January 31, 2014
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NOTE: The design sizes as described here and in the Stitch Counts document
available below are correct. Determine which design size is right for you based on
this information. I used 130 x 180 mm, 150 x 240 mm, and 200 x 260 hoops for Small,
Medium and Large designs respectively. You may have other hoops that will work, too.
Chess and checkers are perennial favorites for kids and adults alike. Why not
fabric-ate a travel set so you can take your game with you when you travel? This blog
will show you how you can do just that by making a board, game pieces, and a carrier.
The chess board folds up and can be tucked into the elasticized pockets at the ends of
the carrier. The carrier also has zipper pockets for storing the game pieces. Here are
pictures of a chess set I just made.
Do you prefer checkers? You can ignore the chess markings or turn the pieces upside
down, or you can make a set of checkers pieces instead. For checkers, I use only the
crowns. Here is a checkers set I made in pink -- I thought it would be fun to use non-
traditional colors for this set!
I'm sure you noticed that this set has outlines of the pieces rather than a motif fill
pattern. I created the designs both ways, so you can choose whichever you prefer. You can
purchase motif filled pieces only, outline pieces only, or both. In all cases, you will
receive arrangements of chess pieces AND checkers pieces to fit your hoop. You will also
receive the instructions to make the pieces, the game board, and the carrier.
Designs are available in three sizes, to accommodate most hoop sizes: Small
(120 x 170 mm), Medium (143 x 230 mm), and Large (170 x 230 mm). For the Small size,
stitch the preferred chess or checkers design twice for each player; for the Medium
and Large design sizes, stitch the chess or checkers file once for each player. The files
include 18 pieces for the Medium size and 20 pieces for the Small and Large sizes. All
sets have a few spare pieces. Click the following links to see the available design sets.
Motif fill game pieces
Outline game pieces
Dual Pack game pieces
I digitized the game pieces with cutwork lines for cutting them apart. After stitching
the individual pieces and the outlines, I change to the cutwork needles to finish the designs.
No more thread is used from then on, but the software includes the cutwork lines in its
count of stitches. The Chess and Checkers Stitch Counts document available here shows the
total stitch count for each design, as well as the count of thread stitches and cutwork no-
The cutwork needles I use are made by Inspira, and are sold by Viking and Pfaff dealers.
There may be needles available for your brand of machine, too, but the Inspira needles should
work if your machine will run without a top thread. If your machine does not display the
needles as thread colors, then just follow the instructions to use the needles in the proper
order. The chisel points cut at different angles and it is important to use the right needle
for each part of the circles. The arrows in the next picture point to the secure points.
I programmed the cutwork lines to include small gaps that are not cut. These
"secure points" prevent the pieces from falling out too soon (any holes in the stabilizer
would cause later cuts to be mislocated). It is a simple matter of trimming the pieces
after embroidering. You can cut the gaps and also trim away felt fuzz from the bottoms
of the pieces. If you don't have the cutwork needles, you can just cut out the pieces by
hand. It is not as quick but also works perfectly well. Just cut 1/8" from the stitched