Sewing With Nancy – Today’s Crazy Quilting with your Embroidery Machine, Part 1

Sewing With Nancy – Today’s Crazy Quilting with your Embroidery Machine, Part 1


Crazy quilting
became popular in the late
1800’s small, random
pieces of fabric were hand stitched
together and then embellished
with elaborate embroidery. Now you can
fast-forward to today and crazy quilting
can be totally created using an embroidery
machine. Eileen Roche,
embroidery expert has mastered
this technique. Welcome back to
Sewing With Nancy
, Eileen. Nancy, it’s great
to be here. Today, if you have
scraps of fabric thread and
an embroidery machine you can immediately become
a crazy quilting expert. Wondering how? All the patches, stitches
and elegant embroidery is programmed right
into the designs. This process is
extremely gratifying. “Today’s Crazy Quilting With
Your Embroidery Machine” That’s what’s next
onSewing with Nancy.Sewing with NancyTV’s longest-airing
sewing and quilting program with Nancy Zieman
is made possible by Baby Lock, a complete line
of sewing, quilting and embroidery machines
and sergers. Baby Lock,
for the love of sewing. Madeira, specializing
in embroidery, quilting and special-effect
threads because creativity
is never black and white. Koala Studios fine sewing furniture
custom-built in America. Clover,
making a difference in sewing, quilting, crafting,
and needle arts for over 30 years. Amazing Designs
and Klassé needles. Before embarking on
today’s crazy quilting Eileen let’s
share with our viewers the traditional
crazy quilting. This is a treasure
in my house made by
my great-grandmother Alice Lee Larson. You can see
the date. She was
Norwegian and maybe didn’t spell
August quite right. But we have
a beautiful date. There are silks,
twills, cottons, wool all hand-stitched. I just adore some of
these crazy embroiders. And she uses
a variety of thread. She’s actually
using yarn and some cotton, and I
imagine if we looked closely there might be some
silk thread in here. Yes. Unfortunately, some of
the patches have seen their better day
but with that you can tell that she stitched
on a foundation. This was an old
Damask tablecloth. A tablecloth,
look at that. You can see
the weave of the fabric
come through. The silk has– Again, through the test of time,
has not quite worn well. It’s almost a hundred
years old, Nancy. It is,
it’s very precious. Her daughter,
Viola Larson in 1973,
this piece is dated made crazy quilting again
using the same techniques but with
velour scraps. So it’s a warm,
loving fabric. And it’s not finished
which allows us to go to
the underside and see how it was
crazy pieced together. Big, unmeasured,
you know just kind of
scraps of fabric. Build
as you go. Yes. It’s just kind of
fascinating. You can see the variety
of foundations. We’re pointing out
some similarities to yesterday’s crazy quilting
and today’s crazy quilting as you’ll
soon see. Let’s just
look at these. You just have to take time
to admire some of this work. Even if you’re not
a hand-embroiderer you can accomplish
the same thing. Absolutely. On today’s machines
you can mimic this look a lot easier. We havesome small
samples to show you that you can
dabble in this you can expand
upon it. But beautiful
fabrics. These were silks
that were remnants from previous work
that I had in my stash. So beautiful colors
to coordinate and of course the black
offsets it just beautifully. And like
what you saw earlier the embroidery, this is
done with the machine. And it’s going to do it
automatically for you. Even some of the embroiders,
we’ll show you some options
for this. They could be added
before or after. And then even trim
or lace that can be from scraps
from your sewing area or this was created
at the embroidery machine. Now here you have
silk dupioni. I do. It’s a
luscious fabric. But you can also
use cottons. Here shows a patchwork
block of cottons and it’s done
on a foundation. So let’s talk a little bit
about this block or the blocks
that we have here and point out to you
if you haven’t used a computerized
embroidery machine you see that it’s not just
for accent embroideries. There are these
beautiful stitches that embellish
each seam. We have three
different versions and with a large
variety of stitches some that have
long stitch lengths others that
are tiny really beautiful
decoration. But one thing they
all have in common is that very first color
that they stitch is this kind of
schematic. It’s a numbered
sequence and it has outlines
that show you exactly where your fabrics
are going to go. On the screen
of our sewing machine you can see that this is
the first thread color of the embroidery
design. It’s functional. Right, so I always suggest
using a contrasting thread unless you’re doing
all light fabrics on top. But, you know,
it’s easier to see when it’s in
a darker color. And instead of the foundation
being an old tablecloth this is traditional
embroidery stabilizer. Right. It’s a poly mesh
cutaway. This one happens
to be fusible which helps in our
flip and sew method. You can see the shine
of the fusible. Mm-hum. Let’s talk
a little bit about the templates
that come with the blocks so that you know how to
cut your fabric. How do you prepare
those scraps? There’s two ways to
prepare your templates. You can do what
we call windowpane or paper doll
style where you actually cut
right on the outline. Seam allowances have already
been included in these so that’s
good to know. If you’re
going to work on maybe a test scrap
of embroidery that you already have
in your stash you would stitch that
on regular stabilizer pop it out of the hoop
and then place that windowpane template
over it, centering it. Then you could– Trace if you
wanted to. Trace if you wanted,
with a removable marker, or not. And then you’ll know exactly
what size it should be. Now Eileen has
pre-cut these five swatches
or patches that are going to
go on here. And you can see, you don’t
have to get them exact. Oh, no, and actually
bigger is better. Because, you know,
the flip and sew method can be
a little tricky. So if you leave
some room for error then you won’t have
that many challenges when it comes time
to piece them in the hoop. You can see,
mine are really oversized. But that’s okay,
because the scraps that you wind up with
after this project are often usable
for the next project. So let’s go
stitch this now. All crazy quilting
is enhanced with embroidery whether it’s by machine
or by hand. You need to choose your
beautiful thread colors. I’m working with rayon thread
in multiple colors more than this
that I’m showing you. Then in the bobbin,
for computerized embroidery I’m using the bobbin thread
recommended by my sewing machine
manufacturer. It’s light-weight it’s not the same weight
as the rayon. Make sure you put in
a new needle. It’s so important,
don’t you find, Eileen? Absolutely. You get a fresh start
with a brand new needle. We have our embroidery units
attached to our sewing machine and you have
already stitched one of the designs
we showed you earlier. I have color one which has all the numbers
and the outlines of the different
patches. I’m already on
color two and you can see
color two is an outline
of my first patch. So it’s
time to lay that fabric
right-sides up over that
outline. Lower
the presser foot. I’ll keep my hands
out of the needle’s way but I will
hold on to that patch just for a moment
to get it started. It looks like I didn’t
position my patch just right. I have a little corner
out of position but it will be
covered. By the seam
allowance. By the seam
allowance. So I’ll be fine
on that patch. It’s like
paint by number because you have two,
three, four, five on that embroidery hoop
and you know where to go next. Absolutely and it’s so fun
to watch it come alive. Now the needle will advance
over to color two. Color two is
just another seam. That’s going to
connect patch one
and patch two. So in the hoop I will
position my fabric. Now this time
I position it right-sides
together. I can lift
the fabric beneath to make sure that my edge
is going to be caught. Lower
the presser foot. And again, keeping my hands
out of harms way way out by the perimeter
of the hoop I’ll just
guide the fabric so it can cover
that seam. Now the fun part is next,
Nancy. The revealing. Or the unveiling,
I should say. Right, we wait until
the presser foot lifts and moves
to the next line then I just
finger press that open. Of course,
silk is so responsive it just does
flatten right out. Time to take the next patch,
patch number three. Do you ever tape that down,
Eileen? Yes, this would be a great time
to tape that down. Thanks, Nancy. I keep
the transparent tape out beyond the boundaries
of the block. But you know,
you really can even stitch
on that transparent tape. No harm
at all. Again, I’m lifting
my seam allowance to make sure that
my new edge is going to
cover it. I think I have this patch
upside-down so we’ll flip it
in this fashion. Okay, lower the presser foot,
and off we go. So really it’s embroidery
at its simplest form just doing
straight stitching to construct
this patch unlike my great-grandmother
and my great-aunt they did it free form
on their Damask tablecloth. This is done
easily and you’ll have
just the same patch look patch after patch. That’s right. If you’d like to
you could do some trimming of that
seam allowance. We’re just going to
expedite a little bit by– See how fast
this goes. And I will tape
this section down again in the seam
allowance. That’s just a little bit
of insurance. Now, I have quite a bit of
excess fabric here so I think I will
take a moment to trim
this patch away and reveal
you know the area underneath
which is number four. And just right-sides
together aligning that
raw edge. And again, it’s always wise
to lift it. If you’re working with
skimpy fabric sections you can even
flip this back and make sure
you’re going to cover the area
that you need to cover. Sure. Once you’re
confident flip it back align that
raw edge and lower
the presser foot. Off we go. This is fun. It is really,
you know building a block
by numbers just as you said
earlier. While this is finished
stitching we’ll take a break
and do this off camera. Now that I have
patch four applied and flipped back
and even taped down it’s time to add
my decorative corner. This is
an embellishment we’ve already done
on a piece of fabric. I want to
make sure that it’s going to fit
in the area and lower the presser foot,
and go! Again, I’ll just kind of
hold onto that so it doesn’t shimmy
across the hoop. Even though that embroidery
had a little stabilizer on it it’s just fine
to add. Oh, sure. It’s very light-weight
and it won’t– No harm. No harm,
no foul. [laughter] The pieces are
cut larger. It’s just
a process and you get a rhythm
to this after a while. You do get a rhythm
to this. Okay, and then we’ll just
flip this back and reveal the beautiful
fabrics underneath. Now, I’m going to take a moment
and tape that down so that it won’t
get caught as we do the decorative
stitches. Just bear with me
one second. While Eileen’s
getting this ready the next stitches will be,
as we mentioned these beautiful
decorative stitches that were done
by hand traditionally and now are done
by machine. Big, wide,
lovely stitches that would be
kind of hard to do if you had to
do them by hand. You’re ready
to do that stitching. Now often when you’re working on
the decorative stitches you are
stitching over maybe a light fabric
and a dark fabric so color choice
can be a little difficult. Always select colors
that are going to pop. The whole idea
about crazy quilting is that the stitches
are visible. Exactly, and a lot of times
crazy quilting in the hoop may be just
with fabric. This time it’s fabric
with embroidery with decorative stitches,
big decorative stitches. Right. This is a technique that
more is better. Yes, absolutely. It’s just
kind of fun to just watch
what happens. And each decorative stitch
is a different color segment so you can add colors,
you know seven different colors
if you’d like throughout
the block. So just
take the time to have all these stitches
stitch out. Each time you can
change color as you can see here. Next we’ll show
how to personalize just as my
great-grandmother did. Eileen
finished stitching all the decorative
embroideries the decorative stitches
on her block. This is a different block,
of course. But now to add
some personalization a date, a monogram,
just to give it that same traditional look
but in a modern way. Let me
show you how. I’m going to
add the monogram with build-in lettering
on my machine. I’ll select
a script because I think that
goes with the style. I certainly don’t
need that extra large so I’ll go down
to a medium size and touch set
and then sewing. Now because this is
a build-in design I don’t know exactly
how to place it in the block. I’m going to use
a target sticker that just has
a cross-hair with an arrow
pointing on one end. That’s designating the top
of the embroidery design. In this case, the top of
the letter ‘E’. On the editing feature
of the machine I’ll use
the jog keys to move the hoop
so that I am centered right over
that target sticker. I have to rotate
my design because,
you know I want to fit that ‘E’
in that space. So I’m going to use
a little tool that is will tell me
exactly how many degrees to rotate
the design. And I’ve
positioned it centered over
the target sticker. I just want to
make sure that the edge is parallel
with the hoop and I swing the dial
so that the red cross-hair sits on top of
the cross-hair underneath. It tells me to rotate
344 degrees. I’ll go into rotate,
and I will rotate 340. Oh, you know I’m too close
to the edge so we’ll do that
first out here. We just do it
by tens and we’ll get
right to 340. Then
when I move back to my target
sticker I’m able to
stitch the design. Lower the presser foot,
remove the target sticker and embroider. That’s how easy it is to
personalize a quilt block. In another little patch
I could add a date if this was maybe
a memento for a wedding or some special occasion
in a family. And just
let it stitch. So many options
are built right into embroidery machines
today. You have lots of
different lettering. Of course with the different
colors of thread the sky’s the limit
on your creativity, really. It’s beautiful. Now we’ve used
all silk fabrics and while this is
kind of stitching I’m just going to
show you that you certainly could
use cotton fabrics. This is what this block
is made out of. You can see the traditional
cotton fabrics not quite
as shiny. Then you could
also consider using cotton thread
rather than rayon thread. So the choice
is– You know, depending upon
the flatness of the fabric you may want to use the flat,
cotton type of thread. And look,
those are beautiful even on
tonal look. I like that look
a lot. We’re going to be doing some
more embroidering but while
this is stitching I’ll just
talk about when you’re embroidering
in a hoop and creating
a block the last stitch
always happens to show or some of
the last stitches will give you a cutting line
and a stitching line. So every block
will be exact. If you remember from
my great-aunt’s blocks they weren’t
always alike. Here they can always
be alike because you’re
going to be trimming along the other edge,
stitching– Let’s see
if we can show you on the inner edge
of this. So you have exact lines
to do the trim. That’s what
I’ve done here. No matter what,
if this is you’re
first time piecing
a quilt you can
have it exact. If this is your first time
embroidering you’re going to
have it exact. This is a great
transitional technique. Then when you
go to piece you actually just sew
on that inner line. That’s your
seam lines. You don’t have to be concerned
about the seam allowance. So many, many embroidery
in-the-hoop projects have those exact
stitching lines. The ‘E’ is coming to a close,
isn’t it? Yes, it’s just
about done. Once it’s complete
I want to add some decorative flowers
in another patch. Here you can use
a traditional template. And just in closing, Eileen,
if you can show if you’re familiar
with embroidery you know
about templates. You can just kind of
show what that is. A template is
a printed image of your embroidery
design. Really any software
that you have you just go to
file, print. You can also
stitch them out but it’s easiest
to use software. It has an arrowhead
designating the top of
the embroidery design. Then you just position it
in the area where you want the design
to stitch out. If it’s square to the hoop you,
wouldn’t have to rotate it but if not,
you could use a tool to determine how many degrees
to rotate the design. So you see,
personalization is very evident
and very possible with crazy
quilting. Sewing and quilting are
very personal crafts. So is the business of creating
with needle and thread. Please welcome
Stephanie Struckmann via Skype
who has made the art of sewing
her business a business
within her home. Great to see you again,
Stephanie. You too, thank you
for having me. I’m so excited. Oh, I’m glad to
interview you. Tell our viewers
your business experience of setting up
a sewing studio a learning lab
within your home. When did you start,
Stephanie? I started
five years ago. I started teaching
sewing lessons probably six or seven
years ago when I
worked for a small
sewing machine shop. One of the managers
suggested that I start
teaching and I took her up on it
right away. Then
the machine shop probably
within a year or two announced that
they were closing. They were very grateful
to allow me to e-mail
their community group that they had
kind of built up just letting
people know that I still wanted
to teach sewing classes and that if anybody
was interested to please
let me know. So I started
an e-mail list. I told them
I was getting married and I was
graduating and I still wanted
to teach sewing lessons. I talked to
my then fiancé about doing that
after we got married and he said, yeah,
definitely. So as they
were closing I purchased a couple
of student machines. Good. Yeah, we talked
about– Originally, it was
in one room. It just wasn’t
working out. It was right in front when
people walked in the door. I kind of wanted the house
to be more homey. Sure. So I talked him
into moving it into our
living room with a fireplace
in it. I like the fireplace
as a thread rack. That’s very
clever of you. Yeah, yeah. It was
a nice flat space to kind of keep it
out of the way and make it
pretty. How many machines
do you have set up in your
sewing studio? I have three
main ones. I try to keep
my classes if it’s not a private lesson,
to two to four students. The classroom
I originally had it in could fit
six students. I had about six machine that
I could kind of rotate through. But then I kind of decided,
six to eight students sometimes is
a little bit more difficult especially when
it’s children. So we decided to move it
into the other room and so I try to keep classes
from two to four students because it’s
a little bit smaller. You have some interesting
categories that you teach. You mentioned younger girls
or young boys learning
to sew but you have some
other combos or other options
for teaching. Yeah,
definitely. I get a broad range
of people. Yeah, I like
the kids classes. I start from
seven and up and sometimes
the parents decide whether seven
is too young. I’ve had some really great
sewers at seven. Then I’ve had a lot of
moms and daughters which can be a really fun
bonding experience for them and for me to get to know them
and their relationship. And then a lot of women,
just friends that want to get out
and do something or young moms
that want to sew things for their kids
or home dec. Sure, well,
that’s quite a variety. If someone was thinking
about starting a sewing business
within their home what would be your top
two recommendations or suggestions
to them to give them
business advice? I think just to make sure
that you have a good spot that
you can really call I don’t want to
say home but kind of, you know,
home for your business that can
be comfortable. You definitely when
you’re bringing students especially kids
into your home you definitely want to
make sure that it’s comfortable and that
parents feel comfortable leaving their
kids there. I even have a spot
that if parents want to stick around while
their kids are in class they can kind of
sit there and read a book or
check e-mail or whatever. Sure,
what a great idea. What’s the biggest challenge
that you’ve had over the years of teaching sewing
within your home or having your
home business? You know, I would say
that the biggest challenge and something I kind of
touched on earlier was classes
that are too big especially
when it’s kids. You know, when it’s adults
adults can be more patient if you’re helping other students
and they need help. They can also look over
the shoulder of someone else and be like, oh, okay,
that’s what I need to do. Whereas children,
if you have a classroom of six to eight
new sewers that don’t know
what they’re doing it can be really
overwhelming unless they really
pick up on it. But you hate to leave
somebody behind who actually is doing a really
good job and understands but you know, they’re waiting
for other people who need help. That might be
a situation in a lot of classrooms
in general. In other words,
less is best for beginner
sewers. Yeah, I like the two to four,
is a good number. Well, Stephanie,
thanks for the advice. Good luck
as you continue to teach sewing to
a variety of ages and good to see you. Thank you, you too,
always good to see you. Well, thanks to Stephanie. If you’d like to re-watch
this interview you can go to
nancyzieman.com watch the show, the interview
or 80-plus programs. This wraps up
our first program of “Today’s Crazy Quilting With
Your Embroidery Machine” with Eileen Roche. See you next time,
bye for now. Eileen Roche
has written the book “Today’s Crazy Quilting With
Your Embroidery Machine” which serves as a reference
for this two-part series. The book includes
a CD with three crazy quilt blocks,
three in-the-hoop projects and twelve
accent designs. It’s $29.99,
plus shipping and handling. To order the book,
call 1-800-336-8373 or visit our website at:
sewingwithnancy.com/2821. Order
Item Number BK00126 To pay by check
or money order call the number
on the screen for details. Visit Nancy’s website
at nancyzieman.com to see additional episodes,
Nancy’s blog, and more.Sewing with NancyTV’s longest airing
sewing and quilting program
with Nancy Zieman has been
brought to you by Baby Lock; Madeira Threads; Koala Studios; Clover; Amazing Designs
and Klassé Needles. Closed captioning funding
provided by Pellon.Sewing with Nancy
is a co-production
of Nancy Zieman Productions
and Wisconsin Public Television.

5 thoughts on “Sewing With Nancy – Today’s Crazy Quilting with your Embroidery Machine, Part 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *