Search Results for: stitch lab

DIME Stitch Lab 2018 Haul

I just took a fun little overnight road trip to The Woodlands (just north of Houston) to attend a Designs in Machine Embroidery (DIME) Stitch Lab.  I’d never been to one and wanted to check it out.  It was held at the Homewood Suites and that’s where I stayed the night as well.  I think there were about 45 in attendance and it was sponsored by the Sewing & Vacuum Warehouse.  They did a great job of hosting and feeding the herd for two days.  They even took into consideration my low carb diet and had specialty meals for me.  Nice huh?

The room was set up with nine sets of three 4 ft tables in U-shape groupings for 3 to sit at each table – total of up to nine folks on each table set.  On each table was the brand new Brother Luminaire sewing and embroidery machine (comparable to the Baby Lock Solaris I believe).  This thing is a beauty and it lights up like a runway!  It has a whole host of very cool features like the ability to edit your designs right on the iPad-sized screen and project your design onto the stitching field so you know exactly where the design will go and what it will look like when it’s finished.  I think it has a camera in it too so you can take a picture of what you want and it will show up on the screen so you can edit it.  This thing is pretty high tech.  They sold 5 or 6 of them at the event, but not to me.  lol
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This seminar was not a Brother demo though so we didn’t get schooled in all the cool features of the machine, but was instead an opportunity to try out all of the DIME products on the machine.  They had fabric and stabilizer for us to make six projects:  a dog bandana with 3-D raised foam lettering, a hot pad trivet, a giraffe Embroider Buddy, a wall hanging, a t-shirt, and a burp cloth.  All things were donated to local charities and the giraffes and burp clothes went to a children’s hospital.  Nice huh? 🙂  This is my table partner Terri.
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The bottom line of this event (while incredibly fun) is that it is for us to play with all the cool gizmos that DIME offers to make our embroidery journey fun and easier.  After a product was demonstrated by the great instructors, they had little paddles with numbers on them for each of us and little shopping bags lined up against the back wall with our corresponding numbers from the paddles.  When they were finished doing a product demo, Cheryl the head DIME Educator, would ask who wanted one and we’d all raise our paddles and she’d call out our numbers like an auctioneer.  The girls in the back would stuff our bags and in the end it was like Christmas!  Shopping while sitting down in front of a gorgeous toy and making friends along the way.  I loved it!  Here is Cheryl.  She was awesome!
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Note:  The links to the products below are affiliate links so if you use that link to buy something, I get paid by the vendor so I can buy more stuff.  Win win!

My haul included Word Art in Stitches software which I bought specifically for the 10 micro-fonts.  My son is a pastor and wants me to embroider scripture on small items and you simply can’t do that with regular software when the smallest font size is 1/2″.  It also digitizes for the puffy letters that is so popular now on ball caps.  This software can be used for any brand embroidery machine and comes with over 140 fonts.  The demo was amazing.  Most of my embroidery includes lettering so this is well worth the expense to me.  I’ll also use it to embroider on quilt backings vs. hand stitching on a separate quilt label.
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I also picked up Perfect Stitch Viewer which allows you to see a preview of your design on your laptop in the file library so know what the heck it is you’re looking at.  When you download design files from any online vendor, it comes with a file name like UT123456 and what the heck is that?  You can’t open it to see without opening your design software and pulling the file in.  Even if you re-name the file to say like “Snowman”, do you know how many snowman files I have?  Scads!  I have the Embrilliance version of this and it works great, but while I can see the preview of the .pes files, I can’t see the preview of the .jef files for the new 7 needle Janome machine we have (I’m not sure why – probably operator error).  AND this software allows me to see a preview of long arm files!  YAY!  That’s what really sold me on this version.  Worth every penny.
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Next is the Bird’s Nest tool.  How this works is when you have a bird’s nest, rather than attempt to remove the hoop – with the nest refusing to let go – and doink up your machine’s timing while you’re at it, you use this long hook to reach under the hoop and lift the stabilizer away from the machine.  Then use the long blade to get under there and slice the nesty threads.  Then you can remove the hoop safely and clean it up.  It comes in a handy zipper case with an extra blade and blade cover.  Of course, I’ve never had a bird’s nest happen to me so I don’t know why I bought it.  HA!  I wish!  Plus, it doubles as a weapon if needed or I can remove my appendix.  Money.
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I’ve wanted these little Hoop Guards for a while.  Have you ever embroidered a newborn Onesie?  Absolute miserable experience.  Nuff said.
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I’ve looked around for an off-brand version of this Print & Stick Target Paper and haven’t found it.  This makes life so much easier when hooping.  I usually print out my design on regular paper and then pin or use spray adhesive to adhere it to the item I’m hooping.  That method has a success factor of like 50% or less for me on hard-to-hoop items because inevitably, the paper comes off or I poke myself.  The tack on this paper is great and it doesn’t leave any residue when you lift it off.  They call it paper but it’s really like a lightweight sticky interfacing that bends along with the item it is stuck to and seriously stays put. You can use the printed paper many times over and over (that’s redundant I know but it’s important so I’m leaving it).  You print your design on this paper using your regular printer, cut it out and then stick it to your item and hoop your item as usual.  Since the paper is stuck firmly to the item, you can be exactly sure you’ve centered your design where you want it in the hoop.  This is especially helpful for big designs that require multiple hoopings like up the leg of a pair of jeans.  Then you load your hoop into the machine, make sure your needle is coming down exactly on center and remove the sticky paper.  Playing with this stuff at the seminar, I really found the value in it for me.
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And last but not least, is the Unicorn Embroider Buddy.  Isn’t she cute?  They had a wall full of these cute cuddly creatures of all kinds, but there was only one unicorn.  I saw her early on the first day and I went to the back of the room and asked the lady to put her in my bag right away.  I knew she’d be gone in an instant.  You can remove the insides from these creatures and then hoop their belly in a 4×4 hoop for any design you like.  On the 2nd day when I was waiting in line to check out, one lady came up to me and asked me if I’d be willing to part with it.  Was she serious??  Fat chance!  She said that the shop could order her one and she hoped that it would come in by the time she went to Ft Worth to see her granddaughter because her granddaughter just LOVES unicorns.  Well what granddaughter doesn’t?  I’ve got one too ya’ know?  You think I’m buying this for myself?  Sheesh! You snooze you lose sister!  I asked if she lived nearby and she said yes.  I said I well I don’t so I’d have to pay shipping if I didn’t get it now.  So she says, “Oh well OK, you should keep it then.”  HA!  Well gee, thanks!  Like it was ever an option that she was going to get this unicorn from me.  I was bigger than her so I’m sure I could take her but you never know about those ladies.
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Because my purchase was over $250 I got a free font.  That was nice I suppose.  Not sure when I’ll use it but hey, it was free!
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So that’s it!  I left a little early to start the 3-hour drive home.  I really had a great time!

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Applique, Stitch Artist, and Silhouette Cameo 3

I’m recently all about a new technology/skill/craft that is creating pre-cut fabric applique pieces with a cutting machine and adding them to a quilt block with an embroidery machine.  I’m not sure what that is (lazy?) but you just can’t pick this up and go unless you’re super savvy and have the right equipment and embroidery digitizing software.  At least I need to be super savvy.  🙂

About two years ago or so, I bought a Silhouette Cameo3 from Woot.com for $199.00 which apparently was a great deal.  Have you heard of Woot.com?  Awesome daily deals and shipping is always $5.  This company was started by 2 guys from Texas and was bought a couple of years ago by Amazon.  I digress, but check them out.  Anyhoo…  So I bought this thing with the idea that it could make latex logo labels for hubs to use in his custom fishing rod business.  It came with a starter pack with a bunch of blades and tools and an extra mat I think.

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It arrived, I told hubs what it was, set the box down on the floor in the game room, and that was that.  Forgotten.  Don’t have a heart attack!  My blog is Power Tools with Thread, not “power tools with paper”.  Lots of you paper craft and I applaud that.  It just isn’t me.  Maybe it goes back to a seriously bad paper cut as a kid, I’m not sure, but I have absolutely no desire in my LIFE to paper craft.

So one morning while we were at the coast and the house was quiet (hubs was still asleep) I was surfing YouTube and I came across a video of someone cutting fabric shapes with a cutting machine.  I had literally completely forgotten about the box in the game room and was like “Hey! I should get one of those machines because I HATE to trace and cut out applique shapes in fabric and I could use this for the Dinosaur Applique Quilt”.   The machine in the video was the Brother Scan-n-Cut so I watched all kinds of videos on that machine.   

When we got home I was putting things away and for no reason, glanced at the box on the floor in the game room and it struck me.  EUREKA! I have one of those machines!  I opened it up and it’s not a Scan-n-Cut, but the Silhouette Cameo 3.  Hmm.  More YouTube surfing for some OJT on that baby.  I finally got the thing working with my phone via Bluetooth, but had a disastrous outcome when I tried to cut the fabric.

Then on another day I was surfing YouTube (again) and I came across a video by Briton Leap featuring Lisa Shaw who’s a rock star in the machine embroidery world.  She was showing how to use an embroidery machine to create a placement line for pre-cut applique shapes and then sew a final tack-down stitch for the pieces.  Seriously???  I wouldn’t even have to sew them in place?  Wait…Let me get this right… If I can get the shapes to cut out with the Silhouette, and use embroidery software to create an applique file, then I wouldn’t have to trace/print, cut, or sew it down the old fashioned way?  REALLY??  SIGN ME UP!!  

My first thing was to order her recommended Heat & Bond Lite Stretch.  She showed in the video how it turns the fabric to almost paper-like so it cuts cleanly in a cutting machine.  In my previous attempts I had used Wonder Under on the back of the fabric and I tried it with the paper and without the paper on the back of the fabric and it didn’t work worth a crap either way.

After seeing the video with Lisa Shaw, I didn’t know if my Embrilliance software would work or if I needed a digitizing software like Stitch Artist?  I surfed all around the web and I guess I either didn’t ask the right question or whatever but I couldn’t find an answer.  Well, when Google fails there’s Facebook!  I became a member of a machine embroidery group and explained what I wanted to do and asked for advice.  Guess who responded to me?  LISA SHAW!  In the virtual flesh!  (I was tickled!) She said I would need to upgrade my Embrilliance Essentials to Stitch Artist Level 1 and then pointed me to the video in the link below where Sunbonnet Sue was digitized with Stitch Artist for applique. 

So that’s it!  I need time to play with all this and my initial fiddling with Stitch Artist is going well but I haven’t had time to try cutting fabric yet with the new H&B.  But this summer has been so crazy busy and I’m on a new compressed work schedule that keeps me in the office for an extra hour each day but gives me a day off every two week pay period. It’s on those off days I’ll be able to sit and think and play to get this process going.  Have you done this?  Success?  Failure?  Words of wisdom?

UPDATE:  Summer 2018.  I never could get the hang of the Silhouette – too much of a learning curve for this techy girl if you can believe it.  So I sold it on Craigslist and bought the Brother ScanNCut 650W.  LOVE IT!!  I have mastered cutting my applique shapes in fabric and embroidering them down using Simply Applique.  Read about it here:  https://powertoolswiththread.com/2018/09/23/automated-machine-embroidered-applique-with-brother-scan-n-cut-simply-applique/

Merry Christmas 2018!

As promised, I’m going to show all the quilting and embroidery gifts I worked on throughout the year for my grand kiddos. The quilts were quilted on my King Quilter using a Butler robot. And before you wonder if I spent my Christmas morning blogging, no…I wrote this a few days ago and scheduled it to post at 7 AM on Dec 25.

The first is a quilt for my 10 y/o step-granddaughter Lyric. She is all into that Monster High that young girls are into now. I found this Grimsely’s fabric and pattern at Mes Ames Quilt shop in New Orleans. I blogged how I finished the top in the RV before we even left the camp site! Sorry, I didn’t get a photo after I quilted it.

The next was for Aiden, my baby grandbaby who just turned 2 in October. They call him Aiden the Destroyer because he’s already built like a little linebacker and doesn’t mind giving a stack of toys (or a person) a tackle for no reason at all. It’s called Woodland Friends and was just a simple panel with borders. The quilting is Puffy Clouds from Intelligent Quilting. It has an 80/20 Warm and a poly batting to make the clouds extra puffy.

My local quilt shop had this kit on the wall – all except for the backing which I found on Etsy. It’s called Corner of 5th and Fun and I just fell in love with it. This one is for Callie my 5 year old granddaughter with the Christmas Birthday. I wrapped the quilt in Christmas paper to set it apart from the unicorn she got for her birthday. It too is a panel that’s cut into 3 parts and then pieced with strips of pinwheels and blocks in the border. The quilt pattern is Bunnies from Urban Elementz. I didn’t want it too dense so it might take away from the images on the quilt.

And last but not least, the Cute Monster Quilt from Craftsy by Wendi Gratz. If you haven’t already, please check out my YouTube channel for details on how I made it by using the Brother ScanNCut for the applique pieces. This one is for Calvin, my 7 year old grandson, and I was originally going to make him the Bjorn Bear quilt by Elizabeth Hartman. However, I started too late and decided the monster quilt would be quicker. I’m not entirely sure that was true! LOL I quilted it with Spirals Squared (a pattern that came with my robot Butler). If you notice, one of the monsters has blue glasses just like Calvin does! Third row/2nd monster. The glasses pattern is from the Bjorn Bear quilt pattern and I scaled it down 55% to make it fit. I cut them out on the ScanNCut as well. The fabric is from a fat quarter bundle designed for the Bjorn Bear quilt. The backing is a light gray Grunge. I had SO much fun making this quilt and it’s by far my favorite of all my quilts I’ve ever done. That’s my lucky gecko on the ceiling!

For Callie’s birthday present, I embroidered the Unicorn Embroider Cubbie. I blogged my acquisition of this adorable creature at the DIME Stitch Lab in Houston last Sept. It’s a little crooked…just like me. 🙂 I also made her the Reading Pillow as a Christmas present. I show it here on YouTube. It has an embroidered unicorn on it and the pocket contains a Little Golden Book The Night Before Christmas and an activities book. The back of the pillow is a minkey scrap.

That’s all for now. Enjoy what remains of your Christmas season and Happy New Year!

December 1st!  Somebody tell me where the year went!  Y’all, I have to tell you that 2018 has been a blessed year around our house and I hope it was at yours as well.  Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past month.

Check out the cutting mat I picked up at the Quilt Festival in Houston last month.  This thing is like a football field!  I absolutely love it.  I got it at the show price of $75.  I’ve been butting up two large green Olfa mats for some time now and inevitably they come apart in the middle and the rotary cutter won’t cut there or if overlapped, they were like a ski slope.
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I’ve wanted a heat press for some time as well, and I picked up this 6″ x 7″ for just $99 along with a mat and pressing sheets on Amazon on Black Friday.
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I don’t do a whole lot of heat transfer vinyl (I don’t have the room in my world for that craft)  but the girls at work decided we’d all look the same on Fridays this month and we all got this bling design to go on black t-shirts.  I needed an iron right?  My blogger buddy Joy would just love this!  wp-1543668259831..jpg

Sorry Joy, when we bought the bling pieces at work, you and I weren’t in contact yet or I’d of made one for you.  I’ll think of you every time I wear it though!  Isn’t she a peach?  You guys have to go check out Joy Bernhardt on YouTube and her blog at Joyful-expressions.blogspot.com.  Joy is bubbly, happy, and always up to something.  I just love her videos and following her around in her sewing room.  That’s a new BabyLock Solaris hiding under the new cover she made for it.  Can’t wait to see what she starts doing with that beauty!
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When I went to the DIME Stitch Lab in The Woodlands in Sept, I bought a piece of software called Word Art in Stitches and let me tell you, I love this thing!  I’m a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (I have like 13 American Revolutionary War ancestors) and my local chapter wanted to have matching embroidered blouses that we could wear to public events where we wouldn’t normally be wearing our ribbons like in chapter meetings or State conferences.  I came up with this design and I’m testing it out right now on “like” fabric to see how it’s stitching out.  The micro-fonts in WAS are exactly why I purchased this software.  The lower case letters are about 1/4″ tall.  Look how clear they are!
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Not sewing related, but would you look at the price of fuel here in South Texas?  WOW!
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We had an amazing feast for Thanksgiving at the Hurricane in Port O’Connor.  There was so much food with great friends.  The restaurant provided the turkey & ham and everyone was asked to bring a side.  I brought two homemade pecan pies.  We had a wonderful time and I didn’t have to kill myself cooking and cleaning.  Perfect!  Keith gave the blessing and it’s got almost 400 Likes on FaceBook.
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While we were in POC, I stopped by Beefore It’s a Quilt in Port Lavaca, and picked up a kit for this quilt.  It’s just perfect for my house in LaVernia.  It’s really lovely and the photo doesn’t do it justice.  It’s a Villa Rosa pattern and sometimes the simplest patterns make the prettiest and most satisfying finishes.
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I made a couple of these embroidered toilet paper rolls as a gag and Keith took them in to the office as a show-n-tell.  Now I’ve got orders for 5 of them!  Thanks for adding to my to-do list!  Ha!  If you want to know how to make these, there’s a bunch of videos on YouTube.
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The Christmas Scenes quilt is off the longarm and bound.  It turned out so pretty!
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My local quilt store, Scrappy Quilter in Schertz, Texas is moving.  They found a place twice the size across the street from their old shop.  I stopped by to lend a hand and they put me to work moving about 100+ bolts of clearance fabric from a huge pile on one end of the store into a display on the other end.  I had a blast!
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I’m working on a quilt for a grandchild for Christmas.  Nothing like waiting until the last minute.
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I’ve got to get this finished, longarmed, bound, and mailed in the next two weeks.  Yikes!  I need to quit blogging and get sewing!  What are you working on?

 

 

 

Simplicity 8794 #widelegpantchallenge

Have you all heard about Joy Bernhardt’s Wide Leg Pant Challenge? She decided to challenge us all to make up some wide leg pants to get us sewing and because they are SOOOO easy!

I used Simplicity 8794. The pattern for the pants is literally 3 pieces. Front, back, and POCKET! Love me some pockets!

The elastic I used is a 1.5″ wide super soft elastic that I got from Louise Cutting’s website (based on a recommendation from Joy). I trimmed it down to 1.25″. This stuff is amazing and so easy to sew through.

I used 3 machines in this make: 1) the serger for the inner and outer leg seams; 2) the standard sewing machine for the hem; and 3) the coverstitch for the waistband. I think a coverstitch machine makes for such a pretty look on the outside over an elastic waist band. I used Steam-A-Seam for the hem before stitching the single hem stitch at a 4.0.

The fabric is a luscious stretch crepe. It’s heavy and flowy and has a beautiful hand. Sorry, I can’t recall where I got it and it’s not in any of my regular online ordering history so maybe…probably…Joann’s?

I get my labels at Dutch Label Shop. I love this!

These will be worn a lot! I need a shorter top to wear with them though. I would also go down a size. My hips measure 44 so that’s a size 20 out of the package but I probably could wear my standard pattern size of 18.

OK, time to post on Instagram! If you’re doing this, be sure to tag them (use the pound sign! lol) #widelegpantchallenge (and that’s “pant” singular)

#DIME Trapunto Seashell Table Runner is Finished!

I’ve finished the table runner! Yay! #DesignsInMachineEmbroidery has offered a free table runner project and you can get the directions and a link to download the files on my previous post here. Also, those free design files are only good through Dec 31, 2019 so if you think you might want to make this later, be sure to download them from the Ameliescott website now.

Trapunto Seashell Table Runner
Designs In Machine Embroidery Trapunto Seashell Table Runner

I made the last two how-to videos today and unfortunately, before I finished, my camera battery ran out. Dang! Typical… I’ll be editing them and getting them up this week.

Anyhoo…Once I figured out how to use the scan camera in my Brother Quattro (upgrade Kit 1), life became fun, and happy, and full of rainbows! 🙂 So much so, that I was disappointed when the time came to say goodnight to my machine. That nifty little feature allowed me to perfectly place the quilt stitching in the background fabric around the shell and also place the stitching in the accent fabric. I can “see” the stitching on the screen by using the scanned image that the camera picked up. I’m in a silly kind of heaven I never knew existed!

I finished the runner with My Favorite Machine Binding Method using a Kona Silver I got from an MSQC Daily Deal that was hanging around in my stash. However, unlike that blog post, I no longer need or use the Steam-a-Seam due to my Brother PQ1500SL which upped my binding game much to my surprise. The 1/4″ foot on that machine does away with the need for pins, clips, or SAS. I love it!

Oh, one more thing… Offer ends July 31, 2019 to get two years of #DesignsInMachineEmbroidery magazine for the price of one for less than $20! Use this link. http://www.dzgns.com/magazine/bt142/ If your Apple Safari browser won’t let you through, use Chrome or Firefox or the Samsung browser if you have an Android device. When you get to the point of actually ordering, it switches to https so it is secure.

Thanks to everyone who participated! I hope during the course of this project you learned to overcome your fear and the mystique of your embroidery machine! If you have joined along in our table runner journey, please upload your finished table runners to Instagram and use the hashtag #trapuntoseashelltablerunner

See you on YouTube soon!

Streamlined Sewing with New IKEA Linmon Tables

You may recall, we enclosed the back patio on our home to become my sewing room in this post. Here’s a quick look at how I had my machines set up before. I only had one machine on top of the sewing table and if I needed to use the serger or cover stitch, I had to perform all kinds of acrobatics to make room and move machines around in order to sew a single garment. It was so inconvenient and I hated it.

I searched all over online and watched tons of YouTube videos to get ideas of what I wanted and what would work for me. I finally decided to go the IKEA route and used Linmon tables to give each machine its own living space. I wanted an assembly line of sorts to be able to use any machine at any time without having to move them around. I purchased two sets of Alex drawers to hold all my sewing notions and placed one at each end of the assembly line. I also place a little bamboo box within each reach of the machines that contain scissors, seam rippers, rulers, and other notions I use frequently. To keep things neat, there’s a trash can next to each machine.

To get from machine to machine, I simply roll back and forth. It’s heaven! Yes, I need another chair, but for now, this is what I have. That’s a memory pillow on the chair made from a couple of my dad’s old shirts. He’s always with me when I sew. 🙂

From bottom to top: Brother Quattro Embroidery Machine, Brother PQ1500SL quilt piecing machine, Brother PC420 sewing machine, Brother 1034D Lock serger, and Janome 900 Cover Stitch.

My first garment using the new set up was a pair of Jalie Clara leggings and it was such a joy to roll from the sewing machine, to the serger, to the cover stitch. I even completed the project faster than I had ever sewn anything before because I wasn’t stopping and starting throughout the process. And for once, I hemmed my garment right away with the cover stitch because, well…it was right there ready to go!

I’m so, so happy with the new set up! I’m certain my garment sewing is going to really ramp up with more projects in the works!

Conversation Hearts Surrounded by Love

I watched a video the other day from Lisa Capen Quilts on YouTube (you can learn anything on YouTube) and I fell in love with a wall hanging she was making themed around candy conversation hearts. First, I LOVE candy conversation hearts. I used to go through them in elementary school and make sure that any I passed out to my classmates for our Valentine’s Day party didn’t include one that said “cute” or “kiss me” to a boy who I didn’t want to get the wrong idea. C’mon!! We ALL did that. Admit it. 🙂

Lisa’s method was the traditional way to print or draw a picture of the design, use a light box to trace the design and words, cut out fabric backed with Heat-n-Bond, and then using a satin stitch on a domestic sewing machine, she appliqued the hearts onto a background. At one point in her video, she said it was “a little time consuming”. Ya THINK??

I really wanted to do this but have absolutely no desire whatsoever for all that work. Especially when I have a power tool, a.k.a my embroidery machine, to do it for me. And I have a very nifty piece of software called Simply Applique whose mission in life is to assist lazy embroiderers like myself. Here’s how I did it. Oh, and I’ve started a YouTube channel! I would love it if you would subscribe! I do not, and will not, monetize my channel so any products I talk about are my own personal opinion.

The hearts are an image I grabbed from Google Images which I printed and scanned into my Brother Scan-N-Cut. Once scanned, I uploaded it into the Brother Canvas Workspace to resize. Then I downloaded the image back to the Scan-n-Cut to cut out the hearts. The hearts were cut from fabric already backed by Heat-n-Bond. The background dimensions are 10″ x 26″ Kona white and then I needed a few extra inches all around the outside of Warm & White for the batting and I chose a dark pink solid for the backing and binding. The hearts are from a fat quarter bundle of solids from Free Spirit and the border is a mini-charm pack called Surrounded by Love from Moda. All the fabrics were from my stash.

The interior stipple is from a stencil I have and I used a Frixon marker to draw out the stipple design, because I’m lame and cannot do a freehand simple stipple. If I had been thinking ahead, I’d of stippled the background first on the embroidery machine because I have several stipple designs. Or even a background heart design would be cute. I just did a simple “X” on each border square.

Here’s the final product! I think it turned out absolutely adorable!! (If I do say so myself!) Now I have a cute wall hanging to remind hubs how I feel about him this coming Valentine’s Day. 🙂

A Pink Quilt for a Friend with Breast Cancer

This summer we learned unfortunate news that a friend of ours had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  She is in her mid-50’s with a husband and a teenage daughter who is just starting her senior year of high school.  I can’t imagine anything more scary than a life threatening illness.  Her husband said they caught it early and she was immediately undergoing treatment.  You can imagine that when someone you love is very sick, you want to provide care and comfort.  Those of us who are affected by a loved one who receives such a diagnosis feel so helpless!  She lives in another state so what could I do?  Why, make her a quilt of course!

I searched the web and found 2.5″ pre-cut strips of Pinking of You, by Wilmington Essentials, which I thought would be perfect.  The link above is for a mini-strip set, so if you want to make the same size I did, you’ll need to purchase two of them.  I’m sure she doesn’t have a single pink thing in her house and it won’t match at all, but that’s not the point.  I thought I had bought the 10″ squares and when the fabric arrived I looked at it and thought, “What am I going to do with this?”  After more web searching for ideas (because I’m missing the Creative gene), I decided on what Missouri Star Quilt Company has termed a Jelly Roll Race.  You just start sewing all those strips end-to-end so they are long enough to wrap around your house! When you get to the end, you start sewing it to itself, over and over, until you run out of strips.  It’s a pretty quick sew.  Here’s a video of how to.

I removed the lighter cream strips from the set and got to it.
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I wanted to add a Pink Ribbon to the quilt top so I found one on the internet and printed it out.  Then I traced a line drawing of the outside edges, scanned the tracing into my Brother ScanNCut 650W, and it cut out a perfect fabric ribbon out of a batik I had in my stash.  I love that machine!  I attached it to the top with a blanket stitch.
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I wondered if she might haul this thing to treatments and I know those rooms can be very cold so I decided to back it in Minky.  What a mess!  That stuff shreds like nobody’s business!  I picked it up at Joann’s Fabrics along with flannel for the middle vs. the traditional batting.  The Minky is pretty heavy stuff all by itself.  I picked up the fabric for the borders from my local Scrappy Quilter shop.  The quilting pattern is Loopy Hearts from Intelligent Quilting.

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In an effort to speed up the process to get this to her as quickly as possible, I made a terrible mistake of adding the binding during the longarm process, which I had never done before.  I’m an expert binder and thought, “How hard can this be?”  My friends, take it from me, DON’T do this on a gift project if you’re not up to speed with it.  What a disaster!  It took longer to fix the mistakes in the binding than it would have to do it my usual way from the get-go.  Even now, it looks like a 4 year old did it.  Sorry my friend…let me know if it falls apart in the wash and I’ll pay the shipping to get it back, fix it right, and return it to you.  🙂

Well, I think she likes it!  I added a label to let her know she is wrapped in hugs and prayers.  I think it goes great with her décor.  Don’t you?

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She is still undergoing treatment.  Your prayers for healing for my friend Mary would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you and God bless.

 

New Addition to the Power Tool Arsenal, Brother PQ1500SL & Flutter Glow Quilt Sample

Yep!  I have a new quilting machine!  I know, some of you are like, “Yawn, what else is new?”, because I seem to collect sewing machines like some women acquire shoes.  This new doll was on sale $100 off on Amazon Prime Day and I’ve been wanting one forever.  Meet my new Brother PQ1500SL!  Ain’t she purdy???  🙂  Just look at those sleek lines, the minimalist gadgetry, and large harp space to accommodate bulky quilts.  Ahhh, she’s like the perfect model with curves in all the right places.  Simply stunning.
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She is absolutely identical in every way to the Baby Lock Jane but hundreds less because she’s marketed under the Brother name.  And y’all know I LOVE my Brother machines.  Somebody actually said on a FB comment that Brother was the low-end of Baby Lock.  Well if you’re a snob, then yes.  For the identical machine, it’s like purchasing a Lincoln MKX vs. a Ford Edge (same car/company with different packaging & prices).  But if you’re smart, then you know your wallet is happier to go Brother.  Now you BL owners, don’t get all bent out of shape.  I have a BL Ellegante 2 embroidery machine and love her, and to the poster’s credit, Brother does make very inexpensive machines that sell for less than $100 at Wal-Mart for beginners.  So in that respect, the poster was correct.  However, the parts and mechanics inside are identical – the cheaper machines just have less bells and whistles.  Oh speaking of Baby Lock, did you see their new Solaris Embroidery Machine?  $19k is what I heard my friends – for a single needle machine.  Holy Moly.  It should drive me to work because I can buy a car for less than that.  I wonder how it compares to the Brother Dream Machine.  woops!  I digress…

The first thing you’ll notice about the 1500 is that it is NOT what I would call a regular domestic sewing machine.  It cannot zig-zag, do button holes, do decorative stitching, or do a blind hem stitch, etc.  It does straight line stitching only.  So you might be thinking, “How limiting is that?”  Well, this machine, much like the serger and the coverstitch machines, is designed to compliment your sewing machine arsenal, vs. replace a regular sewing machine.  While it only does one thing, it does that one thing exceptionally well…much better than a regular domestic sewing machine.  This machine has limited computerized functionality with only a needle up-down feature.  Every other aspect of stitch length, reverse, speed, etc. is all manual.  Pretty close to old school.

Let’s get into the weeds.  First there is the 1/4″ line on the plate of the machine.  This is extremely accurate.  I kind of wish they’d put a stitch continuation line in the housing and extension table like I created with my piece of wall-tape.  The first thing I noticed about this machine when sewing is that when the feed dogs pull the fabric through, they pull it through completely straight – there is no wobble at all.  When you get to the end of a piece of fabric, it doesn’t pull one direction or the other.  It’s a thing of beauty for quilters.  And see the horizontal 1/4″ line?  Perfect for seam join accuracy.
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The no wobble can probably be attributed to not only the feed dogs, but also the single needle hole which you can see directly under the needle.  The fabric cannot be pulled left or right by a wide set of feed dogs like on a regular sewing machine.  The accuracy of the seam allowance is incredible as is the symmetry of the stitch length.
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Did you notice the eye of the needle goes left to right vs. front to back?  So let’s talk about the needle threader.  Every review of this machine will tell you that it sucks and they are right.  Totally right.  Hey Brother / Baby Lock, the needle threader sucks.  I’ve figured out a fairly good method of doing it because my eyes aren’t that good anymore to thread it manually, but it normally takes me a couple of tries to get it threaded.  Honestly, that’s the only gripe I have with this machine.  Oh that, and the thread cutter could leave more than 1/2″ of thread on the backside of the needle…which frequently comes unthreaded because it’s so stinking short and then I have to doink with the sucky needle threader again.
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I mentioned old-school.  This machine needs to be oiled.  The last several machines I’ve purchased have not required any oiling.  The gears and mechanics of today’s domestic sewing machines are made of high quality plastics and do not have the metal-on-metal parts like machines of yester year.  Well this machine has metal-on-metal and it requires oiling twice a month if you sew daily like I do.  I’ve already added oil to all the points shown in the manual even though it probably had it done in the factory.  Doors open on the extension table and into the machine so you can get to the bobbin case.
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The bobbin case and the housings are metal vs. plastic like the drop in bobbins in a regular Brother machine.
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Also metal are the bobbins.  This machine uses the L bobbin vs. the M that normal sewing machines use.  They hold more than a regular bobbin and you can’t find them in Walmart so if you get this machine, be sure to order some from Amazon.  I think this pack of 50 was like $15.
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The bobbin maker is amazing.  This machine can do 1,500 stitches per minute which then creates a bobbin in 23 seconds flat.  Seriously.  I timed it and I couldn’t believe it.  The result was a perfectly wound bobbin without any hills or valleys in the wind like you get on a regular machine.  My first couple of attempts (without reading the manual) didn’t work because I discovered that the groove in the metal bobbin actually snaps into place on the bobbin spindle.
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If the red light is illuminated on the front of the machine then it is in needle-down position which means that the machine will always stop with the needle down.  This is very handy for quilters and it acts like an extra hand to hold things in place when you get started.  I will do a single stitch or two at the start of a piecing set while the needle is down, then I line everything up down to the bottom of the set (intersections, ends, etc.)
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The position of the feed dogs is scalable based on the thickness of the fabric.  I WILL be using this machine to sew denim jeans/shorts/capris/skirts and do topstitching on them.  The fact that this machine is mostly metal means that it can handle multiple thicknesses of denim unlike my other machines.  In the photo above, do you see the pink line where there is a little point that sticks up above the needle plate?  That is a pin that comes up to secure everything in place for shifty fabrics like finished leather…for a new purse!  Hmmm, maybe I need to review that leather purse making class I bought on Craftsy a couple of years ago.  🙂  Tandy Leather, here I come!  HA!

There is a double spool stand and thread tree in the back.  I prefer a vertical spool thread discharge as opposed to a horizontal.  It seems to get less tangles and the tree helps to support the high speed of the machine.
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Oh speaking of high speed, yesterday I accidentally pushed the presser foot down to hard and scared myself silly.  My heart was racing and I had to check the tip of my index finger to make sure it wasn’t stitched into the fabric and the pain just hadn’t hit yet.  It was like ZOOM!!  ACK!  It happened that fast.  This machine will take some getting used to.  Last night I literally (and I mean “literally”) whizzed through binding a quilt in half the time of what it used to take me on my regular machines.  I sew a binding strip to the front of the quilt, iron the binding out flat, and then fold it over to cover the stitching line on the back and then stitch-in-the-ditch from the front.  Normally I have to pin the part that is folded over so it doesn’t slide around and get missed from the top, but not this time.  I was able to completely omit this step except for the corners where the miter is finicky.  This quilt is a gift for my granddaughter so I can’t show the whole thing, but you can see the stich quality here on both the front and back.  No STID foot required…the accuracy is THAT good and I was finished in less than an hour on this 68″ x 74″ quilt holding everything in place with just my fingers.
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So in all, I’m THRILLED with this machine and the new level it has taken my quilting accuracy.  Right now I’m in the home stretch of a sample quilt for my local quilt shop, Scrappy Quilter, called Flutter Glow.  They are offering the purple version.  The fabric is absolutely stunning!
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The pattern states right up front that 1/4″ seam accuracy is a must and it’s not kidding.  This thing is what I would say would be good for the intermediate quilter.  Even though the pattern is based on a panel, there’s a ton of bias cuts and if you don’t have the seam allowances correct, the points won’t match up in all the parts around the panel.  I’m SO happy I have this new machine to help me.
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Here is the finished product!
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The quilt top will be hanging in the store for other quilters to purchase the kits.  Isn’t that cool?  I’m published!  lol  Honestly, my skills are diminished by the beautiful samples they have hanging in the store and I was just honored to be asked.  I hope the finished product lives up to Jo’s expectations.

So that’s it!  I love this new machine and I’m excited to see what we do together in the future.  Have a great week!
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