Art and Art Only

“Art and art only can cause violence to be set aside.”  –Leo Tolstoy

For anyone with a child in the school system within the last 15 years, you know what STEM stands for:  Science, Technology, Engineering, Math.

Experts (MANY experts)  tell us that’s what all our children must be trained in, in order to move the country forward, in order to get jobs, in order to be successful.

Do you agree?

As for me, I have mixed feelings.  No doubt, STEM provides key strengths for our kids to make a living in the future.  No doubt, we all need these skills to build infrastructure, cure diseases, and solve problems.  No doubt.

Where, then, in society, do we learn more subtle skills?  Things like anger management, empathy, caring for one another, caring for the planet and the rest of the world around us?  Or even less subtle skills like critical thinking, decision-making, morality, justice and local and global citizenship?

In the last election, only 12% of 18-30 year-olds even bothered to vote.  I wonder what percentage of them own a smart phone.  My guess is somewhat more than 12%.

“Art and art only can cause violence to be set aside.”

Tolstoy had a wide vision of art:  literature, paintings, music, poetry, drama.  Soft skills to say the least.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love doctors, scientists and engineers…(I’m married to one).  But STEM is only useful when it is accompanied and partnered with creative thinking, creative expression, beauty, appreciation, and acceptance of our common humanity.

IMG_2466My embroidered tablecloth and fabric tulip vase. I ‘ll teach it at a Software Inspirations class.






What Have You Done With Machine Embroidery Lately?

machine embroidery2I ask myself that all the time.

My latest project is one I’m doing for work, which will be for a class in April.  It’s a part of Bernina’s Software Sampler presentation.  I am stitching out a ring of 8 designs to be used (ultimately) on a tablecloth for a round table.

It’s far from complete, but I promise to show you when it’s done.

But what’s new in the home embroidery industry?  Well, that’s where this gets interesting.

I have a few favorite sites that I visit, but I’ve noticed some trends and thought I’d share some of the best with you.

Urban Threads, always on the cutting edge (no pun intended) of embroidery, has a new Look Book out. You have to take a minute to browse…very fun stuff.

You’ll notice that lettering, in many forms, has re-emerged as one of the most popular uses for embroidery.  I see this trend at work very often as well.  Everyone wants an item that is personalized, whether that is for a wedding, or just a simple monogram, the birth of a baby, you name it.

Bernina has just released new, inexpensive software that lets you add lettering to any embroidery design or just create your own lettering in any true type font that you have loaded on your computer.

This is a big deal.  In recent years, Bernina’s software with lettering had an entry price of over $1000.  The new software, called Customizer, saves to any machine format and is available for under $250 at any local Bernina dealer.  But, as I say, anyone with any type of embroidery machine can use this software. Find out more about it here.

And all you techies looking for something new and fun for your machine embroidery?

I found just the thing.

Janome has introduced an app for ipad or android that is called AcuDesign.  It’s a $49.99 app.  But before you get nervous about the price, you have to see all that it does:

–Comes with 500 designs.

–Allows you to see animated stitch-outs.

–Edit your designs.

–Resize them.

–Send them directly to your email when you want to stitch.

–Save in any format, work in any machine’s hoop.

acudesign2acudesign1Might be hard to see on my ipad in this picture, but the way you scroll through the various designs is so easy, and the work screen is intuitive.


And if you ever need more info, Janome has created a webinar, over an hour long, that goes over all the features. (Love these gals in the webinar, they sound like people I should know!)





Finally, I am seeing a bump in interest in crazy quilting.  The website has a lovely collection of crazy quilt designs, from quilt blocks to holiday-themed.  And our friends at Designs in Machine Embroidery have featured crazy quilting on the front cover of their April issue, with a free crazy quilt design available.



Soooooooo…..what have you done with machine embroidery lately?

We have a world of opportunities in front of us. And we haven’t even looked at Pinterest yet.