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Embroidery Tips & Techniques

It’s National Embroidery Month!

Really, it is, I didn’t make it up! And if I did, I would have never settled on just one month because it’s always National Embroidery Month here at Designs.

So why just one month? One month is for sissies; one month is for people who dabble in embroidery. The rest of us – well, every year is National Embroidery Year, this year might be the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit, but I vote for the Year of the Needle. And that’s a machine needle – thank you very much!

Oh I know, hand (that annoying four-letter word that seems to creep in everyone’s vocabulary) embroidery is making a comeback. But hand embroidery is really just the training wheels of embroidery. Once you’re hooked on that flying feeling, you’ll want to soar with a machine! Why? Once you’re hooked there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the embroidery projects you want to tackle by hand. Once you’re hooked, you want your work to look professional and last forever. Once you’re hooked, you’re absolutely blown away at what the digital world, your artistic skills and an embroidery machine can produce!

In order to get hooked, you have to give yourself permission to buy the right products (the proper tools really do make all the difference), make some mistakes, ask a lot of questions and experiment.

Let’s start with the right products. You need a decent embroidery machine that comes with education. So shop for a dealer that you enjoy visiting and buy your machine there. Get one at the top of your price range (every dollar brings more luscious features) with at least a 5” x 7” embroidery hoop, ability to rotate in 1 degree increments, on-screen editing, USB capability, baste feature and the trace feature. Test drive it, inquire about lessons at the dealer (machine intro lessons should come with your purchase) and then take it home and out of the box.

Once it’s home, hoop some fabric that you’re willing to part with and experiment. Stitch some of the built-in designs, move the design in the hoop and stitch it in a new location. Read the manual – really they’re written for a reason. Switch to a different type of fabric and stabilizer and see the difference. Make notes and refer to them later when you try to remember what worked and what didn’t.

It’s time to ask questions now that you’re familiar with your machine. So head to that intro class and ask away! Use the internet, search blogs, manufacturer’s and design company websites. There is a ton of information out there.

Keep experimenting – you’ll learn something new with every project and before you know it, you’ll be helping others enjoy this great hobby.

I think that’s what I love the most about this hobby, the participants are so sharing and kind to each other. I’m just back from leading a 2-day hands-on event in Atlanta. I can’t tell you how lovely the 84 attendees were. Each was so gracious to us (my Stitching Sister Marie Zinno and I), the staff at Discover Sewing and each of their tablemates. The attendees were blown away by the features on the Brother Quattro machine. That machine made the twelve (yep, 12) projects we created over two days absolutely flawless. Every challenge (such as funky fabrics – fur, vinyl, terrycloth and poor hooping techniques) was met with a user-friendly feature that solved any dilemma we put in front of it. Oh the fun we had in putting that machine through its hoops! Sorry – couldn’t resist!

What was the result? Eighty-four times twenty-one finished, flawless embroidery projects. That’s 252 projects! Now that’s an accomplishment. Try that with a hand needle!

So what are you stitching? You know, right now, today? I’m working on three projects – funky t-shirts, another trench coat by Indygo Junction (with that fabulous collar) and a sentimental wall hanging for my sweetie (in time for Valentine’s Day, I hope, I’m planning, I swear I’ll make the deadline).

Tell us what you’re working on and you could win a… Snap Hoop!   

Last week we asked what colors you were using in your embroidery.  The winner of Machine Embroidery with Confidence by Nancy Zieman and a set of Robison-Anton threads is…Brigitte Cowan!

She said…”I am using Sulky 561 for a redwork quilt for my mother. She loves antiques and I couldn’t think of a quilt that would be better than a redwork quilt. I love redwork, no thread changes, lol.”

Congratulations, Brigitte!

ps…Have you subscribed to the blog yet?  Be sure to subscribe on the right side of the this page to get emailed when I post.  You’ll be first to hear about giveaways, tips, tricks and what’s going on with the Stitching Sisters!




  • Deborah Rayman

    I’m working on Painted turtles for ASG annual Community serviece project, pillowcases for the kids at our local hospital and the new quilt of the month by Hoopsisters called Goose Tracks and also a diappearing nine patch quilt,

    • eileen

      Oh that Goose Tracks is quite cool! Love those HoopSisters!

  • Audrey Goodwin

    I am finishing Valentines Days cards for my mom, daughters and granddaughters. I’m using conventional hearts but with flare; lacy hearts, swirly hearts. Greeting cards and embroidery are my passion and mixing them up together has taken me to another place. Ahhhhh! 🙂

  • Betsy

    My niece recently treated me to a week in NYC…sightseeing, shopping, massages….that was heavenly! I’m making a lap quilt for her inspired by her new puppy. It’s white and black with a touch of pink…the quilt, that is 😉 I’m adding doggie designs in some of the patches.

    • eileen

      NYC for a week! You lucky lady!

  • Judy Parker

    I just completed AnitaGoodesigns Christmas Village Tile Scene. About 800K stitches. Now I am starting the Beach Tile Scene…Although I should stitch out the Bellys of the 4 beautiful white teddy bears I youngest granddaughter will be one in March and I think she needs a birthday bear..what do you think…I bet it would be a snap with the snap hoop..heheheh….blessings Judy

  • Myrna Leard

    I agree with you, Eileen; every day, week and month should be machine embroidery day. I do make some things with hand embroidery; however, it certainly is slow going.

    I am working on changing t-shirts. I bought
    Designer Necklines and I must say that I love it! Thanks so very much for all the great products, information, advice and inspiration.

    • eileen

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying Designer Necklines – I’ll share your thoughts with Nancy. She’ll be happy to hear about your success with transforming Tshirts.

  • Clara

    Valentine’s gifts for my family is the latest project. For my granddaughter-a notebook cover for the journal she keeps, for my grandson-a towel for the gym with a comic character and for my mother-a handtowel with a hearts to loop over the refrigerator. I certainly agree with this week’s post–an embroidery machine adds to crafting and a good dealer keeps the machine running without problems.
    Thanks, Eileen.

  • Catherine Bachman

    WOW, I thought only June was a wedding month. I am busy making wedding dish towels for 2 weddings this month. Theya re so great to hang and nobody can duplicate them. My gifts has been the unique and unusual for many years. It is so fun to personalize gifts for my friends and they are really appreciated.

  • Jo

    I have yet to try the magna hoop. Just when I think I’m going to have funds something happens..This time it was our son passing away unexpectedly. I know when I set a set it will be worth the wait. I have some friends that have it and they would not be with out it…

    • eileen

      Very sorry to hear about the loss of your son, Jo. I can’t imagine living through the loss of a child. My prayers are with you.

  • LeAnne

    I finished embroidering curtains for my kitchen, so now I’m working on potholders, kitchen towels, and a table runner to match.

  • Sandi Brust

    Right now I am working on a Wizard of Oz quilt. I can’t tell you how much I love your “One Step Quilting and Applique STIPPLE! Geometrics. I bought it at your show in St.Louis last year and it has been my tool to quilt the quilt. The quilt is made of panels of square and circles so the stippling and circular designs have turned out amazing. My quilt looks professionally done and it was all done by me and my baby lock Ellegante2. Thanks for these awesome designs.

    • eileen

      Sounds like a great project – I’d love to see how you incorporated the Stipple! designs into your quilt. If you’re on facebook, consider sharing photos on our page. Just click on the Facebook icon in the column on the right (above). It will take you to our page.

    • Jackie Wallace

      I would love to see your quilt when you’re finished.

  • Betty Graf

    I have been working on a lap quilt using the NZ Wild Horses. And I am in the progress of quilting the 3 layers together.
    Betty/Fort Worth, TX.

  • Rhonda

    I am working on an Irish Chain Quilt, with shamrocks embroidered in the open spaces. Am using greens and yellow. This is a chalenge for me as I have not done much quilting.

    • eileen

      Rhonda – my mother would absolutely love that quilt! My parents had a popular cafe at the Jersey shore for many years, named The Shamrock. Shamrocks are dear to our heart!

  • Marge Geraci

    I am working on a project, and having so much fun. I am doing a hanger which will fit over the bar of my walker. (handicap people use far balanc)

    I have used a sport twill fabric, which is partially quillted and embroideried with my Brother 750D machine. This is perhaps the biggest project I have ever worked on and yes, this is putting me in another world. I am having a blast this is soo much fun! I bet the snap hoop would be such a snap to this and so many other projects.

  • Patty Ojeda

    I am working on a embroidered signature quilt where each block is framed with half square triangles. I am also adding roses around every name. It is looking sooo pretty!

  • Alison Minor

    I am embroidering tiny designs on onsies for a little girl who just had her second birthday. She was born at 24 weeks and is a miracle. She gets 16 hours a day of nurses right now but will be fine by the time she goes to school. I never had kids so this is totally fun for me!

    • eileen

      24 weeks! She is a miracle!

  • Vicki Spruill

    I need to have many projects going on at the same time or I’ll get bored. For example, I just finished a sweatshirt for my mom with a Jacobean tree of life design; I’m making some free standing train cars with snowmen on them; Embroidery Library has a free flower pot design for each month of the year I’d like to make a quilt out of; I’m trying to finish a purse with snowflakes on it before it gets warm :O). I love it! You won’t see me going back to hand embroidery any time soon. :O

    • eileen

      Me neither, Vicki! Hand-embroiderers couldn’t even begin to tackle what you have going on right now!

  • Shirley R

    I am not working on a project at this time; my tax business right now has taken precedence over my favorite hobby, but the last thing I do before I go to sleep each night is to think about projects I want to do after the “season” is over. If I do happen to get a spare moment I would like to do an Easter table runner. as this Holiday is absolutely my favorite of the year.

  • Pam Duxbury

    Right now I am working on a quilt top with snowball blocks and angels. This is a first for me and I can hardly wait to see how it turns out. But hey if you don’t try new things you never really know what you can do.

  • Lee

    I’m currently working on lots of pillows. Some embroidered and some quilted.

    • eileen

      Pillows are great canvases – such a manageable size and very rewarding when complete!

  • Evelyn Doyle

    I’m working on Christmas presents for next year seeing as I didn’t come close to finishing what I wanted to do this year. We’ll see how long it lasts but I’m chipping away at it. I’m also working on a quilt for a 60th birthday present in April. Love you column…

  • Gail Beam

    I just finished test stitching some alpha letters for an embroidery site and need to work on some new beach towels for our grandchildren’s birthdays coming up in the spring. I have never tried the piece in a hoop designs and I think this would be a new fun embroidery machine technique for me to learn. The snap hoop sounds so neat, and I am sure anyone who wins it will be super excited.

  • Karen

    I am always working on a variety of projects. Current projects include quilting a lap quilt with maple leaves, stitching out blocks for a couple of quilts. I have two sets of blocks that I want to make into quilts. I also bought a new design set that I would like to embroider on a shirt for spring. My to do list just seems to keep growing, for every project I finish a new one comes to mind.

  • Connie

    I am working on FSL angels. I decided to send one to every person who has been an angel in my life. I guess that will take me several months. LOL

  • Elsie Jarry

    I am working on a seminole patchwork table runner for a wedding present. I will embroidery a label on the back with the bride and groom’s name, the date of the wedding and made by me (my name).

  • Enis

    We sewing and embroidery enthusiasts never have just one iron in the fire. I’m working on 3 decorative throw pillows for the friend of one of my son’s who is moving into her first place. Then there’s the linen table cloth with fsl edging and embroidery in the center for a birthday gift due 2/9 (almost done with that). I’ve got 12 monogrammed napkins to do for a wedding shower set for 2/20, and a set of fsl coasters for a friend’s 3/1 birthday! Oh, I’m sure more will be added in for good measure. Keep on stitching!

    • eileen

      Someone who includes the deadlines when she’s telling us what she’s working on, is one who will really finish all the projects! Very impressive!

  • Mary Rowland

    I love experimenting with my embroidery machine, I just finished curtains using primitive designs and they turned out so professional everyone keeps asking where I bought them and amazed that I made them.

  • Miriam Landers

    I’m working on Christmas table runners for family and friends. I will give them to them for their birthdays so they can use them this coming Christmas.

  • joanne frey

    I decided to make Jenny haskins “Harvey’s Garden” for my great-niece,she is the only granchild in the family so I had to make it special. I am having so much fun with the designs and the fabrics (it’s all machine applique) I keep adding more blocks because I get a new idea of how to arrange the “garden”, I have decided to stop at 9 blocks so that I will finish it for her 2nd birthday in March.

    • eileen

      “Harvey’s Garden” will bring joy to your little one for years to come. A fun, creative project – I”ll bet you’ll be tempted to make more than one!

  • Elaina

    Hello Eileen, Yes, I would love to win a snap hoop. tI is getting hard to manage the conventional hoop with arthriticky fingers. I am working on a number of projects. Each year I start off with the resolution to finish off all projects but invariably I end up getting over enthused and starting something else. I have just finished a quilt to send up to the Queensland Flood Relief. I am finishing off a Panda embroidery quilt for my grand-niece, if I am not careful, she will be 21 before she gets it! (she is already 4 months old). Shame on me. I also have a raffle quilt on the go for the Urunga Aged Care Raffle but that is not needed til September, I just have to put the borders on that one and I have 3 more new babies coming in the family. They are still on the way, so I am in there with a fighting chance with those ones and I already have the embroideries done. Just one more, I am doing an Australiana one for a lady in WIRES which is the native wild-life resue people over here. She works tireless for our furry and feathered friends on life’s path. I bet you are sorry you asked what we are working on after this marathon!!! Many thanks for all of the information you are sharing on your Blog . I am not very computer literate and am struggling to find my way around. I was lucky to find out how to enter this competition. Again many thanks for all your help and encouragement. Cheers from Elaina.

  • Greta Kanegae

    I totally agree! National Embroidery, year every year!! I am working (always) on a couple sets of burp cloths. I make approximately a dozen a month or more. Thankfully I found a hobby that pays to keep me in thread and material and stabilizer and all the other parts that go with it, which this year includes a Brother Entrepreneur that I bought with money I inherited from my dad. Thanks to some fast talking friends the dealer threw in extra hoops, the full PE-8 along with the NEXT upgrade and the Koala cabinet that is made for this machine. She hums most of the time, though she has been quiet for a few days as I am knee deep in Girl Scout cookies as cookie mom for both my girls troops… believe me, I would rather be embroidering!! She was a big step up, I started with a 4×4 hoop, used it for several years then my hubby bought me an Innovis 4000D that I found on Craig’s list about 3 years ago. I still use her for sewing, won’t do embroidery again unless I am in a major crunch, love the way the 10 needle doesn’t need to be babysat and rethreaded at every turn…


    • eileen

      Sweet! The Brother Entrepreneur is a wonderful machine! Now if you could just get that cookie drive behind you!

  • Martha Hann

    I have been working on 24 prayer blankets to give to my church. They are sent to people who are suffering from a variety of medical problems or those that need prayer. Our church makes a covenant to pray for these people regularly. I embroider a cross inside a wreath and strip sew 2 sets of coordinating fabrics around it to form a 22inch square and use a coordinating fabric for backing. I have made at least 50-75 during the past few years. I am also in the planning phases of another set of alter linens, lecturn markers, and coordinating banners. I have made 3 previous sets in green, purple and red for our church. Since our church is very small, this has really helped us with expenses. I have donated all materials and time for these projects. It has been a blessing for me as well as those who enjoy them.

    • eileen

      Your prayer blankets sound like lovely gifts. Your church is blessed to have you and your talents!

  • Susan Burns

    I am working on two projects, one being pink satin quilted and embroidered coats for my two Bichon Granddogs, and making valentines day embroidered pillowcases for my three grandchildren. What Bliss!

  • C

    While I was at the local infusion clinic for my treatment I was asked to make a quilt for some of the doctors. So I’m working on a bargello pink ribbon quilt for our new breast cancer center at our hospital. The doctors there asked if I would make a quilt to brighten up a “dreadful” area, a place where people get nothing but bad news. I had to say yes. A bargello quilt is difficult to begin with but this one is exceptionally challenging. I couldn’t think of a better cause to donate my time and quilting talents.

    • eileen

      Hi Carmen – what a honor to be asked to create a quilt for the breast cancer center. I wish you a peaceful journey as you tackle this challenging project. Your work will calm and inspire many others for years to come.

  • Carmen Huber

    my name didn’t show up…..don’t know why

    Carmen Huber

    • Carmen Huber

      this comment belongs to the previous comment with the name of “C”. i don’t know what happened with my name when i typed it in…..sorry.

  • maureen mcgraw

    I am working your Stippled Seashells. I just attended the Stitching Sisters Program in Atlanta on the way to an extended Florida vacation- what a wonderful event. Eileen and Marie presented a fabulous program. Learned much and thoroughly enjoyed the 2 day event. I used the snap hoop during the class and love it. I already have the Magna Hoop. I highly recommend other sewers to sign up for thier class if offered in your area. Made it to several quilt shops after Atlanta and found wonderful batiks for the seashell wallhanging.
    Traveling, sewing and having a ball.

    • eileen

      Hi Maureen! What fun you are having! Thank you for joining us in Atlanta, wish we could have joined you on your quilt shop hop. I hope you enjoy Stipple! Seashells – I love that quilt! Safe travels!

  • carroll

    I’m embroidering bibs and other things for my new grand baby due March 28. Can’t wait to give him all the stuff I am making him.

  • Kathi Miller

    I’m getting ready to start Edyta Sitar’s Hop To It quilt. Just pulled the threads for the first block.

  • Michelle Knowles

    I am currently working on a BBQ apron for my son. His girlfriend got it for him and he says it needs some pizzaz – it’s plain white. So manly embroidery and some cool pockets it is. I am also working on a baby blanket and wall hanging for a friend’s first grandbaby. I love my embroidery machines (yes I have two!) and can’t imagine trying to finish the tons of projects I did for Christmas without them.

    • eileen

      Wow! A man who loves embroidery. You’ve raised him well, Michelle!

  • Dale Fedor

    Right now I am working on a zipper pull for my disabled granddaughter (after FINALLY finishing 14 special pants to accommodate her leg braces). Also starting a wall hanging for my sister-in-law to put on her sewing room door.

  • Jean Hollis

    I’m presently working on a baby gift for my daughter’s friend. The new mom and my daughter are both avid scuba diver’s. The blanket design involves a (child) scuba diver, starfish and a tiny fish from Artistic Thread Works. Baby’s name is circled around the diver, with a bottom border of colorful fish and a starfish. Below this is baby’s birthdate & time as well as weight. Another scuba diver blanket will accompany this that is 12 x 15″ in size, finished with satin blanket binding, and without the birth stastics. I include on this a ribbon to tie to carseat or stroller so the blanket cannot be dropped. We call this smaller carry along blanket a feelie. My daughter also likes two bibs to accompany the set; one will have the fish border and baby’s name. The other is her trademark bib which has 4 cat outlines which are in the colors of her four cats and the words, “With live from the cat woman”. ( I talked her out of putting from the old cat lady!) All the new mom’s who get a personalized set like this love them.

  • Edith

    Hopefully some bridal or baby shower favors for my DD’s party in a few weeks! But she hasn’t told me her theme yet 🙁

  • Danyl

    Today I am helping my daughter work on her quilt, Adding designs to t-shirts for the baby due in July, and putting together the diaper covers that I embroidered yesterday.

  • Joni Weed

    Today I am working on some accessories from Anita Goodesign to help me get my purse organized! But then I saw the post from Indygo Junction on the new bag- maybe I need to get that and organize it, too. Of course, I have several bag patterns that I have not stitched. So I guess that i need to get some material out and work on those, too. Hmmmm, this afternoon is supposed to get nasty outside, so I am revving up the sewing machine as well as the embroidery machine and stitching away, very, very, very happily!!!

  • Melissa

    I am working on a sweatshirt for hubby for which I am digitizing my first ever design. It sure is giving me a new appreciation for the work that goes into all those designs out there. I didn’t really realize how tedious it is!

    • gwen


      • Denise Holguin

        Hi Gwen,
        If I remember correctly, the sample shown in the blog is used built-in lettering from Floriani Software.


  • Kathy Schmidt

    What am I working on now……way too many things at the same time….nothing new for me lol. The 3 top things I am working on are some funky patches for my friend, embroidery on a jacket for me, and custom designed/fitted pants for my wonderful husband.

    Can anyone really have too many hoops or accessories for their machine….I don’t think’s like saying someone has too much material…not possible.

    I have a Viking Husqvarna Diamond that I purchased for myself just over a year ago to upgrade from my Designer 1 that I am giving to my wonderful sister-in-law. I love this machine so much, if we had a fire it would probably be the first thing, next to the wonderful hubby & animals (4 dogs,4cats & 4 horses with one preggers) at our house, the horses are the only ones not allowed inside, but if my husband could figure a way for them to stick their heads in I am sure he would.

    My sewing & embroidery are my passions, have been since I was 10 and taught myself to sew..(won’t say how many years ago that was). I am enjoying teaching my sister-in-law how to use the Designer 1, although she is too afraid to use it without me around and hasn’t started doing any embroideries that need hoops yet…just wait, she too will be as addicted as I am.
    Love this blog & reading the comments from other readers

    • eileen

      I think the comments are the best part of the blog!

  • Cindy Smartt

    thanks for all your tips! You are making my sewing “life” so much easier!

  • Kari

    I am working on a pair of tan linen/rayon slacks where I want to add tone on tone embroidery down the left pant leg (just can’t decide on the design!).

  • Katrina H

    I’m working on some placemats, much needed! Then maybe something for easter, l have fortunately finished valentines projects for the year.

  • Doris Alvarez

    Hi, I am working on Valentine Gifts. I embroidered two cute shirts for my little granddaughter and little grandson using Bunny Valentines. I made two boy scout pillow cases for my Scout grandsons and a pillowcase with an embroidered replica of her “Binker” bear for my other granddaughter. I also made a pair of Valentine boxer shirts for my hubby and embroidered two towels for my son and daughter-in-law. Lastly, I hot pressed rhinestone valentines on t-shirts for my daughter. (first time I’ve done this and it was fun and quick.) Hey, I just realized how busy I’ve been.

  • Jackie

    I’m presently working on the cutest embroidered snowmen for a wall hanging, working on a in the hoop crazy quilt walling hanging and I just finished a small wall hanging of snowmen. I firmly believe one can never have too many snowmen especially after living in the Middle East for 10 years and not having any snow.

  • Becky Muns

    Right now, I’m working on 3 fleece scarves….one for me, and one for each of my grandkids. They are really simple but I’m deciding on just the right embroidery for each of them. I’m also working on baby gifts, pajama pants, and choosing the right embroidery for a sweatshirt hoodie jacket. I hope to have all of these finished by the end of the week. We’ll see…..

  • Cecilia

    I’m working on handquilting my son’s queen sized quilt, a lap throw for a friend and a baby quilt for my niece’s first baby. I like to embroider my quilt labels, they seem to last longer and look prettier that way.

  • Donna G.

    I’m working on towels for my grandsons and a scrub top for my daughter who works in a hospital. Have the right tools for sewing, embroidering and serging is SO important!

  • Kathy A Grosjean

    I am working on Christmas bags for all my retired friends in our coffee club. Last year I gave them all a kitchen towel with a snowflake made out of each ones name. They loved them and thought I would get a head start on it this year. I sure could use that snap hoop to put the designs on each bag. Also working on a quilt for my oldest grandaughter who will graduate in May. I would love Robison Anton threads. Kathy G

  • Cassie Bochenek

    I am working on some hats for a friend than going to do a baby quilt

  • Barbara

    I’m working on a bunch of aprons for all the girls in my family. I was not able to get them all done before Christmas due to my severe arthritis.

    I got a new embroidery machine this Fall. I’ve put a personalized embroidery on the top front of each towel. A pocket runs along the entire bottom of each one. I have a lot of skills to learn, but they are coming along with the help of the embroidery tool kit.

  • Gena Allen

    I have just finished embroidering a Birthday Tablecloth! It is for a friend’s granddaughter. She has now had me stitch 5 of these, one for each grandchild.

    I stitch the words HAPPY BIRTHDAY__ (letters are scattered and sideways but in a line across), then add the birth date and the child’s full name on the lower half of the tablecloth. They put this on the table which holds the birthday cake and then have the child put their hand print each year on the tablecloth. They have the child’s hand print from age one to whatever year they decide to stop.

    I also have stitched monograms on 3 ties for another friend. His parents are having their 50th wedding anniversary and the men will all have matching monogrammed ties.

  • Cassandra

    I am embellishing a very nice sweater for my best friends birthday with an embroidery design and some hot fix crystals.

  • Rose

    Gosh…just found out my daughter is having Twin Boys in June. I will be making quilts/blankets for them and their brother. She will have 3 boys unde the age of 2. I hope to make bunches of bibs too, of course!

    • eileen

      Oh Rose, stitch now because she is going to need your helping hands when those twins arrive! What a fun house that will be.

  • Gwen

    My latest projects are in the hoop bibs and potholders–what fun!! I LOVE my embroidery machine!!

  • marsha nelson

    I agree. We need 12 national embroidery months. It’s so much fun to use the threads and fabric to come up with a unique design. Love your blog.

  • mary wagner

    My niece, who is also my Goddaughter, is graduating in 1.5 years from high school. So I am working now on a quilt for that occasion. It will be full of embroidered horses and their lovely owners because this gal loves horses.

    I figured if I started now I might just finish in time for the graduation. This will be the first large quilt I have made. It scares me, but the designs are beautiful and fun to embroider. And I love my niece dearly so the quilt will be able to wrap her up in my love.

    Since I finally have a machine with a large hoop (360×360) it will make the embroidery easier than ever.

  • Nancy Kurrasch

    Hi Eileen, I have been working for the past few weeks making in-the-hoop mug mats with pretty designs and names for my family for Valentines Day.

  • Lucia Diegel

    I’m working on monogrammed towels for myself. I’ve made almost too many to count as gifts and now I want some for my bathroom.

  • Edith

    I am working on a 36″ x 24″ flag for my brother who has been stationed on active duty in Kandahar, Afghanistan to present to his Commander in Afghanistan! It has been the hardest project I have ever attempted. Lining up so many words and designs! I have just yesterday finished the embroidery and will now assemble the flag!

    When I finish this my next big project will be curtains for 2 of my little granddaughters rooms. One wants Disney Princesses embroidered for a border on her curtains and the other wants girly flower designs all over her curtains to match her room!

  • Bev

    Yaaa ASG turtles! I have a couple finished. Fun charity project.
    I am on a ski vacation, but brought my hand applique with me. Working on the center block for TheQuiltShow 2011 Bom.

  • Diane K

    I’ve been working on placemats, made a square at a time in the hoop and stitched together. My next big project in the works is the wallhanging called Santa’s Ride from Anita Goodesign. Can’t wait to start that one! Hopefully I’ll have it finished by next Christmas!

  • Mitzi

    I am working on my very first big project, incorporating machine embroidery into a queen size garden twist quilt. Would never have attempted it without the Snap Hoop!

  • Rhonda P

    My current project is a little bag to carry when when I don’t want to carry a regular size purse. I am making it up as I go and have embroidered and completed the front with 2 zippered pockets. I should have it done tomorrow and then I plan to make a cover for my machine(long overdue).

  • Debbi

    I have several current projects that I am working on as I usually am. I am working on a skating costume, a wedding annoncement wallhanging, a baby blanket and graduation gifts just for starters. Trying to work out exactly which designs I will use for the wedding wallhanging. Luckily I have five more months for that project.

  • Patti Hamel

    I am trying to get a pair of pants sewn. I will get them done soon. The big thing I am doing is embroidering a Halloween Haunted House wall hanging. I figure if I keep working on it now, I should actually have it done before Halloween …. this year! 🙂


  • Jeanette Letson

    Hi! I am currently working on a wedding quilt/wall hanging. I am also helping my sister with some personalized baby blankets that she sells. (Her machine is taking longer in the shop than expected). And, we have a daschund rescue group that is looking for help embroidering on blankets for a charity event that I am contacting today. Busy..Busy..Busy!

  • Margaret Pepper

    I have been working on baby gifts. I have made a pacifier holder and burp pad out of some Riley Blake Owl fabric and have 1 more burp pad and flannel blanket to go to make a set. I have fallen in love with the Hooty Hoot line of fabric and I am using applique owls as the design on the burp pads. I am thinking of making a baby quilt with the stipple software but using the owl applique in the center of the geometric.

    • eileen

      Oh that sounds fun, Margaret, let us know who the Stipple! project works out.

  • Vicky Morrow

    I’m working on embellishing a couple of outfits for my sis-in-law. She provided the skirts and jackets, and I’m embroidering on them. Scrolls and flourishes for one suit, and embroidered motifs on organza which I then tacked onto the second suit.
    I’m also taking embroidered motifs on organza, layering them on foam sheets, and creating decorations for next year’s holidays.

  • Susan Weber

    My youngest Grandson will be 10 in April and lives in Berlin Germany. He is very much into giraffes and I have made him pillowcases, quilted wall hanging, and sleep mask with giraffes quilted or embroidered on them. For his birthday this year I bought a duvet cover with large trees with large leaves and embroidered extra large giraffes on it. Since they use comforters in Germany and not top sheets this will give him a complete bed set with giraffes for his bedroom.

  • Kathleen

    I am working on vlentine projects and some new clothes for myself. I would love to give the snap Hoop a whirl.


  • Glenda

    I am working on special valentine pillows for my 3 daughters and summer outfits for all of them.

  • Sandra

    I have just finished two monogrammed hand towels for my daughter. I just wanted to try out the designs and she was the lucky recipient.
    Next I am starting to work on an embroidered quilt for my granddaughter. I hope to do some stacked animal designs in the centre of a Courthouse Step block variation.

  • Cassandra

    I’m making lacebook marks on the BMP6 for a women’s empowerment conference. I’m also working on a jacket made from recycled jeans, and emboidered covered buttons. I’m having so much fun because I agree that we should have National Embroidery Year, maybe a National Holiday.

  • Joan Greenhalgh

    National Embroidery Month. YAY! Currently, Today, Feb 7, 2011, I embroidered a fleece blanket for my husband who is an EMT. He needed the blanket for his midnight shift at the Squad Building…the Northeast got hit this Winter…BRRR! AND, after your article, grabbed Zippy DesignZ Paci-Pod design. Wow, how cute are those…making up baskets for 4 babies being born this year and this item was just too cute to pass up (not for babies alone). Five minutes tops to finish it. Carolynn of Zippy did it again!

    • eileen

      Oh that Paci-Pod is too cute! We’re shipping the samples back now and we hate to see them go – and we don’t have any little ones here!

      • Joan Greenhalgh

        Not for babies alone! “On the go makeup case”. Could hold car keys in your bag. Could hold keys or money or credit cards in your jeans pocket while being attached to your belt loop. Not for babies only!

  • Leslie H

    I have decided to celebrate national embroidery month by making a nicer cover for my embroidery machine. Even though it came with a perfectly functional machine, I feel it deserves something with more flair to reflect it’s abilities. LOL!

    • eileen

      Oh yeah, Leslie, just think how great your machine will look sporting a new ‘jacket’! It will pull you into the room every time you walk by!

  • Emma Patricia Limber

    Currently I am working on Valentine gifts for friends and family. The design I am using is a rather large design, so that means I
    am investing a couple plus hours per design; I hope they are
    appreciated. I know I am enjoying making them. Between color
    stops I have been enjoying your magazine and getting inspiration
    for the next project.

  • Alice M. Hook

    I am currently working on baby bibs for my nephew and his wife who are expecting their first baby next fall. I love working with baby designs, and this gives me a chance to try seven more, as I am making seven bibs.

  • Judy McLain

    I am making a white fleece blanket for my great grandson’s christening. I am embroidering the song “Jesus loves me, this I know” etc. I will add some angels at the top & a little boy praying at the bottom.

  • Melinda

    I’ve been “playing” with some shirts and the Place and Stitch Embroidery Design Placement. Currently, the one I’m working on has a pocket, and I’m stitching the design to look like it’s coming out of the pocket. What I really should be doing is embroidering some company logo’s on my DH’s shirts… nah, I’m having too much fun, his shirts will have to wait!

  • Bonnie Gray

    I have been working on birth record blankets. Whenever I see the really soft coral fleece blankets on sale in baby colors I stock up. Several friends are becoming grandparents, so I embroider all the vital information, with a theme that’s related to the new family. A recent one was nautical for a baby boy whose family owns a boat yard. It had a sailboat, lighthouse,etc. And I used nautical signal flags for his initials. They loved it. A new baby girl arrived yesterday, and her mother decorated the nursey in peach and aqua with starfish. I have a peach blanket in my stash, so I will decorate it with starfish and do her name and other vital info in aqua. These are so easy to do and the new parents love getting them!

    • eileen

      Peach & aqua with starfish! Sounds adorable!

  • Sue Duisenberg

    I have been working at making tote purses that have a sliding handle and a ‘slipcover’ that buttons over the outside to change the look with a new color or print cover (or holiday theme). Being the designer and maker, I can put lots of zipper and plain pockets inside and out to hold all my “stuff”.
    I have also made an inner pocket/holder that can be removed with all its contents into another purse. A fun challenge and fun to carry and get complements (even from the scanner at the courthouse where I just completed 2 weeks of jury duty!)

  • Dale

    I’m working on making a barbecue apron for my Father-in-law for his birthday the end of next week. I’m using old blue jeans for the base and embroidering on the pockets of the jeans for accent.

  • Charlene

    Right now I’m working on a bedskirt for my bed, just finished the curtains and pillows to match can’t wait to put in all together!!!

  • Eileen Lunsford

    I’m working on a sweatshirt jacket for my mother-in-law. I’m using the Wizzard of Oz embroidery & designing something special for her. It will be a belated Christmas gift.

  • Barbara Leonard

    I’m working on a Valentine’s card for my DH and some heart shaped bags for my granddaughters. Hope I get them done in time!

  • Terrie

    My fourth grandchild is due in a few short weeks, so I am busy trying to finish burp cloths, bibs, onesies, blankets, diaper covers, etc. A granny’s work is never done! Can’t wait for my oldest granddaughter (age 7) to come help me this weekend. She likes to wind bobbins for me and organize my scraps. She is an awesome assistant.

  • Barb Dircks

    I’m working on polar fleece jumpers and pants for my 2 granddaughters with embroidery down the front of each jumper with all hearts and their names for valentine’s day

  • Susan

    I am working on designing suitable placements for a jacket back

  • Ellen Perry

    working on monogram towels for my daughter and her room
    mates/valentine gifts and 2 quilts..never a dull moment.

  • Donna Rae

    I am working on a table runner for a woman at a doctors office I have been going to for the last ten years. I was majorly hurt at my job 11 years ago and ended up with total disability. This woman at the office has helped me out so many times so I am try to make her a specail runner with embroidery designs as the center squares down the llength of the runner. Her table is 8 feet long so it is quite a long runner. Just have not decided on what designs to use yet. Want it to be something special. I have all the fabric ready with the blocks cut and more, just have to do the embroidery and then put together and done. And that is what I am working on. (-:
    Donna Rae

  • Valli Lopez

    My Daughter”s home burnt down on Thanksgiving day and they are finally settling in a new home with their 9 children. I am monograming new towel sets for each of the children plus Mom and Dad. The children ‘s will be done with their names in bright colors. I will be quite busy, but love to embroidery!!

  • Beth

    I just arrived home from my 3rd annual sewing retreat that I and another friend planned when we found out we both had new Bernina embroidery machines and wanted time to practice what we had been learning 3 years ago. So in the last 10 days at the beach (which we only saw from the distance) I’ve accomplished the following.

    1. A embroidered cat tunnel for both my cat and my daughters.
    2. A cute teddy bear valentine embroidered fleece jumper for my 5 year old granddaughter.
    3. Planned out and test stitched a complex Santa and reindeer stocking (still want to change a few colors befor the final product is stitched).
    4. Made and embroidered 2 sets of pillowcases.
    5. Made and embroidered 2 fleece drawstring backpacks with matching scarves.
    6. Made and embroidered a denim and flanel baby blanket for my new granddaughter due to arrive in May.
    7. Embroidered 2 lace covered Christmas balls.
    8. Made and embroidered a vinyl placemat for my cat. (Romeo and Juliet kitties – so cute).
    9. Plus sewed pj pants, a floor pillow and two throw pillows for my couch.

    Overall a very successful week. Plus enjoyed the company of 3 friends, good food and lots of laughs. Can’t wait until next year!

    • eileen

      Wow! What an accomplishment!

  • Carol Clothier

    I’m heading off for a retreat weekend with friends, I hope I can accomplish half of what you did…LOL

  • Patty

    After a particularly trying year that began with an international relocation and ended with a serious illness, I am recouping, regrouping, and getting some creativity flowing by browsing back copies of Designs. I am getting out some placemats and purse handles… we’ll see what comes of it!

  • Sylvia Zwick

    I just bought a Babylock Esante BLN and am currently working on two projects. One is a former sweatshirt that I’m turning into a jacket and the other is a quilt. It’s a “sweetheart” jacket with lots of embroidered and appliqued hearts and flowers on it that I’m doing for Valentine’s Day. It’s got my favorite colors – pink & purple! The quilt is a major undertaking for me since I’m still new at it. My brother asked me to make him a quilt out of his Harley-Davidson t-shirts (no pressure!) and that I could take all the time I wanted. So it will be interesting to see how that turns out. I love my new machine and I’m really having fun with the embroidery it can do! Can’t wait to see what it can do with a quilt.

  • Sonia Klein

    I am currently working on Valentine sucker holders and embroidered recipe towel of the month club. That club is sooooo much fun!

    • Tina Blatchley

      Hi Sonia,
      Is the recipe towel of the month club a local thing or something online?

  • Tina Blatchley

    I am addicted to sewing and embroidery. I just started sewing in September but this week alone I have embroidered on toilet paper (gifts for my friends), towels, Sweatshirt and the best project of them all is a quilt I am designing all by myself for my daughter when she graduates from college in 3 years.. Each block will have a symbol or words that reflect on her past 18 years. I want her to feel proud of my accomplishments as I am with hers. She is a nursing student who has set her goals in life to make her autistic sister proud. I am so excited on getting this completed that some nights I cannot sleep. I love embroidery and it has added so much dimension to my life. Embroidery, sewing, my crafts and my family. My life is complete.

  • nancy minshew

    I am making a baby quilt in trapunto. It is for my MD’s first baby. The quilt will be a Noah’s Ark pattern in the Shaggy Raggy finish. Make a sandwich of flannel, batting,stabilizer and flannel under as if to applique. I am using two threads as it makes the trapunto show up better. When joining the squares put the right sides together and make 1 inch seams and the clip the seams about 3/4 inch apart and when washed it becomes a fringe. As I am retired with a sick husband I am often confined to the house and embroidery fills helps to fill those hours when we can’t get out.

  • Brigitte Cowan

    I am currently working on 2 things. I have been finishing a quilt for my mother but that is being superseded by my beginning a Christening dress for my half sister’s baby. She was born in November and has had numerous serious health issues. I am in overdrive trying to finish this dress so Bella can be Christened in this dress. She is still only 8 pounds. She has been in and out of the hospital and my sister asked me if I could make an outfit for her. I was very touched by her request so that has my priority now.

  • Karen Jautaikis

    I am working on curtains and pillows for my two granddaughters (5 & 7 yo) bedroom. Curtains were completed, but when they saw them the 7 yo commented about there not being any blue on them. Her Mom and I obviously had a miscommunication. So now I am having to remove, then sew back on, 13 buttons, replace 13 tab-tops and embroider new tiebacks. Oh, the hold grandchildren have on us! Looking forward to my creativity flowing on those pillows! Four quilt tops remain to be quilted.

  • Kim Barker-Miller

    I am working on curtains and embroidered pillows for a bedroom I am re-doing. Blues, yellow and white with creamy white furniture. I am also refurbishing some old pieces of furniture that I still have to paint also. I also have 2 quilts. a snowman and a color works one to finish and a quilted bag that I have started. And in between these a new granddaughter that I’ve been personalizing onsies, burpies, bibs, minky blankets lined with satin and not to mention her nursery I did in monkeys.

  • Lydia Kefauver

    Chemo Caps & Mug Rugs! Started making them for a friend who is not doing so well & decided to make extras to take over to the Hospice –

  • Sandra

    I am working on a quilt for my granddaughter. It features colourful stacked animals from the Embroidery Library.

  • Eva Palmer

    Just 2 short weeks ago I jumped into the embroidery feature I have on my machine. Since that day I have been nonstop researching, reading, experimenting and being overwhelmed with my new found love of machine embroidery. I’ve embroidered countless baby burp cloths for no one in particular and currently have been working on burp cloths and bibs with funny wording for a friends baby shower. I’m hooked or should I say “hooped”.

  • Brenda

    I’ve been sewing out Goldfinch and hummingbird designs, then framing them, to decorate my house and give as gifts. Since we moved here two years ago, I have felt that the decor was more that of the previous owner than my own. Making these decorations has been like “feathering my nest”.

  • Edith Bell

    At the moment I am trying out something new, “Crazy blocks in-the-hoop” the few that I have finished look very nice, am now planning on getting rid of all my bits of fabric stash. I have the Brother Innov-is4000D, bought after my darling hubby passed away so I could keep my sanity intact.Found some top thread that works beautifully with this machine, but have to find a bobbin thread that will work the same.I can’t afford the top of the range threads, but I do get the middle of the range ones.
    I live in Australia,out the back of beyond, so don”t go to the corner shop for threads every week, but stock pile when I go to town.
    Kindest Regards to all the cyber people out there.

  • gwen


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  • Linda Gaulin

    I am working on my New years resolation. And that is being happy all the time which means that I will being a lot of sewing and embroidering on my machines. My goal is to finish at least one project which each craft a month. I absolutely love both and it is great to be happy all the time.