Paper and Embroidery time and more

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.

Coffee cup close up

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. 

Embroidery machine fun

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.   

Senior Quilts 2017 embroidery block

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.

Verses for senior quilts

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.

Verses for Senior Quilts 2017

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 –

January card class

20170201_081749

and

Card Class Jan 2017

Inside card from class Jan 2017

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????

Movie Reels for Party deco

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.

Advertisements

Machine embroidery resources

I was chatting with 2 ladies from my quilt guild yesterday about machine embroidery and all the stuff that goes along with having the machine and getting an outcome that you are happy with.  I went to a seminar in June with Floriani and learned a lot, and I have been gaining knowledge and skill by following along with the questions comments and answers in a Facebook embroidery group.

I thought I would share some of my favorite sources.

Designs – I mostly use free designs, however, I have purchased a “few”.  I download to my computer into an “embroidery” folder.  That folder is split into multiple sub-folders. (Think of it as a file cabinet with drawers).  I also print out the color sheet for every design I download, and put those in a 3 ring binder with similar divisions/groupings.  So, Autumn harvest designs are in a folder called Autumn harvest; and the printed sheet is behind a tab named the same. Autumn rolls around and I want to make something seasonal, I just flip my notebook open to the Autumn harvest tab, and page through the designs.  I tried to stick to just storing on the computer and using a design reader, but that doesn’t work in my brain.

Sources:

Free designs – note – many sites have some freebies on their tabs, but they tend to constantly be the same.  These I am listing have different all the time. Of course, they also have designs for sale and they are all very nice quality when stitching out.  Most require you to subscribe/join etc.

Cute designs for sale – note; there are LOTS of people selling designs on line.  I don’t buy very many, but I love these websites.

 

Digitizing – If you don’t want to buy software, then you send your design off to someone to “digitize” for you .  Whenever anybody on the group I belong to on Facebook asks for a recommendation, the first name that ALWAYS comes up is Brad at http://www.ssdigitizing.com/   I’m sure other people do quality work, and you can buy your own software. I haven’t used his services, but will if I need them in the future.  The recommendations I read about him are great.

Great tutorials –

 

Stabilizer and Thread – I attended a Floriani product seminar in June.  I have been using Floriani products, purchased either at Delaware Sewing Center or at Quilt shows.  I love them!  The secret to good embroidery results is the stabilizer!  Spend some time on the RNK Distributing/Floriani website to get an idea of the products.  http://www.rnkdistributing.com/

Download the Floriani Stabilizer workbook! http://www.rnkdistributing.com/resources/workbooks-guides/FlorianiWorkbookStabilizer.pdf

Note:  Floriani has a line called “Quilter’s Select” that they developed with Alex Anderson (The Quilt Show).  She LOVES the Floriani products.

I have not been disappointed with ANY of the Floriani products, thread or sabilizer.

I have purchased some supplies from Amazon, when I first got started.  My experience with everything has been GOOD.  My machine liked the thread, I have used up my supply of pre cut tear away and will order more.  It will take me YEARS to use up all the thread and bobbin thread I have purchased.

These are the supplies I originally bought:

8×8 medium weight tear away stabilizer

63 Brother Threads

HUGE Spool WHITE bobbin thread (90 wt)

I also purchased “water soluble” stabilizer (WSS) at Delaware Sewing Center.  It looked and felt a bit heavier than Glad wrap for food.  When using a WSS, it helps to make it larger than your hoop and pin it to your project outside the edge of the hoop. Slippery stuff.  Recently on the Embroidery group, I read that people were using a Vilene Water Soluble stabilizer.  Amazon is carrying that also – Vilene Water Soluble Stabilizer

Things I have learned from the groups & seminars:

  1. FLOAT a piece of tear away UNDER your hoop – EVERY TIME. (AMAZING what that does for your project
  2. Iron a stabilizer to the back of your fabric
  3. Make your stabilizer much larger than your hoop to avoid stretching your piece
  4. Most stabilizers can support about 10,000 stitches. When you have a design with MORE than that; add a second layer running in the opposite direction
  5. ALWAYS use a WSS on top. ALWAYS.  The theory has been to only use the WSS on things like towels and velvet or plush items that your stitches would sink into, but I saw a visible difference in “sinking designs” on t-shirts and cotton items.
  6. When your machine “acts up” stop, change the needle, clean the bobbin case, rethread everything and make sure you don’t miss anything.  These machines are stitching FAST; 800-2000 stitches per minute, and a dense design, if improperly digitized may “bend” your needle.
  7. Thread single needle machines with the pressure foot up until you get to the needle, then lower it.  It opens up all the tension areas, and you won’t “miss” getting your thread through the disk or channel.
  8. Use a CHROME needle by Schmetz or a Titanium needle sold by Superior Thread
  9. I used my embroidery thread in my regular sewing machine when I need to top stitch something and match a color
  10. Use the RIGHT stabilizer for the project (See the Floriani guide or the Embrodery Library “how to embroidery on any product)

Supplies –  These are one stop shop for supplies – stabilizer, thread and blanks

Thread Info

 

Don’t forget to check your BRAND of machines website.  Brother is “my brand” and they offer lots of free designs and information.

Join an embroidery “GROUP” on Facebook for your brand.

I hope you find this to be a helpful lists of sources and fun places to window shop designs etc.  If you know of other places that I may not have mentioned, PLEASE comment and include a link and why.  I will periodically update this list.