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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!

Automated Machine Embroidered Applique with Brother Scan-n-Cut & Simply Applique

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.

Brother Canvas Workspace

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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I load the mat, press a button, and in less than a minute – ta da!!  One cut rhino!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!).  wp-15374873227454877274604283714793.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  🙂

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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.