Archive | Machine Embroidery RSS feed for this section

If You Go Down In The Woods Today

14 Jun

I am back with further admiration for Sue Box Designs.

I refuse to go through the hassle of stitching badly digitised embroideries and so I tend to stay with the designers I know never come into this category and she never seems to sell a bad design.

I bought some of her Timeless Teddy designs when there was a not to be missed deal on some months ago.  When I was looking to make a baby quilt they were the obvious ones to use.

I had never made a triple Irish Chain design quilt so I thought I would have a go. Unfortunately my first attempt ended up with a rather long, thin quilt but I solved this problem by making it into two square quilts, eminently suitable for protecting both floor and baby. I think floor quilts for babies are a very sensible idea. We never wear shoes in our house yet the carpets still need cleaning from time to time and as for houses with dogs, well what can I say?

Obviously serendipity.

DSCN3152

DSCN3151

DSCN3153

DSCN3147

DSCN3154

DSCN3146

DSCN3150

DSCN3149

DSCN3148

 

The thing that always strikes me with her designs is that the original artwork is superb. However, the detail in the artwork must make for a lot of work in the digitising.

If you want to try out her designs there are lots of free ones on this link.   If  you want to try out a particular collection before buying each collection has a free sample.  The one for the teddies is the last one I posted above.

If you fancy making a triple irish chain google it. There are lots out there but this one is easy to understand.

 

 

Crazy for Butterflies.

9 Apr

I needed to make a quilt for a king sized bed. Making the top was not a problem but what about the cost of having it quilted. My little quilt frame would not even look at it and even if it would my albeit semi professional machine would be working on minus inches by the time the whole thing had rolled up under the arm. The only thing to do was quilt as you go. I have never done one of these before but never let it be said that I would let a little thing like that stop me. There has to be a first time for everything.

First I did crazy patch squares using strips of butterfly fabrics on a sandwich of backing and cotton/polyester wadding . Having chosen to go with a butterfly theme I was going to do some reverse applique butterflies but decided that it would either make or break the project. With my luck it would be the latter. Instead I experimented with embroideries.

DSCN2958

Once I had drawn myself a rough plan of which colour went where to prevent adjacent duplicates it was a doddle. I had sewn the blocks into sections of two rows of eight blocks. The whole quilt was to be eight blocks by eight blocks so I had four sections. the added bonus was that as the blocks already had three layers no stabiliser was needed. It also meant that there would be butterflies the colour of the bobbin thread on the back.

I made my rows and sections by joining blocks with narrow sashing. The sashing is sown to both blocks right sides together on the back.

 

 

DSCN2842

The front is only attached on one block right sides together.

DSCN2841

It is then folded over and either hand or machine stitched on the right side. As life is too short and too filled with future quilts I used a fancy machine stitch trying to keep it parallel with the edge. A straight stitch would have been a nightmare keeping it neat on the back.

DSCN2948I used quilting thread.

DSCN2949

DSCN2961

I hooped the quilt sections and embroidered butterflies. I could have embroidered the butterflies before constructing the strips but this way I could get nearer the edges of the blocks but that was just my preference. I don’t like things too ordered.

DSCN2959

 

DSCN2957

DSCN2956

 

Sew all the strips together, add a wide border to match the sashing and Bob’s your Uncle.

As an extra little touch I stitched butterflies all round the border using Sulky Solar thread. This means that at night a row of luminous butterflies lights the room. Who needs a night light when you have luminous butterflies.

I thought I might try making some baby quilts with luminous embroideries. they will either provide the comfort of a night light or produce mildly confused children. What is life without a little experimentation?

 

Unbearably Loveable

31 Jan

I have not used many Sue Box embroideries but every time I do I wonder why I don’t do more. These are my latest efforts and I think they are really lovely.

I only use well digitised embroideries. I don’t want to plan a project only to be let down by the quality of the digitising. However, if asked what the difference between these well digitised embroideries and all the others I have bought I would simply say they are heirloom quality.

The designer is Carolyn Lorking and the original designs are perfect. Sue Box then makes a lovely design into a lovely, troublefree embroidery.

Don’t take my word for it, have a look. Bear in mind that she uses Robinson Anton thread and I use Madeira so I had to convert the colours. This sometimes results in a less than perfect finished embroidery but in this case it seems to have worked. They may not be identical to hers but they are still lovely.

I bought 5 of them but there are lots more on this link.

The nightshirt on the first one is actually blue, nothing to do with the colour conversion, more the camera.

DSCN2954

DSCN2953

DSCN2955

DSCN2950

DSCN2952

I think my favourite is the sailor. Which is yours?

I  thought I would make a quilt probably involving the bears paw pattern. Watch this space

Loralie Sets the Kitchen Alight

8 Oct

The sole purpose of the purchase of my embroidery machine was  to stitch Loralie Designs’ quirky characters. One of the first CDs I bought was for embroidering onto aprons and it was the Fun Chefs collection.

Fun Chefs

GO8010Fun chef_cookie cake_600x600

By popular request Loralie has redesigned the matching fabrics and as I was asked for them at the last show I now have them on the website.

There is a tossed fabric in black and also white which would be ideal for making aprons for instance. The figures are quite large and therefore have a presence.

black chef toss_600x600

white chef toss_600x600

There is, of course a panel.

chef panel_600x323

As an extra she has also designed a place mat panel.

chef tablemats_600x323

The first sale was winging its way to France the day after I put it on the site. How appropriate.

In case you are wondering what I have been doing in the dungeons of late, I have been adding to my animal collection.

First of all I did some embroideries to match the Dog Happy collection.

DSCN2754_600x450

DSCN2771_450x600

DSCN2762_450x600

DSCN2766_600x450

DSCN2753_600x600

I did the whole CD’s worth but I will not bore you with them all.

Then I made a couple of things with the Dog Happy and Cool Cats fabrics.

Another of my sample bags.

DSCN2780_450x600

Then a pinafore for the serious cat lover.

DSCN2781_450x600I don’t know about you but I love the bright colours on black.

I could, however be in a minority. I think a lot of people are afraid of colour. It may just be that they are afraid they won’t like the final result and fabric is expensive. Whatever the reason, remember everyone is entitled to their own taste and none is superior.

Speaking of expensive fabric – have you noticed the trend for racking up the price of fabric just because it has gone out of print? I saw someone the other day had tripled the original price of a Loralie Designs panel because they said it was rare. Add postage to that and it was 5 times the price. You really would need to have it for that amount. Maybe I’m just a cheapskate.

That’s my rant for the day so I guess it’s back to the dungeon.

Before I go though I will be getting some of the Loralie Art stamps in the next week or so so watch this space. They are good for cards etc but also for colouring fabric to look like water colour pictures.

Here is a sample.

Aunt Hattie

The actual stamp gives you this.

Aunt Hattie ActualI can’t wait.

A Superior Menagerie

25 Sep

My favourite animals come in the form of Loralie Designs Dogs and Cats. I don’t have much against the real thing but these you don’t have to take for a walk in the middle of Winter and they cost nothing to feed. You may have seen my post on the latest animal fabrics . Whilst thinking what to do next I came across some different dogs and cats in the shape of Loralie embroideries. I thought some of you might be interested to see that she does other things in her embroideries and not just amusing people.

Dogs first.

DSCN2732_450x600

DSCN2741_450x600

DSCN2737_450x600

DSCN2740_600x450

Then a few cats.

DSCN2749_450x600

DSCN2751_450x600

DSCN2747_450x600

DSCN2748_450x600

I have others on my web site nsaaquilting.co.uk

In case you think I have forgotten Loralie designs amusing ladies here are some of those that I did at the same time. These are from a collection called Sew Girls.

DSCN2720_450x600

DSCN2721_450x600

DSCN2722_450x600

DSCN2728_450x600DSCN2729_450x600

Winging its way to me I also have the Dog Happy embroideries.

Dog Happy

These are the ones that match the Dog Happy panel and matching fabrics.

dog panel_600x330

They would make a lovely cheerful bag with the Dog Happy black or white toss.

black dog scatter_600x600

white dog panel_600x600

If I carry on like this I will need another stall at the next quilt show. Luckily the stalls at Westpoint  near Exeter are bigger than the Harrogate ones so I can squeeze a bit more in. The question is – will I have any of this fabric left by then?

Monkey Puzzle Solved and the End of Christmas.

18 Jun

Just an update on the projects featured in the last post.

And  this one.

I had completed the alphabet monkeys for what was going to be a cot quilt. I obviously took my eye off the ball and having put it together with a set of 25 patch blocks, realised that it was a bit on the long and thin size. The only way to proceed was to make it into a full sized quilt for a single bed.

This I did.

DSCN2598_450x600Some Detail.

DSCN2605_600x600   Yet More.DSCN2607_600x600

And again.DSCN2608_600x600

Not my usual colours but I think they work quite well.

At the same time I was finishing ‘Chrissie Down Under’ by McKenna Ryan.

I can’t say I am as thrilled as I hoped by the completed wall hanging but at least it is finished.

I think my conclusion is that she does animals and birds very well but the Santa and the Cat don’t quite work. The problem with her patterns is that it is not easy to find a large picture of the finished quilt to see what it will look like.

I did use satin stitch round all the appliques rather than the suggested straight stitching with a poly filament thread. At least I can wash it without it falling apart.Mind you my all singing and dancing newer Pfaff refused to have anything to do with the multiple layers of fabric and glue. Whilst it was sulking I dug out my original Pfaff bought in 1985 and I have to say that it is far superior to the one I bought to replace it when the motor gave up. Nothing to do with the fact the original was made in Germany of course. (sarcy face emoticon) Luckily I decided that the small amount of money I was going to be charged to have a new motor fitted was worth it so I now have my old machine back and this quilt was able to be completed. What I will do with it I am not sure. We may have to move house to get higher ceilings.

DSCN2591_450x600 I love the detail on these birds.

DSCN2592_600x286Fiddly but worth it.

DSCN2593_600x306These may be my favourites.

DSCN2594_600x397This bird presented the biggest challenge with its layers of feathers.

DSCN2595_559x600See the detail.

DSCN2596_252x600Kangaroos and pelicans.

DSCN2597_450x600

As I sit posting this I can hear music from the village green. Every year Polperro has a music festival so every afternoon there are a couple of bands performing and then lots more in all the pubs in the evening. The Big Cheese and myself even took in a spot of chamber music on Sunday.

Bees, Fast Women, Hulala and a Surfeit of Monkeys

9 May

I haven’t posted for a while as I have been otherwise engaged moving house and decorating . Not that I personally have moved house but it amounts to the same thing timewise. Then I started on the Spring cleaning. I say started as although I managed to finish the kitchen the whole process ground to a halt somewhere between the living room and the bedrooms. After that I wasn’t motivated to do anything. However I think I may be back on track at least with the embroidery machine. Hopefully the next stage will be finished quilts.

I received some new Loralie Designs embroideries and did a few for the quilt shows.

Very Fairy

DSCN2478_450x600

DSCN2481_450x600

Hulala

DSCN2487_450x600

DSCN2484_450x600

Bee Happy

DSCN2490_450x600

DSCN2492_450x600 DSCN2493_450x600 DSCN2494_450x600 DSCN2495_450x600

Fast WomenDSCN2496_600x450

DSCN2500_600x450

DSCN2498_600x450

There are also matching fabrics and panels available on my web site.

691-859l_600x600

691-860l_600x600

bee happy panel left_600x600 bee happy panel right_600x600

Fast Women Black Tossed_600x600

Fast Women White Toss_600x600

Fast Women Panel Whole_600x330

Fast Women Portrait_600x330

Then I had an urge to embroider the MM Embroideries  Little Monkeys alphabet. I finally found a use for some Fabric Freedom fat quarters I had previously failed to utilise .

DSCN2510_600x450

DSCN2509_600x450

DSCN2508_600x450

DSCN2507_600x450

DSCN2506_600x450

DSCN2505_600x450

DSCN2504_600x450

DSCN2503_600x450

DSCN2502_600x450

I have also made a start on the rest of the Chrissie Down Under by McKenna Ryan. I had cut out all the pieces and then lost interest. I happen to have a bit of time that needs filling next week so I hope to get the rest of the panels ready to sew.

Remember the ones I did do? ( see the post about the quilt.)

DSCN2431_600x450

I might even have it finished by Christmas – only the third since I bought the pattern.

Hopefully when these are finished I might be on a roll and back into blogging too.

An Obsession with Orchids

21 Nov

I have just spent a few days away from home and found an obsession with orchids. They used to be expensive and I used to kill them. Now they are relatively cheap compared to other flowers, they last a long time and I have discovered how to get them to come back year after year. My house now looks like a greenhouse. It’s a good job I don’t get out much or I would have to obtain for myself an exclusion order taking effect within 500 metres of a plant shop.

When I was thinking of a subject for a blog it struck me that orchids make a good subject for quilts. In fact there are quite a few to choose from. I did a quick search online and came up with some rather charming examples.

The first two are from Quilting Life

This one is from  from The Virginia Quilter.

This one is from Sylvia Pippen Designs

As is this one.

Also this.

The next two are pieced and from equilt patterns

I found some machine embroidered ones on Emblibrary too. There are lots of them but here are a couple.

A short blog but a pretty one.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as I have made something to show you. On normal form that should not be too long.

Having a Masked Ball

1 Nov

Aren’t these just the bees knees? When I saw them over on Tiramisues  blog I just had to have a go. I survived  30 years in Africa, amongst  other places and whilst there were a couple of close calls and not all the memories are happy ones, I have always had a fascination with some of the artefacts, particularly masks and I am always looking for different embroideries so these definitely appealed. I don’t think they are all necessarily African masks but that matters not a jot.

If you do any amount of machine embroidery you will know that not all digitisings (is that a word?) are equal. Some stitch out beautifully and some, what can I say – don’t. These particular ones come into the  category of ‘beautifully’. They start with a line of stitching which frames the design and  in effect tacks the fabric to the background.

This was an added bonus for me because it meant I could hoop stabiliser and float the fabric on top without worrying about it moving during the stitching.

This meant I didn’t need such a large piece of fabric because I didn’t need to allow for the hooping nor did I have to work out why the machine was telling me the designs were bigger than they were. (It was telling me an untruth.)  It also gave me a use for the absolutely ginormous hoops that came with my machine. Having had them for over two years without using them I was glad to find they aren’t wasted. The frame is literally just a tack down and it is loose so that it can be removed after stitching.

The  colour charts look as if they have lots of colours but in fact you can use as many or as few as you like. I averaged about 5 colours but you could really go to town on the psychedelics if so inclined. If you have never done any machine applique before it may appear a bit daunting but all you have to do is read through the charts before starting and all becomes clear.The charts supplied make it easy to understand.

I used the diagram printout produced by my software to trace pieces roughly the size needed but as long as the fabric  covers the trace line stitched for each shape it doesn’t really matter unless you are trying to preserve fabric.

For each applique shape the pattern stitches an outline onto which the roughly cut fabric piece is then placed. You can see the stages in the chart above. Look at the main head shape and you will see there are four stages to its completion. The first is to define the shape, the second to stitch the fabric in place the third defines the path the satin stitch will take and the fourth is the satin stitch itself.

Defining the shape.

Placing the fabric.

The fabric is then trimmed close to the line, preferably with a pair of duckbill scissors like these. They make the trimming so much easier and with less likelihood of snipping the threads. This is obviously done without removing the fabric from the hoop as you need it to stay in the same place, although you can remove the hoop from the machine to make it easier.

Trimming.

Ready for Stitching. Ignore the fact it is a different mask. the same principles apply.

The next stage may be the satin stitch that fixes the piece permanently to the background or this stage may be done later with other satin stitch, depending on the design.

I did a test firing so to speak to see how the designs and colours work so I used roughly the same colours as the originals so that I was only worrying about one thing at a time. I shall probably end up doing several versions now I have the measure of it. If you want to see how they all look on a plain background go over to Tiramisue’s blog  (link in the first paragraph above) or her Etsy Page where you can see the whole range and buy the designs if you want to.

This was the first one I tried with a plain background on a stiff fabric so that all conditions were ideal.

Isn’t he a handsome fellow.

Closeup of the stitching .

I have done the rest on a print to show a different way.  I chose a fabric that reminds me of the threatening sky of a tropical thunderstorm. I kept the black for the base of the masks to stand out from the busy background.

Here is the first one with the tacking frame still on. This could be a good guide to square up the blocks too. The design allowed for another piece of fabric in the central part of the design (see the chart above) but I decided just to outline it with satin stitch. With the blue one with the big horns  below I have added the extra layer of  purple fabric.

Here is a close-up.

An even closer up showing the ”beads’ on the alternative version of this mask.

Some more

Imagine the fun you could have making a wall hanging and adding beads and jewels and 3D bits and pieces.

If you fancy a set of these as pictures or a wall hanging or quilt you can get the designs  from Tiramasue’s  Etsy page.

Check your hoop capabilities as they are all large designs.

Here is the finished article.

The End of the Monkey Business

17 Oct

Herewith the final part of the sock monkey extravaganza. The alphabet bags.

I embroidered sock monkey appliques from designs by juju onto cotton bags. I did two sets but here is a selection. If you are interested in the other sock monkey blogs or other designs they are HERE and HERE and HERE.

I did two different styles of fabric and had matching hats on one set and contrasting on the other.

Here are a few examples.

If you want to see any more letters have a look at my website page.

They also come in girl monkeys but I haven’t done those yet as they are a bit gender specific.

Happy monkeying.