Halloween Applique: Not Just for Clothing Anymore

Applique is usually reserved for embellishing clothing or quilted items. Unfortunately, that doesn't allow for much face time. Holiday applique is especially vulnerable to a short shelf life. But by it's very nature, applique is perfect for holiday decorating where it can be v... [More]

Bobbin Tails

There are many kinds of bobbins available to us for embroidery, but and there is no single answer to the best bobbin type for every embroiderer or every machine. There are metal, plastic  disposable, plastic reusable,  cardboard and sideless. Bobbins also come in colors. Colo... [More]

Sweet Sweet Shoes

Our baby girl just loves shoes, anyone's shoes will do.  She brings them to be put on and clomps around, falling about every other step.  She carries them around hugging them like they were baby dolls, pushes them in her stroller and throws them in the trash (then wants them ... [More]

Easy Trick or Treat Bags

Hello all!  I am Virginia, an embroidery enthusiast and an educator for Dakota Collectibles.   I love creating things with embroidery and thought it would be fun to share my projects and ideas with others, so I am entering the world of blogging.  I use Dakota Collectibles' designs... [More]

Battenberg Lace Tree Skirt Makes a Unique Wedding Gift

Typical gift ideas for newlyweds include linens, fine china, or kitchen wares. But if you are looking for a wedding gift unlike any other, consider a monogrammed Christmas tree skirt. Ann's Battenberg Lace tree skirt looks quite elegant and is perfect for beginner ... [More]

Gotta Love a Baked Potato

For several years I have seen and heard about bags made to bake potatoes in the microwave. They are touted to produce fluffy, moist baked potatoes.  So when I had all the cotton stuff out to make the tortilla warmer I decided to make one and see.  Hey, what do you know, it works pretty wel... [More]

Yarn Threads

  This fall, you will be seeing lots of thicker threads – yarn-like in appearance – in retail stores. On my current trip East, I have seen tons of this decorating method on everything from sweatshirts to bags and even on the back of woven menswear shirts.     Industry su... [More]

Embroidery Advisor Presents: Autumn Toile Goodies

Hard to believe summer is almost over and Autumn is right around the corner.  Autumn can be a beautiful time of year though with all the colors changing, and is a good time to start on your embroidery projects for all of the upcoming holiday and seasonal events.    &n... [More]

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 www.annthegran.com 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]
AnnTheGran.com | Beautiful people make beautiful things

Fabric Popped out of a Hoop? Re-Align It!

Here is how I recover almost designs that have hopped out of the hoop. 1. Walk away for a moment. Calm down and begin to work on getting it fixed. 2. Find some running stitches that are on a curve or angle. If you don't see any, you may need to remove some stitches covering them. For... [More]

Embroidery Advisor Presents Appealing Animal Apparel

Starbird Inc. has been dedicated to the embroidery industry for the past 25 years.  Our talented and educated staff has many combined years of embroidery digitizing experience.  Along with custom digitizing we also do stock designs which are all professionally digitized at our headquarters... [More]

You did that?

 Teaching an African Folklore Embroidery class is one of my favorite things to do. In the last few weeks, I have taught workshops at quilt guilds in Washington, Visalia, Long Beach and Covina. I have had all types of people in my classes, from people who have been quilting for many years, but n... [More]

Keeping It Simple - Quick Wristlet Just In Time for Spring

Wristlets are great if you have lots of other stuff to haul around (like kids and diaper bags and laptops...) and don't want the extra weight of a purse.  But after a hard winter the ones we have been using look pretty bad so I decided to surprise the girls with new ones this week.  I ... [More]

Control Key Information and Rogue Security Software

These tips can be used for Windows XP and Vista - Operating systems vary, if in doubt, check with your provider and/or technical support.  It seems like everyone needs to save time. It is just a fact of life these days.  The following "Control Key" list is to help you do just t... [More]

Let's Talk About Terry---Terrycloth, that is!

(Baby Bibs and Burps are now available at AnnTheGran.com.  Click here , also click here to vew other new blanks on special)   Just recently we’ve had two customers call us to let us know they were unhappy with our baby items.  They said they “fell apart” and t... [More]

A Free Calculator and Reverse Engineering a Design in AlphabetXpress

I have never been certain why Microsoft does not place a calculator on a computer screen. There are a number of them on the Internet, and I have one that I like for several reasons. For one, I can turn off or on the keyboard. With the keyboard off, I can just use my computer numeers. You can find it... [More]

Thread Doll with Tote - No Batteries Required!

       Make a HoneyBea Thread Doll set for your little Honey – No Batteries Required! When I was little, I loved the Betsy McCall paper doll in the back of McCall’s magazine, and I even cut out paper dolls from the pages of my Mother’s Sears Roebuck catalog.... [More]

Increasing Computer Speed - - - Leather and Lace and Alpha Xpress

I am a big fan of free computer software. Some of it is worth free and some of it is quite valuable. One that I like, and have found to be praised by many computer professionals is CCleaner by Piriform.com.  This one has a very nice Pedigree - - If you are not using this software, you may wa... [More]

Threads from Africa- 30% off till Feb 9th

Thread colors and names inspired by African Savanah  From The COLORFUL world of African Folklore Embroidery we bring you a complete selection of multi-colored hand dyed variegated threads from House of Embroidery, South Africa.  Our exquisite hand-dyed threads are suitable for all types... [More]

Mural Painting- The Ndebele women-Creative Inspiration- Enter to win 4 African Folklore Embroidery kits

Mural Painting- The Ndebele women-Creative Inspiration- Enter to win 4 African Folklore Embroidery kits  While there are many tribes in Africa, the magnificent beadwork, doll- making and wall mural painting of the Ndebele tribe are a constant source of inspiration. The houses of the Ndebele... [More]

Embroidering Knits: Hooping is the Key

Embroidery on knits can be tricky, but the real secret is in the hooping.To get great results on knits, you must stabilize this stretchy fabric. You probably know that the text book rule for fabrics that stretch is to use a cutaway stabilizer.This should be followed, except in rare instances. If it ... [More]

World Wide Web, a Freebie and Hankies for Brides with Alpha Xpress

 You know that WWW stands for World Wide Web. Typing in WWW tells your browser that you are connecting to a Web server. However, as the Internet and related-technology evolved, prefixes became mostly unnecessary. But we are creatures of habit and many Websites use both WWW and non-WWW addresse... [More]

Back From the Workshop

Hello, Granners! It has been a while since I've been able to write to you, and I'm sorry about that. For the last year or so we've been working hard on some new products. But while products are under development I can't really tell you much about what we're doing.... [More]

A Freebie and Tip #4 Alpha Xpress Customizes Words

Some days I cannot find my keys, or my glasses or whatever I really need. Too often, I cannot find a file I need and that presents a lot of problems for me. I am always on a schedule and get frustrated with delays!  This small application is really worth its weight in gold and then some. Check... [More]

Make Patches and Emblems from Scratch

There are times when attaching a patch or emblem is a lot easier than trying to apply embroidery directly to a difficult item. Other times, it’s helpful to be able to change or remove the embroidered identification easily.  For these times, it’s nice to know how to make emblems... [More]

Keeping It Simple - Show and Tell

I hope your holidays were full of fun with family and friends.   I listened to people make their New Year's resolutions   the other night.  Some were new but many were the same old ones they make every year and find so difficult to keep.  So, we talked with the girl... [More]
AnnTheGran.com | Beautiful people make beautiful things

Great Embroidery Mysteries - The Case of the Messy Alphabet

  Digitizing Mystery  I began digitizing alphabets eight or nine years ago. I like doing it and I take a lot of pride in my work. You can imagine how distressed I was when I began receiving a few messages telling me that the capital and lower case letter "A' was appearing as a b... [More]

Tons and Tons of Questions - Who Has Answers?

HH (Hello Hello!) Fellow Embroiderers,  How are ALL of you??? What things are you doing these days???!!!!! How many NEW embroiders are out there like me. (I stitched my 1st design last week. Yeah!!!). It would also be interesting to find out who has embroidere... [More]

Introducing Crash Course Cathy...

Hello Hello fellow  AnntheGran Embroiderers & New Orlando Circle of Friends!!!! :):):), Who Am I?  For those of you who attended the VERY SPECIAL 1st annual AnntheGran's convention in Orlando in April, you may remember me...it was pretty hard to miss my loud scream and waving arm... [More]

But first, a word from our sponsor . . .

Okay, that would be me, but now that I've got your attention I want to first address a couple of questions that were posted in the comments from last week's post. I thought I'd answer them here, rather than there, because the answers might be of interest to many of you. For LolliConn, w... [More]

You Ruined My Brand New Silk Blouse!

Every now and then I'll receive an angry email that goes something like this: "I used one of the free designs from your site and it sewed out terribly and ruined my brand new silk blouse. Don't you sew out those free designs before you put them on your site?"Well the truth is that ... [More]

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... [More]

A Magic Bookshelf Game - What Are Tags and How Do I Use Them?

Let's Play Tags - I'm It!  My kids still play Tag, even though the oldest one becomes a teenager this month (), so I'm going to assume that, like me, you are not too old to play a variation of this age-old game. The game I want to play with you is called Tags, with an 's&#... [More]

AnnTheGran's Spring Cleaning Challenges

I've read all the forum posts from folks saying how much they enjoyed our (first annual??) Community Circle. Thank you so much for posting. I want to add, though, that no one had a better time than I did. I arrived home invigorated and ready to get back up to my elbows in embroidery.  Tote... [More]

Community Circle Thanks and Video Demonstrations

Hi, everyone!  Well, I think I've recovered from our fabulous Community Circle! I want to thank everyone who attended as well as Diane and Pardeep for keeping things running smoothly and, of course, Greg, for overseeing everything. Thanks also to Eileen Roche for her terrific classes,... [More]

Brotherly Love, Online Scrapbooking & Ideas from Down Under

Greetings, friends! Once again, I have been truly humbled by the sheer numbers of you who took time to consider and respond to my last post. I received hundreds of e-mails from well-wishers as far away as South Africa, Korea and Australia, all with essentially the same message: we wish we could joi... [More]

Ruffled Crib Quilt from Down Under

Every grandmother counts it a blessing when another child comes into her life.  Each set of tiny hands and feet hold a special place in her heart forever.  When the newest addition made his appearance to the Jenkins family it was just what Leanne needed to inspire her to expand her embroid... [More]

The Digital Scrapbook - Memories in the Magic Bookshelf

(If the text is cut off on the right side of the screen, please click on the post title above to view a corrected version)  Where's Your Shoebox? Whoever you are, wherever you are, the chances are pretty good that, at some point in your life, you've taken some pictures, and there... [More]

Easter Break to Prepare for Community Circle

Hi, everyone, The gang here is taking a little break for Easter and using the time to polish off some final preparations for my Community Circle event in Orlando, so I thought I'd just put together a brief note to let you know that I'm still alive and kicking -- well, moving my le... [More]

On Feeling Young, New Friends & Lunch in Orlando

Thanks for your Feedback I'm really pleased that all of you really took to heart my request in my last letter to get involved with commenting on the new site. We had the most comments and participation we've had since I started blogging. Your feedback really does encourage me and my guests ... [More]

Putting Knowledge in The Magic Bookshelf - What is a Wiki?

Who do You Trust for Information?  Where do you go when you need to know whether something is true or not? Is there a person you ask, or a place you go? Think about it -- everyone needs to have somewhere, something, or someone to help establish what is fact and what is fict... [More]

Introducing....Deegee!

Who’s Deegee, you may ask?  Well, for those of you who don't know me, please permit me to introduce myself. I live in Southern Texas, I’m married, mom to 4 wonderful adult children and “Nanee” to 3 beautiful granddaughters and 1 very special little grandson.  And I’m like so many... [More]

Blouse Border Design using Shoes

I created this blouse border design by lining up various different shoes from my Fancy Footwork collection. To make the shoes fit together as a cohesive group it was necessary to reverse and rotate most of the designs until they created the right flow. Click here for a larger view of the screenshot ... [More]

Texas Hold-em T-Shirt

This t-shirt design, perfect for Friday night's poker game, was created by combining the cards and chips from my "It's A Boy's Life" collection. I then simply added the lettering "Texas Hold'em" using the Fairbanks block, which is a standard font included with Com... [More]

Paisley Stripe T-Shirt

Three designs make up this paisley stripe around the entire T-shirt when made from combining designs from my Paisley Passion collection. These surprisingly versatile designs can be combined to create an unending number of designs from tiny to all-over designs. Click here for a larger view of the scr... [More]

Embroidered Sheepdog Wallhanging Using Photos

Like many of us, Barbara Schleter has more than one passion.  Here she has combined her long time love of Shetland Sheepdogs with her more recent passion for embroidery.   Barbara has done a great job of sharing her thoughts on creating personalized gifts for those who are special to ... [More]

Welcome to the Magic Bookshelf - What is a Blog?

The Magic Bookshelf Imagine that you sit down at your machine one day to make something for someone, and you realize that there is a part of your project that you aren't sure how to complete. Imagine if you could then point your hands toward any bookshelf in your house and summon it to float th... [More]

Chanel Inspired Tee

The Chanel inspired jewelry design on this black t-shirt was created from the chains, pearls, and heart charm from my "Beads, Baubles and Bling" collection. This fun collection allows you to create necklaces, bracelets, pins and rings from a large variety of gems, charms and chains. C... [More]

Orlando Itinerary, Handsome Men & New Project

So Much To Share!  I have so much to share with you this week that I hardly know where to begin. Like many of you (but not all of you ), I love our new site, especially the way it lets people in our community talk to each other. Free designs are great, and I know that's why many of yo... [More]

Brighten Someone's Spirit with a Verse Lap Quilt

Quilts, whether large or small, can brighten the spirit and bring a bit of joy to those who need it in almost any situation.  Made with love and detailed with words of comfort, Susan Osborn shows us how a simple but heartfelt project can help make the days a little better for others.&... [More]

Western Wedding Quilt

Keeping up with traditions can be a challenge when you are as far away from your family as Debbie  Martin is.  But she obviously spends a lot of time and energy to share her love with family as shown in the wedding quilt as well as others who will appreciate the warmth of a handmade gift -... [More]

Community Circle April 3-4 in Orlando - Registration Ready at Long Last!

It's the gathering of the year and even if this is the first time you have joined me I know you'll be re-energized and ready to go after two full days with Eileen Roche and me. We'll share our best techniques and insider tips for expressing yourself through embroidery. For all the detai... [More]

Welcome to the AnnTheGran Community!

Welcome to the AnnTheGran Community! Many people know AnnTheGran.com for free embroidery designs, and that's great, but now the site offers so much more. If you've just been using my site to get free designs, you've been missing out! Answers to All Your Questions If you have a questio... [More]

Embroidered Hot Cup Wraps

We had so many requests for Diane’s hot cup wraps from an earlier promotion that we decided we shoul [More]