The Avid Embroiderer Presents - Four Cool Tips and a Hand-Picked Freebie

I have been embroidering for more than 16 years.  I was generally self-taught and I started without a clue about machine embroidery at all.  Over that period of time, I have been learning by trial and error, make that trial and frustration. 

Here are just a few of the things I wish I knew before I started in embroidery and why do I think they are impressive? Sometimes tips are very obvious but we just forget them. How many times have you seen something "new under the sun" and said to yourself - Why didn't I think of that? So, tips, tricks, information and reminders are the 'aha' moments we all have (especially the last one).

Please share one or two of your thoughts as well. I know we each were likely a bit naïve in the beginning unless we had a family member or friend already in the craft we love so much.

These are in no particular order, I know you will recognize a few of them.

  • Tip:  Plan to spend for the best you can afford, both in durable goods and supplies to make your projects.
    • Inexpensive scissors are cheap for a reason. After getting these quality scissors, keep them sharp by never tossing them into a drawer.
    • Place the sheath over the tips and slip them into the storage area. (Keeps them away from scissor-nappers too.)
    • Plan to purchase quality items one at a time. i.e., spend $XX per month to build your tool repertoire.
    • Here are the videos (watch both of them!) to show the reasons these scissors are so terrific!
    • The right pair of scissors is worth it's weight in GOLD.

    • OMG! It is 25% off right now. (Just ordered mine!)

  • Tip: The kits or bundles are the 'darlings' of the embroidery world. This one is jam-packed with great ideas and projects. It comes with 52 designs on a CD, 11 projects and items to get you started. Seeking out kits like these will give you the confidence to produce very professional results at a small price. Save YOUR valuable time, even at the $1 store, you would be hard pressed to do better than these kits.

Projects include:
- 37 Banner flags
- 4 "in the hoop" cupcake mug rugs
- Gift envelopes
- Party napkin embellishments
- 3 drink and vase “charms”
- A Streamers table runner with cupcake and balloon embroidery
- 3 edge-to-edge quilting designs for table runners and small projects

  • Tip: According to Madeira, a typical embroidery design contains 6,000 stitches. This means each 220 yard/200 m Smart Spool with its 40,000 stitches per spool will produce 40 designs on average. Use a smaller sized thread spool and experiment with new colors and textures. See their Thread Collections here.
  • Tip: If you have ever been frustrated by thread shredding in your machine, here is the answer that I sought for several years. I had shredding thread on all my machines (7 of them), all my threads (I tossed out at least 50+ spools thinking it was defective, old or poor quality) and asked many, many people on the Internet about my shredding problem. I was ready to sell everything and give up my favorite craft.

Here is my TIP: When you are changing your needle, make sure that you have tightened it sufficiently.
In an attempt to discover the problem, I created a video with my cell phone awaiting a shred. It came quickly. Looking at my video, I saw the needle move no more than 1 or 2mm. That movement was enough to cause any one of my issues and it addressed all my thoughts. i.e., When it came back from the shop, no shredding; why was it shredding sometimes and sometimes not; why didn't the needle/thread/speed make any difference? Make sure your needle is really tight, not snug, tight.

I hope you share something with us in the comments below. Each of us would like the answer to something. Sharing is called teaching and learning. Teach or learn something today.

Here is your freebie and I hope you really like it. It is, of course, for Valentine's Day, but YOU can and will make it a great design every day of the year. The heart can be used as an applique or in a project.

Applique (28KB)

While this next heart is not a freebie, it has a newly lowered price (An incredible $3.95). It is one of Adorable Ideas' "Out of the Vault" designs that were originals from many years ago. I think it really speaks to the romance of all time. 

Comments (2) -

I am so excited about getting my new scissors.  I have a single pair of really good scissors that got a nick in them that is too deep to get repaired.

I have always bought medium priced scissors and they are just OK. One of those has a spot in the center of the blade that won't cut. All of them are nothing to brag about. In fact, I figured out that getting them sharpened multiple times exceeded the cost of the tools. That would be OK if they were worth it.

I will be letting you know what I think of these scissors, please do stay tuned!
Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

OMG! I love these scissors. I have been using the small ones on a lot of applique that I have been doing and it is absolutely perfect for that.

The mini scissors have a tip that trims right to the very end. I am doing a 'heart shaped' applique and getting that inner cut at the top has always been challenging. NO MORE! I am really impressed. No other scissor has been so exact as these.

I have only used the larger ones a few times and they too are very exact.

I am so pleased. I know you will be as well.

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

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