I mentioned last week that I recently became the brand new owner of a 10-needle embroidery machine. It is a Brother Entrepreneur model, and it arrived to me brand new, with a 0 total stitch count! That part was very exciting to me as my sewing/embroidery machine I was the second owner. So I was very excited to see that screen with all 0’s and I took a photo because it will never look like that again.
I have been playing around with it for about a week now, doing the typical flat fabric embroidery that I have been doing in the past. I think I have those projects figured out for the most part – there are still some quirks I need to figure out but I think it will get better as I use the machine and get in a rhythm. Right now the hardest part or longest part is threading it. I love that it has 10 needles and will do 10 colors at a time, but threading them can take forever. And I have had a problem with the thread coming out as it starts to stitch so I have to stop and rethread – this is one of those quirks to work through.
I also recently purchased the embroidery design software. I went with the Husqvarna Premiere+ Ultra bundle because they design on a Mac – and I am a Mac! But I also have to use the Windows laptop I share with my son because not all the features are available for Mac, still not sure why. But the goal is to be able to create my own embroidery designs that I have looked for in the past and haven’t found. I wanted to start slow with a quote here, a basic image there… my husband says no skip all that basic stuff and go right to this super custom funky thing I have in my head. We’ll see who wins that battle.
And then this sunshine was the first design I stitched out on the new machine. At 1000 stitches per minute and less than 10 colors required – 13 minutes actually means 13 minutes! I think I need to find an oval hoop for this one.
I have some ideas of what I want to design and create with the software and the new machine, not sure how fast that is going to happen though. Do you have embroidery software or a multi-needle machine? Any tips and tricks you want to share?
Four days ago I became the owner of a brand new 10-needle embroidery machine! I will share more on that later – but the good news is I put it to work right away and have figured some things out. I was able to create some new designs and get those finished and posted to Etsy! It has been almost 2 months since my other machine went in for service. They are waiting for a cable that is on backorder from Brother. I’m in less pain now that I have this new embroidery machine, but I still miss my girl. We are still a couple weeks out from getting that cable, but until then I have my original tiny sewing machine, plus this new beast so I can get some things done!
For this week I created a Rosé flamingo design, for National Rosé Day, as well as a set of Celebration Gnomies, and individual Celebration Gnomies.
The Rosé design was less than 10 colors so it was easy to load and create, no stops! The Gnomies designs were the first designs with over 10 colors that I created on this machine – I thought I was doing so well, but I must have pushed a wrong button!
You load the design, thread the first 10 colors, press play – then after 10 colors you pause, load the next set of colors, and continue. Somehow the set of Gnomies received burgundy beards and highlights (instead of white). Not sure how that happened but I still like the color combination. We are going to keep this one for our home celebrations and call it a super custom color set, limited edition!
You can click the images below for more information on each, and I will be back soon to share more about my new machine!
I think Roy is my favorite Celebration Gnomie (with the cupcake). Do you have a favorite?
You may have been following the Trinket Quilt top I completed recently, or other quilts and projects on my Instagram feed in the past – I like to paper piece! Not all of my projects are paper pieced, and certainly some projects are much more detailed and complicated than others, but paper piecing is fun because you get a precise block with “perfect” lines. There are a few challenges though…
I know that everyone has a different method of how they paper piece – this is mine.
Foundation Paper (I use newsprint cut in 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets)
Paper Piecing Pattern
3″ x 12″ or 6″ x 12″ Ruler
Needle – I use a fine needle with a small eye, find a low-profile almost flat needle
Coordinating Neutral Thread
I was working on my Cadence Court Quilt Top with Tula Pink All Stars when I took these photos:
Before you can start you need your Foundation Paper Piecing pattern transferred to foundation paper. If it’s from a book, you will need to photocopy the pattern to the newsprint, or if in PDF format, just print.
Once you have all of your supplies ready, figure out what size fabric strips you need to cut – cut these pieces before you start, it will be easier and faster.
For example: If my finished block is 4 1/2″ wide, if I cut a 5″ strip of fabric, say 1/2 yard of fabric by 5″, that should be enough to cover the desired template area, plus overage past the edge of the newsprint when trimmed down. You don’t want to see newsprint when finished – that means there isn’t enough fabric for the seam allowance!
You will get better with practice, but know that angles are trickier to determine over straight lines, and if your section is a triangle, it will be reversed when ironed, and be off by 1/4″ due to seam allowance. If unsure if you have enough fabric – go bigger. It’s better to have extra than not enough and rip out and try again. Ripping out also significantly reduces the newsprint stability and lines may not be straight anymore.
My next step is to separate all the pieces of the block, and label where each fabric will go. This is the back side, the front side will be reversed. But it will be easier as you sew through the block if you have the entire block labeled in advance.
Then begin with number 1, in this case the fabric is Cajun.
Align the fabric on the paper pieced block section and put a needle through the center of number 1. The most important factor here is that Cajun needs to extend past all of its borders – in this case the center diamond – at least 1/4″ in each direction. The way this is set up is plenty, but a smaller piece would also work.
Now take your postcard and place it on the line dividing 1 and 2. Fold the paper over the postcard, add your Add-A-Quarter Ruler to the edge of the postcard, and trim. This is where you line up fabric number 2, White. See the next 4 images:
Next: Change the seam length on your machine. I use 1.4 for the length, but your machine may be different. The main thing here is to have enough needle pokes so that the paper will be easier to tear away, but not too difficult to tear out if you need to.
Now align the White fabric along the Cajun line. Flip over and sew ON the line. I start with one stitch forward, one stitch back, one stitch forward – to lock it in, and then continue to the end of the line. And then I backstitch one stitch and then forward again to lock it in, then cut.
Then iron the White back.
There is a lot of White fabric left over so I will trim it down so it is a straight edge and continue. Next is section number 3: do the same as with section number 2 and continue until you are done with this block (next 4 images):
When you are done with this section, trim down to the edge of the block:
Continue the same steps as above for the other pieces to make the complete block. For the focal point of this block, I have a Prince Charming Frog. I would like it centered in the diamond so that it looks nice and planned when finished, not just any part of the fabric. For this section, I am going to take my paper and fabric over to the light table and determine the exact placement of the fabric – and pin it in place. Then I will continue with the rest of the pieces.
After all the pieces are complete I am ready to sew the block together – in this case it is a wedge with 5 different sections for one complete piece. So I will follow the directions in how to piece them together, A through E, and sew ON the 1/4″ seam line to connect them. I iron my seams open when finished and tear off the newsprint that I just sewed – JUST the 1/4″ piece that is no longer needed. I will keep the rest of the paper intact until I put the whole thing together.
Once I have all 5 pieces sewn together the block is done! Save it in a safe place until you have finished all paper pieced blocks for your quilt and can sew them all together.
I hope you have found this tutorial helpful – and are motivated to try a new paper pieced project!
I did it – I finished my Trinket Quilt Top just in time for the end of the challenge. I will get my Trinket Finisher Pin and be entered for one of the grand prizes. I am just happy I was able to finish in time and that it looks okay!
I did have some challenges with this quilt top – after paper piecing all of the individual blocks, my biggest challenge was sewing together all of the squares and trying to get them to line up together with enough seam allowance so it wouldn’t fall apart in the future. I hope I succeeded!
As I have previously stated, I used Alison Glass’s Kaleidoscope fabric collection for this, using 36 of the collection colors for the pieced blocks, and Raven for the background checkerboard blocks. You can see all of the individual blocks and colors used on my Trinket Sew Along page. For the final quilt top, I rotated some of the blocks for variety and interest so they are not facing all the same direction. And I kept my color flow throughout according to plan, starting with Cherry at the top left corner and ending with Beet in the lower right corner.
I have already ordered the backing fabric so that I can ship this out and have it quilted as soon as that arrives, and just get this one done! I opted for the larger version as we like the longer quilts when we share them on the sofa for movie nights or just hanging out. This version finishes at 76″ x 92″ with 218 pieced blocks – 437 total blocks! It was a lot but I am glad I am finished!
Did you sew along with the Trinket Quilt? How did it go for you – what were your challenges and how did you overcome them? And congratulations on being a Trinket Finisher!
I am so close to having all the blocks made for the Trinket Quilt. I decided to do the 76″ x 92″ layout which is 19 squares x 23 squares for a total of 437 blocks – 218 of which are paper pieced! It was a lot to take on, especially since I wasn’t expecting to be sick for a few weeks and not have the ability or energy to sew, plus the last 2 weeks my main sewing machine has been in the shop for repair, so I’m using my old little machine. It’s been rough.
Anyways, as of this moment I am 40 blocks away from finishing the blocks. I know what you are thinking – so many people ONLY made 40 blocks total. I know – this is why I am kicking myself in this moment, but I think in the end I will be happy with my decision to create so many more. Plus we like the extra long quilts for the sofa – it really helps when you have to share.
When I decided to create this quilt a few months ago, I came up with a layout idea based on the 19 x 23 block layout, and using 36 of the 40 colors for the paper pieced squares. I will be using Raven for the background checkerboard squares, and apparently Charcoal for the backing – I accidentally ordered Charcoal instead of Raven so… there you go. Probably Raven for the binding too, as I want the focus on the squares.
I will share the specific block layout later (each color square labeled) but for now just the color overview. With my 36 selected colors, I would create six blocks of each as a Base Color (i.e. base color Cherry, base color Fern, etc.), with the last 2 colors having 7 each to make the total of 218. I am also making five of each of the 40 blocks, plus an extra 17 of my choosing, and the bonus ribbon block. Here is my color grid:
It won’t look exactly like this of course because each colorful square will have some sort of design, but I am hoping this idea transfers through. And I should mention that I took the Kaleidoscope colors, selected the closest Kona cotton colors, and used those Kona colors that I have saved in the computer to come up with this layout – these colors will NOT be exact to the final Kaleidoscope colors.
Be sure to check out the Trinket Sew Along page for each individual block and their colors if you are interested. I will have more detailed information posted soon. And I hope to have my blocks finished this week so I can start cutting the background squares and putting this whole thing together!
Hello! Happy Saturday… May the Fourth Be With You! I can’t resist – the Force is strong with my family! And I hope you have some plans for tomorrow’s Cinco de Mayo day.
I just wanted to let you know that I think the transition to the new site is complete – I have re-posted all of the blog posts that I think are still valid and relevant. I have pages for the Minecraft Quilt, the Tula Pink 100 Modern Blocks City Sampler, the Trinket Quilt, the Delightful Desert Quilt, and other pages of projects and quilts that I have created in the past, but didn’t seem to earn their own blog post – see the right sidebar for more page links.
I do have more blog posts planned soon, I just don’t have them ready to go quite yet. At this point I am frantically trying to finish up all of my 218 Trinket paper pieced squares to finish the quilt top in time for the Trinket Sew Along deadline. Wish me luck with that.
Check out the Trinket page for the blocks I have finished and photographed so far – I will eventually have them all up and labeled, as well as my layout plan and how I put it all together.
Also – I will be sharing my Wizarding World of Harry Potter surprise for my son’s 11th birthday. Again I just need to get everything together for that.
So just a quick hello, checking in. Thank you for stopping by and subscribing. I will be more active with blog posts soon – it was a big process to try and recreate all of the blog posts moving over to the new hosted site, plus we were out of town for spring break, then I was very sick for a few weeks, and now I am playing catch up. Thank you for your patience, and I will be back soon!
You may have noticed I have been doing a lot of machine embroidery lately, and I wanted to share a few of the tools that I use all the time – a few of my favorite things. My absolute favorite tool is the brother Multipurpose Screwdriver – it has three functions and I always use two of them during the machine embroidery process. I use placement 1 when changing the sewing machine foot and needle. And I use placement 3 to loosen and tighten the machine embroidery hoops. Placement 2 I have used when I needed to loosen the lower plate, where the bobbin sites, but I don’t do that very often. This tool is so handy, it should come with the machine, or at least the embroidery part of the machine! There is not a good way to get the embroidery hoops to tighten by hand, as well as you can with this tool that sits over the angled screen and perfectly sits in the groove to tighten as needed. And I love how it can easily switch to different placements. You won’t regret having this – a perfect gift for yourself or a friend! I have the Brother model (SAMDRIVER1) but there are generic versions as well.
Another tool I found to greatly help with my machine embroidery is the Hoop Grip Tape. I was having a problem with some of the thinner fabrics and/or stabilizers slipping and not staying taut when tightening, so I decided to try this gripper tape. I love it! While it’s not perfect and some fabrics are still slippery, it is a lot more stable. And the beautiful thing is it’s a once and done product – put the tape on the outer rim of the inside hoop and that’s it – it will stay on and do its magic until you remove the tape band. What you see below with the yellow – the yellow actually peels off, as well as an inside tape cover, and it’s a two-sided product. The sticky tape sticks to the inside hoop (outer edge where it aligns with the outside hoop), and the non-sticky side is covered in suction-like grippers that hold the fabric in place, but release when you are done and don’t leave any residue or bumps or any kind of damage. It’s a good temporary gripper for the fabric as you embroider, and it stays on the hoop forever!
And finally for this post, I love my Tula Pink Hardware collection. I have all the Tula Pink hardware pieces except for one pair of snips, but my favorite has to be the EZ Snip scissors – I had a different pair that I used for embroidery, to snip the embroidery thread while it was stitching but those kept getting bent and off track. This pair I have had for a while and so far so good. It’s a great tool how it is curved and can easily fit under the machine raised foot to snip the loose thread, and then keep the machine moving. Check out the rest of her collection too – you won’t regret it!
I found this llama design at Urban Threads and showed it to my llama-loving son and he HAD to have it. He requested it on a pillow, on his wall, and most importantly on the back of a zip hoodie jacket he can wear to school and everywhere else. So far I have only made it on the one zip hoodie, but it turned out so great!
He loves this design so much, he put in a request to Urban Threads for a companion piece, so we are hoping they will create and release that soon. We are also impatiently waiting on Red Panda designs – hint, hint guys! For now we’ll settle for his second favorite animal.
Some of you may be wondering what this fusible grid is that I keep referring to (and have listed in the supply list and patterns), or asking if it’s necessary to use when you could just sew the small squares together. The answer is no, it is not necessary, but the results do turn out better in the end. The reason is because it provides a solid, stable base when sewing the small squares together in rows, and sewing the squares together separately (standard piecing) the bias from the fabric comes into play, even though they are cut as a square – they are very small!
Take a look at these 2 images: The top image is my Minecraft Chicken Mug Rug top, sewn together without using fusible grid (and slightly smaller squares). The second is the quilt block using fusible grid. The white background helps the outer squares blend together, but you can see in the beak and tongue areas they don’t always line up exactly in the mug rug; using the fusible grid below it turned out much better.
So here is my method of using fusible grid to make the Minecraft Quilt Blocks. What I found at my local quilt shop was QuiltFuse 2″ fusible grid HTC-3240-White, 48″ wide:
Cut out the squares for the block, and the piece of fusible grid you are going to use – just cut on the grid lines and make sure you are only cutting through one layer. (There wasn’t much left on the bolt so they sent it home with me, it was folded double on the bolt).
Assemble the block squares on the grid, edge to edge. It should be close to the grid lines on the fusible fabric, but it may not be exact. Take your time to cut your 2″ squares exactly and you should be okay.
Iron all the squares in place on the fusible grid – glue side up, grid side down – hot iron, no steam. The glue isn’t that strong and the pieces may fall off before you are done sewing every row. That happened to me at least once every block, just make sure to iron that piece back into place and be careful moving the block back and forth to your sewing machine, ironing board and cutting table.
Step 4: Fold one row or column over, i.e. column 8 folded over onto column 7 and iron flat, like this:
I have found that the grid is a little slippery when sewing, so it is helpful to have a quilting glove on the left hand while I sew the 1/4″ seam to help guide the fabric through uniform and straight.
Step 5: Sew 1/4″ seam to connect these 2 columns:
Cut off just the edge of the fold, just enough to allow you to iron the seam open:
Fold the next column over and iron flat, column 7 folded over column 6:
Sew another 1/4″ seam and cut off just the fold. Iron open.
Repeat this process for the remaining columns.
Rotate the block and fold the top row down over the second row:
Iron flat and sew 1/4″ to combine these two rows:
Step 12: Cut off just the fold and iron seam open:
Repeat this process until all rows are complete:
Your block is done!
As you can see with this finished Minecraft Cow quilt block, the squares line up nicely, even if sewing it together using the fusible grid wasn’t the fastest method, or even the easiest. But it’s done, it’s solid, and it looks great!
I would love to hear if the fusible grid worked as well for you as it did for me, and share your blocks with me – find me on Instagram @myrainydaydesigns and use the hashtag #MinecraftQAL.
I finally finished it! I started to design and write a layout for a Kona Color Card quilt a few years ago, but I never quite finished it. Then Kona added more colors, so they are up to 340 right now, and I went back to the drawing board and started from scratch, and came up with three different versions.
Initially I wanted to create a life-size version color card so that I could better mat up colors for projects that I wanted to create, and needed a better idea of the color in person. That is still the primary purpose, but in drawing out the first one, different versions popped into my head and I had to see what they looked like, how they would turn out. There was one that looked really cool in my head but not cool in Photoshop, so that one was scrapped. So that leaves me with these three options, and the math worked perfectly cheat I was trying to accomplish with the third option, the Color Shift. I think the Color Shift will be a permanent fixture on my chair – my lime green chair.
Version 1 is the Color Slide, 51″ x 60″ – a vertical layout:
Version 2 is the Color Order, 60″ x 51″ – a horizontal layout:
Version 3 is the Color Shift, 51″ x 51″ – a tilt on axis using all the Kona Colors and and grey, but not all 340 colors – but still my favorite!
The pattern is available on Etsy – in the pattern you get all three versions plus a bonus PDF with my method for sewing the blocks together with the least amount of seams to stitch together, and how I keep all the squares organized as I go.
I have also listed a precut kit option on Etsy that will give you all 340 squares, one of each color, precut to size and labeled. All you need to do is decide which layout to create and start sewing!