Introducing Pre-Design Studio III

It has been a while since I posted here at the AnnTheGran site. Earlier this year we have released a new version of Pre-Design Studio, named "Pre-Design Studio III". We have added many functions that make it even easier to quickly create your own artwork for embroidery digitizing sof... [More]

What's a Tortilla Warmer?

Sometime ago, I saw an advertisement for tortilla warmers and loved the idea.  They looked fun and useful but the cost was $8.00 - $12.00 each, depending on the size, plus shipping.  "What a great way to use up scraps!" I thought.  So, I tore out the ad and saved it.&nb... [More]

The Hot Retail Look of Reverse Applique - You Can Do It Too

You don't need a $100,000 embroidery/laser cutting combo machine to create the reverse applique look that's so hot in retail stores right now. And it's the perfect time of year to put this impressive technique on sweatshirts. You can put this technique on lots of fabrics, but I particula... [More]

An Oldie but Goodie - Bag Keepers Never Go Out of Style

As you probably know by now we have been slowly trying to go green.  So we use cloth bags (see designer bags)for most of our shopping.  Even so, we still end up with some of those thin plastic bags from various places.  They have some uses such as lining the bathroom trash cans, tying... [More]

Winners in the African Folklore Embroidery $500 Challenge

  The entries in this year African Folklore Embroidery $500 Challenge, were spectacular. Congratulations to first place winner, Roberta Peterson from Woodland, Washington. Roberta attended an African folklore Embroidery class that I taught at Monica’s quilt and bead shop in Palm Spri... [More]

Favorite Fonts Galore!

I’m often asked about the fonts we choose for various projects, and folks are sometimes surprised when they find out some of my most favorite fonts—the ones I go to over and over again—are fonts digitized by AnnTheGran herself!  If you search the website for... [More]

Stabilizing Super Stretchy "Technical" Fabrics

Fortunately, manufacturers have developed wonderful, lightweight, moisture-wicking materials to keep us dry and comfortable in this record-setting heat. Unfortunately, stabilizing these materials is not as simple as other knits. In addition to being very thin, they also have more stretch than typica... [More]

I know They're in Here Somewhere!

Have you seen the big purses, or should I say suitcases, that are in style this year?  They certainly hold a lot of stuff but I continually see women trying to climb inside them to find their key rings.  Watching them always made me smile until the other night.  The heat index re... [More]

Quick and Easy Sample Book

   Wouldn't it be great if you could turn your sew-outs into a well-presented sample book? One that you could use to seel from, or just to show off your workmanship? You can! It's easy, inexpensive and quick to use some of your existing stitch-outs that had been relegated to ... [More]

Teaching African Folklore Embroidery to children

The past four weeks of summer have flown.  For the sixth year in a row I have been teaching children African Folklore Embroidery at a summer art camp. The children from ages 7-11 have from over thirty different arts related classes from which to choose. It is an honor that African Folklore E... [More]

Keeping It simple - Bandanas - Perfect for Summer and No Need to Tie

Our girls have longer hair but it is so fine.  Pony tails and pig tails seem to last about 20 minutes before the hair starts creeping out and looks messy.  We saw the teens at the park wearing bandanas  to keep their hair back and the oldest commented that she thought they w... [More]

Holding the Slippery Stuff

Slippage and marring are the two biggest challenges when hooping satin. Because of its soft hand, it is necessary to hold it securely without damaging the delicate surface yarns. Hoops may have nicks, splinters or burrs that can catch and damage these long delicate warp threads. I prefer that the ho... [More]

Embroidering for Pets

  Identify your pet and add fun sayings to pet bandanas. Make a patriotic one for the 4th of July - and then keep it rolling, making a new one for each holiday or mood. Rather than regular tie-style bandanas, you might want to make a slip-ver-the-collar bandana. This type of ban... [More]

Reusable Grocery Bags

USING CREATIVITY TO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT In the next few weeks many cities are enacting a law that will allow grocery stores to charge for plastic bags. Some of you have already been using reusable tote bags; some purchase these bland reusable bags from the store at which they are shopping. Howe... [More]

An Easy Way to Keep the Dust Away!

My cousin just came to visit and helped me do some Spring cleaning ('s Summer already).  I was forced to face the dust that has been finding it's home on my sewing machines over time.  It's really not fair to the machines and I'm sure machine repairmen would tell me... [More]

Pucker-Free Quilt Squares

Because quilt fabric is usually lightweight, embroidered quilt squares are often puckered. To avoid puckers on your squares, fuse a piece of ShirtTailorÒ by PellonÒ to cover the entire back of your square. It will not be removed after embroidery. Rather, it adds body to the quilt squar... [More]

Embroidery Advisor Presents "Sweet Dreams"

Good Night! SleepTight!  Now that is something we all hope to do each night.  Whenever we don’t get enough sleep, there is usually something we can do about getting more and sounder sleep so we can stay in dream land longer each night.  Some people prefer to have it totally da... [More]

A Quick Gift for Father's Day

At our house we always seem to be slightly behind and end up cramming to get our father's day gifts done the night before that special day.  Sometimes they don't go as planned and we spend a frustrating time figuring out what to do.  This year we decided to change this (maybe the r... [More]

Would you like to win $500 Cash?

Would you like to win $500 Cash? YOU are invited to enter your completed African Folklore Embroidery in the upcoming challenge. Entry forms are on online at THE GRAND PRIZE is $500 cash, 2nd prize $50 and 3rd prize $25.00. All entrants will receive certificate of part... [More]
Sometimes the Third Time is the Charm...

Sometimes the Third Time is the Charm...

Challenges & Lessons: So, I looked at the Laughing Cow box for a week. I picked it up. I measured it. I didn't want to do something with the box just for the sake of doing something with it. Now, this box is fairly flimsy. And shallow. Then I looked around for something that would fit in the box, something I would actually want to put in a box. This was not an easy project I had challenged myself to. Here's the finished product, an embroidered box in which to keep the little pins that I've picked up at embroidery events.

I used Alphabet XPress to create the text and add the picture. The purse is from Dakota's Paint the Town Red.

Some things I learned along the way:
1. If you go ahead and start stitching with the cover on the bobbin case loose you will hear a loud noise and a grinding sound. You will have to slide a pair of scissors under the hoop to cut the bobbin off the bottom.

2. If you don't push the embroidery arm on firmly and securely the feed dogs will remain up and catch on the bobbin thread.  You will have to slide a pair of scissors under the hoop to cut through the bird's nest and release the bobbin.

3. Remember to adjust the stitch count when you resize designs, especially if you're making them smaller. Should have used Catalog XPress to re-size. What was I thinking??

4. Don't try to "eyeball" centering a design on a round thing, but if the design is seriously off center, you'll probably find something really cute in your button box to balance the design.

4. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. And again. Sometimes the 3rd time is the charm . . .

5. Fabri-Tac removes fingernail polish.

I guess you have a good idea by now of how my afternoon was spent! I'm blaming the whole thing on being in a hurry but, in truth, I just wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and I paid the price. No matter how long I've been doing this, or how many projects I've completed, I have to remember to get all my ducks in a row before beginning.

Still, I did end up with a pretty handy little box that's fulfilling a real need so it was all worth it!

Check Back for Answers: I wanted to remind people that if they post a question or concern in response to a blog they should check back to see itf there's an answer. That gal with the new Happy machine got lots of responses, and there were some great tips on thread breakage, both in the post and in our Today's Top Tips forum.

Pictures!! It's been a week since I requested that you send me your pictures from our Community Circle. So far zero, zilch, my email box is empty. I reached all the way to the back and looked in all the corners. Nothing. Sad I can't scrap 'em if I don't have 'em. It was a great event and I had a great time. I really do want a little memory book so I can, well, remember it. I notice that there is one picture up in our Community Circle picture gallery (thanks, Sue), but it's getting lonely, so I'm going to post an embarrassing one of Beamish Boy to keep it companyDevil. BTW, the tote bags are looking wonderful! Take a look, if you haven't already.

BB Blog: Speaking of Beamish Boy, you owe it to yourself to look at his latest post on his Magic Bookshelf blog. His blog is an absolute joy for those of us who are still getting used to this blogging thing and all its accompanying terminology.

Reality bites! Those of you who attended the Thursday night dinner at Community Circle may recall the last question Eileen asked me in that thoroughly embarrassing interview, "What is something we don't know about you?" and my response, "I watch a lot of reality TV." So, to that end, here is my quick dish on American Idol and Survivor:

AI- I like Brooke, I really do, but honestly she and Jason Castro should have been in the bottom two this week and Jason should have gone home. JMHO

S - Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, what was I thinking. I can't believe that 3 fools have been finessed out of their hidden immunity idols. What next?

Here's hoping your own reality is just as interesting as what passes for reality on tv!



Comments (8) -

I was so engrossed with the classes I forgot to take any pictures :-(  What I learned has been etched in my memory and I have been busily turning my learning into projects - my daughter loves her new lacy tees.  I have organized my designs in catalog express and not only can I now find them I found designs I forgot I had during the organizing process!  What a great tool!  I am now getting ready to tackle Alphabet Express.  The Community Circle was a terrific time and I can't wait til next year!


jalcumbrack 4/26/2008 12:54:06 PM

Gee Ann, I don't feel so bad now about the loss of my flash card into the machine ! We are all human and we all get into a hurry sometimes and it most always ends up this way.

You are right,no matter how many years I have been doing this ,it manages to get me once in a while as well.

My Thanks to Eileen for showing me a better way to do towels !! I did a set this week for my bathroom and they are AWESOME! I even laundered them to see how they would come out . They are still AWESOME! I will post a pic as soon as I can get hubby off his computer and out of photoshop long enough to take one. He is the photographer ,I always cut things off. Again Thanks ,it just goes to show you can teach an old dog a new trick or two

That is why I don't have any photos to offer.I left the camera at home and I am terrible at taking them..

Hi Ann..

i have been on your site a number of times but have never commented ...i love your site!! I am new at machine embrodery...but have been sewing for awhile..but when i had a heart attack ( at 40) husband encourged more sewing less strress..and got me one of the brother machines i really love it  ,,i  enjoy your site  so thank you for taking time to let us all enjoy each others projcets...going to post some of my projects in your gallery..everyones stuff is great,,,good day..jennifer

When I go to your free designs It says Pe-Designs TM Palette Tm version 4 is included. What does it means?

For guera: PE-Design/Palette version 4 has some sizes and features that are not compatible with versions 1-3. The statement is just a warning that if you have one of those earlier versions some of the designs in the zip file might not work with your software.

For jenpoo1966: Can't wait to see your projects. We all need a bit of inspiration from time to time. Sewing is my stress buster, also.

For Marsha: I'm so glad you're finding Catalog XPress helpful! I don't think I'd ever get anything embroidered without it!

Hi Ann:

I love your Laughing Cow box - how neat!

I have a question, and I'm sure you will answer - I've asked this same question to "Designs in Machine Embroidery"  not once but twice, but they  never answer.  Here's my question:  What's the difference between  the Magna Hoop and the Hoop-it-all?

You will know the answer to that as you use the Brother machine.

I'm fairly new to machine embroidery, but fairly old otherwise - in my 90th year and still sewing - the love of my life.

I'm hoping to  to start on one of the Infinity Quilts by Janome - though I have the Brother, and if I ever get it finished, I'll send you a ;picture - right now I can't start as the plumbers are in the building changing pipes (I live in a condo) - and this has been going on for several weeks, and my place is turned upside down!

One day I'll get started, when I have a safe place to open up my machine.

Till then, I'll keep reading your interesting news.

Thanks for listening to me.


Hi, Rosemariie! First, as you read my answer to your question, please keep in mind that my Hoop-It_All is 6 or 7 years old and my Magna Hoop is brand spanking new. Both are products to help you hoop unusual size items. The Hoop-It-All is a hoop you use instead of the hoops that came with your machine and it uses an adhesive backed stabilizer to accomplish this. Of course, you can use an adhesive back stabilizer, such as AnnTheGran’s Medium Tear Away with Adhesive Back  with your regular hoops. There are also over-size Hoop-It-All hoops for embroidering designs that are larger than your largest hoop. The hoop slides back and forth on the embroidery arm and comes with templates to help you out with this. Hoop-It-All also has specialty hoops for embroidering on caps. The Magna Hoop uses the hoops you already have and clamps down unusual size items by use of various sizes of  inner hoops and a set of magnets. I like mine so much that I'm getting ready to order another for use with my 5"x7" hoop. It's almost like comparing apples to oranges, but both are excellent products and I use both of them.

Now get busy on that quilt! I can't wait to see it!


Buena la pagina, ojala algún día pueda estar en español.


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