the parts and get back to stitching. Of course, read your manual. Manufacturers have different recommendations for everyday care. Many machines require a daily drop of oil while others leave the oiling to the professional technicians. It’s best to read the manual and FOLLOW the instructions.

Using your machine is good for your machine, you won’t wear it out. It was made to run and running them keeps them lubricated. Don’t be afraid of your machine – remember you own it; it doesn’t own you.

Lastly, turn off your machines when it’s not in use. It’s a good idea to unplug them. I have to admit, I don’t unplug them all the time but when there are thunderstorms in the area or if I’m leaving town, I pull the plug on all of my machines. It’s peace of mind.

How do you care for your machine?

Curved Layered Applique Letters

Select the Text tool and type LOVE in the Properties Box. Select High School Applique font from the drop down menu. Size the design to approximately 8” x 3.25”. CL12BL

With the Text tool selected, push the green circle at the center bottom of the text box to curve the letters. CL13BL

Select the text, right click and select Break Up Text. CL14BL

The letters will now be four individual appliques.  Grab the L and O and move them to a new screen. Select the L, right click and select Create Outline from the menu.  Change the distance to .25. Click OK. CL15BL

Select the outline, right click and select Convert To Applique.  CL16BL

Change the color of the new applique. CL17BL

You’ll have to do this twice for the letter O. For the outside, repeat the steps above. For the opening inside the O, select Inside when you create the outline and change the distance to .50. CL18BL

Resize the outline to fit inside the letter. CL19BL

Right click and Convert to Applique. In the Properties Box, change the Applique width to 2.5 to fit in the narrow space. Save the design as LO and go back to the original file and complete the steps for the VE.

His Patches Went to the Moon

Today we said goodbye to an icon in the embroidery industry. Marvin Gardner passed away on Monday April 11 at his home in Dallas, TX. Marv1BL

His name may not be familiar to you but his presence and influence in the commercial embroidery industry is legend.  For several decades, he steered Dallas Cap and Emblem and was honored by President Nixon in 1969 for working with NASA on developing the official Apollo 11 Emblem worn by the astronauts.  When Neil Armstrong and Edmund “Buzz” Aldrin stepped on the moon, they were wearing the Apollo 11 embroidered emblems on their flight suits under their space suits. Apollo11BL

President Nixon sent Marvin a letter commending him for his participation in this historic event.NixonBL

Marvin was Big Poppa to all of us at Designs. He came to work every day for the 16 years since DIME’s inception.  You see, he’s family here, the father of my business partner, Gary Gardner.  An avid sports fan, Marvin led the office football pool every week and took great joy in winning a dollar from his best office friends, Charles Henry and Bryant Royal. Those three have worked together for 39 productive years.  Marvin was also our walking encyclopedia of embroidery facts, myths, equipment, people and more. If we had a question about embroidery, we asked Marvin. If he didn’t know, then we probably had an opportunity to invent something new and exciting!

MarvinBL

Gary, Marvin, Brent and Shirley Gardner.

Marvin was not just a businessman; first, he was a family man. A husband to Shirley (Pasternak) Gardner for 62 years and father to five children: Paul, Robert, Janelle (Friedman), Gary and Vickie (Sokolik).  He had 22 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Marvin was bigger than life – a true Texan. When I look at Big Tex at Dallas Fair Park (home of the Cotton Bowl), I always think of Marvin.  Standing tall, an imposing presence with a smile that lit up the city.  BigTexBL

I remember the first time my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, worked with Marvin at a show in Michigan. They dined together and Marvin ordered and finished the largest steak she had ever seen. That was Marvin, larger than life with a heart of gold.

Batter Up!

It’s baseball season! Can’t you hear the swing of the bat and the ‘thwack’ when leather hits wood?  Smell the peanuts?  Even though I never played, I still think summer begins with the official opening of baseball season.

And maybe there’s somebody in your life who feels the same way. My new family members, my daughter’s new family, are baseball fanatics – they live for baseball! So when I was invited to a baby shower for the newest grandson, I couldn’t think of anything better than embroidered onesies and burp cloths.  Of course, I have to include a monogram because they already shared his name with the family. Modern times, eh?

My first thought was varsity type athletic letters. Easy to do, just a click of the mouse in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Click on the Text tool and select the Fiction Applique font. Click Ok.BB1BL

Type the initials in the Properties Box.BB2BL

But I felt it could use a little more pizazz. So I added a baseball mood to the common athletic-type appliques. Select the run tool and draw a curved line across the left side of the first initial.BB3BL

Select the line and in the Properties Box on the Run tab, change the Type to Motif, Pattern 129. Add more curved lines to the letters.BB4ABL

Cute!  Now we have to move the baseball stitches behind the satin outlines.  Select the text, right click and select Break Up Text from the dropdown menu.BB5BL

Select the first applique (the text is now two appliques), right click and select Break Up Path from the dropdown menu.BB7BL

Now, arrange the colors in this order: placement guide, tackdown, baseball stitches and satin outline.FinalbbBL

How easy was that? Perfect Embroidery Pro provides all the tools you need for creativity.

Need an Embroidery Miracle? Then You Need Friends in High Places!

Where do you turn when you need a solution to an embroidery dilemma? It started innocently enough with “Honey, can you embroider my name and phone number on this strap?” I naively responded, “Oh sure, I’ll bet it’ll be an easy thing to do.” Then he hands over the ‘harmless’ strap. From afar, it looked like camo canvas maybe camo neoprene. But once in my hand, my knees began to tremble when I gripped the…RUBBER backing! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Rubber? Really? Are you kidding me? Dang, I wish I hadn’t shared that joke about the lady who informed her husband that no, she won’t stitch a logo on his golf shirt because her machine can’t do menswear. I still chuckle at that line. But my sweet husband knows the truth behind that – it’s a joke he’s heard me tell in Stitching Sister events. He knows all of my machines ‘can do menswear.’

So off I trotted to the office with the noose, I mean strap, over my shoulder. I figured I’d start my research there – pour through all our technical journals, embroidery books and commercial magazines to look for a solution. My search led to nothing, not a clue on how to hoop or stabilize rubber-backed neoprene. So I did what I normally do when approached with a stumbling block. I climb around it. Avoid it. Make a path around it – like the elephant in the room. And mull it over for a few days. But not this time because in walked the most knowledgeable person in the embroidery industry. Deborah Jones.

She was here on official business – really big important stuff like what would we have for lunch. At the end of our visit, I remembered the noose – strap (gee, I keep staying that!) and asked for her advice. Without a trace of confusion or a moment of hesitation, she said, “Oh hoop it with wax paper. You’ll need something to lubricate the needle and thread as it exits the rubber.”

I looked at her like she handed me the Hope diamond. She looked at me like she sometimes does, “Oh you silly Yankee.” (Doesn’t matter how long you live in Texas, you’re always a Yankee if you imported yourself.) Then she left. I was perplexed, okay scared, so I worried for a few more days. And then I bought wax paper. I haven’t purchased wax paper in years and didn’t spot it the new fancy grocery near the office. I asked a salesperson where I would find it and she wasn’t quite sure what it was! After a minute she muttered something about packed lunches at grandma’s house when she was a little girl and then sent me to aisle 23. Anyway, I bought it.

The noose, I mean strap, is thick so holding it in a hoop was not an option. Sticking it down on hooped wax paper in a standard hoop would likely result in the noose, strap, popping off the wax paper. So I hooped tear-away stabilizer and two layers of wax paper (Why two? I don’t know, I bought a whole roll, so I figured I’d get my money’s worth) in Snap Hoop on a 10-needle machine. Snap Hoop is flat and will help keep the strap on the wax paper. I sprayed the back of the strap with temporary adhesive and pressed it onto the wax paper. Then taped it for extra security.

As you remember Deborah told me to ‘use wax paper.’ She didn’t tell me anything about hooping, adding stabilizer or adhesive. I was on my own there, I just tried to apply common sense (something most Yankees are not known for in Texas) and tame the challenge and well, git her done as they say here.

It worked! An embroidery miracle, thanks to Deborah Jones.

 

The winner of last week’s blog post answered the following question:
Have you used Kreations by Kara’s designs? If so, do you have a favorite?  Leave a comment and four random winners will each receive a $25 gift certificate! Yippee! A shopping spree is in order.

The winner is:

Josie D: “I hadn’t heard of her before but what you’ve shown is awesome.”

Sara R: “There are too many beautiful designs to pick a favorite but I love FSL and the FSL Christmas ornaments are definitely some of my favorites.”

Janet F: “I used Kara’s butterflies on the lining of a quilted jacket. I smile every time I put it on, the inside is as pretty as the outside.”

Sara: “I have purchased her designs for quite some time now, the best is she has for every thing & every body, so talented, her creations are exquisite! Sad to hear she passed, but the talent runs in the family with her daughter. We are so happy to have Kreations by Kara for the magnificent, creativity & versatility we get with her creations!”

 

Thank you, everyone for taking the time to comment.  The information you shared is very helpful as we continue to come up with fresh content you’ll enjoy!

Quilt Block: Easy Steps to Big Blocks

Oversized applique quilts make a big impact and you don’t need a giant sewing field to get the look. Create one quarter of the block and then duplicate it to fill a large 15″ canvas. Her’s how. In Perfect Embroidery Pro, draw a flower. Here’s a little secret, flowers look more realistic if they’re NOT perfect so don’t sweat drawing like Picasso.  Now, draw two leaves joined in the middle.  Copy and paste the leaves. Enlarge the copy.  Position the leaves under the flower as shown.Blk1BL

At this point, it’s a good idea to see what the flowers will look like in a block setting. Group the elements (select, right click and Group). Rotate the flower 90 degrees to the left. Click on the drop down arrow next to the Circle Template and select the Reflection template. Type 30mm in the Horizontal and Vertical distance fields.

Check the spacing between the flowers, paying close attention to the leaves.  I want to leave some room for quilting between the elements. Click Cancel.Bk2BL

Select the flower, right click and select Convert to Applique.Blk3BL

Repeat for the leaves.  For the stem, you want a combination of straight stitches and steil. The steil will be visible between the leaves and the runs will be under the leaf appliques.  Draw five lines (in a straight path): 1: from the flower to the top of the first leaf; 2: behind the first leaf; 3: from the bottom of the first leaf to the top of the second leaf; 4: behind the second leaf and 5: 1” length from the bottom of the second leaf. Select the run segments that are connecting the elements, right click and select Convert to Steil from the dropdown menu.  In the color sequence window, move the stem elements to color 1.Blk4BL

Draw a circle in the flower center and convert it to Applique. Use the Reflection Template again to view the finished block.Blk5BL

Consider what applique fabrics you’ll use. I’m planning on using small, busy prints (polka dots, plaids and geometrics) so I won’t add any stitch details to the flowers or leaves at this time. Of course, I’ll stitch a sample before creating the whole block and I might just my mind. That’s the beauty of Inspirations software you can always change your mind and improve your work!

Versatility

It’s not often you find a designer who offers unique designs in multiple categories. Many design companies specialize and excel in specific categories like home décor, quilting and fashion. But Kreations by Kara’s is different, they seem to nail multiple categories like fashion, quilting and holiday.  Since they are this month’s blog sponsor, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of their work that we’ve published in Designs in Machine Embroidery over the years.

In Vol. 88, tattoo jeans were featured.  First, they stitched the design on a combination of water soluble stabilizer, tulle and stretch mesh. After removing the water soluble stabilizer, they cut a hole in the pant leg (painful for some of us, I know!) and pinned the design in place. Free motion stitching tacked the design in place and wow – it looks dynamite!TattooBL

One of my all-time favorite Kara designs is this floating butterfly. Her use of value is powerful, as it gives the illusion of flight.Shadowedbl

Next, we have a mix of fashion and holiday. What gray hoodie or white t-shirt wouldn’t benefit by the addition of this trendy holiday stamp design? As an Irishman, I’d be happy to wear this on March 17th.KreatByKaraBL

Back a few years, Kara’s Christmas Ornaments Throw graced the cover of Vol. 83, Nov/Dec 2013. What a stunner that was.Vol83BL

Coming full circle, you’ll find a quilted tablerunner stitched by Marie Zinno featuring Kara’s Quilt Floral Squares in our May/June issue.  I love these designs – they fill the block and swirl from edge to edge.KaraBlockBL

Your assignment for this week:
Have you used Kreations by Kara’s designs? If so, do you have a favorite?  Leave a comment and four random winners will each receive a $25 gift certificate! Yippee! A shopping spree is in order.

The winner of last week’s blog post answered the following question:
Since this issue is the first time we welcomed a cat into our studio I’m wondering if you prefer cats or dogs as pets in your home.  Leave a comment and we’ll select a random winner to receive our new Hoop Clip.

The winner is:
Arleen:  “We have 3 cats and a dog in our household. They all like to “sew” and “embroider” with me in my room.”

Thank you, everyone for taking the time to comment.  The information you shared is very helpful as we continue to come up with fresh content you’ll enjoy!

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