Thursday, March 23, 2017


Time to start sewing together my quilt.  The blocks are the ones I created using the method described in my previous blog post CREATING QUILT BLOCK USING CONTOUR FILL - STITCH ARTIST 2 or 3. In that blog post I described how I created the contour design.  I have created a Sea Horse, a Sea Turtle, a Fish and a Shell.

I use Stitch Artist by Embrilliance for digitizing embroidery. Its one of the most user friendly programs and there are many many Stitch Artist Videos to help you get started.  The online PDF manual is full of great instruction.  I also used Essentials by Embrilliance to create my applique cut files.  Although you can do this is Stitch Artist, I like saving my cut files with my stitch file.  

I used my Brother Scan N Cut to cut my applique pieces for the design.  Instructions on how to save these applique cut file using Essentials is shown in this video.  I back my applique fabric with Heat N Bond Lite before I cut them with my Scan N Cut.  When I saved my cut file, I inflated them 3 mm, as I am not using a satin stitch finish but a bean stitch to finish.  It's the look that I wanted to achieve on this quilt.

All the quilt blocks will be made IN THE HOOP using the design I created in Stitch Artist 2 or 3, HOWEVER, THE JOINING OF THE BLOCKS IS DONE ON A SEWING MACHINE AND NOT IN THE HOOP.

I am using a 8" x 8" hoop on my Brother Embroidery Machine.  I am using SheerStitch No Show "PolyMesh" Cut Away Stabilizer (1.5), which I purchased through ALLSTITCH.COM  The roll is 15" wide and I use a 15" by 15" piece for each block.  I am using Warm and Natural Cotton batting from JoAnn Fabrics.  I cut my batting in 9" by 9" squares.  

I am using layer cake fabric pieces from Hoffman Fabrics' collection Sandpiper Bali Crackers
which are 10" by 10" square for the background fabric of the top of my block.  I am using 12" by 12" square fabric pieces for the backing fabric.  

I hoop the stabilizer and with the template, I mark the horizontal and vertical centers on the stabilizer with a purple disappearing marker.  Keep in mind to do this right before you are ready to embroider....otherwise the lines will disappear if you wait an hour or so.  I mark my batting so that I can place it on the center of the hoop:

At this point you could add a tackdown stitch for your batting.  I decided not to do this.  I take my top background fabric which is 10" by 10" and lay it on top of the batting.  I pin generously.  

Time to put the hoop in your embroidery machine and start sewing.  

The first thing to stitch is the applique placement stitch.  As I showed in my last blog post, LIGHTING UP YOUR APPLIQUE, using a light box will help you place your applique piece perfectly.  I didn't take close up pictures of the turtle block, so I am showing you the shell block close up.

I get perfect placement of my applique piece.  

Embroider your block until you get to the last step.  This is where you will be adding your backing fabric.  Remove hoop from the machine.  I take my 12" by 12" block, fold it in quarters and lightly press.  I then spray LIGHTLY the back of my hoop with an easy tack spray adhesive.  I lay my backing piece on, matching the creases with the purple center lines I had drawn on my stabilizer:

I pin generously from the front making sure my  backing is smooth.  I return the hoop to the machine and embroider my last step which is a bean stitch on the outline of the applique and a square on the outline of the block:

I remove the block from the hoop.  I trim my backing fabric to 11" by 11" square.  I trim my top background fabric and stabilizer to the size of the batting which is 9" by 9" square.

With my sewing machine I sewed down the edges of the block.  Because this is a 9" by 9" square I couldn't do that in my 8" by 8" hoop.  

To attach the blocks together you place one completed block face down.  You place another block face up and stitch with a one inch seam along the side as shown below with the red line:

I will continue showing how to finish the seams in my next blog.

Happy Embroidering!   To be continue.......

Friday, March 17, 2017


I love to do applique using my Embroidery machine, but I especially like doing applique when I can cut the objects out with my Brother Scan N Cut.  You get clean's just great.

HOWEVER..... trying to place those pieces on to your hoop accurately so that the tackdown stitches catches all of the edges and ultimately be covered by the satin stitches or bean stitch (If that is what you are using) for your finished stitching THIS CAN BE TRICKY.

BUT  - I found a solution.  I was cleaning out my sewing room closet for an upcoming garage sale and I found a light box that I bought ages and ages ago.  Mine is by Artograph called a Light Tracer. It has a screen that is 10 x 12 inches.  I bought it a long time ago, but I am sure I bought it at Michael's or Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon.

My idea was what if I could place my hoop on to the light box, turn the light on and then be able to see where to place my applique piece ACCURATELY!  Because the light would shine fingers were crossed.

And you know what?  IT WORKED.  It work even on dark fabric.  I was able to place my applique piece on my hoop making sure the tackdown stitches would be caught on all edges.  It also insured that my bean stitch would catch as well.

In the example I am showing below I did not use a satin stitch and I inflated my cut file 3mm.  Its the look that I wanted to achieve on this quilt.

For a satin stitch finish I usually inflate my cut files about 1.2 to 1.5mm.....more often 1.2mm

But this method would work for placing applique pieces when using a satin stitch as well.

When I placed that shell piece over the applique position stitches I could see through the green fabric and was able to accurately place it on the hoop.

As you can see, I was able to stitch the tackdown stitches and catch all of the material.
This isn't rocket science, but I have 164 more of those blocks to do and this is going to be a lifesaver in placing my applique pieces.

Just wanted to share my light bulb, or should I say Light Tracer moment.

Happy Embroidering!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Using the Flatten Tool in Stitch Artist Level 3

Even if you have been using Stitch Artist for awhile, its always good to go back to the videos that Brian created on the Controls for Stitch Artist Level 3.  I spent the morning doing just that and wanted to write a post so that I wouldn't forget this technique.

I use Stitch Artist by Embrilliance for digitizing embroidery. Its one of the most user friendly programs and there are many many Stitch Artist Videos to help you get started.  The online PDF manual is full of great instruction.

When I started using Stitch Artist, I just wanted to make something. So I decided to make a basic bear using the circles shapes for the object library:

The problem is (as you can see from the picture of the object pane) there is all these fill stitches under the ears.....How to eliminate the without redrawing my objects.  That's where the tool "Flatten the Object, remove the overlaps" button comes in handy.

I selected both ears and the head in the object pane and then clicked the Flatten the Object, removing the overlaps button.  The result is 3 objects....the head object has cutouts where the ears overlapped. 

You will noticed that the fill is gone on the head object.  Just click the fill button on the stitch property menu and the fill will reappear.  Now you can go back and adjust your stitch, inclination, and compensation properties so that there is no gaps in between your fills. You don't want all your fills to have the same inclination.

This tool also comes in handy if you have overlapping vector shapes and you want to remove the stitches under the overlapping parts.  Select all and click Flatten the Objects, removing the overlaps.

Again, just click the fill button on the stitch property menu for the fill to reappear on the other objects.  

This such a cool feature.  Happy Digitizing!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Creating Quilt Blocks using Contour Fill - Stitch Artist Level 2 or 3

I decided I wanted to make a quilt....and I wanted to be able to create my design and quilt with batting on my embroidery machine.  My quilt will have 4 different designs....basic outlines of a Fish, Sea Turtle, Shell and Sea Horse.  For this blog post, I will be using the Sea Horse.  I discovered a great way to use the contour fill option on Stitch Artist 2 or 3 and thought I would share.

I use Stitch Artist by Embrilliance for digitizing embroidery. Its one of the most user friendly programs and there are many many Stitch Artist Videos to help you get started.  The online PDF manual is full of great instruction.

I am using a 8 x 8 hoop on my Brother Embroidery Machine.  I googled and found a Sea Horse silhouette that I liked to use:

I used the magic wand to create my outline of the sea horse and I assigned a run stitch.  As you can see I set the Sensitivity of the magic wand to 225.  I find you get less nodes if you increase the sensitivity number.  Good rule:  Less nodes gives you smoother designs.

I then hide my image, as it is distracting when making the rest of my quilt block.  I want my sea horse object to be 6 7/8" I adjust my object accordingly.

I then copied and paste another sea horse because I will be using it later to create the contour of the block.  I then go to the object library and add a square.

I change the size of the square to 7 1/4".  I assign a run stitch to the square.  Then I select the sea horse run and the square, right click and select Combine With Hole:

With the new combined object selected, I then go to the stitch selection menu and selection Contour Fill:

You get stitches that look like this below....too many for a quilt block but you can change that.  You want Contour Echo Outline Inward....because you are going inward from the square, not outward from the sea horse.

I changed my offset to 8.0mm:

You will noticed that the contour shape is now 6 7/8" by 6 7/8" instead of 7 1/4".  I am not 
sure why this does this but I will take care of that the last step.

I decided that I needed some quilting stitching inside the sea horse to give it some dimension.  I copied and pasted the sea horse object.  I then again, selected the Contour Fill Echo Outline Inward with the 9.6mm offset.

I make one more copy of the sea horse and add it to my object pane.  You will see why for the I do this in the last step.

I am now go back and make the first the sea horse in the object pane an I change it in the object pane from a run to an applique with a position and tackdown stitches. I use the fabric preview to show the fabric.

My quilt block is 8 x I go to the object library and add another square, this time making it 7 1/4" by 7 1/4".  I assign it a run stitch.  I then select this square and the sea horse above it and right click, and select Combine With Hole.

And there is my block.  I suppose I could just have added the square at the end without adding the sea horse outline, but I want the sea horse to stand out.  

I then go back and adjust my stops and starts and my stitch lengths.  I also decide which will be a single run and which will be a bean stitch.  

This was such a great discovery and I am thrilled with my outcome.  I repeated these steps for my other shapes....the shell needing a little more digitizing than the magic wand...but that's another tale to tell.

Hope this helps you.