I mentioned in a previous post, Winter Stargazing, that I will be working on Tiny Dresden Seasonal Series by Susan Marth of Suzn Quilts. January’s pattern is a Dresden Snowflake. The pattern calls for hand applique and hand embroidery.
My mom and I are both making these. She is doing them (mostly) by hand, so I decided to mix it up a bit and try to do some “special” machine applique using my embroidery machine.
(This won’t be image heavy.)
First, I used some fusible web to attach the mini dresden, center circle, and 1/2″ circles to my background. Then I went a little crazy. Instead of stitching them down with a blanket or decorative stitch (because those 1/2″ circles scared me), I decided to try to machine embroidery them down.
Using a VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Scanner, I scanned in my block. This was very dicey. I tried several times before I got something I thought was usable.
– The first time, I tried to do it like you would a piece of paper. However, when the scanner hit the applique, the “bump” caused distortion in the captured image.
– My solution was to raise the scanner above the fabric using plastic templates or rulers on each side. This helped me capture the image of the fabric assembly well.
(I wish I would have kept all of those terrible images, so you would see what I mean!)
The ruler on the edge of my photograph served a second purpose! It gave the image scale.
The next step was to import the image to my digitizing software as background. For this round, I used Art & Stitch, software that I typically use for digitizing quilt designs. Using the image of the block in the background, I scaled it up so that the ruler matched my design grid that was set to a specific dimension. I created the stitching outline, converted it to stitches and saved it as an embroidery file.
Now to my embroidery machine. After hooping the block, I was able to scan the block in the hoop with my sewing machine. I opened my embroidery file and attempted to position the embroidery pattern to match the appliqued block. This did not go well. They didn’t quite match. I could never get my edges to match all the way around. With a few adjustments, I was able to imperfectly stitch the snowflake down.
What is the saying, “Finished is better than perfect”. I could probably apply that here!
I can think of so many things I would do differently the next time, one being, consider stitching it down by hand!
What did I learn?
I might work with the vupoint some more and either figure out a way to export a full-scale image or add in a ruler scale for both the x & y axis.
What was my goal?
I am really hoping to figure out a way to scan in applique on quilts I have loaded on my longarm to allow me to easily crop those areas out when doing computerized quilt layout. It might work if I am not stitching all the way up to the edge of the design!
Do I get any extra credit for effort?
I finished the block off with some machine embroidery text similar to the pattern style and then quilted it with some snowflakes (a challenge I might discuss later). The buttons in the pattern add a little extra detail. I love them (and sewed them by hand – but only because they were too small for my machine!).
Have any of you had luck with scanning quilt blocks? How do you do it?
Make them mini! It’s fun!