Monday, December 27, 2010

Embroidery Designs

In my Artista program I have the Portfolio program whereby I can view my designs. To arrange the designs in a logical way is quite a task. Single designs is not such a big problem- one can have a flower category and subdivide it in Roses, Pansies etc. The problem is how to store a design set in a logical way. Bonus designs where a set contains a wide variety of different designs is the biggest problem. One can keep them in their set but then one do not realize what you have available.

I search through my designs on a regular basis to refresh my memory of what I have. I play with my design and use my wreath tool to combine 4 or six designs- the result is magical. Oh but to have time to sew them all!

I am busy making a quilt where I use a variety of circular blocks in different sizes- Molly Mine and Addicted to stitches are a few of the designers whose designs were used in this quilt. I am still stitching out some small squares for the sentre of the star blocks. Here is part of the quilt.

In this quilt I use a variety of colors but tried to use the same threads and colors in all the blocks to make sure that the blocks will be compatible. I also repeat the light blu- dark blue and light pink-dark pink-maroon combinations in this variety of design to create unity.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


A blog without photo's is unthinkable for me- specially if I am blogging about my creative activities! I am not so good with my camera and often has a mind block about taking the photo's. So although I was silent, it was not because I did not embroider!

I digitized a piece-in-the-hoop block, combining it with applique to complete the block. The advantage is, when one combine a block like this with embroidery the embroidery stitch out in the correct places. I also digitized the quilting pattern and after the embroidery was complete, I added a backing fabric and then the quilting was carried out as pre-programmed.

A photo was taken from one of the wall tiles outside a church in Yaroslav (Russia)- this city is a 1000 years old this year. The embroidery in the centre is combined with applique to create a look alike for the beautiful ceramic/porcelain? tile.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To Russia with Love

We have returned from a holiday in Russia. We spent two days in St Petersburg, then went by boat to Moscow. On our way we visit several towns, monuments and Monastery's. This was a wonderful holiday. It was also a mind boggling source of inspiration. This is a country any quilter and definitely every machine embroiderer should think of visiting.

The State Hermitage is a museum that has no equal in this world. Every room is an experience and an awesome revelation. The floors, walls and ceilings in every room differ, the one more breath taking and inspiring than the next. I did not know what to expect and did not learn before the time how to turn my camera flash off. Now I need to go again and spent more time to take the photo's I missed.

I include some wall panels from Kizhi and some floors of Catherine's (the Great) Summer palace. Do go, if you can!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I love applique but suck doing it by hand. How wonderful when the digitized embroidery machine come to my assistance. I digitized 4 blocks of Aie Rossmann's Affair of the heart. Her applique is very delicate. Where the pieces are to small to do all the cutting neatly- I digitized embroidered stitches. Otherwise I used batik fabrics in the applique. Once I know how to use my cutwork tool I will cut the pieces from the fabric first.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Embroider Towels

I had to embroider 80 towels for our Old Age Home. Basically to mark the towels in a "nice" way. I used the ACVV logo of a graphic design of three women. The problem was how to get a neat embroidery without the expensive use of a soluble stabilizer? Without it the loops of the towel made the embroidery unclear and unneat.

On 24 of the smaller towels with small loops this was not such a big problem. On the bath towels with the longer loops, I had to make a plan. I used a starch mixture to spray on the towel and then press the towel. I first use my iron. Then I decided it did not get it flat and dry enough. I used the press- but it made some coloured marks on the towels. I just hoped it will wash out. In the end I used the iron again and try to press the loops in the direction it naturally lay.

Although not as lovely as with a soluble product it still produced better results than no pressing did.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Orange River

We went canoeing on the Mighty Orange. What a wonderful experience. The beautiful natural surroundings, the baboons and "Bloubal Apies" was magnificent. I did complete two small quilt blocks while on the river. This is the advantage of handwork- you can take it everywhere!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Templates and Vellum

I could never really understand when other embroiderers say your templates is so important. This is what is so wonderful about taking classes. In my class I have learned that if you print the template on Vellum- you can see through it to get your placement right. The role of the middellines- and how to get it printed (Arrange and then change start and end to centre)was also explained. A valuable lesson.

We were also shown how to correctly hoop the fabric. I like Joanne Winn's method where one do not hoop your fabric, only the stabilizer. In some instances it is important to hoop your fabric as well, though.

Because I am a quilter I do not like using "paper" like the stitch and tear in my quilts. In South Africa water soluble stabilizer is just to expensive to use it all the time. I have discovered that needle felted cotton batting is a wonderful stabilizer (I use it in free motion machine embroidery and then do not use a hoop).

Well let me go and embroider something!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New things to play with

I went for our year project embroidery class yesterday at my Bernina shop. I have ordered the new cutwork tool and Bernina V6 update- and I could collect it yesterday.

I have already installed version 6 and it looks quite different. I have found the "Artistic" view- now a button and not a "page" after some searching. To really experience the advantages of this- I will need to go for classes. We are lucky to have Hanlie Snyman in the Western Cape- she is so knowledgeable and make it her bussiness to be a long step ahead of us!

I want to do some Hardanger embroidery and thought the cutwork tool will help giving one better results. I am a bit scared though- I will install it- but wait for a demonstration before trying anything out!

Monday, March 15, 2010

How I start

A class with Joanne Winn at Quilt University teach me to use the embroidery module on my Artista 170- a machine I owned for 4 years before starting to use the embroidery module!

We made a crazy patch runner in the class. I followed that with a crazy patch pillow. Then I started to try out all different kinds of embroidery designs.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Giraffe Quilt

While my Bernina 830 "create" a lion in one corner, I finished my Giraffe Quilt top on my Industrial Bernina in the other corner. These wild animals is the creative out put of Susan Wessels. The design sets are available at

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why Machine Embroidery

I am a Quilter. Not only am I passionate about quilting but it defines me as a person- without quilting I am only half me. So why do I want to machine embroider? It was my interst in embroidery that leads me to quilting- when I was still in school. Digital machine embroidery is part of the whole package. I am interested in integrating machine embroidery in my quilting.

I am relatively inexperienced as a machine embroiderer- although I am doing it now for 4 years. (I have been quilting for 28 years now). I am trying to teach myself machine embroidery. I have taken some classes, attend some online classes, read some books and magazines and stitched out many designs. I still feel like a beginner.

I know there is a lot to learn. I would like to take you on this journey with me- if you are interested!

(I am also trying to get the hang of blogging on this site!)
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