Posts Tagged ‘Marie Zinno’

Multi-Needle Monday: The New Kid on the Block

Well it’s not really a “kid” but the machine I want to talk about is the single needle, multi-thread embroidery machine. Brother and Baby Lock have created a simplified version of the traditional multi-needle embroidery machine. Brother has developed the Persona and Baby Lock designed the Alliance. Both machines are very similar and feature the amazing technology of both companies. They have listened to the consumers and designed a sleek, user friendly and efficient embroidery only machine which holds 4 spools of thread.alliance1BL

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting my Stitching Sister in Dallas for a few days which was planned just for fun. We see each other fairly often although it generally has work involved. This time however we had no “real” work scheduled and we took a little side road trip to Waco, Texas, more on that in a bit. We did go to her office so she could get caught up with emails and magazine details and I had the opportunity to check out her new toy- single needle multi-thread embroidery machine.

I have seen this new style of embroidery machine at shows and dealers around the country but have not had the chance to actually stitch on it until that week. My current embroidery machines consist of; one 10 needle, two 6- needle machines along with sewing/embroidery machines. Therefore, I do not need a new embroidery machine nor do I have room for more but you can always test drive.

What is easy to understand with this embroidery machine is the functionality of the hoops, the 7 inch LCD touch screen (perfect for onscreen editing), the simplified threading and that the machine is quiet; it is much quieter than my other multi-needle embroidery machines. The embroidery field is a bit smaller but to me it more manageable and practical. The largest hoop size is an 8×8 and the smallest size hoop is 1.5 x 1.75. There are a variety of other hoops along with a free arm extension hoop which is perfect for bags and other tubular items and a cap frame for embroidering hats.

As I approached the new single needle multi thread machine I wanted to get started right away. Eileen was busy in her office and I was working in an adjacent room. The machine was just calling my name, I didn’t see a manual but I am comfortable with these machines and just started to “play”. Believe it or not my first project was stitching on the sheer organza I brought in my suitcase for my next article. The machine is so easy to use.alliance2BL

If your embroidery is mostly personalization this is the perfect machine to have. It would be make a great compliment to a multi-needle machine as well. Take a visit to your local sewing machine dealer and test drive the new single needle multi thread embroidery machine; I think you will be pleased and surprised.

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Multi-Needle Monday: Contemporary Crafts at the Renwick Museum

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to visit one of my nieces in her home town of Washington DC. She is a recent doctoral graduate, new mother and busy career woman. I honestly do not know how the young moms of today (that sounds so old fashioned) do it all and so well.

Fortunately my daughter Lindsey was on spring break at the same time as my niece. We decided to take a relaxing road trip through the beautiful country side from our house in Ohio to Washington, DC. Spending a few precious days with one of your children is such a gift. Especially since I am now officially an empty nester.

We selected a few days to visit with a few specific sights to see, the Cherry Blossom Festival and Renwick Gallery exhibit. Growing up in New Jersey I visited Washington, DC many times but never at the exact time of the famous cherry blossoms. Since my daughter Lindsey and I have seen most of the historic sites in past visits our main focus was to visit with my niece Kim and her adorable 2 year old son Atticus.

As I mentioned above, the cherry blossoms were supposed to be in bloom on this very week. However, nature had other plans and a cold snap moved in (probably from Ohio) and the blooms decided to stay closed until we drove back home. Yes we missed the blooming cherry blossoms by just 2 days!

Our other specific destination to visit was the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian. Let me tell you it did not disappoint. renwick1BL

The exhibit is titled, “Wonder” and it is dedicated to the future of art. There are a total of nine contemporary artists featured in the large scale works which completely fill the gallery rooms. The artists use a variety of materials such as; wood, recycled tires, marbles, thread, index cards, branches and dead insects.renwick2BLrenwick8BL Photos shown above are the small mountains of index cards with Lindsey hiding and branch pods where Kim is peaking out between the branches.

The gallery promotes and encourages photography which is pretty unorthodox for a museum. renwick6BL They also want visitors to tag the museum photographs on Instagram. If you have an Instagram account you can view hundreds of amateur photos posts at the tag #RenwickGallery. Lindsey really embraced this task and we all eventually took advantage of the fun and interesting photo op session.

I will fast forward to the artist Gabriel Dawe’s work of cotton embroidery thread. According to Dawe used 60 miles of embroidery thread in 15 colors to create an optical illusion in a rainbow color palette. The installation took 10 days to complete. He says it is a visual representation of the full spectrum of natural light. It is truly fascinating. The thread has been hooked from floor to ceiling in a repeating overlay. The classic architectural features of the gallery also make a perfect backdrop for photographs.renwick3BLrenwick4BLrenwick5BLrenwick10BL

The variety of materials used in this exhibit are so unique but yet so easily accessible. I think what I love about this show is the use of some repurposed materials such as wood, branches, tires and dead insects .I hope you enjoy my photos of our visit to the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC and I am sorry to tell you the show will be ending July 10, 2016. If you have a chance to visit in the next few months you will be amazed and happy that you did.

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Multi-Needle Monday: Add Embroidery to Almost Anything!

If you are a Designs in Machine Embroidery subscriber you might have seen my current project in volume 97. However, many readers who follow the DIME blogs might not subscribe to the magazine, and they should. For this reason I want to share this interesting technique I used for embroidered shoes. Actually the embroidery is done in the hoop and then added to a pair of purchased shoes.

I love to follow fashion blogs on Instagram and try to duplicate interesting embroidered garments and accessories. My 18 year old daughter has a great eye for trending styles and encouraged me to try my hand at the elegant floral embroidered shoes pictured. The price of the pictured shoes were $240 and definitely out of our range.rose embroideredBLThe online search for the perfect affordable shoes and embroidery design began. It was much easier to “google” a specific style of shoe rather than drive to shoe stores in my area. Once I located the shoes (which cost $49) it was time to pursue the perfect embroidery design. The search for the ideal design had to have these characteristics:

  1. Light to medium density
  2. Vertical orientation
  3. Natural looking roses
  4. Attached stems to flowers

The flower embroidery designs were located at Once selected, I tested and retested the design for density, size and color choice. Always stitch out the proposed embroidery design on fabric as similar to the end use as possible. In this case the final “fabric” is actually black tulle (netting). The embroidery design will be stitched on the black tulle in a 5×7 hoop. I suggest placing water soluble stabilizer in the bottom of the hoop along with the tulle for extra stability. Cut the tulle large enough to fit in the hoop as needed and make sure everything is taut, but not over stretched. Notice in the photo below how the tulle is not puckered?shoe3BLshoe4BL


After the embroidery is complete, carefully cut around the embroidery design. Leave ¼ inch of tulle around the embroidery design. Attach the embroidery designs on each shoe back as desired with heavy duty fabric glue such as: Fabric Fusion or Gutermann HT2. Follow all directions as suggested.

This technique can be used for a variety of uses such as: suit cases, hat brims, baskets and containers among a few. (Yes you can stitch on most hat brims but this can be an alternative if needed).

There are a few more step by step instructions in the article but I think you can get a good idea of the procedure. I like to share my challenges and how I find inspiration. Get creative with how to tackle a problem project by trial and error – test, re-stitch and test again.

The following photos were photographed by me of my daughter and her new and much loved embroidered chunky high heels.rose shoe2BLrose shoe3BL

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Multi-Needle Monday: Saving an Embroidery Design as a JPG

Technically this subject could be viewed as embroidery software but I think if you are using a multi-needle embroidery machine for a business you could use this information. As a commercial embroidery business owner, I use this feature often. Many customers select a font or embroidery design from a website or printed catalog page and we know as embroiderers, that all letters are not created equally. Therefore, it is important to lay out an entire monogram or logo in embroidery software and have the customer approve the selection.

One of the many benefits to having this opportunity is to quickly share the future order with whoever needs to ok the design. For example: I work with a high end interior designer who frequently changes her mind on lettering styles and overall design size (much to my dismay). Instead of stitching out samples for her approval, I can go to my software and save the new design as a JPG. I can easily email the design to her in a few minutes rather than stitch the sample and wait for her new changes in a matter of days. I always charge for sample stitch outs but sometimes I am more concerned with the deadline ahead and the JPG file is a wonderful tool to have at our fingertips in our embroidery software.

Here are a few samples of what I would send to a customer for approval.lac 1BLlac 2BL

The two designs shown are the exact same monogram font which contains left letters, center letters and right letters. This style is called master circle and the letters should be placed as Left, Center, Right. I always re-work the monogram to be more pleasing to the eye and make sure it is legible. Intertwining letters are perfectly acceptable and it looks elegant as long as you can read the monogram. The first monogram design shown is using only the center letters.

My Perfect Embroidery Pro software by Inspirations has the capability to save any embroidery file as a JPG file. Save each new design as separate file name: LAC1, LAC2 it makes it easier for the customer to select the correct file name.

Step One: Open the monogram or other design in the embroidery software and select File, Save as Image. save as imageBL Select the JPG file format. Name the file as desired. design in folderBL

Step Two: Open the second choice of monogram and save the design as an image again. Rename it something different.

I am not sure if all embroidery software has this option but you can check when selecting “Save As “. Save all JPG images in a folder titled appropriately.

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Multi-Needle Monday: Automatic Basting File

My multi-needle embroidery machine has an automatic basting file option which I use in a variety of ways. I know I have shared this feature in a past blog but I did not show you how to use the basting file to hold bulky items in a hoop. For example,embroidering on neoprene fabric such as a lap top case, tablet case or mouse pad. The thick cumbersome fabric is difficult to place in a hoop, even when you use a sticky back tear away stabilizer the item can be pulled out of the hoop. As the embroidery mechanism moves the opportunity for the lap top case to come loose is increased.

This is how I use the basting file option as a third hand.

Step One: Locate the center of the lap top case and place a text target sticker on the fabric. Make sure the monogram or initial is stitched in the correct orientation. The arrow on the target sticker will designate the proper direction for the monogram to be stitched.basting1BLbasting2BLbasting3BL

Step Two: Place water activated tear away stabilizer in your hoop. Spritz the stabilizer with water and lay the lap top case on the hoop. Keep the target sticker in place until precisely aligned under the needle bar.basting4BL

Step Three: Load the embroidery design on the screen and touch the basting file icon on the editing screen. basting5BLThe basting file will move to the first color of the design. I like to use a thread color that matches the background of my fabric. (For this photo I opted to use red thread so you can see it better).basting8BL You have the option of increasing the size of the basting file distance around the design on page 2.basting6BLbasting7BLStep 4: The basting file is stitched first and will now hold the bulky fabric to the hoop. The monogram will be stitched next. After the embroidery is complete, carefully remove the basting file stitches from the back of the fabric.basting9BL

If your machine does not have his feature, you can easily create a basting file in your embroidery software. Go to your appliqué shapes icon, select a simple shape such as a rectangle, right click and convert to “run” stitches. Increase the stitch length to 4.0 . Save the basting file in a folder for future reference.

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All Aboard!

The blog will be back for regular programming on Wednesday. Last week, Marie and I were cruising on the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas ship.AllureBL

After a year of planning with Baby Lock and Inspirations’ dealer Flash Sew and Quilt, Naples, FL, we had a ball.Cruise1BL

Not only did 70 cruise attendees embroider with the Stitching Sisters, they are also received expert software instruction from Inspiration education consultants, Donna Siler and Lisa Knight.  Donna is at the helm here.DonnaBL

And Lisa is first mate during this class.LisaBL

Marie and I enjoyed connecting with familiar faces – embroidery enthusiasts we’ve met all over the country through the past six years.SisterBL

And our dealer, Harold Havard, is one easy-going chap! “Yeah, mon” as they say in Jamaica.HaroldBL

If you’ve been considering an embroidery/sewing/quilting cruise, sign up today. It’s a blast!

Multi-Needle Monday: Multiple Name Tags – Part Two


As you read this blog I should be sailing and teaching on the Caribbean Sea. Last week I shared with you a sneak peak of our embroidered name tags for our students. We have 70 guests taking our Stitching Sister work shop and wanted to create something special for a name tag.

I selected three different appliqué designs from the Stipple! Sea Life collection. The designs used: sand dollars, star fish and sea turtle. All were stitched by me on my multi-needle embroidery machine (6 needle). This is how I like to set up my machine when stitching multiple items.

Step One: Upload one design and set up the color sequence (I opted for 1 color for each design) I also eliminated the color stops for the appliqué step. The designs have a bean stitch outline and it is easier to cut out all of the shapes after the embroidery is complete.tag9BL

Step Two: Adjust the hoop size to the largest hoop available for your machine (300 x 200 was used). Touch the “repeat” icon to add the design to make another row -plus 1.tag10BL Touch the icon below for spacing because you want to be able to cut around each design without them touching.tag11BL You will need to “space” the designs at this point . Now touch the “plus row” button again to fill the screen with multiple designs.tag12BL

Step Three: I used a crisp medium weight tear away stabilizer along with a cotton fabric to give body to the appliqué name tags.tag8BL Sorry for all the thread tails in the photo….I think this was the last group of name tags and I was getting tired.

Step Four: After the 70 embroidered appliqués were complete, I sat in front of the TV and watched a few recorded Downton Abbey episodes while cutting out the shapes.tag15BL Eileen even came to visit me in cold, snowy Ohio a few weeks ago, and we worked on our kits for the class. You can see the appliqués in the photo to the right (sorry it is bad quality, my hubby does not take the best photos).sisters 5BL

Step Five: The flat pin backs were purchased from a craft store along with the heavy duty glue called, Liquid Fusion. I attached the pin backs and let them dry for a few hours as suggested.

Step Six: Each guest will select the group they will be in, and for this reason I did not embroider the names on the sea life designs. The names were stitched on a simple canvas purchased tag which I trimmed to fit onto the appliqués. The name tag portion will be added when we meet on the ship and attached with adhesive hook and loop tape.tag16BL

I hope this helps you plan for future multiple embroidered designs and can save you time.

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Multi-Needle Monday: Hooping Multiple Name Tags – Part 1

As I write this blog I am preparing for our Stitching Sister cruise that will embark next Sunday from Florida. We have prepared a challenging yet fun list of projects for our 70 students to create while at sea. I have shipped all of my kits except for the name tags and few odd and ends…you know how sewing supplies goes.

Many of you know Eileen and I have taught hands-on events for the past five years across the country. However, this year we decided to take a break from the travel schedule and focus on our other embroidery projects. Last year we were approached to teach an embroidery event on the Allure of the Seas ship and now the time has come and we are thrilled to be teaching and cruising .We have thoroughly enjoyed meeting our fellow embroiderers who have taken the time to come to our classes. The sewing industry has the friendliest, caring and genuine people you will ever meet. How lucky are we that we get to teach people new techniques for their hobby? Our students are incredibly smart and industrious and always willing to try something new. We are excited to be back on the road- I mean water, with our sewing friends next week.

For this special event I wanted to stitch unique name tags. We do not like the lanyard style name tag because you cannot view the name when the student is seated (which is the majority of our class). Yes, I embroidered all 70 with my Stipple! Sea Life collection and purchased canvas name tags that were too cheap to pass up.

The canvas name tags will be attached to the embroidered sea life appliqué badges when we arrive on the ship. The reason for this is we will have to separate our guests into 3 groups: sand dollar, sea turtle and star fish and we would like them to choose what group they will be in and with whom. All groups will embroider and sew the identical projects just on a rotating schedule throughout the cruise.

Simple Steps for Hooping the Purchased Name Tags

Step One: Hoop sticky tear away stabilizer in a 5×7 or larger hoop with the protective paper still attached. Make sure the stabilizer is tight like a drum.tag1BL

Step Two: Score the protective paper with a pin in a cross pattern. Carefully remove the protective paper. This particular step eliminates having sticky residue left on your embroidery hoops.tag2BLtag3BL

Step Three: Position the canvas purchased tags in straight line as close to each other as possible on the sticky tear away. Set up the tags while the hoop is still on your flat work surface. You can easily make the tags yourself but I opted for the easy quick method because they were so cheap.tag6BL

Next week I will share how quickly I embroidered the 70 sea life appliqué designs on my multi-needle machine.

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Multi-Needle Monday: Quick and Easy Set Up for Multiples

Get back to basics with stitching on multiple items. Take time to plan your order or project before you start to stitch. Test the embroidery design on a fabric similar to the final garment. Always keep a stash of various fabrics on hand to test your embroidery designs before stitching on an expensive shirt or other item. I recently received an order for 12 ladies t-shirts for a doctor office. The women are attending a trade show and are representing their office. The logo will be stitched on the upper center portion of the t-shirt.

Step One: To achieve the best results print a template of the design from your embroidery software on tracing paper or vellum of the exact size of the design desired. Trim the excess paper around the design.multiple2BL

If you do not have embroidery software, stitch out the design on felt and embroider in a contrasting color. Place tracing paper on top of the stitched design and draw with a marker the outline of the design. It is a primitive way to make a template but it does work.

Step Two: Iron fusible poly mesh or no show mesh cut away stabilizer to the inside of each t-shirt in the upper front chest area. Cut the stabilizer larger than the hoop you will be using.multiple1BL

For this design a 5×7 Multi-needle Monster Snap Hoop will be used. Turn the t-shirt right side out after ironing the stabilizer in place.

Step Three: Place the printed template on the upper center area of the t-shirt and slide a target sticker underneath the template where the cross hair is printed on template. Line up the target sticker’s cross-hair with the template’s cross-hair.multiple3BL

Remove the printed template and repeat steps for the remaining t-shirts.multiple4BL

Step Four: Hoop the t-shirt in appropriate size hoop (5×7 Multi-needle Monster Snap Hoop shown in image below). Slide the bottom teal color magnetic frame inside the t-shirt. Attach the top metal frame and line up the bottom and frames.multiple5BL

Make sure the target sticker is centered as best as possible in the frame. Adjust the fabric if you see puckers. The t-shirt fabric should be taut.

Step Five: Position the hoop on the embroidery machine through the neckline. Feel underneath the hoop to check for excess fabric under the hoop. Double check that you have the correct embroidery design on the screen and it is set up in the proper orientation. Line up the needle bar with the target sticker’s cross-hair. Use the tracing feature to assure that the design is within the hoop’s perimeter.multiple6BL

Step Six: Remove the target sticker when aligned. Add water soluble to the top of knit fabric and tack down with basting file.

Step Seven: After embroidery is complete, re-iron the stabilizer from the wrong side of fabric to release the adhesive. Trim away the excess stabilizer around the embroidery design.

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Multi-Needle Monday: Embroidered Sheer Ribbon

Happy Multi-needle Monday! I have to be honest but some weeks I struggle to find a new interesting technique to share with you for my blog. I really want the blog to be helpful and educational, so this week I will teach how to embroider on sheer wired ribbon.

Embroidered ribbon can be a beautiful accent to a monogrammed towel set, a bow on a wreath, tied around a present or even around the neck of a teddy bear. Through the many years of owning my embroidery business, embroidered ribbon is always popular and yet unexpected. Most customers have never seen a sheer ribbon stitched and used as an embellishment. Here is my technique and it works every time. I hope you have a chance to try it.


Step One: Measure the overall length of the bow desired. Before you cut the ribbon audition it on the package or stuffed animal or gift and note the length needed to tie a generous bow. Mark the length with masking tape and cut the ribbon. My go-to measurement for a bow around a large teddy bear is 36 inches.

Step Two: Place the water soluble stabilizer in your hoop along with the ribbon; position the ends of the ribbon parallel to each other. It is very important that the ribbon is taut in the hoop. Place a few pieces of masking tape on the ribbon edges for extra stability.sheer ribbon1BLsheer ribbon2BL

Step Three: Use the text at your embroidery machine to easily set up the size and spacing of letters as you progress. I only set up one line (or end) of ribbon at a time.sheer ribbon3BL Use the “trace” feature to assure the text will fit inside the width of the ribbon. If you have the scanning feature or live camera you can use these tools instead of “trace” function.sheer ribbon4BLsheer ribbon5BL

Step Four: Use the jog keys on the screen to position the text at one end of the ribbon. Embroider the one end with a name or message. Delete design after embroidery is complete and set up text for opposite ribbon end. Use trace feature to make sure the text will fit inside the ribbon and stitch.

Step Five: Remove the stabilizer and ribbon from hoop. Carefully peel away the stabilizer from the back of ribbon. Use tweezers in small loops. I do not like to wet the stabilizer because it leaves a residue in the text.sheer ribbon7BLsheer ribbon8BLsheer ribbon9BL

Step Six: If the gift is for a baby, remove the wire from the ribbon; take a pair of tweezers and pull on the wire from one end and pull. The wire will easily slip out of the ribbon. Repeat for opposite side of ribbon. After the stabilizer is removed tie the ribbon around the neck of a bear, manipulate the ribbon as needed for the text to be read properly.bear1BL

The same technique was used for towel basket ribbon.basket3BL

Materials Used

Wired sheer organza ribbon in a wide width (2 or 2.5 inches)

Light weight water soluble stabilizer (usually called topper), 10 inch wide roll


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