Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year !

As we wind down on 2012, I want to wish everyone a very healthy, happy and joyous New Year. Keep your families and friends close. Cherish every minute of your life. For only God knows how long we are blessed to be on this earth.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Finding The Right Font

I'll be the first to admit, I've been slack about this blog as well as slack about getting my Christmas shopping and embroideries done.  I'm not sure where the time goes, but it seems like a 2 for 1 special in verse!  I can blame it on any number of things too boring to bother with. Let me just admit to being just having too much to do and too little time to get it done in.  But I feel I'm not alone. This time of year is hectic for loads of people, especially those with children. I'm lucky my "children" are of the 4-legged variety and don't require as much attention as toddlers or teenagers!

This year I'm keeping it simple. A few monogrammed towels and monogrammed pillowcases. But monograms are not as always as simple as some people think. Picking the right font can be a killer, especially if there's a man involved.  You can't have a font that's too "girly" or too far out.  When I started the process of monogramming the pillow cases and towels, I had to come up with the right font that was fitting for both a man and woman and would work on towels and pillow cases.  I'm lucky to have the Husqvarna Viking 5D Professional suite of software that comes pre-loaded with a ton of fonts and also has a Quick Font Wizard that lets me take most True Type fonts and create new font sets.

The font I settled on after about 15 minutes of looking is in the Script section. The font is Nimbus and I think the font looks very "unisex".  Expensive and refined.

The pillowcases were easy. The size for this satin font was well within the range of where I'm comfortable (50 mm). But when it came to the bath towels, I knew a satin font might "gap" too much and adjustments would need to be made. And if there's one item I always, always, always test sew, it's a bath towel.  I keep old towels on hand just for that reason.  I've found that density is something that often has to be adjusted on larger monograms.

Other Useful Tips:

  1. Always start with a full bobbin. There's nothing for frustrating that running out in the middle of an important embroidery.
  2. Print a template if you're new to machine embroidery to make sure your embroidery will be position correctly and that you like the size proportions. 
  3. If your machine has a way to insure you're centered and your embroidery is positioned correctly, use it. Even if you're an experienced machine embroiderer, this is a good tool to take advantage of.
  4. Topper. I always use a non-water soluble topper on my towel embroideries. I know a lot of people who use Solvy, but since it dissolves in water and towels are washed often, the chance for that pile to come through after numerous washing is pretty good. 
  5. Try and use a bobbin thread close to the color of your towel.  Bobbin threads are available in a number of colors and there's more to life than black and white! It will make your finished embroidery look much more professionally embroidered.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Embroidered Jumper

So I'm now into combining my love of garment sewing with my love for machine embroidery. I finally finished a project I started (dare I say) two years ago.  Somewhere after starting this jumper I got side tracked with another project.  In my sewing room, that's pretty easy to do!!  So first here's a picture of the finished project (the jumper and not the knit top).

I took a basic floral design in a monochrome tone and edited twice.  Once to downsize it and the second time to remove a few of the elements.  The design is repeated around the bottom of the jumper.

Then I decided that the blossom on the design might make a good dimensional flower pin for the jumper.  So I took that design and made two Encored (circular) disk type embroideries on tulle.  The I embroidered just the flower about 6 times on tulle.  After embroidering I cut them out and stacked them on top of each other and sewed them together in the middle, added a pin to the back that you can get in any craft store and the scrunched the flowers to get dimension.

I also used some of my Designer Diamond Heirloom machine stitches around the neck area of the jumper that you can just see in the top left hand corner of the flower shot.

And finally, here's a close up of the design running around the lower area of the jumper.

I did make a few edits to the  Kwik sew pattern #2716 below.  I added darts to give it a little more shape and also added a side invisible zipper.

The pattern was pretty simple to make. I used view A (no front pockets although it does have side pockets).  It's just 4 pieces.  Front, back, neck facing and arm hole facings.  The thing that took the time was the embroidery.  I don't think people realize how much time it takes even for a one color design to stitch out.  Add the multiple hoping to go all the way around the bottom and, well, that's the reason I was easily side tracked!  In any case, the jumper is now on display at Viking Sew 'n Quilt for a few months.  I'll get it back in time to wear it for the fall cooler weather.

And now, it's on to the next project which will either be a shell top out of some "bargain bin" cotton fabric I picked up from VSQ or another skirt, perhaps with some type of embroidery.  Until next time, may all your embroidery projects be spectacular!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Family Recipe Memories

I got my inspiration for this project from a Lunch Box Quilts embroidery design pack I purchased. As I was stitching out one of those designs recently, I thought how cool would it be to take a family recipe past down from generation to generation and embroidery it for a gift. Several years ago I received a collection of family recipes (Hinshaw Family Cookbook) from my step-mother. She took a lot of time to put it together and I'm so lucky to have a copy of it.  I go back to it often for that simple yummy comfort food I remember growing up.  And of course, that fabulous german potato salad I loved so much at all our Sanborn family gatherings.  My dad even has his own version in the book adopted for today's busy life....but I digress!!

A couple of things to remember when picking out your recipe to put on a towel.  I'd try and keep the ingredient list to no more than 8 - 10 items and the directions not overly complicated or long.  You don't want to take up the entire towel with script, just the lower portion of it.

It was best for my towel to keep the choice of letters to easy block script. Other fancier scripts tend to be "heavy". But then again it will depend on the weight of your towel.  I used a simple and very inexpensive "flour sack" towel available in just about any Walmart or Target type store.  They tend to be very light but are great at absorption and are one of my "go to" towels for drying dishes. And be sure and check your spelling (ask me how I know).

For anyone wondering about the script size, in my sample above the recipe title is in about a 12mm font, the ingredients are about 10mm font and the directions about 8mm.  You just have to play with it in your design software to get it right.  Add a little flourish above and below and then a nice border at the bottom out of one of your favorite fabrics. You might even have left over fabric from a quilt or other project.  Measure the width of the towel and add about 2" to each end.  I did a double border.  Just above the outer border is a 1" wide border, folded in 1/2 and added to the main border before it is added to the towel.

So when you're looking for an idea to give a family member that seems to have everything (and I have plenty of those), give them something from the past that will bring back warm memories.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Time for an upgrade!!

I'm on a mission these days to upgrade some of the storage (and in some cases lack thereof) units in my sewing cave.  For too long I've used that functional but ugly plastic storage shelves for my thread stash.  So after a little internet surfing, I found the idea replacement for this:
I found what I was looking for on the web etailer Solutions (  I carefully looked at the dimensions and found this 7-drawer cabinet would be the perfect solution to store my ever expanding collection (yes, I admit to being a thread-aholic).  I realized that "some assembly" would be required but I was ready for the task after just acquiring a handy little cordless screwdriver.  I was tired of borrowing (and trying to find) tools from my hubby so I'm also assembling a collection of small hand tools of my very own.

So my internet purchase arrived at our house Friday evening while Ted and I were at our normal hang-out spot (Anthony's Pizzeria in Simpsonville).  So bright and early Saturday morning I started unpacking the box, inventorying the contents and started on my way to upgrading my thread caddy.  I'll admit to a few bumps along the way but by lunch time, I had successfully completed the assembly and my project of the day.  So now, my thread caddy looks like this:

The caddy is partially made of wood and but also has some composite in it. I really like the espresso look so all my new furniture is being purchased in that color tone.  The main parts of the cabinet are wooden so I feel this caddy will last a long time and has much more storage area in it so I'm now free to add more colors (you can never have too many shades of any color).

I've also been adding some "cube" storage and trying to organize the collection of unfinished projects, collections of fabric, bobbles and bangles from over many, many years of collecting.  In addition to being a thread-aholic, I've also been known to be a little bit of a pack rat. So my other mission is to donate things I no longer use and to thin out my collection of "stuff".  It's a tough thing to do for a pack rat (you never know when you're going to need that "thing" you've been holding on to for over 10 years but have NEVER actually used).

So stay tuned for other pictures of organizing improvements to my sewing cave.  I'm very fortunate to have a wonderfully large space. I just need to find out how to use it effectively.

Oh, and remember the bunny that recently got her Easter dress? Well, today I've "planted" a few carrots for her.  I've still got a little to do to finish them off but the plowing and seed planting is complete and I expect to be able to harvest very shortly.

May all your projects be organized and bring delight to those they are created for!  Especially if that someone is you!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Be My Bunny

So for a few years I had a bare-naked bunny.  I had embroidered her but never had time to make an Easter dress for her. Well, I'm starting a little early this year.  So now "Bunny" has a dress!  This is a standard Husqvarna Viking design pack that was released a hand full of years ago.  The design pack was titled "Be My Bunny" and it's still available at the following link:

So she has a dress. But there are also designs in the pack to make 3-D carrots (a bunny's gotta eat, right?). Those look pretty easy and quick to embroider so I hope to be able to get a few edibles for her over the next weekend.  There are also some really beautiful lace elements in the pack.  I've seen those designs stitched and added to ladies "dedicates".  I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to stitch out the Easter basket and eggs that are in the pack, but they'll definitely be on the ever-growing list for the future.  I'm also adding a few other pictures. One of a close up of the dress and of the strap detail. So have YOU started your embroidery project for Easter yet??

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hoop Helper Video

Just a quick video on how the Hoop Helper works.  Enjoy and thanks for watching!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Handy Little Hoop Helper

This handy little helper is essential in my embroidery workflow.  I was very surprised today to find out that none of my students had ever heard of this little gem.  It's designed and intended to be attached to a table.  What it does so well is hold the bottom of your hoop (outer) secure and in place so that when you're hooping your embroidery project, you only have to worry about the inner hoop and not what's happening and where your outer hoop is moving around. I used to chase a lot of outer hoops around the prep table before I purchased the hoop helper.  But no more. No I can concentrate on the inner hoop and getting my embroidery and stablilizer positioned correctly in the hoop. Right now I didn't see it stocked in the store so you'd have to ask for it by name. They'll always order something for you if you ask. This helper is one of those items that helps you have great embroideries. So many things change affect the end results in your embroidery. Add to hooping is stabilizer, adding "hoop ease", having the RIGHT type of stabilizer, having the right topper and of course, using the right thread and bobbin thread. Are you satisfied with how YOUR embroideries turn out?  If not, follow along. I plan on doing several other blogs about the various elements that affect embroideries.

Friday, February 10, 2012

More cutwork!!

So this is a luggage tag created using the 2 cutwork needle method.  I'm leaving for Arizona on Wednesday and I plan to proudly attach the tab to my carry on bag.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cutwork Needles

Until I can get the full blog post up, here's a link to a YouTube video that goes in hand-in-hand with the cutwork needle lesson I'll be teaching at Viking Sew 'n Quilt this Saturday, February 11th.

2/9/12 - So here is the finished design.  I was able to carefully cut out the section that was not edited correctly so it didn't have to re-edit the design immediately.  This lesson was a good exercise to begin to learn how a cutwork needle design is put together and also how to take a stock design and include a cutwork section.  It was edited and used the 2-needle selection.  The needles did a very nice job removing the linen.

After the cut work is removed, I added a topping of Aqua Magic before the satin stitching and the center flower.  That helped stabilize the fabric just a little more and ensures that the satin stitches have something consistent to lay over.

If you haven't tried cutwork, give it a go!  It's fun and the results are lovely and add a little extra dimension to your embroidery designs.