Guest blog: Field of Poppies scarf

Growing up in a military family, my father was very patriotic, deeply admired and respected.  Naturally I followed my father’s footsteps and served in the military.   While in the military I met my husband.  Now that we are retired, I wanted something more than the regular poppy we wear on our lapels during the armistice celebrations. I had always loved scarves with poppies.  When I saw this beautiful poppy embroidery design collection, I knew I had to make a poppy scarf. I tested out the design first to make sure I liked the color choices. I used the colors that I had in my thread stash that were the closest to Graceful Embroidery’s recommendations.

This was the first time I had ever embroidered on a knit type fabric.  Since I had just purchased a new embroidery machine, I decided to approach this very cautiously.  My desire was to ensure the back of the scarf would look as nice as the front.  This required changing the bobbin thread for each color change.  My original plan was I would embroider both ends of the scarf. 

I hooped the fabric with two layers of wash away stabilizer (Inspira Aqua Magic).  I made sure I had a little extra stabilizer that fanned over the arm of the hoop because I was concerned the tassels might get caught while embroidering.

To my delight the designs stitched out beautifully and were as lovely on the back as the front.  Since the ends of the scarf stitched out so well, I decided to continue around the neck portion of the scarf. 

On the neck area of the scarf I used Inspira Light and Soft Fuse-on stabilizer.  For future scarf projects I will use the washable Inspira Aqua Magic on the whole project.

With my lovely new Husqvarna Epic 2, it took me only 15 hours stitching time.  I completed the project in approximately three days.

 The design on the scarf is from “Field of Poppies 1 collection”.  Specifically, GFE-FLP-1-14, GFE-FLP-1-1 and a few with GFE-FLP-1-1 combined with GFE-FLP-1-12. Marathon Poly 40  and Maderia Polyneon 40 thread.

One of the challenging parts was making sure I had the poppy’s facing the correct way on the hoop.  I made a mistake on one of stitch outs.  Fortunately, I noticed the error immediately, removed the few stitches and rehooped.  The scarf would have looked awful with upside down poppies…lol

Making sure you hoop correctly ensuring you do not have any upside down designs.

I am thrilled with how beautiful the poppies stitched out on the scarf.  Hazel’s masterful digitizing made this poppy scarf project beyond my expectations. When staring the project, I was quite apprehensive as I had never embroidered on knits.  As a result of how well this project went, I will be more confident embroidering on knit fabrics. One of my concerns was, washing the scarf and if the scarf would pucker.  I was pleased how well the Inspira Aqua Magic washed out.  I ironed the scarf over a wool pressing mat with a cotton cloth over the embroidered design.  The poppy scarf looked as good as the day it was stitched out.

When I finished the project, I could not wait to share it with my family, friends and of course my local quilt store.  They loved the poppy scarf and several inquired where I purchased the designs.

“Thank you so much DebbieR for making this beautiful scarf using my designs! I think we would all like to create something equally stunning. It is always exciting to receive emails and photos from customers showing me how they have used my designs. I hope this inspires more of you to create a work of art on your embroidery machine.”

Happy embroidering from Hazel

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Taking another machine embroidery design and give it the “special” treatment

As I work on any set of machine embroidery designs I like to experiment with different ways of embroidering them out, finding new levels of creativity and pushing the boundaries. There is so much satisfaction in creating something unique!

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A re-Blog from 2015: on deciding how to use your embroidery designs

You surf the internet and see lovely embroidery designs which you are certain need adding to your library of designs that you will one day stitch out. However deciding how to use at least a few designs can be quite a challenge, which is why I try to endeavour to give ideas on the use of many of my designs, especially the larger the ones! Take my latest set of designs which complete the Harriet collection. This is an heirloom collection with an emphasis on wing needle embroidery, and was named after one of the characters in Jane Austen’s remarkable book, Emma. Now there are 12 designs in this set for 12″ by 8″ hoops and with this set comes a very detailed PDF which gives you all sorts of information on each design, including the threads used, the size and stitch count.

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Renaissance Fuchsias stitch out

One of the wonderful benefits of creating the Renaissance Fuchsias collection is that I can now have fuchsias blooming every day inside the house! One of the largest designs in this collection can be found in Renaissance Fuchsias 4.

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Guest blog: A prayer quilt for Rosie

I have had my Bernina 780 for 2 years,  but have only been doing machine embroidery for one year. I was watching Hazel’s You tube channel “Graceful Embroidery” where she embroidered her Romantic Crazy Quilt blocks. I have watched that series of tutorials over and over, wishing I could do something like that. So I decided to create a prayer quilt for the Great Grand Daughter of a dear friend.

I am not sure how much it cost me to make this quilt as I used left- over cotton and flannel fabric from my stash. Lace was used for appliques on some of the hearts in the blocks as well as part of the background.  I embellished the buttonholes with ribbon.  For one of the blocks which was placed in the middle of the finished quilt I used a handkerchief from the babies, Great, Great Grandmother. 

The dark pink heart with the “W”, that material is from the babies, Great Grandmother.

My first block took about 8 hours to complete as it was difficult to decide which colours of Isacord 40 wt thread to use.  After making the first one, it went much faster as I understood how the process of construction.

I did not stitch out the last colour in each of the Romantic Quilt blocks, which is a very narrow satin border. Instead I stitched all around each block twice, then I trimmed the each block a 1/4″ away from these stitch lines.

The most challenging part of this project was finishing the blocks, as I was uncertain on how to put them together. I wanted the quilt to show the beauty  of the blocks, not take away from the embroidery. I used 100% Cotton, Warm and Natural for my batting. I decided to do 2.5″ sashings for the quilt. I first attached 3 blocks together to make my first row, sashing between each block, then I added the top white strip.

After attaching the blocks together, I added the white strip on each sided.  Then I added a pink 6″ border, and to finish it, I put an 8″ border, following with the flange binding.  The designs in the 2 corners from Une Petit Princesse. were done before I put the back on. To personalise the quilt I also embroidered the babies name using the font that was built in my Bernina machine.  I “free-motion” quilted these borders with a wavy line. I did not use a template.

 The quilt was bound with a Flange binding.  White on the outside and light pink for the flange.   Flange binding is that little extra line of material the borders on the inside of the quilt.

After the quilt was finished I washed it 3 times. I was curious to see how the embroidery was going to hold up.  It was just fine. 

There are several mistakes in the quilt. I was experimenting with how to change the designs which resulted in some overlapped of designs. The thread colour has a few mistakes in the blocks, and I am not certain I used the correct stabilizer.  As I wanted this quilt to last for many years, I used a water-soluble stabiliser.

Overall I am very pleased with the finish product. I learned so much from doing this like the importance of thread colour and placement. However probably the most important thing I learned is that if you want to make something, just dive in and try! You will never be able to achieve anything just setting around wishing! I also gained a lot of confidence with this project. When the quilt was finished I have gave it to Rosie and her mother.

Hazel’s comments: “I am thrilled for Janet as this really is a work of art especially when she has only been machine embroidering for a year. I love that she has made the quilt blocks unique by editing the embroidery within them. The addition of ribbons, rick-rack and lace really enhances its beauty. Well done! I look forward to seeing your next project. Keep up the good work and thank you for inspiring us all.”

Happy embroidering from Hazel

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The selection of colours for a fuchsia flower

When I created the Renaissance fuchsia designs I developed just one flower with various colour ways. By selecting another set of threads I encourage your to experiment with colour. Before releasing Renaissance Fuchsias 3 I decided to try a different colour scheme, one that reflects a fuchsia that I simply adore.

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Machine embroidery resolutions for 2020

Many of us like to consider how we will improve our lives when a New Year comes around and maybe this increases when we move into a new decade. From the machine embroidery point of view a lot has changed since 2010. For most of us the floppy discs have gone and we may even be able to connect our machines to our wi-fi and not have so many cables in our work area. If you are anything like me your sewing room’s contents has increased substantially so you are probably thinking about de-cluttering and re organising it.

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The challenge of this year’s Christmas card

Every year I make a machine embroidered card for my sister. It has become a tradition and often times it is based on my most recent Christmas collection. With each passing year the cards become more of a challenge for me and this year it was even more difficult to create something unique.

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Guest Blog – My Book of embroidery hoops

I’ve owned an embroidery machine for 12 years but only really started machine embroidery 3 – 4 years ago since purchasing a new machine. I currently own a Pfaff Creative 4.5. I decided to enter the 2019 competition at Graceful Embroidery with my Hoops of Love Book. I had my embroidery hoops hung on hooks but read an article which said hanging them this way could distort the frames.  When Hazel ran the competition I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to enter my first competition and create something to store and protect my hoops.  As the theme of the competition was to show the ‘love of machine embroidery’ I felt this project would demonstrate this, as without hoops I would be unable to produce any of my embroideries.

When I realised the project wouldn’t work as a box file I considered it would work as a book.  Two years ago I attended several machine embroidery classes in Blackburn and completed a book during the class. I took the measurements of my largest hoop size to determine the finished project size. 

The fabrics, silk dupion and linen mix were from my stash.  (I purchased about 7 metres of very sub-standard silk dupion approximately 10 years ago, it had been washed a couple of times in an attempt to remove marks).  All other items were also from stock, apart from 3 small spools of thread, eyelets and Velcro.  I estimate that the total cost within £20 which includes allowance for stabilisers and interfacing.

I originally planned to make the folder in a violet coloured silk taffeta fabric but unfortunately the fabric was man made and showed too many needle marks.  I was happy with the colours of the embroideries though so substituted the taffeta for the linen mix. The back of each page features a different design from Almond Silk Paisley.  All wording is created from my software.  The pockets have buttonholes from a recent freebie and hoops are held in place by Velcro on the back of the buttonholes, and separate flowers sewn in place to imitate buttons.  Each page and pocket are padded and have strong supporting interfacings down each side.  The front and back are made from strong card and the whole project is secured by eyelets, cords and stitches. 

 The front cover, created in two ‘hoopings’ has a machine stitched border. I used the following designs from Graceful Embroidery: Celtic Grace Floral collection; Summer Meadows Collection; Graceful Silk Sampler; Almond Silk Paisley and freebies from buttonholes and Bridal Lace. Most of the embroidery was done with Madeira Rayon 40 wt.

The piping was made from violet taffeta and I used ribbon cord to tie the pages together.  To give stability to the lightweight silk dupion when embroidering, I used lightweight interfacing.

I played around with the design for the front cover next and quilted the linen mix fabric border.  The front cover was placed onto stiff card and the outer edge stuffed to given depth to the border. It was the most difficult part and I had to place Velcro onto the card and the edge of the embroidery to help stretch it into place. 

The pages and pockets are all identical in size and have 1” pleats in each side of the pockets to allow for the width of the hoop.  Pockets and pages were stitched together with linen mix binding and the pages decorated with left over beads from my daughter’s bridesmaids’ outfits.

Velcro was stitched on the back of each pocket and page to hold the hoops in place. The front cover and spine of the project were made in one fabric if I were to repeat this project I would make the spine separate and also put eyelets in the front cover as I did with the pages.  This is something I may change on this project at some point.

 The project measures 51 x 39 cm (20” x 15”) including front and back covers and has a total of twelve pages.  The whole project took approximately 8 weeks to complete. Overall I was happy as I achieved my intention. I would use wadding rather than card for the front and back covers as although the card is very strong it makes the overall project heavier. This was a big learning curve for me.  I would ensure in future I plan the project more thoroughly and definitely wish I’d started the project earlier due to it being a competition entry.

This was an amazing entry Lesley and I think we would all be proud to have made this book to store our embroidery hoops in safely. Thank you for sharing your experience with us all and I hope you will enter many more competitions at Graceful Embroidery.

Happy embroidering from Hazel

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A naughty fairy for Christmas – a re-blog

 A naughty fairy you ask? Let me explain. Back in 2017 I created the “Christmas” and “Snow” Angels with the promise of an update. Well in digitising and finishing off the update, a new angel with fairy wings I discovered she is inclined to misbehave in the hoop! To be sure that she gets a warm welcome in many homes this Christmas I have spent considerable time perfecting her…..

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