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Make Them Mini

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.

How?

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?
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Make them mini! It’s fun!

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3 thoughts on “Make Them Mini

  1. Can I ask why you didn’t use the scanned image as a tack-down stitching line? I don’t have that software so I don’t know anything about it. But if you could use the image as a tack-down line, then layer the applique fabric on the background, tack it down, cut the excess away, and finish up with a satin stitch. But I guess that negates the purpose of embroidering down your previously made applique, huh? I can see how it would end up imperfect. But from here it looks great! As to avoiding certain areas with the longarm, I’ve about got that down perfect now that I’ve screwed up my first tries so much that I have to go back and re-stitch wonky areas. You are correct that edge-to-edge doesn’t work with that.

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    • Of course, you can ask! 🙂 I love trading ideas. You are right, I didn’t use a tackdown line because if I was digitizing this way for my quilter, the applique would already be complete. I think if I wasn’t going all the way to the edge, say left a 1/4″ offset, then I would be OK. As for the quilting, the text was kind of difficult to maneuver with a crop. If I do it again, I will free motion the block.

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  2. I don’t have an embroidery machine so I’m no help at all! But I did want to say that the block is beautiful! Embroidery machines really add a dimension that you just can’t duplicate as well otherwise.

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