Houston Quilt Festival 2015

I am always on pins and needles this time of year and that’s kind of funny since I’m talking about the Houston Quilt Festival!  If you have never attended this EVENT in Houston – it is quite amazing and gargantuan and full of eye candy and inspiration for those that love fabric.  Its not just for quilters!  I have sewn quilts but I am not an avid quilter – don’t laugh but I get flustered at the thought of cutting fabric into small pieces just to sew it all back together and make one big piece of fabric.  I’m not into the process to do myself, but HOLY SMOKES am I into appreciating the talent of those that have a true gift for creating gorgeous art using fabric.

So you’re probably thinking “if she doesn’t quilt what does she do there?”  First, I already mentioned all the eye candy – and I’m not just talking about the exhibition area which I have yet to see everything that is there each year!  The vendor area is HUGE – the George R Brown Convention center is like the size of 8 football fields and there are over 22 rows of vendor booths.  This is THE show to go to and see new products, gizmos, materials, related to the sewing industry.  And we’re not just talking about threads, needles and stabilizers – this is where I got to see the Silhouette, Brother ScanNCut and Sizzix fabric cutter machines!  Crystals, buttons and embellishments!  Printed patterns and actual samples sew of those patterns “in real life”.  Sure Instagram and Facebook are great but WOW to see the items come alive and sometimes you can even talk to the designer to get their tips and tricks!  All the home machine brands will be there and of course they have their embroidery models!  And if you are looking for a deal on a new machine – the class room machines are usually available for a great discount after being checked out and reboxed

So I mentioned class room machines….yes, that’s what I’m doing there 🙂  I am teaching two classes this year on Wednesday before the show officially opens (#356 & #384).  Those that take classes on Wednesday can go to preview night with the vendors where you won’t be completely mobbed by those that love to sew.  Since I am not working a booth this year at Festival, I plan to use Preview night to make my plan of attack for the next two days.  Yes, I am normally working a booth during Festival so I never get to walk the show.  This year I have free time to see more than the booths on the way to the ladies room AND I might even sign up to take a class!

Since I’m working on my class notes and streamlining the projects I’m teaching now – always need to start early so I’m not stressing last minute – you may get some sneak peaks of step outs and work in process 🙂  I teach hands on machine embroidery with the Silk Experience- we’re doing in the hoop silk flowers and an embroidered silk scarf this year – two classes back to back for someone that just wants to hang out with me all day 🙂  The students will learn all about how to stabilize, choose designs, needles and materials, and get to use silk thread and fabric to embroider these scrumptious materials.  You can find a link to Wednesday’s classes here.  If you have never embroidered silk OR you are afraid of embroidering it because it’s so darn expensive and you don’t want to muck it up – this is a perfect way to test the waters and see if it is something you want to do more of.  No need to invest in any fancy materials – the kit fee includes everything you need.  Plus you may get to use a different brand or model of machine AND get instructions tips and tricks for threading hooping, sewing, etc

So if you live in the Houston area and have never been to the Quilt Festival – think about making a day trip and checking it out.  And if you’re not from the Houston area – you will NOT be alone!  Over 60,000 sewists from around the world attend this event every year and it is growing thanks to organizations such as the Modern Quilt Guild and The BadAss Quilter’s Society.  I love to meet up with the groups that come in from Australia each year – YES they plan their holiday around this event that’s how fantastic it is for anyone that appreciates fabric.  I’m not making this up!  Check out the Quilts website and Facebook page – and who knows!  Maybe I will see you there!


Creating an Embossed Letter in StitchArtist

I normally like to create and post “polished” videos – but then there are times like this where I want to show you something that is so super quick I just can’t wait.

Do you like Embossed letter embroidery?  In StitchArtist, all you need to create an embossed letter is the object that is the shape of the frame and the letter that you want to be the hole in the embossing.  As you can see below, I created the letter “E” from a True Type Font and sized it to be the size I wanted.  This shape is from the library of built in shapes but you can create your own as ornate or simple that you want.

Shapes

So the two objects are inside each other – they kind of look like what I want my embossed letter to look like so all I need to do is add the hole in the shape of the E to the polygon shape.  This is so easy to do in StitchArtist that I created a 60 second video showing you how to do this, apply a motif fill AND add a satin border around both the outer and inner edges.

Seriously – done in 60 seconds.  Here’s how:

Now if you are not familiar with StitchArtist, here is the link to the information page.  Although I am in Level 2 in the video – this can be done in Level 1 for those that are just getting into digitizing.

Click Here for the StitchArtist Information page – click on StitchArtist in the left column to read all about this value priced SUPER DUPER EASY software!

Enjoy!


Hoop Savvy has launched on Craftsy!

Well today is the day – class has launched and I’ve already been answering questions!  You guys are FAST 🙂  For those of you that are interested in taking the class and want to save $20, be sure to use my special sale link.

Hoop Savvy special pricing

Thanks for all the warm wishes and support!

Lisa


And the winner of my 2nd Craftsy class is…..

Congratulations to Ashley for winning the free class giveaway for my second Craftsy class which will be available in a few weeks!  I have sent you an email – so be sure to check your spam and junkmail folders in case my message was misdirected 😦  Yes, it sometimes happens!

Between comments here on the blog post, email messages sent to me and other social media posts, there were buckets of guesses as to what you would like for me to teach!  To the comedians in the audience – no one wants to see what my “royal icing cookies” look like, I’m more of a drop cookie artist 😀

Hoop Savvy titleCard

Here is the official title and yes this class is all about the machine embroidery hoop!  From my first Craftsy class, you know that I have no fear for taking the fabric out of the hoop.  So this class takes one step back and lets us explore one of the key components to machine embroidery and how to become skilled and savvy when using the Hoop!

Check back soon – sneak peek #2 is right around the corner!


And the voting continues – thanks for your support!

TurtleI am so impressed with all of you for voting for my blog and boosting us to 300 votes!  You really made my day.  I wonder if we can get to 400 votes?  Is that too much to ask?  We have until Wednesday Jan 28th at 11:59PM MST so we shall see what happens in the next two days!

So todays free design is another that I have digitized in Embrilliance StitchArtist and it is an applique design.  There are a couple of different things about this design – the finishing stitches are not the traditional machine embroidery satin stitch.  You will also note when you watch the design stitch out that there are no jumps between the purple legs.  I really don’t like to trim jumps and the machines just stitch faster when they travel vs having to slow down, lock, trim, relocate, lock, and ramp back up to speed.  When you have run stitches that travel instead jumps that trim, the machine will just keep on the speed its going.  So when ever possible I like to incorporating travel stitches into the designs I create – hiding them under stitches that will stitch/cover later.

Both Step1of these items are very easy to accomplish in StitchArtist.  First let’s talk about how to get the pretty motif stitch around the applique pieces.  After creating the shape and choosing applique, I set the finishing stitch to None.  If I am using a fabric cutter, I only select the Position stitch.

Yes, I could simply set this stitch type to a single run since I was planning to not have a material position stitch.  However, I know me – I like to change my mind and setting it to be an applique stitch type gives me to flexibility to quickly add the material option in the future by checking the box.  If I set it to a run and later decided I wanted the second run, I would have to copy and paste and make sure it was in the right order or change it from a run to an applique, set it to none and check both boxes.  So I saved myself some extra work today by setting the shapes to applique none in the beginning.

Step2OK, so I have no finishing stitch – how do I get that?  I drew a line around the top part of the shape only along the outer edges and set it to a motif run.  Because it was an open path, The decorative stitch of the turtle shell was going to cover the spots where the head and legs connected anyway!

Step3And since the decorative stitching of the shell was going to cover the sections in between, I simply created short little single runs to travel from one leg to the next.  Since these runs are connecting to the stitches before and after, you will want to turn off the ties if you have them set on your running stitch.  There is no reason to lock these little runs as we want them to be  a planned part of the design.

So here is the link to the Turtle files.

And if you have not yet voted for my blog before the cut off time, Please take a few moments to do so!  I would certainly appreciate it!  Thank you and enjoy!

Craftsy Blogger Awards - Vote for Me badge


The post that I send a link to most often…. How to line up designs for re-hooping

I will admit that my reason for today’s post is to “make things easier for me”.  Smile with me – once you get to know me, you will find I am all about EASY – easy for me and easy for you!

I belong to quite a few machine embroidery groups on Facebook and one of the questions that I see asked quite often is how to line up multiple hoop designs such as 3 letter monograms or words/names using just a single position hoop.  I did a blog post on this a few years ago, and I teach a Craftsy class on it, I have a coupon for that class, and I have a free alignment line library for Embrilliance available from another post….so you can see ALL the work I have to do to find those posts that all relate to one another!  So as I was flying back from visiting family in CT last night I thought, “hmmm Lisa, why don’t you do a blog post with all that information in it in one place so you and everyone else can have all the information in one place”.

The most popular post on this topic is on how to add alignment lines to a design.  This technique can be done with any sized hoop and I created some screen captures of the steps I would take to use this technique for a 3 letter monogram.  For the complete original post, you can find it here: Original Post

step1 step2 Step3 Step4

In the original post, there is a link for a zipped file with alignment lines.  A few months later, Embrilliance came out with the first BX file, a library of alignment lines that could be added to any Embrilliance program.

AlignmentLibrary

This made it very easy for me – and everyone else – to add center crosshairs or alignment lines to any design.  In case you missed that blog post, here is the link to the original.

I really do like to create a stitch designs that are bigger than my hoop.  And it doesn’t matter if I have a 4×4, 5×7, 6×10 or 8×12 hoop – once you learn the technique, if you are like me, you will notice that a few things will happen:

1. The hoop size becomes irrelevant – does NOT even matter one bit anymore because you have software and can line up anything.

2. Because the hoop size is irrelevant….yes your embroidery gets bigger even when you get a bigger hoop 🙂  There really is no limit to what you can embroider as far as size goes.

3. You may find that it is easier to rehoop more often instead of splitting a design down the middle.

3iseasierthan2

For example, you could look at the size of the above design and see that it could be split in half – right down the middle of the third flower, in my opinion YUCK.  It would be so much easier to put the sun in one hoop, the flowers in a second and the bear in a third – keep all the designs together. When you use alignment lines between each overlapping section, no one will ever know that you only have a 5×7 hoop!

And if you want to learn from the ground up how to create big design layouts with any size hoop – check out my Craftsy class!  Here is a discount on the class which has 7 projects – all done with a small hoop (click on graphic below to go to the sale page).  The techniques can be applied to any size hoop.  I personally enjoy taking Craftsy classes – what I like about them is that I can watch them any time and as often as I want.  Asking questions is super easy – just pause the video, ask your question and you’ll get a personal answer.

So here is a link with a discount coupon (click on the graphic below) – and if you like my Facebook page, you will see that every so often I put up discount notices for other classes!

Title Card for Blog

So these are just a few of the blog posts I have done that talk about rehooping designs to create larger layouts.  I hope that even though they are repeats, you find it nice to have all the similar information brought together in one post 🙂

Enjoy!


How to Digitize in StitchArtist Lesson 1 of many – opening the graphic, setting the plan and GO!

monkey in boxBetween Christmas and New Year’s, I thought I would try to make a couple posts on some of the digitizing functions of StitchArtist.  I know many people got the program for Christmas or are thinking about getting the program.  I’ve been using it for over a year and really enjoy creating my own designs.  I thought that creating a series of posts that follow me through a design from start to finish might help give some insight as to how a “non-professional but always learning” digitizer works with the software.

First, let me say that this project will be using StitchArtist Level 1 just to demonstrate that there is quite a bit you can do with this entry level digitizing program!  Yes, it runs on both a Mac or Windows computer and pretty much looks the same on either operating system – so just because the picture/video is done in the Mac version, pretend you are looking at a windows computer and tell yourself “Its ok that my program is not identical, if I click on the same button on my computer that looks a little different, the same thing happens so it’s all good!”  YES you can start with Level 1 and upgrade to Level 2 at any time.  YES the program is stand alone, HOWEVER, I have other Embrilliance titles installed so when you watch the video, you may see other buttons that you will not have if you only have StitchArtist authorized.  I WILL NOT be using any of these buttons, so please do not say “I have StitchArtist Level 1 and mine doesn’t look like yours, why?”  Yours will have every function and feature that I actually click on and use in this blog post – I will not be discussing the other programs.  If you are paying attention to the other stuff I’m not talking about…stop that 🙂

In case I forget, you can find out about the software from the Embrilliance website and here is the direct link to the StitchArtist page: http://www.tinyurl.com/StitchArtist.

There are many ways to do any single task – including how to digitize a design.  In fact, I would say ESPECIALLY when it comes to design creation because this is a personal and artistic form of expression.  That being said, I’m going to walk you thru ONE way that I chose to create this embroidery design – not the right way or only way – but rather, my way. Use this information any way you want!

Before I start any embroidery project, I decide what hoop I am going to use.  I’m choosing to create the design for the 5×7 or 130mm x 180mm PES hoop.  Deciding this now will tell me how much detail to include – for example I have zero desire to stitch large areas with fill stitches or cut applique shapes the size of pennies – not my idea of fun.  I also work in metric because it just makes more sense.  I know the difference between a 2mm and 3mm stitch but .078 inches or .118 inches means nothing to me visually – I can’t “see” the difference between those in my head.  But I know that a 2mm running stitch is going to be wicked tiny and a 3mm stitch will do decent curves for a running stitch.  So the first thing I will do is open my software, set my measurement and hoop.

The most common way to begin creating a design is with using a graphic or picture as a guide.  StitchArtist is NOT an automatic digitizing program.  Computer software programs have zero creativity and emotion.  Creating an embroidery design is an artform and StitchArtist provides you with tools so that you can creatively interpret the graphic into a stitch file.  So the first thing I will show you is how to do is setup your workspace and open a graphic into the program.  I drew this monkey in a gift box and scanned it into my computer as a JPG file.  The important part of this step is that what you open as a background is a graphic file such as a JPG, BMP etc.  Formats are listed on the website.  The software doesn’t care that you can’t draw – it cares that you choose a graphic on the computer to open.  How the graphic got there is up to you!

Once I open my graphic as a background, I size it to fit my hoop and save the file.  Saving often it a good plan in my book.  When someone asks how often you should save, my answer is that I save as soon as I finish something I never want to do again.  I strongly dislike duplicating work.  Therefore, I save often.

I have zero intention to replicate the information that is well documented in the manual. Again – I’m not into creating more work for me 🙂  If the manual did not exist or was poorly written, I would have a different opinion on the matter.  However, I read the manual.  Its a great read – one might even venture to say that it is entertaining and fun!  I have a copy in my kindle app so that I can search and refer to it often.  The Embrilliance manual makes sense and gives you background information on digitizing practices as well as how to use the various tools in the program.  I highly suggest that if you have not done so, that you download the manual from the Embrilliance website and check it out.  Not sure where to find it? There is a link on the StitchArtist page to both the FAQ and the manual.

So once the graphic is open in the background – that is the inspiration upon which the embroidery design is going to be created. My “vision” is that this 5×7 design will be part applique with various stitched accents.  The monkey is coming out of the gift box, so the first thing that needs to be created is the box and its lid.  My favorite drawing tool is the point input – click your mouse and that’s a node.  You do not need to have the last click be on top of the first click in order to close a shape – that’s done for you automatically using the close button on the menu bar.  And for those that want to get the most our of their software and have read the StitchArtist chapter as suggested, you already know that you can use the Command+right click (CTRL+right click in windows) to end and close the shape in one step.

The Applique stitch properties for Level 1 has two sections – the stitch properties and the tie off properties. (note: Other levels may have more pages to their properties pane.)  Hopefully you have stitched a few well digitized designs so you know that locking stitches or ties are important at the start of a color/section as well as at the end.  These are called Ties in StitchArtist and you can turn them on or off for each object you create.  Yes, I will show you some examples later on in this project of when you would not want the ties to be turned on.  You have various options for the applique properties – the style of finishing stitch and its density and width for example.

The Applique object type can have up to 3 parts and you have complete control to turn any of these – on or off.  An applique normally has a single run that stitches showing you where the fabric needs to be placed.  This is referred to as the Applique Position stitch.  The machine would stitch this and stop because it is its own colorbreak.  You would place a piece of fabric in the hoop covering this outline.  The next colorbreak is another single run (material position) – it holds down the fabric you just placed in the hoop and stops.  If the fabric you placed in the hoop was not cut to fit this shape ahead of time (either by hand or die or fabric cutter), you would remove the hoop and trim the fabric.  Return the hoop to the machine and stitch the final colorbreak – the finishing stitch.

As you can see in the applique properties, these three “stitching objects” are all part of a single object – so if you reshape the applique shape you automatically reshape each of the components. Kind of cool and saves you a lot of time.  You can also turn off any one or more of these depending on what it is you are trying to do.  For this example, our applique will have the 3 components – we’ll start off simple!

Part1

Check out the video clip here to see how we got to this point!

If you thought I was going to work through this entire design in one blog post – SORRY!  If you have the software, I encourage you to play.  By playing with the software, you will slowly develop YOUR WAY to do something which may be different than mine – and that’s a wonderful thing to happen!

We have quite a few more lessons coming up so be sure that you subscribe to my blog.  And please remember that if you have questions on the software, you will ALWAYS get an answer by clicking on the Contact Us link on the website!  This is the best and fastest way to get information on any of the Embrilliance programs.

Until next time – see you online!