Digitizing and Embroidery with my Favorite Things

Hi everyone.  As you probably have noticed, I have not posted in quite some time.  Life can sometimes take over and you have to choose your priorities.

I have been working hard though, so I have lots of information to share with you over the next few weeks.  I have been busy digitizing  a lot of machine embroidered appliques which can be purchased on my website soon.  I wanted to share with you my favorite notions and products and the stitching process of my machine embroidered appliques.  Some posts on digitizing with Bernina’s Designer Plus Software are in the works for posting as well.

Since I digitize my own designs, I have my computer close by with my all time favorite software,  Bernina Designer Plus Version 6.  This software is so powerful and gives you creative capabilities that are amazing.  This software is not just for Berninas and is used by many who own other brands of machines.  In my opinion,  it is the very best.  By the way, if you own or plan to own Designer Plus, the very best book that you can purchase to help you learn the abilities of this software can by found on http://www.creativesewing.com.

And, of course, my Bernina 830 sewing and embroidery machine which by itself,  will knock your socks off.  This particular weekend, my friend Gina trusted me with her 830 so I could get a lot of blocks finished for the quilt I am doing.  You might think that was a good thing,  but now,  after having two 830’s running, I am obsessed with having two of my own.



I am in love with my Koala Quilt Pro IV sewing center.  The drawers and storage of this center are to die for.  The swing outs are perfect for my computer on one side and tools and such on the other.  I love having my computer close by the machine for making corrections to the designs I have created while I stitch them out.  I stitch my designs many times to make sure they are as close to perfect as I can get them.

Add a nice cup of hot tea on my mug rug and a few bites of candy and I’m sitting pretty.  My friend Belvalee made the mug rug and also the tea carrier which holds several tea bags .  Perfect for your purse.  I think it was made for charge cards, but it”s also handy for tea or coffee packs.

I have two cutting tools that are a must when machine embroidering my applique designs.  My Gingher Double Curved 6 inch embroidery scissors and my Side Hopper Jump Stitch Scissors.


Those little Jump Stitch Scissors are amazing.  In my future posts,  you will see how I position them to get the perfect snipping of tiny thread tails.  They snip threads so close to your fabric you will be amazed.

I use my Gingher scissors for trimming the excess applique fabric away after the machine tacks it in place.  They cut close to the stitching which is so important in achieving neat and good results to your applique.  Leaving too much fabric extending from the tacking stitch will cause frayed fabric edges in your final stitching because the stitch cannot cover the edges of the fabric.  If you cannot find the scissors in your area, visit my friend Gina on her website http://www.ginasbernina.com and contact her for purchase and shipping.

I also love my Jumbo Hoop for creating large embroidery designs for my quilt blocks.  This embroidery measures 10.5 inches square.  Perfect for a twelve inch block, or a larger block with room for decorative quilting.  I also have embroidered quilting designs available on my site, http://www.kathydrewquiltingandembroidery.com.

That’s it for today’s post.  Future posts will include more of  the tools and products I use,  but more importantly, the stitching process of my embroidered appliques.

Let me know if  these planned future posts are going to be of interest to you and feel to ask any questions you may have or things you would like me to include.

See you at my next post.


Little Girl and Little Boy Quacker Quilts

Finally, after all this time, I have taken some pics of the quilts I finished from my two design CDs , Little Boy Quackers and Little Girl Quackers.  These were so much fun to do.  Things for children are always such a pleasure and seem to bring a smile to your face.

I have added the appliques to my website, www.kathydrewquiltingandembroidery.com and you can purchase them as a downloadable set or purchase the indivicual designs as you wish.

The background white fabric on both quilts was cotton peti-pointe pique, which you can purchase from Ginas Bernina here in Knoxville if you can’t find it in your area.  I love the texture of the fabric and the appliques stitched out  beautifully on it.

The appliques are digitized for the embroidery machine and are sewn in the hoop.  On the Little Girl Quacker Quilt, I used some hand dyed fabrics for the appliques and I had a batik that worked beautifully for the sashing and binding.    I like to add So Sheer Interfacing to the wrong side of my applique fabrics to give them some extra body and also to prevent shadowing if parts are positioned over others.  I used Isacord Thread in a size 75 embroidery needle and 60 wt cotton bobbin thread.  You could substitute 60 wt cotton in colors for the needle if you prefer and I digitized the designs with those two thread weights in mind.  When embroidering on woven fabrics, I prefer to use a lightweight tear away stabilizer.  I always use two layers and increase the number of layers according to the thread count of the fabric and the design.  As those factors increase, I add more layers of stabilizer to prevent puckering.

Each design was embroidered on fabric then cut to the block size.  The quilt top was then assembled and quilted free form on my Bernina 830 sewing machine.

The Little Boy Quacker Quilt was done in the same way using various different types of fabric.  I just love my Little Sailor Duck.  He is one of my favorites although I think they are all really kinda special.


Don’t hesitate to use these appliques on knits for clothing and they are also adorable on baby blankets.  Be careful though. These Little Quackers are addictive!

My Website is Up

Hi everyone:  I have been very busy the past few days and have finally got my website up and running.  I still have lots more to do, but at least I am visible and have a few of my products up to view and purchase.  I hope you will stop in and let me know what you think.  You can visit my site at www.kathydrewquiltingandembroidery.com

I have to show you a quilt that I finished for Jodie this week.  She wanted an all over pattern and I chose a golden brown color of thread which I think really popped on her fabrics.   The quilting design I chose was from Pat Ritters collection of Longarm Designs and I think it looks great and fits the look of the quilt.  I have two more to do for Jodie and will share photos of those as well.  Jodie has some wonderful applique quilts that I will be working on in the future.


The following quilt is one that I finished for my friend Gina’s quilt and machine store.  The embroidery designs are adorable.  I think this is the  perfect quilt not just for the holidays but for those wintery months as well.   I loved it.  The wonderful snowmen were a digitized embroidery applique by Purely Gates.  If anyone is interested, contact Ginas Bernina and they have kits and everything you need for this adorable quilt.

“MY” Room

People often ask to come and visit me so they can see  my sewing room and how I have everything set up. I know, I know,  I’m supposed to call it a studio, but old habits are hard to break.  I shall from this point on refer to it as “MY” Room.  After all,  the things that give me pleasure can usually be found there.

“MY”  room is nothing fancy, but it serves me well and I really enjoy the time I spend there.   I have floor length windows on the east side of the room and the room is flooded with lots of natural light.  I installed a lot of light fixtures on the ceiling and use full spectrum day light bulbs for those rainy days.  When we were building the home and the guys were installing the light fixtures, the joke was that they could always come back and get a tan at any time in “MY” room.

Space and storage is always an issue.  When you own two longarm machines it can really be a challenge. Add to that a sewing machine, cabinet, and cutting and pressing area  and you have to get a little creative to get it all in.

I have certainly tried every configuration possible to get the most out of the floor space.  Longarms take up a great deal of room and the floor space underneath is really wasted but is a great place for some storage.  Storing all my thread in a way that was easily accessible baffled me.  I finally purchased stackable wood drawers for closet organizing and labeled the drawers with the names of all my threads.  Placing the drawers under my longarms made use of otherwise wasted floor space and saved my wall space for other things. Having them close to the machine saves steps and is convenient.   Having the thread inside the drawers keeps the thread clean and safe from direct light.  With the drawers labeled,  I never have to search for what I need.

I use the same system for a lot of my fabrics.  I can fit two rows of the drawers back to back under my tables with out it interfering with the operation of the machine or getting in my way.

I recently purchased a new sewing cabinet and of course re-arranging the room was in order.  I’m glad though, because the flow in the room feels much  better to me.

I love my new Koala cabinet and am really glad that I added the shelving option on the back.  It is perfect for storing the large embroidery unit for my Bernina 830 and I also plan on covering some boxes with my favorite fabrics for keeping other necessities.

I like my machine to sit in the center of a cabinet with space on both sides and the Koala Quilt Pro IV was perfect for me.  The side extensions are adjustable and can be positioned in any configuration.  As you can see by the photo, my computer is sitting on one of the extensions.

My cabinet is six inches higher than the average cabinet.  Sitting up high, I am able to keep a watchful eye on my computerized longarm system and make sure she is behaving.

I have a couple of design walls and hope to add a third.  I bought insulation board and covered the board  with batting.  The hold on the fabric is better with the batting.

The thread that I use on a regular daily basis for my embroidery is close by the machine for ease in grabbing.  This is just a peg board with wooden  dowels glued in the holes and spray painted.   I use a lot of thread so they aren’t exposed to the elements for long and this works so well for me.

I use a lot of drawer organizers in different sizes and shapes and love the selection at Target.  Here are some of the ways I use them in my sewing cabinet.

I also added some removable hooks on the inside of the cabinet to hang my larger embroidery hoops.

Back to the longarm section of the room.  I have to have my tools close to the machine.  I hate walking from one machine to the other to find where I used the tool last.    If that means buying two of everything it is worth it.

One of the things I have really enjoyed is a thrown together gizmo that sits on my longarm and holds all my tools.  I used two curtain rods and placed them  over the rollers of my longarm. Drawer organizers were attached to the curtain rods with double sided mounting tape.  Then fill them up with all your tools.    I can’t tell you how many steps I have saved.  I have one on each of my machines and even when the rollers are moving the container stays in place.

In an earlier post, I talked about the Red Snappers that I purchased from Renee Haddadin for loading my quilts on my longarms.  They are a little difficult to find a place to keep them, so I decided to pull out my grandmother’s old milk churn and it works perfectly.   We quilters are creative with what we have.

My cutting and pressing area is in a small nook extension of the room.  I used kitchen floor cabinets to create a base, and cut wood board to the size I needed to fit on top.  I covered one side with batting and muslin for pressing and the other side is for cutting with my matts.   Removable hooks hold my rulers.  Again, I have lots of storage in the cabinets and label the drawers according to what I have stored in them.  A few shelves on the wall for additional easy to reach items and a book case for, yep you guessed it, my collection.

When I have time, I plan on changing it a little.  I will space the cabinets apart from each other and cut a larger top.  I then will cut a 30 inch square out of the top and place plexi-glass in the opening.  Mount a light underneath and you have a light table.  I have done this before on another table I had and it was wonderful.  Moving the cabinets apart will give me a space for my legs when I am sitting and tracing quilting designs and the large surface will support the quilt top and prevent sliding.

On the left, is the closet where I keep my quilts in waiting.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into “MY” Room.  Now, I must go spend some time there and get some work done.   It’s a cloudy day today and we are expecting snow flurries.  A warm cup of coffee with some yummy cream and I’m all set.

Have a great day everyone and thank you so much for following my blog.

Little Boy Quacker Embroidery Design CD

Hello Everyone:

Sorry its been such a long time since my last post.  Life sometimes has a way of throwing you curve balls and I have been busy with other things.  Thanks to my laptop and its portability, I have been able to spend some time on digitizing and have finally finished another of my Embroidery Design CDs in my Children’s Line.  Little Boy Quackers is now printed and available for purchase.  I hope you think it’s as cute as I do.

The CD contains Satin Stitched Appliques for the embroidery machine and also digitized backstitch versions.  The multi-color backstitch designs look great as a standalone design and also are great fun to color with crayons.  How fun would that be to embroider and have your children or grandchildren color the design with crayons and then construct those into a quilt.

I also included a single color back-stitch version which is great for redwork,  bluework or any color you wish to use.  They look so precious and are fast to stitch and soft to the eye.

I love sewing garments for children, and have also included small embroidery designs to compliment the appliques.  These designs are adorable accents for  a collar, pocket or sleeve.

I also have included instructions for how my appliques are stitched out with the embroidery machine and also instructions for making the quilt pictured on the front cover.  The instructions are included on your CD either for viewing on your computer or printing.

I hope you think the designs are as cute as I do.  I would love to hear your  ideas for where they could be used.  I need to make more samples, so please, if you have time, give me some suggestions.

I hope to be able to show you Little Girl Quackers  very soon.  The quackers are with the printer and I hope to have them soon.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with me.