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.

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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.

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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.

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Keepin It Straight

I’ve been working on a few designs for embroidery that will be adorable to use on collars, yokes or hem lines of heirloom dresses.  When I showed the designs to my friend Regina, she immediately planned a beautiful dress and asked me to create 2 yards for the hem  and 18 inches to use in the yoke.  We decided to apply the embroidery to a blank entredeux insertion that is approximately 1.5 inches wide.  It comes in various widths and is great for creating your own bands with decorative stitches from the machine or in this case designs created for the embroidery machine and embroidery unit.Immediately the problem with this product is hooping.   The hoop is too wide to be able to secure the piece on all sides.  There are stabilizers that have a sticky surface that you can load in the hoop and then place the item directly on the sticky surface.  They work very well on many items but, in this case, that type of stabilizer is not a good choice.    The designs I digitize for heirloom sewing are very delicate and are sewn with light weight thread.   Sticky stabilizers could be problematic.

I prefer using a crisp tear away stabilizer, that will tear away from the embroidery smoothly and easily much like a piece of notebook paper.   This stabilizer will make it very easy to remove from our tiny stitches without damaging or breaking the threads.  When removing the stabilizer, I tear from the sides in toward the embroidery and then while supporting the embroidery with my hand, I tear away the remaining amounts of the stabilizer very carefully and gently.  The products I primarily use come from OESD.

One of the things I always do to my embroidery hoops, is mark some centering lines on the top and sides of the hoop.  Place the template in the hoop, and with a permanent marker,  place a mark to represent the vertical center, and the horizontal center.

Load the stabilizer in the hoop keeping it as flat and taught as possible.   Tighten the hoop to prevent shifting during the stitching process.

Place the hoop on a cutting mat and line up the marks placed on your hoop with the lines of the cutting mat.

Now that we’ve lined our hoop up with the straight lines on the mat, we can draw a line down the center of the stabilizer following the line on the mat. The line will definitely be straight and not at an angle.  I use a water-soluble fabric marker instead of pencils or pens to prevent leaving a residue in the embroidery.

Along the area where the insertion will be placed, lightly spray with a temporary adhesive spray.   Don’t over spray and make the surface too sticky and gummy.  My favorite spray is 505 Spray and Fix.

Draw a line down the center of the insertion with a water-soluble marker.

Place the insertion on the hooped stabilizer lining up the lines.

I can now be sure that the design will stitch evenly down the center of the insertion.  Just a few checks at the machine and we’ll be ready to sew.

I like to use a few clamps to hold the excess amount of insertion.

Lets check to be sure the machine will place our design over our center line.  Most machines have the ability to show you where they will place the center of your design.  Use whatever means that is available on your brand of machine.  I have a Bernina 830, so the pictures I am going to show you will be from my personal machine.

After attaching the hoop, I select the icon on my machine that will show the center of the design placement.  It does this by moving the hoop till the machines default center position is below the sewing needle of the machine.

As you can see,  the machine wants to place the center of my design slightly to the left of where I prefer the center to be placed.

I will re-align the machine to place the center where I need it rather than the default centering position of the machine.  I first select the Move Icon on the machine and using my stitch width dial, I turn the dial until my needle is above my drawn center mark.

Now, I am ready to stitch.  Even though we sprayed the stabilizer with 505, it may not be enough to hold the insertion firmly once the embroidery begins.  My embroidery machine has a basting feature which is wonderful for this type of situation.  I’ll choose the basting style that will stitch a boundary box slightly larger than the embroidery.

Now for the embroidery.

I believe we were successful.

And now, the finished product.  Two yards of beautiful machine embroidered insertion.  Just think of the beautiful things you could make with this.  I have a few things in mind myself, but that’s another post.

To see more of my designs, visit my website at www.kathydrewquiltingandembroidery.com

I Couldn’t Help Myself

I had to do it.  I got all inspired and just had to finish the changes on the design shown on the pillow.  I’ll call them improvements.  All stitch outs have been completed,  checked and double checked and I have loaded it on my website for purchase.

Here are the final stitch outs.

A Quick Update!

Sew Beautiful Magazine has given me permission to post the picture they used in their magazine article featuring designs from my “Baby Chicks and Bows” Embroidery Design CD.   The only thing I can add, is a special thank you to Sew Beautiful and the beautiful model that wore the dress.  She is so adorable.  You can read more about the article in my previous post, Easter Is on It’s Way.

To view these and all the designs I have available for purchase, visit my website at www.kathydrewquiltingandembroidery.com

Easter is On It’s Way!

With Easter coming, I know there are those of you who are planning some wonderful Easter Frocks that you will be sewingMachine Embroidery is a wonderful way to add beautiful detail to any out fit.

In the spring issue of Sew Beautiful Magazine, I was asked to create a sweet little dress for an article to be in the magazine.  Sew Beautiful Magazine is found in any store with a magazine rack and also in specialty shops  for heirloom embroidery.They also wanted me to use designs from my “Baby Chicks n Bows design CD.    I have not received permission to share the photos from the magazine with you, but I found a single shot of the little dress that I must have taken before I shipped it off that I can share.

Below is another picture of a sample I made from a dress blank from All About Blanks.  She has some wonderful things to add  embroidery to without the fuss of construction, if that just isn’t your thing.

These  sweet little designs are also wonderful for little boys.

What a lot of people don’t understand about the CD,  is there are designs included that will make beautiful quilt blocks.  The quilting designs for the blocks are also included on the CD, so after the quilt top is put together, you can hoop the quilt top, batting and backing, center the quilting design over the block,  and actually quilt your quilt with your embroidery machine.  It really is not as difficult as you might think.

Here are a few of those block designs and some have their quilting designs applied.

There are also instructions for the shadow applique technique that some what gives the appearance of hand sewn shadow applique embroidery.  You will find the instructions as well for the quilt pictured on the CD cover.

If you’d like to purchase these designs as a set or individually, click here.

Something fun and easy!

Hi Everyone.

With snow predicted in many parts of the U.S. over this coming weekend, it just might be a good time to show you a fun and easy project to fill your time.  So get out there and get some yummy coffee and snacks, and make something beautiful while you’re inside.

A few weeks ago, I took a few days for myself, and decided I wanted something to sew that wouldn’t require a lot of thought and concentration, but instead,  just be fun and easy.   This project was perfect and gave me the chance to use some of the Hoffman Balli Pops that you have seen me using for weights on my longarm.  I really didn’t put a lot of thought into the fabric choices, but at the recommendation of a friend, threw the strips in a pile and just grabbed.   It was a free spirit experience.

I found lots of patterns in this book that will give me tons of enjoyment and uses for all those 2.5 inch Batik Strips that I have collected over the past years.  I really had a wonderful time not only looking through Edyta’s book, but making the quilt top itself.  I have another top started from this book, but it may be another year before I take another break and get to it.  There are projects in this book for beginners as well as the more advanced piecer and I found it well worth the purchase.

Here’s what I came up with.  I plan on adding a wide pale blue border for some fun quilting ideas I want to try.

Heaven only knows when I will find the time to quilt this for myself, but when and if I do, I’ll share it with you.

Another fabulous thing that I want to share, is a photo of the wonderful gift my friend Sharon gave me for quilting her incredible quilt that I named “Sharon’s Lion”.

I was so surprise and  so touched by her kindness and generosity.

Sharon gave me a beautiful lead cut glass bowl that had belonged to her grandmother.  Can you imagine being given a treasured heirloom from a family member.  There are no words to express how thrilled I am that she would share this beautiful piece with me.

I absolutely love it and will cherish it always.

It is stunning!

Whenever I look at it, I feel as though I have won Best of Show!

Thank you so very much Sharon.

Applique on the Embroidery Machine

Hi Everyone.

Just wanted to let you know that I have added a couple of pages to my blog.  One page is Embroidery Techniques and the other is Quilting Techniques.

I just finished adding some instructions with photos of the  process of Applique with the Embroidery Unit of your Machine.  These instructions can be found on the Embroidery Technique page and will  show the different steps in stitching .  I hope you find them helpful and feel free to post any questions  you may have.

 

Co-ordinating Sailboat Applique/copyright 2011