I love a recycling project and this one is pretty cool. I don't know what it is about hanging on to bent pins and needles, but it seems like a common thing in a craft room. I guess it might happen because we get in a rush while working or we don't really want to put those sharp little items in our trash. That is very dangerous to think about. When you empty your bin, you run the risk of poking yourself.
I have actually had this little project on my sewing desk for a couple of years and it occurred to me that I use it on a weekly basis so I wanted to share it with you. It created a place for me to put those pins and needles from all of my machines. Since I have orders for commercial work, I do have to change out my multi needle machine needles frequently. When that happens, I pop them into the bottle and don't think about them again until it is full.
The next time I visit my doctor's office or know I will be shopping in a store that has one of these SHARPS containers in the restroom, I just carry my bottle with me. Then I can dispose of the items in the proper receptacle.
This project comes together fast and I know it would be awesome as a stocking stuffer or gift for someone that loves to sew. We are always looking for cute things to hold our tools. This design is in my store here. You can also watch a video showing how everything is sewn and finished below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
When I have been in seminars or classes for embroidery, the question always arises from the instructors: "Who in this room embroiders caps?" Most of the time only a few people raise their hands. Then the second question is " Who loves to embroider caps?" This is almost always answered by grumbles and even fewer raised hands. If this is you, don't feel alone. My "relationship" with caps is still developing and as such some days I am in love and other days I want some alone time. Caps are a unique item to embroider because they are not flat and your embroidery machine really likes to sew flat things. So you have tools that help get around the curves on the cap; like special cap hoops, and extra clips that can hold things taut. Heavier weight stabilizers that give more structure to your cap to prevent flagging are also important. My machine even has a separate needle plate that is slightly raised around the needle hole. This helps isolate the needle to make sure it can penetrate where it needs to. I have even used steam in the past to try and loosen up the cap before doing my embroidery. This does work, but worrying about the possible watermarks or color changes on the cap and the extra time can slow your production process.
All of these things are very helpful, but you still have to contend with the design of each cap, materials they are constructed of and the person who sewed it all together. When sewing a group of caps, you will see that even if they are the same brand, color, style etc. each one will be slightly different because they are sewn by individuals. Until you start working with a lot of caps, you may not realize this.
So you are not crazy and stop pulling your hair out.
If you have a design that has been digitized to sew on a cap, you may see that each time you press start on your machine, you get a different reaction. Sometimes it may sew just fine, and other times you may get a needle break. There are so many variables to work through and your inner detective may need to come out. This is very frustrating when you are in the middle of an order and worried your needle supply is dwindling. The picture above shows a structured cap and I am pointing to the root of a lot of problems. The middle seam on a six panel structured cap can be quite thick. Depending on the design you are stitching, the results of your sew out can vary.
On this cap, the inner material includes a piece of buckram and a finished seam which overlaps. So the needle is dealing with several layers. When a cap design is digitized, it usually starts in the center and moves out to either side then moves up. This is to promote even stitching as the material is pushed along. When I digitized this design, the letter C was the very first thing to start sewing. As you can see, it is right smack dab in the middle of the cap front. Since the design itself is text and I was constrained by size, I couldn't move the text around too much to avoid that middle area because you would see it. Sometimes, depending on the cap, it would sew on just fine. Then other times, the minute I pressed start, my needle would plunge into the cap, get stuck and the tip would break.
I was able to workaround the issue by going into my design in my Embroidery software. I first changed the sewing order to start with the letter O and move to the left. This kind of goes against that whole start in the middle concept, but it is still close enough that the push of the material is in the same vicinity as the letter 'C". Then when my machine moved back to the right to sew that letter C right in the middle, I added a small meandering tie in stitch. That way, I could know for certain exactly where my needle would make the first penetration and the stitch line would meander toward the first part of that letter C. I was able to hide the meandering stitch underneath the "C". By adding that little bit of machine stitching, I had movement from the left outside the bulky middle materials. Instead of my needle plunging and fighting with the force of downward movement, the motion of the previous stitches helped it move through that middle bulk. Remember Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Motion? An object at rest stays at rest but an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by another force." Those small adjustments made all the difference and the remaining caps I sewed all performed much better.
If you are digitizing designs yourself this would be an easy addition or your digitizer can add something similar for you. Of course this will be different depending on each design and having the option to hide any tie or beginning stitches. The key is to watch your stitches, look at the cap and try to diagnose the problem. I made sure all of the mechanical areas were good on my machine first, then I looked closely at the cap and then I looked at my design. So for this particular one, I should be able to move forward confidently no matter what cap I am sewing it on. I do have a video that goes into more detail on the cap parts and also shows my actual software and the changes I made to the design. You can watch it below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
This is an exciting post because I have a brand new design that has just been released. It is an In the Hoop Heart Quilt Block. If you are not familiar with In The Hoop projects, this would be a great design to learn with. The entire process completes in one hooping. That means that you will cut all of your fabric, hoop your stabilizer and follow along with the instructions as your Embroidery machine stops and starts. Each time it stops, you have another step to complete but at the end you will have a precisely pieced block that can be used any way you choose.
This picture above shows the fabric needed for the largest block. The design uses the flip and fold method. This means you will have lines that sew and you will fold the fabric back and press really well on those areas. Once the block finishes sewing, you trim away the extra fabric. So there will be some remnants that you can use for another future project..
You will need a small iron to press your blocks in the hoop as they sew and some washable glue. Are you curious about what you will need glue for?
There are also four different sizes available, A 4x4 (pictured above), 5x5, 6x6 and 8x8. Now don't confuse these with your hoop sizes. Each one of these finished blocks is CUT one inch larger than the stated size. That means that the 4x4 block is actually cut to 5x5 inches. It gives you a generous 1/2 inch seam allowance around the perimeter. You can of course trim that to 1/4 inch and insert into your quilt project.
Here are the other sizes. Look at the measurements in the pictures. You will of course need a certain size hoop to sew each one. You can use a 5x7 for the 4x4 and 5x5 blocks. The 6x6 block will require a 6x10 hoop. The largest block, 8x8 will need at least a 9x12 or larger hoop depending on your machine. Our store shows the design information. Just look at the pictures and they will tell you all you need to make your choice.
These blocks would be beautiful plain or you can use them as a signature block in your quilt project. See the example in the picture above. I just used my embroidery software and created my message. If you don't have software, you can use the fonts built into your machine.
Here is a view of the block before trimming. See how all of the fabric has been folded back? There is a heart waiting to come out! You just use the seams around the perimeter and cut 1/2 inch away from it to remove the excess.
Here it is after. Visit my store here to see the designs. Remember you will need an Embroidery machine to complete these designs. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
I am doing something a little different with this post. Yesterday I was working on a cap order and I filmed part of my day in real time. The video link is at the bottom of this page.. My goal with this article is to share what it is like to work in a production atmosphere. When I first began doing embroidery, it was just a hobby. I loved the process of sitting and watching the designs run. It was a relaxing way to forget about my stressful corporate job. As I did it more and more, I gradually wondered if it might someday be a new way to work. So I embarked on learning everything I could and investing in the best equipment for my budget.
Embroidery is catching and what I mean by that is once people know you have a machine, they will usually ask you to make something for them. Sometimes it will be friends and family and other times it will be customers or strangers. I did a lot of gifts for people when I first started learning. I still do give things that I am trying out or to drum up business for new clients. A great way to promote is to add something extra in an order so people can see what you are capable of.
I also am a person that learns more by watching than by reading. I want to know the very worst so I can make my decisions. So I thought showing a "Real View" into my studio while I was working might help someone else. This is a shot of my "craft room". It is vastly different than my studio from several years ago. You can check that post out here. Now my space is real and it gets messy but I am doing something I love in it. I like looking at other blogs from people showing everything being color coordinated or extremely neat in their spaces. Then I look at mine and realize it is almost impossible to keep a working Textile environment spotless.
Also, this shows that when you are actually taking and fulfilling orders, you are going to have boxes and plastic lying around as you work. If this shot bothers you, working with textiles might not be for you. One of the most important things I have learned while doing embroidery for profit is that it is physical work. In my life I have had both kinds of jobs. I have worked in the service industry where I stood for the whole day and I have also had a desk job. In both worlds there are pros and cons. The embroidery industry has both. I do spend some of my day at my computer digitizing designs. Then I spend part of my day moving around, bending over and standing. The biggest difference for me is at the end of all of it, I have a tangible product that I can hold in my hand. If you are someone that needs to "see" proof of your efforts, then this might be good for your soul. My desk job was hard for me because it always started over each day with the same functions and I could never actually touch what I helped produce. You might feel differently and decide your career now works for you and embroidery needs to stay a hobby.
The final thing I wanted to show you is that this is "work". There is planning, time and money involved in this. It can also get monotonous and overwhelming doing large orders if you let it. If you are a person that likes to take small bites out of a project and you can divvy your time out or multitask, then you might love doing embroidery for profit. See what I said there? For Profit. When your customers say they think your rates are high or they can get it done somewhere else cheaper, take a step back and think before you drop that price. Watch my video below and see that I am doing an order for 100 caps. I am using one head or one machine. I have my assembly line set up as optimally as I can. The only way I could increase my production is to either add a second hoop to immediately replace each cap as it is sewn. Or I could add a second machine. I ran this batch for two working days and I was tired at the end of each work period. I felt it in my back, arms and legs. The design has just under 5000 stitches and I averaged five caps per hour. This post isn't to scare you away from embroidery on caps or other items as a business. I did this blog and video to hopefully help someone out there make that decision to start doing embroidery as a new business or to ultimately decide it is not for them. I see a lot of commercial machines for sale in the trade magazines. Some are because businesses are moving up to a new machine but others are because people spent their money on them but found out as a business it was not for them. When I was searching, I had a hard time getting honest answers and opinions from people in the industry and it shouldn't be that way. There is always enough business to go around if you look for it.
So here are my caps, beautifully finished and wrapped securely in plastic. I still get happy thinking that when these go out, someone will be walking around this planet wearing my design. Isn't that amazing? To find your spark or that "thing" that gets you excited every day is our true purpose. It doesn't mean that it still won't be "work", but that is OK. If it feeds you and keeps you coming back, do it until it is time to move on to the next "thing". Remember to check out my video below. It is not fancy and in fact may be quite boring to you but it is honest. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
My latest Embroidery Design is a lot of fun to stitch out. I really like projects that are fast and that use up smaller pieces of materials or remnants. If you have fat quarters that you want to use up from seasonal times of year, this would be a great service project or stocking stuffer.
The entire design completes in one hooping. It also includes a ladies design with flowers and a men's design with more geometrical stitching.
You can either use cotton fabric and batting or fleece as long as it is not too thick. I also used multicolored or "Variegated" thread. It really makes the finished cases unique and simplifies the design so you don't have to change the thread out.
The Slim Eyeglass case finishes to 2 x 6 inches and uses a 5x7 Hoop
The Regular Case Finishes to 3 x 6 inches and uses a 6x10 Hoop
Here are both the Men's and Ladies's designs completed with Fleece fabric. Don't forget the kids also! They wear glasses and sunglasses. The Slim design would work great for those. If you have some leftover pieces of fabric, batting or fleece in your stash, these sew up quickly. You will just need your hoop, some wash away stabilizer and painters or masking tape.
When you download the size of your choice, also included is a full color design sheet showing all of the stops and an extra set of color instructions with step by step pictures that show fabric sizes and completion of the case. There is a neat little "trick" in the instructions that allows this to be sewn in ONE Hooping. Now that I have your interest, hop over to my store for the 5x7 design or the 6x10 design
I have been enjoying digitizing and testing these designs out. So much in fact that I need to make a trip to my local nursing home to drop off several of these cases. There is probably a need in your area also. Holidays are fast approaching. There is a quick You tube video showing the process for making these Eyeglass cases below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
My husband reminded me yesterday about a very simple project I did for him. I didn't realize how much he liked this hanging towel until he mentioned it to me. I have made several hanging towel versions for him and each one hangs a different way because he uses them in different places. This particular one is for his boat rails.
This version is shorter when it hangs up but it is also much more substantial than one that is clipped on from the corner. He says that while fishing, it stays on his rail very well and the folds make it thicker for easy wiping.
All you need is a hand towel that is longer than it is wide and some leftover Velcro. Here we have a piece about four inches long.
I usually fold the towel into the middle and place the Velcro a distance apart for the area he will be hanging it from. So make sure you measure before sewing just to be sure it will fit.
I use a matching bobbin because you will be sewing from the back and that thread will be seen on the front of the towel. The pile will help hide it but you want to match it as best as you can.
Also, lengthen your machine stitches a bit. I used a 3.5 mm length because my towel and Velcro were thick. You can see that the stitching will sew the towel together. This helps it stay very neat while hanging and the folded areas make it quite sturdy.
Here it is hanging on a Day Cooler. Can you see yourself using a towel like this for picnics, fishing and camping trips or those ball games? I think a golfer and motorcycle enthusiast would love them also. I have a short video below showing all of the steps so that you can make your own Easy Athletic Hanging Towel. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Here we go into the end of summer. Are you a little sad to see it coming to a close or are you really excited for Fall? I am still enjoying the beautiful sunshine and all of the outdoor activities I can and I hope you are also. To keep you in the lazy days state of mind, we are running a sale on several of our summer season designs. Jump over to our Sale page and check them out. You still have time to stitch some awesome creations on bags, kitchen items, pillows or just about anything. I bet there is still at least one summer party left in your future to show off your handiwork! This sale will run through the end of August to give you time to grab them up. Don't forget to download our free designs too! I hope you have had a great summer, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift