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What’s the Difference Between Embrilliance and Simply Applique?

I get asked this question all the time so I thought I’d write a blog post that I can point folks to for some answers. Just trying to be efficient here. 🙂

Embrilliance is a suite of 3rd party software for your machine embroidery projects made by a company called Briton Leap. 3rd party means it’s not proprietary to any particular brand or make of machine. Depending on what you want to do with it, you only buy what you need. All of the software packages in Embrilliance work independently of one another and they all work together and build on each other. They all have their own special purpose in life. Over the years, I’ve found that Briton Leap works very hard to keep their software up-to-date and so far I’ve gone from Windows 7, to 8, to 10 with the company keeping the software current and zero problems.

Embrilliance software creates files for every embroidery machine: Brother, Baby Lock, Singer, Pfaff, Husqvarna, Viking, Janome, … you get the idea. It allows you to save embroidery files in every machine format type. It does not interfere in any way with the internal software that might be in your embroidery machine. It installs on your computer (vs. on your embroidery machine) and it works with both Windows and Mac computers. It does not have a dongle and you can install a single license on multiple machines. No kidding. The company lets you do that. Oh, and most of the software modules are less than $200. Yes, you read that right. I didn’t leave out a zero.

What do I do with Embrilliance? In Essentials, which is what you need if you’re a beginner, you can modify existing designs by resizing them, you can remove parts you don’t want, and you can add in customization like a monogram or text lettering to personalize something like the birth announcement below. Speaking of lettering, Embrilliance uses BX fonts which I LOVE. They allow you to type up your text so the letters align like on a word processor, vs. an alphabet where you have to position each letter individually. Also, in the Embrilliance Utilities menu, there is a new feature to wirelessly send designs to the Babylock Solaris and Brother XP1 Luminaire. That is SO slick! Be gone you pesky USB sticks! Enthusiast has a precise positioning system I find incredibly helpful and I used the exact percentage resizing feature to make sure I got the birthday and weight/length all the exact same size in the birth announcement. No guesswork. I think at the moment, I have 5-6 modules of Embrilliance. I customized this adorable Birth Announcement from Designs by JuJu for my new great nephew using Embrilliance Essentials and Enthusiast. It could not be simpler – click the A in the top menu to open text editing, type it in, and move it where I want it. Boom. Done.

One of the Embrilliance modules I have is the Thumbnailer. Even if I didn’t have any other pieces of Embrilliance software, Thumbnailer is an absolute MUST and it works independently of the rest of the software. You do not need any other modules of Embrilliance for Thumbnailer to work. It is a utility program that works outside of the embroidery software, and it allows you to actually see the embroidery designs in your computer files like you see previews of images in your pictures folder. It also shows longarm design files as well which I find incredibly helpful. Below, you can see the elephant Birth Announcement from Designs by JuJu as I see them on my screen. It’s so easy to tell the metric from universal measurements, AM vs. PM, etc.

Without Thumbnailer, the same designs look like this image below on my computer. Big difference. And this little piece of software gem is less than $50. WORTH. EVERY. PENNY.

Here’s a quick video where I explain Embrilliance and how Thumbnailer works.

So now let’s talk about Simply Applique (SA). SA is a module of Brother’s BES4 embroidery software. It only does one thing, and that is to create applique embroidery files from .fcm files that can be created either by the Brother Scan n Cut or the Brother Canvas Workspace in the Brother cloud. Once the .fcm file is imported into SA, with one click of a button, the program creates a placement line, a tackdown stitch, and a final stitch that can either be a satin, blanket, run, or motif stitch. You can do minimal design editing in SA, but not like you can in Embrilliance. SA “automates” applique quilts. While it’s made by Brother, it saves to all machine brand formats so you do not have to have a Brother or Baby Lock machine to use Simply Applique. You do not need a dongle however you can only have one license at a time on one machine. It does NOT work on a Mac, however I have heard that it works in the Windows module if you have that installed on a Mac. No promises.

Do you need both? I do. I love applique quilts and I detest the stopping, starting, and repositioning of sewing applique down by machine. The two programs are very complimentary to each other but they do separate things. Embrilliance can do what Simply Applique does, however that feature isn’t found until Stitch Artist 3 (and you have to buy Stitch Artist 1 & 2 first to get to 3) and by that time, you’re way past the less-than $200 price tag of Simply Applique. I’m by no means a digitizer so I just don’t need those modules of Embrilliance. If you like to digitize and have all 3 modules of Stitch Artist, you don’t need Simply Applique. Don’t ask me how that works in Stitch Artist; I have no clue. 🙂

So I hope this was helpful. If you’re interested in Embrilliance, please check out my page on Embrilliance software and thanks in advance for using my links. https://powertoolswiththread.com/embrilliance/

If you’re interested in Simply Applique, please call Allbrands or visit their website. If you live outside of the USA, call Allbrands at 1-800-739-7374, ask for Barbara, and she will give you a download code so you don’t have to wait for shipping or pay import taxes. How nice is that?

Villa Rosa Designs “Panama City” is Complete!

This quilt began as part of the Taste of Texas Shop Hop under the name of Seaglass. The quilting pattern company, Villa Rosa Designs, creates patterns just for the Taste of Texas hop and then once the hop is over, renames the patterns and adds them to their own pattern library. In this case, Seaglass was renamed to Panama City, so if you’re looking for it, go to the Villa Rosa Designs online shop and see it here.

The fabric I used for this beauty was a line by Sandy Gervais for Moda called “Well Said”. I adore the teals and oranges – it just screams happy to me. 🙂

The backing is Basic Grey Grunge “Seeing Stars” for Moda in the teal. Julie from Two Chicks Quilting in Ganado, Texas picked out the backing for me over the phone. How awesome is that for customer service?!!

The quilting pattern is a panto from Urban Elementz called Sea Creatures and you can find it by clicking on this link. The pattern is just too cute for words with octopus (octopi?), seahorses, crabs, and starfish. It stitched out beautifully.

WARNING! Quilt police, look away…

I used my favorite machine binding method.

I show how I do that in this video right here.

I’m happy to have this quilt finished. I almost wish I’d of doubled the pattern and made it longer to fit on my king bed at our coastal home. I’m “this close” to actually doing just that! That’s another beautiful feature of #VillaRoseDesigns patterns.

How to Find Downloaded Patterns in the Quilt Butler

There have been some updates recently to the Quilt Butler software and it has become near impossible to find where downloaded patterns are landing if you’re downloading directly into the tablet. Most users are now just downloading the files to a laptop and using a USB to transport the patterns, which is a waste of time if they can be downloaded to the tablet itself after purchase. Here’s a step-by-step that worked for me.

On the tablet itself, upon purchase, click the Download link or button for whichever site you’re buying them on.

When the download starts, you’ll see a downward pointing blinking arrow in the very upper left corner of your screen.

When the download is finished, the arrow will stop blinking and there will be a little line under it.

Once the arrow has stopped blinking, swipe your finger from the top black part of the tablet down to the center of the screen to show recent actions. You want to start your finger where there are no menus or any buttons. This is a swipe navigation action that is native to Android.

In the cascading bars, find your downloaded file and tap it. In my case I’m looking for “sea-creatures_1-3.zip”.

The file will open up in WinZip. Tap the My Files folder in the left menu to see all the zip files. NOTE: I have created another file inside of the My Files folder that is called Quilt Patterns. You will not have this unless you press/hold the My Files folder to get another menu that allows you to create a sub-folder to it. You do not need to do this step.

You will see a list of your downloaded zip files. Press and hold (NOT TAP) the one you want to unzip and a blue menu will appear at the bottom of the screen. If you only tap the zip file vs. holding it, it won’t work.

Touch the Unzip icon on the blue menu at the bottom of the screen.

A new screen appears with the unzipped files and it wants to know where you want to save the unzipped files. Click on the My Files folder.

Again, I have a sub folder called Quilt Patterns that you won’t have unless you create one. You don’t need a sub folder. Once you tap the My Files folder, a blue button will appear at the bottom of the screen that says Unzip here. Tap that blue button (or put them wherever you might want).

Then go back into Perfect Stitch and go to the panel in the Butler to the Pattern Import area and click Import.

Press WinZip.

Your patterns that have been unzipped will be seen here.

Double tap the pattern you want to open up to see the sub files within it. Tap the file you need (I use the .qli file type) and click the green check box.

All done! It will automatically be assigned a tag of Imported and will always be found in your Imported tab when choosing a design file.

WHEW!

Tutorial – Making the Millennium Quilt Block

Summer is almost here and it is time to start thinking about quilts for the upcoming patriotic season. The Millennium block is an easy and beautiful block for quilts for Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. This block finishes at 12″ so it’s a nice sized block that will make a beautiful table runner too with just 3 or 4 blocks. Let’s get started!

This line of fabric is a combination of an American Basics roll of 2.5″ strips and a navy blue fat quarter.

Cutting instructions:

Block A (1) – 4″ x 4″ square.
B (4) – 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares.
C (4) – 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles.
D (4) – 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles.
E (4) – 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares.
F (4) – 1.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles.
G (4) – 1.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles.
H (8) – 2.5″ x 2.5″ squares. These squares matched Block A.

Start by making for flying geese units. Sew 2 of square H to 1 rectangle C. Draw a diagonal line on the back of square H and sew from the outer corner toward the middle.

Trim outside the stitch line to 1/4″ and iron the point open.

Repeat on the other side.

Make 4. They should finish at 2.5″ x 4.5″.

Sew together the F & G rectangles to make 4.

Sew the F & G rectangle to the C & H flying geese unit.

Time to make the corner blocks. Sew B & E together and make 4.

Sew the B & E unit to D.

Make 4 of the corner blocks.

Now lay everything out like a 9 patch!

Sew your nine patch together for a gorgeous Millennium block!

I’m going to make enough of these for 5 across and 5 down with sashing and navy cornerstones in between! So pretty!

Join Me for a Christmas in July Sew Along 2020

Hi friends!

I just want to give you a heads up that I’ll be doing a Christmas in July sew along using the Brother Scan N Cut and Simply Applique (much like I did last year with Howl-Lelujah). The pattern is by the same company – Urban Elements and it’s a precious Flamingo in wooly stockings. How fun!

Here’s the pattern by itself. You can source your own fabrics or shop your stash.
https://www.urbanelementz.com/warmest-wishes-quilt-applique-pattern.html

And here’s the pattern with pre-cut fabric pieces with iron-on adhesive on the back.
https://www.urbanelementz.com/warmest-wishes-quilt-applique.html

You don’t have to have a Scan N Cut to join in. I’ll be doing both quilts – one using the Scan N Cut and one without. So I’ll demo both. In fact, you don’t need Simply Applique software either! You can certainly sew down the applique pieces the old fashioned way, but using the new technology is so fun and you will absolutely love it. This program is very inexpensive so I hope you give it a try!
https://www.allbrands.com/products/65662-brother-sabessa-simply-applique-creative-embroider

Here’s a link to the Scan N Cut DX125. It’s perfect for this project.

Can’t wait to get started! We start July 6, 2020!

Winners of the Maker’s Planner from Creative Notions Quilt Shop

Vicki from Creative Notions was so generous to give away two of her 2020 Maker’s Planners with my viewers. On my most recent video, I offered them up to those who made a comment saying they wanted the “planner”. The giveaway closed at March 25, 2020 at 5:00pm CST.

There were 274 unique entries with the word “planner” in the comment. There were over 300 comments but some people didn’t want to enter the giveaway.

From those 274 entries, I chose two random selections using the YouTube Comment Picker.

Winner #1 – Robin Brown

Winner #2 – Fleta Hall

Winners, please email me at powertoolswiththread@outlook.com with your address! Congratulations!!

Log Cabin Mug Rug – Free Pattern!

I’m in the middle of making a YouTube video showing how to make a mug rug for St. Patrick’s Day using Kimberbell’s Seasonal & Holiday Mug Rugs, Vol 2. I know many of my subscribers don’t have (or don’t want ‘gasp!’) an embroidery machine so I thought I’d share a pattern for those who just want to sew one. This mug rug is based on a traditional log cabin block and can be made for any season or event just by changing the fabrics. It’s super easy!

Here’s the pattern. Just right-click (Cmd click) the image to save it to your computer and then print it. The only measurement on the pattern is the width of the fabric strip. You’ll trim the length to match the side to which it is being sewn after you stitch it.

This pattern starts with a 3.5″ square for the center. If you want to add a seasonal applique you can add it here. I’m using a 4 leaf clover that I grabbed from Google Images and resized to be 2.5″ so it will center in the middle square. If you want to use this one, again you can just save the image and print.

I used the manual method to trace the image to an iron-on called Hot Fix Adhesive as a backing and then ironed it to the applique fabric. I was all gung-ho to use the Scan-n-Cut (SNC) however I’m writing this blog post from our coastal home and when I brought my old SNC down here, someone (not moi’ of course!) forgot to bring along the power cord. Note to self: Pack SNC power cord for next trip.

I laid out my pieces to get a general idea of how to piece them.

The log cabin method is so easy because you just have to sew on one side and trim to fit.

I continued to add the pieces according to the pattern. Once the top was all finished, I cut out some of the beer mugs and a lucky horseshoe from one of the fabrics and ironed them on. Then I layered the top, batting, and backing to get it ready to quilt.

I quilted using a simple serpentine stitch using the presser foot as a spacing guide.

I turned it over to carefully trim away the extra batting and trimmed the backing to within 5/8″.

I did a double fold for the self-binding.

What do you think? Works great!

QuiltCon 2020

My buddy Lisa and I and our husbands trekked up to Austin, Texas with “Media Creds” to check out QuiltCon 2020. QuiltCon gets its name as a take off from Comic-Con which is where all the comic book groupies join up for a comic book convention every year – usually in LasVegas. So QuiltCon is a quilt convention but it is the quilt convention for the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG). You can read about the MQG here. This year, there were 1,600 quilts entered into the show to be juried and 432 were chosen to be judged. Sorry about image quality throughout this post. I snagged the pictures as screen shots while editing the videos.

My previous experience with QuiltCon is limited. I’ve read about it on blogs over the years and have come across posts where quilters have had quilts accepted for judging. I was very excited to interview the Executive Director, Karen Cooper, and come to find out, we live about 20 miles from each other. From what I could tell, she did an amazing job and the show itself was very well-organized and flowed very smoothly.

I loved the Welcome Quilt.

We saw some very lovely work at this show. This quilt took 2nd place in Piecing.

We also saw some quilts that were designed to shock. I guess that comes with the territory of the modern quilting movement. There were political messages and other themed quilts that were very “in your face” about the divisive issues of our time regarding politicians, guns, oppression, political anarchy, immigration…you name it. We saw it all including profanity delicately hand stitched and pieced into fabric. Beauty and art is in the eye of the beholder.

Here is a glimpse of the Best In Show by Peter of Toronto, Canada. This is a screenshot of my interview with him in front of his winning quilt.

This one took Judge’s Choice.

There were also some we saw with no message but just a work of art.

So that’s a glimpse of what we did yesterday. Today we are off to another quilt show in Brenham, Texas that I’m pretty sure will lean more to the side of “traditional quilting”. Happy Trails!

Moda Fields of Blue, QuiltCon, and an Etsy Shop Opening Soon!

It’s been a busy start to 2020.  I’ve picked up a couple of quilting projects and started Ava’s Garden from Connecting Threads in queen size.  

For the fabric, I chose Fields of Blue by Moda for some gorgeous Bluebonnets in the Churn Dash blocks.  I’m about halfway finished with this beauty and I especially want it done before the Bluebonnets bloom here in South Texas next March.

Moda Fields of Blue

It’s been about a year since I remodeled my sewing room and I’ve done some refinements along the way.  While I’ve purchased bits of garment fabric here and there over the past year, I’ve really concentrated my fabric habit into quilting and embroidery.  Garment fabric has been removed to another room and space has been made for the Brother Luminaire that is on loan to me from #Allbrands.

Luminaire XP1 from Allbrands.com

I’m busy setting everything to rights around the room so I’m ready for a full-blown sewing room video tour I’m going to do this weekend.

I thoroughly enjoyed using the Luminaire with Simply Applique to make the Howl-lelujah quilt last December.  My next venture with that fabulous machine is to stipple around the applique pieces on the Safari Way-to-Grow wall hanging from Urban Elementz.  

Safari Way to Grow from Urban Elementz

I’ve seen videos where the Luminaire can, after scanning in the hoop, create a “stamp” around a shape, thereby creating an outline around the shape.  Then I can fill the empty space with a stipple to fully quilt the wall hanging using the embroidery machine.  I look forward to figuring this all out and sharing it with my YouTube viewers as well.

My next “First” will be attending QuiltCon in Austin, Texas on Feb 20.

I’ve never been and I’m interested to see if there is a different “vibe” from the Houston Quilt Festival.  The world of Modern Quilting is foreign to me so I’m excited to go to Austin to see what it’s all about.  Of course, I’ll be taking you along with me and will video my entire trip!

And last but not least, hubs Keith has started prepping for his retirement by re-engaging in his passion of woodworking. First off the lathe are custom acrylic and wooden seam ripper/stiletto combos. They, along with other fine sewing tools including ruler racks, sleeve boards, and tailor’s tools, will be in our Etsy shop soon!