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!


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!

Thanks to all of you — voted 2015 Craftsy Best Instructor’s Blog

Craftsy Blogger Awards - Winner Best Instructor's Blog BadgeYes, I am doing the happy dance and it is all because of you!  Thank you so much for taking the time to vote for my blog and let me know that you like the information that I share with you.  It really means alot.

Now don’t laugh, but I’ve been sitting here at the computer trying to think of something to write in addition to this, but I am at a loss for words.  This has been a crazy week – I didn’t even post here that I found out that an article and project I had submitted to Creative Machine Embroidery magazine was not only featured on the front cover but also as a downloadable project! CMEcover silkcase 2015

I have a few things on my “Business Bucket List”, and one of them was to have something of mine featured on the cover of a magazine in my industry.  I’ve been writing magazine articles for years, but they never made it to the front cover!  So as I was browsing through Facebook with my morning coffee and feeling kind of giddy because my blog had made the top 4 in the Craftsy voting…and kapow!  there was my tablet case!  Thank you to the editors at CME for picking my project and showcasing it with such beautiful photography!

Now, if you visit the webpage, there are a few things to download.  First the article with project instructions is always a good thing.  Next there are the embroidery design files and applique templates.  There are a few links on that page and they are only active for a set period of time, so be sure to get them while you can!

In case you were wondering – YES both designs were created using StitchArtist. I really liked the elegant form of the butterfly and knew that the interior holes would be a great job for my Brother ScanNCut. I love using the E-stitch for a finishing stitch for applique and I think it gave a delicate edge for this project.  I’ll let you in on a secret — the flower designs were created to embellish the lining of a jacket I’m working on!  When you want to embellish a lightweight material like jacket lining, you don’t want to use dense designs. Heavy embellishment on a lightweight fabric will change how it drapes and I didn’t want there to be any stabilizer left in the fabric when it was complete.  So I’m working on that project in case you were wondering what else you could do with the designs!

So today’s post is going to be short and sweet — first and foremost because I really wanted it to be about thanking everyone that voted for my blog.  I am honored and very appreciative.  Second – because one of my sew-lutions this year was to be more consistent in my blog posting – once a week is the goal.  Yes, I have 3 sew-lutions, which are sewing related resolutions – blog once a week, decrease the stash, and learn at least 3 new sewing techniques in 2015.  And I think that this whole Craftsy blogger thing will be a motivation for me to stay on track.

Thank you again and hope you all have a wonderful week!  Next blog post – back to the monkey in the box design so we can finish that up!


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

Chatting with Lindee Goodall about Machine Embroidery SCHTUFF!

Every so often I find myself thinking “how on earth did I get here?” I’m not talking about physical location – although I’m sure I would still be wandering around download Houston if it wasn’t for GPS.  No, I’m talking about how I went from studying mathematics in college to teaching machine embroidery software.  During one of my “pondering moments” I thought that it might be fun to “interview” others in this wonderful world of machine embroidery and see if our journeys were similar.  Not having done something like this before, I thought it would be fun to start with someone that I have admired for a long time with whom I kind of knew that we came from similar backgrounds.

So I sent my dear friend Lindee Goodall a message on Facebook – it was one of those spur of the moment thoughts that was more of a “do you you think this is a good idea?” and because Facebook is so instant, all of a sudden the concept went from idea to “I’ll send you the questions by email” within minutes!  Facebook is super fast like that – if you thought email was instant, holy smokes we can jump between 6 different topics and projects in a matter of sentence fragments 🙂

Those of you who do not know of Lindee can find her official biography on her website http://lindeegembroidery.com/about/ But I wanted to expand beyond that to give you a glimpse into our friendship and relationship with machine embroidery.

Lindee: You know Lisa, you and I have similar backgrounds. We were both programmers and I really think creating embroidery is very similar. You want a design that sews efficiently and doesn’t jump around all over the place, in programmer speak, no “GOTOs.”

Lisa: Spot on with that analogy!  Last thing we want to do is watch the machine dance all over the place weaving a web of jump stitches!  So, what was your first thought when you saw your first home embroidery machine?

Lindee: My first embroidery machine was very small and we had to drive from Cincinnati to Dayton to get it. I read the manual in the car on the way home (no, I wasn’t driving!). Actually, I read it twice it was so small. I ran into the house, unpacked the machine hooked it up to my computer and loaded the software. I sewed out half of one of the two designs that came with it and thought, “Oh yeah, I can do this” and started looking for some clip art to digitize. Fortunately I picked something fairly easy, a cat. Then I spent a lot of time digitizing. My software was very crude and my initial thought was “this takes a LONG time!” Never-the-less, I was hooked and fascinated. I had to figure it out.

My machine came with 3 primary thread colors. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and there wasn’t any information available back then. I spent a lot of time trouble-shooting, a skill all good programmers have. I amassed numerous huge notebooks of samples with notes. You’ll see something similar in my Craftsy class and I’ve included my tracking form with the course materials. I had created that form in a databases (my second love after digitizing!) and then I just printed the form for my binder.

Lisa: We have seen your gorgeous digitizing created by your original artwork starting with your first company, Cactus Punch.  Do you have other artistic outlets?

Lindee: It’s funny, but if you walked through my house without seeing my studio, you might never know I did embroidery because it seems everything I do is a “sample” for an event. Well, ok, I do have some embroidered garments but most are still from Cactus Punch designs. I do miss my artists!

I do have several paintings in watercolor and oils hanging about. One of my watercolors won a blue ribbon in the county fair many years ago. I used to do a lot of a hand embroidery and there are several projects out on display as well. I also used to do a lot of ceramics. Had the kiln and everything. I graduated with a BA in Art so my hobbies have always been creative even though I didn’t have many “art” jobs

We all know you as a Mac person which intrigued me from the first time we met – Mac & embroidery made perfect sense to me given all the advertising & graphic arts I had worked on in my past life was done on a Mac and then I was like “huh?” when every program that came out was for the PC. I know you reluctantly ran windows for some tasks.  How did you start in digitizing – was your first program the Pfaff Mac software or did you start with a windows based program?

Yes, I’m afraid I am somewhat of a Mac snob. My first program was Pfaff Mac software that I bought with my 1475 the year before I bought my first embroidery machine. That software only created decorative stitches. The POEM or Huskygram I bought in 1994 also had Mac software. I remember remarking to one of the tech people for that machine that the software felt like a beta version and that someone said, “Let’s ship it anyway.” His jaw dropped open and he said that’s exactly what happened. This software was extremely basic, no compound fills or satins. I didn’t use it for very long, maybe a month or so.

I ended up buying the DOS version called CS2, which was a subset of a DOS version of Wilcom. It was very manual. It did satins and fills but running stitches had to be punched one stitch at time. Very tedious!

I began researching professional software when I realized I was really hooked. At the time, there were two options: the pro version of the “beta” software I was using and Punto. Punto would connect to my POEM and also had a trial that you could test that did everything but save, sew, and print. I found Punto to work very naturally for me because it has tools like Adobe Illustrator. At that time I was working for an ad agency as a multimedia developer and I did a lot of my own graphics. I still use Punto to this day. I have found it doesn’t work like any other digitizing program and although there are now more powerful programs, I’m just more efficient in Punto. Also, it works on my Mac.

Wow, it sounds like you were “hooked” pretty quickly…

My pace into machine embroidery was pretty rapid. Bought my first embroidery machine in September, professional software the following June, and my first multi-needle machine arrived in October.

If you are thinking about digitizing there are a lot more choices now. If you’ve outgrown what came with your machine then by all means look for something else. Also, if your software is too hard and you’ve given it a fair shot, don’t let it stop you from moving on to something you will use.

I know you have always had forward thinking when it comes to what’s possible in machine embroidery…What is the most unique material you have embroidered on – and why did you do this?  We all know these are expensive machines, so there must have been some rationale in thinking “how can I embroider XYZ without breaking the machine?” or did you just go for it and see what happened?

I’ve embroidered on wood, metal, paper, leather, artificial flowers, and fish net. I once saw embroidery on a condom but haven’t tried that myself.  I’ve also embroidered on fabrics I would have never considered sewing with because they were too difficult.

I would guess the fishnet required the most thought. It was a very open net and it was for a shower organizer. I layered it between two pieces of Solvy taking care to arrange the mesh evenly. Then I misted it down thoroughly with a water bottle and let it dry. I used organza as the stabilizer so essentially I was stitching on the organza. It worked best when the embroidery was an appliqué but I also tried full-stitch designs and those worked too.

I think the biggest issue is how do I get it in the hoop rather than worrying about breaking the machine. I figure if the machine can sew through my finger most anything else I stick in should be fine.

Being an independent business woman in this industry is a double edged sword – we get to do what we love every single day (outside of the yucky bookkeeping and paperwork and such) but what we love to do has become “a job” which can sometimes take the fun out of it.  We see many new embroider-ers opening Etsy stores to sell their creations – do you have any advice on how to keep the fun in the job?  

 Well, Lisa, to tell you the truth it is discouraging to see all these embroiderers giving away their work. It really degrades all embroidery in my opinion. And you’re right, some aspects are definitely more fun than others. Ultimately I think the fun comes from whether this is something you are truly passionate about or whether it’s just a lark. This is my twentieth year digitizing and when I start getting down about the business, I go digitize something. For me, it’s like meditation, especially with lace or complicated redwork. It takes focus and I find it relaxing. I’d be in bliss if I could just digitize and let someone else do the embroidery!

I do have to say my husband, Bill, does help with the paper work but I still do all the techy & design stuff like maintaining the shopping cart, creating packaging, writing blog posts and everything else that goes on.  I’m sure you’ve seen those graphics of “what people think I do and what I really do.” One day a drew up a flow chart of how that relates to me. The “what I really do” was so long it was almost overwhelming! It still may end up as a blog post one of these days.

 Are you a perfectionist when it comes to embroidery?  

 I would say I’m a perfectionist but I guess really I strive for excellence. Absolute total perfection in embroidery with every stitch properly tensioned and in the exact place is unreasonable. There are some things we have to compromise on and there are also things I classify as “embroidery facts of life”—those uncontrollable things that just happen.

So what’s your main thought when it comes to digitizing? Do you do a test sew?  I know there are different types of test sews, especially when you are creating the design yourself vs creating a project using “tested” embroidery designs.  Some digitizers stitch the design out using the colors on their machine just to see what the design will look like (push pull angles etc).  

 I don’t digitize at top speed; I digitize with care. I’m reasonably fast but not as fast as I think I should be; quality is more important to me. I don’t use auto digitizing. And absolutely every design is test sewn! I’d never send a design out without test sewing. My husband Bill does a lot of the sewouts but I do test all the appliqués and I test them with fabric. I also sew the embroidery on my projects.

When testing, I look for efficiency. Does it sew in an orderly manner? Are colors duplicated that could be combined? I also watch for registration. I test on a multi-needle so I watch for missed trims. I program trim commands into the design and if I missed a trim function and there is a travel stitch, then I probably missed adding the tie stitches. I watch to see that underlay is consistent where possible.  When the design’s done, I visually inspect it carefully. I lay it down on a flat surface and run my fingers over it to see if there are lumps. Sometimes these can’t be avoided like very small eyes stitched on top of another layer. Larger eyes can have the under layer cut away but tiny dots can’t and isolated tiny dots on the surface must have tie ins and tie outs that make them even thicker.

I do watch a virtual sew out before ever sending the design to my machine to check for any potential problems. Virtual sew outs are no substitute for the real thing. A digital file is not embroidery! Embrilliance Essentials is a great tool for anyone to use to watch a design sew on screen.

I use “real” colors because we scan all our embroideries and then crop away the fabric for the images on the website and packaging I might not do that with a redwork design and just leave it rendered. I sometimes wonder about the sites that only post images of their designs from their software. Did they actually ever stitch them?

Sometimes I edit because of an actual problem and sometimes I edit because when I see it sew, I think of a way I’d rather do it. It’s a very basic design indeed that only has one way of being digitized!

Do you have any suggestions for those who are learning to digitize when doing their test sews?  How about a tip for someone stitching a design for the first time on a new fabric?

 I think all digitizers should sew their own designs out until they have a good mastery of digitizing. Watch every stitch sew. Notice if there are any ways to improve efficiency. Do you need to adjust colors? Sometimes I’ll sew a design out several times just to get the right colors. I always the list the colors and brands I used in the sewn sample. Color makes a huge difference in a design.

I think you should always test a design before sewing it. Maybe I’m paranoid but I know how many things can go wrong! Do test on the same or similar fabric (including color) with the stabilizer, needle, bobbin thread, and thread colors you plan to use. Also, be sure to hoop on grain; don’t just throw the fabric into the hoop willy nilly. Watch the design sew and notice if there are any problems. After sewing, check the design for any gaps or other registration issues and for tension problems. I’d rather spend the extra time on test sew than mess up something bigger.

People used to tell me all the time they never tested Cactus Punch designs because they knew it would sew right. Even I tested them before sewing on a project!

Do things ever slip by? Sure! Sometimes it happens during conversion. I do try to color the designs in the actual thread colors so you’re most likely to see the “right colors” in PES and VP3. Sometimes if the shades are too close and I’m converting to a format with a more restricted color palette, those colors get converted to the same color and the machine won’t stop. That’s why I recommend always downloading the DST. For one thing, that’s the design I actually sewed. It’s also the format I sew on my BabyLock and Viking. Many machines can read a DST and if yours can’t you should have some conversion software.

 When you digitize a design, do you have a particular execution plan in mind?  For example – do you create the design for a particular weight thread, fabric etc?  I see in your blog posts/newsletters that you do try out different things and give feedback (like snowflakes with the metallic thread newsletter post).  Are you always thinking “what if I…?”

I don’t always have a particular execution in mind but when I digitize designs for my collections, I do pick things I like. Right now I have a set of bobbin work that I need to make the final sample for so it does need a particular thread weight. Actually, the designs have been done since January and the project is the final hold up!

Mostly I digitize for 40 wt thread because that weight is the most popular and works well in most home machines. Using heavier or thinner threads may require some adjustments and if embroiderers aren’t aware, they won’t get good results and will likely blame it on the design. I want people to have successful results with the least amount of effort. Another reason I don’t often use different sized threads is that it requires too many adjustments on my multi-needle and I’m not willing to do that. That machine is very finicky.

Digitizing for 40 wt means the design will work well for popular brands of poly and rayon in those weights. Cottons tends to be either a little heavier or thinner. Some metallic threads may not run well in a standard embroidery design, which is why I really like the Softlight Metallic threads. They are smoother and softer and run like rayon. Also, I’m not a big on a lot of glitz for myself and these threads are more refined, not so garish.

I’ve been really amazed how well the Softlight works. For years I taught (and was taught!) that you can’t stitch short stitches in metallic thread but you really can with Softlight. There’s a free collection you get when you sign up for my newsletter that has composed of motifs with very short stitches and I stitched all those samples in Softlight.

Softlight Thread:  http://lindeegembroidery.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=46_47

 Speaking of thread – you have a new Craftsy class out – CONGRATULATIONS!  You must have quite a bit of experience with different threads.  Who is this class geared towards?  the experienced embroiderer who wants to try new thread types or the beginner who doesn’t understand all the choices?

 Thanks Lisa! As you know from personal experience, doing a Craftsy class is a lot of work but the Craftsy people are amazing! My class is called Thread Savvy: Stitch Flawlessly With Any Thread. It is in the embroidery category and the class applies to hooped embroidery, free motion embroidery, and decorative sewing machine stitches. Beginners need to know which threads to use to start out. Poly? Rayon? Why? What kind of bobbin thread and why? I know there are some people who use sewing thread for embroidery but the only place I think it might be appropriate is for sewing seams for in-the-hoop projects. More adventurous embroiderers might like to know what other choices are available and how they can use them, such as whether tension adjustments need to be made or whether a different needle should be used. There are a lot of fun threads out there and you may not find them at your local dealer. You definitely won’t find them at the chain fabric stores!

I really cover a lot of territory on threads, needles, tensions, and the 10 tips for getting great results with metallics work well with any thread. I demo how to modify density on any design either at your machine or in software using Embrilliance products. I love that Embrilliance programs work on my Mac!

If you’d like to learn more about specialty threads then use this link for special pricing!   Craftsy class, Thread Savvy: Stitch Flawlessly With Any Thread:  http://tinyurl.com/ThreadSavvy

 When it comes to thread at the machine, do you clip at the spool and pull thru the machine?  

Good question. It’s better to clip the thread at the spool and pull it through so you don’t end up with “thread snot” caught inside the machine where you can’t get it out. On my multi-needle, I clip at the spool and tie on the next thread and pull it through like you would on a serger.

The machines I use most have automatic thread trimmers. They pull the threads to the back and trim them leaving a short tail. I’ve had people who are neat freaks trim the tails flush with the fabric and then complain the stitches are falling out. The tail is security! Here’s another tip: if you are embroidering letters and trim between each one, only do it on the front. Apply a dot of seam sealant to keep the stitches secure.

If your machine doesn’t have automatic thread trimmers, then for best results you should leave a short tail on the front and pull it to the back. Truthfully, I never did that. I trimmed close on the front and left a tail on the back. Also, trim any jumps at each color change so you don’t sew them into your design.

 What are some important features you like on embroidery machines? Do you have any suggestions for those who are looking at getting an embroidery machine?

  I definitely want a machine that will read the common formats from a USB stick without some proprietary formatting. And I want to be able to organize my files into folders on the stick.

I want hoops that are very secure. Some of the newer machines with really large hoops jiggle. If you’re looking for a new machine, attach the largest hoop and put your finger opposite the attachment, wiggle it and see if it is stable.

 So what “new feature” would you like to see incorporated in a future model – oh wouldn’t it be nice if…..!

 I’d really like a machine that could magically manage tensions for perfect stitches every time with an anti-birdnesting feature. I think it would be cool to have one of those jet-threader things like on the Baby Lock sergers on my my multi-needle machine.

I really have a longer list of items I’d like to see in my digitizing software since that is where I focus most of my time!

 I’m right there with you on those tension and anti-birdnesting features!  Sign me up!  Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to chat with me about machine embroidery!  I know that I enjoyed finding out a bit more about you and think others will find your expertise not only useful but interesting!

For those interested in getting more information and the special pricing on Lindee’s class at Craftsy here is the link!  http://tinyurl.com/ThreadSavvy

Lindee’s “online residence” is at www.LindeeGEmbroidery.com

Waiting for my Craftsy class to be released….. no Foolin’ around here!


So today is the day…..butterflies in my stomach!

My class on Craftsy is scheduled to be released some time today.  When I was told it was to be released on April 1st, I was like “seriously?!?” but then I thought that the timing was perfect 🙂  Today is a day of fun and silliness – so what better day for my first Craftsy Class, Big Embroidery with a Small Hoop, to be released!


So I started this post in the morning….and VOILA!! Here is the announcement!  Use the above link to get the class at half price!

So, what’s the class about? Thinking, planning and stitching designs that are bigger than your hoop.  We will cover templates and alignment lines – the whole process from start to finish.  There is no reason to think you are limited to a small embellishments just because you have a small hoop!  The design shown above is just one of the hands on projects you can stitch.

So this is no joke! You can stitch big designs with any size hoop – I promise it’s really not that scary and I’ll be sharing some tips & tricks that make the process fun and easy.  I invite you to take advantage of my introductory half price coupon and check out this class.

Happy Stitching!

Embrilliance Coupon & 90 Day Money Back Guarantee – SERIOUSLY!

90day_Embrilliance If you’ve read my blog, you know that I have been having way too much fun with the Embrilliance software programs these days.  Besides being able to use the same program on my Mac and my PC (no need to learn yet another program) I really enjoy the simplicity and natural order of how the programs look and feel.  Stuff like the radio buttons to switch between Metric and Inches are right there at the top left menu bar.  I mean it sounds like such a small thing.  I sometimes feel alone in my happy little round number metric world when it comes to embroidery.  But to quickly switch between measurements  – bam! –  it’s a really big thing for me to not have to go to some hidden preferences setting to switch to inches to help a friend who feels more comfortable in inches.

And most people could care less about a detail like that ease of use feature – but just think.  If they took that much time in their planning of their software from a user interface point of view for the little things, the big things, the things that matter just have to follow suit.  The first program I got started with is Essentials — what a great name!  Think about the top 5 things you do in machine embroidery software every day.  I like to look at my designs, find the one I want to stitch and customize it – to be honest after the very first design I stitched, I don’t think I have ever simply loaded a design as is to the machine and hit start.  After the first one, it was – OK that was fun – NOW what can we do to that design!  I’m a “onesy type of gal” – each project is unique in its own right 🙂

So using the Merge stitch file, I can look at all my designs and choose the one(s) I want  in my layout.  Now I can have some fun with customizing!  Essentials lets me resize (and recalculates the stitches).  I can overlap designs — eek, but I used to have to careful when I did that because stitching two designs on top of each other makes one DENSE section — but not with Essentials!  It will automatically remove the stitches from the one underneath in a smart way so there is no gap.  And you don’t have to do anything for this to happen!  Just save the design!

How about adding some text?  There are built in fonts that can be scaled up and down – you can create multiline text without some silly character limit! Its got enveloping so you can shape the fonts into monogram style.  You can even create circular or arched text!  Now you may have seen some digitizers like Jolson’s, Rivermill Embroidery, Lindee G Embroidery, Great Notions (and new ones coming on) offering designs in the BX format? This means that you can add new custom fonts to the program with a drag and drop of the BX file onto the program.  So you can use that zebra applique curly font to create a design that says LISA by simply using the lettering tool and selecting this font you added.  Wicked simple – the letters are all lined up, and you can adjust spacing/layout just like a built in font.  Now I said applique, right?  That would normally mean you would have to stitch out each letter in whole by itself – not with the smart color sort in Essentials!  Utility > Sort Colors and BAM! sorted on the save.

All of these functions and more are part of the Essentials program — just enough of fun customizing tools so you can make your design unique to you, send it to the machine and start percolating on the next project!  And don’t get me started on the other programs! Holy smokes I can get side tracked for HOURS creating new designs without digitizing a stitch 🙂

A friend of mine was asked what software she thought was the best and I think her response was SPOT ON!  The best software for YOU is the one that you use to get the job done so you can start stitching.  So if you have software and you aren’t using it, ask yourself why?  Does it feel like a really awkward first date when you open the program?  Maybe its just not the right match for you!  We all learn differently and what makes sense to me may not make sense to you and vice versa.  If you don’t have software – be sure that you check out what’s available to you – make a list of what YOU find to be important features.  What do YOU find to be essential?  Ya never know, maybe you and Embrilliance Essentials are a compatible couple 🙂

Now there are few companies that let you return software – its just not part of the industry standard.  Embrilliance broke all those rules with a 90 day money back guarantee.  They want everyone to be happy and say so right on the first page of their website!

And to offer some warm up savings on thsnoweir Facebook page, they are now offering a coupon code for the month of January and told everyone to share it and spread the word!  Use FB114 for the coupon code in the shopping cart to get the savings.  So I’m doing my part 🙂

Here is a shortened link to the website – checkout the programs, the user’s forum, ask questions via Contact Us.


Stay tuned next week — I talked about stabilizers last time and got to thinking what else is part of the “underside” of embroidery?  No I’m not talking about underground secret societies!  Think about your bobbins….that’s where we’re going next!

Until next time – Happy Stitching!