Are you looking forward to Spring? This is certainly a perfect time to think about Spring Theme projects for your home, and maybe for gifts too! Here are ten fun and fast Spring Theme projects that caught my attention:
Today, I’m sharing insights on Modern Tools and Software that can be used for cutting fabrics for applique’, as well as cutting many other items. I’m also sharing a tutorial to help you take a design created in various software (e.g. EQ7, machine embroidery designs or software, etc), or even sketched on paper, to create an SVG file that can be used to cut your shape on an electric cutter. And, there was a release this week of new software from Silhouette, that I want to increase awareness.
If you don’t have any of these tools, I hope you’ll still follow along and share your perspective on what you may like or dislike about applique. And, if you do have these tools, or other modern tools, I’d also enjoying hearing your perspective on what you may like or dislike on using any of these tools.
TO START, WHEN YOU THINK OF APPLIQUE, WHAT COMES TO YOUR MIND?
Machine Applique ? Machine Embroidery Applique ? Needle Turn Applique ?All the work required to trace and cut your shape? Using an AccuQuilt Die? Using an electronic cutter, like a Silhouette Cameo, Sizzix Eclipse, Brother SnC, etc.? Using software to create your own unique design in EQ7 or other software? Or do you think of doodling on paper to create your own design and manually transfer that design to cut your shape on fabric?
Unfortunately, or fortunately, the evolution of modern tools and their benefits for quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts continues to grow. It just seems that it was a few years ago that die cutting machines (e.g. Sizzix Big Shot, AccuQuilt GO!) were considered revolutionary and, for many, they are still a valued modern tool that help them be creative.
Sizzix also has many wonderful dies, that are perfect for Fall theme projects.
But what about when you have a shape that isn’t available in a die or the die doesn’t cut the shape in a size that you want?
Maybe you have an applique shape you created using Electric Quilt/EQ7 software, or from machine embroidery digitizing software, and you want to cut that shape in fabric, for your project.
Maybe cutting one shape using manual tracing and cutting techniques would be ok. But what if you need to cut hundreds? Who would want to manually cut out dog foot prints to go around borders and sashing when you could cut them out on an electronic cutter that would be a perfect size for your project?
Within EQ7, as well as many other software packages by the Electric Quit Company, you can easily print your applique templates to cut your fabrics. And, for those using electronic cutters, you can also print your applique templates (or Foundation Piecing Templates) to a PDF. There are several ways you can then use this PDF, but in just a minute, I’ll share a tutorial to show an easy way.
Within machine embroidery digitizing software packages, you can also print your templates to cut your applique shapes using traditional methods. Or, you can print to a PDF for use on an electronic cutter.
There are actually a variety of Electronic Cutters on the market, so the steps can vary with each:
And, while Silhouette, Sizzix, Brother, Janome, Cricut and Pazzles all have their own software package to help you design your own shapes on their machine. There is also a variety of other software packages that you could use to cut your shapes on these machines.
Make the Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot are independent software packages that allows you to create your own shape and cut on many of the electronic cutters.
Again, each electronic cutter and each software package that connects with one or more cutters, all have different pros and cons. And, different steps for how you can create your own design, or take a design from a machine embroidery applique design (or an EQ7 design file) to your cutter. I’m not going to try to walk you thru all the options, but for those that may want to get an applique template or foundation (paper pieced) templates created in EQ7 (or other software by Electr
For those that have an electronic cutter and may find challenges with cutting shapes created in other software packages (e.g. EQ7, machine embroidery digitizing software), here is a tutorial that I’ve found to be easy to use and economical. It simply relies on your ability to create a PDF (or you may already have one with your purchased machine embroidery design files), as well as use a free program called Inkscape to create an SVG file format that can then be used to cut on various electronic cutting machines.
If you do not have software on your computer, to allow you to create a PDF, here are two free programs that you may want to consider:
note; You may have Illustrator, or other software packages that support Vector graphics that will allow you to create SVG. But as these are typically expensive software packages, but if you don’t the free Inkscape program works great!
DID I MENTION A TUTORIAL ?
HOW TO CREATE AN SVG FILE FROM A PDF ?
If you do not already have Inkscape installed on your computer, you will need to download and install this FREE progra from: https://inkscape.org/en/
Within the Inkscape program, click FILE > OPEN and navigate to open the PDF created in V7.
Under the PAGE SETTINGS option, Click the page that contains your appliqué template on the pdf and then click ok
Click on the Select and Transform button on the left hand tool bar (arrow button).
And use your mouse to click on the template. Right click and select UNGROUP. You may have to click the UNGROUP button twice, to ensure all the items are ungrouped as you may have a group within a group.
Right-click the vector graphic and click “Ungroup” from the pop-up menu. This splits the image up into its vector components so you can extract the parts you require.
For multi-page PDF files, be sure to use the PDF Import Settings to select the page for the shapes that you wish to import to Inkscape. To clarify, if there are multiple pages, you will need to repeat this step by “Select page” under the Page settings option.
ClICK on any item, other than your appliqué shape and delete. Note: You may need to click once and ungroup again, before you can delete the misc items that were on your PDF. Goal is to get to the point that only your desired appliqué shapes are in view in Inkscape.
CLICK FILE SAVE AS type the name of your design, which now has the SVG file extension. Save as to your desktop, or an area you will remember.
Your SVG file is now ready to be opened in software for your electronic cutting machine, following steps unique to your software to send it to your machine to cut.
NEW SILHOUETTE DESIGNER EDITION PLUS SOFTWARE
For those that enjoy machine embroidery, Silhouette has released PLUS software this week that will allow you to open up machine embroidery designs and cut your applique shapes on your Silhouette machine: This new PLUS software will work with the following machine embroidery file formats:
In addition to being able to open machine embroidery files in this new PLUS version, there is also functionality for creating Rhinestone designs. Personaly, I’m delighted with this new PLUS software release and plan to not only use it to cut applique shapes for machine embroidery applique (MEA), but to incorporate sketch pens and/or rhinestones into my MEA designs, as well as use MEA designs to create quilt labels and more. The possibilities are endless.
While I am not an Affiliate for Silhouette, I honestly think their software is a good value. This new PLUS version comes has two options to purchase:
Standalone (you do not already have Silhouette Designer Edition) – $74.99
Upgrade version (you already have Silhouette Designer Edition) – $25.00
note: If you purchase the Upgrade for the new PLUS software, be sure you have the most current version of Silhouette Designer Edition (3.6.39). If you do not, download and install the free upgrade to the most current version which you can get on their Silhouette-Studio page, by scrolling to the bottom and clicking the button that says download:http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/software/silhouette-studio Once you have the Plus version successfully installed, your software will clearly show “plus” at the top. You will then simply click FILE > OPEN and change the file type to reflect the file format of the machine embroidery design you want to open. Then, you can use the entire design to print, to change portions to rhinestones, or remote all but the cut line which you can use to cut your fabric with perfect alignment to your machine embroidery design.
I just purchased the Upgrade to PLUS and was able to quickly and easily open up machine embroidery applique files, to cut out the appropriate size applique shapes. If there is enough interest, I may later record a video tutorial, but the steps are truly very easy.
While I’m a Silhouette owner and excited about the new Designer Edition Plus software, I am disappointed it does not pull in designs created in various Electric Quilt software (E.G. EQ7),. Earlier insights on the Silhouette website had reported the Designer Edition Plus software would allow users to open up “stitching” files, which made me get very excited about the ability to easily create cut applique shapes created using EQ7 software. But this week, they changed their website to reflect it would only open a limited selection of machine embroidery design formats.
For now, I’ll continue to rely on using PDFs and Inkscape for my EQ7 designs, to create SVG cut files for my Silhouette, but I do hope that one day there will be an easier way to turn my EQ7 applique shapes into cut files, as well as use my sketch pens for overall EQ7 designs. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if EQ7, or an EQ add on, would support creating SVG files?
To clarify, I’m excited about how the Silhouette Designer Edition Plus helps to integrate machine embroidery designs with the Silhouette ecutters, but I’d like to also be able to easily incorporate designs that are created in one of the most popular quilt design software packages – EQ7, eliminating the need to create PDFs and process them thru Inkscape, before we can cut them in our Silhouette, or other ecutters. Electronic cutters are great tools, but if the manufacturers of these devices and the respective software companies of standalone software, want to embrace quilting, sewing and embroidery enthusiasts, they need to help streamline the connectivity between our primary designing tools (e.g. EQ7) and the ability to cut on their electronic cutting tools. So far, the hardware and software companies seem to be falling short of missing this opportunity.
Here are some links to other sources of great information on various electronic cutters and software:
Jin Yong of Under A Cherry Tree has a blog that focuses on electronic cutters and has released many tips, tutorials and inspirational projects, although she is not a machine embroiderer, so will most likely never explore the new Silhouette Designer Edition Plus software: http://underacherrytree.blogspot.com/
As mentioned earlier, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this broad area of Modern tools and software and applique in general. Are you excited about the direction these modern tools are going and their ability to help us create?
This is the last week of the EQ7 Seasons Row-Along, hosted by Marian Pena of Seams To Be Sew. I think the reveals are amazing, as all of the ROW designs have been so creative. Thus, I wan to encourage you to visit all of the blogs in this Row-Along and download their free patterns, as well as check out the beautiful quilts that have been made using this patterns. Of course, I think you’ll want to enter the giveaways this week too!
Before I begin, I want to recognize and thank Marian for organizing and hosting this amazing event. I’ve learned a lot and have had great fun. I also want to recognize and thank all of the bloggers who shared free designs and amazing tutorials. BTW – I’ve added all of these wonderful bloggers to My Creative Blogs list, which is a blog dedicated to showcasing creative bloggers, as well as fun blogging events.
While I shared my Winter Delights ROW pattern and a tutorial last week, today I’m sharing a new free “bonus” pattern, a tutorial today, more insights about this blog hop, as well as hosting another giveaway.
But I also want to encourage you to visit all the blogs that are participating in the big reveal, aka Show N Tell Day, of this EQ Seasonal ROW-Along. They’ll be sharing their seasonal quilts and you will find more tutorials, tips and giveaways this week at:
Don’t forget that there is a Facebook group is called “EQ Seasons ROW-Along” and is packed with inspiration.
DID I MENTION A FREE ROW PATTERN BEING GIVEN AWAY HERE?
My ROW quilt design is called Winter Frolic. (above) My favorite ROWIt is designed for a ROW of eight blocks, finish 7 1/2″ x 10″, for an overall row of 10″x60″. Each block is designed for raw edge applique’, or machine embroidery (I recommend designs by Marjorie Busby).
(above) My favorite ROW was created using Hoffman fabrics, found in the new EQ Stash (2015 03). EQ also has a 20% off sale on this Stash Collection, and several other products, this week.
(above) It is easy to add a border to see how this row might look as a table runner. I used a simple border, but you can certainly create an endless number of border formats using EQ7 to audition designs, as well as fabrics in EQ7.
I had a blast using EQ7 to create these whimsical blocks. The snowflake block can easily be made using the AccuQuilt Sleigh & Snowflake die #55322, or you can traditionally cut it using the template provided in my pattern. But die cuts will get you accurate shapes (a must for machine embroidery), faster and easier).
I’m still learning how to create video tutorials. While I have more tutorial topics planned for future video tutorials, if there is something you want to learn to do in EQ7, please let me know and I’ll see if I can cover it in a future tutorial. I love all things EQ and while not an expert, I’m happy to try to help.
(note) the above version was created without taking time to use the measuring tape in EQ to plan out the size for the AccuQuilt pre-cuts on the respective blocks. When using EQ7 to plan your projects for Accuquilt applique shapes, definitely take time to use the tape measure tool to verify your scale vs your block size.
Last week, thanks to Marian and some generous sponsors, I hosted a couple giveaways. While those winners have been notified and the post last week has been updated, I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize the respective winners from last week (for giveaways on my blog):
This week, I’m offering a giveaway of precuts to make my Winter Frolic design. To clarify, this precut kit contains seven reindeer and a sleigh, all cut with the AccuQuilt Sleigh and Snowflake die. You can use these applique shapes to create a ROW quilt, table runner, or create your own design. I will send these precuts to one lucky winner, any where in the world. Simply fill out the one option in the rafflecopter form below. I will use Rafflecopter to randomly select a winner on October 12th and send an email to the respective winner. They will have 72 hours to claim their prize.
As mentioned, weekly, each blog in this event will be hosting various giveways. So follow the lineup for this week, as well as next week, to enter all of the amazing giveaways. This includes an opportunity to win a copy of EQ7. Click hereto enter this giveaway hosted on the Do You EQ blog. The EQ team has also written a tutorial, to help EQ users download a library of the majority of the blocks, which they kindly compiled, from participating blogs in the EQ Seasons Row Along event. This BLK library will be available for free at EQ for the next 30 days.
While Marian (Seams to be Sew) arranged for amazing giveaways to be offered each week, at each stop in this ROW Along, blog hop event, she also has many wonderful prizes that will be given out at the end of this event, including some for those that use the free ROW Along Patterns to create the Seasonal themed ROWS and/or quilts. For more info on this ROW Along and more prizes, be sure to visit Marian’s inspirational blog.
DID I MENTION A ROW-ALONG BLOG HOP ?
Thank you to Marian of Seams to be Sew for organizing this amazing event. Here is the line up for the entire ROW-Along event, with direct links to all of the posts with free patterns and many wonderful tutorials. There were also weekly giveaways at the majority of the participating blogs, with grand prizes being given away this week.
Today I want to recognize and thank Eleanor Burns for all she has done to make our world of quilting so wonderful. For those that may not know, El has heart surgery yesterday and is doing well. As some of you may wish to send her a card, I’m also providing information for where to send it. And, as some of you may wish to share this info, you certainly have my permission to share a link to this post, but while my blog is copyright protected, I do give you permission to use any of the images, or info shared on this post, on your blogs, or how ever you may wish to share it with others.
First as El is all about having fun while quilting, I want to heighten awareness of an ACCUQUILT webinar that she recently hosted teaching attendees how to make beautiful Drunkard’s Path Quilts using AccuQuilt products. And, it is also a webinar for her new GO! Sampler book.
In this video she also shared a trunk show of many beautiful and inspirational quilts made using the Drunkard’s Path design.
While may of us may not have attended the webinar, a recording was uploaded to Youtube:
In honor of Mothers Day today, I wanted to recognize a woman whom some might think of as the Mother of Quilting. Eleanor Burns certainly has taught many to quilt and is loved by many quilters from all around the world.
Did you know Eleanor is coming out with a new line of fabric, from Benartex? It is called Zoey Christine. This line of fabric is actually named after one of Eleanor’s granddaughters. So special, but as all mothers and grandmothers try to be fair, I think this means Eleanor is going to need to come out with more lines of fabric to ensure all her grandkids are recognized. Or maybe I’m thinking that as she always comes out with such sweet fabric.
Eleanor and the Quilt in a Day team created a fun YouTube video, where she also shares some insights in honor of Mother’s Day. Plus, she shows how to create a spectacular quilt using an AccuQuilt. She makes a Jewel Box quilt that can be created with a 6″ or 9″ design. I also enjoy all of the tips she shares for precision piecing and connecting blocks with perfect seams that press perfectly flat.
This video runs for 59 minutes, but you can start/stop/repeat anytime you want. You’ll see Eleanor make three quilt designs, as well as see these designs made in a variety of fabrics and colors. Plus, there are free patterns for these designs!
Quilt in a Day is also giving free shipping on orders placed this weekend, as a way to celebrate Mother’s Day. They have a great online store with great prices too! To clarify, the free shipping has no minimum order but is good for the 48 contiguous states in the US. Non-contiguous states and International orders will receive 50% off shipping costs.
Thanks to Ebony Love for sharing this opportunity on Facebook:
“If you have an AccuQuilt Studio, Sizzix Big Shot Pro, or AccuCut GrandeMark: AccuCutCraft.com and AccuCutEducation.com are selling dies and die sets for 50% off through April 3rd. No kidding! Use code FIFTY at checkout”.
When I first saw this cute quilt and tutorial I instantly new this had to be added to my list of Favorite Tutorials. I’m happy to be able to add this to my list today. This beautiful design was created by the very talented Barb Gaddy (Bejeweled Quilts) and she has a wonderful tutorial on her blog to help you make it too. She figured out a way to use AccuQuilt dies to create a shape that wasn’t necessarily the primary design of the respective dies, thus finding a way to add more value to those with AccuQuilt GO! and/or dies.
Quilt in a Day has a 35% off special for AccuQuilt Products. Great opportunity to purchase AccuQuilt products for yourself, or for a gift. There is a large selection of AccuQuilt products available in this sale, but here are a few that caught my attention:
Cherry is a wonderful “Southern Woman” who is also a very talented quilter, longarmer, and quilt designer.
She has a wonderful blog where she shares many tips, fun insights. As a follower of her blog, I knew when I saw her beautiful Christmas Tree Quilt (Feathered Christmas ) that she shared in the 2011 Christmas Quilt Show, that this wonderful quilt needed to become a published design.
Needless to say, I was absolute delighted when I learned Cherry published this “Feathered Christmas” pattern. The finished wallhanging measures 24″x28″ and uses a raw edge applique with pieced borders. It looks great in red/white, blue/white and I’m confident it would look spectacular in batiks, as well as a variety of colors and prints.
Cherry also designed a spectacular Christmas Wreath Design (Feather Fancy)
The finished wallhanging measures 28″x28″ and uses a raw edge applique with pieced borders.
Both Feathered Christmas and Feather Fancy patterns are easy to follow with excellent visuals. They also come with a full size layout template that helps with placement of the raw-edge applique’ pieces. While you can manually cut these applique shapes, these designs are AccuQuilt GO! compatible using the following dies: 55028, 55087, 55088, 55024, 55017, and 55053. To clarify, these patterns include everything you need to create this design without the use of an AccuQuilt, or all of these dies, but using the GO! and all of dies certainly helps to make this a very fast and fun project!
Don’t you think these are perfect designs to help decorate your home for the holidays, as well as make for gifts?
These patterns can be purchased from Cherry Blossoms Shop. They are such a new design they are not yet available in many quilt stores, or online shops. But, you can let your quilt shops know that you’d like them to carry these designs. Wholesale orders can be placed through Brewer Sewing.
Did I Mention A Giveaway?
Cherry is generously giving away a copy of her Feathered Christmas and her Feather Fancy pattern to two differ winners. To clarify, winners will receive either a copy of Feathered Christmas or Feather Fancy.
This giveaway is also limited to those living in US or Canada.
To enter to win, followers simply need to leave a comment on this post. Two winners will be randomly selected and announced next Friday.
Want an extra entry? Be a public follower of Cherry’s delightful blog (Cherry Blossoms Quilting Studio) and leave an extra comment below to claim this extra entry.