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Colorful Inspirations with Stipple!

I loved hearing from each of you about your color preferences.  And many of you sound just like me, you love one combo and another and another….It’s so hard to choose!  Color is often what draws me to create a project – specifically, a quilting project.  But since traditional quilting is enormously time-consuming, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed simplifying the process with my new Stipple! technique.  And it seems like the Stipple! bug has caught on at our office.  For many years at the magazine, I have been the only staff member who embroiders.  Really.  It’s been a solo journey in many ways.  Until now!  Our Managing Editor, Denise Holguin (a Designs magazine veteran for almost 9 years) has been bitten by the Stipple! bug – bad!  And then she passed it down the hall to Designs’ newest employee, Amanda Griffin, our Web Czar.

They are both amazed by the simplicity of the technique and the outstanding results they have achieved.  And get this, Denise started by stitching Stipple! designs on paper because she’s a scrapbooker at heart.

So I’m going to let Denise and Amanda share their experience with you.  And when they’re done, I’d love to hear about a technique that really lit a spark in you.  Leaving a comment will enter you into this weeks giveaway!


How I discovered my inner designer with Stipple!

Versatility & Design as You Go!

I set out on my Stipple journey with a modest goal.  I’ll just see if I can stitch a few blocks.  Then once I had a stack of blocks my hopes for a completed project soared.  I’ll keep it simple—something square—like a pillow.

I looked around the office for a square pillow form but got distracted with a bolster pillow form that was calling my name.  Even though it was intimidating with its cylindrical shape—something I’ve never even dreamed of attempting to make—I thought—today I conquer bolster pillow construction!

You Can Attempt this at Home Kids!

My bolster pillow consists of Stipple! Seashell blocks pieced together.  I was drawn to bright, happy colors mainly because I wanted to incorporate some fun trim.  I am all about details—and trim is the cherry on top for a project.

Once my Stipple blocks were pieced together I sized it to the bolster pillow form.  I tend to work backwards—an experienced sewer would have determined what size fabric is needed to cover the pillow form before beginning.  Clearly, that’s not my style.  When I realized I was coming short all the way around with my bolster pillow form— I heard Tim Gunn in my head saying “make it work!”

I was also facing a fabric shortage because I started my Stipple journey with just a few leftover pieces of fabric.  I like a good challenge.  I rummaged through the scraps and determined that I had just enough to add two inch strips of fabric all the way around to create a border.  I tested the fabric on the pillow form and voila!  A great fit.

Bolster pillows remind me of candy—Tootsie Rolls, Brach’s Royals Caramel Rolls, Smarties, etc.  With sugar on my mind I was drawn to some fun pink rick rack for the edge of the fabric and also as ties on each of the ends of the pillow.  The end result is a fun pillow that evolved from just a simple goal of stitching a couple Stipple blocks!

Imagine what you can do!

Tips for unleashing your inner designer:

Forget the rules and have fun. Stitch a few blocks and see where the Stipple journey takes you!  Not all creative geniuses meticulously plan their work before they begin.  You might find the experience liberating and yes, you are a creative genius!

Add the details! Try adding hot fix crystals, trim, buttons etc.

Be the designer.  Make block variations by not laying down the appliqué fabric for an entirely different look.  Choose to stitch one block in multiple different ways just by switching the fabrics and thread colors.



I love crafts…I love to create things and share those creations with those around me. I sew, I knit, I am a soap maker…but embroidery was very intimidating to me. Here at Designs in Machine Embroidery everyone has been catching a bug. I’ve been here for three months now – it was inevitable that I would catch this bug also. I knew it was pointless to struggle or try to evade coming down with it. Is it a nasty stomach virus, mumps, chickenpox…is it swine flu? No…it’s Stipple! Yesterday (with Denise’s help) I jumped on an embroidery machine, put together a quilt sandwich and started stitching out some quaint little quilt blocks! And I can’t stop!

I brought my fabric stash to work so I can start planning and plotting my next Stipple! project…

Should I do a pillow, a wall hanging, a quilt, a garment…I can’t decide! I’m thinking a table runner…

For those of you that don’t know what Stipple! is…

Stipple! is a simple way to make quilt blocks using bold appliqués surrounded by gorgeous stippling. You embroider through all three layers of your quilt block and then put it together using Eileen’s reversible piecing technique. This technique is outlined in all of the Stipple! products. So above you can see my designs stitched and then you can see that I cut out the blocks leaving a 1/2” border around the design. Super easy!

We call them quilt blocks, but really you can turn them into anything. Here’s an example of the process from the website that Eileen had done with Stipple! Butterflies.





  • Amy

    This looks fascinating. I am really eager to try this technique!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    artsyrockerchick at aim dot com

  • Gail Beam

    Applique designs are so much fun to do and I love your layoring applique technique. I have never seen that technique before. I have done some stippling with my D1. I like to iron on a piece of iron on quilt batting underneath the main fabric and sometimes (depending on what it is going to be used for) I add another piece of fabric behind the batting making a sandwich . The batting adds a three dimensional effect to the stippling.

  • Danie Duchesne

    I am not a quilter, well, not yet, as I have too little time to spare on my hobby – sewing and machine embroidery. But I love all the new quilting in the hoop projects/designs that are now available. From stippling to crazy quilting, there is so much potential to use the embroidery machine and achieve perfect result! I am anxious to get started on quilt in the hoop project but I am still trying to complete the projects I have on the go before starting a new one!

    Thanks for your good work!


  • Katrina H

    I just recently learned how to use copic markers on fabric. Since I use them for card making/scrapbooking already, I’m so excited to have learned how to use them in this new way!

  • Wendy

    I have been playing with my stippling skills. I made my own stipple block in the Viking 4D Pro and I also have been using my Fab-U-motion that I finaly took out of the box (after 1 year). I was afraid to try it but I am having so much fun with it now.

  • Becki Fisher

    I have just discovered in the hoop and stipple. All my friends know I can’t sew buttons. Now I look like a PRO with the help of stipple. Love your designs!

  • Linda Snow


    I tried your Autumn Leaves stipple as a first ever quilt hanging and it turned out so pretty! Thank you for all the designs that are available to us! I am looking forward to doing the butterfly stipple next.

    Please come to Austin, Texas to show your magic!!

    Loving the stitching!

  • La Moore

    I can’t wait to get my hands on your “Stipple Sea Shell” collection. I had a dream last night of the cover project done in whites and off white fabric with deep brown threads for my beautiful sun room. You must stay up late nights thinking these disks up so we can dream and be creative right along with you. Your “Designs in Machine Embroidery Magazine” gives me the same inspirations but during my waking moments. Thank you for all your support.

    Lauri Moore

  • Deb Fischer

    I recently learned the “quilt as you go” technique and what fun I had on my new Baby Lock Elisimo. I have made a heart-shaped purse and a couple Christmas Stockings using that technique and it was a blast. And that’s saying a lot since I’m known at my Retailer as the towel-lady (because that’s all I was ever comfortable doing was embroidering designs on hand towels and dish towels).

  • Sandy George

    I love your site and the project ideas – always sends me running to the sewing room!!

  • shirley dalton

    I am learning to make simple quilts, like the 9 block,i have just taught my grandaughter who is12 how to use my hus,scavdivan machine and she fell in love with it. she is suppose to be babysitting me,cause i have had 2strokes recently, then 3 seizuresin the past month, and my daughter doesn’t want me to be alone during day. so she is learning to make embrody blocks for her mothers quilt, then we wil start on hers, i love teaching a young person what i know,but there is alot i can still learn,like stippling. thank you so much for all you do for us. shirley dalton

  • Jan

    I love the things that I get to see from your emails, and offers. I just wish I had more than slow dial-up so I can check out the online stuff. But that is not going to change right now. I love the stipples and the hoops you have come up with. Can’t wait to see it for my janome 350E. Thanks, Jan Gunter

  • Shirlene Renshaw

    Thank you for always posting such easy to do projects. You make things look so simple. I have been getting your newsletter for some time and enjoy all the information that you give out to us – up and coming stitches. I enjoy your magazine that I receive in the mail and love the digital one, as well. Thanks for all you do for all of struggling to learn more about embroidery. Shirlene

  • Patricia Jones

    I would love to see more sophisticated designs to use for grown ups clothing. Sometimes I’d like to embroider something on my clothes that looks more sophisticated and classy.

    I love your magazine and articles.

  • Ginny Gaige

    I Love your stipple designs. I would like to see more “in the hoop” projects for Christmas gifts. Thank you!

  • shiela

    hi i love to make wall hanging,s for friends and my kids they love them easy to make and fast to make my first grandson was just born im doing a wall hanging designs i get from wonderful ladies and gentlemen its going to a jungle wall hanging i would love to learn how to do peace to peace i bought a book called peace in a hoop works great love it from shielabryant hugs love peace

  • Barbara

    Can anyone tell me a design I could use over the shoulder of a top coiming a little ways down to dress up a top like a sweatshirt or raglan sleeve shirt top. Something simple but kinda dressed up.

  • Linda Gaulin

    This is just the thing I need to get me back to the sewing and embroidery machine. I recently moved into a beautiful house my honey had built for us on a great piece of land. With all kinds of birds,(even turkeys) that inspire how I will decorate.

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