New wall hanging just released. You are going to love this design that features the classic traditional clamshell shape with a modern twist. the cats are super cute in bright colors while they are sitting enjoying the moonlight. This design is completed in 6 in the hoop blocks and then sewn together to make this wall hanging. Add binding and backing fabric and you have a modern and cute wall hanging perfect for any room. Get yours while it is on sale – it’s a steal at only $9.99!!

OML EmbroideryLearn.Stitch.Smile.Midnight Cats Wall Hanging (8×12)

The Mysterious Case of the Store Bought Embroidered Shirt…Part 1

My youngest daughter Beatrice came downstairs wearing a t-shirt and jeans.  I looked at the shirt and immediately told her to change.  Why?  BAD EMBROIDERY.  REALLY REALLY BAD EMBROIDERY.   After Beatrice showed me the shirt in question, we examined it thoroughly and I quizzed her about the purchase, it was almost like an old fashion mystery novel, a mysterious case in this house of embroidery- where did the shirt come from?  Was it purchased at a store?  Did it look like this when you got it?  Beatrice felt like she was under that bright light while being questioned…well, not really, but I did ask a lot of questions!   With that in mind, let’s set the stage for a good old fashion embroidery mystery….

I bring to you:

THE CASE OF THE STORE BOUGHT EMBROIDERED SHIRT 

(cue the mysterious background music…..)

Here are the facts of the case known so far:

1.  No, I didn’t buy the shirt for her.  No way.

2.  She did not buy the shirt, it was given to her as a gift.

3.  It was purchased in a brick and mortar store.

4.  The shirt is not an “official” brand shirt, so, therefore, there must be copyright issues.  Copyright issues exist for a reason, and this is one of them.

5.  The person who did the embroidery did not have a licence to do this embroidered logo.

6.  I am going to guess that the person who purchased the shirt paid a lot of money for it, and wasted their money.

7.  Beatrice says the shirt looked fantastic when it was given to her – the embroidery was clear and sharp and flat.  Until she washed it.

I would like to make it clear that I did not infringe on any copyright rules here – my daughter had the shirt already and I am using it as an example, so don’t use this blog as an opportunity to discuss copyright rules.  This is a clear infringement, there is no question about that.

I present to you, Exhibit 1, the shirt in question:

Exhibit 1: The Shirt

(insert pause, for shock and awe that a shirt like this exists)

Now that you have examined the photograph in question, how many mistakes can you see, simply from the picture?

(Hint:  although this shirt looked great when it was first done, after only 1 or 2 washings, the many mistakes showed up)

I present to you Exhibit 2:  Mistakes.  Here are a few that I have found and marked in red.  Yes.  There are more.

Exhibit 2: So Many Mistakes

Take a good look at the picture above, enlarge it if you have to, and see all of the mistakes.  These are some of the common mistakes that beginners can make – the first one being that it looks good right off of the machine, with a little bit of ironing, looked great and presentable for the store.  No quality control, and of course no return customers.  When you are stitching embroidery, you want your embroidery to last.  The way to make it last is to do it properly – it may not be easy, but no one said it would be!  You want your embroidery to last and last – whether you are making Christmas or Holiday gifts for friends and family, or selling at a craft sale.  You want people to remember the beautiful and skilled embroidery, even after they wash the item.   You can’t fix this particular shirt, but we can all learn how to fix these mistakes, so your embroidery will be much better than this embroidery.

Let’s being with looking at the heart of the mystery – why all of the puckering and messy looking stitches?  The foundation of your embroidery starts with using the correct stabilizer.  Even with a mystery like this one, it is the first thing that I looked at – if you don’t start with a strong foundation, everything you build (or stitch) on top is going to fall.

What kind of stabilizer do you think was used?

What stabilizer do you use on a t-shirt like this?  Letters, especially large letters like this (the top letters are almost 3inches tall) have a lot of pull compensation going on.  Each time your machine crosses from one side of the letter C to the other, in this long stitch, it pulls a small amount of the fabric each and every time.  Long satin stitches are no mystery, they pull and they become see through because there are not enough stitches to cover the t-shirt material.

PRO TIP:  if you have to use large letters on a t-shirt, then I would change the satin to a fill stitch – you will get neater letters and no t-shirt showing through.

OK, back to the mystery of the stabilizer.  The correct answer is cut away stabilizer for a design like this.  You need to start with the best foundation possible, especially for clothing, and you want to provide a solid base for your embroidery that will continue to support the stitches even after washing.

Did you guess right?  Did you guess what they used on this shirt?  Definitely not cut away – there are gaps and puckers and registration issues, so those stitches are not supported.

I present to you, the inside of the shirt, and backside of the embroidery: proof of not using cutaway stabilizer, shown clearly in Exhibit 3:

Exhibit 3: No Cutaway Stabilizer

You can see that there is no stabilizer left on the shirt, just a little bit in between the letters.  You can also see the pulling and the gaps caused by this!

I present to you Exhibit 4:  a very large gap where the lines of the embroidered satin stitches are not straight anymore.

Exhibit 4: not stabilizing properly causes things to shift

Here is the final photo, proving that tear away stabilizer was used – I can easily tear it away!

I present to you Exhibit 5:  indisputable proof that tear away was used.

Exhibit 5: tearing away the stabilizer that should be supporting the embroidery.

The facts of this case stand:  if you don’t have the proper support, anything that you do after that will not be strong.  If you can tear away the support, how is it supporting the stitches?   If you don’t start with a strong stabilizer/hooping foundation, everything is going to fall down.

So the base of this mystery has been solved:  use cutaway stabilizer.  But there are still more mysterious things going on with the embroidery.

Join me next time when we continue to solve this case!

Sherlock Sue

Solving Embroidery Mysteries for 18+ years

Keep the creativity flowing! Make a list or two!

Being original can be quite difficult at times, it is so much easier to follow along with the crowd.  I love to create, and I love to create with my own style and own ideas.  Once you develop your own ideas, you can easily work them into your embroidery designs.  Here are a few ideas to keep the creativity flowing!

There are a few things that you will need before we start:  Pen/pencil, Paper and some down time!

List 1:  Things that make you happy. Take some time to think about a few things – get comfy, put your feet up and if you can, have a nice quiet room at least for a few minutes.  That’s a great place to start.  The easiest way to be creative is to start with what you love the most.  If flowers make you happy, then that is what you should start working on.  Flowers!  What about Halloween?  Christmas designs or projects?  Creating designs for your children?  Make a nice list of what type of designs you like, and what type of designs you want to create, and what type of designs make you happiest of all.

List 2: Think about colors!  Experiment with colors! Using the right colors in the right combination makes a big difference in the final embroidery.  Have you ever been scrolling through embroidery designs and one design catches your attention?  Why does it do that out of all of the other designs?  My guess will be the colors that are used in the fabric and the thread – and the combination of colors makes that design stand out from any of the other designs.   I have taken some time to learn about colors, thread colors and fabric colors and how well everything works together.  I have been working on Halloween and Christmas designs, and I have been doing some “embroidery experiments” to figure out which color combinations work best with the fabric that I have on hand.   Sometimes I try a color that I wouldn’t automatically pick (for example, instead of a bright orange for a Halloween pumpkin, how about a different orange, or even an orange/brown color?), and wow, that one works the best and makes the whole design POP!  So don’t be afraid to experiment with colors and fabric colors and try something new.  Believe it or not, you can take any design and make that design look completely different than the original just by changing the colors.  If you are digitizing the design yourself, you can change the background to the fabric that you are using and then play around with the colors to see how they will look on that fabric before you test stitch your work.  Don’t be afraid to play around, you may be surprised at what you come up with – and that one color that you have in your thread stock that maybe be weird or an in-between color might look awesome with the right design and background fabric.  You never know until you try.  A good resource to learn about colors and what color looks awesome with what color would be your library.  Yep, seriously!  go into the art area of your library (or get an ebook online like I do) and start learning about colors – primary colors, color shades, etc and you will find some color swatches that will give you ideas on how to match up two or more colors that look awesome together.    You can go to an art shop and pick one of these up, it is called a color wheel and you may find it helpful:

A Color wheel is a great tool

List 3: DOODLES  This one isn’t really a list, more of a sketchbook, but it is a way of brainstorming that I often use.  If I am out and about in the world, or looking through Facebook or even watching TV, I keep track of things that catch my attention.    You can make a list with a word or even a doodle.  Now, I don’t pretend to be an artist, or pretend that I can draw anything at all, but I do understand my doodles – they get the point across better than words, sometimes.  Around my house, we have pens/pencils and paper in just about every room, and we also use our iPad Pro to jot down notes.  Now, this random note taking doesn’t have to make sense or look good, it is just meant to be a bunch of ideas that you have that you want to work on later at your desk!  I saw a cute commercial on TV with a talking snowman (or something, I can’t really remember) and I thought it would be really cute as an embroidery design.  I was drinking some water at the time, so I traced around my cup, and then created a smaller circle, added a scarf and the traditional top hat as well as the monogram so I would remember why I was creating the snowman in the first place.  Look at the picture below and see my terrible doodle, and then the embroidery design that I created from that one doodle idea.   I actually liked my final design so much, I mad it into an embroidery digitizing class!

DO WHAT YOU ARE GOOD AT!  Personally, I am not good at drawing, but I am good at embroidery.  I can take my silly little doodle and create some awesome embroidery!  The technical stuff and all of the work comes in to play when I am at my computer with my digitizing program.  I can refine the edges, make smooth curves and make some great connections, too.  All of the detail work is done at the computer – not on the drawing.   I can spend 2 minutes on a doodle, and 2 hours refining the design in embroidery and then playing around with colors.   The picture below, I took some of the snowman elements and changed some other ones!  All of these designs from one doodle!

don’t stop there! experiment more!

KEEP WORKING AT IT:  Remember that embroidery digitizing is a skill – it is not going to happen overnight.   You have to keep learning and keep working hard, practice every day, and you will find that your embroidery skills AND doodle book will get filled up rather quickly!  Throw in your color ideas, or different colorways that will make your design work.  Pay attention to what you are seeing, what colors grab your attention, and what makes you smile, too!

There is nothing worse than staring at a blank piece of paper, waiting to start your lists.  If you are having this issue, or block, sometimes a change of venue will help out.  Go for a walk, sit in another room or make yourself a cup of tea.  Then try again.  You may be surprised to find out that when you start with List 1 above (a list of the things you like) the other lists will keep flowing, and then you can apply those ideas and lists to your doodle book, and you have done it!  A whole list and book of inspirational ideas just for you!

Until next time,

Keep the creativity flowing!

Sue

NO More puckering!

A quick lesson on stabilizers for no more PUCKERING embroidery designs!

I see this problem again and again on Facebook in just about every embroidery group.  My design is puckering, what should I do?  There are a few things to do, but first I am going to get naggy and boring…but listen and pay attention, because if you do things correctly, you should never have puckering or sloppy embroidery.  Remember, every design that you stitch or create and sell or give as presents should be your very BEST work, each and every time.   OK, now bring on the nagging.  Ready?

EMBROIDERY IS A SKILL.  LEARN A NEW SKILL PROPERLY.

I have said this before and I am going to say it one more time:  Embroidery is a skill.  (see?  this is the naggy part) Once you start thinking of embroidery as a skill, you will be much farther ahead than most people.   It is a skill.  You have to learn a skill.  Even if you can quickly figure out how to use your embroidery machine, you still have to have skills to stitch excellent embroidery.  There are many, many skills to learn with embroidery (let alone digitizing) but we are going to start with the basics.

LEARN YOUR STABILIZERS:

Stabilizers are one of the most important tools for any embroiderer:  if you don’t use the correct stabilizer to stabilize your embroidery stitches, you are simply wasting your time.  The stitches will not hold up – sure it may look good right out of the hoop, but once you wash or use the items, you will see that the stitches are no longer stabilized.   If you are going to take the time to embroider something, you want it to last, right?  Right.  If you use the correct stabilizer, it will last through many washes and uses.  Seriously, it really will.  I don’t iron any of my work – my embroidered clothing comes out of the washer and dryer looking as good as it did right off the hoop because all of my stitches are stabilized – they have stability and are strong – so that the stitches won’t move or stretch or look terrible.

USING THE PROPER STABILIZER IS A SKILL, LEARN IT WELL.

HOOPING:  HOOP EVERYTHING, HOOP PROPERLY. 

Ok, we have had this chat before, but if you are not hooping things properly, meaning BOTH THE STABILIZER AND THE FABRIC ARE HOOPED, you are not going to be as successful.  I know, I know, everyone is going to scream at me for this one, but it is true.  If you are floating, pinning or anything else other than HOOPING, then your embroidery will not look as good as mine.  Now, I am not making this up, or just saying it for fun.  It is TRUE AND IT IS A FACT.  Take a look at Google or facebook and find some big embroidery companies.  THEY HOOP EVERYTHING.  Do you see pins?  do you see WSS on everything?  Do you see any floating?  No.  You do not.  That is because hooping is the proper way to stitch embroidery.  Why are you wasting time with pins not to mention putting your expensive machine at risk?  I would never, ever EVER use pins on any of my machines, even the single needle machine.    If you are sewing, do you just pin everything and then sew over them?  No, you don’t…pinning in embroidery does the same thing, plus have you ever noticed that when you pin for sewing, by the time you get everything pinned and to the machine, there is slight movement and everything is not lined up perfectly when you add more pins?  Yeah.  Same thing for embroidery.  So why are you doing it?  Quite a few people get angry at me and say “hooping is too hard”  and “pinning works just fine”  and “pinning is easier”.  Embroidery is a skill.  A skill takes learning.  If you take shortcuts, are you learning a skill?  No, you are not.

Bring on the nasty comments and general upset because people disagree with me.  I’m ready.  I would like to point out that people have been doing embroidery for years and years with no mention of floating, pinning or anything else other than hooping.  Ten years ago, floating and pins were never mentioned.  Why not take the time to learn your skill, and then once you have an understanding of how everything works, then improvise.  Hooping is not that hard, you just have to practice.

Let me ask you this – just because you cook, does that make you a chef?  Just because you can run a machine, doesn’t make you an embroiderer.  Becoming a chef takes skills and an education, so does embroidery.  Watch all the videos you can, learn all the skills and become that embroiderer.

HOOPING IS A SKILL.  LEARN IT WELL. 

THE BACK OF EMBROIDERY IS UGLY. 

Some days on Facebook I just want to SCREAM.  Yes, you have to have a stabilizer to do embroidery, and yes, the stabilizer will show on the back of the embroidery work.  You have to have a stabilizer,  and when you are done the embroidery and are trimming, you need to leave around 1 inch around the design.  Yes, you do!  For example, cut away stabilizer on a shirt.  The stabilizer is going to provide a stable base for the stitches, no matter what you do.  The stabilizer and the fabric are the only things that are going to hold your stitches in place and keep them looking neat and clean.  So, start accepting the fact that the back of the embroidery is not supposed to look pretty.  Who is looking at it anyway?  No one is going to look at the inside of your shirt and say “tsk, tsk.  You didn’t trim the stabilizer properly”  or  “take off your shirt so that I can look at the stabilizer on the inside”.

“Oh, the front of the shirt is so pretty, but wow the inside of the shirt is ugly”, said no one ever.

WSS IS NOT STABILIZER.

It really isn’t a stabilizer – it does not provide any stabilization for your stitches at all.  Why?  BECAUSE YOU WASH IT AWAY.  Once it is washed away and gone, how much stabilization do you think it is providing for your stitches?  I just said it is gone…you simply can’t provide stabilization when there is nothing there.  It’s logical and makes perfect sense.  So, what is WSS used for?  If you don’t do a knockdown stitch on a towel for example, or anything with a high nap, then WSS will help you to keep the stitches above the nap – so they sit on top, rather than being pulled down.  WSS is also used for freestanding lace designs – you have to stitch on something, and WSS is perfect for this – the design is based on the stitches, not the stabilizer – and the design is digitized in a certain way so that the stitches support each other, and are not supported by the stabilizer.  It is a special technique to get FSL digitized correctly.  What else is WSS used for?  If you wanted a finished edge on something and do not need much support (an example would be applique – there are less stitches and more fabric for support) then that will work.  Other than that, WSS is NOT used.  You do NOT need to put WSS over fabric on everything.  You are wasting money!  Most people do not charge nearly enough for their embroidery work, and the overuse of WSS is just increasing your costs, leaving less profit.

IRONING IS NOT THE SOLUTION FOR PUCKERING.

I have heard quite a few people answer puckering questions with “just iron it, it will look perfect”.  Ironing is just a band-aid for puckering, if it even works at all.  If you are giving your embroidered item as a gift, do you think that people are going to iron towels after they use them?  Probably not!  Ironing does not solve the issue, it just temporarily hides the issue, and is not a reasonable remedy.

OK.  now for the fun part.  Thanks for hanging in there so far.

EXPERIMENT:

I did an experiment to show you the points I made above.  I took one design, which is an applique and some lettering and did it on different backings, using some different techniques and here are the results to show you that PUCKERING CAN BE ELIMINATED AND YOUR EMBROIDERY WORK WILL BE BEAUTIFUL AND FLAT AND LOOK PROFESSIONAL.   You will also not have any registration problems.  What is registration?  When you are stitching something and you notice that the inside fill falls short of the outline, and you have an unsightly gap.  That is because the fabric has shifted either in the hoop or because of the incorrect stabilizer.  Both puckering and registration make embroidery look terrible.   Doing the above-listed skills will solve all of your problems!

To be clear, I did do some hooping and stabilizing experiments, but I will NOT report on pinning.  I will never use pins on any of my machines.

I started off using a tear away.  Remember this design has a few appliques to make up the background and is mostly lettering and satin stitches.

ewwwwww

Tear away backing does not provide the correct support for the design

I tried to zoom in as close as possible, so you can see the puckering around the letters AND the registration error in the brown and blue applique pieces.  Even though I perfectly cut the fabric to match the cut line, the satin stitches do not cover up the fabric because the fabric does not have enough stabilization.

Next is everyone’s favorite for some reason:  WSS on the back AND on the front – I have seen this suggested many times, so I thought I would try it out and see what the big deal was.  Well, this was even worse than the tear away!!!  The WSS on top was a pain in the butt, even when I put it on after the two appliques.  The WSS gets in the way, gets bunched up and makes a terrible mess – not to mention that you have to pull out little pieces and wet your work to get rid of it all – that took a lot of time in this case.  Look at the lettering – puckers upon puckers.  The registration is so far out, I can see the placement stitches for the applique!!!  Epic embroidery fail, I would say.  Aside from the frustration of using WSS and the time taken to clean everything up, the end results are terrible and do not reflect my embroidery skills.

OK, so tear away does not have enough stabilization for this design and WSS is even worse, and completely frustrating and time consuming to use.   Let’s move on to the correct stabilizer, cut away.  But let’s float everything because that seems like a good idea according to everyone.

Floating anything just doesn’t look good! the fabric moves around and puckers.

Well, floating seems to be just as bad as anything else I have tried.  There are puckers, the applique itself is out of registration, and again, I can see the placement stitches for the applique – that is how far the fabric moved.  Yucch.  Aside from being a pain to do, worrying about things lining up and taking MORE time, the results for floating are bad.  As I always say, FLOAT A BOAT, NOT EMBROIDERY.  Stop floating, you are not doing yourself any favors!

AND TAH-DAH!  Now for the work done properly.  Both the cutaway stabilizer and the first applique covering the whole hoop, are hooped properly.   I added the second appliques after, and then continued my embroidery.   Can you spot the difference?

PERFECT EMBROIDERY. No puckers, no registration issues. Sharp lettering.

Look at the lettering – nice and sharp and clear.  The applique is perfectly lined up and the satin stitch covers everything.  Doesn’t that look great?  I tried to zoom in as close as possible, but my lighting is off in my workroom – it may look like there is a pucker or a bump under the letter, but there is not – it is perfectly flat.  I just couldn’t get a better picture.

Let me know what you think of my experiments, and in fact, try some of your own!  You will find that the “Old School” way of embroidery really works, and has worked for a long long time.  Why change something if it is tried and true for years and years?

Make this year’s presents the best you can do, make every design, shirt, the towel that you embroider be a direct reflection of your embroidery skills.  Show off your best work, show off your skills!

Until next time,

Sue Brown

Happy Stitching

Resizing stitch files: Yay or nay??

It’s a good question! Read on and let me know your opinion on resizing.

People always want to change.  Change is good, but not necessarily good when it comes to stitch file embroidery designs.  Should you change the size of the designs that you purchase?  If yes, what is a good amount to change?  Are there any guidelines?  What happens when you change the size of a stitch file?  Read on and find out answers to these questions, and more.

“To resize or not to resize, that is the question”

Hem-it, by William Stitchspeare

First of all, let’s define exactly what a stitch file is for clarity.  A stitch file is an embroidery file that your machine can understand.    If you are creating an embroidery file in your software, you should create a working file (EMB, EOF etc.) that you can change and edit.  Once you have completed your design, you need to save and update your working file (or native file) and then convert it into a stitch file.   Your machine will not understand your working file, your machine needs a stitch file. The other main difference between a working file and a stitch file is editing capabilities.  If you are creating the file yourself, therefore in the working file, you can add or remove underlay, change the density and change the width of stitches.  You can’t do any of this in a stitch file.    In many of my videos I repeat the mantra that helps everyone remember “stitch files are for stitching, working files are for editing”.  If you can remember this, you are on your way!

When you purchase a design from a website, you are purchasing a stitch file.   In general and as a general guideline, you should not resize stitch files.  It is a rule that you may be able to bend slightly, BUT every digitizing website should have a disclaimer that if you change the design in any way, including resizing, then the digitizer is NOT responsible for the outcome.   INCLUDING RESIZING.  Designs are normally digitized for the size that they are produced:  meaning that a small design is created one way, and the same design larger is created a different way.  Any good digitizer will digitize the design twice if there is a big size difference – so if you have a 2 x 2 design, and you want the same design in a 6 x 10, it’s going to be digitized twice, so that each design will contain the right amount of density and detail.  Of course, this rule can also be bent in certain designs:  if it is a very simple fill stitch design, you can easily change the size in any type of file without any loss of detail (really there isn’t any detail in a fill stitch file, but you may still have some density issues).

Some people say that they can resize a stitch file up to 200%, and some people say you should only resize up to 20%.

In my opinion, avoid ANY resizing of stitch files if at all possible, but if you have to, make sure that the design is not too complicated because any design will resize, but the details will not resize.  Nor will the density.  So I am saying Yay and Nay at the same time.   You can resize under certain circumstances, although if at all possible, avoid the resizing of stitch files.

Pro Tip for FSL (Free Standing Lace)

I am going to add a tip by saying that you should NEVER resize FSL for any reason.  FSL is a digitizing technique that is tough to master, and requires that the thread is connected to the other threads a certain way, and not rely on stabilizer or material for stability.  So FSL is created a certain way, and if you resize FSL, you are asking for trouble – it may be too dense, or not dense enough and the design will fall apart when you wash the stabilizer away.

So what exactly happens when you resize a stitch file?

All of the detail work that the digitizer carefully created will be messed up.  In a larger design, you can add a ton of detail work and it will look amazing – you can do shading, outlining and even use satin stitches for detail work.  When you take that design and all that detail work and make it smaller, what looked small in a large design will look large in a small design, if that makes any sense.  If you have a large width satin stitch in a large design it doesn’t stand out too much.  Take that large width in a small design – and it looks huge.  So resizing may make you end up with HUGE detail work and change the whole entire design. 

All that being said, when you send your stitch file to your machine, you can do a bit of resizing at the machine. If you play around with that feature, you will notice that it will NOT let you resize the design by much. If you have to resize a stitch file, in my opinion this is the safest way to get good results. (remember NOT to resize FSL, even a little bit)

Density Matters!! Don’t Break your machines

When you change the size of a stitch file, you are also changing the density.   Designs are digitized to the size that the digitizer wants them to be.  If you resize them, you are running the risk of making a mess, and ruining the design.  If you resize a stitch file design, you can’t blame the digitizer for poor digitizing or offer a poor product embroidery design – you have changed their work, and you have created the mess.  So my best advice is to leave the design at the size that you bought it at for best results, and you should not have any issues.    When you change what the digitizer has created, that is when you are going to have issues.

Yes, size matters.  And so does density.  LOL.

Until Next time

Happy Stitching!

Sue

PS another free FSL Flower is available now!

How to get the best results with FSL

There are a few things you can do to make your Free standing lace look it’s best once you have washed out the stabilizer.

TIP 1: make sure you use the smallest hoop possible. if your design is 3.5 x 3.5, make sure that you use the 4×4 hoop and not anything larger. Why? FSL tends to pull the stabilizer and you will have designs out of registration – when you have FSL that the satin stitches don’t cover the lace stitches, you will have FSL that will fall apart.

TIP 2: only one design per hoop. Yep, for the same reasons above, stitch your designs one at a time.

TIP 3: use the right kind of water soluble stabilizer (WSS for short). There are a few different kinds of WSS that you can purchase. The thin plastic type of WSS doesn’t work very well for FSL, so I do not recommend using it – it just simply is not strong enough to work well with the stitches. The result can be tearing and a big mess before you even finish stitching. I do recommend the fabric type WSS, which will stand up to the stitches. some people say to use 2 layers of WSS, but I only use 1 layer and it always works. Whatever works best for you.

TIP 4: personally I don’t think that sewing your scraps of WSS together and using them for WSS….some people do it and that’s fine, but I think that the sewed area is not the same as the non sewn area. There will be more movement as you stitch and strain the WSS, and that would result in registration issues. I like to do it right the first time so I don’t waste time and stabilizer.

TIP 5: YEP, wind your bobbin with matching thread. Even if you are not going to be looking at both sides of the FSL, using the same (or similar) color thread will make the one side look richly colored. Unless you are using white thread, the white bobbin thread will show up somewhere on the front of the design. I don’t change the bobbin when I am test stitching, but for pictures I do wind a bobbin. Seriously, it’s true. I do wind a bobbin for FSL.

TIP 6: you CAN use Kingstar metallic for FSL. I would not recommend any other metallic thread except Kingstar Metallic thread – it’s awesome and it works every single time. Yes, you can wind Kingstar metallic thread in the bobbin, too. Other than the gorgeous sparkle and bright colors, you won’t notice any difference when it comes to stitching. You don’t have to change the needle or set up an elaborate pully system for regular metallic thread. Just pop the thread on, change the bobbin and stitch. Easy peasy.

Sign your embroidery friends up to receive this newsletter so no one misses any information and join me on my free standing lace journey! Check out the FSL designs that I have created, too. You will love them!

how much do you love FSL (free standing lace)? Personally, I have always thought that FSL was the most fun you can have with your embroidery machine! FSL bookmarks are a great gift in a card. Have you tried using metallic thread and make Christmas ornaments? What about beautiful shades for battery tea lights? Around here, we like to use the tea lights on shelves, the coffee table and outside in the summer.

All FSL is not created equal, however. There is awesome FSL and dense FSL. I prefer the awesome! I have done a lot of research and decided that the “old” style FSL is awesome. I grew up with tatting, filet crochet (teeny tiny crochet) and fancy lace created by my Grandmother and my Great Aunt. I was always captivated with the look and the hard work they put into each and every stitch. I looked back at old pictures, and some of my Grandmother’s books as well as looking up books and patterns going back to the late 1800’s to study the old patterns and styles!

The old style lace is very usable. You can stitch one, or you can stitch many and sew them together to make a doily or you can even stitch directly on fabric or jeans. Just about anything goes!

I have added more and more lace to OML Embroidery so you can enjoy lace too! So far, I started a series of Lace tealights called Welcome Gnome. It’s going to be an ongoing Gnome Tealight village with Gnome Homes, gnomes, the Tree of Gnome (like the tree of life, but for gnomes) and soon there will be more gnome characters and homes and maybe even gnome gardens, too.

Check out some of the new lace designs and enjoy the old style lace with a modern twist with your embroidery machine. Join me in this lace journey and get stitching some free standing lace!

Happy Stitching, and thanks for your support!

SueB

Welcome to the new FSL Gnome Town! Perfect for tables or outdoors, you can build your own gnome town with tealights! Homes, gardens and more will be coming soon. Grab some battery powered tea lights (get a big pack) and get stitching!

I SCREAM YOU SCREAM

We all scream for ice cream!! Get a little taste of summer with this cute ice cream cone table runner!

You get 6 different ice cream designs and 2 different folded fabric sashing designs! You can create your own ice cream flavors using fun fabric too. The set up is up to you – you can place each ice cream cone in the same direction, you can alternate each ice cream cone or you can place 3 up and 3 down – the choice is up to you.

Every design is created for the 5×7 hoop and you can use scraps for the ice cream.

Paper Piecing Florals

Join me tomorrow at 10AM EST on the OML Embroidery YouTube channel. This gorgeous quilt block design is from Anita Goodesign and is found in the February 2022 All Access.

I stitched out a few blocks and I liked this one best – I used a 1/2 yard bundle of fabric to pick my colors, yellow, purple and a flower print. I decided that the flower print is quite busy, so that should be the main focal point of the flower. I wanted to add more purple, so the matching purple fabric with a small print was perfect for that. In the small flower print there are yellow and red flowers – I thought the yellow would look fantastic and bring out the small flower print yellows front and center. To make all of the colors pop, I used a black background fabric for each block. Once I matched all of the threads I used the purple for the background quilting and picked two greens for the leaves.

In my 1/2 yard bundle and fat quarter bundle, there are different coloured fabrics with the same print. There was blue, orange, green pink and yellow. If I was doing a large quilt, I would take the same fabric prints that I used originally but in the different colors. Then each block of 4 would have a different color but still be the same. I think that would look amazing.

I hope you join me for the stitch along tomorrow – paper piecing or folded fabric is so much fun to do and has that perfect paper piecing look that I love!

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