Cleaning house physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Posts tagged ‘machine embroidery’

One Crafty Chick

Being retired I no longer have to get up early to head off to work. Yay! But that also leaves me with a vast amount of time to fill with some activity.

Although I make quilts, I have discovered that I want some little project that can be completed in a short amount of time. Thus the quilting is often relegated to another day.

Keychains, key tags, snap tabs – whatever you call them have become my latest obsession. I have a small embroidery machine and can stitch out a key tag in about an hour. Here’s my latest one that I am gaga over.

Too cute, huh?

So I have been making these for my friends. See if you can guess which one is for a hair stylist, a carpenter, a bricklayer, and a banker.

How about a veterinarian, an avid boater, a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, and an artist?

I recently made one for my niece who has a new kitten. I had a photo of the kitten, so tried to make a key tag that at least somewhat resembled the kitten. I think it came out close.

This is my new hobby/obsession and I will share other pics in a later post.


Bagpipes and Embroidery

Saturday was a hectic day. There was a craft fair at a local high school. Daughter and I went because we were hoping to find a corner nightstand. 

Much to our joy, we were witness to a mini-concert by the school’s bagpipe band and dancers. The school mascot is a highlander. I went to that school a million years ago and loved wearing a kilt as a band uniform. As a woodwind player, I started to learn to play the chanter. And I also started to learn the sword dance as a Scottish dancer. Unfortunately I had to drop both because it interfered with all my other high school classes and activities. 

Here is a brief video of part of their performance.

We ended up finding all sorts of goodies, from homemade caramels, delicious scones from the Scone Ranger, delightful teas, and this cute little artsy piece for Daughter.   

We found a little nightstand too. It’s not a corner piece, but it will work well. I am refinishing the nightstand so will show pictures when I am done. 

My embroidery machine has been calling me. I was supervised by Miko. 


This time I was embroidering fruit on dish towels. They came out great!  


It was a busy Saturday, but I totally relaxed on Sunday. I am now rested and ready to tackle the work week. 


That was the weekend that was (yes, for those that remember, I kind of changed it up).

Friday afternoon I had to watch the Gonzaga men’s basketball team beat UCLA to advance to the Elite Eight. Go Zags!

Friday night I stitched out a little t-shirt for my niece’s daughter (does that make the daughter of my niece my great niece?). It turned out very cute. It is even centered!
Saturday morning I picked up a friend so we could have breakfast and she could tell me about her vacation. We then decided to go to the antique/ thrift shops. My daughter is moving into a new apartment and needs a little table and chairs. After hitting several shops, I bought a small drop-leaf table and two ladder back chairs.
My friend is an excellent negotiator so I got them all for $100. The table has a crack in the wood so I plan to fix that. And the chairs need some touch up painting.

Sunday, I was energized! I got up early and vacuumed, did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen, did a load of laundry, and started an Italian porchetta in the crockpot.

Daughter was coming by later so we could do her income taxes. But first we had some errands to run. We went to Home Depot to get paint for the chairs. She decided to repainted the table with a more golden yellow that would match the chair seats. I had to get some wood glue to fix the crack in the table and clamps to hold the table together.

Daughter also decided she wanted a little plant to put on her desk at work. She ended up with some succulents.

We then hit Fred Meyers to grab some veggies and other assorted sundries. By now, we were starving, so we stopped to get some take-out Mexican food.

Sunday afternoon was tax time. We got 99% of it done, but she needs some info she didn’t have. Hopefully, she’ll get that tomorrow and we can get her taxes filed. I still have to do mine. Oh joy!

After Daughter left, I had a dish of the porchetta with carrots. Nom nom!

Watched the Gonzaga/Duke game. Bummer, the Zags lost. Gotta love the team though.

So that was the weekend that was — from my perspective anyway. Hope you had a good one too.

Thread Wars

Finally — FINALLY — my embroidery machine is working the way it should. I had to take it in to the repair dude (a different one than before) and he fixed everything. He even removed the little broken needle tip that was stuck inside.

Now that the machine is working, I need to get my thread supply under control. A lot of machine embroidery uses subtle thread color changes to get the desired output. I have been working on updating my stash for colors I need and then organizing the threads too.
I am not certain, but I think the thread has won this round. What is your opinion?

Anyway, I stitched out a baby bib so the letter “M” appears as plaid. (The baby’s name starts with “M.”).
I also found a sweatshirt of my daughters. So I stitched a tree on it. The center around the tree appears a bit darker because it is slightly damp. I used a wash-away stabilizer.
I believe I am on a roll now that everything appears to be working properly. Baby stuff to finish, and a little top for my niece’s daughter. Stay tuned for the results.

By the way, both men and women’s basketball teams have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Woot woot Gonzaga University!

Friday the 13th Success

As you may remember, I have been trying to machine embroider some baby onesies. Have not been too successful yet.

Last week I stopped off at the quilting store and showed them my failures. They immediately said my tension was way off. So I came home, spent several hours fiddling with the tension and double-checking everything else. Did I thread the machine correctly? Was the bobbin threaded correctly? Did I have on clean underwear? Ok, that last one had nothing to do with embroidery.

Today I decided to use some very expensive designs I bought several years ago. They were small enough for onesies. Here is my first try.
Can you recognize a little sheep and a bunny? I still had a few bobbin issues, but for the most part, I think it is okay.

Since I had some success with a mini-design, I thought I would try a larger design — just a bit larger — on a baby bib.
Pretty darn cute! My theory of success, besides being Friday the 13th, is that I was using high quality digitized designs instead of designs I was grabbing here and there on the Internet. And of course the tension was the biggest problem. But even after I fixed the tension, some designs still looked crappy.

So although I love many of the designs I found on the Internet, they just don’t stitch out cleanly for small spaces. They are great for larger size designs though.

But that is all the stitching for this week. I broke a needle (tension problems you know). And when I was trying to get the needle out of the bobbin area, it slid into the bobbin mechanism. I believe that warrants a trip to the sewing machine doctor. Hopefully I can do that tomorrow.

Oh — another Friday the 13th success was that I met with a retirement counselor. Things are not as bad as I thought they might be. What a relief! Only 2 years and 1 month to go. Yup, I have started the countdown.

Embroidery Semi-Fiasco

Having had a rough time the other day with my embroidery, I decided to go back to the drawing board.

I searched online for designs that were made for a 2 inch x 2 inch space. And here is one of them. Can you read it? Me neither. It says “Naps are important.”
Obviously I was not pleased, but decided to try one more little one. Little bunny face.
Nope, that did not work either. The same thread is used throughout the design. I am thinking that the thread gets lost in the tiny stitches so you don’t really see it. Also think that the onesie is a loose knit and stitches are done within the same space, thus basically no stitch.

So I moved on to a larger design for a baby bib. I had such high hopes.
Can you read it? It reads “Save room for dessert.” Another failure. Needless to say, I think I have given up on tiny embroidery. Miko agrees.
So I have turned to larger designs that I am embroidering on diapers for burp cloths. Here’s a funky snail.
And here is my favorite. This is an elephant with a design as done by a child. Cute!
So I am looking forward to success with larger designs.

Stay tuned.

Embroidery Fiasco

Last Friday I went to a sewing class. I had several cute machine embroidery designs that I wanted to stitch onto onesies.

My first stitch out was horrible. Because the onesie is so small, I reduced the design size so it would fit. Now the design is 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches. Kinda small. Unfortunately I forgot to reduce the stitch density. When done, it was so thick that I broke a needle! Here it is in all its ugliness.
So then I tried a different design. Still small on the onesie. This time I remembered to reduce the stitch density. It came out a bit better, but I am still not thrilled with the end result.
I was so disappointed in the results that I waited one week before I even unpacked my machine. So tonight I tried it again. I stitched the first design at its regular size (3.5 inches x 3.5 inches). It came out much better.
I am not overly thrilled about it though. It is still quite bulky and not filled in and as clean looking as the bunny design I did earlier.
I think that is because of all the overstitching. So I am going to try a few more, but use designs from a different company. The bunny design was from company A. The other two designs that I am unhappy with are from company F. I hope I have better luck with a different design company.

Stay tuned!