A step “away” from my usual sewing/quilting posts.
Last week I spent some “embroidery time” with two friends from my quilt bee – the Queen Bees. One lady had just gotten an embroidery machine, so I was pleased to share tips and techniques to alleviate some of the frustration NEWBIES have with these machines, just out of the box. We talked A LOT about stabilizers and what to use and when. Also about how to move designs from the computer to the machine etc. There is a lot to KNOW about these machines, right out of the box, and I wrote a blog post full of resource info about the subject — Embroidery resources
We worked on “hooping” which I always struggle with, due to arthritis in my hands. And we helped her set up and stitch out a design with 12 thread changes. By the time the design stitched out, she was becoming the expert at threading her machine. After the ladies left, I realised I still had a tea towel in the hoop on my machine, so the next afternoon, I picked a design for a quick stitch out.
I picked this design because it was a fast, light stitchout. I love watching the machine work – This is a Brother PE500 that I won in 2013 from Brother Sews in a contest on Facebook. The machine has a capable hoop size of 4×4 (100 mm x 100 mm). This often limits what you can do design wise. In my dreams I would have a big giant machine with a big giant hoop, with digitizing capability built in the machine……but the truth is, I would not get my “monies worth” from such a machine.
After the dishtowel was finished, I moved along to doing the Bible Verses that will be included in the quilts we make at church for our graduates.
There is a designer who has made a mission of digitizing many verses; and offers them for free. Take a look at her website Designs by JuJu . The verses are under the FREEBIES tab. She digitizes both 4×4 and 5×7 sizes, but my machine is limited to 4×4. That means, not all the verses are usable for my purposes. This makes me contemplate obtaining digitizing software, and learning how to make it work! (Yikes, another new thing to learn).
Anyway; the point is….if I am trying to do something that is not digitized already, I have to load the design in, one character at a time. Not an easy feat, and with my built in font choices, not a lot of choices. Alignment is the hardest part when you go to the next line of words, as you are manually setting where the line will stitch. I use the ruler, but gosh it is challenging….more things to learn. In the photo below is a verse that was not available, but the mother really wanted this on her son’s quilt. So, I bit the bullet and worked it out. My spacing isn’t perfect, but I decided it was acceptable. The photo shows the project before the jump stitches were trimmed and while it still had water soluble stabilizer (WSS) on top. NOTE: It is EASIER to trim jump stitches BEFORE you remove the WSS.
This took me about an hour to load, line by line and stitch out, one line at a time. The photo below (sorry it is fuzzy) was one of the designs by Designs by JuJu. It stitched out in about 15 minutes.
This next one, in script stitched out very quickly as well. The thread stitch count on this is very lightly laid down on the project, while the 1Peter 5:7 was a much “heavier” stitch.
These were all stitched on muslin with the same brown thread. I used fusible no show mesh stabilizer on the back, floated a piece of medium weight tear away under the hoop, and as previously mentioned WSS on top. I learned a lot from a Floriani event I went to (see blog post above) about stabilizer, and KNOW that it makes all the difference in the project. The 1 Peter 5:7 is “PULLING” at the stitches. Because of the heavier stitch count, I probably should have added 1 more layer of stabilizer UNDER the hoop. It would have made all the difference. My friend who came to visit “accidently” slipped two pieces of medium tear away under her hoop and it made a WORLD of difference on her project with 20,000+ stitches.
While these blocks don’t look too exciting here, the messages from scripture are meaningful, and were chosen for each of the young men who are graduating by their parents.
Other fun things — Paper crafting…..I went to the local library on Saturday to participate with Jan and another lady in a “card making” class. We bring in what we have, with ideas, and work together. Jan is an expert card maker (she sells the cards at local events); and has a volume of tools and materials and wisdom. I will be the self-proclaimed novice, but I am having fun. I used her die cutter and dies, and one of her “sparkly” pink papers. She is generous to share her materials and tools with others.
I was able to get 2 cards made under her guidance –
During the class, I got a call and a request for some other paper crafted items – this time for my grandson’s birthday party decorations. Can you guess the party theme????
This required a trip to Michaels to get silver cardstock. I had a terrible time getting a crisp silhouette to scan into the machine and cut. Again, this is where software ( and working knowledge) would come in handy. I need to take more time with this machine, and learn about .SVG files (Cutting files) that are available created by other crafters.
Oh; do you remember the last post about the Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along ? I was going “throw size”, right….well….Bonnie Hunter had Quilt-Cam one night last week, and I didn’t have a project ready to work on, so I started getting more “scraps” out and ended up pulling enough to go twin size! Yes, I did the stitching on those blocks from Step/Clue 1 too. More on that project next time! It was inspiring to watch Bonnie Hunter as she worked on string piecing blocks. Watching Quilt Cam Jan 2017 is like being in a room full of quilters. Even better when I saw those blocks in the border on the quilt she was working on. Check out her blog and see what she was up to on Sunday – Bonnie Hunter’s blog – String pieced border
For now, I am headed to my sewing room for a full evening of fun & clean up. Tomorrow the ladies are coming to iron, measure and fold fabric for the 2nd Time around at the guild. We picked up a lot of fabric yesterday from a church member who is “downsizing her sewing room”. Just when we thought we were getting ahead of the stacks, a new pile of fabrics to “process” for sale!
Happy stitching or crafting today.
You amaze me with your skill, talent and enthusiasm for learning new things. I want to be like you some day.
Lillian – Thank you ! I wish I had your talent for cooking! I enjoy reading your posts too.
Your embroidery is just perfect for a dish towel, lovely verses. I have embroidered with my machine in a long time. Love your cards, great job!!! I think your theme is Movies!
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Thanks Carole. I had to go back and check the embroidery design source. It is from Hatched in Africa. Once a week, I get a free design from their website. I have tons more designs than I will ever stitch, but I enjoy the various websites that give you “freebies”. It seems my machine really gets used for towels, quilt labels, and Bible verses for church quilt squares. Sometimes it sits for months at a time unused. I have a large stack of “blanks” (DISH TOWELS) now to embroider on, when I get in the mood. I’d like to use it more often, but I am swamped with other projects.
Movie Party was the theme! You were right. Of course, kids under 10 probably only know about blu-ray players and streaming movies ! I love to play along with the Scan ‘n Cut machine and support the party decoration efforts. Next job to learn is cutting applique fabric on that machine!.
I really enjoy having my digitizing software, but it was crazy expensive. I don’t think I get anywhere near the value out of it that I put into it. Plus there is a large learning curve. I am really just figuring out a lot of things and I have had the software for 17 years. Of course, I am staring to use it more now, and have more experience digitizing things just by messing around with the buttons in the program, so now when I actually read the instruction manual, it makes more sense to me than it did at first. There are lesser priced packages that allow you to just do lettering, which up until recently was what I was doing almost exclusively. My full program allows me to scan in any kind of photo or drawing and digitize it. I would recommend if you are really interested to get the program that allows for designing your own lettering. Just make sure that it is upgradeable, so if you get hooked, you can move up to the full package..
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Glad you are using it! I bought EQ7 last spring and haven’t sat to play with it, and want to learn it “next”!! We need to “upgrade” all our computers at home….VISTA is not supported anymore and I have WIN10 on one machine. Net books, lap top, 3 desk tops….all need to be brought into the 2nd decade of the 21st century! I actually downloaded two free software programs for the embroidery machine, but again; the learning curve etc. I have so many things to do !