Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I have moved

I have recently moved my blog --- You can visit me here at --- sptphyre.wordpress.com

Friday, August 17, 2012

embroidery machine software

I’ve done a little bit of research on Embroidery Machine software and thought I’d share with you what I came up with. I have tried a couple of these programs. If you are running on a Windows OS you’re in luck with many different types like;
Embird, (30 day trial, pay) http://www.embird.net/
Stitch Era Universal (FREE) http://www.freesierrasoftware.com/stitch_era_universal.asp
Buzz Explore http://www.buzztools.com/default1.asp,
Willcom’s Truesizer http://www.wilcom.com.au/PRODUCTS.aspx/TrueSizer.aspx

Stitch Era is a POWERFUL digitizing program, but with over 250 pages in the PDF manual. I played around with it some, and it looks like it can do just about everything and more. The problem I had was that it was just SO complex! I will keep it on my computer and use it for those times where I am wanting to digitize a photo or logo etc. It also prints the designs and has an awesome lettering and monogram function.

If you are running on a Mac (or Windows) however, you might like Embrilliance http://embrilliance.com/ which is a buy it before you try it program with a 30 day money back satisfaction guarantee. If this interests you, do download the PDF before you buy the software to see if it would work well for you. The reason why I purchased Embrilliance is so that I could merge/combine embroidery designs without a lot of fuss, and to not have to boot up my macbook into Boot Camp/Windows OS in order to use it. I’ve started my own small home sewing business and needed something that would be fast and reliable. So far so good, however I did come across one glitch in the program - when I try the stitch simulator the program crashes and shuts down. In all fairness however, I have not yet contacted support with this issue. I can pull ready made designs into the program and edit them by resizing or adding more to the design etc. I shop at emblibrary.com for most of my designs. Also it has it’s own monogramming included in the program. Lettering is a huge deal as well … and to be able to shape that lettering is a bonus! I still have to boot up into Windows OS to via bootcamp to put the designs on my machine card, (PED BASIC PROGRAM), but wow am I pleased with this program! It will also print your design template out for you with the stitch count and color code keys.

here is some curved lettering I did with Embrilliance on a dog blanket. I purchased the design through Emblibrary.com, for this I did not merge the two together in the program. Although I should have and could have! I finished the edges on this double thickness blanket with my Kenmore using the built in appliqué stitch. Was hard to get a decent closeup, but it gave it a nice blanket stitch type edge.


This is a baby blanket I did where I pulled in some pre made Alphabet letters and combined them in the program to form a name. The “bundle of joy” lettering design I purchased separately and embroidered separately. Again, I didn’t attempt to combine the designs, BUT? I think I could have. The alphabet is called “curlz” I thought it fun and whimsical and placed the letters as such. I stitched satin blanket binding on the edge, and boy did that make all the difference in the finished piece! The fabric is “minky” super plush microfiber fabric you can find in the baby/infant section at your fabric store. I went double thickness with the blanket and about 40” square. Now shhh … don’t say anything because this is a gift that hasn’t been given as yet.


Next are pillow cases I made as wedding gifts. This is where Embrilliance software really shined for me. I was able to incorporate the letters in from the program into a ready made design and then save each design onto my machine card. I had 3 different bridal couples to embroider for, and this really was so much easier than stitching out the design and then adding the lettering by measuring etc. Far easier to do placement of everything inside the program and then just stitch it all out. I’m all about finding easier ways of doing things.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

ottoman cover and pillows - minky/minkee dot

made some home dec stuff using the microfiber plush, minky in brown. This stuff is the bomb! So super soft! I made the ottoman cover because my pug taz loves to jump up on it and sit with me at night. Not that the ottoman looks bad, it’s still brand new and would like to keep it looking new longer. To sew this knit fabric, I’d suggest using a walking foot! Definitely, because it will slip slide around on you. To make the cover, I did the top and box edge around with loose elastic in the hem to help hold in place. The pillow x2 I made for my man’s man cave. Ultra soft this fabric is! I understand why they call it minky, it feels just like mink ...



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

more knit tops

New Look Pattern # 6940-


Kwik Sew #3338 revised neckline to a v-neck


Thursday, August 2, 2012

sweetheart neckline top

I made another of the sweetheart neckline top with more pattern adjustments. This time I raised the back neckline and lowered the front neckline. I did this one in solid black knit. You can really see the seams in a solid color. Also added the strip of the same fabric along the lower hem of the RTW top, giving it the layered look.IMG_1680-2012-08-2-07-33.jpgIMG_1681-2012-08-2-07-33.jpg

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

packing paper

This is the best stuff since sliced bread!!

Yes, really! Wrapping paper from uhaul. Not only do I use this for packing ebay items to ship from my store, but also useful for drafting patterns! Great big sheets that are just perfect for pattern pieces. Costs about $10 for a box of 200 sheets. Can’t beat that!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Grandma Shields

This is my maternal grandmother - grandma Shields! Both of my grandmother’s could sew a storm, so as not to slight my grandma Fleet. But truly my inspiration is from grandma Shields. She sewed all of her own dresses on a now antique Singer treadle sewing machine which I proudly have in my posession! What I can’t get over is, she used that machine! Have you ever tried to sew on a treadle sewing machine? You really gotta get a good rhythm going in order to operate it. And coordination doesn’t hurt! Which I don’t have a great deal of! I open that old machine up from time to time to run it, and to make sure it stays in running condition. But wow! Grandma Shields did it all when it came to needlework. I remember watching her thread crochet … which just amazed me as a kid. I wished I had paid better attention to what she was doing and learned from her. Unfortunately that isn’t the case, but I did learn on my own and she continues to inspire me. I miss her dearly …


copying a favorite RTW top

I decided I loved this RTW (ready to wear) top enough to copy it, and make my own pattern from it - without disassembling it. My version is the blue flower print! As you can see, the solid charcoal top is short. That’s what I get from almost every RTW top or blouse, and is WHY I am sewing my own. I am tired of having a wardrobe of clothes that simply don’t fit! I like how this pattern came out, but will adjust the neckline so that it’s just a smidgeon lower. As for the charcoal top? I’m thinking a wide strip of fabric around the bottom sewn in to give the top a “layered” look might help with the length so I can still wear this beloved top. There really aren’t that many patterns that I could find that had the sweetheart neckline I was looking for, so this is not bad in my opinion!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Look Pattern

New Look Pattern # 6940 another view from the same pattern. hmm I’m not sure how I feel about this, I think I like the front “twist” version better - but I will wear it.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sew Comfy knit tops!!

New Look Pattern # 6940 - I am just LOVING this pattern!! It’s turning out to be a fantastic wardrobe builder! I added my usual 3” at the waistline tho, and with this pattern it really is not necessary. I’ll be changing it to 1 or 2 inches at most. I do love the fit, especially at the arms. Sew comfy!



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

sewing with gray thread

I did this on the coverpro machine using gray thread. It took me a while to discover that by using grey thread, it saves on buying a bunch of thread colors! Am showing this on an olive green fabric. See? You wouldn’t think it would work, but it really does just blend right in!


white "tank" top

Kwik Sew # 3066, using up more of my old fabric stash


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

blogging and photos

I’ve been behind with blog posts, but discovered that I can now use a third party blog editor (macjournal) for posts! It has definitely been awhile since I’ve posted last. A couple of years at least, yikes! We moved to a new house in Jan of 2011 so there is major catching up on here to do! The biggest hurdle was to figure out how to upload photos through the editor … so lets see if this works now? I will be posting photos with captions here in the next few days that will be “back dated”. I’m so glad that iPhoto dates the photos so that it enables me to do this!

Friday, July 13, 2012

more knit tops!

Kwik Sew # 3407 … hmm I think I should have used a drapier knit fabric with this pattern, but I did use the Janome cover pro tape binder for this top - both around the neckline and armholes. It did a beautiful job! There was some practice with using it, but I had a great time figuring it out!


Simplicity pattern # 1916 (again)


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Janome CoverPro 1000CPX Coverstitch Machine

Here is my new baby!! I got this from my husband for my birthday this year! A Janome coverpro coverstitch sewing machine! It’s basically a really expensive hemmer. It’s like a serger, but not quite. You can purchase sergers that will convert back and forth between coverstitch, and overstitch - but this machine is specifically for finishing hems and topstitching fabrics etc. It has the capability of 4 thread, (triple needle).

Along with the machine, I received an a tape binder attachment. The tape binder attachment allows you to use your own fabric bias tape basically. Although, there is no need to cut on the bias with knit fabrics. I just cut an inch and about a quarter wide strip of fabric cut on the stretch for binding. This really is an awesome machine! If you can afford it and sew a great deal of knits, I’d say get it!!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

new sewing room

in past blog posts of the old house in Littleton, I showed photos of my sewing space. Since we have moved, I thought I’d show the latest …

I share this room with all of my feebay inventory (closet), and of course my lil buddy Taz (sleeping pug) but it all works out! Note the new machine covers :)



antique cabinet I scored recently - holds all of my yarn!


cutting table I recently made!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

cutting table

my sister built her own cutting table, which inspired me to do the same!

I can roll this into the middle of the room and walk around to cut out fabric for sewing. Next winter I plan to use this for my knitting machines. I can clamp one machine on each end. I also use this for feebay, to take photos of inventory and for packing and shipping. This truly is multi-purpose.


and here it is all together. I used a 3’ foot wide door for the top, just cut it down to 5” wide. It’s the perfect size for that room!

I really like the adjustable shelves for this.


this is one end of the cutting table shelf unit


I clamped three shelves together for each end of cutting table - bolted them together and then put rolling castors on the bottom

Monday, June 25, 2012

knit tank top

I’m using up some old fabric in my stash,

this is Kwik Sew Pattern # 3066

I’m not sure why I like the Kwik Sew patterns, I just do! Probably because they are just so simple!


this is a Kwik Sew Pattern # 3407

great fit!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

sewing knit tops for summer

I got in the mood to sew some new knit tops!

Here is the first of many … and no, it’s not a dress Betty Sue is styling, I really am that tall!

This is Simplicity Pattern # 1916 Love it!!


Friday, March 16, 2012

wool gloves in blue

this is the same FREE pattern that I used for dad’s gloves http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/mitten/MKGloves.html

because of all of my hand issues, I thought I’d make a pair like I did for my dad …

however these are still in progress! I tend to sew in the summer and knit in the fall and winter (oh yes, I have seasonal hobbies!) I really do need to get these finished up soon though!


hand knitting the fingers


taken off of the knitting machine onto red acrylic scrap yarn

Thursday, March 15, 2012

embroidered sewing machine covers

I finally got the sewing machine covers done! Here are the fronts of the machine covers that I machine embroidered.

I still have binding to put on the hems of the covers, but will save that for yet another day!


for the embroidery machine


for the kenmore 110


for the serger

Thursday, December 22, 2011

shawl collar pullover

I made this for my husband for Christmas 2011

I just barely got it done in time! Made with double strands of Lions Brand fisherman’s wool in “oatmeal” The front, back and sleeves were all knit on the machine, finished the collar by hand. Fits him very nicely!

hand & machine knit shawl dollar pullover



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

wool gloves for dad 2011

For Christmas 2011 I made everyone in my family a pair (or two) of wool socks. That came to about 14 pairs of socks! whew! I made my dad a pair of fingerless gloves! I started these out on machine, and then took them off to finish the fingers by hand. For me it’s just easier than fiddling with the finger portions on the machine. I’ve been using this FREE pattern



one down, one to go ...


in progress, hand knitting fingers


taken off machine onto scrap yarn


started on machine

Sunday, October 2, 2011

drop spindle wool

Hand spun wool, using a drop spindle. I was fiddling around back in October making some yarn. I put the twist in, and set it - so now they were hanging out in the sun to dry.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

red alpaca wool CPH sweater

I started this cabled sweater in Sept of 2008 and finished it in September of 2011? I started out hand knitting the two fronts and back and decided to finish the sleeves on the knitting machine. I then finished the hood and front band by hand again. It came out great! fit was perfect, and am happy with how warm it is. I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca yarn, and pattern is called “Central Park Hoodie” by Heather Lodinsky.




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

toddler socks on csm

I made these toddler socks on the antique circular sock machine by using Juana’s mock rib sock pattern below, except I pulled out every other needle (EON) I believe this was socketta sock yarn that I used. After washing and drying they fit my 4 year old grandson perfectly!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

csm socks - ribbed cuff and mock rib cuff

this was an experiment to see the actual difference to a ribbed cuff and a mock rib cuff. There really isn’t that much difference in the look. I actually have come around now to liking the mock rib because the hem on top gives it added structure. And too, it’s much easier to make! No ribber hassles. And yes, I still battle with getting that ribber just right. Here are a couple of comparison photos. And here is the link to this pattern http://www.sockknittingmachines.com/juana/