Last week our monthly Embroidery Club met in Ocean Pines Maryland. It isn’t too far of a drive from our area in Southern Delaware, and we tend to carpool for the trip. The conversation is always fun with those that ride together too.
About a week before the club meets, we get information from Kristie, who coordinates with the group. This months project was another “in the hoop” design from Embroidery Library. Because we have many different brands of machines and hoop capabilities, Anna, our leader, picks projects that everyone can do in a small hoop, and also has picked designs to satisfy those with bigger hoops. I have a 4×4 ” capability, which is quite limited, so I have “hoop envy”.
Our project for the 4×4 frame was a key ring.
I think it turned out very cute. (At least the 2nd time around!) Anna is such a patient and willing and giving person, and spends the 2-3 hours we are there, helping everyone. She has brought many tools and ideas, and tips and techniques to help us master our machines. This month she provided the grommets and rings for the projects, along with the setting tools. She shows us how to really get the most from our machines.
First challenge — The instructions from Embroidery Library suggest you put a #11 sharp needle in your machine instead of the usual #14 embroidery needle. I had 2 packs of those needles, and shared with 2 other people. One person was successful using that needle. I had nothing but thread breaks, and so did the one other person. I got about 1/3 of the way through the project and switched needles back to my #14. I’m not sure why, but the lady that had no problem had taken the needle from the other package and it was fine. There are so many “layers” going on with this project. First you hoop tear away stabilizer. Then you use your “die line pattern” and cut out 3 layers that you have “spray glued together” with 505 spray. Those layers consisted of fabric, cut away stabilizer, and fabric for the back piece, and fabric and cut away for the top piece. All in , the needle was going through 6 layers I can see why a sharp # 11 is recommended. I need to find the “right” sharp # 11 with a bigger eye to preclude thread breaks. Lesson is learning about what your machine “likes” best!
Second Challenge — My backing piece “shifted” slightly, and so the outline stitches did not catch the edge. Anna had shown us how to make sure it was secure, and when I went to do my second key chain, she came over to help me and made sure my piece was secure. Anna showed us to hold it up to the light, and make sure that the fabric was in the placement lines, then put the hoop on the table and really rub from the top thru the stabilizer to make sure that piece on the back was secure. (We were using 505 spray to hold it in place.) SUCCESS on the second key chain!
This is Embroidery Library pattern X4160, available here – Flip Flop Key Ring X4160 in the hoop
TAKE AWAY – I learned a new process. Any background fabric and thread combinations can be used. 505 spray is a must, along with a “spray box” so you don’t get overspray on things. I don’t have fancy software, so I stitched out the die-line files on a piece of tear away and used it instead of a paper template for cutting out my shapes.
COST – the pattern is $2.99 from Embroidery Library. The materials are minimal. I used 3 pieces of fabric, each about 2.5″ x 4.5″, and tear-away and cut away stabilizer, which I had on hand, along with various thread. There were 10 color changes/steps in the project. Grommet and ring were provided by Anna. (Thanks to Anna for being SO willing to share!!!)
I enjoyed wandering around the room seeing what colors of fabrics and threads others were using. I think I might make some more of these! They would be cute gifts. I will have to dig thru the craft room stuff and see if I have a grommet kit hanging around somewhere.
I also enjoyed seeing some of the “bigger hoop” projects being made. They were making little zip bags and the zipper was stitched down “in the hoop”. Drooling……….
I’m not willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for another machine at this time, so I will have to be content for now. A couple of my “bee buddies” have upgraded to bigger hoops, and I am trying not to be envious. My budget is spent on cruising! I am debating on other expensive toys too…..a new bike for riding (for exercise of course) and a new cell phone. When I think about what I am using, and how much I use the embroidery machine, the bike, the cell phone, I have to put the phone as a #1 priority. My current phone was purchased before I retired in 2012…..probably around 2010 or so, and the thing is often behaving like a brick! I can’t believe you have to pay so darn much for something comparable. I keep shopping for a deal!
Do you have a favorite place to get designs? One of my “new” favorites is Oh My Crafty Supplies . I found them on Facebook in a group called Embroidery Help and Advice. If you join the group, you get access to a free design every day. They do lots of “sayings” and a are very generous with their daily free designs.
I enjoy downloading designs, but have come to the conclusion that I won’t run out of designs or fabric in my lifetime! I’ve taken a bit of a break from daily downloads because I just don’t use my embroidery machine that often. Retirement is fun, but sometimes you just have to balance the priorities! If you have an embroidery machine do you use it often? What kind of projects do you like to make?
I am envious of your embroidery club. Wish there was something like that around here.
I love having an embroidery machine. I have always used it for making labels for my quilts, and in the last couple of years, I have been trying to be more creative and find ways to include embroidery in the quilt tops as well. I figure I might as well use it since I have a lot of money tied up in it and digitizing software. Sadly, the digitizing software only runs on my ancient laptop computer which has Windows XP operating system. The software won’t work on anything newer. It would cost me a couple thousand dollars to upgrade to new software, so I plug along with my dinosaur. I have had to have the screen repaired and the power transformer replaced and the battery is long dead so it must run while plugged in. I love that I have the capability of creating my own designs, but it is extremely time consuming. I am fortunate to have a 5 x 7 hoop as well as the 4 inch, but wish I could go even bigger.
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Traveling 30 miles or so to the club is worth the trip. Easier than organizing and finding a knowledgeable leader myself! Software….ugh….I hear you. We still have windows xp floating around on a laptop, but it is so slow I can’t be bothered. I refuse to learn software! I’d rather sew. So, working in those parameters, I am limited ! 🙂
You are making me want to get the embroidery unit out for my Brother and do some fun things with it!
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I know what you mean. Yesterday I spent an hour and $6 (GASP) downloading designs……I love Embroidery Library. These little projects are great for those times when you are “between” bigger things. Now I need to get busy and make a quilt label on that embroidery machine!