I do have a ton of experience stitching and creating embroidery, I have not done much sewing. If I could program the embroidery machine to sew for me, that was a good day! Then McDreamy came along (he is my Brother Dream Machine 2) and everything changed! The DM2 is an incredible embroidery machine, but also one of the best sewing machines out there. So now I have to learn to sew and quilt!
I am still working on sewing…I generally give it a try and then pick it out until I get it right. Yep, trial and error. I am getting better at it each time I try, and I do learn something new. How am I supposed to move the quilt around? What about embroidery???
My big problem was sewing and quilting LARGE QUILTS. It is hard to get the whole quilt moved around so everything lines up, sew a bit, and then do re-arranging again and a bit of sewing again. It is a lot of hard work! Since I am not an amazing quilter or sewer, just about anything will make my stitches crooked. So. What the heck can I do to make this easier? I don’t want to give up. I found the solution, and I am super happy.
What solves all of my large quilt quilting problems?
The best part? you don’t need any additional equipment to get this to work – it is adaptable to any desk and any sized quilt. Even better, it has a small footprint, so if you only have a smaller working space like I do, the Weightless quilter fits right in! I was so happy to make quilting easier for me. Check out my set up!
How will this work for embroidery? After all, that is what I do best! All you have to do is make your quilt sandwich (same steps as sewing) and grab your Snap Hoop Monster – the biggest one you have!!! and find a gorgeous machine embroidery quilting design. Press start. Watch the magic happen!!!
I am loving this solution – it is FANTASTIC and so easy to use! I will be working more with the Weightless Quilter, so stay tuned for more embroidery experiments and tests. So far, this is EXCELLENT!
Protect yourself from online embroidery scams! If it seems to good to be true, it probably is!! The embroidery machine is the most expensive embroidery investment, so be careful out there!
Can you really find a cheap embroidery machine? what is a good price? does a $66 embroidery machine really true? I can save so much money on machine embroidery if I get a cheap embroidery machine. Let’s face it. You purchase embroidery designs, in the hoop embroidery designs, thread, stabilizer and of course fabric. What are you missing? AN EMBROIDERY MACHINE. Before you purchase one, you need to ask: is this too good to be true? Can you go onto eBay and get a $2k 10 needle embroidery machine? Probably not. To purchase an embroidery machine, you need to be able to see the embroidery machine in action. That means that you need to stitch something on that machine to make sure that it works. New machines right from the dealer are great but can be expensive. If you want to save money, purchase a used machine! But, be careful about it! we have sourced out some amazing deals on newish embroidery machines. We find the machine, ask a few questions and drive out to see the machine. We start the machine. We stitch an embroidery design that is built into the machine. We check it’s service status. Then and only then do we consider purchasing it. Although we would love to think that the world of embroidery is a safe place, there are scammers out there that will play on your desperation for an embroidery machine at a cheap price that you can afford. But $66 is not a reasonable price – that’s shipping, not that machine. It is said that people take advantage of other people like this, but it happens all the time. Be careful with your money – when you pay for something, make sure you are walking out with something. Be safe out there!
Do you have Tension issues? The very first things you need to do are: Clean your bobbin, clean and rethread your upper thread(s) and do the I-test
The I-test sounds like it should go along with your iPhone and iMac or testing your eyes, but don’t worry, it’s completely different and has to do with your embroidery machine!
I have noticed a growing trend on Facebook – tension issue posts. Not everyone knows what causes tension issues or how to fix them, but tension issues can be a big problem and can ruin your embroidery. Tension issues can “pop up” in the middle of embroidery, at the end or at the beginning of a new project – your machine can be perfectly tensioned and then the next stitch it out and you have white bobbin showing through. It can happen at any time and it can happen to you.
What are tension issues? Tension issues have to do with either the top or bobbin thread. If your bobbin tension is too loose, the bobbin thread will come up and show up in your work. If your top tension is too tight, you will probably have a lot of broken or shredded threads. What happens if your top tension is too loose? Birds nest are a possibility, as well as loopy and messy embroidery. The I test is to help with the top thread tension, and I would suggest that every few months, or if you change thread brands you should run an I test. Remember that tension is a balancing act – and your goal is to fix the balance so your machine stitches properly.
Most of the time when your bobbin is showing
through to the top, it is bobbin tension.
It sounds complicated, and sometimes it can be a
bit of work to figure out what is going on, especially if you have a multi
needle machine! All you need is a place to start to become a good
“tension Detective”. You need to figure out the tension issues and get
your machine back into balance. Here are a few suggestions, the
first step we take is looking and analyzing the issue – loops, bobbin thread
showing, threads breaking, etc. Once you understand what the issue is, you can
then move on to the solution and get back to embroidery!
What is the I test? It’s actually
really easy to do on your machine. If you have a multi-needle machine,
you will have answers for each needle regarding tension. Newer machines
actually have the I test in the built-in designs! Look for a series
of capital letter “I” in a row, and that is your eye test. If you don’t
have it built into your machine, you can use your software to stitch out a few
I’s to make this work – the idea is one capital letter I for each needle and
thread color. Then all you have to do is stitch them out and get
your detective boots on and analyze the results!
We just bought a new machine and fixed another one,
so before we do any work on either of those machines, we do an I test on
each. Here are the results:
Fig 1 (10 needle)
This is the back of the embroidery, so we can see
the balance between the bobbin thread and the top thread. The perfect
balance is for the white bobbin thread to be through the middle and be taking
up about 1/3 of the space, and each side has the top color, taking up 1/3 each
side. You don’t have to be precise, but you can see in the first image of
the 10 needle I-test, we have some issues! Needle number 1 in red
looks great – a nice balance between the two, although I would still adjust the
top tension a little bit because it is not quite 1/3 at the sides.
However, I don’t think you would have any issues with stitching using this
tension. If you look at the silver thread (needle 5) you can see that the
bobbin thread down the middle is really small – not close enough to the 1/3
measurement that we want. That means that the top tension is too loose,
and we need to tighten that one up a bit. You can see that the other ones are
just about right, and the balance of 1/3 is good for the bobbin and top thread.
If you did an I test, and each needle has too much
bobbin thread showing down the middle, I would adjust the bobbin – you can
clean the bobbin case and slightly adjust the bobbin tension – if it is on every
needle every time, then it is bobbin. Once you make that bobbin
adjustment, then run the test again and you can start working on the top
Let’s look at Figure 2, the 6 needle machine that
just got it’s motor fixed. Yep, wow, that tension is out on just about
Figure 2, 6 needle
Needle number 1 (silver) has the start of a birds
nest and some loops of the top thread that completely covers up the bobbin
thread. Yes, that one needs to be fixed before we do any more
stitching. Because that one has so much thread showing, I would
completely unthread that needle, right back to the thread spool, and clean the
thread path with a small soft brush or possibly some canned air if it is really
bad. I would double check the tensioners, and then re-thread – and then
check the pathway again. Turns out that there was a small mistake in
threading and we missed one path of the thread – and it made that big of a
difference! Without making any tension adjustments, we stitched the I on
that needle again, and it was perfect! So before messing with the
tensioners, make sure that your thread path is clean, and that you have
followed the path properly – I have been threading machines for 15 years, and
it is pretty easy to miss one of the tiny steps that the thread takes on the
Let’s look at needle 3, brown. Oh, that
tension is a bit off too – there is not nearly enough bobbin showing on that
one – we need to adjust so that we can get back to the 1/3 measurement.
When you are making tension adjustments, I would advise some baby steps!
For my 6-needle, the tensioners are all marked off in increments – even though
this needle is quite off, I would not do a full turn of the tensioner, I would
do maybe a ¼ turn and see how that worked first. If it is not quite
there, then I would do another ¼ turn and then stitch it again until it is
perfect. It is easier to tell which way to go (tighter or looser) when
you are only working in small steps – if the next ¼ turn is too much, then all
you have to do is put it back ¼ turn and you know you have it exactly where you
want it. If you were to make a full turn, then you would still have no
idea where the perfect mark is, and you will take more time to figure it
out. Baby steps!
I would also like to point out that each tensioner
is probably set differently. What I mean is that you can’t just set one
up perfectly (if there were numbers, say tension number 12) and do that for
each needle – set each to 12 and have them all work fine – you have to do each
needle separately, one at a time. Chances are the tension settings
will be similar, but each one will be different. There is no room for
shortcuts when it comes to the tension!
Tension issues can happen at any time! Keep
an eye on your work – and if you see some loose threads or the bobbin showing,
you need to make some adjustments – the tension is not going to fix itself.
Keep in mind, there are some quick fixes that will
work to help your tension issues – if you have a tension problem, you don’t
always have to stop what you are doing and immediately do an I test. The
I test is for maintenance, to fine tune your tension.
One of the biggest issues of tension is fluff. Fluffy stuff building up in your bobbin case or a tiny piece of fluff in your tensioner. It really does not take much to throw your machine off tension! And yes, it can happen any time – you could be in the middle of an embroidery project and see bobbin thread coming up. Yucch! Immediately stop your machine and have a quick look at your bobbin. If you have a multi needle machine, I would carefully take a thick piece of paper or business card corner, and slide it under the tension part of the bobbin to clean out that fluff! Then pop it back into your machine and keep stitching. If you have a single needle machine stop your machine, take the hoop off, take out the bobbin and grab that tiny brush and remove all of the fluff that is in there. Yucch again – I bet you will find more than you thought you would! Once you have removed all of that fluff, your bobbin tension should be back on track.
There are many more things that can affect thread
tension – changing brands of thread, humidity and sometimes temperature can
change the “elasticity” of your thread and throw your machine off tension
balance. With regular cleaning and checking your thread path, as well and
keeping your machine well oiled and keeping your bobbin case clean, you can
keep your machine running in tip-top tension and have beautiful, sharp and
clear embroidery each time.
When I was growing up on the farm where we had three TV channels I started hand embroidering. I made numerous quilts that my mother hand quilted. Fast forward to last year. I started to sew some home decor items and my old machine kept fighting me. My husband finally talked me into letting him buy me a new one for Christmas. When we went to our local babylock store they have so many wonderful finished mainly Anita Goodesign items such as quilt, placemats, runners etc that we were so amazed at. I had recently retired and just started taking classes to learn new things. Machine embroidery was part of some of those classes. I bought the Flourish II as I wouldn’t let myself spend the money on a Destiny machine as I didn’t know how much I would use it? I fell in Love with machine embroidery and how it reopened my creativeness. After Eight months I bought the Destiny and I am excited about what I will be able to create with it. I am so happy that I found you and Don on the internet. You are fun and inspiring and are helping those of us new to embroidery and those that are digitizing. I’m not ready to digitize, yet..
-Joy Rinearson (via email to OML Embroidery)
Thanks for sharing your embroidery story, Joy!
Do you have an inspirational embroidery story? email me your story to email@example.com
Be creative with your machine embroidery designs! The quilt block embroidery design is from Anita Goodesign All Access May 2019 issue. I love the design, but I didn’t want to make a quilt block, although it is a very pretty quilt block – and the other embroidery designs in the collection. I had to think a little bit about it and get really creative.
Now, I am not telling you to change embroidery designs or edit them in any way, BUT you can get creative with what you have. I do not resize the quilt block embroidery design, but I remove some parts and group the rest of the objects so I can play around with the center design.
PLEASE NOTE: even though I edited and took apart the original embroidery design, it still belongs to Anita Goodesign – it is still their design. If you make changes to embroidery designs, it doesn’t mean that you can own that design – it is still the property of the original digitizer. Ok, whew, I just wanted to make that clear and make sure that no one gets any funny ideas. LOL. It’s kind of important to make that clear.
Also it should be made clear that you should not resize stitch file designs at all. You can really make a mess of it, and your embroidery machine will not be happy!! Remember the saying (say it with me now) STITCH FILES ARE FOR STITCHING. Yep, you got it!
I remove some of the parts, group and arrange some other parts and end up creating a design that is perfect for my shirt.
For more details on how I created this gorgeous shirt design for ME (I had to have something cool to wear to the Anita Goodesign Garage Sale next week), wait for the video that will be released tomorrow. The video will show you how I set up the designs and put them together to make a new (ish) design.
The next video, I will show you how to place the design and mark them with the little snowman dudes for perfect placement. I will also record the stitch out.
Be creative – remember the sky’s the limit! Start off with professional digitized designs and get the best embroidery results!
At OML, we have quite a few embroidery machines here! They are all commercial embroidery machines that have many needles along with easy thread changes and automatic trimming. We have a Barudan 15 needle huge machine (aka Barry), a Happy 12 needle machine (aka Larry) and two twin Brother machines named Harry and Perry. We have quite a few needles in this place, to say the least.We have since decided that we needed a new addition to our embroidery machine library, and after much research, we have decided on a single needle home embroidery machine that is way more portable than the big guys! Here is our thought process of what we require in an embroidery machine, and how to get the right embroidery machine for our specific needs.
We have done quite a bit of research, and we found out that some of the high end home embroidery machines are very expensive and still have the same basic functionality as other embroidery machines. The more expensive ones have bigger hoops and more bells and whistles. We have enough bells and whistles with the commercial machines – they have every detail that you could possibly want in a big machine. We don’t need bigger hoops- if we need something bigger than the Barudan’s huge hoop, we probably shouldn’t be embroidering it on anything, thats for sure. So hoop size is not an issue, and we don’t need to pay more for something we don’t need. We did however decided that a 4 x 4 hoop is just to small for what we wanted, so the large size of the hoop needs to be 5 x 7 ish or a bit bigger for the kind of work that we want to do. That is one of the keys to getting the right embroidery machine – get what you need, not necessarily what you think sounds good. You have to do lots of research into the different kinds of machines, and the fat price tags that are attached to it. So pick the functions that you require, and make a list of those too. Your new machine will have to have these functions!
Next thing to consider is connectivity of the machine to the computer and the network. Quite a few of the machines run only on cards. Well, that doesn’t work for us at all, we need to be able to attach a computer or at least have an easy to use USB. So we crossed off all of the machines that were card driven.
Stitches per minute. For us this was a tough one – our big machines stitch 1300 stitches per minute or close to that, so we can’t expect a home embroidery machine to do a commercial level. We started looking at the different machines that we had left on our list of possibilities. While we are not expecting super fast, we were surprised that most of the machines did 400 stitches per minute. That is perhaps a bit to slow for us – it may be great for other people, but we thought we needed a little bit more. So we crossed those machines off of our list and went with a machine that stitched a healthy 650 stitches per minute. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Portability: for us an issue was portability. We did not want a tiny machine, but we have plenty of big machines, so we didn’t want one too big, either. We settled for a medium sized machine that has enough weight and power to do the job at a higher SPM, but not too heavy. Its going to be nice to have an embroidery machine that we can actually move!!
Price – some of the different machines are very similar, but have quite a bit of a difference in the price tag. We took this into consideration as well. We need to be comfortable with the price of the machine as well as feeling that we are getting the right level of functionality at the right price. So far, we felt we were getting a good price for the machine.
New or used. For us, we definitely needed a new machine. We need to have a warranty, thats for sure. I am sure there is nothing wrong with used machines, they can be fixed up and be like new. But we wanted new.
Repairs. We learned this one the hard way – getting a machine repaired is no easy task. In our town, there is no one near to us that will fix the machines, or even to do maintenance on them. So this was a big deal to take into consideration. Do we drive an hour to get a different brand of machine that is similar but less expensive? That means that we will have to drive an hour to drop off the machine and an hour back, and then do it all over again when the machine is fixed. So we crossed off those machines, and looked at what was in our city. There are a few places, but only one of them did in house repairs AND has 30 years experience fixing machines. Perfect. That is one worry off of our checklist.
So in we went to the fabric store and began talking to the sales clerk. When we arrived, we knew around the price that we were happy to pay for the features that we needed. Nothing more, nothing less. We knew the features that we wanted, and the size and functionality of the machine that we wanted. We told this all to the clerk, and they pointed us to the machine that filled every need for us: The Babylock Ellure Plus. We get it on Thursday, and we are very excited and confident that this was a great purchase for us, and we are excited to get our new machine.