Sunday, December 4, 2016

Quilt in the Hoop App....My introduction and Overview

Let me introduce you to a great little app.....(drum roll)...The Quilt in the Hoop App by Software Miracles.

This sleek little app is available for iPad in the Apple Store. Now, the price at $29.99 may seem a big high, but trust me, it is worth every penny! The price caught me, too. I began to think about how many patterns I've purchase at $10 which are still sitting, unopened.....No question after that point because this app affords me countless variations of patterns using the included blocks. 

Design is easy, straightforward and fun! I can not only arrange the blocks, but I can import photos of fabrics, auditioning what I want to use. I can use fabrics from my stash or from my favorite on-line store. In addition, the app calculates the amounts of fabric needed (generously) so that I can order what I need without question. 

Stitching these blocks is super easy following the directions in the app! It is like paper-piecing, except using the embroidery hoop of my machine. I have a MC 15000, so I can send the designs wirelessly, but I could save to a USB as well. At this time the app is strictly piecing, but I have added my own quilting motifs in the machine so that I am truly "Quilting in the Hoop!"

When I opened the app for the first time, I was surprised at its simplicity (okay, a little skeptical, too!) But not for long. I soon realized that the opening screen was simply a synopsis of the app! Trust me, it's all there....and more!

Okay, I've come to love the simplicity that surprised me!  It is truly straight-forward in its  delivery. Note the red arrow at the bottom of the opening page above. Those three areas comprise the workings of the entire app. The blue toggle is the current work space, or the "Library." I remember going to the library to do research for school....this is no different. This is the information about the app. 

By selecting "Contents" at the top of the page I was able to find just what I'd hope for: the "Table of Contents." The following picture is everything needed to begin in video form and in one place for easy access! I am still amazed that the thought and time put into ease of use by the developers!

"Touring the App" contains written directions on getting around the app so that I can create my projects. It is detailed and graphic! Plus, by using the screen capture I can print these out to have right next to me in my design process.

I've played with apps that got me through the process of the block, but left me hanging as to how to finish the block....not this one. Under "Videos" I found enough information to bring my project to completion; no matter what my quilting experience! 

The "Tips" section is excellent (and growing)! I can assure you that one or two of these were questions I asked in the Facebook group; not only was my question addressed but the advice was added here for those who had not yet asked! 

And yes, customer support is outstanding! There is a Facebook group with a good exchange of information and lots of help available 24/7! On the Facebook page, there is a 2 minute video that will give you an overview of this app. I highly, highly recommend checking it out! 

Until next time....Don't stop sorting through the scraps, so that you can generate the gems! 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Adventures in Accuquilt Go Essentials: Orange Peels and PreCuts

There is something about purchasing a packet of 5" squares, a charm pack---makes me happy! But, combining those cute colorful squares with Accuquilt Go shapes is just amazing!

I love orange peel quilts and I just realized that the orange peel is sized to be sewn onto a simple 5" block. The background block can be cut with a die, but if you are like me---great use of a charm pack. But, even better, the orange peel can also be cut from a charm pack!

I'm sorry, I cannot remember the name of the fabric used for the pillow---it was a charm pack that I have used for several projects and this is simply what I had left!

Now add the new AccuquiltGo Essentials to the mix and there is magic! 
Supplies needed:
5" Precut squares
Tear-away stabilizer
Embroidery machine, thread

Join me as I further discover the capabilities of this great software and make my orange peel blocks using precuts as the background square! 

I hope that you will join me next time! Until then....

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Adventures in Accuquilt Go Essentials: a Candy Cane!

It just cannot get much better! Accuquilt Go Essentials is here! It is the marriage of accurate and beautiful applique at the click of a mouse. If you are familiar with Embrilliance Essentials, this version is a very close cousin. If you are new Accuquilt Go Essentials, it is an editing software which allows you to merge embroidery designs from your personal library and arrange them to your pleasure. The Accuquilt version contains libraries of the the Accuquilt dies. Yes, you heard it right! There are appliques, holiday shapes, geometric, etc. ready to be arranged and stitched. No digitizing experience necessary. But, please understand you must have the Accuquilt dies and cutter in order to use this software.

Join me as I create my first project using this fantastic editing software and my Accuquilt die, Holiday Medley (55043). This experience was just plain sweet!

Until next time! Keep sorting the scraps so that you can generate the gems!

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...