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!



Personalized Tote Part 2

So now we can continue with the customizing of the design for the front pocket of the tote.  The size of the pocket determines that the design should fit in my 5×7 hoop so I make sure that I have this selected from the properties dialog box.  On my Brother machine, the 5×7 hoop is 130 x 180mm.  Do you have a hard time remembering what your hoop size is in metric? I know everyone likes to work in inches, but they aren’t accurate when it comes to machine embroidery.  If I tried to put a 5″ x 7″ design in my 5×7 hoop – it would not fit.  The inch measurement is just an estimate that is easy to remember.

InEdit hoop name Essentials, you can add to the description of the hoop for easy locating in the future.  Open the properties dialog and under Hoops, choose your format and you will see all the hoops available in a list with their measurements in metric.

Refer to your machine’s manual or the manufacturers website if you are not sure what the measurement size is for your machine’s hoops.

When you select the hoop you want and click Edit, you can modify the name.  I like to keep the metric measurement as part of the name.

So now we have the 5×7 hoop on the screen and the design is kind of placed willy nilly on the design page.  So lets move the design into the hoop and rotate it a bit.  There are a couple of ways to rotate a selection in Essential – freehand using your mouse and the blue rotation mark in the upper right corner of the selection OR using the dialog box with rotation angle.

rotationThe Rotation angle dialog box shown by the blue arrow is GREAT when you want to rotate the selection by a specific amount.  For example you want to create a “four patch” of designs that are 45 degrees rotated from each other.  Its also handy for tiny movements and you don’t want to try and make it work using the mouse.

Since I wasn’t sure what would work, I used the Freehand Rotation tool and played around with rotating the design until I got a pleasant looking corner design.  The beauty about playing with software is that you don’t have to “commit” right now to to angle or the location.  I just rotated the selection to “about there” and now I can move on to adding the name.

So this is a feminine design that matches the floral fabric and I’m making it for my Mom, so I wanted to choose a script-y type font.  I found the perfect one at RiverMill Embroidery — and the best part is that all of her alphabet designs are available in the pre-mapped BX format!  This means when you purchase the alphabet set as a BX file, you just drag and drop it onto your Essentials software and it will be added to your font list.  HOW EASY IS THAT?!  The name of the font is Sweetheart – and yes it is a simply sweet style font!


So I click on the Lettering tool – ABC is placed in the center of the hoop – and choose the Letter Property page in the lower right.  Here you can change the ABC to my Mom’s name, Lolly, and select  Sweetheart  from the font list.

The ABC is changed to Lolly and now we can start to customize this letter object layout.  I would like the letters to be closer together, so I use the spacing slider to adjust.

I also adjusted the Slant of the letters using this slider.

Now looking at the size of the lettering versus the size of the rose, I decided to shrink the lettering just a bit.  To resize freehand, grab one of the black corners of the selection and drag it smaller.  I don’t mind if some of the letters overlap the design, so again this is a series of size, move the text, maybe rotate the rose a bit more….  this is all part of the creative process when customizing designs.  Sometimes there are exact steps to take, while at other times, it really is just PLAYING with the design in the software 🙂

BigLWhile moving stuff around I decided that I would like the “L” to stand out more by being larger than the other letters.

When a text object is selected, notice the green symbols – adjustors – at the center of each letter.  When you click on the adjustor for the letter “L” notice that you can now resize and rotate this one letter – and the rest of the letters remain untouched.

There are three adjustment selectors for each letter.  We are just going to work with the CENTER green square.

So I made the L larger and then moved it by click holding on the center green selector and snuggling the L in closer to the “olly”.  So again more moving and adjusting – I can really get lost in having fun watch the design change!

Once I got the design layout i wanted, I centered it in the hoop using the center shortcut button on the menu bar.

paletteMy final step in most customizing projects is to check the colors.  Lolly is going to stitch last on top of the rosebud design and I knew I would choose colors based upon the fabric choice.  I originally thought that since I was also using navy blue fabric in the project that I would keep the text this color, but decided that I would rather use the same dark pink from the rose.

I used the current palette to change the design color.

So, I selected the lettering object and clicked on the blue color in the property pane to bring up the thread color dialog box.

Under View select Palettes and choose the Current Page from the pulldown menu if it is not selected.  This will display all the threads that are in the current design – makes it really easy to choose a color that is already in use!

So I select the deep rose color, click OK and my customizing is complete so I can save my work and go to the machine to stitch.

Once the embroidery was finished on the oversized pocket fabric, I removed the tearaway stabilizer from behind and rinsed out the topping.  After pressing from the back side so as not to flatten the embroidery, I  trimmed the pocket to the final dimensions and constructed the tote.

Finished tote

So here is my finished tote!  Hope that you liked this project and found the instructions for customizing the design in Embrilliance Essentials easy to follow.  Once again, here are the links that I mentioned in this project:

The totebag pattern is from The Renegade SeamStress Blog

The alphabet design set is from Rivermill Embroidery

The rose impressions designs are from SnowLady Designs


Personalized Tote part 1

I keep getting distracted by “life” — and I know I’m not alone in this!  So I’ve decided to write smaller posts and post them one at a time as I get them done instead of one big long one.  This way, when the Milgard window man rings the doorbell to replace the garage window that was shattered by a Flicker bird a couple weeks ago, I can just hit publish and at least part of the project will be posted 🙂  Maybe this will help me get it completed!

So first off, here is the link for the totebag instructions in case I forget to post that later:  Click here   I found the instructions extremely well written with LOTS of pictures. I was multitasking – making two totes at the same time – and the great step-out pictures really kept me in line! The only part that threw me off was the 1/2″ seam allowance that I just couldn’t get used to.  So there was a bit of “reverse sewing” done when attaching the side panels, but besides that, it all went together rather simply!

Rose Impression design collection

I knew that I was going to embroider the pocket, so I cut this piece over-sized so it could be trimmed down.  Based upon the measurement of the pocket, I knew the design should be about 5×7.

I had the perfect design in mind – one of the Rose Impressions designs from SnowLady.  I had stitched out the large ones on the flap of a messenger bag and knew that her style of digitizing the roses would be a perfect compliment for the fabric I had selected from my stash.  Here is a link to the multisized set: Click here

So I had the project selected, and the design selected – now it was time for me to go into the Embrilliance software and start customizing.

merge_sizeSo the first thing I want to do is select the design and open it into my software.  All of the designs are gorgeous, but I was going for a specific “look”.  I knew I wanted to include a name with the design, so I was looking for a “strong corner” that wasn’t too overwhelming.  I also knew I wanted to stitch this in my PES 5×7 which is actually 130x180mm – YES it is important to clarify what machine/format 5×7 hoop I’m choosing because none of the machine formats are actually 5×7 exact OR even the same size.  So I choose the design (shown with a check mark on my Mac) then click on Import to have this design added to my design page in Embrilliance Essentials.  First thing I do is save my project name so that if I get distracted I don’t have to start over from scratch!

Design pageSo here is my design open in Embrilliance Essentials.  Couple things to point out in case you aren’t familiar.  To quickly switch between metric and inches, use the measurement radio buttons on the left of the menu information bar at the top.

The hoop selected as well as the design size is shown at the bottom of the status bar.  When the design resides OUTSIDE the hoop boundary in the design page, you will see a yellow warning highlight over the design size.

The object pane on the right shows the name of the merged stitch file – click on the arrow to the left to expand the design into its color breaks/objects.  It is now really easy to select and delete parts of a design by color – simply click on the color in the object pane for the stitches you want and they are selected in the design page.  When something is selected, it is shown in color and the rest of the design is grayed out.  I did not want the “impression” of the rose, so I selected the gray redwork style object in the object pane and hit the delete key.

Step 1This color is removed from the Object pane on the right.

Its color is no longer listed in the color properties list below.

The stitches are removed from the design page.

The design size is updated at the bottom of the screen.

I want to make sure that I save my work so that I can come back to it later.  Some people like to ask “how often should you save your work?”  My rule of thumb when customizing designs is to save everytime you complete something you “never want to do again”!  Computer glitches happen – the phone rings, the cat jumps on the keyboard, I get sidetracked and forget what I was doing and start another project!  Hitting CTRL+S or Command+S on the keyboard following every step is an easy habit to get into and has saved my bacon many a time!

In fact, right now, Daisy is on alert — looks like the Milgard window guy has arrived!  So I will continue this project in a bit!