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Making gifts this season

The machine give-away is in full swing and the excitement is building as we wait for your entries. I know there’s some effort involved in this machine-giveaway contest but won’t it be fun to open a brand new machine? We know that over 200 of you downloaded the design so we’re anxious to see your entries. A few weeks ago, many of you said you would give the machine to some one else. Well here’s the perfect opportunity for you to team up with that special person you think is so deserving of a new machine.

I remember the first machine I gave to someone. Years ago, I gave a Janome 8000 to my younger sister, Marie. She was an at-home mom with an infant son and searching for a creative outlet. I had just purchased my second Janome 9000 and really didn’t have room for the 8000 any longer. So I gave her my much-loved Janome 8000. That ‘infant son’ is now a junior in high school and my Stitching Sister, Marie, is the proud owner of two six needles machines, one 10-needle machine and a commercial embroidery business that enables her to work at home while she raises her son and daughter. You just never know what doors you can open for someone if you introduce them to a new hobby.

So if your motivation to win this machine is to gift it to someone else, then by all means, team up with that person and get creative. If you’re in need a new machine such as a dependable, user-friendly Brother model, then get stitching! We’ll select the winner the day before Thanksgiving to kick-off the holiday season! And don’t forget, every entry gets a $5.00 coupon for Designs product.

Speaking of holidays, many of you are probably in the throes of creating gifts for family and friends. I’ve often wondered who benefits the most from gifts that are made from the heart. Whenever I make someone a gift, I thoroughly enjoy the time spent focusing on the recipient. It’s almost like I get to spend personal time with them – even though they aren’t with me in person. One year, I made personalized nightlights (embroidered and embellished lampshades) for all of my five sisters and some close friends, for a total of 10 lampshades. Each one was so different, so unique. Some were monogrammed; but all were piecework, with lots of couching, decorative stitching and trims. As I made each one, I thought of our history – the funny stories, the sad moments, the days of joy and the spirit of each of the women. When my gift-making was done, I felt so blessed, I was filled with gratitude for each of the women.

Last week many of you told me you embroider because you like to make gifts. Share your most memorable gift-making story with us and you’ll be entered to win a one year subscription to Designs in Machine Embroidy Magazine! Your story might be heart-warming or maybe it was a disaster in the making. Or possibly the recipient wasn’t appreciative (been there, seen that!).  Post your story here on the blog as a comment.

Last week we asked why you embroider. The winner of Machine-Embroidered Monograms for the Home and a 15 Minute Embroiderable Nightlight is Vee Race!   

Vee said… I embroider because I love it. I love the creativity of choosing design ,colors, the process & the results.

Congratulations, Vee!




  • yvonne davison

    Congratulations Vie

  • Karin

    Well, I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember & doing ME for about 10 years now, but I’ve only recently begun quilting. When the harvest fabrics went on sale, I fell in love with the greens, golds & orange-reds & decided to make placemats & a table runner. Without a pattern – I mean, how hard could it be, right?

    So, a few squares and a few triangles later, I had a table runner completed. I didn’t have enough fabric for placemats, so I embroidered some coordinating leaves on a white towel & trimmed it out in leftover fabric scraps. I put it in my internet shop, and sent out a link to some of my very close friends. Really, all I wanted was someone to reply, “oh, that’s pretty.”

    To my surprise, it was purchased less than 30 minutes later, by a dear, dear friend, who planned to take it to Sweden as a housewarming/Thanksgiving present for her daughter. I give away my work all the time, but I’m proud that others also think it is good enough to give as gifts!

    • Denise Holguin

      Thanks for sharing your story. It’s always very gratifying to know other people appreciate the heart and creativity that goes into making something from scratch. Keep up the great work!

      Denise Holguin
      Managing Editor
      Designs in Machine Embroidery

  • Freda Bieler

    There is no link for your giveaway so I’ll tell you here. One year when I was new to machine embroidery I gave everyone thread bowls.. I had just discovered BFC Creations and fell in love with Suz’s beautiful bowls. I had so much fun making them. They are gorgeous. I go to the dollar store and buy glass bowls to fit inside so they can be used for many purposes: bufrfet table servers, catch-alls for keys, jewelry etc., a fall leaf bowl to give out trick or treats, snack servers. They make everything look better. Freda

  • Jean Hollis

    My most memorable gift was probably the reason I bought my first embroidery machine. My son and daughter-in-law were expecting our first grandchild, and I had wandered into my local sewing machine store to have some machine repairs/maintenance done. A Bernina Deco was running as I passed through and that was all it took to reel me in. I decided to start a baby quilt from embroidered fleece blocks as my first project and a gift for the new baby. By the time I had finished the initial planned embroidered blocks, a second grandchild had been born, and the first had graduated to a twin bed. Did I mention all the other gifts that interrupted the work on this initial project? Another 30 blocks had to be made to add to the outside of the quilt to make it large enough, which were alphabet blocks and personalization blocks in each corner. As I now have five grandchildren, ages 3 through almost 11, I cannot give one what I cannot give the others. Blanket #2 is started, blocks are cut for #3, with a list of what to sew, and #4 and #5 are only a dream!

  • Susan Spiers

    Most times I can make a crocheted baby blanket for a baby shower in the appropriate color. However, summer in the South presents a problem with blankets! So, I decided to make an outfit, complete with embroidery, from a pattern in the Sew Beautiful magazine. A sleeveless top with diaper cover bottom. I was so proud of this outfit-my first attempt at such a thing! Although my neice said pretty & threw it to the side, my sister-in-law, who also sews, gathered it up & showed it off to everyone, as she appreciated the work I had put into it! I felt a little better after that, but I probably will stick to blankets, winter or summer!

    • Denise Holguin

      Hi Susan,
      The baby outfit you made sounds charming! While your neice may not have fully realized or appreciated your time and talent — in time she may change her ways. Who knows–maybe one of these days she’ll need to stitch something for the family or household and she’ll come to realize how valuable sewing skills can be! Keep doing what you love– stitch and embroider because it makes you happy!

      Denise Holguin
      Managing Editor
      Designs in Machine Embroidery

  • Sorcha girl

    Machine embroidery is addictive and when a design works well, it is a thrill for the soul!! I had my machine only 6 months but the sewing dealer had classes to help learn all the steps needed. One project was a hand towel with “Ho, Ho, Ho” in candy cane striped letters. It stitched out so well that I made 6 more for gifts to give friends along with peppermint scented candles.

    Thanks for a great magazine, Eileen. I’ve been challenged to learn through the inspiration in its pages.

    • eileen

      There’s absolutely nothing wrong with duplicating gifts! After all, once you have a project or technique down, the right thing to do is share it! And it sure makes gift-making season very productive. I love bundling small items with a theme like you did with the candy cane letters and peppermint scented candles. Great idea!

  • Debbie

    The most memorable gift I have made to date was a small wallhanging for my sister. I was marking the shell quilting marks on the quilt one very early morning before coffee and grabbed the sharpie instead of my quilt water marker. Oh my , what was I going to do. I had been literally working on the for months looking for the right embroideries to use on it, so I was not going to throw it to the UFO pile. Finally after sleeping on it for a few nights, I had decided to just put the quilt label over the sharpie marks. I feel actually it was one of my favorites.

    • eileen

      Wonderful solution! I, too, would have never tossed all that work into the trash (or the ‘yuck pile’ as my son used to say!). There’s always a fix – it just might take some time to figure it out!

  • Carol Seavitt

    Last year for Christmas I made a few of the nurses and office workers at the cancer center I go to every 3 weeks for treatment microwave oven mittens. I put a little poem in the mitt which expressed my appreciation for all they do for me.

    • Denise Holguin

      The oven mittens are a great idea. It’s something they will use and the personal touch with the poem makes them such a thoughtful gift. We’re going to have some fun black and white oven mittens in the Volume 66 Jan/Feb issue– be on the look out for them.

      Thanks for sharing and I wish you the best.

      Denise Holguin
      Managing Editor

  • Jan Boggan Henson

    Most memorable gift I have made was for my stepmother last Christmas. Her name is Molly, and one of her grandaughters named her new baby Molly Grace. I made a blue denim pillow trimmed in red. The center of the pillow was a beautiful picture of Molly and Molly Grace printed on fabric. That pillow is the most treasured gift I have ever given anyone. It is shown to every visitor, relative and stranger who will stop by. What a gratifying experience.


    I have just begun to machine embroider and I have still learning. Haven’t quite gotten the download part down pat. I have having problems downloading from the internet. It always goes to my adobe and not my zip file and then I cannot retreive it or open it up. Anyone have any suggestions. Love the Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. Got a free one with my machine and now I have subscribed.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  • K

    In the Northwest, when the sun comes out in winter I open all the shades in my sewing room and that just starts the process of straightening things up from the holiday rush. Feels so good and clean when the sun shines.

  • Mary L Haggenmaker

    Ever since I started with the embroidery machine, I monogram handkerchiefs for my son, son-in-law and 2 grandson-in-laws. They look forward to them every year. This year my family was increased by a new grand daughter and a new great grand daughter. I made lace bells with their name on them and the year of their birth (2010). I plan to eventually embroider lace bells for my 17 other grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren to put on my own tree for next year.

  • dstitchgal

    Love the feeling of no hard deadlines and this year plan to just try some of the techniques I’ve been wanting to try. Learning something new is a great motivator.