Archive for January, 2012

Thanks to all of you who responded to my post with tips about organizing your sewing space! Many of you had more great tips to share in your comments. Keep them coming!  A few questions and requests for further tips were generated by that post, so here is a bit more on organizing your Machine Embroidery supplies and answers to some of the questions.
Linda had a good point about placing threads in your “ziploc kit” then potentially needing  it  for another project and having to dig for that thread. I do keep the “kits” I make up all together in a decorative basket so if I need to borrow an item from one I can get to it easily. If I remove something from a kit, I put a sticky note on the bag indicating what I have removed to make it easier later to put it back in the right place! p.s…For those of us who are “thread-a-holics” it is a bit less of an issue since we often have duplicate colors of thread (aren’t they just so pretty and hard to resist)!
Susan had a question about what to do with cocktail napkins. She says she envisions them only for fancy parties. Susan, these little gems find their way into all sorts of fun places! Cocktail napkins are a great party favor for Showers, both Bridal and Baby, when embroidered with cute motifs. They are fun at card parties, family gatherings, game day (embroiderer your team or funny sayings), graduation parties, girls night out, wine and cheese parties, you name it! I have seen these used at kids parties and incorporated into games by embroidering several different motifs to help the kids split into groups for games! They are also  functional as well as a fun party favor since they really do work to keep those water rings off the furniture!  The blank canvas can be “dressed up” with formal monogramming or “dressed down” with a quirky motif or saying.  You can dye them, stamp them, paint them, embroider them, or use rubber stamps! My guests enjoying taking them home after the party as just a fun little keepsake.

Barb wondered how to keep the USB sticks on which she saves her machine embroidery designs organized.  How about a key ring with the slot for a written label? I have purchased these at hardware stores.   The USB can be put on the key ring and the label can serve to write what category of designs are held within. They can then be hung from a key rack in your sewing space. You may find a large key ring on which you could store all your USB sticks!  I also use DVD’s to store designs. They hold a large amount of data and have more space to label. Another idea would be to number  the USB sticks, then  keep a spreadsheet listing the designs along with the USB stick number, then you will have your own catalog of your designs and you could search the spreadsheet for a particular design. It would take time to set up initally, but may save you time down the road!

Paula asked how to store stabilizers and Peggy had a great suggestion. She uses a hanging shoe organizer with pockets and hangs it over her sewing room door. She cuts holes in the upper pockets to allow room for the longer rolls to fit.  Great idea Peggy!  I use a similar item,  a gift wrap organizer that hangs on the door. It has roll sized pockets as well as flat pockets for bulk or sheet stabilizers. I also have a long basket in my sewing room in which I store stabilizers. After I take a stabilizer out of it’s original packaging, I either use an elastic band to keep the original label with the roll or I write out the pertinent information about the type of stabilizer on a piece of paper and pin it to the stabilizer. Unlabeled, I can easily confuse types!

I hope you found these hints and tips from all of us helpful. Please share your organizational tips in a reply to this post for all to enjoy!

Happy Stitchin’ !


Let’s stitch a year filled with Personalized Machine Embroidered Gifts!

The beginning of a new year never fails to excite and inspire me!  I find myself  filled with a satisfied feeling of closure for all that came the year before, and a renewed interest and excitement for the potential of the year ahead. It is a time for me to reflect on what worked in the past year and to organize and plan my Machine Embroidery projects for the coming year.  This year, rather than creating a New Year’s Resolution list, I made a New Year’s Embroidery Project List!

This January, you will find me in my sewing room sorting, labeling, and reorganizing projects and supplies. I am one of those creative folks who always has at least 10 different projects in process at once, so it is easy for my sewing time and my workspace to get a bit out of hand!

The New Year is a wonderful time for me to refocus on those UFO’s (Un Finished Objects!) in my stash and make a plan for the new projects I want to complete in the coming months. I recently purchased a white board for my sewing room and found it to be a great way to keep me organized and on task.  I use it to keep my “Sewing To Do” list visible which helps me plan, organize, and prioritize my projects.

I start by listing all my current “in-process” projects. Beside each, I list the next step needed for each of these projects and my target date to complete that step.  Since I have so many projects going on at once, this keeps me focused and on task with my projects, and prevents me wasting valuable time trying to remember where I left off and what to do next with each.  The target date is a gently nudge to keep each project moving ahead a little at a time and it’s so satisfying to see the dates march forward.

Zip closing bags are not just for snacks to keep you going while you sew, I find them to be an invaluable sewing tool! I keep each set of project materials together in a clear zip closing plastic bag so I don’t have to hunt for pieces or supplies when I have a few minutes to work on one. I love kits for their economy and convenience, so for each project I make up a “kit”. Before starting a project, I gather all the materials and tools needed to complete the project and store them together in clear zip bag.  At the beginning of each machine embroidery project,  I gather the blank item for embroidery, all the thread in the colors needed for the design, the printed color stop sheet and template for the design I plan to use, and a piece of the appropriate stabilizer cut to size for the project.   Then I find that 20 or 30 minutes to sew on my embroidery machine, and the project is lined up and waiting for me to start! It’s a great time saver and eliminates the inevitable frustration of finding out I don’t have a key component to work on a project when I finally find time to sew!

Also on my white board, I list the main events or activities for which I want to create new projects. Upcoming weddings, birthdays, and parties go on this list as well as holidays. I love to use my embroidery machine to create personalized gifts and planning ahead keeps me on track. I hate getting overwhelmed and cramming at the last minute to get them done or worse yet, getting off track completely so I am unable to complete the gift items I intended for each special day.  This year I have lined up a set of personalized guest and kitchen towels for the newlyweds, a personalized golf towel for Uncle Joe’s birthday, and a personalized wine bottle cover for the hostess of the upcoming wine and cheese party. Beside each I have listed the desired target completion date.  I will continue to add more items as I complete those already on my UFO list!

My large family is scattered so when we get together, I try to have something special to commemorate the day. Personalized cocktail napkins or gift bags are a great option.  I find our linen and cotton bags are the perfect packaging presentation for almost any gift since they are available in so many different styles and sizes.  Adding that special personalized machine embroidered touch allows them to double as a beautiful wrapping for a gift and the recipient is thrilled with the bag as much as the gift! My sister says it’s like getting a “gift within a gift”! I love to personalize these bags with names and initials but also find it fun to add a special or funny motif that reflects the personality of the recipient.

I hope you found some of these suggestions useful and are inspired to enjoy a productive new year of machine embroidery!   Have fun stitchin’