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Behind the Scenes At DIME

Ever wonder what a typical day is like at Designs in Machine Embroidery?  Rest assured, it’s anything but typical!  Take a peek at a recent conversation I had with Eileen.

Denise:  “Eileen, we’re running a special promotion on your book, Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Lessons.  Do you mind autographing a few books?”

Eileen:  “No problem.  Cart them over to the office and I’ll sign.  I’ll work on that task this morning then I’ll do some stitching in the afternoon.”

Little did Eileen know that she’d be signing HUNDREDS of books.  And I mean HUNDREDS!

At the end of the day I stopped by Eileen’s office to discuss upcoming projects.

Eileen:  “I started embroidering a new project this morning.  I’m really excited about it.  See the progress I’ve made?  It’s over there.”

I eagerly glanced over at the embroidery machine.

Eileen:  “I got as far as loading the design onto the machine!”

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Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blo

Here’s your assignment this week:

Do you have any unfinished embroidery projects piled in your sewing room?  Perhaps you started a baby quilt and the “baby” is all grown up now?  Or maybe you’re looking for just the right fabric too coordinate with the project?  Tell us about your unfinished project(s) and SIX lucky winners will win a $25 gift certificate to the Stunning Stitches website!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Visit the newly updated Stunning Stitches website featuring Alphabets & Monograms, Cross Stitch, In the Hoop, Native American designs and also Give Back Project Challenges!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Vote now! It’s time to choose a color for sashing and I thought it would be fun if you helped me select a color. What color or colors would you choose? Do tell! I’ll choose my favorite suggestion and will use that color(s). I’ll give you a shout-out as my special “Color Adviser” in the next blog. Don’t worry, if more than one of you think brilliantly alike I’ll mention each of you as my “Color Advisers”!

Stay tuned for the next blog by Denise Holguin to see who won!




  • Cheryl

    My ufo project is a Quilt in the hoop wall hanging! I got frustrated with it and haven’t finished the embroidery! It has been 5 years! lol

  • Beth R

    Oh, I have too many UFOs to list them all. The most critical right now is one more valence for the kitchen – my DH keeps asking about it, so I need to finish it soon!

    • eileenroche

      Beth – this might make you feel better: I made 3 custom valances for my kitchen and hung them – all in about one week. It took me – ahem, how embarrassing – 2 years and my wedding to get the fourth one completed! Tell your DH you need a really large family event on the calendar and then you’ll get to it!

  • Donna

    I started a Disney princess quilt for my granddaughter. I have all the princesses embroidered on squares. I have 9 patch blocks to alternate with the princess blocks. I got stuck on what to use as sashing and just how big to make it and now she is 10 years old and not really interested in the princesses anymore.

  • Linda Machado

    My UFO is a flannel quilt I started for my son’s first house he bought when he was single and turning 30. He is now 40, married with two children and in a different house. I am newly retired and going to my first ever quilt retreat for 5 days and I hope to be able to work on it there!

    • Denise Holguin

      Your post made me smile!

      My mom has a quilt we call the 700 million year old quilt… (a slight exaggeration!) I remember she started sewing it back when I was in kindergarten… I’m now 30+ years old. Someday… someday… it will get finished!

      I can’t wait to hear back about the progress on the quilt. Send us a photo or post it on Facebook.

      Have fun at the quilt retreat!


  • Cindy Swol

    I started a dress with embroidered tropical fish swimming down the length of it almost 7 years ago that I haven’t finished…(yes 7 years ago). I know I should be ashamed of myself but I still haven’t given up hope yet. In today’s world the batiks are so much prettier that I could easily choose one for the dress since I couldn’t pick one out before.

  • Vickie

    I’ve been making embroidered cushions and pillows for my outdoor furniture for the past few years. I get some made, then get bored and want to work on something different. I always think I’ll get them done over the Winter, but Spring arrives and, alas, still chairs and rockers without cushions. The good news – I got several done this Summer; the bad news – the ones I made the first year are starting to fade. This could be a never-ending project.

  • Lorraine

    I have witnessed the hundreds of Eileen always has to sign when she has a new book. She does great books and customers always wait anxiously for the next one because they know they will get a wealth of information and beautiful new project!

    • eileenroche

      Hello Lorraine! We miss you here at Designs!

  • Judy Gilmore

    I started a redwork cathederal window quilt for my oldest granddaughter for a high school graduation gift. She’s been out of college for 2 years and still not finished; however, I’m back working on it. Hope to have it finished by December. She now wants a tshirt quilt. Laughingly I asked her did she need it before she turned 40!!

    • eileenroche

      Hi Judy, I just finished a t-shirt quilt for my daughter. I made it with her college t-shirts – that’s after I realized all those high school t-shirts I held onto wouldn’t appeal to her anymore! At least, I got one done! Stay to it – you’ll the feeling of wrapping it up and handing it to her!

  • Cindy Rio

    I have been working really hard this last year to complete my UFO’s, but I can’t figure out what to do with an entire set of embroidered Dolls.

  • Janet L.

    I began working on bumper pads and a quilt when my daughter announced she was 8 weeks pregnant. My grand daughter will soon be 10 months old and still have not finished the project.

  • Virginia

    My Ufo is an unfinished Log Cabin Quilt I was trying to figure a new Quilt as you go technique and after a few You tube videos I came up with the technique. I realize now I want to make it bigger so More blocks to come.

  • mad14kt

    I started a few dresses 2 years or more. Now that I am losing weight. I plan to finish them…FIESTA 😉

  • Enis

    Well let’s see, I have a quilt with patriotic designs I started 3 years ago, a quilt with owl designs that was suppose to be a Christmas gift for my grand daughter last year, several baby bibs and onesies I started for my new grand son who is now 8 months old, quilt I started in a sewing class at JoAnn Fabrics earlier this spring, about 100 last Christmas ornaments stitched out by never soaked out the stabilizer, . . . OH GEEZ, do I need to go on? The list would never fit in the space provided for an answer.

  • Karin

    I started making a Match game set of tags, oh, I dunno, about 2 years ago….I have a couple of the owls done, so I’m well on the way to complete, right? I’m not even sure what design pack I was using anymore!!

  • Brenda Howard

    My unfinished product is for a guild retreat next month and our quilt will have every other block on muslin with fall embroidery on it. Well I got the fabric and batting and disc but I haven’t started. It is staring at me daily. I only need 16 six inch blocks.

    Ah the things we sit ourselves up for.

    • eileenroche

      I know! If it wasn’t for deadlines, I wouldn’t get anything accomplished.

  • Dee

    Have in my stash 3 yards of red courdoroy and 1-1/2 yds of dotted swiss purchased over 40 yrs ago to make Christmas dress for my daughter. Moved with me over 14 times over the years and then thought maybe I’d make Christmas dress for granddaughter – but of course never did. Any suggestions for red courdoroy and red & white dotted swiss???

    • Terry

      How about a Christmas stocking?

  • Donna N.

    I was helping my daughter in law make the months and days and numbers for a large calendar she was going to use in her homeschool room. Their lives changed quickly and they had to move and she is now, 5 years later homeschooling so now I need to finish that calendar by next week!

  • Judy

    I have several Hoop Sisters projects unfinished. I have all of the blocks embroidered, but they are in various stages of completion. Life got in the way, but right now I have a window of opportunity to get some of them finished.

  • Clem

    I took a stack and whack quilt class about 10 years ago. I still have the pieces (somewhere),a French braid quilt about 8 years ago, strips are sewn together, but the panels are not together, have several piles of fabric to make placemats, still in their piles, appliqued the horse on the back of my denim shirt, have to stitch it before I wear it. My oldest one? I started a quilt for my grand daughter of the AG tea set when she was 6 months old. It was to be her first big bed quilt… yeah, you guessed it, she is now 11… not done. Need I go on? I think not!!! Sorry family, I will make an effort to finish some of these things this winter!!! REALLY!!! I will make the effort!!! (big sigh) who am I kidding? 😉

  • Joann

    Several years ago I embroidered a guilt project that was featured in Designs magazine ( I think). The blocks turned out really well I thought, but as yet are not put together. They are in a box with a lot of UFO’s. I had visions of sending you a picture of the finished quilt , but that didn’t happen.

  • Carol K E

    I have a king sized kaleidoscope quilt that I started several years ago, all sewn into rows just need to get the rows together. This needs to happen soon, or I will need to buy new pins for other projects. Oh yeah, there are the needlepoint stockings with our now adult kids names on them …..

  • Gail Beam

    I started a quilt top about 12 years ago. I don’t even know where it is now. lol I also have a number of sweatshirts and t-shirts that I bought to embroider on for my grandchildren, which are now all to small. I have decided that beach towels are now the way to go! ggg One never outgrows towels!!

  • Fran Wiest

    I have only been doing ME for less than a year so my UFO pile isn’t that big. At the moment I have an unfinished table runner, and a quilt, both needing binding, and a set of Christmas napkins, one out of four is finished! My mental UFO list is much longer, so many things planned, but not even started. I have the patterns, the thread, the stabilizer, but haven’t found the momentum. I’m sure your book would give me the kick start I need! Thanks.

  • Celeste B

    I have had the fabric for family room draperies and bedroom draperies for at least 7 years. This past week I had someone come by to give me an estimate on motorizing a rod for the family room. I think it is time to start on the drapery panels.

  • Carol S

    Like others I have too many ufp. Two are on top of my list. Unfinished quilt – Prayer Garden design by Anita Good. Two years in the making. Four cutwork bread basket covers. They are Christmas presents for my friends. I was just thinking the other day that maybe this is the Christmas that they get them.

  • Linda E

    I have a few little art quilts waiting to be completed. Each called for the month name to be appliquéd but I decided to use creative license and use software to embroider a quote.

  • Peggy C

    I swear I have the attention span of a gnat, because I dash from one craft to another and end up with a variety of sewing, embroidery, knitting and other endless projects. I think my most infamous unfinished project (albeit, not embroidery or sewing) is the sweater I started knitting for my then fiancé….we’ve been married over 22 years! And yes, I confess, I can’t bear to toss it, although it would take me another 22 years to figure out how to get started again.

  • Nancy Weber

    I read somewhere that the way a woman’s brain works, once you have planned the project and gathered all the necessary materials, in your mind that project is finished! I have a large number of these “finished” UNfinished projects. These include 5 quilts in various stages and several purses for my sisters. I really need to dedicate a month to getting some of these UFOs done. One day…

  • Wanda

    I started a Christmas jummper 18 years ago. When I got it our to finish it, the fabric was all faded.

  • Patty

    I started a personal crazy quilt for my Aunt’s 75th birthday. We postponed the party and I gained more time. Have the squares done and started to put together. She passed away suddenly and I am still going to do the quilt but now incorporating pieces into memory quilts for family. Daunting.

  • Valerie Brown

    Tell you about just one? Hmmm…. I have a “to do” pile of kitchen towels, but the biggest UFO is my granddaughter’s Christmas stocking. She’s turning 1 next month, and the stocking is still in the “where do I go from here?” stage. I have the stocking cut out, but the girl snowman that I want to applique on the front is still in the planning stages. I need a snow girl face to stitch and just haven’t found the right one yet. Maybe, I’ll need to hire a digitizer for that one.

  • Linda Self

    I started a quilt for my niece when she was a baby; it got finished when “her” baby was born. Started one for my nephew too, now his kids are grown and it’s in a drawer unfinished. I’m learning to plan ahead though. I’ve finished a blue heirloom quilt for my “someday” great grand-son and am working on a pink one just in case he turns out to be a she.

  • Orvalee Roe

    Like everyone else, I have many ufo’s with the good intentions of finishing them. I like to teach myself a new techniques with every project I start. Right now I am slowly working my way through a quilt as you go quilt that I started 3 yrs ago. Hmmmm, I would have probably finished it much sooner if I had just made it the traditional way. LOL.

  • Nancy Owens

    My unfinished embroidery project is still in my dreams. I have been living in temp. quarters for a year without my machine. Not a pretty picture, I get sad when I can’t sew…………but that is in the past, we moved into our house 15 days ago, and of course the sewing room is last on the list to get set up BUT I want to make placemats and matching napkins for Christmas gifts. I did one in a Pfaff embroidery club before we moved to Texas, I just hope I took good notes so I can continue!

  • Jennifer P

    My UFO is currently getting worked on. It is a top that has been assembled for at least three years. I finally sandwiched it and thought I had finished the quilting just last weekend, BUT (you know there is always a BUT with a UFO!) when I looked at the back I found a huge pleat in the center of the quilt in a half moot shape. I spent the last three nights frog stitching the quilting to get that pleat out so maybe I can actually get it finished this weekend.

  • Mary Haggenmaker

    Thought I had done this already but cannot find it in the list here. Anyway I am in the process of completing my first quilt to be a gift for my grand daughters baby shower. I have another quilt in progrss that I have been putting together for awhile now that uses the preliminary stitchouts of my embroidery designs. I have a king size bed and don’t have a king size quilt so eventually I will have one.

  • Cheryl

    My UFO is a quilt in the hoop for my youngest grandson (I started when he was born). I prewashed the fabric and made some test squares but haven’t gotten back to making the actual quilt. My grandson just turned 1, at this rate I will need to make the quilt to fit a twin bed rather than crib. LOL, I have a number of embroidery projects going on for each of my grand children and am currently getting side tracked by making some of those adorable onesie dresses for my 6 month old granddaughter—she is my only granddaughter so I definitely need to get these done or they will become baby shower gifts.

    I am new to machine embroidery (bought my Deco340 this past November) and just got back into sewing again this past Sept. when my DH bought me a Janome DC5100 for my birthday. I keep seeing things I want to make and/or embroider and there never seems to be enough time to focus on these wonderful passions. My fabric supply and embroidery patterns keep growing. Oh yeah, I have a few UFOs for myself and my DH as well, a chef’s apron for my DH with embroidery on it which is cutout but not sewn or embroidered; pullover sweatshirt for my DH which is all done except for the hemming on bottom and sleeves; set of 8 placemats
    which are sandwiched together and waiting for some free form quilting (I took the class on free form quilting and prepared my placemats but haven’t gotten any further); set of monogrammed bathtowels for wedding gift for my youngest niece (lol at least they havent had their first anniversary yet). Yikes, I have even more UFOs and now I also need to be thinking about Christmas gifts so I can get started on them soon to ensure they are finished in time for Christmas.

  • Marjorie

    UFO describes my purse project that has so many pieces and confusing instructions. I circle the pieces and try to work up the nerve to jump back in and try to move ahead in the process. I know I can complete this project. Rather I think I can…I think I can.

    • eileenroche

      Sure you can!

  • Carol Seavitt

    True confessions — a Queen size quilt (ambitious); burp cloths (baby’s not born yet); 8 ft Christmas Tree skirt (for a sister’s friend–looked like fun); Chevron Bags for groceries…better stop because I’m hyperventilating (HA). Love sewing.

  • Jacqueline Curtis

    UFO is a baby quilt that will be two sided when I get it done. I have to finish embroidering the squares and then I can get the work done. I already have all the material to make the project it is just a matter of finishing 5 more applique blocks and then putting it together. It seems I always have such big plans and not enough time.

  • Debby

    UFO a quilt, like everyone else. Beautiful hawaiian fabric squares that I put to get her in a manner that when looked at from a distance you can see that the squares all together make a flower. Machine quilting, half done. This is for our bedroom. The room has a hawaiian theme, hopefully I’ll still want that theme when the quilt is done.

  • Doris

    I have a fabric book “’twas the night before Christmas”. I started it when my first grandson was born. I have the front and back cover done and have stabilized all the pages. Since the was started I have owned 3 different embroidery machines and the thread has been on a thread stand ready to be used. Did I mention that my grandson is now 12 and I have 2 more grandchildren. I look at those book covers each time I embroider and think I have to finish that book for me.

  • Hope Hyatt

    I started a Vogue suit for my son when he was 6 finishing all but the lining and buttons in 1988, I gave it to my grandson when he was 4 in 2006. I have needlepoint that i started in 1976, completed the needlework in 2003 and have the pillowforms but not figured out the backing for the pillows. 🙂 I have so many I am afraid to count.

  • Jackie Ames

    My worst ufo is the quiet book I started for my youngest son when he was about 2…well he is now 37 and it still isn’t done. You would think I would at least get it done for a grand before they all get in college!! I do have other ufo’s but that is the worst….

  • Paula l

    I have so many, nightgowns for nieces, pashmina shawls, tshirt s, and machine is in the shop. Sigh!

  • Maureen Kubisz

    I have an enormous thread painting of a dancing woman on an urban graffiti style background fabric, and it is not finished because I can’t think of what to do next.

    • Clem

      Post a picture for us please Maureen! We would all love to see it. 😉

  • debe

    Well…. how long do you want to be here? I have a tunic with embroidered neckline, just need to find the pattern to finish cutting it out & another I really want to get done is a Criswell doily with lace & cutwork, just needs to be put together (it has been 5 yrs now).

  • Barbara

    I don’t have any unfinished PROJECTS — my problem is much worse. I just bought some great digitizing software, went to a class and two day workshop — then my computer spent a month in the shop, and now school is starting! Wonder when I’ll make time to sit down and learn the next step in the craft?!?

  • Audre Gaer

    I purchased a Marimekko print of crayons about 35 years ago to make a cute wall hanging for my kids. I forgot I had it but it turned up two years ago during an organizing frenzy. I found some cute fabrics to coordinate this Spring but I haven’t figured out exactly what to do with them. Maybe I’ll get it done for my grandson before he out grows it.

  • Berenice

    I really, really try to complete all projects, but have this horrible desire not to tack down the facings (or bodice linings) in the formals I make for my girls… I just don’t get it! My worst UFO was just rediscovered, or uncovered, last week. We moved our stereo system to paint the wall behind it and found a bag that had fallen behind it. In the bag was 30 quilt squares made by several women in our church in an exchange for a friendship quilt. I won one of the sets and remember bringing the bag home and setting it near my sewing machine, but never seeing it again. It brought many memories as several of those beautiful women are no longer with us to share their skills and talents(They did this exchange in 1988, the year after we married, and we are not sure how the bag fell behind the stereo since it has only been in this spot since last Christmas). On next school break, this will be my “finish ’til done” project.

  • beth daniels

    I have a girl’s quilt that I have not finished embroidering on. I am embroidering a set of bluework sunbonnet girls’ squares on pink material and a set of redwork women in dresses squares on light blue material. I have not finished embroidering all the sets yet. After the sets are done, I will arrange them in a quilt with pink and blue material (prints and miscellaneous) in the quilt. It is going to be for my grand neice.

  • Kim M Harrington

    I have a gorgeous machine embroidery applique quilt with black background and hand dyed flowers and leaves. I was teaching this as a class. I got all of my blocks done, and that is it!!! I need to put it together. Oh and one of them is at the stage of purchasing the designs,the fabric, and the thread a couple of years ago. I have not stitched it out or even cut the blocks 🙁 Gotta get these things going again!

  • Carrie C.

    My UFO is a tote bag that I intended to embroider, but totally forgot the “plan”. I completely finished the bag – zipper and all – but did not embroider it. I have not used the bag – my intent is to open it up and add the embroidery. Someday…soon!

  • a different subject” machine embroidery is so healthy for the brain and the laughter at oneself for the mistakes and the corrections we come up with! I am always learning and patting myself on the back!
    I just did 11 bath towels for a client’s grandchildren. I may have ‘invented’ a new technique since I haven’t seen this written before. I took matching cotton fabric (preshrunk) and placed on top of the towel where the design was to be embroidered. I stabilized with a soft cut away, used temporary spray adhesive to secure the towel and prevent stretching during the embroidery process. I used a basting stitch to secure the fabric on top of the towel and embroidered the design. I then put another piece of the fabric underneath and used the basting stitch again, trimmed the top and bottom fabrics and then satin stitched all layers together in the hoop! The grandma was so pleased that the child would have a soft backing covering the bobbin threads on the back and thought the fabric was a nice touch on the top also! It is now my signature for children’s towels! Just thought you might like to know what I did. Create with Claudia

    • clem

      Great idea! Thanks, I am going to borrow this!

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