Monday, September 28, 2009

And the winner is......

Oh my gosh!... I could not be more excited if I did win an Oscar!.. My Lovies won first prize at our county fair - Machine embroidery division and I have been asked to send them on to the State Fair! I must admit that I never dreamed they would win given the other designs that were submitted. Many were very fancy complete with Hot crystals and fringe.

The project comments were "classic" and "refreshing" - color me humbled!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Banned Books and Embroidery

This week is Banned Books Week so everyone pull out your copies of Huckleberry Finn, Harry Potter, In the Night Kitchen or any of these other books and show your support for the only national celebration of the freedom to read what we choose!
But Maddie.... that's all well and good but what does it have to do with embroidery!?? Ah you see... with our magic machines we are able to bring thread to voice so to speak.. so in celebration of Banned Books week I have created this weeks Freebie to celebrate our freedom of choice! This design is great for a book-bag or t-shirt.. but this year my kids and I have chosen to honor our favorite librarian by making her a book weight to hold down book pages for easy hands free reading. The finished weight is 4x8 and was easy sewing.
Just sew out the design in the 5x7 hoop making sure to leave enough material for the finished project. Then stitch up a simple 4x8 rectangle and then fill it with about 1/2 a cup of dry rice, beans, or plastic doll weight pellets and close the opening. I used some rough weave linnen and natural tones, but you could easily so something brighter. And for those wondering.. the raven in the design in a nod to the fact that Edgar Allen Poe's works have often been put on banned book lists over the years.
To get this free design in PES format please click here and after that.. go read a book while the design stitches out!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Racing for the Cure

UPDATE: Thank you all so much for your generous donations. My husband went above and beyond his goal today. The race day was beautiful and husband ran an 8 minute mile for most the race.. He finished in 26 minutes and soon as I get the photos off the phone I will share them here.
I can't tell you how proud I am of my husband.. after rehabbing back from heart surgery 2 years ago and a broken leg last year he is back to running marathons at age 56!!. This year he has decided to dedicate his year of running to worthy causes. This Sunday he will be running for all the women ( and men!) in our lives who have been touched by Breast cancer. He will be running in the Susan Komen Race for the Cure here in Chattanooga.

This is the part where I ask for your help... so far he has raised $950 which we will be personally matching and his company will also be matching.. so for each dollar he raises it will effectively be $3 for the Komen Foundation. His goal was to raise $1000 during this race so he would then be able to give The Komen foundation $3000. He is $50 dollars short of this personal goal and I would love him to shoot way over that!So here is my offer to you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Peace , Love and ..... bias tape!

I am having the best time working with some really great baby-wale corduroy that is butter soft and perfect for fall skirts and jackets. Even better, it's given me an excuse to work with my new Simplicity Bias tape maker. While I know that reviews on this product are all over the map, I have been having the best time working with this machine and pushing the boundaries of what it's suppose to do. I am pretty sure they never thought that I would push it to make corduroy bias tape!.. but oh so much fun! and just perfect for doing a simple and comfortable bias waist on my new fall skirt! I had plenty left over so that I am now going to use it to embellish a jean jacket. To which I am going to be adding some groovy new designs ( hint-hint)
And of course the groovy floral print put me in a retro mood so I took off with that and made a little freebie design that I am using to make a "retro" pin-cushion for a dear friend who also sews. I thought you might like it too.
Please see the side bar for the Peace, Love and Thread file that is now ready for download. I hope you have lots of fun with it. I can totally envision putting it on a sewing bag or made up as a sweet door hanger for a sewing room door. * Please note: I have not had extensive experience with this stock font.. I find it a bit heavy in the inner turns so it may be worth slowing down your machines when at those points.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wrap her up!

Packaging can make or break the presentation of even the most well done embroidery order. Off the rack cheaper opaque handled plastic bags or worse no packing at all telegraphs a lack of care for the item being embroidered and a lack of care for the client.

Now of course if you are doing 150 golf shirts you don't necessarily have to individually package them but even if you need to deliver them in boxes care can be taken to how the box looks as it is opened. For large orders the choices are a bit more confined but at the very least adding a piece of appropriate tissue paper to the top adorned with a business sticker or card is a nice touch.

When it comes to small boutique orders the sky can be the limit in an effort to make your client feel special and garner repeat business. The sample above is a single twin pillowcase that I did just today. I used a sparkling clear display bag and then sealed the back flap with one of my seasonal circle seals. This enables the customer to see the embroidery through the front and yet keep the item clean and ready to give as a gift.

Hand towels can be rolled, jelly roll fashions and put in the same bags. Larger towels and single monogram items are put in good quality paper stand up bags to which I add my sticker and a business card hang-tag. To gild the Lily I always add tissue paper that matches the item that was embroidered. Tissue paper is cheap but leads to a festive feeling even if one is picking up something that is not intended to be a gift. I have excellent luck with ordering from ClearBags and at 4-8 cents per bag it's worth going the extra mile!

Of course the cost of packaging cannot be ignored but putting just a bit of extra care in your packaging along with fantastic embroidery and service will put you first on the lips of your clients with it comes to giving a positive recommendation!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jazzing up your hoody.

While embroidery is wonderful sometimes you want to add a bit more to an outfit. In this case I wanted to jazz up a plain gray hoody that I got on sale at Target. And what a better way than stealing an feature from this years ready-to wear.. lined jackets and hoodies are everywhere and while cute the prices on many of them are through the roof! This is an easy at home way to add a bit of flash for not much cash. I score double points since the fabric I used to line my hood had been marinating in my stash for the last...ummmmm 8 years! ( it was suppose to be a maternity dress!) I hope you enjoy the little tutorial! ** and yes.. if you sew nice and straight on the inner hood edge you will still have full use of your hoody draw strings

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Festive Fall Embroidery

Fall really brings out the "nesting" urge in me so as the nights have been getting cooler I have been whipping up big and little items for around the house. This little pillow actually hangs in the house but I brought it out to the porch to get a nice sunny shot.

I am really happy with the way I was able to to use both machine embroidery and hand sewing in the same project. I think adding a bit of hand sewing gives a lot of projects a warmer feeling. The little pillow is filled with some batting I had hanging around and the lavender was grown in my garden this summer. The fabric is a rough woven linen and I just did straight seams and then pinked the edges. The casual ribbon rosettes are tacked down with the buttons that are from my near epic collection of vintage buttons. It's not much but it sure does make me happy when I see it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Moving right along!

I bet you will be glad to see that that shop-talk go away ... I am happy say that I think we have the whole situation under control!

So onto the topic of the day.. Embroidery design collector or embroiderer, which are you? It's so easy to get caught up in all the great designs that are out there that we fail to use what we have to it's fullest due to time or lack of inspiration. Today I wanted to show you a project that I made and wanted to share with everyone.

Just in time for Fall I gave out this free PLAID BOO design here on the Fresh Thread Blog and a ton of you downloaded it. But now that you have it.. what have you done with it? Well I can tell you that it goes great on sweatshirts ( make it even more special by doing it in your child's school colors or in the colors of your favorite team!)
But maybe your house could use a little Fall " pick me up".. I know that mine could so I did the Plaid BOO on some nice weight linen and created a pillow with what I call raggy-fringe. It reminds me a bit of the cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz! This was a quick project and will sit on my sofa for the month of October with pride.
* Easy embroidery hint of the day - Run all the inner work of BOO in a variegated thread and save yourself three thread changes.. be done in half the time. Let today's beautiful variegated thread do the hard work for you!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A bit more shop talk... sorry

The first shot shows how R's design comes into my software, very wacky.. it has assigned an applique stage to the 1st part (but it does not stop sewing there).. and the parts that are suppose to be applique are odd colors ( click on photo to make it bigger)

In this shot I have taken the design straight from the e-mail attachment onto a flash drive and to the machine, it still looks odd and not as the designer intended it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shop talk..

Pardon me while I talk shop for a moment with other 6 needle machine owners.

Dear all, please take a look and give me your thoughts. I am having this happen more and more of late that when I bring in a design it's fine but when I push the lock/unlock to go stitch, the stitch sequence numbers ( vertical row on the left) change out of correct number pattern. I can back out, re boot the design and most times that fixes it but at times I miss it and then the whole design is stitched with 1 or more colors in the wrong place. Any suggestions?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sketchy is as Sketchy does.

I am thrilled that the Sketchy Collection I is now ready and for sale in my Big Cartel shop. These designs are loose, light-weight and sew like a dream on tissue weight t-shirt fabric (use two layers of wash away for best stitch definition). The image above shows only some of the designs in the collection, the full collection can be viewed here. In the next day or so I will upload a little Sketchy fashion slide show with lots of ideas how you can add sketchy designs in a way that is "trendy-teen" approved. ** Please note, these designs are actually loose sketches, like you would find in an artist notebook. The lines are loose and free, and not meant to be precise, it's a much more organic form of embroidery and I hope you enjoy the freedom of expression in wearing it. **

And like aways a new collection means a celebration and a freebie! This time it's something for the shoe lovers in the crowd. It's high, it's fancy, it's loopy and I think it will look great on a little t-shirt. Show off your love of all things "shoe" with this beauty. I personally think of shoe shopping as my own little economic stimulus package.. so I might as well celebrate it!

You can find the link in the side bar to your right.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Shaking some money out of your embroidery machine.

Machine embroidery can be an expensive hobby or maybe you bought your machine with the express thought of making a bit ( or more than a bit) of pocket change with it. Seems easy enough hu?. and yet many people find it hard to get going or even get their foot in the door. Have you tried this yet?
Trendy pet boutiques - take a sample by and let the owner know about what you can do for them, and what they can add to pet sweaters and collars as an easy point of sale add on. Offer to do up a couple samples for them ( on their items of course!) Offer weekly pickup and drop off. It's of no risk to the owner and makes their product more enticing to the customer.
Churches- Many churches are getting very serious about branding their name and logo. Find a church you know, and let them know what you can do.. if you are even more serious get their logo and put it on a hat and drop it off with the church secretary. Leave your business card and a write up with it. (also tuck a card in the sweat band!)
If your kid is in school.. add the school logo to their shirt.. that will get the attention of a lot of parents!
Check out your local homeschooling groups. Many are looking for positive, appropriate ways to celebrate their group.
Think out of the box.. what about your lawn guy? Wouldn't he look spiffy in a polo with his company name on it? Potential is everywhere.. you just need to open your eyes

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sketchy Purse Freebie

If purses are your bag too, then this design might be perfect for you.. or maybe that best friend who shows off a new purse each week?
I have done this purse totally by sketching on screen, achieving a loose casual look in keeping with today's causal wear. When running this design on knit or sweat wear use TWO layers of wash-away for best results. For a bolder look run the design 2x, even with that this is a light flexible design that will even work on today's tissue knit t-shirts. This design will be offered until the end of this week and after that point will be part of my new Sketchy Collection. Please enjoy. Love, Maddie ** Please note - the file is now been imported into the new collection and will be up for sale next week.
p.s. Want to make sure not to miss a freebie or collection relase?.. then leave your email addy in the comments section and you will be sure to know all the good stuff before anyone else! ( I will remove your addy after I capture it)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

On a sketchy roll!

Done totally in sketch mode this bit of whimsy is perfect for your big or little princess. For more punch you will be able to run the file 2x for a more stand out effect. I can totally see this on a pink t-shirt stitched in black.. or the other way around! This dress and a couple of others will be part of a collection that will go up for sale some time this month. For the first week I will sell it at a special pre-retail release price so be watching for that... it's going to be a real steal of a deal!
And as promised tomorrow I will have a sketchy freebie just for you fine folks!... see you back here then??