When Your Simple Project Aspires to Become a Magnum Opus

Projects have a life of their own, you know.  Once you are hooked, they know that it will be difficult for you to just walk away.

That’s when they set their plan in motion. They become difficult. Tricky.  More complex than you expected.  They create challenges for you to overcome. They set up roadblocks to test your patience.  Sometimes you are even physically harmed. (Yesterday I cut myself with my embroidery scissors trying to pry my project from the nest that had formed under the embroidery hoop.)

There’s no cure for this.

An unruly project cannot be beaten into submission.  You have to get in the saddle and ride it, until it, or you, collapses from exhaustion.  You must never, ever submit to the tyranny of a project with a bad attitude.

Here’s the glimmer of hope:

You will learn something.  Even if the only thing you learn is that you will not do this again.  But more likely, you will learn perseverance.  You will learn technique, born of necessity, fired in the kiln of frustration.  You will learn to push through.

And when you are done, you will be stronger, grittier, one step closer to accomplishing almost anything.



About 25% done.  Machine embroidery on a sweatshirt

About 25% done. Machine embroidery on a sweatshirt

Label Your Quilts to Preserve the Moment

Quilt label for my son's quilt

Quilt label for my son’s quilt

I have a confession.  I am not very good at remembering to make quilt labels.  Yet I know just how important they are and how much character they add to a quilt.

And the thing is, I love to make labels.  The one pictured above is digitized (I knew absolutely nothing about digitizing at the time) from a picture of my son when he was 4 years old.  He was blowing a dandelion.  I made him a quilt that year, from fabric that he loved, and I wanted it to be a remembrance of that time in his life.  It includes his name, the date the quilt was finished and of course, “Made with love by mommy.”

Right now, I have at least 3 quilts which need labels.  I can no longer remember exactly what year I made the quilts. (Sometime in the last 5 years).

I am especially guilty of not labeling anything that I make for myself or for our house.  When giving something away, I am a little better at the labels.  A little.

It seems irresponsible to make a quilt, put it out there in the world and not give it a label, an identity, a reason, a meaning.

At work, a customer told me she never puts on the binding of a quilt until after she adds the label.  I think that’s a good recommendation.  We all know that the last stitch of binding means we’re done. Complete. Finished. Put it away.  But making sure that label is in place before the binding is on, is a way to trick ourselves into getting it done.

So let’s agree to make the effort.  We never pass this way again.  My son will never be 4 years old again. But we can capture that tiny little season, and wrap ourselves up in it with a cup of hot chocolate on a cold October evening.


Bernina Embroidery Software 7 – It’s Here!

sftware73I’ve been in training the past couple of days learning Bernina’s new embroidery software…Software 7.

Here’s the verdict.  I love it.

And believe me, if I didn’t love it, this blog would be about something else!

My first impression was that the new interface with its bright colors and larger icons made the software feel remedial — like entry level stuff — when we all know this digitizing software is probably the most complete consumer embroidery software on the market.

As I played around, I found all my “usual” icons in places that are far more intuitive than they were before.  I think beginners will have a much easier time understanding all the capabilities of this software.

A few general highlights:

–More single run lettering capabilities and fonts which will be perfect for quilt labels, recipes etc.

–Micro lettering, which will allow tiny satin stitch fonts

–A “Paint Bucket” which allows you to change colors in small parts of a design very quickly

–Easy-to-use, intuitive navigation…lots of little surprises here, but all good

–Improvements in slow redraw, including being able to redraw in artistic view

–Ability to change from Metric to US measurements with the click of a mouse

–Ability to add an article of clothing in the background of your design to calculate position, sizing

–“Quick trace” ability in Artwork Canvas (turning a bitmap into a vector)

–Stumpwork, trapunto, and raised satin stitch capabilites

Overall, the improvements were easy to figure out and to use.  That’s the hallmark of good design…when you “get it” right away.

I was able to load Software 7 on the same computer as Version 6, but most of you will want to simply update.

I can’t wait to spend a little time working on projects.  FYI, Bernina’s Software Sampler will continue to focus on Version 6 until the end of the year, at which point everything will be focused on Software 7.

Here’s a video provided by Bernina that will give you an overall idea of their new Software 7.