AnnTheGran's Spring Cleaning Challenges

I've read all the forum posts from folks saying how much they enjoyed our (first annual??) Community Circle. Thank you so much for posting. I want to add, though, that no one had a better time than I did. I arrived home invigorated and ready to get back up to my elbows in embroidery.

Tote Bag Photos - Folks! Where are your tote photos? Last time I checked there were only two in the gallery and, although those two are pretty spectacular, they're getting lonely. I really want to see what you've done with your totes, so hop to it!

Photos from Community Circle - If you took pictures at the Circle, I'd love to have them so I can scrap a memory book of the event. If you're willing, please send the full sized photos to me at the address I gave you. If the photos are too large you can use a service such as YouSendIt or Pando to get them to me. Pando is my favorite and I use it often. Putting them in our gallery is fine too -- Beamish Boy has a great post on uploading photos, and there are links in our galleries to information on re-sizing photos for upload if you don't know how.

DesktopNew Laptop - For those in my classes when I was wrestling with my laptop, I want to assure you that I've gotten a new laptop and everything is running tip top. Well, almost everything. And, believe it or not, I'm actually beginning to like Windows Vista. Super Angry So, next time, no computer hang-ups. New computer=New Desktop, so, as many of you commented on my computer's desktop in Orlando, I'm showing you my new desktop (the picture on the left).

Onward and upward! One of the things we talked about at our Community Circle was how important it is for us to get together locally once in a while. Machine embroidery is a very solitary hobby. Sure, we have lots of friends on the Internet, but how often do we get to sit down with our embroidery friends, face to face. It doesn't have to be an "embroidery event." Getting together for lunch would be a good start. As soon as I get myself settled down and together I'm planning to corral the bunch in Central Florida for a sit down. Please feel free to correspond on our forums to get a local group together. I see we already have someone from Alabama trying to get a group together. Remember that your privacy is safe with us. Talk about projects, problems and kids, whatever. Just GET TOGETHER. Please? I'm going to keep nagging you until you do it! Devil
Laughing Cow Box
Empty Container Challenge - How many of you have empty containers that were just too cute to throw away? Or that looked like they could be turned into an interesting project? Well, I have a bunch. Right now, sitting on my coffee table, is one of the little round boxes that Laughing Cow cheese came in. Every time I toss one of these out I regret it, so I'm keeping this one around. If anyone has any suggestions about what I can do w ith it, please tell me! In fact, I am going to do something with it and I challenge you to do something with one, too. It doesn't have to be an embroidery project, though that would be nice. I'm giving myself a week to get a picture of my project into the gallery.

Spring Cleaning - While you're dusting and scrubbing (You were, weren't you? Big Smile), don't forget your bobbin case.  If you haven't been cleaning it regularly you're going to find a lot of gunk in there. Once you've polished it up you may find that some of your embroidery problems, like bird nests, skipped stitches and broken needles, disappear. I like to take the bobbin case out of the machine and brush it off with the wire handled brush that came with the machine. Then I moisten a cotton swab with alcohol and wipe around the inside. When it's dry and shiny I pop it back in. Sometimes I have to wrestle it back in. Next time don't wait so long!

For Your Computer, Too - Don't forget your computer either. Empty your recycle bin, delete your temporary Internet files, do a search for *.tmp and delete all of those. When you're finished run defrag, then click here for a FREE computer screen cleaner. There, doesn't that feel better?

Until next time, keep on stitchin' and stay out of the kitchen!


Comments (26) -

hammockhanger 4/18/2008 5:45:13 PM

Ann:  Thanks for the nudge on cleaning up the sewing machine and computer.  The PE700 wasn't too bad but the computer had 562 tmp files.  No wonder it has been constipated of late!!  Maybe now I can call you "Milk of Anniesia".   Sue

jalcumbrack 4/19/2008 10:17:20 AM

Hi Ann,

Thanks for the info on machine cleaning ! We should all do that more often but as you said wrestling the bobbin case back in can be a challenge sometimes,that's why I put it off as long as I can.

I cheated this time as I had to take my machine to the sewing doctor to be looked at.(I wouldn't have to do this if I hadn't lost the flash card inside the machine!It fell off the last time I used it.....OOPS!) It cost me $85.00 to get it back,won't do that one again for a while I can tell ya.But the bright side is he cleaned it all out ,checked the tension and gave it a complete physical,so to speak.The down side is he broke my card adapter,so got me a new one.(The tech put the card into it backwards and broke the pins inside the reader,again,OOPS.)But they got me a new one free of charge.So to say the least I worked my buns off to get my tote done,and had some machine issues as well,(operator error perhaps?) Not sure but will sew some other things to see what is going on with it.

Getting together with the central Florida bunch would be wonderful and keep us "Charged Up"! I love getting new Ideas,techniques and tips from everyone. I love that someone who has that tip on how to make something either easier,or better! I just love getting together with people that have the same interests ,as most folks look at you and go "You have how many machines?" So anyone in the Tampa,Bradenton,Sarasota or there abouts that wants to get together for lunch or just coffee,let me know and would love to do this.Maybe we can start a West Coast Florida Chapter!! I understand about it being a solitary hobby,I get to the point where I am talking to my machine and thread(Not good),even the cats look at me strange.

Thanks for the screen cleaner as well but oddly enough I have a similar one that looks like my cat !

Again Ann and everyone ,thanks for a great time in Orlando.Looking forward to more stuff like that in the future.

Hi - this is the first time I have read your blog.  It wa both enjo off yable and informative.  I am just getting back into embroidery after a year or so off, due to ill health.But  I am enjoying it more than ever.  The winter is long in Nova Scotia  so lots of time to sew.

hello embroidery people!  I am pretty new to machine embroidery but really loving it.  I just bought a new 12 needle Happy Voyager.  OW!!!!!!!  Any of you have one?  My thread keeps breaking and I can't seem to resolve it.  Suggestions?  (bev)

Thanks for the tip on temp files, no wonder I'm soooo slow! Yes, I'll hop to it!

The Laughing Cow container would be adorabel with a quilted and padded lid to hold sewing supplies or extra bobbins.  When the lid is padded and the sides covered with fabric (or contact paper) it would make an adorable gift box for something small.

You could cover it with sequins glued all over it.  All sorts of great ideas.  Think I will get some Laughing Cow just for the box.

4Bev2, make sure you are using cotton thread in your Happy.  I looked at one at a sewing expo and they told me that it runs so fast that the heat buildup with breakdown poly and rayon thread.  Hope this helps!

I am looking forward to some ideas for the "laughing cow " box - like you I always feel I should be able to do something with that when I throw one out. it was great when the children were little and you could save them for the school art department but now I have no reason to hoard!

4Bev2 - Have you tried lowering the sewing speed to stop thread breakage. The less expensive threads can sometimes be a problem. Also double check  the needles are threaded correctly.   Hope this might help.  I've recently bought a Brother PR620 which is a 6 needle machine and have no trouble using embroidery thread.  Good luck.

I am really enjoying the web site so much more since the Community Circle gathering.  Loved the screen cleaner!! Also, how about making some coasters embroidered with cows on them to match the "laughing cow" box and the coasters can be stored in the container itself.

Laughing cow box. Save a few more, cut the pictures from the lids. laminate & you have coasters that will last ages.


For the thread breakage, I find a extra thread holder away from the machine about 3" helps untangle the thread and dosen't break when sewing embrodery.

Keep up the good work Ann!!

helentimmerman 4/20/2008 8:25:00 PM

Hi Ann

Thanks for the reminder to clean bobbins.  It often causes problems when dirty.  For the lady whose thread keeps breaking try loosening the tension on your bobbin.  It worked for me .....after trying all kind of things.  Turn screw to left and give it a try.


Ontario 4/20/2008 9:59:08 PM

Love reading your blogs and help etc keep up the good work.

Love lots of your freebies but they are not in JEF Format only pes [I don't understand this one] so therefore cannot download.

Can you help here???????????????????????

I am still learning.


dorinnebanks 4/21/2008 12:13:17 AM

No info, No tips.  Just want to tell you how much i enjoy your website.

I am working on the laughing cow container.  Bye the way, the cheese is really good, also.

mooie handige website

For Norma, there is a post that explains the issue of conversion of file formats at the following location:">

squaredancer73 4/21/2008 5:05:54 PM

Keep trying to upload a photo of my bag, but keep getting an error, not sure what I am doing wrong !!!


squaredancer73 4/21/2008 5:09:57 PM

Had just done my "spring cleaning" the day before Ann's email arrived.  Amazing how much dust and whatever had accumulated in that bobbin casing...also watch those bobbins, I found a chip out of one of the edges (plastic bobbin) and it was causing me headaches...

Happy embroidering !!!


Hi, Glenda,

I don't think you were doing anything wrong. I saw the photo you tried to upload but I think for some reason it got corrupted by our system. I have deleted it. Would you mind trying again? I think it should work this time. You might just want to check that it isn't too big (more than 1.5Mb) -- if it fills your computer screen when you open it, then it is too big and needs to be re-sized.

4bev2:  I have a different brand commercial machine.  I have only had it a couple months.  It took me a month to get up the gumtion to even turn it on!!  It has 16 needles.  i use poly thread without a problem, slow the machine to 1000 spm and don't have too much problem.  Good quality thread and bobbin will make a difference, for sure.  My found my biggest thread breakage issue was when I changed the needles they were off a little bit, the hole was not straight on.  So I got hubby to come check them all, he is older but his eyesight is a whole lot better than mine.  After he adjusted them it is working great.  Try that if you still are having problems.  Good luck!  I love my machine and I'm having a grand time now that the fear is gone!!

Ann: I have loved your site for a long time now.  Thanks so much.

Dear Ann,

You have got to be the best there is !!! Thanks so much for having a website for us home embroidery folks.  I  just Joined  the Club and am so glad I did. God Bless You.

Hi to you all from Australia. I enjoy this website with all the information it contains. It reminds me that embroiderers from all over the world have the same experiences- good and bad.  I belong to a small group that started because we met when we wnt to a shop for training for our then new machines. I have a Husqvarna Designer 1. I have had such joy from it.

Thanks again from Oz

janethockenberry 4/26/2008 10:04:07 PM

Had a wonderful time at the Circle in Florida.  Could you send me the download to embroider on the bag.  I could not find it .  I am rather new to this craft and do enjoy it.  Keep up the good information on the site.  Love it.  

Janet Hockenberry

kimandmush 5/5/2008 2:02:39 PM

Laughing Cow container.  Remember pennies?  Put some in the cont. with some batting (sound absorbtion), tape the side closed and use it as a pattern weight.

morgannichole 8/14/2008 12:20:28 PM

Loved the little screen cleaner!

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