Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Table Runner

Such a Fun time of year!!! I'm jamming in as much sewing as I can before the snow flies, because once the snow is here I'm off to the trails!!!! How I LOVE to snowmobile!!!!  Can't wait!!!  And this year, I must, must, must get my grandsons Paul and Kevin on them!!!

But, since there is no snow in Vermont just yet (except of course there is some on some of the very tops of the mountains)  I decided to do a little more digitizing.   I learned a BIG lesson on this one because I used it in our embroidery club that meets at Cowles Quilting in St. Albans the first Saturday of each month.  Everyone has a different type of embroidery machine and well, I will explain that one later. :-)

So, this is an applique file that I have in 2 sizes.  It was making it for the 4" hoop that caused me some challenges, but I do believe I've got it!!!

Here is my first stitch out:
I wanted a little more definition at the top of the candle and I wanted a little shine on the balls, so I made those little adjustments.  Here is the final on the Longarm machine and in metallic thread.  I love how it glitters!!!

So the big digitizing lesson I learned was that even though a digitizing software says it can export your file in a different format, for example, bring a .VP3 file in and save it as a .EXP format, it really does not do a good job of it.  You must always go back to the raw file to export.  This means that if you intend to do some tweaking of stitches AFTER you export, you will need to tweak each format exactly the same.  To avoid this, take advantage of doing all the tweaking before the export.  It causes you to have to plan more, that's for sure!!!!

Happy Digitizing!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Digitized Owl - Update

Wow! I have received some great feedback on the Riley Blake Inspiration - Part 1 and Part 2! Thank you so much!!! 

With that, the consensus is, figure out how to get the eye lashes to look more sweepy!!!!  So, that is what I am up to now!  I would like to thank those people who have volunteered to help me test this Digitized Applique!  You should see the file in your inbox this morning.  Here is what it looks like in the software package I use:
I can't wait to see the fabric choices my testers make!!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Riley Blake Inspirations - Part 2

So earlier today I planned out exactly how I would create an Owl Applique file. 

I made modifications to the look of Eyelashes and I had to make a few tweaks to reduce the number of jumps and stops.  There are a few in here - it was a toss up on jumps versus starting up the machine without color changes, the jumps won sometimes and the 'push start' won sometimes. 

Here are the resulting two files I tested out.

The first one I didn't like the way the machine stitched out the eyelashes and there were a few stops that didn't get set properly.  The first one uses fabrics from Riley Blake's Sweet Baby Girl and Lucky Stars.  The background is the Cream Diamond in Lucky Stars.

Hoot of an Owl

This is the second attempt.  I used satin bars for the eyelashes and made the beak a little larger.  Here I used the Lucky Stars fabrics and decided to make the feet the same color as the beak and eyes mostly because I like the orange with this fabric line and wanted to see more of it.  The fabric has color changes for each area so people can mix it up a lot depending on the fabrics they choose.  It might be hard to see, but in this one, the background is the Blue Gingham in the Lucky Stars line.

 I would love some feedback for this design, so please feel free to drop a comment and let me know if you would like to receive this file for your use.  Just let me know what embroidery file format you need!

Riley Blake Inspiration - Part 1

I had a chance to teach my first class in digitizing this month at Cowles Quilting in St. Albans.  Getting ready for it caused me to get really serious about my own advancement.  While I have not been blogging about my own discoveries, I am taking time now to show the results of my own study and practice.

I love applique and have had the sad experience of getting my hands and wallet on some applique files that were a bit substandard.  This put me on a path of truly examining my own work.  My ultimate goal is to have applique files for sale at

I'm here to tell you that to produce good top quality embroidery files, you need to start with a good plan.  In order to have a good plan, you need to be familiar with embroidery.  There are no short cuts here.  You must embroider!!!!  I can't tell you how many embroideries I have thrown out!  I wish now I had saved them all because they are great examples of what not to do!!!

Now, I must tell you how very happy I am that my sister Cathy gave me a very thoughtful gift for Christmas the very first year I had my embroidery machine.  She gave me a workbook which I still have where the idea was to not only embroider but to understand how stabilizers, needles and fabric all comprise the formula that can result in top quality or poor.  This introduction to embroidery for me was pivotal in fanning the flames of my desire to create my own digitized files.  It has been a long road at times.  I have SO many files that I now want to go back and do over!!!  And now I can begin to do just that. 

So, what have I learned?  Well, space and time cannot allow a full disclosure here, but here are the cliff notes.

Digitizing requires a plan with the following components at least for a start:
     A.  Determine the Use (Quilt, Clothing, Picture, etc.)
     B.  Based on Use determine Stabilizer
     C.  Obtain or create artwork ( this is where time is critical, if you spend time here, it will save time later!!  Modifications to Artwork can reduce digitizing time. )
     D.  Determine layer Order.  Start planning from the bottom layer to the most forward or top layer.  It is this plan that shows true quality in embroideries.  I think the most important thing to keep in mind is this:  Jumps are more than mildly annoying - avoid them at all costs!!!  How to do that is to keep in mind where each section starts and ends and plan out some running stitch connections.  Now the next thing to consider is to make sure the running stitches are under the top most layer AND that you consider how many times you are laying down a running stitch because it adds to the density.
     E.  Determine stitch types to use and set up.
     F.  Determine where Compensation settings need to be adjusted from the default (this takes some practice and is generally needed where Fills are used)
     G.  Determine thread sets needed.

Sample Plan
    A.  Create an Applique Pillow Suitable for a Child's Room
    B.  Use Batting ( I like Battilizer for this project )
    C.  I downloaded a coloring page from the internet of a cute Owl
    D.  I printed the page out and numbered where I want to lay down fabric and where I want to do fills
    E.   I searched through Motifs, Satins and Fills to determine which I would use where and determined where I would be using Running, Double and Triple Stitching. I have the ability to set the options and then save each stitch as my favorite for the current project.  I keep a book with sample stitches and settings so I can refer to them quickly.  This is a great practice too!
    F.   I determined for this project that the default compensations should work for everything, except if I change my mind on the wings then I might want to change the compensation for those.
    G.  I like the selection of Robinson-Anton I have and will use those for this project.  I selected colors based on the function each stitch will perform for the applique.

So, that is my plan.  Next will be the actual digitizing!!!! Stay tuned!  I promise this time to come back shortly with more of the steps I am doing!!!!

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Just Have TOO many Fun things to work on!!!

It seems I am getting off to a very slow start on this thing called blogging.  But Fall is here and soon the snow will fly here in beautiful Vermont!  So before we get too much snow and before the VAST trails open, I must get these projects of mine finished!!!

So, updates....

The Sister Project:  A blue Quilt for mom.  As you might recall, she used her embroidery machine as she was recuperating from a broken arm last winter to create the centers of the blocks that Cathy and I built a quilt block around.  We found the blue floral print to be excessively stretchy and it has been a pain to work with, but the blocks are coming out beautiful. It is still on my list of to-do's before Christmas (and boy, that is coming faster than you think!!!)  This is what it will look like when it is completed.

Part of the reasons for the delays is the Embroidery Club that started at Cowles Quilting in St. Albans.  What a fun group we have!!!!  Preparing for this is taking a little more time, but you can be sure if you join this club, there will be projects unlike any you see in other fabric shops.  In October we learned the value of Wash-Away thread, the Hoop Sisters Trim A Block By George and about how density can become a problem if the digitizer is not careful when they create the embroidery.  Here is my end result for this month's class.

It seems there is also a growing interest in creating digitized embroidery files and so I am planning to start up a Digitizing Club in October.  There are many software packages out there and I have been exposed to several of them.  I intend to tailor the class to be inclusive of the most popular packages such as PE Designer 10, 6D and MBX.  Each of these packages have similar functionality, they just work a little differently in each.  We should have some fun!!!

Topics I intend to explore include Lettering, Applique, Cross Stitch, Photographs.  Be sure to drop me a note here if you are interested in joining this group.

So, I will end for now and pick one of these projects and get going!!!!

Happy Stitching, My friends!