Sunday, September 25, 2016

Adventures in Embrilliance: Stitch Editing

I love free designs! The upside is that first, the price is right, but most importantly I get to try-on a particular designer's style to see if it fits my own. The downside is that usually the design has elements that I cannot use. Please understand, I am not talking about changing one or two things and claiming the design as my own; I am talking about personalizing the design (with full credit to the designer) so that I can use it again and again. Take for example, this FREE mug rug from Sweet Pea Designs:

(click on the photo above to go to the FB group)

It is so cute! And, because I love Sweet Pea I want one in my sewing room. However, if I were giving it as a gift I do not know anyone named "Sweet Pea!"

With Sweet Pea's generous permission I would like to share the wonderful features of Embrilliance Enthusiast software to change the words "Sweet Pea" to the word "coffee." Join me for this quick adventure in stitch editing! 

Until next time!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Adventures in Embrilliance Suite: Did you know you can layout an "In the Hoop" quilt?

I do not know why, but it suddenly occurred to me that I can use my awesome Embrilliance Suite software to layout and plan my in the hoop (ITH) quilting projects! It is easy and makes planning my project a snap!

Why? There are several reasons to preplan my projects. First, it saves precious fabric; I know exactly how many blocks of each I want to stitch. Second, it gives me greater creative power; I can flip blocks, rotate them or even decide not to use a specific block! Finally, I can print a layout of the project and make notes all over it! For example, I like to not trim the batting away on the outer edges of my blocks; I leave enough to have a 1/2" of batting to bind. In printing the layout I can easily identify the blocks which I choose to not trim. Like this:

Join me as I share how to use an amazing, hidden ability of the Embrilliance Suite and layout your "in the hoop" designs, too! 


To review:

Until next time!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Adventures in StitchArtist: Creating Applique from Die-Cutter shapes

Each summer break includes a "purge" of my sewing room. But, with the best of intentions to discard (notice I did not say "throw away") those items/unfinished projects that make me ask what I was thinking, I always discover some that just beg me to stay. This year, in the bulk of unbound quilts I uncovered a Christmas table runner that I really like!

Why did I not finish this? Oh, yeah! I wanted more of the red flowers....No problem, right? They might be somewhere on the computer upon which they were digitized. NOT! Hours later I could not find the files. No problem, the flower was Fun Flower from Accuquilt and I have StitchArtist; and I so love it when my toys place nice in the sandbox! This is easy! So....on to reproduce and finish the runner. Join me as I share my adventure in turning a die cut shape into an embroidery file. 

But, before I can begin, I must say that this technique is appropriate for Accuquilt dies, Sizzix dies or any hand cranked die cutting machine. It is not the same for electronic die cutting machines such as Cricut or Silhouette. 

Things I learned in this process:
  • Lightweight card-stock works well. Just mark the wrong side of the cut shape as the wrong side, pretending it is the "white" side mentioned in the video. 
  • This really turned out to be a discussion of nodes and handles. But, it helps a lot to play with them! 
  • Always look at the tool bar when clicking away. There may be the answer to many questions (as in the sensitivity setting!)
  • The higher the sensitivity, the cleaner the outline. 
To review the video:

I have several Accuquilt designs to digitize...I am so excited! I hope that this give you ideas on one more way to get your toys to play together in a creative, productive way! 

Until next time...

Note: I own the die used in this feature. It was used for instructional purposes only. It is available from

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Adventures in StitchArtist 2 or 3: Choosing a learning project and making a suncatcher!

I have been digitizing for a LONG time, about 20 years. But each software is different and speaks its own language. That's what makes delving into a new software a bit intimidating. And as user friendly as StitchArtist is, it is no different in that respect.

For me, there were steps to learning this program: figuring out the toggles, determining the best way to create a straight verses curved line, how to add a know the basics. I watched videos, read the manual and watched more videos. In the end, I just jumped in and did it. And learned from my mistakes.

So, now that I am ready to try something new, how do I choose the new topic. The first question that I ask myself is, "What do I want (or need) to make?" Right now it is bright and sunny outside, my mind is looking at something to draw my eye to the outside...a suncatcher!

So, now my second question, "How?" the manual and what did I find:

Sweet! A new concept in StitchArtist 3 and I'm adding to my experience. But I don't want to make any sun-catcher, I want to make a "stained glass" sun-catcher. So, off to Google I go to search FREE stained glass patterns. 

There were a multitude of these patterns! I wanted something less detailed and this one spoke to me:

I checked the website, read the usage policy and I am good to go! So, now to plan my process....

1. Create the background fill.
2. Color the leaves.
3. Color the tulip
4. Create the "leading" (black outlines)
5. Add a hanger. 

Join me as I create my "Stained Glass" Sun catcher...

To review: 

The sun catcher is stitched on Water Soluble Stabilizer. This rinses out, leaving only the stitching.
It will need to be pressed flat, however. I chose to starch mine as well... Okay, the photo does not show that, but I did! REALLY. 

Until next time...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Adventures in StitchArtist and Enthusiast: The Carousel Feature

I like to create my own quilting motifs, the kind that radiate around a center point. I think this stemps from my love of Spirograph as a kid....loved that toy! And it didn't help that I had discovered Free Motion Quilting Made Easy by Eva Larken that gave me literally hundreds of ideas using simple shapes that rotate around a center point.

Oh this will be so simple in Stitch Artist! Uhmmm..... not so simple I soon discovered. This disappointed me. My awesome software did not include a feature that would allow me to easily rotate a simple shape around a center point. But all was not lost...I discovered Enthusiast and the carousel feature! My problem solved....or so it seemed. Join me as I learn how to create the exact in the hoop motif to finish my quilt blocks or even my quilt!

Here is are some of the motifs created using this technique:

using a diamond

using a heart

Using a diamond with a loop

using the shape above (diamond and loop) and adding more to the rotation:

I hope you have discovered some of the secrets of the Enthusiast carousel feature and will enjoy it as much as I do!

Until next time!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Please be patient with me....

I am so very sorry that I have not posted in awhile. The last 9 weeks of the school year is very, very busy for me. That said I have to admit that I have had a video ready for a long time. However, the stitched design was not (reference my first statement.) This weekend (May 21, 2016) I had hoped to be back posting....but no. I updated iMovie and it is very different to what I was using. So, begging humble apologies...I will have a post soon. I promise.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Adventures with Stitch Artist: A Stylized Cat from a Dingbat

I love dingbats! I use them repeatedly in my scrapbooking and my paper crafting. So, why should I not try to use them in StitchArtist (SA)? Plus, it is just plain fun to go "shopping"!

Speaking of "shopping"....There are many sites that offer free fonts. Two that I have frequented for year and find reliable are Dingbatdepot and Dafont. Lettering Delights has their own line of dingbats called "Doodlebats" for a reasonable price.

With no real plan, except to show how to use dingbats with the True Type font function of SA, I went shopping.....

I found "Founa!" I could see stylized embroidery! SOLD! 

Before I proceed, I am using StitchArtist 3; you will see a lot of buttons! True Type Fonts are also available beginning with StitchArtist 1. 

Downloaded and installed on my Mac, I was ready to go.....or so I thought. I opened my Embrilliance software. I selected CREATE DESIGN from the toolbar. From the TOOLPANE, I selected the TT FONT. (If the names are confusing you can find them in the Embrilliance manual p. 10.)


The FONT WINDOW opened and I clicked on the down arrow under "family" to look for my font. 

Uh oh! The font was not listed. What did I do? 

I had never noticed the "wheel" at the top of the FONT box (1). I selected it and a menu opened! 

I thought MANAGE FONTS would allow me to select what font appeared in SA. Instead, it took me to the listing of fonts installed on my computer. "Founa" was right where it should be! 

Drat! I really want to use it....Maybe, just maybe, there is something wrong with the font itself....Off to Pages (comparable to Word) to see!


Odd, not listed there either! Now I was on a be able to use this dingbat font in my SA. It WILL work; I am stubborn. And, I have several softwares that may help me out! First my Silhouette Studio....not there. On to Inkscape...

There it was! I really need to learn more about Inkscape. But I think I can at least get a graphic for my embroidery project.
Before I go on, a couple of things about dingbats...when the plan works, that is! Dingbats open a whole new world of creativity. Each character in the "alphabet" is associated with a keystroke---they are typed. This is easy and quick, but can be interesting when choosing one character. Most downloadable files include a "character map" allowing you to see which key is associated with which character. I keep this in a NOTE in my Notes App.

I see that the cat is the letter "d". I'll start there!

Have I said that I really need to learn more about Inkscape? But that's another story. After much trial and error---seriously several hours worth--I had an SVG file to open in SA!
And here's where the SA adventure begins!

In the video (and on my stitchout) I kept the cat in one color. Changing colors gives this guy a bit of a different look!

In the end, when I stitched C is for .... I sized the cat down. I lost some of the fine detail of the satin, but it still stitched flawlessly! While you are here....take a close look at the shading stitch. If it is too open for you, decrease the density a little; this takes some practice, but you will soon know what you like!

In summary, the features of StitchArtist that I used:

Thank you for joining me on this "dingy" adventure! I cannot wait until next time!