Posts Tagged ‘Eileen Roche’

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.


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.


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: )

 Block Photo 2BL

Your highlighted pieces should now reflect the chosen fabric.

Block Photo 3BL

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.

Block Photo 5BL

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.

Block Therapy 6BL

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

Block Therapy 7BL

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


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.

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.


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!

Look What I Found in My Mailbox

A catalog for embroidery designs!  It’s been ages since I’ve had the pleasure of receiving a catalog (all 40 pages) of luscious embroidery designs.LionBL

At first glance, I thought it was Nancy’s Notions late summer catalog. Imagine my surprise when I opened it and saw page after page of embroidery designs.HalloBL

You might think my reaction is funny but I’ve been at the helm of Designs in Machine Embroidery for over 16 years and have seen so many industry changes.  Embroidery catalogs were a regular occurrence in my mailbox ten years ago. In fact, I took them for granted.  Postcards announcing the arrival of a new collection were commonplace. Today, promotions are sent digitally and often ignored with the old ‘been there done that’ mind set.

But for someone like me and maybe you – it’s delightful to browse through page after page of beautiful embroidery. It’s a printed version of today’s digital ‘look book.’  But you know, I’m old school – I still love to hold pages in my hand whether it’s a book, magazine or catalog.  I enjoy that uninterrupted experience – it’s my time on my terms – and I get lost in the pages.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m attached to a computer most of my waking hours and I hang out on Instagram and Pinterest. But in today’s image consumption environment, we tend to forget just how much effort goes into those images we flip by or ignore. Some are WORTHY of print. For instance, look at this spread on page 10-11.GardenBL

There are three towels and four potholders showcasing the designs. A lot of effort went into that! I love seeing someone’s interpretation of how to use a design. I know a catalog is selling designs but for me, it’s eye candy. Those images are springboards for more ideas.

How about you, do you enjoy print or digital?  And why?

Quilting Your Row by Row – Part 2

Part Two

Last week, Rebecca Robinson, owner of Sew Suite Studio, a DIME Authorized Dealer in Lexington, SC, showed you how to quilt your Row By Row quilt strips. She used Inspiration’s My Quilt Embellisher to create the stippling.blog1


This week, Rebecca kicks it up a notch by changing the quilting to a star-shaped echo. Open My Quilt Embellisher and load the quilt row image as a backdrop. Select the stipple design and click on the Shape Echo tool. Choose #17, the five-point star. Click OK. Change the Density to 35mm in the Properties box.blog2


Customize the star a bit further by re-positioning the center point of the star. Click the Shape tool and drag the pink circle to a new location on the striped fabric section; click Apply.blog3


These auditions certainly assist in the design process. If you have a large enough hoop, you can save the design in the format for your machine. Or if you like to free-motion quilt, you can print a template of the design and use it as a pattern.  Either way, My Quilt Embellisher makes quilting fun!


Stitching in Ombre – A New Approach in Monochromatic Embroidery


Embroiderers love threads – it’s a well-known fact. We love the sheen or the matte, the brights and the dark. Truth be told, many embroiderers are hesitant to select their colors, they’re afraid they’ll make a ‘mistake.’  Many stick to one-color embroidery designs. Monochromatic doesn’t have to be boring rather, it can be quite dramatic.  Stitching in Ombre is great way to learn about thread value and its appearance on fabric.

You’ll find a fantastic example of ombre stitching in the latest issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery Vol. 99 July/August 2016.MagBL

Nancy Zieman’s Ombre: Black to White illustrates how to achieve an ombre look by repeating one or two designs in gradated thread values.

She advises stitching your threads in a satin column on the selected fabric. Study your sample and work on the arrangement of colors to help move the eye across the embroidery canvas.SampleBL

It’s also a great idea to print templates of the designs so you can ‘see’ the layout before you stitch. Make notes to remind yourself what thread spool to use and when to use it.  You’ll be glad you did if your stitching get interrupted.

I fell in love with this look. It has everything that appeals to me about embroidery – the dark on dark at the bottom of the vest is a textural feast for the eyes, then as the eye moves up the garment, the thread gets lighter and lighter. At the top of the vest, the last horizontal row is stitched in white bringing attention to the face.  The sparkly zipper is just plain fun and adds a wonderful finishing touch.

Next time I’m out shopping for thread, I’m going to make sure I buy not only the color on my shopping list but all of its companions up and down the value scale.

Tell me, would you wear this vest? Do you like the technique?  What color would you experiment with for your own wardrobe?

Totally Over the Top


I just have to share this article I saw online last weekend on both Yahoo and Huffington Post.  This gown made my heart swoon.  Bride Kresha Bajaj Zaveri always dreamed of designing her own wedding garments. When the time arrived, she rose to the task.  Mrs. Zaveri stitched a love story, chronicling her and husband’s matrimonial journey in metallic thread. The stitches tell how they met, dates they enjoyed and the marriage proposal.

Imagine the hours that went into this gown – the design phase, the digitizing process and finally the stitching.  The article doesn’t say if the gown is hand or machine embroidered but I’m guessing it’s a combination of both.   Imagine trying to artistically portray a story into seven panels that complement each other yet blend across the skirt.  From a distance, it looks delicate and intricate. It’s only upon close inspection that the stories behind the panels begin to unfold.


Imagine finalizing the designs and then…stitching them in metallic thread! Gold and white are traditional Indian wedding colors but wow – there are miles of metallic thread on that skirt. Obviously, it’s not Kresha’s first design attempt, she’s a fashion designer by trade,,  so I’m sure she knows the secrets to stitching success.

She intends on framing the gown as artwork to display in their home. Thank heavens it’s not going to wind up in a box in a closet!

Please click on the links below to read the whole story and see the dress in detail.


More details on Huffington Post:

Last week’s assignment was:  Achieving a goal is often easier to complete if you write it down. Who is the next person you are going to embroider a project for?  What will you make? Post your comments and 4 random people will receive a $25 gift certificate for use at Baby Kay’s Appliques!

Here are the winners from last week’s assignment ….

Virginia: A sunhat to protect my bald little granddaughter’s head.

PatO: A fun summer t-shirt for my brother and his boys.

Karen W:  What a lovely thought to help a grieving family.

 Fay Williams: Will be doing things for my 6,4,and 2 year olds grandkids and for the new one due in August. Love my embroidery machine.

Common Threads

I just returned from a Baby Lock retreat with quilters, sewists, embroiderers and fashionistas. Mix in some industry executives and you’ve got quite an interesting group. Common Threads is an invitation-only event with the intention of spreading the love of Baby Lock to its brand ambassadors and creating a community. It’s a time to share new ideas, charitable thoughts and product knowledge.  It’s a ‘coming home’ of a sort as it was the third gathering for many or the attendees.

At the end of the action-packed three day event, everyone shares their thoughts of what the three days meant to them.  Everyone shared their gratitude to Baby Lock for making the event happen. Some were grateful for the opportunity to ‘play’ without an agenda (translate – deadline). Many found new friends while others cemented long-established friendships.  Others were amazed at the willingness of many to share information and welcome newcomers. A few were even moved to tears. As shocking as that might sound in a business environment, I completely understood. The one thing all of us have in common is that much of our work is done in solitude without reassurance or encouragement. We push ourselves believing in our work and hope it flies.  The most refreshing comment of the wrap-up was, “There are no mean girls here.”

How true because for three days, we played!  It 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, walked us through Little Dresses for Africa after a rousing presentation from founder Rachel O’Neil, 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

More to come on June 24!

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