Polka-dots, Stipple Blocks and Creativity, Oh my! Part 1

We are excited to have Eileen Roche, Editor of Designs in Machine Embroidery share this content with you, which was originally posted on Eileen’s Machine Embroidery Blog :

I was recently discussing color schemes with my associate Sherry.  Sherry was working on a quilt using our newest collection, Stipple Fab Flowers & Medallions.  That’s when I caught the sewing bug.

Denise:  “Oooh!  If I were to stitch the blocks… I think I’d make one that was black, white and pink!”

A few minutes later I was off to the fabric store which is just a few blocks from our office.  (A store that close sure is handy!)

Although I tried to remain steadfast with my color scheme, at the last minute I switched to orange, black and white.  Not colors I’m normally drawn to but I liked the fresh, clean look!

Denise’s Tip 1:  Embrace Variety!

Have an open mind when you go shopping!  Embrace color schemes you might not ordinarily be drawn to.  Not all the projects you stitch have to be the same color scheme.  Look for seasonal trends in magazines, Pinterest or other online resources.

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The next step was choosing which blocks to use from Stipple Fab Flowers & Medallions.  I’m a huge fan of routine.  So it’s logical that I’d select one or two blocks to stitch over and over again.  Maybe I’ll introduce variations among the one or two blocks I choose.

The Stipple Fab Flowers & Medallions designs are organized by folder:  Small, Medium and Large.  I opted to use the small blocks—so I chose the 7 Half-Block Dots_Small design.


At the Computer

The 7 Half-Block Dots_Small design is versatile.  Each appliqued dot can be a different color—or get creative by alternating colors.

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I chose to make all the applique designs one color.  To streamline this process I opened the design in software and changed all the appliqued dots to a single color.  The end result was a single design with two thread color changes:  color 1:  the stipple and color 2:  the appliqued dots.

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Following the instructions included with the Stipple Fab Flowers & Medallions, I cut the fleece batting, top and bottom fabric into long strips and combined the layers to make a quilt sandwich.  Then I hooped the quilt sandwich using Monster Snap-Hoop.  Have you ever used Snap-Hoop or its recent companion Monster Snap-Hoop?  These hoops changed the way I approach embroidery!  Now I actually want to stitch and I stitch with confidence!  The hoops have a top and bottom frame making hooping fool-proof.  Just lay your fabric on the bottom frame, then put the magnetic top frame on top of the fabric.

Since hooping is so easy with Monster Snap-Hoop, I decided to go crazy.  After finishing a few blocks I flipped my fabric sandwich to change the background color for my blocks.  Some blocks will have a black background while others will have white. Yes, that’s my idea of going crazy!

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Denise’s Tip 2:  The Assembly Line Technique

The blocks are so quick and easy to stitch I got a bit carried away.  At last count I’m up to 25 blocks.  If I stopped to trim the blocks after each one finished I wouldn’t get as many complete in the same amount of time.  I like to see fast, easy results.

So for efficiency I decided to focus on embroidering all the blocks without cutting or trimming.  I piled all my blocks together in a stack and admired them at the end of each day.  Then when I had some downtime one evening, I sat down at the table and trimmed away all the applique fabric.  I found the process very relaxing.

Once the applique was cut away I trimmed all the quilt blocks down to size.  Try to look for ways to create this assembly line technique.

Denise’s Fave Feature:  I love the Stipple collections because trimming the quilt blocks down to size is EASY!  Just cut ½” away from the stippling.  There’s no complicated measuring or squaring up of fabrics.  I love flawless, precise results that don’t require a lot of thought or skill!

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Now to decide which blocks to introduce to the mix next.  I’m thinking it’s time to stitch some flower blocks….

Read Part 2 next time.

Thanks for reading!

Reprinted with permission from Eileen's Blog.

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