I’ve had a busy sewing November so far this month. Hubs and I planned to visit the Houston Quilt Festival and we made the trip from our coastal home in Port O’Connor, Texas to Houston.
We ran into Angela Wolf from It’s So Easy on PBS.
I read on Facebook that you should take along a backpack to tote all your goodies so of course, I had to make one.
I loved the Urban Elementz booth. The owner lives in New Braunfels, Texas which is near our home so I like to support our local artists. I picked up the cute giraffe measuring quilt kit. Love those shades!
How cute is THIS? Adorbs!
I made up some mug rugs for my local quilt shop, Scrappy Quilter, that come from Kimberbell’s Holiday and Seasonal Mug Rugs, Vol 1. Jo put them display! Here’s the cardinal.
And here are the gingerbread, pumpkin, and spider. So cute!
Here’s the embroidery display area in the store. They are moving next month to a new place across the street and Jo wants to expand the embroidery offerings and I can’t wait to help her by making more store samples.
I’ve got my Christmas Scenes quilt on the longarm. One mission I had at the Quilt Festival was to visit the Quilt Butler computer folks and get some assistance with the nesting feature to make the quilted rows come out evenly. Mission accomplished! The decals on Elvis are also from Urban Elementz.
And lastly, a coworker’s wife is expecting a baby girl next week so I made her a nursing cape and a couple of bibs.
So that’s what’s been under my needle. What’s been under yours?
I know “Automated” and “Machine Embroidered” sound redundant, because just the fact that the machine is doing the embroidery means it’s automated, right? I’ve taken it a step further! Last year I blogged about how I’d like to automate applique quilt blocks. I’ve been working on it and I think I’ve found some success! I adore applique quilts but I have a bit of arthritis in my hands so cutting out applique pieces with scissors is not much fun, and I’m not a fan of all the stops, starts, and turns in the sewing part. Being a techy kind of girl, I knew there had to be a better way. Enter the Brother Scan-n-Cut and Simply Applique software.
I have a cute pattern for a Rhino Quilt that I kept from a magazine from back in 2014. This rhino is one piece and a very simple line design so I figured this would be a good one to test on. I cut out the pattern page of the Rhino from the magazine and scanned it in to the Brother Scan-n-Cut. I have the wireless model that uploads the image to the free Brother Canvas Workspace. This place is amazing. You should check it out.
In this cloud environment, you can edit to your heart’s desire. Basically, you want to remove anything that you don’t want cut or stitched in some way. Here he is before. I think those lines are from a fold in the paper and the bottom of the page that the scanner picked up and then there were some words or marks on his body.
And here he is after. Ready to go! I edited by clicking on the parts I didn’t want and simply hitting the Delete key on my laptop. Easy peasy.
Once you have your image the way you like it, you can download it to your laptop or back to your Scan-n-Cut machine. For this project, I have to do both. It gives you .fcm files for the Simply Applique software and .svg cut files for the ScanNCut.
First I download it to the Scan-n-Cut where I have a piece of fabric stuck to the mat that has Heat-n-Bond ironed to it. Paper side up! Ask me how I know! What a mess!
I load the mat, press a button, and in less than a minute – ta da!! One cut rhino!
Then I download the file to my laptop and pull it into the Simply Applique software. (File/Import fcm). I’ve messed around with the stitch depth settings a bit for placement, tack down, and satin.
Then I save the file to a USB I can load into my embroidery machine. The software will save to virtually any type of embroidery file – it is not proprietary to Brother or Baby Lock.
I loaded a hoop with a piece of fabric and cut away stabilizer and let the machine do its thing! I love how this turned out!
This sample was all done with cheap fat quarters from a non-quilt store (don’t want to ruin my good fabric if it failed!).
OK, so one single shape is a good start. But what about applique with multiple layers in the design? I’m working on Ocean Friends by Pamala Jo Designs. I wanted to make this quilt for a little neighbor boy at the coast. Using the same process I described above, within an hour, I had this block done! I need to work on the settings for offset stitches because sometimes the tack down missed the fabric completely even if the fabric was exactly where it needed to be on the placement line.
To keep everything straight in my head, I pulled a screenshot from the Brother Canvas and printed it out so I could keep track of which color needed to be placed in the correct order.
In Simply Applique, I renamed each stitch in the left menu with the sequence number, part name, and color I was going to use. One thing I haven’t worked out yet in the software is how to remove covered stitches on the final satin stitch. I had to watch the embroidery closely to stop the satin stitching where a piece of fabric would overlap and then begin it again when needed. I used a run stitch on the whites of the eyes and the pupils vs. a satin stitch. EDIT: To remove hidden satin stitches, you left click the part that is on top to select it, then right click Remove Hidden Stitches.
Here’s the final sample. I had some machine issues with skipped stitches but that had nothing to do with the software. Oh, and if I made the white fabric large enough, that would have helped too. 🙂
In addition to continuing to test the offset placement and tack down stitches, I’m going to experiment with adding embellishments after the fact like satin stitched eyes or maybe a stitched smile. That can be done in the software so I need the practice.
I need to start another block of the month like I need a hole in the head. But… this little guy is SO cute! It only took me about an hour to make the block. I found this blog, Quilting with Vanda, when I read a post from another quilter that I follow who is doing it too.
The good thing about this particular BOM is that I don’t have to buy any fabric or patterns. The pattern is sent to me via email and I will make the blocks from my existing fabric stash. That’s a good thing right?
I printed the pattern and then I scanned it into my Brother Scan-n-Cut and uploaded the pages to the Brother Scan-n-Cut Canvas in the cloud. The reason for this is to remove all the extraneous marks like size indicator blocks and pattern piece identifiers. If I don’t do this, the machine will want to cut them out.
The canvas workspace is really easy to navigate and use. It has a ton of features that I don’t use because I’m not a paper crafter. In this image, all I have left to remove is the 1 inch square block. Now, there’s a step here I’m not showing. It’s hard to see but some of the pieces have open spaces in the shape. That’s to show that they go under something else. I used the draw tool (the one with the pencil) to draw a line to finish off the shape. If I didn’t do this, the cutter wouldn’t cut it out completely.
Then I downloaded the images back to the cutting machine and cut them out with the push of a button. I LOVE that machine! I didn’t get a photo of the mat with the fabric ready to cut (sorry), but here are the pieces after the cut outs. I backed them before cutting with Heat-n-Bond Stretch. See how cleanly they cut? Did I tell you I love this machine? I have the Scan n Cut 650Wireless version.
I’m not a fan of blanket stitching applique on a domestic sewing machine so I used my mid-arm sit down to stitch down all the pieces using a straight (ha ha) line. Now, it’s dang near impossible to get the stitching as neat and perfect as a domestic machine so I used a tactic I learned in my quilting class. Use repetition to hide mistakes. I stitched many times over a very uneven line to create a kind of child’s cartoon-y effect. I’m going to do this for each block in the quilt and I think it will be adorable!
Keith’s daughter Keri visited last weekend with his almost 10-year old granddaughter, Lyric, who was an absolute joy. They were visiting from North Texas for a wedding that Keri was going to attend over in Gonzales, Tx.
When she arrived, Keri said she forgot to bring a gift and felt bad. Grammy to the rescue! Personalized towels are perfect and so easy. She bought some towels at a local store and then we picked out an applique font and some fabric scraps. I used the Brother Simply Applique program to create the design.
I floated the towel over hooped wash-away stabilizer and used a wash-away topper to keep the stitch down stitches from being buried in the pile of the towel.
They turned out great!
I dug around for a wedding gift bag in a back closet somewhere and ta-da! Instant wedding gift. Keri was so appreciative and thanked me profusely. You know I loved every minute of doing this. 🙂
On the day of the wedding, Keith took Lyric fishing on our ranch all day. He said that girl is a fishing machine and she wore him out! I think Harley is hoping she drops it.
They brought home four fish and Keith fried them up for lunch on Sunday. They were delicious!
Also on Sunday, Lyric spent 5 hours in the sweat shop with me to help me work on the Ocean Friends quilt that I’m making for the son of our neighbor at the coast. She was so good listening to me and asking questions about what and why. She learned to use a rotary cutter, how to hold a ruler while cutting, how to thread the machine, she helped to pick out fabrics and she sewed 9 of the Wonky Nine Patch Blocks that go into the quilt. I was so proud of her. You should have seen her critiquing her 1/4″ seams!
Look how the seams match on those blocks. She was so careful to nest them the way I showed her. She’s a natural!
I was sorry to see them go home. I did however, send a special birthday present for Lyric home with her mom but I can’t tell you what it is because her birthday isn’t until June. After her experience this weekend, I think she’ll like it! 😉
Monday I went to my local quilt shop and picked up 17 yards of black grunge fabric for a 6″ outer border and backing for my BIL’s t-shirt quilt. I also got a yard of teal grunge for a 2″ inner border.
Here the quilt top so far. I should be able to finish the top this weekend. The lizard on the ceiling caused quite a stir in my FB group for Beginner Longarm Quilters. He’s always hanging around keeping an eye on me. ha ha
I also saw this quilt made from a panel hanging in the window of the quilt shop. Of course, I had to add it into the queue…as if it’s not full enough! I’ve never made a spool quilt and I think it will look great in my new sewing room at the coast.
Ok, so this is a bit late. And I could hold on to it until next year but…nah. While I was in Colorado Springs visiting the grands last August, I came across the CUTEST applique quilt, Halloween Hooters by Whistling Creek Productions.
I did this quilt completely the old fashioned way: tracing by hand, cutting with scissors, and stitching by machine vs. an embroidery machine. It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I did enjoy the process.
I’m completely not a fan of a blanket stitch but instead, after seeing this on a blog somewhere, dropped the feed dogs, popped on the hopping foot, and stitched very close to the edge of the material. It went very quickly and I got better as I went.
I found some really cute Halloween fabric for the backing. I totally don’t care that the stitching can be seen here. It’s a wall hanging so it won’t be seen anyway.
I think before it goes up next year, I’ll do some spider webs in the black center parts to fill it in a bit. Overall I’m vey happy with how this turned out. Too cute and totally fun!