Taming Metallic Threads

  Metallic embroidery threads adds a touch of class to any project—if you can stand to use them that long! Here are some tips for avoiding pitfalls typically associated with metallic threads.   Although this design is beautiful stitched in rayon, the metallic snowflake is exquis... [More]

Every newbie wants to know…

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:  By Sherry McCary, Product Development, Designs in Machine Embroidery How do I get designs from the... [More]

Winter Door Sock Project

Dear Readers, Create this Winter Door Sock for your door this winter. See below for project instructions on how to make this project. Materials: Winter Scene Door Sock designs Polyester Fiberfill Sewing Machine Matching Fabric Thread Hand Needles Cutaway ... [More]

Choosing the Right Stabilizer

With the multitude of choices now available, choosing a stabilizer can be daunting. Cut away. Tear away. Fusible. Melt away. Wash away. Which do you use? There is no iron-clad, 100 percent, always-work option. It depends on the stitch count, fabric used, and sometimes the thread, machine, or stabil... [More]

Quick Gift Bags

Create quick and easy gift bags with fabric scraps and a wonderful fusible by Allstitch. This is a fun activity for kids, doesn't involve any sewing, and can be adapted for any occasion. I've made matching gift tags and you could use the same techniques to create cards. Fuse-n-Bond is ... [More]

A few of my favorite things…Tools!

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: : As an embroiderer, sewer and crafter you can never have too many tools. Here’s a look at some of my fa... [More]

Keeping It Simple – Narrow Holiday Runner

Do you have unfinished projects from past years?  I do.  I am always inspired at the beginning of the holidays and have lots of ideas.  Then it seems the season always gets hectic and some of the things I start just do not get finished.  So, this year I decided to finish those it... [More]

I've Got You Covered

     Have you ever wanted to cover a ring binder or album?  As an example, here is a 3-ringbinder that I covered to use as a photo album.  (Keep reading for more information aboutpages for the binder.)     When I open the binder, you can see how neat... [More]

If You Really Want to Know . . .

I asked you all to let me know what you’d like me to tell you. Haven’t heard from anyone except Pat, so I’ll answer her questions. Maybe that will help you think of some more things you’d like me to write about. Pat asked: I would LOVE to know what types of embroidery do you... [More]

Quilting with Embroidery

My eldest favorite daughter (I also have a youngest favorite daughter) decided she wanted to make a rag quilt. They are shabby chic, typically created with muted colors, fringed all around and stitched with ragged edges showing on one side. The more they are washed, the more comfortable they become.... [More]

Napkin Ring Project For This Holiday Season

We have some great ideas on how to accessorize your holiday table with embroidery. One way is to create your very own decorative napkin rings. They are quick and easy and will take no time at all to finish. Then you can also embroider wonderful placemats, napkins, table cloths, towels, curtains, etc... [More]

Adding Sparkle to Embroidery

In the words of the late Andy Williams, "It's the most wonderful time of the year," and it's never been easier to add sparkle to embroidery designs than with hot-fix crystals. Christmas embroidery begs for embellishment. Crystals are easy to apply with a heat tool like the DalWan... [More]

Monogrammed Napkins Tutorial

Monogram a napkin for every guest at your next dinner party. It’s the perfect way to personalize a seat and makes a great party favor. MonogramIt! from Amazing Designs has numerous fonts to choose from so you can customize every napkin to match each guest’s style... [More]

What’s with Lower Case Monograms?

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: You see it everywhere today – lower case monograms catch your eye and make you wonder if it really is a ... [More]

What’s in a name?

If you remember from my last blog post, the AnnTheGran web site got its name from my AOL sign-in. I promised to tell you the story of how annthegran became my AOL sign-in. Like most stories like this it’s pretty simple and fairly silly. The year was 1994. My daughter, son-in-law and three ... [More]

AlphaTricks Tricks!

All we can say is “WOW!” We have been completely overwhelmed with everyone’s  enthusiastic response to the announcement and release of AlphaTricks! As we’ve worked with users, we’ve uncovered some common questions, as well as tips that it seems everyone would like... [More]

Keeping It Simple - Bricks and Banners

It's here again.  Already!  Halloween, apple picking, pinecones and colored leaves.  The season's fly by so quickly I can hardly keep up.  We took a trip out to the Old Town main street the other day to pick up our fall and winter spices.  It is an all cobblestone st... [More]

Learn Basic Applique

Applique has become one of my favorite techniques in machine embroidery. Designs are now so inclusive, that even the least experienced among us can easily create beautiful applique their first time out. I created a Basic Applique video showing just how easy it is using the Applique Quilting Hearts ... [More]

Tall and Skinny

     What's "Tall and Skinny"?  It's the name of my new embroidery alphabet [More]

Hello All I'm Back

Last night I was watching the Million Second Quiz on television. One of the questions, which the contestant missed by the way, was which one of several brands was not named for an actual person. The answer was Betty Crocker. That got me to wondering if AnnTheGran had been one of the choices, how man... [More]

Get Variegated!

Much like pigments of the master painters, threads create pallettes for machine embro [More]
Machine tips and one-half tip

Machine tips and one-half tip

Since I seem to spend a lot of time at the repair shop with my machines, I thought I would talk about what the technician has to say to me.

I seem to have the most issues with TENSION Sad  But then again, I have other issues as well.  I am going to show some things on my Baby Lock BLR2 and your machine will be different.  However, many of the features noted are going to be on every machine.

This time I am looking at care of your machine.  My demonstration is on my Baby Lock.  Your machine will differ but much of the same issues will be similar. 

I remember when I first started embroidering, I never would have considered taking my machine apart, but now, I feel comfortable if I respect a couple of rules:

  • Never oil your machine - check with your manual for your machine, but I believe that is pretty much the correct rule for all machines.
  • Never apply pressure to any part whether removing it or reinstalling it, the part should slip into place.  If it won't slip back, keep retrying and watch for all places that 'meet' or 'by-pass' each other.

My machine does both sewing and embroidery.  It is a very good machine and I really cannot complain about it.  I have pointed out which areas are just for sewing.  Some others, like the needle threader and the thread cutter work for both of the operations.

Sometimes I have forgotten which machine has sewing (I have several embroidery machines).  The give-away is the feed dog!  Duh!

Next is the hand wheel on the right side of the machine.  Never turn the wheel more than just a very small increment in a counter-clockwise direction.  This wheel is precision set to go in the clockwise direction.  Each piece of the machine is set to be 'firing' their part at the exact time so that a perfect stitch occurs.  Just like a car, machines can have the 'timing' off and the sound and the stitch will show that it needs to be recalibrated - by a technician.


This is the front of the machine and the beginning of the threading area.

Removing the housing in front will allow you to view the path of the thread.  Thread can and does get tangled in different areas.  If you are having thread breaks, this is one place to check to see if something is interfering with the thread movement.

You may be able to see the pink thread going around the pathway.  The barrier is a solid piece of metal, however, the thread managed to jump the barrier and get caught on the very small screw toward the left side.


The back of the machine also has a small screw holding the housing to the machine.  Leave the screw in place, there is no need to remove it and lose it.  The housing, again, gently slides away from the machine.  If you are experiencing any resistance, don't go further.  Everything should come away easily.  If you use pressure, you can break some of the plastic or damage something that will be an expensive surprise.

Inside of the back/side housing is the threader.  I remember once when I had trouble with my threader, as I turned it over to a technician, I asked how much would the threader cost if it is broker.  To my chagrin, it was quoted as $35.  Then, when I picked it up, the tech was so proud to say he had saved me money by 'fixing' the threader.  Knowledge is power, now I know that replacement is not often necessary.  And, when it is not working, you may very well be able to fix it yourself. 

As I noted before, my machine is a sewing and embroidery machine.  I took it to the tech a different time with the feed dog up!  He politely scolded me and I thought that I was just an idiot for having it in the up position as I embroider.  That is a "no-no".


This photo allows you to see, the path of the thread in its later stage.  Checking for stuck, tangled or ornery thread is best done with a flashlight.  The parts are black making them difficult to see.



Use a can of Air to blow out your bobbin area.  Most of the Air cans say DO NOT shake.  If your can is putting out something liquid, that is not air and you need to aim the can better.  Don't use that can of Air upside down.   Blowing on it personally will probably not be in your best interest.




I am calling this one half of a tip because it does not have anything to do with embroidery.  However, it does have a fun way to color Easter Eggs!

Start with a pan of water, straight from the tap.  Place the eggs in as you begin.  Heat on medium heat until boiling and cover.  Turn off the heat and let the eggs set until the water has cooled.  I have never had a broken egg from this method.  I know you have other ways and please do share them here so we all have great eggs. 

Prepare your dye.  Next, using the bottom of a spoon, lightly crack the eggs about 5 or 6 times, making small cracks all around the egg.  After the eggs are cracked but NOT peeled, place them back in the dye letting set for an hour or even two. 

Remove the shell and you will have a very nicely marbled egg.  It needs to be kept refrigerated and makes a lovely center piece for your table.  Even better, make deviled eggs and the marbling will be somewhat deep and great as a visual item.



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