Sunday, June 10, 2018

Where the Flowers Bloom Blog Hop


Hello, and welcome to my blog post for the Where the Flowers Bloom Blog Hop. Thank you, Carla, for allowing me to be one of the stops on this fun hop. I love flowers and I found a perfect project. Here is the schedule for this week:

Where Flowers Bloom Blog Hop Schedule

Unfortunately, I ended up in the hospital for 10 days in the middle of May. I was very restricted when I came home, and I was unable to finish my project. I’m sorry but it was completely out of my control. No one plans emergency surgery on a Saturday night!

I do a lot of embroidered quilt blocks, so when the theme of the hop was announced I went right to one of my favorite websites, Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs. They are based in Australia and they do fun quilts and in the hoop projects like bags, toys, etc. If you are a machine embroidery fan, do check them out.

These are called Abstract Flowers. They look like a hold over from my teen years in the 70s. I keep solids like black white, indigo and several shades of grey Kona cotton on hand. I wash and iron with starch all my fabric before I use it. So I had black and white all prepared. I started with the black blocks and made one of each design and started another round, but discovered I was out of black prepared fabric. So I jumped over to white and started there. You can see I didn’t get very far. I had complete forgotten my date for the hop and was reminded by an email from Carla (thankfully!).

I am sewing 5” x 5” blocks. I will continue to work on this over the next couple weeks as I have time. I am also in the process of moving from New Hampshire to Connecticut but these are perfect blocks to sew at the end of the day when I can‘t sort any more stuff.

Please come visit me again and watch for the finish of this project. I am really enjoying making the blocks. My move will intrude on my sewing for a bit but I’ll be moved by the end of July. I’ve already closed on the new house and have a buyer for mine. On to a new chapter in a new place, near where my family lives.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Machine Embroidery: Design Files


I know I've been out of touch but a couple things have been going on. I had posted about my impending move back home to Connecticut. But then, on Saturday, May 5th, I ended the day with a trip to the emergency department of our local hospital. Two procedures latter I am back home, less my gall bladder and a number of large gall stones. Rumor has it I will probably feel better than I have in a while. So, while I heal up I will be doing some serious recliner surfing with my laptop.

I've decided I'm going to do several posts about machine embroidery, and machine embroidery designs. I am about to get a Baby Lock Valiant 10 needle embroidery machine. I don't really need it but I love to do machine embroidered quilt blocks and this will make them sew out so much faster! The special for May is purchase a Valiant embroidery machine and receive EmbroideryWorks with AirStitch (software), a two-year Love of Knowledge Membership, and the ALSTAND. This is going to be fun!

Prior to owning Little Lamb Quilt Shop in Barrington, NH, (2004-2011) I was a computer programmer in Connecticut. I have a good understanding of files, file storage, file formats, and ways to make your life easier. I belong to several machine embroidery groups on Facebook and see regular questions about design files, how to store and find them again, and understanding the different embroidery file formats.

Sound interesting? Let's start today with purchasing and downloading designs for your embroidery machine. I've been doing some design testing for Sue O'Very Designs. Sue is a BERNINA Ambassador and machine embroidery designer. She also has a very useful You Tube Channel with great notion reviews and other things of interest to machine embroiderers. Let's go to Sue's website, Sue O'Very Designs, and download her newest free door hanger design, the Birthday Cupcake.

Once you are at the home page, click on the Free menu option circled in red above. Your screen may not look like mine, but the same menu options will be there.

From here, click on the Birthday Cupcake Door Hanger.

Click on the Add to Cart  button. You will be looking at the screen below.

Because this is a free design (Thanks, Sue!) just scroll down.

Click on the Proceed to Checkout button.

Click on the Place Order button.

Click the large button to download a zipped file containing everything you need to make this project.

Now, we've downloaded a zip file that contains what we need to make this cute cupcake door hanger. Let's stop and talk about file storage for a minute. I decided, after a couple try and error runs, to file my designs by the designer/company. The alternative would be to file them by what they are. I like to keep designs from one company all together. I remember where I purchased things, and find it easier to just go to a folder for that company. In this case, I started with a main folder of Embroidery, then within that a folder for Sue O'Very Designs.

When you download a zipped file, you must unzip it to access the contents. I like to put each project into it's own folder. So for this example, we have a file named to unzip. Simply double click on the file name.

Here I have double clicked on the zipped file. The left hand portion of the screen shows that I'm in my Sue OVery Designs file, and you can see all the designs I have from Sue. On the right side of the screen you see a Mac system file named _MACOSX and the T103_BirthdayCupcake_DoorHanger_ITH_SWAS folder that contains our embroidery design. Click on the yellow folder that says Extract All. The window shown below opens.

Here you may use the Browse button to unzip the files somewhere else, but in this case we don't need to. The file path that shows in these images reflects that I was unzipping the file in a folder for this specific blog post - ignore the path in the picture. Go ahead and click Extract.

Now, click on the new file name and the contents of the zipped file are visible in the right hand side of the screen. Your window will look a little different, depending how your specific computer is set up to browse files.

Double click on the T103_BirthdayCupcake_DoorHanger_ITH_SWAS folder and the above is visible in the folder.

Inside the Color Breakdown folder you will see 9 images like the one above. These show the steps of the stitching so you know what each step stitches out. The 9 are all the different sizes that the design comes in.

Inside the Designs folder you will see a list of folders, each containing a different file format for a specific machine.

File Type/ExtensionCompany/Machine Compatibility
.ARTBernina artista
.CNDMelco condensed
.CSDPOEM, Singer EU, Viking Huskygram
.CXMProel TSI, Millennium III
.DSTTajima, Brother, Barudan, Babylock, Melco, Richpeace
.DSBTajima Barudan
.DSZTajima ZSK
.EMDElna Expressive
.EXPMelco Expanded, Bernina
.FHESinger (Futura)
.GNCGreat Notions Condensed
.HUSViking Husqvarna
.JEF/.JEF+Janome, New Home
.M3Juki B
.OEFOESD Condensed
.PCD, .PCS, .PCQPfaff
.PEC, .PEL, .PEM, .PESBaby Lock, Bernina Deco, Brother, Simplicity, Melco
.PHB, .PHCBaby Lock, Bernina Deco, Brother
.PMUProel, ProWin
.PUMProel, ProFlex
.RPFRichpeace Welcome
.SEWElna, Janome, New Home, Kenmore
.SHVViking Husqvarna
.STIToyota/Data Stitch
.STXToyota/Data Stitch
.TAPHappy (HappyJapan)
.TBF, .TCFTajima
.VIPVIP Customizing
.VP3Pfaff, Husqvarna Viking
.XXXSinger, Compucon


I found this table of file formats on Wikipedia, and I don't guarantee it is all right. But it fits with my knowledge of the major brands. I own a Janome 11000 that uses .JEF files, a Bernina 830 that uses .EXP files, and a Baby Lock that uses .PES files. I delete all the other formats from my unzipped design folder. They still exist in the zip file so if you need another format in the future you still have it. 

This is all I leave in the Designs folder.

Within the machine specific folder you will see all the different sizes available for this design. These are what you need to put on a USB stick or transfer via a USB cable to your sewing machine.  

The last folder you need to investigate is the Instructions folder. In here you will find a pdf document with detailed, step by step instructions to stitch out your new design. Please read through the instructions once before you start to sew. There are clever little twists and turns sometimes!

Also included in the main file is an image of the finished project, and the very important copyright. I have heard that there are websites/Etsy & Ebay Stores/Facebook Groups where design sharing and illegal sales are happening. Once you buy a design from anyone it is yours to use. You do not get the right to sell it to someone else. I feel very strongly that we all need to do our part to help support the designers we like, and to not buy from any of the illegal resellers.

So that's pretty much the computer side of buying and downloading wonderful, sometimes free, designs. Of course, you can still buy designs on CDs and transfer them to your computer and sewing machine. I've gone pretty much digital in the last few years. There are so many great websites with fabulous designs, and I've already bought way more than I'll ever stitch out. Next post I'll share with you some of my favorite websites for designs. 

Thanks to Sue for the great free door hanger project. If you enjoyed this, Sue has an embroidered pillow project on the Bernina We All Sew blog, and be sure to visit her on Facebook. If you want to join others and sew along on Sue's projects, join her Facebook Group and share with friends.

Thanks for visiting today!


Monday, April 16, 2018

The Nesting Box from Fat Quarter Shop

The Fat Quarter Shop has just released a special mystery box celebrating spring. They are also starting their third year of the monthly Sew Sampler box. I've been receiving it for a year now and have never been disappointed. I've loved all the fabric (and ordered more of several) and the notions have been perfect. I am using every one they've sent. The Nesting Box arrived sometime over the weekend while I was at a Jacqueline DeJonge retreat (more about this another day).


The Nesting Box was shipped in this nice spring green box (photo doesn't show the color correctly). When you open the lid you see the cover here, which has a 20% off coupon on the back for all Moda Bella Solids.  

Inside, under the cover, it this wonderful pattern Dream Nest (right) and quilting templates (left). There is also a woven "Made with Love" label and a Moda Fabrics Reference Guide, containing measurements, quilt sizes, block counts, basic shape cutting instructions, and other items of interest. I love the pattern, but it's only 70" x 70" so I will add a solid border or maybe yardage of one of the prints to make it a full size.

The fabric is a full layer cake of Nest by Leila Boutique for Moda Fabrics. I love the soft spring colors in this fabric line. Not sure I'm going to use the solid blue background shown on the pattern but I'll find something. It should be a Bella Solid since they gave a coupon to purchase it.

Last are all the goodies! A spool of Aurifil 80 wt light blue thread, a white Chaco Liner, a bottle of Roxanne's Glue Baste It Dip and Dab, a Bobbin Nest which I was needing, a butterfly enamel pin and a beautiful pair of red bronze 4.5" scissors. I am always looking for a pair of thread snip scissors so this will be put to immediate use.

I have a Bella Solids fabric swatch color chart and will make a choice tomorrow when the sun is hopefully shining. We had a very cold, damp day here in New Hampshire. We're beginning to wonder if spring is ever going to arrive.

I'm starting to think about my row design for the "My Happy Place" Row Along in September. At my sewing machine is a very happy place but I need to decide on something that will make a nice row pattern. You'll have to wait and see what I come up with. The patterns will be available free during the blog hop, starting September 4.

The Nesting Box appears to still be available at #TheNestingBox

Friday, April 6, 2018


     I just realized that I never went back and looked at the comments on the Quilt Qwazy Queens blog hop day. I apologize that I didn't respond. I had a big problem with my web hosting company about then and had to move to a new one. I never set up an email account for Seacoast Quilter! Oh well, I am sorry. I like to acknowledge you took the time to comment. The more comments, the better! I love to get feedback on what I post and what you want to see. Chime in any time!

I am in the process of buying a house so you may not hear much from me for a while. Below are a few photos from the Realtor of the house and yard. I'm leaving a 2 story home built in 1900 and rather run down over the years. My husband's grandparents bought it in 1916 and the only work was done in the kitchen about 1950 and the bathroom in 2010 (after I fell out of the claw foot tub a couple times). Can't wait to have a better kitchen. Mark died about 2 years ago so I'm ready to move back home to Connecticut finally, after 15 years in New Hampshire. I'm going to miss all my quilting friends terribly but it's only a 3 hour drive!

 Living Room
 Bedroom 1
 Bedroom 2
 Dining Room
Back of house with sunroom on right

The property is almost 2 acres, and there are stonewalls on all sides. There is a horse farm on the property behind. There is a one car garage and parking space for 2 more. It's plenty of house for just me.

I am participating in the Wish Upon a Star blog hop May 21 to 25, organized by Just Let Me Quilt. Here is the schedule with so many great stops:
May 21

May 22

May 23

May 24

May 25
Seacoast Quilter  <== ME!

We will all share a project that involves stars, which are classic quilt motifs. Looking forward to seeing what everyone does with the theme. No hints from me - you'll have to visit to find out.