Archives

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.

Silhouette-Cameo-3-1

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?

Embroidered BBQ Apron, Towel, and Weekend Projects

Hubs spent last weekend at the coast with his buds so I was left from Thursday through Sunday without adult supervision.  Y’all it was BLISS!  I lived in my sweats and only left the house to get the mail.  The dogs and I weathered a storm that dumped so much rain I called hubs asking for an ark and prepped for sandbags.  This deck for my hot tub is 14″ off the ground.  During the storm I didn’t have any of my machines on at all because I learned that lesson once several years ago.  $235 later my first embroidery machine was back in business after a power surge during a storm blew out the internal power supply.  So during this storm, I ironed applique pieces to fabric for my grandson’s dinosaur quilt.  Anyhoo…

Before the storm, I made hubs a new BBQ apron with an embroidery design from Urban Threads.  I think it turned out great!  Their designs always stitch out truly top-notch.

20170625_152606

20170625_152613

And a friend of mine has the most amazing garden and she cans like nobody’s business all summer long.  I couldn’t resist making this for her.

20170625_162616

We are leaving for the coast this coming Thursday for our 16th wedding anniversary weekend.  We got married on July 3rd so we’d always have a 2-day holiday and there’d be free fireworks.  Smart huh?  🙂   We won’t be back until Tuesday the 4th so I’ve already prepped a UFO, a WIP, and 2 new projects to keep me busy.

The UFO (Unfinished Object).  The very first quilt I ever made in 2010 is off the longarm.  It’s a hot mess but it’s mine and I can’t wait to hang it over the deck at the coast to show off our patriotism.  Hopefully, from a distance at the street, the tipped stars will be overlooked.  ha ha   I need to add a navy blue binding and it will be finished.  Finally…7 years later.  It was the first full quilt I ever put on my new longarm too so yes it has issues but I truly don’t care.  On the whole, it’s beautiful with a few flaws I can live with.

20170627_052737

I found some really cute fabric at my local quilt store yesterday that just screamed “MAKE ME INTO A NEW BAG!”

20170627_052819

Goodbye Valentino has inspired me to give a try to some bucket hats from Oliver+S.  The free pattern is here.  Now that Cars 3 has been released, I thought I’d make up two for my grandsons and I found some long lost fat quarters in my stash for one for my granddaughter.

20170627_053003

And last but not least, the WIP (Work in Progress).  I’ll put some time into the Dinosaur QAYG project from ShinyHappyWorld.com that I’m hoping to have ready for the grandboys for Christmas.

20170627_053121

I think that’s enough to keep me busy during the quiet hours this weekend (if there are any).  What do you have in the works?  Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

DIY Embroidery Target Stickers, Dexter the Dragon, and a Machine Embroidered Apron

Those who know me know that I make no bones about being thrifty in my pursuit of my hobbies.  While I’ll spend money where quality is required, I’ll also DIY where I can to save a buck… or two…or twenty…or ten thousand as in the case of my longarm.

Let’s take Machine Embroidery Target Stickers.  Nice, but not necessary.  Most professionals just chalk a 90 degree crisscross and call it good.  But if you’re using a fabric that doesn’t take chalk well like a towel, or you don’t want to have to remove chalk lines like on a satin, or you can’t find said chalk, then a sticker works great.  It stays put and provides a great pinpoint to see where you want to start.   There are pre-printed stickers out there you can buy where you get 250 stickers for (sales pitchman voice here…) “An amazing low price of just $19.99!” ($24.99 on Amazon Prime)  Or…you can buy 525 Avery removable dot stickers # 6736 and draw your own 90 degree angle on them, for just … wait for it… $10.58.   More than twice the number of stickers for half the price.  And here’s a cool little tidbit – it doesn’t matter where the crisscross is on the sticker just so long as the lines are at a 90 degree angle.  Easy peasy.  I just penciled in a page of them here.

20170622_171724

Dexter the Dragon’s baby sister Darla.  Y’all remember my last post about the failure on the blue dragon from Shiny Happy World?  I gave it another shot with fleece instead of Minky and success!  Here she is!  I bought some blue fleece for her big brother and will finish him this weekend.  Don’t you love her rosy tummy?

20170616_140157

20170616_140223

I did some extra stitching on those wings at the spine because if my granddaughter is anything like me (and she looks EXACTLY like me) then those wings will be swung like a boomerang prior to launch at her brother.  This pretty girl is double stitched everywhere!

Apron Embroidery.  A co-worker, Diane, is really into competition BBQ cooking just like hubs and I are.  She is hosting her daughter’s high school graduation BBQ this coming weekend and they are smoking 23 beef briskets to serve nearly 400 folks.  One aspect of BBQ cooking is Showmanship.  Her sister bought all of them matching aprons and she asked me if I’d embroidery hers with her nickname DeeDee.  She told me how she wanted it and I let her proof 4 different fonts via text prior to stitching.  I just love it and so did she.

20170621_222237

20170621_222331

Her apron isn’t over the trash can ya’ll; that’s aluminum can recycle in my laundry room next to my front loader.  🙂

Have a great weekend!

10% Off #Embrilliance Embroidery Software

For my friends who are dabbling in machine embroidery and don’t have any software yet, Embroidery Designs is having a 10% off sale on all Embrilliance products through Nov 30th.  I have Embrilliance Essentials (now $125.10) and Thumbnailer (now $35.10).  I’m not receiving any fee for recommending these – no affiliate links here, just pure belief in the products.  I don’t have any of the other Embrilliance products so I can’t speak to those.

The Essentials is easy to use (think Word or PowerPoint), and allows you to import BX fonts and do basic design editing like making designs bigger or smaller, centering, flipping, duplicating, changing thread colors, managing thread density, etc.  I highly recommend this software and there are tons of videos out on YouTube to help you learn how to use it.  You do not need software that costs thousands of dollars to do machine embroidery.  I use Essentials after I download a design from the web, then scale it to size and save to a thumb drive for use in my machine.  I also use it to print the design before stitching so I can use that paper template to ensure good placement on my project and help me to remember thread colors.essentials-capture

Thumbnailer.  This is all about design management on your computer.  When you download a file, purchased or free, it usually comes with some obscure file name and you can’t tell what it is from first glance.  Thumbnailer displays the file like an icon so you can find what you’re looking for.  It’s super easy to install, requires a restart, and then viola’!  Icons!  Here’s a screenshot of the Embroidery folder on my laptop.

thumbnailer-folder-capture

Once inside the folders, the detail is even better.

thumbnailer-christmas-capture

They have these products for both PC and Mac.  These software packages rarely go on sale so hurry and you can get stitching for Christmas!

A Trip to Nancy’s Notions

I just recently returned from a trip to Janesville, Wisconsin to visit family.  When my Aunt June and Uncle Don picked me up at the Milwaukee Airport, Aunt June announced they had planned to take me to the original Nancy’s Notions store.  I was ecstatic! Now how did she knew I’d love to do that?  🙂

Of course I had to take pictures to blog the event.  It’s in a beautiful town called Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

20161029_131702

Uncle Don had barely parked the car and I was racing inside.

20161029_132430

I was in Sewing Mecca!

20161029_132557

While Uncle Don went in search of a hamburger for lunch (he’s such a good sport), Aunt June and I hit the aisles of Nancy’s Notions.  My initial search was for the new Fussy Cutter ruler by Marti Mitchell.  I’d seen it in the catalog and if there’s a new tool, I have to have it.  I also picked up some black embroidery stabilizer I’d hadn’t been able to find locally, and another pack of Amelie Scott designs to quilt my smaller projects with my embroidery machine.

20161105_070201

Aunt June and I both picked up some tote bag blanks.  She wants me to embroider a Shih Tzu on one for a Christmas gift for one of her friends.

20161105_065847

Then I wandered back to the Clearance section and OMG!!  A Monster Snap Hoop that will fit my Baby Lock Ellegante 2!  Do you know how incredibly expensive these are?  It had been bought and returned and was waiting for me.

20161105_065647

Let me back up a bit…  When my aunt and I were entering the store, the basket she used had a coupon in it for 10% off your entire purchase the week of your birthday.  So I went to find a sales rep and asked if I could get the birthday discount to buy this hoop since my birthday was in two weeks and I live on the other side of the country.  She said probably not because they never forward that discount so I asked her to go find the store manager.  The store manager said probably not but she’d ask her manager back in the warehouse.  I was bound and determined to get a discount on that hoop.  It was marked down to $104 and I didn’t want to pay that even though it’s a good price.   As I waited for an answer, I got a picture with Nancy.  ha ha

20161029_141439

When I got to the counter to check out, the store manager said she couldn’t believe it but they would honor the 10% off birthday discount!  YIPPEE!!  She asked her manager why she agreed to do it and the manager replied, “It’s a nice day in October!”  🙂   Somedays, the shopping angels are with you.

20161029_142958

I had a wonderful visit and can’t wait to go back.  Here’s the herd.  My brother Eric, Uncle Don, Aunt June, niece Grace, me, cousin Kirk, cousin Sara, nephew Noah, Dogs Sam and Cole.  Love this group!

20161030_140536

 

Easy Clips for Machine Embroidery

Need to keep fabric out of the way while in the hoop?  I bet you’ve got something in the house that will work perfectly!  Try clam clips for hair, black office binder clips, or Wonder Clips for quilting if you have them.  I prefer the clam clips because they are easy to maneuver on-the-fly if needed and can fit around a wad of fabric to keep it from slipping under the hoop.  These are especially helpful for smaller items like tiny Onesies that have to be almost flipped completely inside out to stitch.

20160924_161117.jpg

wp-1469894965732.jpg
I keep my clips, and other small sewing room items, in repurposed clear glass candle jars.  Why throw that beauty away when the candle is gone?  A half hour in the freezer easily removes all the old wax and after a run through the dishwasher, it’s ready for re-use.  I like jars with wide open tops I can get my hands in.  These are designated for my embroidery.  No gummy hair spray residue please!

20160930_065308

Here’s the finished tee for my granddaughter.  She adores her bunny!  The design is from UrbanThreads.com.

 

 

 

June is for Babies!

Oh goodness, where to begin?  June seems to be the month of babies!!  One of my besties had a grandbaby boy so “Aunt Becky” knocked out some new bibs on the embroidery machine.
20160605_095153

Look at this First 4th of July applique!  Isn’t it just darling?
20160605_080735

Then my next door neighbor’s youngest had a baby girl earlier this month.  Truthfully, the 0-3 month Onsie is WAY too big for her, but hey, she’ll grow into it.  Disclaimer, the “House White” design is from a Craftsy class , Embroidering With Knits with Deborah Jones.  Also, for a good starter class, choose Craftsy’s Big Embroidery in a Small Hoop with Lisa Shaw.  She’s very good about explaining all kinds of basics.
20160622_184007

And what else…OH!  My beautiful DIL is expecting grandbaby #3 in October…a BOY!  Once they found out the sex, she created the most beautiful virtual nursery set at babybedding.com and my son asked if I would make it for them.  Are you kidding me?  A project!  YAY!  I’m going to see them in August so hopefully I can have it finished in time to check it vs. ship it.  The new addition won’t be here until October but it’s way too cold in Oct where they live for this Grammy to visit.  I’ll see the newbie next summer.  Y’all, I don’t go north of Dallas after Labor Day.  Ever.  CarouselDesigns

Have you guys heard of Carousel Designs at babybedding.com?  They allow you to create your own nurseries out of the most beautiful fabrics.  And either they will make them for you based on your fabric choices for an outrageous amount of money ($125 for bumpers?  Seriously?) Or, if you have a very cool MIL, like my DIL does, said MIL (moi’) will make the nursery for you at no charge!   I’m glad she emailed me about it when she did because they were having a Father’s Day sale at 20% off with free shipping.  Total fabric cost for the entire nursery was only $84.  SCORE!  My DIL has such great taste.  Isn’t this gorgeous?   I use Vogue 7245 as a pattern that I bought for my first nephew’s nursery…and he’s almost 21!  Lawd, the time!  And you no-bumpers-in-the-crib people can stow it.  Of course cribs need bumpers!

Vogue_7245_Living

She also asked if I’d make her a nursing cover.  When I asked about fabric choice, she said she liked grays & blues and the colors of the one in the link she sent, but to surprise her.  So I hopped over to ConnectingThreads.com and chose the Monarch (Graphite) #8938 in the Atrium line by Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit Fabrics.  I love buying fabric from them.  Their website is awesome and the service is great.  I’ve received shipping notices from all the companies so this week my front porch should look like Christmas.

My grandson turned 5 this month.  He wanted a Cat in the Hat themed birthday.  Okie dokie!  I found this applique and embroidery pattern on Etsy.
20160603_184605

And I whipped out a 4th of July tee for my granddaughter.  But now it’s too late to send to her.  I hate it when I do that.  I didn’t send it because I had to make one for her big brother too and that never made it into the queue.  Oh well, I’ll find a willing recipient I’m sure.

20160605_165708

So that’s it!  Happy US Independence Day everyone!  Be safe!